Kerala’s astoundingly diverse landscapes – which span backwaters, beaches and plantations to the rainforest and the lush hills – means that there are a wide range of things to do in Kerala. The Indian state is rich in culture, temples, wildlife, tea and spice heritage, friendly locals, fascinating traditions and seafood delicacies. Make sure you know the best places to visit in Kerala for a fun-filled holiday.

The diversity in the wealth of experiences that Kerala offers is truly amazing. So, whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway, a family looking to entertain the kids, friends looking to celebrate a special occasion or a solo traveller seeking peace and quiet, Kerala has something for everyone.

Here’s our top 8 list of the best things to do in Kerala

1. Experience the backwaters of Kerala in a Houseboat

Houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala in Alappuzha (Alleppey)
Houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala in Alappuzha (Alleppey)

To experience the beauty of this town, one must spend a night on the houseboat. These are traditional houseboats with thatched roofs but are equipped with all the modern amenities. The houseboat takes you on a journey on the Kerala backwaters through various canals and lakes. They offer wonderful views of the half-submerged paddy fields interposed with lush coconut trees, dense leafy green bushes, waterfalls, plantations of spice and tea, flowering shrubs and twittering birds. Watch the setting sun paint the sky in breath taking colours, the Chinese fishing nets come alive, drop anchor at any place that catch your fancy and the lullaby of the gentle waves put you to sleep. Wake in the morning to the shouts of the fisherman.

2. Watch the Chinese Fishing Nets on the incredibly beautiful Kochi beaches

Chinese Fishing Nets
Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets are a unique remnant of the centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast. Colloquially known as Cheena Vala, the Chinese Fishing Net is a common sight in the backwaters of Kerala especially around Fort Kochi. These fishing nets are unique to Kerala and are not found in any other part of India, believed to have been introduced by the Portuguese settlers who brought the nets from their offshore China stronghold of Macau. Fort Kochi is the only location in the entire world outside of China where such fishing nets can be seen in use.

3. Go watch a Kathakali Show – India’s Oldest Dance Performance

Kathakali Dance Performance
Kathakali Dance Performance

Kathakali’ is a traditional and classical drama originating in Kerala. No trip to Kerala is complete without watching a performance of Kathakali, a traditional dance form from the 17th century. Kerala is home to several traditional arts centre showing kathakali dance performances, Kalaripayattu, as well as other forms of classical dance and music which have been broadcasted on BBC, Discovery and National Geographic. The themes in Kathakali are created on Hindu mythology, particularly the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Explore various shows here to soak up some tradition & art. If you are an art enthusiast, bring alive your taste for dance and drama, and allow your Kerala vacation to enrich your knowledge.

4. Pamper yourself with blissful Ayurvedic Massages and Treatments

Ayurveda massage healing therapy
Ayurveda massage healing therapy

Experience a traditional Kerala Ayurveda treatment in Kerala. The state has numerous retreats famous for Ayurveda. Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity (Ayur = Life, Veda = Science), is the 5000 years oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the deepest thoughts of medicine and philosophy. People travel from across the world for Kerala’s famed Ayurvedic treatments. Kerala prides as a getaway destination for those in search of an Ayurvedic haven away from the cacophony of city life. Whether you seek specialised treatments for illnesses or you wish to return home feeling completely rejuvenated, Kerala Ayurvedic treatments cater to your every need. Choose from our over 20 Kerala holiday packages that include signature wellness treatments to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. Book yourself one and enjoy some much needed self-pampering while listening to the waves of the ocean.

Intrigued? Explore our cheap Kerala packages. Visit some of the ancient cultural sites; go shopping for souvenirs in Kochi; cruise the Allepey backwaters; learn how to make authentic Keralite cuisine, or head to a local spa for a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage. Akbar Travels’ range of things to do in Kerala includes something for everyone.

5. Embark on an amazing Tea Plantation Tour in Munnar

Tea Plantations in Munnar, Kerala
Tea Plantations in Munnar, Kerala

The hills and valleys of the state Kerala are dotted with lush green tea and coffee plantations. The Tea and Coffee plantations are also a source of livelihood for thousands of workers. For your Kerala itinerary, a tour in a plantation is a highly recommended activity. Our Kerala tour package takes you to on a visit to famous Tea and Coffee plantations in Munnar to see and try some variety of Kerala coffees and teas. Enjoy a walking tour through the emerald sceneries of Kerala hill stations, where tea and coffee plantations carpet the landscape. Talk to the workers and gain knowledge about recognizing the quality of tea and coffee. There is so much to learn! While on your tour to Kerala you must accommodate Munnar in your must-visit destinations. There are around 16 tea plantations in Munnar which occupy around 85 sq km of land. Now, isn’t that amazing?

6. Be a part of the thrilling Aranmula Boat Regatta (Race)

Aranmula Boat Regatta
Aranmula Boat Regatta

Aranmula boat race is the oldest boat race fiesta held in the state of Kerala during the Onam festival in August/September. The first boat race took place in 1972 and continued since then. The boat race is a two day event that takes place in Aranmula, near the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna. More than 25 enormous conventional Palliyodams, that house 100 rowers, 25 vocalists and 15 helmsmen, take part in this race. Each boat is decorated with flags, beautiful umbrellas, and a golden lace. Groups of men and vocalists gather along the banks of river Pamba to sing stridently in a rhythmic manner at Aranmula.

7. Dwell in the aroma of spices all around you in a Spice Plantation tour

Spices have always been a significant fragment of Keralan life. Nowadays the spices are used as the medicinal purpose in Ayurveda along with preparing tasty cuisines of Kerala dishes. Take a stroll in the revitalizing and lush green tea estates or enjoy the exotic aroma of the spices in the various towns of Kerala, the spice land of India. The major spices grown here are cinnamon, cardamom, clove, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, vanilla and nutmeg. The appealing aromas and the spellbinding views pull for a visit to the soul-comforting environs. Pick up a few packets of your favourite spices to take back home with you so that you can add an extra flavour to your homemade dishes.

Planning to travel elsewhere? Check out our affordable Domestic tour packages for a perfect getaway.

8. Do some last minute shopping

One of Kerala’s best kept secrets is the shopping opportunities in Kerala – streets, department stores and cool shopping malls are a shopper’s paradise. The state is prominent for its handlooms, gold ornaments and spices. In Kerala, you can shop for spices, banana chips, cashew nuts, tea & coffee nuts, Kasavu (Kasaragod) sarees, Nilavilakku (traditional lamp), Aranmula Kannadi (metal mirror), mural paintings, handicraft products made from coconut shells, wood, clay and cane, elephant showpieces, snakeboat models, coir products such as rugs, carpets and mats made from coconut husks, Ayurveda medicines, cosmetics and wellness products. The famous spices you can buy from here are cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper, ginger, vanilla, rosemary, and the list is almost endless. On your all-inclusive Kerala tour packages, you can buy all these things and have an exciting vacation in Kerala.

Truly, Kerala is the destination on everyone’s travel lips at the moment, and with so many things to do in Kerala, no wonder it is a preferred destination not only among families and groups but also honeymooners and international travelers.

If you’re planning on booking your Kerala trip soon, your best bet is to explore all-inclusive Kerala tour packages on Akbar Travels offers a wide variety of Kerala sightseeings which cover a range of interests, split into categories which include culture and history, wildlife and adventure and yoga and meditation. Select your preferred interest and browse through our selection of Kerala tour packages to see how you can enhance your holiday.

Have you been to Kerala? What was some of your most unique things to do in Kerala or attractions? Let us know your thoughts and comments in this post below.

Need some more inspiration? Here you go!

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