An vacation to Kerala is a great experience and you will have an opportunity to receive a cultural education along with a chance to enjoy the sights of an wonderful land. But, if not planning ahead, it can turn very well into a disaster.
Kerala can very well be a environment with different sights, activities and exposes a totally different experience for a first time visitor. It surely can leave a lasting impression on every visitor. Its good to keep in mind certain facts that a visitor planning to Kerala should be aware of.
Irrespective of the place you are planning to visit, you need to know about the climate at the time of the year. This may even be a very important deciding factor for you to enjoy your stay. Kerala can be typically hot and humid (think tropical climate) and may not be ideal if you are planning for a summer escapade. However, the exception is mountain regions (hill stations) which can be quite cool and pleasant. Also typical is the Monsoon rains around June and July of the year. During these months, the rains can be quite heavy with thunder storms, and normally start in the afternoons and continuing through the night. Make sure to bring in the appropriate clothes depending on the climate. Do a little research goes a long way towards a nice experience.
The second important thing to prepare for is your health. Even though Kerala do not have any immunization requirements; it would be better to come prepared. Its easy to catch diseases like malaria, cholera, gastroenteritis and dengue. Make sure you take all recommended vaccinations before you start. For ex: polio, typhoid and tetanus are important to have.
Its also good to carry some insect repellent lotion with you. There are a lot of natural places you will want to cover and these little pests can be quite annoying. Also, consider carrying plenty of your favorite sunscreen lotions to last the trip.
Make sure you have the necessary passport and visa if traveling from outside India. The passport need to be valid a minimum of next six months after arrival date in India.
When packing, try to pack light, as you can easily secure most things you need locally.
Try to dress conservatively or with the local outfits you can find as this can draw less attention to you. Locals are normally very talkative and friendly and they will try to engage you in conversations. You normally don't have to worry about talking to them but be wary of people asking personal information or sell things.
If entering places of worship (eg: temple, church), ask to make sure people of other religions are allowed inside. Also, its common practice to take of your shoes when entering religious building. Also some might even insist not wearing shirts (for men). The best bet is to ask before entering so as to not violate any conventions.
Kerala is generally a very safe place, but if you are a woman, try not to walk in the streets alone late in the night. Also its always a good practice to have a companion when you go around visiting places. Try not to accept things from strangers, even though they seem to be meaning well. Its always safer to politely deny and move away from people offering things to eat/drink. Also be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded places. Be extra mindful of your belongings while you are at public places (eg: like bus stations, railway stations etc).
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