Kerala with Raffael from Soul & Surf
Kerala with Raffael from Soul & SurfRaffael
For many, Kerala is the slender, serene beauty of South India - a world away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country. Raffael runs a surf and yoga hotel called 'Soul & Surf' in Varkala, a sleepy beach town in the south of Kerala. He left his cushy city-life job of advertising (and also DJing on the side), in search of surfing, fish curry, beaches and a better work life balance and he's never looked back since.
Here are his top tips for what he considers his adopted home and possibly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. He also recommends asking locals for directions to Kumari's Sadhya - a Kerala style sadhya dinner cooked by a local mama and served in the backyard of her village home. It's a secret but ask around and you may be able to find it! She doesn't advertise or let anyone take photos of her so you're going to have to do some detective work to find her...
In this Guide
“I'm probably going to get some hate for this but it is literally the best biryani I've eaten in India. And believe me when I say I've pretty much travelled the length and breadth of this country for biryani.”More Info
“Kerala is littered with these beautifully rustic establishments that brew their own coconut wine called toddy. It's well worth a visit, not just for the toddy but the food and the experience of the whole thing. I would recommend trying the fish head curry, duck curry and beef roast when you do visit. My favourite is the VELLIYAZCHA KAAVU TODDY SHOP, near Attingal.”More Info
“A tiny, beautiful and clean beach. Beware the currents can be a bit dodgy at times but it's mostly fine.”More Info
“Kerala's first and India's premier surf and yoga holiday destination. Join the local crew of surf instructors and guides for a surf every morning or just relax at the beautiful and stylish hotel, perched on a cliff top overlooking some of the best beaches and sunsets Kerala has to offer. Also, a really laid back atmosphere and cafe serving healthy treats and a mix of Keralan and Western-style food.”More Info
“Backwaters of Kerala. The iconic Keralan scenery that you've seen on every postcard. It's like Alleppey but less touristy so best to visit here if you want to experience the backwaters but get away from the hustle of the very touristy spots.”More Info
“Beautiful pristine beach and one of my favourites to visit. Again, not as many tourists as you might find on other beaches in Kerala so worth a visit.”More Info
“My favourite spot to surf in Kerala. A beautiful fishing village with a fast hollow left hand wave. You can join for surf lessons or grab a board and go surfing yourself all while the fishermen and boats carry on with their days around you. Beware though, the surf can be a tad crowded here, but the locals are always friendly and welcoming.”More Info
“I'm a bit of a beach bum as you can probably tell, but sometimes I like to leave the beach to get into the western ghats. You'll think you're in a different country. Vagamon is one of my favourite hill stations in the western ghats, considered to have one of the most ecologically dense environments in the world. The drive up there is stunning as are the views and there are some adventure activities like paragliding, hiking that you can get involved in, or you could just kickback and watch the birds for hours.”More Info