Kerala. Lush green valleys and lazy backwaters, brightly painted Kathakali artists and gently draped gold-and-white saris. Aptly described as ‘God’s own country’, Kerala is the travelers dream. Blessed with endlessly beautiful forests and beaches and bursting at the seams with gorgeous art, delicious food and healing Ayurveda, Kerala is the place to be.
Most international travellers tend to first land in Mumbai and lucky for them, the journey from there to this tropical paradise is not very hard. This practical guide will help you evaluate the travel options between Mumbai and Kerala.
Travelling from Mumbai to Kerala by Air
- Kerala has three main airports; in Cochin, Trivandrum and Calicut. All three airports are well connected with Mumbai and there are many direct flights between each of the airports through the day
- Fly from Mumbai to Cochin if you are travelling to Fort Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Marari, Alleppey or Kumarakoam
- If you are visiting Kovalam or Varkala it is closer to fly into Trivandrum from Mumbai
- Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod which are at the northern most end of Kerala are closer to Calicut airport
- Kochi Airport is serviced with the most number of flights from Mumbai. It means more flexibility on flight times and at times fares that are cheaper than for flights to Calicut or Trivandrum.
Tip: If you are looking at visiting North Kerala and flights to Calicut are expensive you can also look at flights to Mangalore in Karnataka.
Travelling from Mumbai to Kerala by Rail
- The southern India rail network known as Konkan railway runs a number of trains between Mumbai and Kerala
- The major railway stations are Calicut, Ernakulam Junction (close to Fort Cochin) and Trivandrum central. There a few trains that also halt at Alleppey and Varkala stations
- There are about 9-10 trains that run between Mumbai and Kerala. The average travel time is 16 to 24 hours, depending on the train and if you plan to alight in North/Central or South Kerala
- Avoid booking tickets on a train that does not start in Mumbai. These trains are often late and dirty as people have been riding on them for a while.
- The best trains to take are the ones that start from Mumbai CST, or Lokmaniya Tilak station. (Mumbai CST is the easiest to reach)
- Avoid the trains to Kerala that you need to board from Kalyan or Vasai Road. These stations are listed as Mumbai stations but are far from the city.
- Since it is a long train journey to Kerala it is nice to take a train to Kerala and then fly back.
- The journey is extremely scenic. So if you have the luxury of time, definitely take a train journey to savour and remember the beauty of Kerala.
Travelling from Mumbai to Kerala by Road
The least recommended option is to travel from Mumbai to Kerala by road.
- The distance from Mumbai to Cochin is 1377km
- There are no direct buses that ply between the two regions.
- Driving to Kerala with a rented car would mean a journey of two days with a night halt. (A care hire would be very expensive and not all car rental agencies would be willing to send a car and driver from Mumbai to Kerala)
We recommend either taking a flight or train when travelling from Mumbai to Kerala as a drive would be tiresome and expensive.
Goa, the most popular beach and party destination comes right between Mumbai and Kerala. You can either take a train or fly to Goa and then travel onwards to Kerala. Click here to read more on travel options between Goa and Kerala.
You can also make the entire way from Mumbai to Kerala to your travel route and stop at additional interesting places like the temple and ruin landscape of Hampi, the charming palace town of Mysore or the green region of Wayanad. From there you can easily get to Calicut and head down to Kochi by train. Our guest Rachel did this on her two-week-trip across South India. Check it out!
An alternative route is to fly from Mumbai to Mysore directly to avoid the long journeys for Goa – Hampi – Mysore by train and then to make your way down to Kerala. This was Daphne’s idea for her two-week-trip to Kerala in May.
Alternatively, the coast of Maharastra and Karnataka is dotted with idyllic small coastal towns. You can choose to stop at one of them. Do remember that you will have very basic tourist facilities there.
We would love to help you plan a trip to India that takes you from Mumbai to Kerala, visiting gorgeous places enroute. Plan your trip with us now and we figure out the ideal travel route together with you.