Top tips for visiting Kerala, India

Aimee Spicer

Kerala has a reputation for beauty and calm, which makes it the perfect destination for travellers who have never been to wonderful India.



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India is a huge nation, so pick a part of India you most want to see and concentrate on that region. Kerala is a state that embodies the India of lush forests, slinking tigers, huge elephants, tropical heat and masala doused seafood. 

With Kerala’s reputation for beauty and calm, this destination is perfect for those travellers who have never been to this wonderful subcontinent.

What do you need to know before you head off on your holiday to Kerala? We’ve listed a few of our top tips for Kerala:

With its dazzling breadth of experiences and deep spirituality, India never fails to delight the senses and uplift the soul. Find out more here.

When should I visit Kerala?

There isn’t really a bad time to visit Kerala, but from October to March the weather is at its most pleasant. 

Be warned, if you want to go in the summer the southwest monsoon hits in June and July. However, though we aren’t particularly partial to rain in the UK, in Kerala it is a season of great celebration, and one of the most interesting times to see this state.

Pack sensibly for Kerala

The south of India generally experiences only two seasons; the wet and the dry. Packing for a trip to Kerala means lots of light layers; breathable fabrics like linens and cottons are best. 

India is still relatively conservative, so light long trousers and skirts are a good option. Pair t-shirts and sleeveless shirts with long sleeved cotton shirts, so you can dress up or down depending on the location. 

Bring at least one pair of closed-toe shoes, and a pair of sandals.

Remember the holiday essentials in Kerala

Mosquito repellent, good sunglasses, a swim suit, sun cream, a hat and hand sanitizer are all incredibly useful items to take with you on holiday to India. 

Because of the tropical location, there can be mosquitoes, especially in the backwaters of Kerala. Carrying hand sanitizer is a top tip if you are out and want to use the bathroom, as sometimes there isn’t access to running water.

Consult with your doctor before travel

Vaccinations are usually required when travelling to Kerala and it is important that you make an appointment with your doctor at least eight weeks before you travel to India to ensure you get the shots you need before you leave.

Take a trip on the backwaters of Kerala

Once you arrive in Kerala, taking a houseboat down the backwaters is a must. This is one of those trips that may seem overhyped but it is worth all the accolades. 

Most of Kerala’s attractions are down to its landscape, so floating down its backwaters and seeing life play out on its banks is one of the best ways to experience Kerala and India as a whole.

Try the street food of Kerala

Street food in Kerala is wonderful, and often more fresh than the food you will find in restaurants, it’s just important to remember a couple of things so you don’t get sick on holiday. 

Avoid anything that uses water as an ingredient, like pani puri and fruit juices or drinks with ice in them. The same goes for salads and items washed in water that isn’t from a sealed bottle. Usually fried items are fine to consume.

Avoid tap water in India

Bottled water is a must – ensure that the caps are sealed when you buy it. Tap water is the biggest culprit for digestive illnesses on holiday, so if you want to keep your system in top shape, be vigilant about your water (and ice) consumption.

Try an Ayurvedic treatment

Ayurveda is one of the oldest traditional forms of medicine in India. It comprises of treatments that are supposed to soothe both body and mind. 

The most popular of these is massage, and the Malayali (the people of Kerala) masseuses are famous around India for being the best. 

So much of Kerala is about embracing the experiential, and starting your trip by balancing your mind, body and spirit will equip you to open your heart to India while you’re there on holiday.

Explore India's colonial heritage and traditional way of life on a tour of Kerala Find out more here.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.