With the picturesque landscape of backwaters dotted with houseboats, white sand beaches, and the unending vista of blue mountains, Kerala has something to offer all travelers. This quiet southernmost coastal state of India has been prominent on the world tourism map for decades, and now it has emerged as a welcoming destination for remote workers. Fostering a healthy work-life balance, Kerala has been an experimental ground for opening community-driven spaces, laptop-friendly cafes, and coworking spaces with high-speed internet.
Kerala is appreciated for its well-connected public transportation system. If you prefer private taxis, be prepared to polish your bargaining skills. Though the nightlife doesn't exceed 11 p.m., the place is vibrant during the day with cool cafes, pubs, and great workplaces. Whether a weekend in the mountains or a month-long break on the beachside, these are the four best destinations in Kerala where you can travel without compromising your work.
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As one of India's oldest port towns, Fort Kochi was home to traders and wayfarers from all continents. Though most of them are gone today, the remnants of their dwellings are refurbished into vintage cafes and boutique stays to welcome tourists and remote workers. Now you will find a hipster town with an old-world charm.
Kashi Art Cafe is an unmissable spot where you can work and pop into their art gallery whenever you need a break. The Loafer's Corner Cafe, housed in the 200-year-old Dutch-Portuguese building, can be another cozy work-friendly place. A 30-minute drive from Fort Kochi is the Fortune Cowork and Centre A, two adjacent coworking spaces with all the modern facilities of a corporate space.
The Fort Kochi beach is a bustling spot of local life, where you can witness a picturesque sunset with the settings of Chinese fishing nets, a 14th-century contribution of the Chinese explorers. Bordering the Fort Kochi beach locates Kerala’s first hotel, the Old Harbour Hotel, shortlisted for the UNESCO world heritage award, and Terrace Grill Restaurant, famous for its Jewish delicacies. If it is during the daytime, dine in at the Armoury Resto-Bar, which is embellished with historic weaponry.
If you are up early, you can rent a bike and set your map to Mattancherry for a cycling expedition and enjoy pedaling through the narrow lanes and spice markets with colonial-era bungalows. Alternatively, if you’re more of a night owl, Fort Kochi has one of the most active nightlife in Kerala. Hotel Seagull is a top-notch place to sip a chilled beer while enjoying the beach view. The dim-lit Clubb 18 with an outdoor pool/jacuzzi will treat you with cocktails, spirits, or the daily shaken specials. 18 Degree Roof Top Bistro Sports Bar, with a view of the bay, is best to accommodate larger groups.
Alleppey is the face of Kerala, a very different kind of city where canoes and canals are the primary commuting options than roads and automobiles. Away from the bustling city life, this laid-back destination is ideal for a relaxed holiday with mouthwatering food options and fun backwater adventures.
Located just 400 meters from the beach, Gostops Alleppey is a backpacker's hostel that provides good coworking facilities and Cafe Catamaran overlooks the water while serving a variety of continental cuisines and vegan food. Choola Multi Cuisine Restaurant is a dine-in option with a traditional ambiance that serves lip-smacking Kerala Sadya with culinary delights that appeal to vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Halais Restaurant, located right at the center of the Alleppey town, is popular for its biryani and other Arabic dishes. And Pukabeach Puttum Kattanum, the small beachfront cafe with an old-fashioned tea stall ambiance, serves all local delicacies.
Explore the Alleppey backwaters on houseboats to spend as short as three hours or as long as a week. Don't miss to inform your houseboat man if you want to visit toddy shops serving fresh toddy, palm tree wine, with spicy flavors of seafood treats. Pegs 'n' Pints and Baker's Lounge are two options that can brighten your evenings with its creative cocktails.
Kayaking through the small canals or sunbathing on the white sands of Marari beach, watching the sunset can be a good way to spend your evenings. You can rent a canoe and paddle through the troughs, just like how the locals commute. Cycling is an excellent option for taking a tour through the villages with views of paddy fields and the unending vista of backwaters.
Clutching to the lower ranges of the UNESCO-protected Western Ghats Mountains, Kerala's blue-veiled Munnar is home to beautiful tea plantations. Though this high range is 134 kilometers away from the major township of Fort Kochi, Munnar is a complete package—especially if you like being in the mountains.
Located at the heart of Harrison Malayalam Tea Plantation, Tentgram Plantation Hostel is best for a remote work vacation with coworking facilities, a glasshouse library, scenic surroundings, and a therapeutic climate. Though it will be freezing cold, do not miss the Kolukkumalai sunrise trek 3.5 kilometers from the hostel to witness the most beautiful sunrise from the world's highest tea plantation.
Munnar is famed for its rolling landscape of mountains, national park, and tea estates; hence it has fewer options for nightlife, pubs, and cafes. However, Tea Tales Cafe in Munnar town is an excellent place to relish the fast food options while digging into your laptop in its work-friendly atmosphere. Likewise, Blackberry Hills resort's Hornbill Restaurant is a warm place to dine in with the most scenic views in Munnar. KTDC Tea County is an easily approachable dining option near Munnar town with excellent food and a pleasant ambiance. It has a Beer and Wine Parlour, the town's only decent option for alcoholic beverages.
Varkala, located towards the southern end of Kerala, is a bohemian beach town with a long stretch of paved footpaths and panoramic views extending over the Arabian Sea. Zostel Varkala is a coliving space well equipped with coworking facilities.
Soul Food Cafe of Soul & Surf has the short but yummiest menu option, from mezze platters to mini pappadams. They also provide yoga and surfing classes. If trying a creative European menu is your mood of the day, InDa Cafe is your place. Caffé Italiano and Darjeeling Cafe are two work-friendly cafes with menus as vibrant as their colors. Gods Own Country Kitchen and ABBA Restaurant & Everest German Bakery are renowned for their authentic Kerala food.
Alcohol isn't widely available in Varkala as it is a spiritual town. However, Sunken Bar is a decent option that serves alcohol. Varkala's neighboring beach town Kovalam has great bar options like WWW Restobar, Neera Bar, and The Sky Bar to compensate for this.
Walk through the northern cliff, where the promenade is vibrant with flea markets, souvenirs, cafes, and restaurants. Sharanagati Yogahaus, the residential yoga retreat, is perfect if you plan to take advanced classes. On a free evening, you can climb to the top of Varkala Lighthouse, and you will get to see the panoramic view at the end of the ascent.