Travel in Kerala, India

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Tour around the state of Kerala with private transport

Kerala is a very rural Indian state. Most people imagine India to be over-populated, insanely crowded, and unbelievable dirty. That's not Kerala.

Caparisoned elephants gear up for the procession

Caparisoned elephants gear up for the procession credit: shankar s. CC BY 2.0

Tour around the green Kerala by hired coach or minibus

You may have come to see the Fort of Cochin, do a boat trip on the Kerala backwaters or to visit the beaches of Varkala or Kovalam. If not you might come here to visist Ama’s ashram or plan to see a temple festival. All are valid reasons but one of the highlights of a visit to Kerala is simply taking a tour of the vivid green countryside. Traditional life lives on here and with private transport you can see exactly how local life has always been lived. We strongly advise you to get out of the comfort of your car, give the driver a break, and talk to locals you’ll meet on the street. Give it a change, you’ll have a good time it might even be your best Kerala experience.

The Kerala video tour

This video shows some of the rich scenes you can admire in Kerala, starting with rice plants and rice fields. It contains clips of the ultra-colourful fruit stalls and local food shacks. Most people's Kerala highlight is a trip along the Kerala Backwaters in a traditional wooden boat. Your private transport can drop you at one end of the backwaters and pick you up at the other. There are some great roads to drive along. Make sure you try both the muddy village tracks, and the beautiful State Highway 59. Finish your tour with a slow drawn out sunset over the backwaters.

About Kerala Province

In South Western India, Kerala is a tropical paradise famous for its beaches and gentle backwaters. If you've got used to the hustle and bustle of India, Kerala comes as a shock. It has a relaxed atmosphere and a very well developed infrastructure for tourists. Its unique landscape has been drawing visitors for centuries. Lush green vegetation separates the pristine beaches and stunning mountains. It's zigzag network of canals have brought comparisons with Venice and attractions from 4 different religions give a real insight into India's diversity.

Transport and Travel Connections in Kerala Province

Kerala is well connected by plane and train to the rest of India. There are three international airports but travellers will have to change in the Middle East or India. The roads are quieter than elsewhere in the country, but the single lane highways can mean long pile ups at certain times.

passenger-car-Relax Tours & Travel Agency

Minibus from Kerala Car Rentals 

Travel by Plane to Kerala

Cochin (COK) is Kerala's largest international airport and is the 4th largest in India. Don't confuse Cochin and Kochi, it's the old and new name for the same place. Some foreign passengers may also land in Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) or Kozhikode (CCJ). Outside of the tourist season passengers from Europe must transfer in the Middle East. All 3 airports have good connections with other cities in India and by using a budget airline like Jet Airways or Indigo it's possible to come to Kerala quickly and cheaply.

Cochin airport gives you an immediate impression of Kerala architecture. Cochin Airport Taxi Society (CATS) is the only company allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. They charge a fixed rate dependent on destination but also have limousines and luxury cars available for your airport transfer. To find out the price to your destination in Kerala you can use our form. If you're landing at Thiruvananthapuram or Kozhikode there are also taxi firms which can pre arrange your airport transfer.

The domestic terminal (Terminal 1)

The domestic terminal (Terminal 1) credit: Rajith Mohan CC BY-SA 3.0
Domestic Lounge of Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala

Travel by Train

Arriving in Kerala by train is a delightful way to see the landscape change. Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram have direct connections to many Indian cities and if you're coming from the north you'll slowly see the landscape become more and more tropical. Stick you're head out of the window and feel the ocean breeze, then get acquainted with the new type of snack food that the porters will be bringing around.

Trivurananthapuram is unique in that it's the only modern railway station in India to be built exclusively in stone. It's typical of a province that values quality. One major train line traverses the provinces' length and cuts past huge swathes of palm trees and lush landscape. Approximate travel times from Kochi are: Trivurananthapuram 3-5 hours, Mumbai 5 hours, Alaphuzha 1 hour, Kovalam 3 hours.

Travel by Road

If you've travelled before on Indian roads you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roads in Kerala. Sure, they're not perfect, but pot holes are manageable and traffic is generally low. The only drawback is that the main highways are only single lane, so it only takes 1 accident or a few cows to halt traffic. Kerala's landscape is breathtaking from every angle, so we recommend hiring a car with a driver so you enjoy the view. It's almost the same price as hiring just a car, and your driver knows the tactics to move the prostrate cows out of the way.

Chaithanya kerala

VIP bus from chaithanya

Travel and Tourism in Kerala Province

Your tour with private transport in a rented vehicle with driver around Kerala feels like a different country to the rest of India. Sure, you've still got smiling locals giving you the head wobble, temples galore, and centuries of history. But in Kerala you'll be experiencing it all at a much more relaxed pace.

Tour with a private driver

Kerala's well developed tourist infrastructure means it's affordable and comfortable to tour the province in a private vehicle with a driver. Large groups can travel in coaches up to 49 seaters, while couples or small groups can hire minibuses or cars with a driver. Remember you're in Kerala. So relax, look out of the window, and let someone else do the work.

passenger-car-Relax Tours & Travel Agency

Car with driver from Relax Tours & Travel Agency in Kerala

What to see in Kerala

Kerala is a long thin province with transport hub Kochi in the middle. Tours can either head south to Thiruvananthapuram, stopping at countless attractions, or first go north to the historical region of Malabar.

Ganesh_Chaturthi

Ganesh_Chaturthi credit: Thejas Panarkandy CC BY 2.0
Ganesh Chaturthi celebration at Trivandrum, Kerala.

Central Kerala

Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, foreigners have been coming to Kochi for over 600 years. It's a major port city full of remarkable memories of its important trading past. Head first to Fort Kochi, where hypnotic narrow roads wind around colonial buildings and memories of when this was a famous stop on the spice trade. Talking of spice, go eat a Sadya. It's Kerala's famous dish and involves a metal tray full of pots of different curries. Fortunately coconut milk also features heavily and cools the mouth. Spend the rest of your time revelling in the history; from 14th century Chinese fishing nets to Portuguese churches, then Dutch palaces, and finally, joining a line of locals and being awe struck by one of the many temples.

Umbrellas

Umbrellas credit: Elroy Serrao CC BY-SA 2.0
Garden restaurant at the place I stayed in Fort Kochi

Central Travancore

It's been called the Venice of the East but we're certain it's not as overrun by tourists as the town in Italy. 70Km south of Kochi is Alaphuzha, the centre of a huge network of zigzagging canals known as the Kerala Backwaters. Riding a houseboat gives a fascinating insight into local life. You'll be cruising (well, crawling) along, going past the everyday village life of local people. Houseboats normally come with a driver and guide and your level of comfort is dependent on how much you spend. Passing rice fields, eating grilled prawns, drinking toddy with locals (an alcoholic coconut drink), this is real chance to wind down from the incessant madness of India. It's best to pre book your houseboat. It's usually cheaper to pre book online as the operator doesn't have to pay commission to a local tout. Through our website you can compare prices and arrange your trip.

India, back waters

India, back waters credit: Dennis Jarvis CC BY-SA 2.0
The back waters of Kerala, India has 1500 km (932miles) of canals fed by 38 rivers and five large lakes.

Southern & Northern Travancore

The southern most point of Kerala is home to astonishingly diverse landscapes. Go from the provincial capital  Thiruvananthapuram to the stunning virgin beaches of Kovalam. Then into the mountains where tea grows everywhere and mist descends every morning onto the hill station of Munnar. From here you can take the 'back route' into the Kerala Backwaters or loop back around to Kochi.

Kovalam Beach, Kerala, India

Kovalam Beach, Kerala, India credit: Ronald Tagra CC BY 2.0

Northern Kerala (Malabar)

Often missed by tourists, northern Kerala is one of India's mist historic regions. It includes the massive Portuguese Bekal fort as well as the untouched caves and forests of Wayanad. It should definitely be part of your itinerary if you're continuing north into other parts of India like Maharashtra or Goa.

Travel services in Kerala

You can plan group travel in Kerala with our online quote request system and plot your entire route. For example, you can plot the entire route of the tour we describe above. Travel inKerala province has never been easier: start today!

Elayavoor, Kannur, Kerala, India.

Elayavoor, Kannur, Kerala, India. credit: Shareef Taliparamba CC BY-SA 2.0

Cities in Kerala

Travel services in Kerala

You can plan group travel in Kerala  with our online quote request system and plot your entire route. For example, you can plot the entire route of the tour we describe above. Travel in Kerala province has never been easier: start today!

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