Kerala Transportation Options: A Hilarious & Honest Guide For Adventurous Travelers

Transportation options in kerala

Kerala, with its lush backwaters, serene beaches, and vibrant culture, is a paradise for travelers. But to really experience this diverse landscape, you need to know how to get around! As someone who has crisscrossed this beautiful state countless times (and lived to tell the tale), I’m here to share my insider tips, hilarious mishaps, and honest opinions on the best ways to traverse Kerala.

1. Trains: The Lifeline (and Occasionally, the Headache) of Kerala

Kerala boasts an extensive railway network connecting major cities and towns across the state. Whether you’re heading to the bustling streets of Kochi or the tranquil backwaters of Alleppey, trains can offer a comfortable and affordable way to travel. However, there’s a catch… none of the major hill stations have train connectivity, and schedules can be as unpredictable as Kerala’s monsoons.

  • Types of Trains: You’ll find a mix of express trains (faster, with fewer stops) and memu trains (slower, stopping at every station… and I mean every station).
  • Booking: Tickets can be purchased online through the IRCTC website or at railway stations. Trust me, booking in advance is less stressful than wrestling for a seat at the last minute.
  • My Experience: My recent round trip from Ernakulam to Kayamkulam was an adventure. The train timings were erratic, as always. The bathrooms? Let’s say they’re not for the faint heart (or nose). But hey, if you’re a broke traveler like me, sometimes you have to embrace the chaos for the cheap fare.

2. Taxis: Convenience at Your Fingertips

Kerala Taxi's Innova Cab

Taxis are ideal for those seeking convenience and flexibility. If you’re lucky enough to book with us (shameless plug, I know), you’re in for a treat. We offer a range of vehicles, online booking, and a commitment to customer service that our glowing Google reviews can attest to.

  • Pre-booked Taxis: Companies like ours offer convenience and peace of mind. Just a heads up, though – even with pre-booked local taxis, a little friendly negotiation never hurts.
  • Local Taxis: These are readily available, but be prepared for a fare negotiation showdown. Channel your inner bargain hunter, and don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right. If you want to save a few bugs and get adventurous go for a Tuk-Tuk.

3. Buses: The Budget-Friendly Choice (and a Test of Your Faith in Karma)

Kerala’s extensive bus network is a lifesaver for budget travellers.The state-run KSRTC and private operators offer a variety of buses, but be warned: some drivers have a need for speed that rivals Formula One racers.

  • My Tip: Opt for KSRTC when possible—they’re generally more reliable and less likely to give you whiplash. If you’re brave enough to ride a private bus, just remember to buckle up and say a little prayer. If you plan to explore Kerala by bus, opt for a KSRTC travel card, which would get you concessions and save you from worrying about the change you’ll have to provide the bus conductors. The card is available through conductors, KSRTC depots and authorized agents. Not  available online!? , which kind of feels like the  late 1980’s.
  • Types of Buses: You’ll find everything from rickety old buses to air-conditioned luxury coaches. Choose wisely, my friend.

4. Ferries and Boats: Cruising the Backwaters (and Getting Lost in the Maze)

Kochi Water Metro

Kerala’s backwaters are breathtaking, but navigating them can be a bit of a puzzle. Kochi’s expanding Water Metro system is a game-changer, but for other areas, be prepared for a less organized experience.

  • Public Ferries are cheap and frequent, but schedules can be elusive. Don’t be afraid to ask locals for directions—they’re usually happy to help.
  • Houseboats: Splurge on a “kettuvallam,” a.k.a. Kerala houseboat, for a luxurious and unforgettable backwater cruise. The Alleppey-Kumarakom circuit is a classic choice. We have an associate concern that provides houseboats throughout Kerala.

5. Renting a Car: Enjoy a Road Trip (and Pray for Good Suspension)

Kerala’s scenery is stunning, but its roads can be… unpredictable. If you’re up for an adventure, rent a car and explore at your own pace. Just be sure to choose a vehicle that can handle potholes and unexpected twists and turns.

  • My Experience: My Maruti Alto rental for a Suryanelli trip was a comedy of errors. We ended up on a dirt road that would make a mountain goat nervous. Lesson learned: Always know the condition of the roads and choose your car accordingly.

6. Kochi Metro: A Gleaming Beacon of Efficiency

Kochi’s Metro is a modern marvel, but its network is still growing. For now, it’s a great way to zip around the city center and connect with the Water Metro. Check the Kochi Metro website for the latest routes and fares. You can opt for a Kochi 1 card, which enables you to get some nominal concession in Metro as well as some of the private buses that operate inside Kochi; the metro usage of the card is pretty easy, but finding the buses that operate under this scheme is a little tricky. 

No matter how you choose to travel, Kerala’s diverse transportation options (and the occasional dose of chaos) will surely make your journey unforgettable. So pack your sense of adventure and a healthy dose of patience, and get ready to explore God’s Own Country!