Kerala Itinerary for 5 Days | Kerala On a Budget

by - May 09, 2021

With lush greenery, frequent sightings of water bodies, and bountiful nature, no wonder Kerala is known as God's Own Country. Whether it's popular places like Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha), Munnar, and Kochi or the less frequented Varkala and Wayanad, you cannot visit this wonderland just once. I've already been here thrice and if you ask me to join you again, I would willingly hop in. Every time I visit Kerala, I feel like coming back again. 

This time around, I planned a Kerala on a budget trip. I went solo and visited three destinations in the span of five days. 

So if you're looking for a Kerala Itinerary for 5 Days, read further. 




If you're planning Kerala on a budget, you can either reach Cochin (or any nearby location to Alleppey) via flight or train/bus. Since I was short on days, I preferred going by flight. I could have stayed at Cochin that night, but I planned to go to Alleppey first as I thought it was a safe card to play. I wanted to travel on a budget to Kerala so instead of taking a prepaid taxi from Cochin airport to Alleppey (which costs Rs 2,600), I took another route, which was longer but helped me save some money. (When I researched before, I had come across a bus that goes from Cochin airport to Alleppey, but on reaching the airport I came to know there's no such bus. I'm not sure whether it was not functional due to covid restrictions or the bus was discontinued.)

Anyway, here's how I went from Mumbai to Alleppey on a budget:

Mumbai to Cochin by flight
Rs 3,000 approx. 
If you want to save some more money, then opt for railways. You can book a Mumbai to Cochin train from Rs 400, which is dirt cheap for that kind of distance. 

Cochin to Alluva by bus
Rs 50 approx. 
Ask at the airport for the bus depot and they should be able to guide you. The locals don't understand Hindi (and most times, English as well), so it's going to be difficult to communicate. The depot is connected to the airport, only that you have to walk for a few minutes. Take an ac bus to Alluva metro station from Cochin airport. 

Alluva to Vytilla by metro
Rs 50 approx.
From Alluva metro station, catch a metro train for Vytilla. Ask for the bus depot as you get down at Vytilla and walk towards the bus depot. It's a 5-minute walk. 

Vytilla to Alleppey by bus 
Rs 150 approx.
The last leg of the journey. There are ac as well as non-ac buses to Alleppey from Vytilla bus depot. Whichever you get first, I suggest take it to save time. Unfortunately, I got a non-ac bus first so I went with that. 

After reaching Alleppey, you'll find rickshaws that will take you to the stay. 


I stayed at Zostel Alleppey for Rs 1,248 for two nights in a mixed dorm. I recommend Zostel Alleppey for its proximity to the beach (2-minute walk to the beach), amazing host, air-conditioning in the rooms throughout, dorm rooms at ground level (meaning you can enter and exit the room at all times, no need to climb those annoying stairs), common area in the verandah (again ground floor), hammocks on the terrace with a beach view, and lots of space to socialise with fellow hostellers. 
Josh is a friendly host who would try his best to introduce you to others and ensure you are having a good time. He will also join you for little excursions during his free time. 

There are nice eateries facing the beach at a walk's distance. You can rent a bike to explore the nearby areas as well. Book a bike via Nanni Tours & Travels at +91 98950 39767 for Rs 400 per day without petrol. I think it's a decent amount for a Kerala Itinerary for 5 days, especially if it's a Kerala on a budget trip you're planning. 

At Puttum Kattanam with fellow hostellers (L); Biryani chai (R)


Cafe Catamaran
You get international cuisine and it's just a minute away from Zostel. You get a beach view from here and the pizza is a must try! (I lunched at Cafe Catamaran. I had a medium sized pizza and a lemonade.)

Puttum Kattanam
It's a Kerala cuisine restaurant. We went there for dinner post a swim time at Alapuzha (Alleppey) Beach. Try biryani chai, idiyappam, puttu with kadala curry, and beef omelette. 

Harbour Bar
Try jawaani shots (local rum) at the Harbour bar on Beach Road. You won't find any female inside so if you're a solo woman traveller in Kerala, just take some male hostellers with you. It's quite a shady bar and is under CCTV surveillance. (Another local alcohol is toddy/taadi; try it out as well!) 

Note: Read more restaurant recommendations below. 

To sum up the first day in Kerala, it was all about settling down. From trying Kerala cuisine to tasting local rum and then swimming at the Alapuzha Beach to having pizza and lemonade by the sea, sleep early on day 1 to start early for the second day. 

Shikara Ride during sunrise

Paddy fields



Backwaters of Kerala are famous for the houseboats, water activities, leisure, and shikara rides. Book a shikara ride for Rs 750/hour through the hostel itself or you can try independent organisers. They also organise kayaking if that interests you. 

Relax as you watch the sun rise at the Alleppey backwaters. Ask the boatsman to halt at paddy fields for an added experience. 

Breakfast @ Taste of India (L); Posing with a Brahminy Kite; Shikara ride during sunrise (R)

Breakfast at Taste of India
While you are on the shikara ride, ask the boatsman to halt at Taste of India restaurant. Try karimeen fish (it's super delicious), egg masala with parotta, coconut water and filter coffee. 

Head back to the hostel, freshen up and start exploring on bike. 

Backwaters captured on the way to Pallathuruthy (L); Kainakary Boat Terminal (R)


Pallathuruthy is a village near to Alleppey. To reach, you can drive on your bike. This is the place where a lot of houseboats start their journeys. There's not much to do here but it's good to explore so I've added it to the Kerala Itinerary for 5 days. Stroll down the village road as you marvel at the houses and their knickknacks. 

I highly recommend the Kainakary boat terminal for the scenic views and makeshift trail. This place too is where houseboats rest but it's much beautiful considering it's spacious and have cleaner panorama. Again, take your bike here. It also happens to be a lovely place to click pictures with backwaters as your backdrop and stunning coconut trees. 

Kerala meal at Smile Cat (L); Hibiscus Ice Tea at The Chai Wallah by the canal (R)

Smile Cat
Discovered on best food joints in Alleppey on Google, we found this secret hideout. Smile Cat is close to Zostel, about 5 minute walk, and a must visit place. It accommodates a few tables and the place throws a sea view with extraordinarily delicious local cuisine. We ordered their veg thaali and it was so delectable, I have no words to put it in a better way. Enjoy a local meal with a sea view alongside a juice. 

The Chai Wallah
For the evening time, just to relax and catch-up with new friends, visit The Chai Wallah. Try the hibiscus iced tea, cookies, regular chai or a variety of teas and coffees here. Take your glass and sit alongside the canal nearby as you sip and do the talking. 

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Use the railways to reach Varkala from Alleppey. I had taken an early morning 6.30am train so that I don't miss out on the remaining day in Varkala. I had pre-booked an auto from Zostel Alleppey (call Basheer at +91 9544936605 to book an auto rickshaw) and it arrived right on time. It took me Rs 65 approx. to reach Varkala (station name: Varkalasivagiri) in a non-ac second seater. You can opt for an ac chair car seat if it's too hot in the season you're going or you prefer air-conditioning during your travels. I was happy with my non-ac second class seat as I was on a Kerala on a budget trip


After you get down at the Varkalasivagiri station, you'll have rickshaw guys flock in. Just ask them for your hostel and get the best deal. I stayed at Zostel Varkala for Rs 1,048 for two nights and recommend it to you. The dorm rooms are unbelievably posh with air-conditioning working throughout the day. The bunk beds are made out of wood and they're quite broad. The sheets and the blankets too are cosy. In short, the rooms are like any good hotel, just that it'll be shared between six people. 

There's breakfast available on the top floor. You can even see the blue waters of the beach at a distance from the hostel. The crowd is really good (think of IT fellows coming from Bangalore on a road trip). 

Lunch at True Thomas
There are many restaurants at about 15 minutes walk away. But it's not a big deal. We lunched at True Thomas, which was again, 10-15 minutes walk far. The place has good crowd, nice ambience, delicious food. I recommend. 

One of my newly made friends requested the boatsman to let us dip in the waters. What a gorgeous sundowner!


Post lunch, we started for Munroe Island with fellow roommates. You can book a Munroe Island trip at the hostel itself and they'll arrange a car for you. Munroe Island/Mundrothuruthu is situated at the intersection of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River in Kollam. It is a gathering of eight little islands. 

Upon reaching, you will come across boat organisers (Contact Munro Island Ambulal Boating at +91 8547753008 or +91 9946043169). Please reach the island by 3pm to avail the shikara ride. Or if you're not interested in shikara ride and are okay with open boat (see above pictures), then it is okay to reach by 4.30pm. Pay Rs 1,000 for the open boat ride.

We even jumped in the waters and swam until it got dark. Followed by this, we had dinner at the boat organiser's outdoor-seating. 

Things to know before visiting Munroe Island

  • The distance between Varkala and Munroe Island is 49kms, however it takes more than 2 hours to reach. So start early for the island.
  • Shikara rides are not functional during the sunset hours, so reach before the sunset to ride on one. 
  • You can try kayaking here. 
  • There are stay options at Munroe Island so if you want to alter your plan, you can do so. 
  • You can travel here by train. Get down at Munroturuttu Railway station for the same.
  • Lunch and dinner facility is available. However, expect a simple meal. 

After a tiring third day, it is likely to want to relax at the hostel. Have breakfast right there or take surfing lessons––if you're visiting Varkala between September to April––early morning if you want to make the most of your stay. The rate for surfing is Rs 1,500 for 90 minutes (book via Anandhu, Surf N Sea at +919746776690 or 

Lunch at Jairam Cafe
For lunch, head to the Jairam Cafe. It's at walkable distance from Zostel Varkala. The place offers a beautiful view of the sea. The food is good, the ambience is great as well.


Rent a scooty/car (book a car via Vijesh at +91 96333 93924) and visit Jatayu Earth Centre. The entry per person is Rs 450 + taxes. Jatayu Earth Centre is recommended for a cable car ride, stunning views, and the world's largest bird sculpture of Jatayu, the Hindu Demi-god from Ramayana. A temple is being built on the top at the moment.
On the way, buy some bananas and banana chips, and make the most of being in Kerala!


Varkala Beach and Odayam Beach are next to each other but I recommend the Odayam Beach as it's less frequented. Take a swim, click pics of the sunset, and sit by the beach. 

Dinner at Cafe del Mar
There are a lot of restaurants located at the Varkala cliff. Each one has its unique speciality. Cafe del Mar was recommended so we went there for dinner. The food was delicious. The cliff is a home to a lot of stalls so bring some cash for shopping. The restaurants and cafes have stunning sea view. Try to catch sunrise or sunset from the cliff. 



From Varkalasivagiri railway station, take a train to Ernakulum Junction for Rs 105 approx. I had booked a morning train at 6.30am. Again, pre-book an auto-rickshaw to get to the railway station from Zostel. 


I wanted to stay in a hostel but all the good hostels were booked. So I stayed in a decent hotel called D'Chandelier for Rs 1,390 for a night. The location was not good but it was such a last minute booking that I had to pick the safest yet functional hotel considering I was a female solo traveller in Kochi. I really recommend hostel to you, especially near the Fort Kochi or Mattancherry areas. The reason is due to its backpacker-friendly location, fellow hostellers, and safety.

I also recommend staying in a hostel because Fort Kochi and Mattancherry areas are so beautiful with pretty cafes, wall arts, souvenir shops, and lots more that you would need a partner to click your pictures. Because honestly, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are perfect Instagram-worthy places!

Chinese fishing nets (R)

Cold coffee and paneer sandwich @ Mocha Art Cafe (L)



If you're staying anywhere in the city, take a cab to Ernakulum jetty and reach Fort Kochi for Rs 6 via ferry. There are different ports scattered nearby and you can explore all if you start early. Stroll down the narrow lanes of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry and visit pretty art cafes and shop some decor. There are several pretty doors, window frames, and picturesque shops in the area. You can walk down, hire a cycle or get an auto.

Fort Kochi and Mattancherry have several touristy spots such as Mattancherry/Dutch Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Saint Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Jew Town, Fort Kochi Beach, Chinese fishing nets, Kerala Kathakali centre, Vasco house to name a few.

Late lunch at Mocha Art Cafe
Fort Kochi is known for its upscale cafes. Visit the Mocha Art Cafe for late lunch. They have a smoking and a non-smoking area so if you want to sip coffee as you smoke and look at the streets through the tiny windows, you can do here. I recommend their paneer sandwich. 

Sunset at Fort Kochi Beach
To make the most of your time in Kochi, catch the sunset at the beach. Fort Kochi is a public beach, so it's crowded and quite unclean but I promise the beautiful sunset from here will be worth it. 

Catch a ferry back to Ernakulum jetty and from there, back to your hotel if you're staying in the city. 

Please note: Shops shut around 7pm in Kochi so be prepared to be welcomed by dark streets as you head back to the hotel. 

On day 6th, fly back to Mumbai! 

Watch Kerala vlog on my YouTube channel (currently has 45k+ views!). Go ahead and book your Kerala trip today!

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