How to Reach Kerala
Kerala has just become India’s only state with four airports that run both domestic as well as international flights. They are the Trivandrum, Cochin, Kozhikode and Kannur Airports. This makes flying into Kerala easy and convenient, no matter which part of India or the world one is coming from. Each airport sits in a different region of the state, so you can easily land at the one that best suits your itinerary.
Trivandrum International Airport is the oldest of the lot, situated a mere 3.7 km away from the city centre. It’s also the most southern airport, making it ideal for visiting coastal landmarks like Varkala, Kovalam and Shangumukham Beaches. Meanwhile, hill stations like Ponmudi are also accessible from here, as well as the very popular journey to Kanyakumari. The tip of the Indian peninsula is about 95 km away in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, and there are taxis waiting to take you there, for around INR 3000, just outside the airport. You can find flights from all major towns such as Goa, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai and more. It’s also got connectivity to other parts of the state itself.
Cochin International Airport is Kerala’s busiest, and amazingly runs on solar power! Whether you’re arriving from the usual big cities or smaller ones like Jaipur, Pune or Visakhapatnam, this airport has plenty of direct and one-stop flights landing from all over the country. Landing here means you get to explore this fascination cultural city as well as nearby must-visit destinations like Kumarakom, Allepey and Munnar.
Karipur Airport is in the city formerly known as Calicut, now called Kozikhode. It has two terminals, one for domestic and the other international. Once again, you can arrive here from all major cities and explore places like Beypore, Wayanad, Kadalundi town and Kappad Beach. Finally, the new Kannur Airport takes you closer to famous spots like Thallasery, Bekal Fort and Payyambalam Beach.
Whichever airport you finally arrive at, you are assured plenty of ground transportation options. Taxis (pre-paid or otherwise), public buses, private vehicles for hire are all available at a moments notice.
Taking a train to Kerala is an amazing experience, offering scenic views of the stunning coastline and Western Ghats for large parts of the journey. Connectivity, convenience and cost-effectiveness are other key features of rail travel, especially with the state boasting 200 active stations. The network is incredible, with trains running from all major Indian cities — as far as New Delhi or as close as Karnataka. And they can take you almost anywhere you want, considering the only district that lacks rail connect is Wayanad and Idukki.
It’s the magnificent Konkan rail line that leads in and out of Kerala, with major stops along the way such as Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Ernakulam. Top trains include Kerala Express, Rajdhani and Duronto, amongst others, with weekly departures.
But if you’re looking for something a little more experiential, you could opt for a luxury train journey such as Maharaja’s Express and the Golden Chariot, which have fixed tours of South India’s top highlights. Apart from the amazing views and landmarks, you’ll get to spend every moment of the journey treated like royalty.
If you want the same exquisite coastal views and time is of no concern, a road trip to Kerala is surely worth a spot on your bucket-list. National Highways 17, 44, 47 and 49, along with smaller highways and roads, connect the state to the rest of the country. You can drive yourself or hire a car or taxi from any major city in India. The distance is around 2550 km from New Delhi, 1248 km from Mumbai, 834 from Goa, 461 km from Bengaluru and 603 km from Chennai.
The other option for road entry to Kerala is the bus, with plenty of public as well as private operators offering coaches of varying standards from luxury sleepers to economy seaters.
Being a coastal state, there are ways to reach Kerala by sea. In fact, its famous backwaters are connected all the way to Lakshadweep Islands! Make unique travel memories by making your way here by sea, with cruise ships from Cochin Port in Kochi or Vizhinjam International Seaport in Thiruvananthapuram.
By Foot / Cycle
Exploring Kerala on foot or bicycle lets you get up close and personal with its magical mix of scenery and culture. There are footpaths or pedestrian walkways no matter where you are, but if you plan to cycle, some routes and regions are better than others. Valparai to Athirappilly, Munnar to Annamalai and Kuttanad are popular amongst long-distance riders. You could also rent day bikes while touring Kochi or other cities, at a menial cost. Be wary of vehicular traffic as the roads can get congested and rules aren’t always followed.
With four airports functioning in different parts of the state, you can easily move around the regions of Kerala by flight, at a much faster speed. However, it is the most expensive of the options. Airlines such as IndiGo, Go Air, Air India offer flights along with a host of international carriers.
With a long coast and plenty of internal waterways, boats are one of the popular and enjoyable ways to get around Kerala. Motorboats, ferries, houseboats and canoes are all available depending on your location. It’s one of the highlight experiences of being in Kerala, so be sure to include it into your itinerary.
By Car / Taxi / Rickshaws
You can easily bring your own car into Kerala or opt for rentals, taxis and chauffeur-driven services once here. Driving around big cities can be a bit frustrating considering the traffic, however, the long-distance journeys offer spectacular views and free roads. Taxi apps are also now easily available for inner city as well as distance rides. And lastly, rickshaws are found by the dozen quite easily.
By Train / Metro
As you now know, Kerala has an incredible rail network across the state, making train rides a great option to get from place to place. It’s also affordable and in most cases, faster than taking the road. And if you’re in Kochi, one of the best ways to explore the crowded city is the metro.
Buses are perhaps the most reliable, affordable and far-reaching when it comes to travelling within Kerala (and from neighbouring states). There are two public services — Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC). Their buses reach every corner of the state, with rates as low as INR 10. The only drawback is that you could have unexpected delays, though not as frequently as in other parts of the country. Private bus companies offer an elevated level of service, with luxury coaches also available.
So there you have it — the myriad ways to reach and navigate God’s Own Country. Now all you need is the right package to explore the parts of it that excite you most. Or perhaps all of it! It’s a good thing we have such a comprehensive list of tours for you to choose from.