Kerala, India

Kerala is a narrow, fertile strip on
the southwest coast of India.  Famous for the backwaters,
a 1,000km network of lakes, rivers and canals which can be cruised on
traditional boats.  The backwaters are not only a recommended experience of
India, but a must.  Kerala (which means coconut land) is covered
in coconut trees and spice plantations.  It seems any thing grows in this
tropical landscape.

Kerala is a good place to spend a few weeks or
longer.  You can get a good backwaters experience in a day, but it’s nice
to spread it over several if you can afford it.  You can still stay in
towns like Alleppey and get a sense of the backwaters with it’s canals. 
It’s also worth staying on some of the traditional village islands that form the
backwaters.  Kerala also has excellent national parks with cats and
elephants, great beaches and a few hill stations.

Costs are cheap, although food can be expensive in some
touristy places.  The train and bus networks are good, and there are
regular domestic and international flights from several airports.  October
to March is the best time to visit. Other times sea extreme heat and
monsoons. November to January is the high season.

Highlights of Kerala

  • Backwaters
    – the quintessential Kerala experience
  • Wildlife sanctuaries – Visit
    Wayanad or Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for elephant safari
  • Fort
    Cochin
    – with colonial architecture, Portuguese roots and India’s
    oldest church.
  • Munnar – Explore the tea and spice
    plantations and soak up the clean mountain air
  • Beaches – Dine on fresh seafood at
    some of Kerala’s finest beaches
  • Ayuervedic massage – try the
    traditional Keralan treatments
  • Food – Fresh fish and seafood,
    coconuts, nuts and traditional Keralan dishes.

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