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Tips for that first visit to Kerala

Fisherman at Valiyaparamba Backwaters
Image courtesy: Kerala Tourism Board

In this extract from Lonely Planet India’s Kerala travel guide, we look at some of the very basic information you need while planning a trip to this amazing state.

Quick Facts

Languages: Malayalam, English, Tamil and some Hindi.
Mobile Connectivity: Major operators like Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, Idea and Aircel provide service through the state. In hilly regions like Munnar, Thekkady and Wayanad, you are likely to get signals sporadically.
Internet Access: Internet booths are available in market areas (Rs 10–20/30min), but most hotels offer wi-fi facilities on the house.
ATMs: Though Federal Bank has the widest reach within the state, you will also find HDFC, ICICI, SBI and Axis Bank ATMs easily.
Tourist Information: Tourist Facilitation Centre, Thiruvananthapuram (ph 0471 2321132; Museum Road). Offices in all major cities.
Important numbers: Police ph100; ambulance ph108; fire station ph101; women helpline ph1091.

When To Go

The weather in Kerala is warm and humid, barring the eastern hilly regions. It rains copiously during the monsoon, and high summer months are intensely hot.

  • October–February; high season: This is when the weather is at its coolest and prices of all accommodation at their highest. Though still warm in the day, the evenings can get chilly. If travelling to the hills (Munnar and Wayanad) carry a light jacket. You may encounter rain in late October with the retreating monsoon.
  • March–April; mid-season: These two months get low tourist activity on the coastline, but the higher regions are still packed with travellers as schools close after exams.
  • May–September; low season: Very hot along the coast, until the rains arrive from June to September. However, the greener eastern parts are at their freshest best. Expect huge discounts.

What to Pack

  • Caps, dark glasses, sunscreen: A necessity in the frequently hot weather.
  • Mosquito repellent and leech socks: Mosquitoes love Kerala’s lush environs, so be sure to carry a repellent. Plantation areas and trekking routes are breeding grounds for leeches during the rains. You may want to invest in leech socks.
  • Walking shoes and flip-flops: Comfy sneakers are ideal in hilly places like Munnar and Wayanad, while beach destinations demand airy flip-flops.
  • Warm clothing and umbrellas: Carry a light jacket for evenings in coastal areas; you’ll need something heavier in October–February for the hills. A sturdy umbrella in June September is a must.