Things to do in Kerala for a Hillside Coastal Vacay


Top things to do in Kerala

Kerala is considered "God's own country" owing to its surreal beaches, scintillating backwaters and abundant natural beauty. Boasting of umpteen attractions and interesting places to visit, there are also a number of exciting things to do in Kerala that attract tourists from far and wide. From boating, to paragliding, cruising and beach hopping, there is no dearth of activities in Kerala. It can amaze you with its vibrant culture, its pristine beaches and emerald green hills. There are also several wildlife sanctuaries for all you wildlife enthusiasts out there. Check out the comprehensive list of amazing things to do in Kerala for your next memorable vacation.

Here is the list of 38 Things to do in Kerala for a Hillside Coastal Vacay

1. Stay at the Houseboats in Alleppey

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Popularly known as the Venice of the east, Alleppey or Allapuzha is famous for its serene backwaters and their exceptionally scenic setting. Cruising on houseboats in Alleppey is the latest and probably the best addition to the list of ways you can enjoy the mesmerizing natural beauty of this quaint little town. Alleppey is gifted with a unique crisscrossing network of canals that runs throughout the town which allows you to access and explore the entire area while you're relaxing on your houseboat.

2. Explore the Backwaters in Alleppey

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Alleppey is rightfully called the Venice of the East. With its labyrinth of brackish lagoons and interconnected lakes, Alleppey or Alappuzha is no less than the famous European city - neither in beauty nor in history and culture. Alleppey is the heaven for the nature lovers with the soul-soothing greenery and the backwaters. Hire your boat and get started along the flow of the stream to soak in its beauty.

3. Take a Walk Down the Resplendent Tea Estates

Established in 1900, Sevenmallay Tea Estate is owned by the Tata Tea Company. The estate sprawling over hundreds of acres of land is a like a paradise on earth. A quaint charming bungalow located right in the heart of the estate adds to the charm of the place. You can also buy tea produced at the estate-outlet.

4. Watch the Kurinji Bloom at Eravikulam (Rajamalai) National Park

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The Eravikulam National park is famous for housing the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr. The slopes of the hills are home to many kinds of rare plants and trees some of which are epiphytic orchids and beautiful wild balsams. In addition to this, you can also explore the Kurinji trail which is an expedition into Nilgiri Thar and Kurinji filled grass lands. Being a part of this activity is one of the fun things to do in Munnar.

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5. Visit the Backwaters in Kumarakom

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The Backwaters of Kumarakom, formed by the beautiful Vembanad Lake, is located about 17 kilometers from Kottayam in God's Own Country, the South Indian state of Kerala. The Vembanad Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the state and is known worldwide for its famous backwater tourism. The lush green paddy fields, the ducks swimming in the lake and the tiny chirpy birds flying in the evening blue sky will mesmerize you as you explore the backwaters by the banks or on a boat. You are sure to get a glimpse of a blissful life in this part of God's Own Country.

6. Picnic at the Veli Tourist Village

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The Veli Tourist Village is a famous picnic spot in the mouth of the River Veli. Situated 12 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the site offers various indulging activities. The most prominent ones are the pedal/speedboat that explores the lagoon on the southern banks of the river, the children's park, horse rides and swimming pool. Tourists can book boat rides and engage in activities like games, horse rides and the children can play around in the park. The swimming pool, shopping complexes and cafeterias are other recreational activities at the Veli Tourist Village. Be sure to include visiting here in your bucket list of things to do in Kerala.

7. Stay in a Houseboat in Kovalam

Staying in a houseboat is one of the unique experiences and one of the most exotic things things to do in Kovalam. In addition to relishing amazing Malabari cuisines, you can also enjoy stunning locales, rich green paddy fields and emerald plantations. You can avail the opportunity at the Ashtamudi Lake or the Karamana River.

8. Visit the Jatayu Earth's Centre in Kollam

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Jatayu Nature Park is a rock-themed park which got opened on November 25, 2017. Built to promote mythology and adventure tourism, the tourism centre boasts of 6D theatre, a digital audio-visual room, cable car and ayurvedic cave resort. It is also a home to umpteen adventure activities including paintball, laser tag, archery, bouldering, rock climbing, air-rifle shooting etc. The primary attraction of the park, however, is the world's largest stone-cut bird sculpture replicating Jatayu, the mythical bird from Ramayana.

9. Go for a Unique Tribal Heritage Walk in Thekkady

Tribal Heritage Walks are organized in Thekkady to introduce the tourists to the local culture and tradition of the place. The activity requires the volunteers to trek through the tribal village with a help of a tribal guide. One key attraction in the entire programme is the Tribal Heritage Museum where you can find ancient relics about traditional agricultural practices, marriage rituals, culture, ceremonies etc.

10. Take a Tour of the Spices Plantation in Thekkady

Green Park Ayurvedic & Spices Plantation is an ecological park founded to grow medicinal herbs and spices and disseminate the knowledge of growing them with the help of advanced agricultural techniques. The park expands over an area of five acres and has a Spice Garden and an Organic Farm that one can explore along with the stunning landscape.

11. Bird Watching at Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

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Named after the 'BirdMan of India', Dr Salim Ali, a famous ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is one of the major attractions in Munnar. Finding itself at the foothills of the Western Ghats, it occupies an area of 25 km sq. Also known as Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, the place is even called as the richest bird habitat of Peninsular India. Bird watching is addictive. Once you encounter this beauty there is no turning back. You would wish to watch more and more. Here you can find Crimson-Throated Barbet, Sunbird, Bee-eater, Night Heron, Black-winged Kite, etc.

12. Experience Elephants in Kerala

Fort Kochi is a seaside town in the south-western part of Main Kochi which is known for its old-world colonial charm. The place still holds on to every single cultural change it has gone through over the centuries. We can see remnants of British rule all over the country. But tourists flock hear all around the year to have a glimpse of how Portuguese or Dutch colonialism affected parts of our country. The quaint city is dotted with similar structures and has an overall ambience that keeps reminding you of the colonial powers that once ruled over the place.

13. Explore the Fort Kochi in Kochi

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Fort Kochi is a seaside town in the south-western part of Main Kochi which is known for its old-world colonial charm. The place still holds on to every single cultural change it has gone through over the centuries. We can see remnants of British rule all over the country. But tourists flock hear all around the year to have a glimpse of how Portuguese or Dutch colonialism affected parts of our country. The quaint city is dotted with similar structures and has an overall ambience that keeps reminding you of the colonial powers that once ruled over the place.

14. Relax by the Palm Groves at Alappuzha Beach in Alleppey

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The Alappuzha beach, also known as the Alleppey Beach is famous for local getaways known for its intrinsic beauty and a 150 years old pier which stretches into the sea. Relaxing under the palm groves and picnicking beside the beach are fantastic options available to those visiting the beach. Alleppey Beach is a host to many festivals like Sand Art festival and Alappuzha Beach Festival. In addition to the pristine beauty of Alleppey Beach, some exciting activities and attractions are present in and around this destination.

15. Go Bird Watching at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

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The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, also popularly known as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, is a breathtaking and beautiful bird sanctuary that is located at Kumarakom in the Kottayam district in the Indian state of Kerala. Situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake in the Kerala Backwaters, this bird sanctuary is a favourite destination for many native as well as migratory birds, which makes the place a dreamland full of ecstasy and delight for bird watchers and nature lovers. The houseboats and motor boats that are available on rent to watch birds further enhance this enrichening experience. 

16. Witness the Exciting Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race in Alleppey

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One of the most exciting events to be held in Lake in Alleppey is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, which is a yearly competitive boating event held on the second Saturday of every August, during the Onam festival. The most popular event is the Snake Boat Race, which is a thrilling event to watch as well as participate in. 100-120 feet long canoe-like boats make serpentine movements through the water, thereby popularising the name. Other categories of boats which participate in various events of the race are Churulan Vallam, Iruttukuthy Vallam, Odi Vallam, Veppu Vallam (Vaipu Vallam), Vadakkanody Vallam and Kochu Vallam.

17. Enjoy Boat Rides or Canoeing in Kollam

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A ride in the beautiful backwaters of Kerala surrounded by peaceful and serene environs is a must for people travelling kollam. The setting sun scattering various hue in the sky is sight to behold along with the enchanting settings of coconut palms on the edges.

18. Stay in a Treehouse in Wayanad

One of the best things to do in Kerala is to stay in a treehouse. And there is no better place in the state than Wayanad. You can find several packages in the city where you can stay in the pretty wooden house and as part of the package, you can also enjoy a bonfire and indulge in activities like rock climbing, rappelling, nature walks etc.

19. Marvel at the Enchanting Athirapally Falls

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Located 60 km from the Thrissur district of Kerala, Athirapally Falls is a marvellous cascade of frothy waters that makes its way from the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats. This 80 ft high and 330 ft wide marvel is situated at the entrance of the Sholayar ranges and is often referred to as the "Niagara Falls of India". From here, the Athirapally falls flows through the verdant greenery of Vazhachal Forest toward the Arabian Sea, creating a spectacular vista of scintillating water, emerald jungles and azure sky.

20. Witness the Joyous Theyyam Festival

Bringing life to intriguing myths and exciting legends, the Theyyam festival is one of the most eagerly awaited festivals of the vibrant city of Kannur. Drawing the attention of thousands of people every year from across the country, this festival is renowned as the most remarkable and riveting art form of Malabar, the northern part of Kerala. This joyous celebration includes performances of over four hundred different traditional folk dances and is celebrated to appease the many local deities, gods, goddesses and heroes of the gripping ancient legends. Performers are dressed in attractive traditional costumes, captivating headgear and alluring ornaments with colourful face paints and creative face masks on.

21. Enjoy a Shikhara Ride or a Peddle Boat Ride in Munnar

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Situated in the laps of lush jungle is Kundala Dam & Lake laying 23 km off Munnar. This arch dam is famous for its Kashmiri-Shikara boat rides and pedal boat rides. Also, pretty cherry blossom flowers bloom here twice a year, and there are also Neela Kurunji which bloom once in every twelve years. All in all, the place is perfect place to rejuvenate in the surreal beauty of nature and this is one of the topmost things to do in Munnar.

22. Witness an Enchanting Sunset from a Cruise in Kochi

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The Sunset Cruise on the Arabian waters is an amazing 2 hour journey beginning from Marine Drive in Kochi during the time of sunset. The cruise covers Fort Kochi, Chinese fishing nets, Mattancherry, Bolgatty Island, Willingdon Island and the Cochin shipyard. Witnessing the mesmerizing sunset from the cruise in Kochi is one of the top things to do in Kerala. This will definitely turn your trip into a memorable one.

23. Spot Tigers at Periyar Tiger Trail

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Tourists trek along the Periyar Tiger Trail in Thekkady and thick vegetation of the reserve along with guides and Forest Department officials is an experience worth remembering. Tourists can also spot elephants, sambhars, and tigers there.

24. Experience a Catamaran Ride in Kovalam

One of the most unique things to do in Kovalam is riding on a catamaran. Floating on top of the serene blue waters and letting the wind rush at your face is definitely going to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. You can try out the activity at the Vellayani Lake or the Hawah Beach. The boats are mostly traditional and are rowed with the help of paddles.

25. Enjoy the Thrilling Bamboo Rafting in Thekkady

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One of the unique things to do in Thekkady is Bamboo Rafting. Bamboo Rafting is a perfect activity for all the water sports enthusiasts. The facility is offered by the Forest Department at Thekkady where one can enjoy the activity in the catchment area of the national park. The activity is all day long where the exercise is performed under strict supervision of professional and armed guards. The tourists are taken through the thick interiors of the forests.

26. Go for Border Hiking in Thekkady

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A trekking program conducted into the wilderness, border hiking is offered by various agencies and also by the Forest Department of the region. The hike is conducted at a height ranging from 900 metres to 1500 metres for an entire day under the supervision of a professional. Wildly popular among the adventure enthusiasts, the hiking trail lets you across thick forests and wilderness. You can also spot exotic wildlife on the route.

27. Beach Hopping in Varkala

Varkala is the only town in southern Kerala where the rocky red cliffs meet the mighty Arabian Sea. For this reason, Discovery Channel has noted the town among the top ten beach destinations of the world. The laid-back vibe, verdant vegetation, high cliffs and pristine beaches in Varkala make it a popular vacation spot both for the domestic and international tourists. So hit the beautiful beaches in Varkala now to play some volleyball, soak in the sun, gaze at the natural environment or just to relax in the tranquil atmosphere.

28. Parasailing and Paragliding in Varkala

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Varkala is a beautiful coastal town in Thiruvananthapuram district. It is the only place in Kerala where the hills come close to the sea. The uniqueness of the place is the merging of cliffs with the Arabian Sea. One of the prime things to do in Varkala is experiencing the thrills of adventure sports. Varkala Beach is a popular beach where you can enjoy various water sports activities such as para-sailing and paragliding. Several water sports operators are to be found along the other beaches as well, and travellers can easily do a lot of water activities with good fun.

29. Try Your Hand at Surfing in Kovalam

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Surfing in India is not the way it seems. The beautiful beaches spreading across the 7500 km of coastline in India provides exciting surf spots for surfing enthusiasts. Every year in October, the surfing federation of India organises a surfing competition in Kovalam. Most of the surfers are from the fishing communities of Kerala hence the surfing club has got its own praise. The Kovalam Surf club supported by a more large wing, NGO SISP is one among the many surf clubs in the coastline of Kovalam. They provide surfing classes for all age groups between 6- 60 years. One can visit the Kovalam Beach as well enjoy the view from the lighthouse.

30. Watch the Landscape while Mountain Biking in Munnar

Mountain Biking is undoubedtly one of the best things to do in Munnar. The thrilling activity is taken up by localites and tourists alike as the picturesque areas like Suryanelli, Vandanmedu, Anamudi Shola, Kundala, and Marayoor can be best explored on these bikes. Besides being a form of exercise, you can also wander about the beautiful tea estates without any fear of pollution or fuel availability.

31. Natural Retreat at Pathiramanal

Replete with pristine environs in the idyllic setting, Pathiramanal is a tiny island in the backwaters of Kerala near Alappuzha. ‘Pathiramanal’ meaning ‘sands of night’ boasts of verdant wilderness, serene lakeside and a picturesque landscape. Sprawling over 10 acres of land, the islet is the ideal spot for bird watching expeditions as it is home to a large number of rare and endangered species. This haven of natural beauty is also believed to nurture plants which have medicinal qualities.

32. Experience Jungle Night Patrol in Thekkady

Jungle Night Patrol in Thekkady is one of the top thrilling things to do in Kerala. It is a trekking activity which begins at two points in the Periyar National Park- Entrance Gate of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and from the Bamboo Grooves. The activity is performed under the supervision of an armed guard and two professional guides. The thrilling activity is surely going to give you an adrenaline rush and a memory for a lifetime.

33. Beach Hopping in Kovalam

Kovalam is a coastal town in the state of Kerala , popularly known as the "land of beaches". The green environment, old-world vibe, and picture perfect beaches in Kovalam make it an international beach destination. Kovalam also has a bunch of resorts and ayurvedic spa centres lined on the shores to make your vacation even better. So once you have soaked in the sun and lazed on the shores and got yourself super tanned on the serene beaches in Kovalam, you can resort to one of the centres on the side to get one of their refreshing spas.

34. Experience Fishing in Kumarakom

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Fishing is not just a livelihood in Kumarakom but it has also turned out to be an excellent tourist-bait. Catering to the newly emerged demand from visitors, travel planners, resorts and agencies include fishing using traditional methods in their tourist packages. The tourists can have their pick from fishing with nets, angling and handpicking of clams.

35. Watch a Performance Kerala Kathakali Centre in Kochi

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This centre at Fort Cochin has seen many a dance performances! The amount of effort put in by the dancers is commendable. It is usually rife with locals and foreign tourists who come to enjoy the dance show. It also has morning meditation shows which one can take part in.

36. Try your Hand at Angling in Kumarakom

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The canals running across the village as well as the shallow waters of Lake Vembanad offer great opportunities for angling. With patience and a little bit of skill, you are sure to have a fairly good catch as well as a lot of fun, taking part in a traditional village activity. The traditional angling gear consists of a simple fishing rod, a fishing line and a hook. The popular bait, earthworms, is found in abundance all around.

37. Visit the Holy Town of Sabarimala

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Known For : Ayyappa Temple Makaravilakku Malikkappuram Devi Temple

More than 30 million pilgrims visit the temple in Sabarimala annually, making it the largest in India and second largest in the world, after Hajj Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Tucked amongst dense forests and gurgling streams, the temple town of Sabarimala on the Pampa banks named after the mythological character Sabari shelters the famous Ayyappa temple.

Best Time: September to Apr

38. Indulge in Spas, Massages & Ayurvedic Treatments

Kerala offers a divine experience with all its peaceful ambiance and tranquil atmosphere. In addition to visiting the picture perfect scenery, you can also treat yourself to the very relaxing spa and massage facilities available at almost all resorts and hotels. These massages are surely going to revitalize you with herbal oils, steam baths etc.

This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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