If you live in Bangalore, taking an occasional road trip to Kerala is always a good idea. Advertised as God’s own country, this neighbouring state to Karnataka has some of the world’s best treats to offer, including backwaters, beaches, greenest landscapes, tea estates, sleepy hills and a mouth-watering cuisine.
How exactly does one go about on a road trip to Kerala? Fret not, our guide will help you figure out the routes and destinations.
Best Time To Visit Kerala
Kerala has a tropical climate and it gets unbearably hot and humid during summers. So avoid visiting Kerala between March to May. Between June and August, a heavy monsoon befalls the area, making it ideal for a road trip and also for ayurvedic treatments.
From September to February is considered the best time to visit Kerala. A lot of tourists come to vacation in Kerala during September and October. November to February is winter in Kerala, which is ideal to visit its hill stations and enjoy the backwaters during these months.
A road trip will be ideal anytime between September to February. During monsoons, driving down the roads of Kerala is doable, but fraught with risks.
Bangalore to Kerala Road Trip
1. Bangalore To Munnar Route
Bangalore → Dharmapuri → Salem → Erode → Tiruppur → Munnar
- Approximate distance: 446 kilometres
Leave early in the morning as it will take you at least 10 hours to reach Munnar by road. Upon reaching Munnar, you can spend the night there as you will be exhausted after a long drive. You can spend the next day or two visiting Munnar’s many exotic attractions:
You can have breakfast in Krishnagiri, however we do recommend that you stop at Saravana Bhavan in Salem for a good lunch break.
- Hogenakkal Falls: Drench in the pure waters of Hogenakkal Falls near Dharmapuri and breathe in the fresh air of the hills.
- Thirumoorthy Dam: In Avinashi, check out the Thirumoorthy dam and splash around in its shallow waters.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: Upon crossing Udumalpet, stop over at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and drive or trek through its lush green forests.
- Lakkam Waterfalls: Right before reaching Munnar, visit Lakkam waterfalls which has a very enjoyable walking route and shallow streams to get refreshed in.
2. Munnar to Thiruvananthapuram Route
Munnar → Idukki → Adoor → Kottarakkara → Kilimanoor → Thiruvananthapuram
- Approximate distance: 280 kilometres
This route will take you through the spectacular western ghats along a host of natural wonders that it will be difficult to decide where to stop and which places to give a miss. While driving through the narrow stretches of the ghats, be careful not to overspeed.
- Cardamom Hills: Upon crossing Idukki, drive through the hill range of Cardamom Hills, filled with thick foliage and tall trees, and drop by at Thusharagiri Waterfalls.
- Ramakkalmedu: Visit this simple, stunning hill top to enjoy the amazing vistas around. There is a giant Kuravan Kurathi statue here, under which you can take great pictures.
- Perunthenaruvi Falls: Located in Vechoochira which you will cross enroute, stop over at this roaring, gushing waterfall which calls for a little adventure trek on Pampa River.
- Kilimanoor Palace: Before Trivandrum, visit this birthplace of famous painter Raja Ravi Varma, built in the traditional Kerala architectural style with a Nalukettu, ponds and groves.
3. Thiruvananthapuram to Alappuzha Route
Thiruvananthapuram → Kollam → Karunagappaly → Kayamkulam → Alappuzha
- Approximate distance: 150 kilometres
This will be a very short road trip that should not take you more than 3 to 4 hours, but you must leave early in the morning as the enroute stopovers are not to be missed and will easily take up more than a few hours.
- Kollam Beach: Probably one of the cleanest beaches in India with a very active local culture despite commercialisation, visit Kollam beach for its beautiful sunrise and early morning grub.
- Munroe Island: Take an unforgettable canoe trip over the southern backwaters in Kollam. Experience serenity while admiring the views on a slow, peaceful canoe ride.
- Ashtamudi Lake: This is the most visited backwater lake in the state and its right on your way to Alappuzha. Take a houseboat trip here.
- Thangassery Light House: A Portuguese lighthouse that is a great vantage point to view the Kollam beach and surroundings. A must visit.
4. Alappuzha to Kochi Route
Alappuzha → Kottayam → Kumarakom → Kochi
- Approximate distance: 115 kilometres
This route involves a slight detour from Alappuzha. So instead heading straight to Ernakulam, you, you will stop over at Kottayam and Kumarakom to enjoy their many delights.
- Vagamon: In Kottayam, visit this quiet and secluded hill top to enjoy trekking, paragliding and rock climbing.
- Illikkal Kallu: Near Vagamon, visit these gorgeous rock formations in Illikkal Kallu and go trekking or take a jeep safari.
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Strictly for bird watching enthusiasts; visit this sanctuary and spot a variety of species from the watchtower.
5. Kochi To Kozhikode Route
Kochi → Chalakudy → Trissur → Tirur → Kozhikode
- Approximate distance: 205 kilometres
This will be more of a cultural leg of your road trip. Thrissur will be your main stopover and it has plenty of temples and cultural gems that you can enjoy. From Kochi you can reach Kozhikode in approximately 5 hours.
- Vadakkunnathan Temple: This temple is over 1000 years old and is considered a heritage Shiva temple, also associated with Adi Shankaracharya.
- Paramekavu Bhagavathy Temple: A traditional Kerala temple with imposing architecture, dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy.
6. Kozhikode to Bangalore Route
Kozhikode → Mandya → Ramanagara → Bangalore
- Approximate distance: 370 kilometres
This will be your route home to Bangalore which should take you approximately 8 hours. By now, you would have travelled across all the major cities and destinations of Kerala and even on your homeward route, you could stop at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve or walk through the famous Ramadevara Betta Hill of Ramanagara.
Safety Measures To Take
- While navigating the narrow lanes throughout your journey and the hairpin bends of Munnar, do drive carefully.
- Consult your GPS while driving or ask the friendly Kerala locals for help.
- Maintain silence and discipline while visiting public places, the Malayalis like their silence.
- Get your bike and car paperwork in order before leaving.
- Make sure you service your vehicle before leaving and also get it services mid-way in Kochi or Trivandrum.
- Google the timings of public places you’re visiting before you take off.
- Carry basic snacks and water at all times, although highway eateries will be plenty.
Things To Carry
- Battery chargers and power bank
- Carry sunglasses, sunscreen and a first-aid kit.
- Make sure you have a basic tool-kit in your vehicle, like puncture repair kit and other gear.
- If you’re on a bike trip, carry gloves, helmet and other protective gear.
- Pack jackets and woollens if you are travelling during winter.
Do plan your overnight stays in advance before leaving. And book hotels online after comparing deals and discounts. Follow our road trip guide for the routes, and if you have any questions, do write to us using the comment box below.