15 Offbeat Places to Visit in Kerala

Kerala titled ‘God’s Own Country’, receive visitors in huge numbers, all around the year. The enticement of backwaters, beaches, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, Ayurveda, adventure along with matchless experiences bring tourists from all over the world. But, this is not all, Kerala has to offer. There are also many offbeat places to visit in Kerala that are pretty much a secret. Explore the uncharted territory away from crowds. Experience the bliss of the raw beauty of nature along with adventures. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Far from the crowd infested locales, check out 15 offbeat places to visit in Kerala:

1. Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom

Vembanad Lake: offbeat places to visit in kerala

Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom is one of the offbeat places in Kerala but no less beautiful. Relatively unexplored, the algae rich green waters of Vembanad is the longest lake in India. The largest source of surface water, it is also a part of an extensive wetland system. A saltwater barrier prevents the intrusion of sea water and divides the lake into fresh water and brackish water.

The Kumarakom Tourist village offer tours and holiday packages on the Vembanad Lake. Cruise around the backwaters on the traditional houseboats equipped with all modern luxuries. During the festival of Onam, attend the high on energy snake boat races. Kumarakom bird sanctuary is ideal for nature lovers.

Things to Do:

  • Cruise on a Houseboat on the backwaters
  • Attend the snake boat race during Onam
  • Go bird watching at the Kumarakom bird sanctuary

2. Chembra Peak, Wayanad

Chembra Peak: offbeat places to visit in kerala

Chembra Peak in Wayanad lures the nature lover and adventure enthusiast visiting Kerala. Among the top 15 offbeat places to visit in Kerala, the highest peak south of Himalayas is a beauty beyond words.

At a height of 2,100 m, Chembra peak offers exciting trekking activities. Get prior permission from the Meppady forest before you embark on the expedition. Overnight camping is not allowed. While it takes at least three hours to reach the top point, the trekking trail offers amazing views. Also, on the way, stop at the heart shaped lake, which never dries up. Known as ‘hridhayathadakam’, the lake is beautiful.

3. Silent Valley National Park, Palakkad

Silent Valley National Park: offbeat places to visit in kerala

The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Silent Valley National Park is one of the best offbeat places to visit in Kerala. Kerala’s best kept secret, located in the Nilgiri Hills is a haven for wildlife.

Home to the endangered species of lion-tailed macaque, there are 138 species of birds, 730 varieties of insects and 34 species of mammals here. Around 1000 species of flowering plants, 108 species of orchids, 100 ferns, 75 lichens, 200 liverworts, and about 200 algae, distinctive only to the Western Ghats, grows here. The unique Cobra plant, resembling a snake, is also found here. The dense greenery, the rich wildlife along with the lack of crowds make the Silent Valley National Park truly unique.

Things to Do:

  • Nature walks, bird watching
  • Get photographs of rare species inhabiting the region

4. Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kollam

Ashtamudi Backwaters: offbeat places to visit in kerala

The Ashtamudi Backwaters in Kollam is one of Kerala’s unrevealed secret. It is the second largest and deepest wetland ecosystem. The name ‘Ashtamudi’ is adapted from the topography of the lake, which has 8 arms or channels. The labyrinthine network comprise myriad brackish lagoons, canals, rivers and inlets.

The backwaters of Ashtamudi are populated by innumerable species of life. More than 50 species of avifauna, 40 species of wetland-dependent birds and 26 species of butterflies have been identified inhabiting the ecosystem. The backwaters are famous for a houseboat cruises. District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) Kollam provides boats for hire. There are many resorts at the backwaters which provide the unique opportunity to stay at the floating huts. Read more.

Things to do:

  • Houseboat tours
  • Bird watching
  • Indulging in Ayurvedic therapies

[ Also read: Top 5 Backwater Destinations in Kerala ]

5. Nelliampathy, Palakkad

Nelliampathy, Kerala: Offbeat Places to Visit Kerala

Nelliampathy in Palakkad is known for being one of the top 15 offbeat places to visit in Kerala. The cloud-caressed peaks settled at heights of from 467 m to 1572 m are a sight to behold. The journey to Nelliampathy is breathtaking as there are viewpoints from where one can enjoy picturesque views.

En-route those interested in bio farming can stop and take a close look at the farms and vast expanses of tea estates. The hills of Nelliampathi are also well known for its orange cultivation. Over 200 species of birds and 90 species of butterflies inhabit the beautiful forests. Enjoy natural bliss and the unique ecology, the offbeat place offers a wonderful holiday.

Things to do:

  • Trekking
  • Exploring tea estates and orange farms

6. Thiruvallam Backwaters, Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvallam Backwaters

The stunningly beautiful stretch of the Thiruvallam backwaters in Kerala is one of its offbeat secrets. The serene landscape is known for canoe rides. The uncrowded backwater tempts the true nature lover. The Parashuram temple is also a crowd puller as visitor come to pay respects to the legendary founder of Kerala. The rivers Killi and Karamana meet here before merging into the Arabian Sea. The backwaters here are a pleasant sight, blessed with lush vegetation, water birds and scenic beauty.

The Veli Lagoon is known for its exciting water sports. Check out the Waterfront Park and floating bridge. The Akkulam Boat club offers boating cruises on Akkulam Lake.

7. Muzhappilangad Beach, Kannur

Muzhappilangad Beach

The Muzhappilangad beach in Kannur is Kerala’s only drive-in beach. One of the top offbeat places to visit in Kerala, this beach has a rare charm. A yearly beach festival celebrated in the month of April is the greatest lure. People are seen performing driving stunts in cars like drifting and wheeling in bikes.

Stretching around 4 kilometers, the Muzhappilangad beach has black rocks strewn on the sands protecting the shore from the deep currents. It is basically a swimmer’s paradise as the shallow waters are protected from the sea currents. Go for swim, sunbathe, or simply relax. Try out adventure sports like paragliding, parasailing and other tethered flying. Jet-ski, boating or catamaran ride are also available.

Things to do:

  • Try out water sports
  • Sunbathe or relax
  • Taste the delicacies of Malabar cuisine.

8. Valiyaparamba Backwaters, Kasaragod

Valiyaparamba Backwaters: offbeat places to visit in kerala

Located in Kasaragod, the Valiyaparamba backwaters is the most enchanting backwaters in Kerala. The little offbeat place lures only the true nature lovers. Created by merging of four rivers, Valiyaparamba is a slice of heaven dotted by a little island.

Houseboat cruises are enchanting as the lush greenery is inhabited by diverse wildlife and even migratory birds. Enjoy ferry rides and a trip to the Bekal fort and Chandragiri Fort. The Pallikere and the Kappil beach are perfect for the taste of seashores. Those seeking adventure can indulge in activities like hiking, bird watching and boating by joining the Mangrove Trail of Malabar. Do not miss the spellbinding sunset of Kasaragod, it is magical.

Things to do:

  • Houseboat cruises
  • Visit the Bekal Fort
  • Indulge in adventures with Mangrove Trail of Malabar
  • Go boating, bird watching, hiking

9. Marine Drive, Kochi

Marine Drive

The Marine Drive in Kochi is a beautiful promenade. Kochi’s beautiful secret, this is one of the top offbeat places to visit in Kerala. The scenic stretch enjoys an impressive view of the Kochi Harbour and the backwaters.

The walkway is only for pedestrians, therefore vehicles are not allowed. It is the ideal place to spend evenings to view the sun set and feel the gentle breeze. The boulevard starts from the High Court Junction and continues till the Rajendra Maidan. Stop at the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge. Also, alongside the drive, there are shopping malls, cinema halls, restaurants, cafés and supermarkets. The Rainbow Bridge and the International Tourism Boat Jetty Complex are other attractions here.

Things to do:

  • Shop till you drop at GCDA Shopping Complex
  • Marvel at the Rainbow bridge & China Net Bridge
  • Taste the scrumptious street food available at the food joints

10. Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad

Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad: offbeat places to visit in kerala

Nestled at an altitude of 3200 feet in misty Wayanad, Banasura Sagar Dam is one of the offbeat places to visit in Kerala. The largest earthen dam in India and the second largest of its kind in Asia, it is made of massive stacks of stones and boulders. The dam collects the waters of the Karamanathodu, a tributary of the Kabini River.

Banasura Sagar Dam is a scenic picnic spot deal picnic spot with a breathtaking view of Banasura hills in the background. The set of islands formed during monsoon season is a visual treat. Trek through the dense forests to the top of the Banasura Peak. Embark on a boating. There are many traditional tree swings in the area. Re-live the cherished memories of your childhood.

Things to do:

  • Trekking to Banasura Peak
  • Boating on pedal boat or speed boat
  • Bird watching

11. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kochi

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary in Kochi is one of the offbeat places in Kerala one has to visit. Thattekad associated with late Dr. Salim Ali, the pioneer ornithologist is a nature’s haven. It is spread over 25 sq km of lush forests, wetlands and rivers. The sanctuary is inhabited by hundreds of species of birds and many varieties of butterflies. The list is ever growing as new birds are added every year. Go exploring with a guide for better bird watching.

Thattekad is not a tourism hotspot, only birders seem to appreciate its charm. Spend few restful days in the picturesque beauty.

Things to do:

  • Bird watching
  • Nature walks

[ Also read: Top 10 Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in Kerala ]

12. Cherai Beach, Kochi

Cherai Beach

Cherai beach in Kochi is a growing tourist hotspot. The offbeat locale is getting attention increasingly over the years. Located on the north-end of the Vypeen Island, Cherai beach is known for the breathtaking scenery of the backwaters merging with the sea. The sandy shore is strewn with abundant multi-hued shells.

Accessible only by boat, the beach is a water lovers’ haven. Tides are usually low here, therefore perfect for swimming, for novices as well. It is a fun destination to hang out with family and friends. Go for walks, enjoy water fights or boat ride. Dolphins are spotted occasionally here. The thick coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront create a pleasant scene.

Things to do

  • Swimming
  • Dolphin spotting
  • Boating

13. Ponmudi, Trivandrum

Ponmudi

Ponmudi, literally translated as the Golden Peak, is a popular hill station located in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. A part of Western Ghats mountain ranges, it is situated at an altitude of 1100 meters from the sea level. It is home to mountain flowers, butterflies, springs and rivulets. Occupied by spice and tea plantations and is dotted with waterfalls and viewpoints.

Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. The chief attractions are the Golden Valley, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Mini Zoo and Meenmutty Falls. Agasthyarkoodam is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats. It attracts trekkers. In addition to the charm of nature, Ponmudi is famed for Ayurvedic medical treatments.

Things to do

  • Trekking and Hiking
  • Visit spice and tea plantations
  • Trek to waterfalls

14. Thenmala, Kollam

Thenmala, Kollam

Thenmala in Kollam is one of the offbeat secrets of Kerala. Spanning across acres of dense forests at an altitude of 1650 ft, it has abundance of medicinal honey. The eco-tourism place has numerous options of fun, adventure along with relaxation.

Thenmala has zones according to the interest of visitors. At the Culture Zone, the Musical Dancing Fountain is enchanting. Taste the traditional cuisine of Kerala or enjoy a bit of shopping. In addition, marvel at Kerala’s art and culture at the amphitheater. The Leisure Zone also has a boardwalk leading to the dam. The beautiful Sculpture Garden, which has Man & Nature as its theme is worth exploring. Moreover, the Adventure Zone offers trekking, biking, rock climbing and river crossing.

Things to do

  • Learn about Kerala’s art and culture
  • Relish traditional cuisines of Kerala
  • Also, enjoy adventures like trekking, biking, river crossing, etc.

[ Also read: Top 15 Ecotourism Destinations in Kerala ]

15. Pookot Lake, Wayanad

Pookot Lake, Wayanad

Pookot Lake is one of the top offbeat places to visit in Kerala. Located in Wayanad, the natural fresh water lake lies at the base of mountain slopes in the middle of evergreen forests. Spread across an area of 8.5 hectares with a maximum depth of 6.5 metres, it is one of its kind.

The lake looks like India’s map. The unique waters are also the only home of Pethia pookodensis, a species of cyprinid fish. In addition, the lake has abundance of blue lotus and fresh water fishes. The forests surrounding the lake is also home to many wild animals, birds and flies. Visitors can avail the boating facilities. Moreover, explore the children’s park, handicrafts and spices emporium and fresh water aquarium.

Things to do

  • Trekking in the lake environs
  • Boating
  • Picnic in the surroundings

Check-out some attractive Kerala Tour Packages to plan your holiday ]

Related posts:
Tree House Resorts: Getting High in Kerala
Best Places for Ayurveda Treatments in Kerala
Top 5 Backwater Destinations in Kerala
Popular Festivals in Kerala ‘God’s Own Country’

 

A travel writer by profession and self-professed addict to literature, momos, dancing, music and travelling, Debasree Chakraborty has all interesting things to share. Go through her penned down travel experiences and collected intelligence in her write ups. Read on!

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5 Responses

  1. Bhagwat says:

    very nice info Debashree ji

    • Debashree Chakraborty says:

      Hey Bhagwat,

      Thank you for your kind words. Keep following our blog for more interesting posts on India travel & tourism.

  2. Karthik says:

    Gavi should be added to the list

    • Debashree Chakraborty says:

      Hey Karthik,

      Thank you for the suggestion. We will update the list soon. Keep following our blog for more information.

  3. flyingmamoth says:

    If the crowded tourist places in Munnar, Alleppy, Idukki or expensive houseboats does not appeal to you, then maybe a trip to any of the most unique kerala tourist destinations might encourage you to take a 2 day or 3 day trip. There are many secret, less explored places to visit that are off the beaten path. Explore the uncharted territory away from crowds,that offers exciting, adventures and soothing exotic experiences.

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