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Kerala at first glance

It only took a few seconds for Kerala to obliterate my expectations. Kerala is one of 29 states in India, but to lump it in as “just another state in India” is to do a disservice to this state and its 33 million residents.

A 14-year-old girl from Kerala India

If you had asked me where Kerala was last September, I couldn’t have given you an answer. And before arriving, I must admit that I had no idea that “tropical paradise” could be used to describe any part of India. And yet, after being greeted at the airport with flowers and welcome signs, receiving a shell necklace upon check-in at the Turtle on the Beach Resort, and waking up to crashing waves and palm trees outside my window… I’m beginning to question all of my preconceived notions about this place.

Kerala Blog Express Turtle Beach Resort thesweetwanderlust.comI’m three days into the Kerala Blog Express, a 15-day journey across Kerala with 30 bloggers from 25 different countries. Over the course of the trip, we’ll travel over 1,400 miles in this amazing bus (photo courtesy of KBE) as we take in the beauty and culture of Kerala while participating in some once-in-a-lifetime activities.KeralaBlogExpressBus

The back of the t-shirts we received upon arrival say “Trip of a Lifetime” and that’s not an exaggeration at all!

Trip of a lifetime on the Kerala Blog Express

So far, we’ve been welcomed by some of the most friendly and hospitable people I’ve ever met with the most over-the-top welcome ceremonies. Just one example: at the WelcomHotel Raviz Ashtamudi in Kollam, we stepped off the bus to the sounds of the chenda drum and two Kathakali (Indian dance-drama) performers.

Kathakali Kerala

As we walked into the hotel, we were greeted with cold towels, strings of fresh jasmine draped around our necks, and sandalwood paste on our foreheads as a sign of welcome before receiving a fresh coconut… all while flower petals rained down on us from above. Is this real life?!WelcomHotel Kerala

WelcomHotel Kerala coconut on the backwaters

We’ve spent the night sleeping in the most magnificent hotels and stayed on a houseboat as we cruised the backwaters. Houseboat on Kerala backwaters

We waved as school boats, public transportation boats and a floating market passed by, noticing that life in the backwaters is a community all to itself.

Backwaters of Kerala

We learned that Rainbow Cruises only hires locals so we saw the area through the eyes of a team who had spent their lives on the waters we were cruising. Rainbow Cruises crew Kerala backwaters

We’ve seen the sun rise over rice fields filled with lotuses and watched it set among the palm trees. Sunset Kerala India

lotus on the backwaters of Kerala

And we’ve found that it’s impossible to be ‘not hungry’ in Kerala… because the food is so good and everyone you meet is insistent that you taste it. It’s also the first actually spicy food I’ve had in 6 months of traveling… and I LOVE it!

Kerala Tourism is unlike anything I imagined and incomparable to any place I’ve been so far. I’m so glad we still have 12 days to go!

To follow the journey in realtime, you can :

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I’m so glad to share Kerala with you!


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Unexpected Kerala


Friday 9th of September 2022

In God's own country, there are numerous breathtaking and gorgeous landscapes. But there is much more to do besides these when you visit Kerala, which has an incredibly green environment. Kerala provides a wide variety of gastronomic delights, breathtaking beaches, serene backwaters, and massages, among other things. This place has a lot more to offer.

Surya E Raj

Friday 23rd of November 2018

Kerala is one of the vibrant tourist destinations. They are blessed with many famous tourist destinations. I really like your valuable information. The way of your writing is excellent. Thanks for your great posts.

Undefined Journey

Sunday 15th of April 2018

After reading this post, I am also willing to visit Kerala, such a lifeful article !!!!


Sunday 21st of February 2016

Wow Brittany. It looks like you have been having a great time on your adventure. Thank you for posting stuff so we can experience it with you. I am sure there is much more that we haven't seen.


Tuesday 23rd of February 2016

Thanks so much for joining along here, Jason! It's been quite the adventure, for sure, and lots more to come! I miss you and all the students at BTBF.... Please tell everyone hi!


Friday 19th of February 2016

I want to gooooo!!!!


Friday 19th of February 2016

Put it on your list, Rachel!! It has a really neat Christian tradition that says St. Thomas came here in AD52 and planted 7 churches. There's still a strong Christian presence... I had no idea!