Stretching along India’s south-west Malabar Coast, boasting everything from picturesque backwaters to exotic natural beauty and rich heritage, Kerala is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful states in India. It is for this reason that it is sometimes referred to as “God’s own country”. Kerala has been a popular destination among travelers from India as well as from other countries over the years, thanks to its scenic beauty and loads of activities which one can indulge in here.

Here some of the top activities to indulge in, which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to anyone, visiting Kerala.

1. Cruise the backwaters

A trip to Kerala is not complete without cruising the Kerala backwaters. Cruising on a houseboat along the network of backwaters that dissect the state is an unforgettable experience. Though several destinations offer the opportunity to experience a laid-back cruise, the most popular among them is to take a backwater tour from Alleppey. The lush palm-fringed landscape, diverse wildlife, and houses and villages that line the backwaters make a houseboat cruise seem like a journey to another world. Book a hotel or homestay along the route to get you immersed in the culture that surrounds these inland lagoons and lakes.

2. Visit a tea plantation

Hidden away in the flourishing landscapes of the Western Ghats, are the stunning oasis of Munnar, famous for its tea plantations. Showcasing a never-ending canvas of hills covered with tea plantations, as well as some of the freshest tea you’ll ever taste, a visit here is a must. You can explore these plantations via a range of interesting tours. Here you will explore the surrounding hills with daily hikes topped off with some tea tasting.

3. Take a traditional village tour

Dotted around the backwaters, all along the houseboat cruises, if you take time to visit a rural Kerala village, you will experience Kerala’s most simple and authentic tradition. Experiencing the life that exist on the backwaters is a humbling and rewarding experience. Once here, you will not only get an opportunity to interact with the villagers, but even get a chance to eat a meal with local families and hear about their lives.

4. Go hiking in Munnar

Munnar is the place to breathtaking landscapes that serve as a home for tea. It’s also a perfect playground for lovers of the great outdoors. Munnar has quite a few resorts and lodging facilities that fit a wide range of budgets. There are many adventurous and rewarding treks to experience in Munnar. The most famous of them are the Kannan Devan Hills trail and Idukki Forest walk.

5. Hit the beaches on the Arabian Sea

The beaches in Kerala are less crowded and mostly free of commercial activities as compared to some other places in India, making them more desirable to people who come here in search of peace and tranquility. A favourite among tourists here is Varkala beach, which has a spectacular cliff setting. Get on top of a cliff to get a panoramic view. If you’re looking for action, head to Kovalam beach near the capital city of Trivandrum. This beach offers plenty of leisure options. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programs and catamaran cruising being some of them.

6. Enjoy Ayurvedic treatment

Many Ayurvedic spas and resorts are located in Kerala due to its climate and the availability of medicinal plants. A trip to an Ayurvedic healing center can involve detoxing your body through Panchkarma. However if you have less time, you can book other treatments like Shirodhara, a relaxing treatment that involves dripping warm oil onto the forehead. These massages and therapies are not only rejuvenating, they are also known to cure a wide variety of ailments.