Set on the coast of Southern India, Kerala has a variety of natural landscapes to explore including beautiful beaches along the Arabian Sea, the backwaters, and lush green tea plantations. It offers a unique language, culture and cuisine from the rest of India, and is also the birthplace of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of holistic medicine, making it an excellent place to retreat for natural healing.
Munnar: Trek the Tea Plantations
Trekking: Arranging a half or full-day trek is easy once you arrive to Munnar and is also a great way to experience the natural surroundings, tea making process and support the local people.
Eat Local: Dosa, one of South India’s most popular dishes, is a thin crepe made of rice and lentils, usually served with a variety of chutney, curry and a vegetable soup called sambar. My favourite Dosa in Kerala was at a local spot called Saravana Bhavan in Munnar, served on a banana leaf with endless refills on all of the sides!
Thekkady: Into the Wild
Safari: Venture out by Jeep into the forest and look for elephants, tigers, bison and other exotic animals. Thekkady is also full of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and tea plantations, which make it another stop worth exploring by foot or small boat.
Culture: Evenings in Thekkady are a great time to experience traditional arts. The Kadathanadam Kalari Centre has nightly Kalaripayattu martial arts shows. The performers are highly engaging and quick to bring audience members onto the stage to participate in their high-risk stunts. Kathakali is another traditional Indian art, where stage performers act out entire story lines using facial expressions. This was truly a one of a kind experience that had me in between laughter and absolute awe!
Alleppey: Boat Through Kerala’s Backwaters
Boating: The backwaters in Alleppey are a beautiful set of lakes and lagoons running parallel to Kerala’s coast and lined with small villages. There are a variety of options for exploring the backwaters from inexpensive ferry rides running regularly throughout the day to private houseboat tours, all of which can be easily arranged from local travel offices.
Varkala: A South Indian Holiday
Varkala is a lovely little beach town set on cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea. There is a nice strip of cafes, which offer a mix of cuisines from all over the world, Ayurvedic spas, yoga centres and local shops. You can take part in activities such as cooking lessons, surfing, jewellery making, or just relax on the beach.
Yoga: Sunil is a very kind, knowledgeable local teacher that has been leading traditional Hatha Yoga classes in Varkala for over 12 years. He’s currently teaching at Krishnatheeram in a beautiful space overlooking the Sea.
More Yoga and Wellness in Kerala
All over Kerala, you will find places to dive deeper into yoga, spirituality and Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of natural medicine. The Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam offers a two-week Yoga Vacation for beginners and long-time practitioners of yoga that includes a full schedule of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), meditation, chanting, karma yoga (service), and lectures on yoga philosophy.
For those with limited experience of yoga, it is best to join on at the beginning of the course, but visitors are welcome to drop-in to the ashram at anytime.
Amma, often referred to as “The Hugging Saint” also has a very large ashram comparable to a mini-city in Kerala, where people travel from all over the world to get a hug. August and September are the best months to visit, since Amma spends the majority of the year touring the world.
If you’re looking for world-class Ayurvedic care, Rajah Islands offer personalised treatments with accommodation set on Kerala’s backwaters. Yoga Therapist, Shy Sayar also offers Yoga Therapy sessions to compliment treatment packages.
Planning Your Trip to India
- Check out our photos that will inspire you to travel to India
- Consider a trip to Udaipur
- What to know when travelling India solo
- How to get a tourist visa for India