Cochin International Airport- Kerala’s largest airport
There are three airports in Kerala, with flights to domestic and international destinations: Kochi(Cochin), Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum). The airports have several carriers operating international flights around the world.
Cochin International Airport(IATA: COK) is the largest airport in the state, with regular flight connections to most of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka. Europe and US bound passengers need to transit in the Middle East or Mumbai, though chartered flights are common during tourist season, mostly from Europe. There are regular Flights to most parts of India.
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (IATA: TRV) has regular connections to major cities of India, as well as to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Charter flights for tourism from London, New York and Moscow operate to Thiruvananthapuram.
Kozhikode International Airport (IATA: CCJ) is a major airport in Malabar with international connections to most of the cities in the Middle East.
In addition Mangalore Airport (IATA: IXE) and Coimbatore Airport (IATA: CJB) in neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu respectively offers limited connectivity to Northern and Eastern districts of Kerala respectively.
There are 20 to 25 international carriers offering flights to Kerala. Apart from international carriers, Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways and Indigo offers international connections from the 3 airports. Domestic destinations accessible by direct flights from these airports include Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agatti, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Pune, Goa and Delhi. There are daily, and some bi-daily flights, to most Indian cities from airports in Kochi and Trivandrum by all the Indian carriers. Kochi has Air-Cruise turnaround program with chartered services.
Shuttles operated by KSRTC are available from airport to its respective city core and nearby towns. Taxis are the most popular for Airport-City connection.
Indian Railways operates several trains to and from Kerala. More than 300 plus trains connect Kerala to all parts of India, including long-haul direct train services to cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Trivandrum Rajadhani, Ernakulam Durnoto, Kerala Express and Netravati Express are some of the most popular trains connect key cities across India.
Log on to the Indian Railways booking site to book tickets online or you can walk up to any railway station to book tickets between any two destinations in India.
Be aware that trains are the most popular method of transport and almost all trains in Kerala originate or terminate in Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi, and are usually heavily booked. Buy your tickets as early as possible. Another option is using Tatkal. You pay almost double, but have a chance of getting a seat. Tatkal is an emergency service, hence its booking is open just 24 hours before departure. Some travel agents have authorized booking quotas for certain trains.
Recently, the luxury tourist train The Golden Chariot has introduced a South Indian Rail Tour, which includes many parts of Kerala. This is a good option for those who want to visit the South Indian states on as tight schedule. The train starts from Bangalore and covers Chennai, Pondicherry, Trichy, Madurai, Trivandrum, Alapuzha, Kochi and back to Bangalore. The 7 night/8 day package tour, costs US$3,000-7,000 depending upon the class taken.
Inter-state private and government buses operates between neighboring states. Usually the journey is performed in the night so that you can escape the heat of the day. The most common inter-state bus is Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC-Karnataka) with daily bus from most of Major cities of Kerala to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. Tamil Nadu State Bus like SETC also operates regularly from Kerala. Kerala’s State bus- KRSTC-Kerala do have regular Ordinary bus to most of nearby places in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. KRSTC-Kerala also operates a few Volvo AC bus to Bangalore and Coimbatore.
However Private bus players to operate more buses than Govt options. Most of them are well maintained. Kallada, Shama, KPN are the major bus players, though recently Raj National and few others have entered with Pan India operations. Kallada, KPN, Shama etc have regular buses to Bangalore, Chennai and many other places in Tamil Nadu as well as Karnataka on various times
It is recommended that you consider booking long distance bus tickets on “air conditioned Volvo buses” operated by all operators as the quality of the other buses vary significantly.
Kerala is well connected by National Highways and recently it was renumbered. Both numbers are used interchangeably:
NH 66 (Connecting Mumbai to Trivandrum via Western coastal side of Goa, Karnataka and almost all coastal cities of Kerala like Kannur, Kozhikode, Kochi, Alapuzha, Kollam etc) (Earlier known as NH 17)
NH 544 (Connecting Salem with Kochi via Coimbatore, Palakkad, Thrissur (Earlier known as NH 47)
NH 766 (Connecting Kozhikode to Mysore via Wayanad)(Earlier known as NH 212)
NH 85 (Connecting Kochi to Ramaeswaram via Munnar, Madurai)(Earlier known as NH 49)
NH 183 (Connecting Kollam to Dindigul in Tamil Nadu via Kottayam, Kanjirapally, Kumily and enters into Tamil Nadu at Kambam)(Earlier known as NH 220)
NH 744 (Connecting Kollam with Madurai via Punalur, Shenkottai, Tenkasi)(Earlier known as NH 208)
NH 966 (Connecting Palakkad with Kozhikode) (Earlier known as NH 213)
Most of the NH roads are two lane carriageways. Only NH 544 is currently 4 lane carriage with dedicated service roads. However its tolled highway. As vehicle density is very high in Kerala, accidents are common. You must be extra cautious while driving here.
Kochi is a major cruise port and currently the most busiest cruise port in India. The port has International Cruise Facilitation Center and almost all major cruises that have global voyages have Kochi as port of call. All Lakshadweep bound cruises originate in Kochi and make return trips. There are also occasional tourist oriented cruises from Mumbai and Goa to Kochi
Also private yachts and other sea going boats regularly call at Kochi Marina.