Kerala: The Shangri-la of India

For most people around the world, Kerala is still an undiscovered place in a far-off land. However, for those in the know, Kerala is a sanctuary to relax the mind, body and soul. Located on the western side of the southern tip of India, Kerala is a tropical utopia with stunning beaches, vibrant sunsets, mountainous landscapes and exotic wildlife.

Varkala beach in southern India
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of

This narrow coastal strip of India is defined by its layered landscape. You’ll discover tea-covered hills, wildlife preserves, a network of luminous backwater canals, and a splendid 375 mile coastline along the Arabian Sea. This is a respite from the frenzy of Mumbai, Delhi and other populous places in India. Kerala also has a deep and intriguing backstory illuminated by historically evocative cities such as Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.

Kerala Backwaters
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of

Ten things not to miss when visiting Kerala

  • Backwaters – One of the most tranquil things you can do in Kerala is take a trip down one of the palm tree-lined canals known as the Backwaters. There are many tours offering different types of vessels, from kayaks to traditional open-air boats. Multi-day trips in a houseboat allow you to experience even more of the Backwaters.
  • Munnar – Tea lovers and photographers will rejoice. This lush region is renowned for its sprawling tea plantations.
Munnar in Kerala India
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of
  • Marari Beach – This is a picturesque and undeveloped beach with a diverse range of accommodations to choose from.
  • Periyar National Park – This is one of the most popular parks in Kerala. Here you can enjoy wild elephants and safaris by boat as well as many eco-tourism activities.
  • Wayanad – This is a mountainous region that stretches along the Western Ghats. You’ll find coconut forests, paddy fields and many adventurous activities.
  • Varkala – This is another beach area with long stretches of sandy beaches lined with palm trees and cliff views.
Varkala beach in Kerala India
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of
  • Poovar Island – This is where the Neyyar River meets the Arabian Sea in dramatic fashion. You’ll find water bungalows with views of an elongated sand bar.
  • Villages – Visiting one of the rural villages in Kerala will make you feel like you’ve entered a place where time has stood still. See woman weaving by hand, making pottery or performing folk art and dance.
Village Life in Kerala
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of
  • Experience Ayurvedic – An Ayurvedic treatment is an ancient Indian healing practice that combines yoga and other healthy elements. These experiences are typically found at a spa specializing in the practices where you’ll spend a week detoxing and learning about a healthy lifestyle.
  • Fort Kochi – This historical place draws visitors for its Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Immanuel, the Dutch Cemetery, Saint Francis Church and other points of interest left behind by the Dutch, British, Arabs and Portuguese who all once inhabited the area.
Fishing nets at sunset in Kochi
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of

Best Time to Visit

December through March is the best time visit, where you’ll experience pleasant weather and cool nights.

Poovar in Kerala
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Estimated Costs to Visiting Kerala

  • Hotels – Peak Season of course is the most expensive time of year to visit, but even then, Western travelers will find it very affordable. A mid-level hotel will run about 1500INR, about $20USD. A luxury hotel will run around 6000INR a night, or $85.
  • Transportation – Budget 300-500INR per day ($4-7)
  • Entertainment – Budget 500-1000INR per day.
  • Food – Budget 400-1000INR per day.
  • Water/Drinks – Budget 200-600INR per day.
  • A One-Week Vacation – For a luxurious get-away you’re looking at about 22,000INR (about $300USD per person). Budget travelers can expect to pay about 4000INR per week ($55USD per person). This would cover hotels, meals and some activities and transportation. (These are shoulder season prices, peak season would run about 50% more).

Guide to visiting Kerala, the Shangri-La of India Guide to visiting Kerala, the Shangri-La of India

Best Places to Stay

Taj – One of the most recognizable hotel brands in India is Taj, they have several locations in Kerala depending on which area you would like to stay.
Leela – The Leela is another prestigious hotel brand in India with a Kerala location in Thiruvananthapuram.
Xandari – This is another wonderful choice when staying in Kerala.

Ayurvedic resort in Kerala
Photo by: Mihaela Popa of

Niko Hotels – Highly rated hotel in Kochi.
Falcon Crest Resort – Located inland, this is a very affordable place with outstanding reviews.
Sapphire Club – Affordable beach location.

Well that’s a look Kerala, India, an amazingly beautiful and affordable place to visit. If you have any questions at all about visiting Kerala, please leave a comment below.

This article was sponsored by Kerala Tourism, however it was fully written with the authors’ own opinions and suggestions.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.