Wayanad travel blog – unlike most of my travels, this trip wasn’t planned, making it all the more interesting. Neither was Wayanad how I’d anticipated it to be! We initially planned on visiting Varkala, a coastal town on the south end of Kerala.
But a drive from Bangalore over 700 km proved to be a hectic journey. We stuck to the closest of Kerala’s forest paradise – Wayanad.
Thus, it’s the location itself that makes Wayanad all more popular, it’s reasonable distance from Kerala’s northern metropolitan cities. Here goes my Wayanad travel blog!
Wayanad Travel Blog: Is Wayanad Worth Going?
Yes! For someone like me, who enjoys hiking, adventure sports, and striking plantation views in the backdrop, it’s worth it all.
We had a huge hitch in decided where to go in Kerala. Some of us stuck to believing there’s not much to do in Wayanad apart from strolling its plantations (like Ooty). However, there is actually a handful of adventurous things to try here.
Not to mention, with Wayanad being a tourism spot, there are quite amazing facilities for all types of travelers. But that’s about it – the hilly town is perfect for a 4-5 days itinerary, no more. It’s a tiny rural town afterall.
Yet staying in a hostel here, I found out that a lot of travelers, both solo and couples, were staying for over a week. Most didn’t even check out Wayanad, they simply stayed at the scenic hostel spot amidst plantations on remote peaks.
It wasn’t the things to do in Wayanad, they were bothered about. In contrast, some visitors were mere on workations. They worked from their laptops sitting among tea plantations, a swing hanging from a large tree, an elevated viewpoint overlooking the panaromic landscape of forest, villages, and hills below.
Wayand Travel Blog: Essentials to Keep in Mind
Visiting Kerala in the mid-winter (January, 2023) and glancing at Google images of Wayanad, I expected the place to be chilly like Ooty. The temperature was more or less similar to Bangalore’s.
In fact, Bangalore was colder than Wayanad at the time! Here are some things to keep in mind about Wayanad, Kerala to get a vivid idea of what to expect.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Wayanad is during the winters with the moderate cool weather from October to February. This is also the peak season in Wayanad.
Wayanad is such a place where each season exhibits its own beauty. While summer (March to May) is humid, it’s a shoulder season where still quite many people visit. The forest’s canopies providing refugee from the summer heat is a bliss.
Understanding the Locals
Apart from the tourism-focused stays, restaurants, and attractions, it’s fairly difficult to talk with the locals. Not many speak English in Kerala, or Hindi for that matter, thus making it difficult to communicate here.
Almost all public signboards and busboards are in Malayalam as well. Our first stop in Kerala was a local biryani restaurant where we were tried finding vegetarian food. The only communication we made was calling out ‘Biryani?’ and ‘vegetarian?’.
To which the local would shake his head or nod as he pleased.
Internet Connectivity in Wayanad
The internet connectivity in urban parts of the town is mediocre and enough to find directions on Maps. But probably not enough for a zoom video call. When staying in Wayanad, request your stay about internet arrangement before booking.
Remote parts of Wayanad are far from network coverage. It can get tough getting 4G mobile network signal. Though we stayed at Zostel Plus Wayanad on a remote peak, an infrastructure was in place for strong network connectivity.
During the trip, I had to attend a couple zoom meetings that went with no hitches with the internet. There was, however, trouble finding network while driving through through the narrow paths.
When traveling Kerala by a personal vehicle, I recommend downloading your destination routes prior.
What to Pack
Get both sets of clothing, light clothes like t-shirts, shorts, and trousers for touring and warmer clothes like jackets and sweater for the nights and mornings.
Just like Bangalore, the heat gets pricky during the day and yet one can’t stay long out without a sweater by night. Get sports shoes and caps for hiking the Chembra Peak.
Wayanad Travel Blog: Our 3-Day itinerary
We made a 3-days trip out of which I stayed back 1-day. I’d Zoom meetings to attend to. But in overall – the stay, the places we visited along with trekking and some adventure activities, the whole trip was perfect for the 3 days. I regretted missing out on a day, but I hadn’t any choice.
Here’s how our 3 days in Wayanad went.
Day 1: Driving for 6 Hours
With Wayanad being the closest hotspot in Kerala from Bangalore at 290 km, we planned on driving early morning. As our punctuality would reward it, we began late around 8 a.m… ish.
We had decided on not racing the Honda City – we weren’t in a hurry. So we made stops for breakfast and a late lunch, thus adding a couple more hours to the 6 hours road trip. The fun began when we started driving from Meppadi, Wayanad up the hilly terrains.
The narrow curvy roads though remote, were well-built smooth tar tracks. As we drove up, we couldn’t help but stop for breathing in the serene valley forests belows.
Zostel Plus Wayanad First Impressions
Finally reaching the spot in the evening, we did find the location remote and were hesitant about our stay expectations. But I’m not exageratting when I say this – It couldn’t have been better.
The ambiance, staff, the location amidst plantation, the backpacker dormitories, and the overall cleanliness. There was a canteen which I found to be moderate. Some found it unreliable so they brought along their snacks.
My favorite part was its history. It was first opened as a tea estate by the British Rule in 1920s. The thatched rooves then saw themselves converted into a hospital post-independence.
While talking to the nightguard of the hostel around midnight, he talked of how he was born in this very hospital. Only in 2019 during the pandemic was the run-down structure acquired by Zostel – making a beautiful accommodation property.
If I’m visiting Wayanad again, I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself staying here again. The price at Rs. 800 per head for a night is pretty reasonable as well!
For backpackers, this is my best recommendation. Check out its availability on Booking.com below. Hurry before you miss out on deals. The best part of Booking.com? Book now and pay when you get there!
Campfire Nights with other Wanderers
Wayanad travel blog. We didn’t get out after checking in the first evening. It was already dusk and we were exhausted. Besides, with the Kalpetta region standing among elephant forests, wandering out after dusk wasn’t encouraged. Yes, elephants do tread the place at night!
So we stuck to the comforts of evening campfire and soothing greenery. The common lounge areas and a small library with plush couches were simply amazing. The reception area even had guitars, ukes, and other instruments.
Anyhow, I’d brought my own guitar along. We met a lot of new travelers – people from different parts of the country, some even foreign. Some enthusiastic about meeting strangers, some enjoying the campfire, and some nervous to socialize.
The fun part was how we stayed for 3 nights here and we met different people every single night by the same fireplace! Sometimes I stayed by the company, sometimes I took off with my guitar to play in solitude. Either way, they were amazing evenings.
Some were real travelers here, some were kids like us – out for a trip, and most on workations. Yet all of us talked of range of topics for hours. A few stayed longer, others left early confiding to their beds. We’d stay over midnights witnessing clear starry skies.
Day 2: Ziplining, Glass Bridge, and a Jeep Ride (while I stayed back)
Wayanad travel blog: Staying excited and awake over midnight the previous evening, we woke up late with a lazy breakfast at the canteen. Later on, the rest went out for the day’s itinerary while I stayed back.
I had a meeting to attend late afternoon. I didn’t mind with the laid back comfort of the hostel and company of other people on workations. However, I did miss out on a great deal – things you shouldn’t miss out on when in Wayanad.
Wayanad boasts the longest zipline in Kerala with a 300-meter stretch. The picturesque views of plantation as you glide down is something worth looking forward to.
While ziplining’s all fun, the stories of 900 kandi glass bridge were endless from my friends. Apparently, it wasn’t just the transparent bridge – it was the edgy jeep ride up the rough terrain that made it memorable.
From Kalladi, it’s a 6 km trip up with buggies that wobble throughout the rocky terrain up to the glass bridge. It costs Rs. 300-400 depending on how you negotiate with the local jeeps here. Private vehicles aren’t allowed in, thus making jeeps the only option. Trekking is another option.
Now, what was I doing all this while back at Zostel? Sitting amidst the plantations in one of the sitting areas, I typed away an article (on this blog, of course) and later attended that important meeting.
But the interesting part was staying back along with other travelers like me who talked of their experiences and lives. I met a man who’d volunteered for months in Isha, Coimbatore and was on a voyage covering South India after cruising through the north on his BMW motorcycle!
That reminded of an article I’d written on the benefits of traveling solo and why I should get back to it some day. The last solo travel I had had was in Singapore for 5 days.
Day 3: Chembra Peak and Quad Biking
Our final day was planned ahead for ascending the Chembra Peak at dawn. Always being a morning person, I woke everyone up and we headed out to get our entry tickets.
The forest department here allows only for the first 200 visitors per day, it’s an elephant’s land afterall. So get there early around 7 a.m. The punctual forest officer to approve tickets casually walked in 30 minutes late after we’d arrived at the counter.
After some hustle, we got through with our tickets and a sticker on our plastic bottle that was refundable later. It cost us Rs. 1770 in total for our group of 5. I later checked many sites that mention Rs. 750 for a 10-member group. But as of January, 2023 – this was the price we paid.
Frustrated with the forest officer’s late arrival, we hurried to the trek’s starting point as we’d already missed sunrise.
But we’d mistaken – it wasn’t the mere sunrise view we had paid for. It was the trek itself. We began walking at first, then slowly ascended under canopies. Then began actually climbing steep lifesize rocks.
After an hour or two after some huffs and puffs, a forest guide at his post appeared. He informed in his best broken Hindi that we were halfway there. That’s when we realized what we’d paid for, it was the long trek! And it couldn’t have been better.
While we initially begun out climbing as a group, I couldn’t help but climb faster with the adrenaline rush. We raced up the hills at some point. Around 10:30 or so, we made it to the infamous Heart Lake.
A naturally formed waterbody atop the mountain range with a view of the clouds floating below at one side and the remaining tip looming over. It was spectacular. However, we weren’t allowed to climb further. So we stopped here a good while.
After endless pictures and music as we went, we descended the Chembra Peak. Descending took less effort – just make sure to wear shoes with good grip.
Quad Biking out of the Blue
Wayanad travel blog. Hesitant whether to head out for lunch or continue with the activities. We were hungry but we’d have to go all the way down to Kalpetta for lunch. The Chembra Peak is remote afterall.
As luck turned out, there was a temporary stall selling watermelon slices, buttermilk, brownies, and few other picnic items you could think of. Since we were hungry, we couldn’t help bother prices and began feasting on whatever caught our eye.
It wasn’t until we realized we were already full and finished almost half the tiny stall! Amused with what we’d done, we began descending towards our parked car – and that’s where we found the quad bike parked.
The quad bike track was right by the parking lot. Bargaining down to around Rs. 300 per lap for a person, we got the bike in our hands. I wasn’t sure it’d be worth just a lap over the mud track.
But gripping my fingers onto the handle bars and man-handling the bike was simply out of the world! For someone who hasn’t ridden a quad bike before, it was quite worth the shot.
The same rental agency (Circuit Wheelz) that lent us the quad bike and its track also offered mountain biking with premium bikes. But with the trek and the quad bike handling, we hadn’t any energy left for it.
So we waved all of it goodbye. To the heart-shaped lake, the quadbike, and of course the tiny foodstall.
Wayanad Travel Blog: Tailpiece
That makes up for my Wayanad travel blog. This post was less informative and more of my personal experience. If you’re looking for a guide to Wayanad, I’ll be working on it very soon!
But to sum it up – I’d say Wayanad is a pleasant spot to visit for any type of visitor. Someone who’s looking for a short not-so-far weekend getaway or someone who loves road trips. It takes no more than a good 3-4 days to get around all the must-visit places here.
But some do stay longer to detox themselves from the city noise. The weather’s pleasant and the peaks are a paradise afterall.
As for getting around, I never did try local transport myself, but I’d highly recommend getting your own vehicle. It’s easier to get around the remote parts of the town at your own pace.
With Wayanad being a touristy area now, people are welcoming to foreigners here. The only hitch can be communicating with the locals at times. When (and if) I learn the Malayalam language some day, I’d probably have a more intense story to tell. But for now, this sums up my Wayanad Travel blog :)