R-Day long weekend: Planning a Kerala trip? Here's a leisurely itinerary involving offbeat spots

The itinerary is centered around Kannur and you can add or take off spots at your convenience. Photo: iStock/Adrian Catalin Lazar

Kerala is not just all about the chills of Munnar and the houseboats of Alappuzha. It also has many less-frequented tourist spots in the northern part of the State that can give you a whole new taste of the state's culture and beauty. If you are planning to go on a leisurely trip to unwind, for the upcoming three-day-long weekend starting with the Republic Day on January 26, here's a sample itinerary in and around Kannur, for you. You can add or take off spots as per your interest, energy, budget, and time.

Day 1 (January 26, Friday)
Arrive at Kannur International Airport or Thalassery Railway Station. You can check into a local homestay or boutique hotel for a taste of authentic Kerala hospitality and enjoy a traditional Kerala breakfast with appams, stew, and local coffee or tea. After a few hours of rest, in the afternoon, head to Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach (the longest in Asia), where you can drive along the shoreline and enjoy the waves splashing onto the vehicle. Indulge in beach activities like sunbathing, and swimming, or just relax and soak in the stunning vistas.

In the evening, explore the historical town of Thalassery by visiting the Thalassery Fort, an old British fort with a rich history, and walk through the streets to observe the colonial architecture. Also, sample Thalassery's famous biryani for dinner at one of the local eateries, before you call it a day.

Day 2 (January 27, Saturday)
You can start the second day with the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated on the western inclines of the Western Ghats, the sanctuary has a diverse array of plant and animal life, encompassing a variety of species such as elephants, tigers, leopards, and an array of bird species, all contributing to the area's vibrant biodiversity.

From your hotel/homestay, depart for the sanctuary early in the morning (It's 50km from Kannur city and can take a little more than an hour to reach the place). It opens to visitors at 8 am. Embark on a guided trek and you might spot the Malabar Giant Squirrels, various bird species, elephants and more. Also, check out the Aralam Dam and Meenmutty Waterfalls during the trek. In the afternoon, enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the serene greenery of the sanctuary. For the evening, you can check out the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park, which is situated in Kannur town, approximately 50 km from the Aralam Sanctuary. It is home to a vast collection of snakes and is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of these reptiles. The park closes at 6 pm.

Day 3 (January 28, Sunday)
After breakfast, head to St Angelo's Fort, which is quite near Kannur town. The historic fort, overlooking the Arabian Sea, was constructed by the Portuguese. Enjoy a stroll around the fort, learn about its history, and capture some scenic views. In the afternoon, have lunch at a local eatery and check out Arakkal Museum which is open till 5 pm. It was the former residence of the only Muslim Royal Family in Kerala, the Arakkal Ali Rajas. Artifacts, heirlooms, documents, old-fashioned gadgets, and weapons at the beautiful museum, before you leave for home.

Note: Book accommodation and any required guides or transportation services in advance, if required. Enjoy your discovery of Kerala’s hidden treasures!

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