So the best (only) way to get from Kerala to Sri Lanka directly is by flight.
There is currently no ferry or boat connecting India to Sri Lanka.
- Cochin airport COK (kind of near Fort Cochin, Alleppey, Munnar)
- Trivandrum airport TRV (kind of near Varkala, Kovalam)
There are also 2 more airports in Kerala a little further away, located in north Kerala:
- Calicut airport
- Kannur airport
Your flight to Sri Lanka will be to Colombo airport CMB that is actually located outside of Colombo in Negombo.
You can search for flights from India on makemytrip.
But here I present to you a slight detour before you make your way to Sri Lanka!
Cheapest India to Sri Lanka flights?!
From what I have seen in looking up flights from India to Sri Lanka, it seems that Madurai in Tamil Nadu is generally cheaper to fly out of than Cochin or Trivandrum.
So, why not make that as an excuse to see a little bit more of South India and fly out of Madurai?!
Sounds good. 😉
If you are flying FROM Sri Lanka TO India, you may find flying into Madurai will be the cheapest flight to India. If you do that and want to go straight to Kerala from Madurai, see how to get from Madurai to Kerala:
Kerala to Sri Lanka itinerary
So if you have around 10 days between the time you arrive in Kerala until your flight to Sri Lanka, here’s what you can do for your South India itinerary:
- Arrive in Kerala
- 1 day in Cochin
- 1-2 days in Munnar
- 1-2 days in Alleppey
- 1-2 days in Varkala
- 1 day in Kanyakumari aka the southern tip of India!
- 1 day in Madurai aka one of the holiest cities in India
- Madurai to Sri Lanka flight!
And if you’re backpacking other parts of India, see this 2 week North India itinerary.
1. Fort Cochin
Ultimate India backwaters activity: You can read the reviews for the overnight houseboat!
🥥 Read the reviews of these highly rated tours:
Ultimate India wellness activity: Kerala is known as the place that ayurveda started! You can read the reviews for the 14-day ayurveda yoga retreat in Kerala!
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7. Sri Lanka!
Getting around Kerala
Bus travel (to Munnar and to Alleppey) and train travel (to Varkala) can work well.
For more on the Kerala portion of this route (Cochin, Munnar, Alleppey, Varkala), see this one week Kerala itinerary.
You’ll also find tips there on taking public transportation in Kerala.
Varkala to Kanyakumari train
There are a number of trains from Varkala to Kanyakumari.
And it’s not too long of a distance, so this can be a pretty easy trip to make.
You can make it even easier if you take general class.
This would mean no need to book train tickets in advance.
You can just show up to the train station, buy your ticket, and board the next train to Kanyakumari!
This will likely be around a 5 hour train ride.
Then, spend a few hours in Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India where the 3 seas meet and stay here a night!
See the train timings:
Kanyakumari to Madurai train or bus
The next day, you can head to Madurai.
The train timings aren’t plentiful or the best, but you can make it work.
Ideally you would take the morning train, but that only runs once a week.
The other train options will get you to Madurai past dark.
The train ride will be around 5 hours.
You might also consider going from Kanyakumari to Madurai by bus, although the direct buses (which again aren’t all that plentiful) will also probably get you to Madurai past dark.
To get there during the day, you might try first going from Kanyakumari to Nagercoil by government bus. (That’s maybe around a 45 minute ride.)
In Nagercoil, you’ll likely find more government bus options to Madurai. Nagercoil to Madurai by bus will probably take around 5 hours.
You’ll just show up to the Kanyakumari bus station and find the right bus. (Make the station master office your first stop at the bus station to ask about it.)
See the train timings:
See the bus timings:
And then finally…
Madurai to Sri Lanka flight!
HAPPY KERALA TO SRI LANKA ITINERARY PLANNING!
Nervous about taking public transportation in India?! Sometimes just knowing what to expect can ease the mind! While I have traveled in India with travel partners (people I've met while traveling in India), here are some of my public transport trips in India, most of which I did as a solo female traveler:
For examples of general class train travel, see:
For examples of AC train travel, see:
For examples of local bus travel, see:
For examples of overnight bus travel, see:
See more backpacking India travel tips!