Kerala is a feast of history, heritage, art, culture and has the most hospitable people. You cannot see Kerala in a day or two; it is better to set aside a few days to explore the beautiful coastal state. It has beautiful hill stations and tea plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, backwaters, beaches which are at an average of 3 hrs drive from each other. Do not rush yourself, in a bid to pack in all the sights and experiences, in a very short period. Plan an itinerary or at least know the places you want to visit and the things you want to see and do, before your arrival.
A Trip to Kerala
We’ll help you plan your trip if you are visiting Kerala for the first time. Here is a tour plan, that includes the most popular tourist destinations – Kochi (Cochin), Munnar, Thekkady, Alappuzha (Alleppey) and Kovalam. You can tweak it to your convenience.
Kerala has four international airports and Kochi remains the most popular arrival destination, among all travellers visiting Kerala. You can spend a couple of days here, but if time is a constraint then a day-long, or half-day tour of the city is fine. The places worth visiting include Fort Cochin, famous for its Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), the St. Francis Church, Santacruz Basilica, Jain temple and the Chinese fishing nets which are a big draw – uniquely entertaining; they make an excellent backdrop for your Instagram posts.
If you are on a budget Hotel ABAD in Chullickal and Pepper Route in the heart of Fort Kochi would be the ideal option. ABAD Dutch Bungalow is located very close to the Fort Kochi beach and would be the perfect option for guests who want to stay in a 375-year-old heritage hotel.
If you intend to spend an entire day in Kochi, then we advise you to spend the night in the city. Abad Hotels and Resorts has three properties on MG Road, a thirty-kilometre drive from the airport. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are in Kochi. The first is that the check-in time in most hotels is noon. Remember that, or else you will end up paying for an extra day if you check-in earlier. However, hotels do make concessions if they are made aware of your arrival beforehand. The other thing that you need to know is that many of the destinations from Kochi, pass through the Ghats – a hilly terrain, that is steep and gets foggy, making driving difficult. Plan your journey such that the Ghats can be traversed through while the sun’s still up.
Munnar is roughly 130 km from Kochi, it is a scenic, drive, through the Ghats, and can take 3-4 hours on average. Munnar is known for its landscape; mist-covered verdant hills, coffee and tea plantations, waterfalls etc. Plan a two-night stay at Abad Copper Castle, a centrally located property, with modern amenities. Have an early breakfast and start your sightseeing tour, so you have enough time to see everything. You will find ample opportunities to buy freshly grown organic products, mainly spices. Don’t miss out a visit to the tea museum and the Eravikulam national park.
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Thekkady, which also goes by the names Periyar or Kumily, is famous for its eco-tourism and adventure activities. You get to venture into the depths of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (escorted, of course), go trekking and explore the expanse of the Periyar lake, on a country-made, bamboo raft. You will also get a chance to get close to elephants and visit spice and coffee/tea plantations, go on jeep safaris, nature walks and night patrols. Govt regulates most activities, and there is a fee for each event.
Plan a 2-night stay at the Abad Green Forest Resort to enjoy your time in Thekkady. They have excellent accommodation options, keeping in tune with the jungle theme.
Alappuzha or Alleppey is where you can cruise in a houseboat, on the backwaters. A houseboat stay is an experience in itself. You can opt for a 5-6 hours cruise or a longer duration, with night stay. For the latter, you get a comfortable cabin, hot shower, Wi-Fi and air-conditioning and meals onboard. Houseboat cruises start at noon and last until nine the next morning, consider that while planning your trip. Day cruises set sail by half-past twelve in the afternoon and conclude by half-past five in the evening. Lunch and tea/coffee snacks are included in the package.
There is a lot to explore in and around Alappuzha, and you can choose to stay on a houseboat for one night where you can also go for a canoe cruise and also do activities like fishing, and at a resort for the rest of your stay. The Abad Turtle Beach Resort has a fantastic location overlooking the sea. We recommend a few days at the resort, to soak in the warm tropical sun as you laze on the golden beaches or by the poolside. The resort has a full-fledged Ayurveda centre, where you can rejuvenate in the therapeutic goodness of ayurvedic massages and treatments.
Also read, Vacation in Beach Resorts of Kerala
Kovalam can be your last destination on the Kerala sojourn. It is known for its beaches and is a great place to relax and unwind. Let Kovalam be your base, as you explore the sights around. From here, it is possible to make a day trip to Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip, of mainland India. On your way to Kovalam, you can visit Padmanabha Swami temple, Napier temple and the zoo.
Abad Harmonia is just a stone’s throw away from the beaches and comes highly recommended. You can expect excellent service, at all the Abad hotels and resorts. You can start your vacation in Kovalam, instead of Kochi, in which case you must arrive at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.