Famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, the rustic little town in the district of Kottayam is a must-visit place for avid travellers. In fact, not just avid travellers, for every soul who would love to see the real Kerala. The enchantress, that Kumarakom should be called is like that old flame. Even after months or years after your first visit, it would charm you every single time you go back. If you would like unwind from the hustle and bustle, then this is definitely the place. But, do not mistake it for just a pretty little town. With a variety of things to do in Kumarakom, it’s a much loved place by adventure seekers as well.
And, when we are talking of activities, it’s not just restricted to only those who love adventures. Travellers from all age-groups can actively take part and enjoy their stay there. Also, there are other things as well – like fishing, houseboat rides, bird watching and so on. For the foodie in you, it’s a complete heaven. You should actually keep a day completely for exploring the local joints. Have local seafood. And completely immerse in their culture. To make things bit easier for you, we have given a detailed description of when to go, how to go and a complete list of things to do in Kumarakom!
Also read: Top places to visit in Kumarakom
Group activities in Kumarakom
Whatever it may be, when any activity becomes a community thing, then the fun surely doubles. Along with being a beautiful place to tour around, Kumarakom offers a lot of activities for travellers. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Backwater Cruising
This is one of the top things to do in Kumarakom. You surely can’t miss it. Sailing through the serene backwaters is an adventure in itself. The full-day houseboat tours start at around 9:30 in the morning. Pre-book to avail some really good discounts.
- Fees: INR 6000 – INR 8000 (Full-day houseboat cruising. Exclusive of lunch, evening tea and snacks)
- Duration: 5-6 hours.
- Best months: December – June
2. Evening Houseboat Ride
What more can you ask for than watching the setting sun along the horizon, turning the calm waters into a hue of orange. What you need to do is hire an evening service houseboat. It’s the kind that parks itself in the middle of the backwaters. Stay over for the night and experience the calm of the place. That’s the best time of all.
- Fees: INR 9000 – INR 13000 per night
- Duration: Overnight. Starts from 5:00 pm.
- Best months: November – February.
3. Bird Watching at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Bird lovers, you are in for a treat! Considered as one of the most amazing things to do in Kumarakom, come winters, this sanctuary turns into a bird lovers paradise. With unique varieties of migratory birds making this place home for the colder months, it surely has a lot to offer. You can either book a canoe or just walk along the walker’s trail.
- Fees: Free Entry
- Duration: 6:30 am to 5:00 pm
- Best months: November – February.
Also read: Top 20 Must Visit Bird Sanctuaries In India
4. Kumarakom Boat Race
On of the most awaited events of Kumarakom is this boat race. The backwaters come alive with speeding boats thrashing their oars on the waters. Celebrated during the festival of Onam, this event is a delight to watch. Colorful water parades and the snake boat races pull a huge number of tourists every year.
- Fees: Free entry
- Duration: 5-6 hours
- Best months: August – September. During Onam.
Must read: Top 10 places to visit in Kerala
If your resort or houseboat is located right on the backwaters, then nothing can be more enjoyable for you. Ask your cook to help out and you along with your family/friends can try hands-on fishing. Quite an exciting activity to do in Kumarakom and you might be able to catch some fresh fish if you are lucky.
- Fees: Free entry
- Duration: 1 hour
- Best months: November – February
Now let’s get into some details of the other amazing things you should definitely be doing when in Kumarakom.
Also See: The best time to visit Munnar
Best things to do in Kumarakom
1. Watching the sunset at Vembanad Lake
Definitely one of the top things to do in Kumarakom. Located on the east shore of the Vembanad Lake, watching the sunset toward the west is a treat for your eyes. An unforgettable experience to remember for sure. Popularly known as the Vembanad Kayal, it’s one of the largest lakes in Kerala. Also, it’s counted amongst one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes. A popular backwater stretch, it surrounds the island of Pathiramanal, Perumbalam and Pallippuram. The lake lies at sea level and is spread over an area of 200 sq km. A narrow barrier island separates the lake from the Arabian Sea. Known by different names across the districts of Kerala, it’s Vembanad in Kumarakom. And, the name applies to the whole stretch of 60 kms from Thanneermukkom Bund to Alleppey.
You can either book a sunset cruise which will take you over the lake and you would get to watch the mesmerizing sunset. Or, if your resort is facing the west, then consider yourself lucky. Sit on the lawn, sip a cup of hot coffee and soak in the beauty of the evening turning slowly from a hue of blue to reddish-orange. As you watch the sunset, make sure to see the changing colours of the water as well. The view is nothing less than a glimpse of a piece of heaven. The best part about the sunset cruise is they also offer various live cultural performances – flute, sitar or sarod. In short, the evening spent would be one to remember.
- Recommended for: Nature lovers, honeymoon couples, families, photographers.
- Things to do: Take a cruise ride, enjoy the sunset and live music.
Explore Kumarakom village
While you are going around all the beautiful places of Kumarakom, make sure you tour the village as well. A pretty sight in itself. It will give you a close experience of how a life in the backwaters operates. Quite different from the other places of India. Your tour packages might not include this at all. But, you would be missing out on experiencing the actual essence of the place. You can either book a canoe ride or just walk through the green lands. Navigating through the canals or walking around would come across the locals going on with their daily activities. Fishing, farming, women at work – braiding coconut coir, pottery and toddy tapping. You could also communicate with the locals and engage in some of their activities.
The Locals have their private canoes and that’s the only mode of transport used for commuting. Fishermen catch their own fish regularly. Women sit by the canals and carry on their daily chores. And, just like their traditional methods of work, their ways of welcoming guests are the same. With a warm smile you would be greeted by the locals as you walk by or sail through. You can book a tour or day trip conducted by the responsible tourism travel desk at Kumarakom. This will make it easy for you to roam around freely. Also, the tour guide provides useful information about the local life there.
- Recommended for: Nature lovers, families, culture and art buffs.
- Things to do: Canoe ride through the canals, engage in traditional methods of work, know more about local culture.
Explore Aymanam Village
Located within 10 kms from Kumarakom, Aymanam is a tiny village with Lake Vembanad on it’s left and River Meenachil on right. The village had taken notice of travellers after reading Arundhati Roy’s novel ‘God of Small Things’. And, it’s not only her who got lured by the charm of this place. The beauty of this village has found place in the writings of a number of well-versed authors. The beauty of this place lies in the meandering canals and rivers defining the borders of this village. Almost 2/3rd of the place of the land is covered with rice plantations. Lush greenery coupled with a steady flow of the beautiful water bodies on both the sides makes this place a must-visit location.
You could also opt to stay overnight as the place offers a number of homestays. It’s a like a hidden hamlet in the district of Kottayam. Although, the village have nothing extraordinary to see, but, the beauty of the place is inexplicable. Raw yet soulful. As you walk through the village, the flavor it exudes can rejuvenate your mind and soul. Even if its’ not in your itinerary, it should definitely be one of the best things to do in Kumarakom.
- Recommended for: Nature lovers, families, culture and art buffs.
- Things to do: Canoe ride through the canals, stroll through the village, and visit some of the religious places on the way – Pandavam Sree Darmashasta Temple and Sree Narasimha Swamy Temple.
There are two places in Kumarakom that offers a traveller with this rare activity. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and Pathiramanal Island. Located right in the tiny town of Kumarakom, the bird sanctuary is one major place famous for migratory birds. There are two ways to explore the sanctuary. Either you can book a canoe ride which will take you along the whole place. Or, simply enjoy a walk through the lush green trail on the banks of the backwaters. The best season to come and catch a glimpse of those rare species of birds would the winters. Starting from the month of November, a large variety of migratory birds from Siberia and Himalayas come and make this place their home. Cuckoo, Cormorant, Kingfisher, Heron, and Woodpecker are some of the species which you would get to look at.
As for Pathiramanal, it’s located on the borders of Kottayam, and is a mesmerizing place to visit. And, bird-watching in Pathiramanal is definitely one of the top things to do in Kumarakom. Set on the Vembanad Lake, the island can only be reached via boat or canoe. Sailing through the lake and watching the beauty on both the sides is an amazing activity in itself. The island is rich with flora and fauna and you would get to see 50 migratory birds right there. Along with that, there are a number of local species of birds as well. Spread over an area of 10 acres, the scenic beauty around the island along with the sight of various birds will leave you speechless.
- Recommended for: Nature lovers, families, photographers.
- Things to do: Admiring the flora and fauna, bird-watching and gathering knowledge about the various species of birds, taking photographs of the surroundings.
A perfect place to relax and unwind, the beach in Kumarakom offers a number of water activities for the adventure lovers. The surrounding around the beach is picturesque and that’s the main reason as to why it attracts such a huge number of tourists every year. The area round the beach is well facilitated with new age requirements like shopping complexes, restaurants and resorts. It’s a paradise for the adventure lovers with activities such as paragliding, parasailing, snorkeling, water skiing being offered.
You can book it from any of the local adventure groups there as that’s what is required. There will be an experienced instructor who would guide you through the whole process. Mostly, all the activities are around 2-3 hours in which the first half goes into a warm-up session. You will be given detailed information about how to go on and the do’s and don’ts. Make sure to abide by what has been instructed for no damage. The adventure groups take extra effort in taking care about your safety. Water activities can be done in groups as well as individually. Do what’s suitable for you.
- Recommended for: Adventure lovers, families.
- Things to do: Parasailing, Paragliding, Boating, Swimming, Snorkeling, Surfing, Water Skiing.
Trip to Vagamon
Located almost 2.5 hours from Kumarakom, visiting this place is one of the most amazing things to do there. It’s an easy day trip. So, just book a cab and head over to experience serenity at it’s best! Vagamon is a hill station primarily located in the Peerumade taluk of Idukki district. Situated around 1100 meters above sea-level, this place was used by the British for tea plantations. Still a sleepy town covered by hills and valleys, this place is still unexplored. Frequented just by keen explorers, it’s one hidden gem nested so near to Kumarakom.
Green meadows, pine forests, tea estates, waterfalls. Do you need anything more to describe the beauty of this place? Also, the hill station is an ideal place for trekking and hiking. Hilly bald with green meadows, it’s also home to a variety of flowers and orchids.
- Recommended for: Adventure lovers, Nature lovers, families, honeymoon couples.
- Things to do: Trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, rock climbing.
Enjoy a heavenly meal in Grannery
One of the best joints in Kumarakom, with a typical Kerala style architectural ambiance. Having a meal in Grannery is one of the top things to do in Kumarakom. The ambiance is good and the food quantities are quite generous. The restaurant offers a nice buffet spread with a lot of cuisines. The local seafood specialties are a must-have there. When you are in Kumarakom, keep one evening fixed just to spend in this warm and cozy place.
- Recommended for: Families, Couples.
- Things to eat: Chicken curry, Veg Mappassa, Appam, crispy vegetables, chicken fry, seafood.
- Address: New Nazarath Road, Kumarakom 686 563 India
- Price range: INR 1200 – INR 8000
Kerala as a state has too many places to be explored. Be it a novice traveller or anyone experienced, the place never fails to mesmerize. Kumarakom is one such beauty which cannot be explained in words. A nature lover’s heaven, an adventure seekers paradise, an unwinding location for families. It’s distinct and it’s different. Come and explore this beauty for yourself.