It’s often said that variety is the spice of life, and I’m inclined to think there’s a fair bit of truth in that. Personally, when I go on holiday, I like destinations that have lots of different things to offer. That’s why I’m particularly keen on taking a tour of the Indian state of Kerala.
You see, Kerala has a seriously impressive selection of things to do, see and experience. It’s not everywhere that gives you a chance to spot incredible wildlife, enjoy traditional massages, go on backwater cruises and hit the beach – to name but a few.
To give you a better idea of what makes Kerala so perfect for varied holidays, I’ve put together a quick list below. Enjoy!
Traditional culture, boutique hotels
One of the most interesting things about exploring Kerala is the fact that this is where you’ll find India’s oldest and most traditional culture. Expect to see as many people here wearing traditional dress as those in more modern clothes, and for religion to play a hugely important part in locals’ day-to-day lives.
What I find particularly fascinating, though, is that Kerala is also where you can see the first areas in which European colonisers began to put down their roots centuries ago. If this interests you too, make sure you visit Fort Cochin. Here, Dutch merchants’ houses, Jewish synagogues and churches stand side by side.
These days, many of the old buildings here have been converted into boutique hotels or cafes. In fact, while the culture in Kerala is largely traditional, there is some truly lavish accommodation to choose from, making it a good choice if you’ve got your eye on a luxurious getaway.
There’s nowhere better to experience India’s ancient health system, Ayurveda, than Kerala. The state is home to so many places where you can try it out, to the extent where you really don’t have to look too hard to find somewhere.
You see, it’s so ingrained into the local culture that most hotels – and particularly the fancier ones – have a spa attached to them. Even the more modern establishments tend to incorporate Ayurvedic principles into their treatments, so you can feel good about experiencing some authentic local culture while also pampering yourself.
I think if you’re going to Kerala – especially for the first time – then you really can’t miss taking a cruise through its famous backwater region, Kuttanad. The ultimate experience is spending a day and night cruising along in a converted rice barge, so look out for that on any itineraries you’re thinking of following.
Converted rice barges have usually been lavishly transformed, which means you can expect utter comfort as you travel. In fact, some are even kitted out with things like Jacuzzis, while others have air-conditioned bedrooms!
As well as seeing amazing scenery and soaking up local culture, you can see some wonderful wildlife during your trip. If I was heading to Kerala this year, I’d definitely go to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
This is the region’s best loved wildlife sanctuary, and with good reason. It’s home to a thriving population of elephants, for one thing, while you can even be in with a chance of spotting a tiger!
Finally, a huge draw of coming to Kerala is its beaches, and I think fitting in a few hours relaxing on the sand is a great way to add yet more variety to your itinerary. There are some stretches that are particularly well known and worth visiting – Kovalam Beach, which you’ll find near the capital Trivandrum, particularly springs to mind.
Think I’ve missed something? Leave a comment and let fellow travellers know what you think makes Kerala such a good spot for an exciting, varied break.