There are SO many cool things to do in Kerala, India – you definitely need to include a decent amount of time there in your India itinerary. I was in Kerala for 6 days, and loved the houseboats, the people, and of course, the food.
With over 600km of Arabian coastline, Kerala is known for its ber-utiful beaches, but inland is pretty cool too. Home to the Western Ghats mountains, parks like Eravikulam and Periyar and wildlife like tigers and elephants, there are plenty of activities to do in Kerala to keep you busy.
This Kerala travel guide will give you an insight into the many awesome things to do in Kerala. With 52 Kerala activities to choose from, you know it’s going to be wonderful!
Unique things to do in Kerala
1. Walk on almost water. Wait until the tide is low then walk to the private and pretty island of Dharmadam from Dharmadam Beach in Thalassery.
2. Strap on the boots and go hiking around the hills of Munnar.
3. Stop for a cuppa with a visit to one of Munnar’s many tea plantations – they’re one of the most iconic things to see in Kerala.
4. Travel in style on a traditional houseboat along the Alleppey backwaters.
5. Find yourself some wheels and visit Muzhappilangad’s drive-in beach where you can actually drive right up to the waves.
6. Spice up your life with a visit to one of the many spice farms in somewhere like Thekkady or Munnar. This is one of the most popular activities to do in Kerala.
7. Chill out in the tiny surf and hipster town of Kovalam. You’ll find one of the best beaches in Kerala here.
8. Become a member of the nighttime Periyar jungle patrol protecting the tiger reserve.
9. Watch the fishermen and master crafts with a day in a rural village like Kovalam or Wayanad and try the local cuisine.
10. Try some of the best food in Kerala and get your five a day by loading up on banana fritters served Kerala style.
11. Time a visit to the famous Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi at sunset. They’re one of the most unique things to see in Kerala.
12. You absolutely have to go and watch the colourful and creative traditional dance at a Kathakali Show. When I went they got my friend up on stage to take part, and even though it was a few years ago now, we still like to laugh at the memory. Don’t sit near the front!
You can read more about my Kathakali experience in my post about my 6 days in Kerala.
13. Go veggie and stop by the Sree Arul Jyothi vegetarian restaurant in Thiruvananthapuram.
14. Crack out the binoculars for a bit of birdwatching at the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Even if you’re not really that into birds it’s amazing to see the colourful displays.
15. Do Bargain Hunt Kerala style with a bit of antiquing on Jew Town Street in Fort Kochi.
16. Get up close to Nellie by bathing an elephant at the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre.
17. Make like Tarzan and live amongst the wildlife with an overnight stay in a tree house like Jungle Jive’s.
18. Indulge yourself with a traditional and yoga-inspired medicinal Ayurvedic treatment.
19. Fancy a glass of sap? Swap out the beer for what locals call a toddy, the traditional liquor created from the sap of palm trees.
20. Strike your power pose to the backdrop of Fort Kochi’s selection of graffiti and street art.
21. Step back in time with a trip to Muziris, a legendary seaport once hailed as the ‘ancient world’s greatest trading centre’.
22. For all things fishy head to 3rd Rock Cafe in Kovalam where you can even see the fishermen from your seat before you tuck in to some of the best seafood Kerala has to offer.
23. Learn about the history of our love for leaves at the Munnar Tea Museum.
24. Feel refreshed and a little perkier after taking a quick dip in the mineral, and supposedly medicinal waters, of Varkala Beach.
25. Spend a day filling up your camera roll with snaps of the beautiful wildlife and landscapes of the Silent Valley National Park.
26. Pack a picnic and go boating on the Veli Lagoon.
27. Walk the length of the Marine Drive promenade in Kochi.
28. Wake up happy knowing you don’t have to travel far for good coffee with an overnight on a coffee plantation.
29. Trek to the top of the Western Ghats’ Banasura Hill and get that classic tree swing picture – one of the top things to do in India.
30. Kerala loves a mural and you can see some of the best at the Thirunadhikkara Cave Temple.
31. Travel back in time with a visit to the Edakkal Caves in Wayanad where you can see some pre-historic cave paintings.
32. Find your way to the biggest falls of Kerala, Athirapally Waterfalls. It’s one of the most beautiful sights in Kerala.
33. Pick up some boat building skills in Beyore, known as a shipbuilders paradise.
34. Be a beach bum on the quieter Marari Beach.
35. Become slightly addicted to drinking from a coconut – available all over Kerala.
36. Be a little nosy and visit a heritage house, aka a tharavad, to see what a traditional Keralan home looks like.
37. Add another farm to the list and get a good dose of Vitamin C with a day trip to one of the orange farms of Nelliyampathy.
38. Go bamboo rafting through the forests of Periyar.
Listen to my podcast!
I caught up with Ellie, who runs the travel blog Wandering Quinn. She’d just spent four months in India and travelled around extensively. If you want to learn more about India before your trip, have a listen on Spotify.
Or here on iTunes.
39. See how the royals lived with a visit to the Mattancherry Palace in Ernakulam.
40. Marvel at the musical dancing fountain in Thenmala in Kollam.
41. Take to the jeeps and do a safari at one of the many wildlife sanctuaries like Wayanad, Periyar or Gavi.
42. Learn about the culture of Kerala with a trip to the Museum of History & Heritage.
43. Embrace that child’s pose with a yoga session somewhere like the Palm Tree Yoga Centre or Padmakarma.
44. Help rejuvenate India’s love of street magicians with a visit to Magic Planet Theme Park.
45. Catch a session of kalaripayattu, aka the mother of all martial arts, at the Kalari Kshethra temple.
46. Fill up on 187 types of dosa, the Indian version of a pancake, at Pai Brothers in Kochi. Definitely one of the best things to eat in Kerala.
Click to download these top things to do in Kerala in PDF to your phone, for easy reference!
47. Go boating on the Pookot Lake but, be warned that it’s strictly forbidden to pick out the blue lilies no matter how badly you want to put one in your hair.
48. Freak yourself out with a visit to the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park – you’ll see some of Kerala’s most famous animals here.
49. Visit the Indo-Portuguese Museum to understand more about why there’s so much Portuguese influence in the state.
50. See things from a different perspective by paragliding over the Varkala beach and cliffs. Definitely one of the most adventurous things to do in Kerala!
51. Make your way through the Indian beverages at Nasha, a bar just inside the Metropolitan Hotel in Kochi. Maybe a good one for your first night in Kerala, so you’ve got time to recover the next day before your onwards flight!
52. Stay at the Marari Beach Resort for some serious luxury in the heart of Kerala.