A Wanderlust’s Guide to Kerala: Highlights of My Trip to Alleppey, Thekkady, Munnar, and Kochi
Picture yourself gliding along the tranquil backwaters of Alleppey, surrounded by lush greenery and the gentle sounds of nature. Or imagine standing atop the rolling hills of Munnar, breathing in the fresh mountain air and watching the sunrise over the misty tea plantations. These are just a few of the unforgettable moments I experienced during my recent trip to Kerala, a state known as ‘God’s Own Country’ for good reason. From the vibrant culture of Kochi to the wild beauty of Thekkady, Kerala is a destination that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on the soul. Join me as I share my journey through this enchanting land, and discover the magic of Kerala for yourself.
Hi, I hope you are doing well. Since you are here you are probably planning for a trip to Kerala. You’re in the right place! So here I will share with you my journey, my experience through Kerala, a land that truly lives up to its nickname of ‘God’s Own Country’. I had planned to cover almost all of Kerala over the period of 10 days from Alleppey to Thekkady to Munnar and Kochi.
Day1: From Goa to Alleppey
On Day 1 of my Kerala trip, I embarked on an exciting journey from Goa to Alleppey. Alleppey is a picturesque town known for its serene backwaters and lush greenery. I opted to take the train from Madgaon station, a scenic route that offered stunning views of the Western Ghats and the Konkan coast. As I traveled during the monsoon season in July, the journey was accompanied by occasional bursts of rain, which only added to the beauty of the lush green landscapes that stretched out before me.
I arrived at Alleppey railway station around 1 pm the next day (i.e. day 2). Feeling refreshed and eager to begin my Kerala adventure. Despite the rain, the tropical air was warm and welcoming, and I couldn’t wait to explore everything that Alleppey had to offer, from its winding canals and traditional houseboats to its bustling markets and delicious cuisine.
Upon arriving in Alleppey, I took a taxi to my pre-booked hotel. There are many great options for hotels in Alleppey. I stayed at Treebo Tryst Palmyra Milford, where I spent day 1 and day 2 nights. The hotel provided a comfortable and pleasant stay. Other recommended hotels in the area include Palmgrove Lake Resort, KUTTICHIRA HERITAGE HOME, Time Square Boutique Hotel, and Casa Orchid.
Day2: Arriving and Settling in Alleppey
After a pleasant train journey, I arrived at Alleppey railway station around 2 pm. Once I checked in at my hotel, I freshened up and decided to grab a quick bite. Since it was already mid-afternoon, we opted for dosas, a popular South Indian dish. The meal was light and satisfying, perfect to fuel up for an evening of exploring.
We then set out to visit the Sree Krishna Swamy Temple and the Ambalapuzha Temple, both of which are significant cultural landmarks in the area. We reached the temples around 5:30 pm, after a short auto ride. Bargaining with the auto drivers is recommended, and you can easily find an auto just outside your hotel.
After a few hours of temple-hopping, we returned to the hotel around 8:30 pm, feeling hungry and ready for dinner. We decided to try the restaurant at Hotel Brothers, Alappuzha. The restaurant serves a diverse range of local Kerala cuisine, made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. I particularly enjoyed the idiyappam and puttu with kadala and vegetable curry, which were flavorful and delicious. Overall, it was a satisfying end to a day of cultural exploration and culinary indulgence.
Day3: Unforgettable Alleppey Houseboat Experience
Day 3 was all about the Alleppey backwater houseboat experience. This was truly one of the highlights of my Kerala trip. We had booked a 1-bedroom boat.
Day 3 was a truly unforgettable day as we embarked on our Alleppey backwater houseboat adventure. This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my Kerala trip. To ensure a seamless experience, I recommend booking a 1-bedroom houseboat in advance, preferably 2-3 days prior. Unfortunately, we faced some challenges when we tried to book a boat just 10-12 hours before, so it’s best to plan ahead.
Alternatively, some people suggest that you may find better deals by directly approaching the boarding points where the houseboats are anchored. This allows you to negotiate and choose from a variety of options. Regardless of how you book, the Alleppey houseboat experience promises to be an unforgettable journey through the backwaters, surrounded by scenic beauty and tranquility.
Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is often referred to as the “Venice of the East” due to its vast network of interconnected canals, lagoons, and waterways. The houseboats, or “boat houses,” are traditional boats that have been converted into floating homes with all the modern amenities you might need for a comfortable stay.
We spent the entire day cruising through the narrow canals and waterways, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic landscapes. The boat house had a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and other amenities, making it a unique and comfortable accommodation option.
In addition to the natural beauty and peaceful ambiance, the boathouse experience also offered a chance to indulge in local cuisine and cultural activities. We enjoyed traditional Kerala meals cooked with locally sourced ingredients and even had the opportunity to learn how to cook some local dishes.
If you’re planning a trip to Alleppey, I highly recommend experiencing the backwater houseboat cruise. You can choose a boat house as per your group size and budget, and even opt for a day cruise if you don’t want to spend the night on the boat. And make sure to try some ice cream in Vembanad Lake, the longest backwater in Kerala and the longest lake in India, for a truly unforgettable experience.
So after being on the cruise from morning 10 am till evening 6 pm. The awesome memories of having ice cream in Vembanad Lake we directly headed back to our hotel.
Day4: Exploring Thekkady from Alleppey
We started our day 4 at 9 am by taking a taxi from Alleppey to Thekkady, a town located 140 km away. Thekkady is best known for its Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, home to tigers, elephants, and many bird species. The sanctuary offers stunning views of the hills and forests surrounding the Periyar Lake.
In addition to the wildlife sanctuary, Thekkady is famous for its spice plantations where you can learn about different spices grown in Kerala, such as cardamom, cinnamon, and pepper. You can also experience traditional martial arts performances at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre or enjoy a Navarasa Kathakali show. A relaxing boat ride on Periyar Lake or an elephant ride can also be a great way to explore the area.
After reaching Thekkady, we checked into Bougainvillea Homestay, which was booked on the go. There are many homestays in Thekkady, and you can choose one that suits your budget and group. We stayed at Bougainvillea Homestay for 2 nights and were pleased with our comfortable and friendly accommodation.
If you prefer a hotel stay, some great options include KTDC Periyar House, Club Mahindra Resort, and Kalpavanam Heritage Resort. You can also find unique accommodations like tree houses and spice plantation stays.
After settling in, we had some delicious dosa and idli since it was already past lunchtime. Then, we headed to the Kadathanadan Kalari and Navarasa Kathakali Centre to experience the traditional art forms of Kerala.
What is Kadathanadan Kalari?
Kadathanadan Kalari is a traditional martial art form that originated in Kerala and has been practiced for centuries. It involves intense physical training and fighting techniques, as well as the use of weapons such as swords, spears, and knives. You can witness a live performance of Kadathanadan Kalari at the Kadathanadan Kalari Center in Thekkady. The performers are highly skilled and their agility and speed are truly impressive.
What is Navarasa Kathakali?
Navarasa Kathakali, on the other hand, is a form of traditional dance-drama that originated in Kerala and has become world-famous. It involves elaborate costumes, makeup, and gestures, and tells stories from Indian mythology and folklore. The performers use their facial expressions and body movements to convey the emotions and sentiments of the characters they are portraying. You can witness a live performance of Navarasa Kathakali at the Mudra Cultural Centre in Thekkady. It is a mesmerizing experience that will leave you in awe.
Day5: Exploring Thekkady’s Natural Wonders
We woke up early on Day 5 to make the most of our time in Thekkady. After having a hearty breakfast, we headed to a nearby spice plantation to learn about the region’s famous spices. We were amazed by the variety of spices grown there, including cardamom, cinnamon, and pepper. Our guide explained the different uses and benefits of each spice, and we even got to sample some of them.
Next, we headed to the Periyar National Park, one of the most popular attractions in Thekkady. The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, leopards, and several species of birds. We took a boat ride on the Periyar Lake, which runs through the park and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and forests. We saw several elephants bathing and playing in the lake, which was a surreal experience.
After the boat ride, we decided to go for an elephant ride. The elephants at the park are well taken care of and are used to take tourists on a short ride through the forest. Riding on an elephant’s back gave us a unique perspective on the surrounding wilderness, and we felt like we were part of the natural landscape.
Later in the day, we went for some sightseeing around Thekkady, like Chellarkovil Viewpoint, and explored the local markets and shops. We picked up some souvenirs, including spices and handicrafts, to take back home. We also visited some nearby temples and churches, which were peaceful and beautiful.
Overall, Day 5 in Thekkady was a perfect combination of nature, adventure, and cultural experiences. We would highly recommend visiting the Periyar National Park, going for an elephant ride, and exploring the local markets to anyone visiting Thekkady.
Day 6: Scenic Drive from Thekkady to Munnar
On day 6, we left Thekkady early in the morning after having breakfast and embarked on a picturesque journey to Munnar. The drive from Thekkady to Munnar is around 200 km and takes approximately 3 hours by taxi. We were fortunate to experience a light rainfall as soon as we entered Munnar, which added to the charm of the place.
Munnar is well-known for its sprawling tea plantations, misty hills, and tranquil atmosphere, and we were able to witness it all within just two hours of reaching the town. We were certain that the next three days would be unforgettable.
We had pre-booked our stay at C7, which is situated amidst tea gardens, offering a breathtaking view of the lush green tea estates. We wanted to be surrounded by the tea gardens and enjoy the serenity of the place. Moreover, we had planned to work from Munnar for two days, and C7 proved to be a perfect option as it was located within walking distance from Munnar City and was budget-friendly. However, there are other options too, like Manale Tea Bungalow Munnar, Bamboo Dale Resort, Tata’s amã STAYS Sholamallay Bungalow, and Nettigudi Bungalow.
In the evening, we had some free time, so we decided to explore the local market. We indulged in some delicious homemade chocolates from Greenland Chocolate Factory and MSP & Sons. While MSP & Sons was a bit cheaper, we found the chocolate from Greenland to be more delectable.
Munnar had already started casting its spell on us, and we were excited to explore the town further in the coming days.
Day7: Work and Play in Munnar: Exploring the Tata Tea Museum and Biking through Tea Gardens
Day 7 in Munnar was a perfect blend of productivity and exploration. We kick-started our day at the C7 hotel with a scrumptious breakfast. Fueling our energy for a productive workstation morning. But the allure of Munnar’s iconic Tata Tea Museum beckoned us, and we couldn’t resist delving into the region’s tea heritage by afternoon.
The museum showcases the region’s rich history and evolution of tea plantations, featuring exhibits such as old machinery, photographs, and artifacts. The highlight of the museum is the demonstration of the old orthodox tea-making process, which is fascinating to watch. You can also sample different varieties of tea and purchase them from the museum shop. It’s an informative and enjoyable experience for all ages.
After satiating our curiosity at the museum, we recharged with a delicious lunch and dedicated some more time to our work commitments. But the exploration spirit within us couldn’t be contained, so we decided to rent a bike and embark on an exhilarating journey through Munnar’s enchanting Tea Gardens. The narrow roads winding through the vibrant greenery bestowed upon us awe-inspiring vistas, allowing us to connect with nature on a profound level. The freedom and serenity we experienced while biking through the tea-scented air is something we’ll forever treasure. It was an unforgettable experience that we highly recommend to anyone visiting Munnar.
Day 8: Exploring Munnar’s Best Sights and Scenery
Day 8 was an unexpected day off, but we decided to make the most of it by exploring Munnar to the fullest. With our trusty bike, we headed to Echo Point and Top Station. The route was breathtaking, and the ride was so relaxing that we felt like we could settle down in Munnar forever.
We stopped for lunch at Saravana Bhavan Munnar and were blown away by the delicious food. We didn’t want to eat anything else for a long time so that we could savor the taste.
After a short power nap, we visited Eravikulam National Park. We bought tickets at the base and took the government bus to the park gate. The route to the park gate was scenic, with amazing views of Munnar’s tea gardens. Once at the gate, we recommend taking the steep climb to the top. The view from the top was breathtaking, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot some endangered and nearly extinct animals and birds, as well as a waterfall.
Day9: Traveling from Munnar to Kochi: A Memorable Journey and Experiencing an Authentic Banana Leaf Lunch
After a wonderful time exploring the enchanting beauty of Munnar, it was time to bid farewell to this scenic paradise and head toward Kochi. The journey from Munnar to Kochi is approximately 130 kilometers and takes around 4 hours by road.
Leaving Munnar, we embarked on a picturesque drive that offered stunning views of lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and winding roads. The route itself was a visual treat, with every turn revealing a new panorama of natural wonders. We couldn’t help but stop at various viewpoints along the way to capture the breathtaking landscapes through our lenses.
As we descended from the cool heights of Munnar, we gradually entered the plains and encountered the vibrant towns and villages of Kerala. The journey allowed us to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region, with glimpses of local life and traditional architecture.
During our journey from Munnar to Kochi, we had the opportunity to indulge in a truly authentic culinary experience—a traditional banana leaf lunch. As we traveled through the charming towns and villages of Kerala, we came across a local restaurant known for serving this delightful feast.
Arriving in Kochi, we were welcomed by the bustling streets, historic buildings, and the serene backwaters. Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a vibrant city with a fascinating blend of modernity and history. From its iconic Chinese fishing nets and colonial-era buildings to the vibrant spice markets and bustling streets of Fort Kochi, the city offers a unique glimpse into the multicultural heritage of Kerala.
We reached Kochi around 3 pm. We have already booked our stay at BTH Bharat Hotel. There are several other stay options in Kochi. Ginger Kochi, Qube Hotel Kochi, and Treebo Trend Tie Square are among some.
Our journey from Munnar to Kochi was not just a physical transition from one destination to another, but also a transition from the tranquil mountains to the vibrant city life. It was a journey that allowed us to witness the diverse beauty of Kerala and create lasting memories of our time in this incredible state.
As we concluded our trip from Munnar to Kochi, we couldn’t help but feel grateful for the experiences and adventures that unfolded during our trip. Kerala had truly captivated our hearts, and the journey from Munnar to Kochi served as a perfect finale to our Kerala travel diary.
Day10: Embracing Comfort and Scenic Views on the Train Journey from Kochi to Goa
During our time in Kochi, we explored places such as the Ernakulam Shiva Temple, Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town, Lulu Mall, and St. Francis Church. We also indulged in the local cuisine, treating ourselves to delicious seafood delicacies and traditional Kerala dishes.
After a delightful stay in Kochi, it was time for us to embark on our journey back to Goa. We had booked our train tickets in the AC Tier 2 class, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable ride for the long journey ahead.
As we settled into our cozy berths, we couldn’t help but appreciate the convenience and luxury of the AC Tier 2 class. The spacious compartments, cushioned seats, and air-conditioning created a pleasant ambiance that made our journey all the more enjoyable. We had ample legroom and privacy, allowing us to relax and unwind as the train chugged along.
The train journey from Kochi to Goa offered us breathtaking views of the picturesque landscapes of Kerala and Goa. As the train traversed through lush green valleys, meandering rivers, and quaint villages, we were treated to a visual feast that showcased the natural beauty of the region. The rhythmic sound of the train wheels on the tracks added to the charm and tranquility of the journey.
During the journey, we had the opportunity to interact with fellow passengers, exchanging stories and experiences. It was fascinating to hear their perspectives and insights, gaining a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures and traditions that make India so unique.
Day11: The Grand Finale: A Memorable Train Journey and Farewell to Kerala
As the train arrived at our destination in Goa, we bid farewell to our fellow travelers and disembarked with nostalgia and excitement for the next adventure that awaited us. The journey in the AC Tier 2 class had not only been a means of transportation but a delightful experience in itself, leaving us with cherished memories to carry forward.
Thus, our Kerala trip came to a close, filled with enchanting landscapes, cultural discoveries, and unforgettable moments. As we headed back to Goa, we were left with a renewed appreciation for the diversity and splendor of this incredible country.
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