26th July 2018
Wayanad was one of my favourite places to visit in Kerala thanks to all the adventure activities that can be done there. We only spent two days in Wayanad, but thanks to Muddy Boots we were able to have an adventure packed schedule exploring all of the highlights of this beautiful area of Kerala. If you’re looking to do adventure activities in Kerala, Wayanad is the place for you! From hiking to repelling, from cave exploring to bamboo rafting, it’s got it all, just read on to find out more!
About Muddy Boots
Muddy Boots is an active travel company dedicated to making you experience all the best Kerala has to offer, including Wayanad, Coorg and the Malabar Coast. They offer different types of experiences, from single day trails, to multi-day trips and nature trails. It was founded in 2009 and has been shortlisted as one of India’s 6 best adventure tour operators. If you’re looking for an adventurous time in Kerala, they’re the company you need! We did all of the below activities in Wayanad with Muddy Boots, so make sure to check out their website if you’re looking to do the same.
Our jeeps waiting for us for a day of adventures in Wayanad, India
Adventure tourism in Wayanad
Wayanad is a area of Kerala surrounded by hills and forests. With its epic landscapes and rich environment, it makes for the perfect backdrop to all sorts of adventure activities. I have listed below some of my favourite adventure activities we did in Kerala.
I’ve said this before and you can probably tell by now, but I love a good hike. Be it along the coastline of Italy, up a volcano at night in Indonesia or in the hills of India, I’m always game for a challenging hike and epic view. The hike we did in Wayanad wasn’t actually very long, due to a recent trekking ban that the Kerala government has put in place to protect people and nature from wildfires. We drove on 4WD jeeps for the most part on dirt track roads to get to the top of a hill, and then hiked for around 45 minutes along paths in the tea plantations and forest where cars can’t go.
The hiking trail we did in Wayanad, India
We hiked pretty deep into the forest, where the path gets very steep and you have to help yourself with ropes that are tied along the trees. The path also isn’t as well treaded anymore so make sure to wear trainers unless you want to get mud and leaves all over your feet (like me, don’t be like me and think hiking sandals is ok). Other than the couple very steep spots we came across, the majority of the hike is primarily flat so is quite easy for any level of fitness. The highlight for me was being surrounded by untouched nature and hiking up to epic viewpoints.
Adventurous hiking in Wayanad, India. Photo by Jinson Abraham @jinsabraham @keralatourism
Enjoying the view over Wayanad at the end of our hike
In Wayanad there are a number of caves with Neolithic carvings which are believed to date back to 6,000 BCE. Our hike took us to check out some of these caves and learn more about their history. It was sad to see that some of the rocks had been written over by modern tourists with the standard “Chase was here” or “Lucy & Tom 4 Ever”. These sites are precious historical artefacts, just because they’re not fenced off like in a museum, doesn’t mean they can be written over! Sitting in the shade of the cave was actually the perfect mid-hike break to relax and recover a bit before setting off amongst the tea plantations once again.
Our guide explaining the carvings in the cave
I’m a bit of an adventure junkie and I had been indoors rock-climbing before while in London (this is on man made artificial holds – the best you can get in a big city like London!) but repelling in Wayanad was an entirely different experience. Unlike bouldering where your aim is to get to the top, in repelling your aim is to get to the bottom. We hiked and climbed up a huge rock through a relatively easy path, and were greeted at the top by more Muddy Boots ready to get us geared up for repelling. We were split up in smaller groups so that the wait wouldn’t be too long (since you can only repel down one at a time), but the view from the top is stunning so the wait isn’t unpleasant. Just make sure to put sunscreen on first, as it can get pretty hot under the Indian heat!
My friend Teresa of @broganabroad getting ready to repel in Wayanad, India
If you’re in a big group like we were it’s also easier to leave your bags, cameras and other belongings at the bottom of the rock, since you won’t be able to keep them on you while you’re repelling. The team will get you all geared up with a helmet, harness and two ropes, one that you use to get down and the other security one that connects you to the top. Repelling is a great activity if you enjoy adrenaline rushes, as you have to trust the rope to keep you up as you let go and make your way down in little jumps.
My friend Teresa of @broganabroad repelling in Wayanad, India
I’m sure you’re heard of rafting before, but what about bamboo rafting? It couldn’t be more different and yet exciting at the same time. I’ve been rafting once before in The Netherlands, on an artificial course with rough currents and bumpy tracks. Given that is what I was expecting you can imagine my concern at the thought of tackling agitated waters on a bamboo raft. Bamboo rafting turned out to be very different. As the name implies, the boats are actually rafts made out of bamboo branches, with cushioned seats at the back for you to sit so you don’t get wet. We did it on the Vythiri river in a particularly calm sections of the river, so that it was more of a leisurely cruise than an action rafting cruise. It gets adventurous when you try manoeuvring the raft with only one long pole and end up running it aground on the shore of the river (yes, that did almost happen). The surrounding nature is stunning and makes for a beautiful backdrop to the bamboo rafting.
Bamboo rafting in Wayanad, India
Me attempting to cruise our bamboo raft in Wayanad. Not very successfully.
In the village of Wayanad it is also possible to go zip lining. Unfortunately I was staying in a hotel just outside of Wayanad and didn’t have time to experience this while I was there. One of my fellow KBE5 bloggers and friends did manage to do it early in the morning before we set off, and has kindly shared his experience with us. Bo Saldaña of El Mundo Ok blog says; “Talking about the zip line experience is like talking about pure adrenaline, that you feel it in your whole body. When I discovered that the Vythiri Village, a luxury resort spa, located in Wanayad (Kerala), had its own zip line system within its facilities, I did not hesitate to feel this adventure again. You need to pay an extra fee for this activity, but there is a discount for hotel guests and I recommend doing it. If it is your firt first time, you will feel a bit of fear, but when you are in the air and see the route, your body calms down and enjoys the experience, holding the pulley that transports you from up to down, feeling like you’re flying or like a free bird.”
Bo of El Mundo Ok zip lining in Wayanad, India. Picture by Carlos Bernardo (O meu escritorio es la fora)
Beyond Wayanad: Adventure activities in Kannur
I know I’ve been talking about Wayanad and what a great adventure destination it is, however there are other regions in Kerala that are awesome for adventure activities that you should be aware of. Kannur, in the north of Kerala, is one of these.
Unlike Wayanad where all the adventure activities are connected to the mountains, in Kannur it’s all about the sea and beaches. We visited Dharmadan where it’s possible to go sea kayaking. Kayaking in Kerala was very different from any other places I’ve done it before, since the area of sea where we did it is actually part of the backwaters, with mangroves and small islands all around. This made it much simpler since the water is very still, making it an easy place to kayak, even for beginners. The mangrove surroundings are also extremely beautiful and if you’re lucky you might even be able to spot bats or other animals.
Me and Karla from @karlaroundtheoworld kayaking in Kannur. Photo by Jinson Abraham @jinsonabraham @keralatourism
Quad biking on the beach
In Kannur it is possible to drive a quad bike on Muzhapilangad Beach, the only driveable beach in India. If like you’re not a very experienced driver, no need to worry, there isn’t enough traffic on the beach to get in the way of your quad biking! I found this to be a very thrilling experience as the beach is huge so you can drive completely straight for hundreds of metres and pick up speed without it being risky. I was probably the slowest quad biker that beach has ever seen but I still had a blast. Driving on the beach with a car to reach the quad rental place is in itself very fun if you’ve never done it before, just be careful not to get stuck in the sand!
Me and Karla from @karlaroundtheworld quad biking in Kannur. Photo by Jinson Abraham @jinsabraham @keralatourism
Have you been to Wayanad before? How did you find it? Did you do other adventure activities? Let me know in the comments below! Exploring Wayanad with Muddy Boots was one of my favourite parts of Kerala Blog Express, as I personally love being outdoors and doing all sorts of adventurous activities. After our relaxing backwaters cruise in Alapphuza or our chill day exploring the tea plantations of Munnar, it was the perfect way to continue our trip.