India For Beginners: Why Kerala Is The Perfect Introduction

Why Kerala Is The Perfect Introduction To Your First Time In India…

Oftentimes when you think of India images may flash through your head of the Taj Mahal, riding a camel through the desert and visiting beautifully decorated forts. There are a lot of awesome places to visit in India which need to be on any backpacker’s itinerary.

Though, along with that amazing imagery is often a feeling of anxiety. Questions of will I get robbed, is it safe for solo female travel in India or what happens if I get scammed overwhelm you and that’s where the idea of visiting stops.

What if I were to tell you there was a part of India that was the perfect introduction to the country. A place where people smile to you on the street, English is widely spoken and palm trees cover the landscape.

Well, welcome to Kerala, the perfect India for beginners, so you no longer need to worry about where to start traveling in India.

So lets get into it and find out what actually makes Kerala the ultimate introduction to India….

alleppey backwater cruise tasha

Kerala, The Ideal India For Beginners

English Is Widely Spoken

Now within India itself there are actually twenty two official languages. Different states and regions will have their own dialect which can cause issues when Indians travel domestically.

This is because even though these people are from the same country they cannot communicate. As a result of this English is widely spoken throughout India and especially so in Kerala.

Kerala has one of the best literacy rates in all of India and many people are educated to a high level. Though walking down the street you might not be able to understand anything, as locals speak Malayalam.

But if you were to ask a question in English there is a very high chance you’ll receive an answer in English. Its never too hard to find someone who speaks English which makes Kerala the perfect place to begin your first time in India.

india for beginners in calicut kerala

kerala street festival

Varied Landscapes

Known as ‘Gods Own Country’ Kerala is a place where one day you can find yourself swimming in the ocean surrounded by coconut trees and the next day be trekking in hill stations. No town here is like another.

There are so many gems to explore and places to visit in Kerala, it is easy to spend a month traveling just within this one area.

One of the most famous landscapes of Kerala is the backwaters. Otherwise known as Venice of the East, the Kerala Backwaters are an intricate maze of lakes and canals connecting the majority of the state which are a must on your South India itinerary.

This unique network, where ocean and fresh water meet, runs over 900km’s and is one of the main attractions when traveling in Kerala. You cannot miss relaxing on your own houseboat watching the world pass by.

Two other unique features of Kerala’s landscapes are complete contrast to each other, the hill stations and the low lying beach towns.  Wayanad and Munnar are just two of the many hill stations located at higher altitudes in the mountains.

Here is an adventure lovers paradise with activities galore and many amazing tea plantations. Towards the coasts you will find plenty beautiful beaches and coconut trees galore. This is the perfect place to catch some sun and relax in a hammock.

Whether you are backpacking, here on a family vacation, or perhaps having a romantic getaway Kerala has the perfect place for you.

alleppey backwater cruise boats

munnar in kerala perfect india for beginners


Compared with a lot of other states in India, Kerala is a relatively clean place. Though, in saying that I don’t mean the streets are spotless, because unless you’re in Singapore that’s basically impossible.

For me I found it to be similar levels of pollution to a lot of South East Asia with small piles of rubbish here and there, but nothing overwhelming.

I understand this my not pay much importance to you, especially if you plan on traveling up further North in India. But it will assist you in dealing with the initial culture shock of arriving in a new destination. Ultimately making Kerala the ideal spot to begin traveling in India.

kerala logo in india
the clean green logo of kerala, god’s own country, wanting to make your own logo? check out adobe logo maker

alleppey backwater cruise local life


Kerala is a beautiful part of India, though the local people, otherwise known as Keralites, are equally as beautiful. You will constantly be receiving smiles and they will be more than happy to interact with you whether that means taking a photo or answering a question.

Whether you are at a festival, in the street, or perhaps even at a wedding you will be met with smiles and kindness. You can check out this guide to Indian weddings for do’s and don’ts, as well as what to expect.

They are extremely proud of their amazing state and are happy you are being able to experience it. I would often receive questions of where I have been so far, what I have done and what the rest of my plans are.

The recommendations from the locals are endless as they will be wanting you to see the best on offer. You will be invited to their homes for a meal or tea. Honestly, the Keralites are some of the most hospitable people I have had the pleasure of meeting. So, if your traveling to India and wish to really experience a culture and get to know the people, I cannot recommend Kerala enough.

local life Kumarakom kerala india

Stay Safe In India

I will preface this by saying no where in the world is always going to be safe. Basically just use your commonsense and do your research. Though, comparatively with a lot of India, Kerala is widely considered a safe state to travel to.

Now, I am not sure whether that is because there is less tourism than up North, but I like to think it is due to the kindness of the people.

Scams are also less common in Kerala, though please keep alert as no where in the world is perfect. You will still also need to haggle in the markets to get a good price. Even though the people are friendly they still have bills to pay.

Lastly, I highly recommend researching what to wear in India and looking at India packing lists, this will help you blend in a little more with the locals and show you have respect for their culture.

munnar tea plantations trees

This list obviously just touches on a few points about why Kerala should be your first stop when traveling in India. The state us also well equipped with a variety of accommodation options, no matter your budget.

Also they have various transportation options, allowing you to get between point A and point B easily.


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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

Backpackers Wanderlust was able to visit the Kerala while partaking in Kerala Blog Express season 5, however, as always, all opinions are my own.

26 thoughts on “India For Beginners: Why Kerala Is The Perfect Introduction

  1. Avatar for Kiara Gallop
    Kiara Gallop says:

    Having visited India twice now and Kerala last November, I would totally agree that it’s a great introduction to India. The pace of life is slower, the food is less spicy, and the cities are a little less manic and overwhelming than they are around Agra and Delhi :-)

  2. Avatar for Jennifer Schlueter
    Jennifer Schlueter says:

    Your photos are amazing as usual.
    I’ve never been to India but this definitely looks like a great place to go for my first time :) !

  3. Avatar for Jessica C
    Jessica C says:

    I’ve always wondered about India. I mean, I know it’s a huge country with so many areas that are completely different from each other, but this place, seems like a great introduction to India as a whole.

  4. Avatar for The Curious Sparrow
    The Curious Sparrow says:

    Wow, Kerala looks gorgeous! I love your photography. Adding Kerala to my travel wishlist

  5. Avatar for Teru Menclova
    Teru Menclova says:

    Oh India has been on my bucket list for so long! I want to go there even more after visiting Nepal this year. :) Thank you for sharing this post. It’s very inspiring and full of wonderful photos!

  6. Avatar for Taru
    Taru says:

    For some years already Kerala has been on my list to visit, and reading your post reminded me why :) I cannot wait to admire the landscape also featured here in person, hopefully sometime soon!

  7. Avatar for Kacie
    Kacie says:

    I spent a couple of weeks in India in 2016 but sadly I didn’t get to Kerala. It’s a shame as it sounds lovely!

  8. Avatar for Maya
    Maya says:

    I would love to visit India and am a bit reluctant due to the issues I hear regarding women travelers and the fact some of the places are really overwhelming at first so this will be such a great start. Your pictures remind me of my trip to Sri Lanka and I am always a sucker for pictures of friendly faces – another reason to go!

  9. Avatar for Teja
    Teja says:

    Oh man, yes! I haven’t been to Kerala myself, but my first introduction was Karnataka, in a small town of the Western Ghats. Soooo much more manageable than the second trip, which was to Uttar Pradesh (the bit with Varanasi/Delhi/Agra). In Uttar Pradesh for example, it was harder than I expected to communicate in English – a lot of people seem to only speak Hindi, and only understood English slightly, unless they are in government or running the hostels etc.

    I found the two regions miles apart in things like overall ambience, density, pollution. There’s definitely a scale of India regions requiring different levels of travelling skills!

  10. Avatar for alba
    alba says:

    Wowww I’ve been wanting to visit India for so long but as my only travels to other continents have been to either places where Spanish is spoken or through guided tours I didn’t know how to start backpacking through India. THANK YOU very very much for this post, I take note of it and I’ll be following your next adventures on this post! Keep up the good work♥!

  11. Avatar for April
    April says:

    Beautiful photos! I hadn’t heard of Kerala and it doesn’t look like how you picture India. When I get to India, I’m definitely going to be looking up that area. Thanks

  12. Avatar for Anisa
    Anisa says:

    I have been to India, but I still need to go to Kerala. I really want to do one of the houseboats! It seems like a luxurious but affordable vacation.

  13. Avatar for Sarah - Borders & Bucket Lists
    Sarah - Borders & Bucket Lists says:

    Wow I’d never heard of this place, and I’ve never been to India! Maybe Kerala will be my first stop!

  14. Avatar for Liz
    Liz says:

    Kerala has been on my bucket list for a while, I’m sure it’s a great experience. Thanks for your advice!

  15. Avatar for Lauren
    Lauren says:

    India has been on and off my bucket list several times for the reasons you mentions – is it safe? will it be to much of a culture shock? etc. But this is such a great guide offering an introduction and Kerala looks and sounds amazing. Your photography has definitely inspired me to put India firmly back on my bucket list!

  16. Avatar for Margarita
    Margarita says:

    Great post and a great idea. India can be quite overwhelming, so an introduction to the country sounds like a good way to go for the first time visitor

  17. Avatar for Frances
    Frances says:

    I always thought I would start in the North on a tour of India but I think this might have convinced me to work my way up from Kerala! Such a refreshing angle of looking at a destination :)

  18. Avatar for Dawn
    Dawn says:

    Great post! We visited Kerala in 2016 and we chose it based on many of the reasons you shared. Now we can’t wait to go back to India and explore the north.

  19. Avatar for Madhu
    Madhu says:

    India is really beautiful and has unlimited treasure to be explored. However its really sad that because of few people our country’s image is not that great. I loved kerela its nice. Infact any part of south India can be a perfect introduction for guests from other country.

  20. Avatar for Mayuri Patel
    Mayuri Patel says:

    India is safe and beautiful, each state is unique in terms of nature,language and landscapes.Kerala is heaven for nautal lover.
    Lovely post

  21. Avatar for Phoebe
    Phoebe says:

    I am honestly scared of visiting India and yes, it’s not on my list because of the reasons you mentioned.
    Thank you for this and I am definitely page hopping and checking out your other posts.

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