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21 tips for first-time Kerala visitors

You have booked the tickets, arranged a package and is ready to go to Kerala. Here’s a checklist of tips for Kerala trip to get you ready for a wonderful holiday in Gods Own Country.

1. If you are going any time between February and May and is planning on spending time at the beach (and since you are going in summer, one would assume you are), don’t forget to carry sunscreen. Even if you forget, dont worry as there are many medical stores and pharmacies where you can purchase the same.

2.Entry for non-Hindus is not permitted by some temples in Kerala and there are strict dress codes that needs to be followed. You may have to leave the footwear outside the temple which is a strict rule in most of the temples including Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

3. Best Time to Visit Kerala is from September to March and monsoon is the best season for ayurveda. The rates are high from December 20 to January 5 which is the peak season and offseason in Kerala is from April to August and you can plan your visit accordingly

4. Carry Cotton outfits; hats, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion etc. and footwear that are appropriate to both the climate and the activities you have planned. In Hill Stations like Munnar, Thekkady and Wayanad blankets will be available in resorts and you can carry sweaters.

5. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that visitors can bring but limit the amount of precious jewelry and gold you carry and wear to the bare minimum.

6. Carry enough water with you and water will be available in most of the shops in Kerala. Keep yourself hydrated with water and other juices when you are sightseeing . On some days heat in Kerala can be intense and can sap yor energy.

7. Liquor in Kerala is available from 5 star hotels and the shops of Kerala Beverages corporation and if you take the local liquor -arrack- remember to limit the amount you drink.

8.Main hotels, restaurants and shopping centres honour major credit cards and don’t carry too much cash. Banks are open for transaction from 10 AM to 15:30 PM on weekdays and till noon on Saturdays and you can always carry debit or credit cards.

9. In beaches always listen to the lifeguard and tourist police. The waves may be good for bathing and surfing, but there may be rocks underneath and they could hide a current or a sudden depression.

10. Get a good smart phone using which you can use any of the best travel android applicationsthat will help you to enjoy more of your holiday with less hassles.

11. Kerala food is medium spicy and it may take some time for your taste buds to get adjusted. Check with your resort/ chef/ waiter about the spices and other ingredients in food you want to order.

12. You can book the taxis directly from airports at a reasonable rate if you take any prepaid cabs and you can also take rental cars or other vehicles including bicycles. In such cases make sure that you return them on the referred date and time and they don’t take extra charges for unnecessary reasons.

13. People expect tips in Kerala and the usual standard is ten percentage of the service amount. You may have to do tipping in Kerala in taxis , Hotels, cafes, porters, tourist guides, travel assistance and restaurants.

14.If you want to drive a vehicle in Kerala and you are a foreign citizen, carry your international driving licence .

15. You can get authentic Ayurveda treatments in Kerala. However go only to those Green Leaf & Olive Leaf classified Ayurveda centres that are approved by the Kerala Tourism Department.

16. Buses and Trains are also among the cheapest mode of transport in Kerala . However You can enquire about the timing and get the tickets from the station itself. Reservation facilities are also available in trains.

17. 100 is the emergency number to call the nearest police station and 101 is the emergency number for fire station.

18.Smoking is banned in public places in Kerala by court order and you are liable to be prosecuted if you smoke in public.

19.Public kissing is not an accepted practice in Kerala and visitors to most sacred placed leave their footwear outside .

20. Tickets to most sightseeing places are booked on first come first served basis and there are separate queues for foreigners in most sightseeing attractions in Kerala

21. Kerala is well known for law and order and is generally a peaceful state. However don’t travel to remote areas in night hours. It is better to stay the night in a better hotel or resort and continue the journey in early morning than traveling at night.

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