The Periyar National Park in the state of Kerala (India) is a protected area near Thekkady. It is well known for its wild tigers and elephants, which can be seen inside the area. In total, there is a protected area stretching over 920 square kilometers (350 square miles). In this blog post, I will tell you more about the Periyar National Park Safari: Exploring the Periyar Wildlife by boat!
Note: The Periyar National Park is often also referred to as Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or Periyar Tiger Reserve[toc]
Updated: May 2019
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How to reach Periyar National Park
To get to the Periyar National Park, you will have to reach Thekkady, where most of the hotels are located. There are some ways to do it, yet, the options are quite limited. Still, it is fairly easy to reach Periyar National Park.
Get into a nearby city
Firstly, you’ll have to get into one of the nearby bigger cities: You can fly into Kochi (190km away) or Madurai (140km away), which are the two closest airports from the Periyar National Park. To help you find your flights, click right here. Another option is to take a train to Kottayam, which is 114km away from Thekkady.
Bus/cab to Thekkady
Once you made it to one of these cities you can either take a bus or hire a cab to bring you to Thekkady. Obviously, the first option is much cheaper, however, taking a cab is much more comfortable. In the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself what you prefer.
Where to book your Periyar Tiger Reserve Safari
To book your Periyar Tiger Reserve Safari there are basically three options:
At the entrance
It is possible to book your Periyar National Park Safari right at the Main Entrance. While this is great for spontaneous visits, it has 2 big drawbacks: Additionally to the regular ticket price (500 Indian Rupees), you will have to pay an additional 150 rupee fee for your Periyar Lake Boating Safari trip. Secondly, there is usually a big line of people trying to sell a ticket, which will lead to some waiting time before the actual boating on the Periyar Lake.
Online in advance
The best option (in my opinion), is to book your Periyar Lake Boating Safari online in advance, which is not only super easy but also saves you money (no additional charge) & time (shorter waiting time).
Via an agency
It is also possible to book your Safari via an agency or tour organizer, which will then take care of everything for you. This might make sense if you want to save some time or you are joining a group trip anyway. However, I prefer to book the tickets on my own.
What to expect on your Periyar National Park Safari
Once you made it on your Periyar Lake Boat you are ready to finally experience the wonderful Boating on the Periyar Lake. But what can you actually see on your safari?
The Periyar National Park is home to many exciting animals, such as Gaur, Wild Pig, Sambar, Barking Deer, Dole, different monkeys and birds, the Indian Wild Dog and many more! If you are lucky you can even spot some elephants, as they are freely roaming around in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. In extremely rare cases, you might even see a wild tiger. However, even our guide only saw tigers a few times, and he visited the park for hundreds of times.
The whole Periyar National Park is full of a big variety of Flora, including various flowers, 171 species of grass and many rare plants. If you’re interested in Flora, you will definitely love your time on the Periyar Lake Boat.
No matter if you are lucky with the sightings of animals or not: The views during your Boat Safari in the Periyar National Park are already worth the trip. I was speechless during the boating and loved it a lot – especially as we took the earliest boat in the morning, which I can highly recommend.
When it comes to the actual Periyar Lake Boat, you shouldn’t expect a luxurious tourist boat. But still, it was absolutely okay for us. Our boat had two decks (we stayed in the upper deck) with seats to sit on. During the whole boat safari in Periyar National Park, you are required to wear a life vest – for safety reasons.
Periyar Lake Boat Safaris – Time Table
The Periyar Lake Cruises start at around 7:30 AM and run till around 4:00 PM. There are different times for boatings between that, mostly at 9:15 AM, 11:15 AM and 1:30 PM. These times can change though and also depend on the number of tourists visiting the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on that day.
I highly recommend asking about the exact timing beforehand, or simply taking the first boat trip!
Hotels in Thekkady
If you plan to do a Periyar National Park Safari, it is highly recommended to book accommodation in Thekkady, which is the best location to start exploring the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Here are some of the best options for your stay in Thekkady:
- 5* Spice Village – CGH Earth: Exceptional 5* hotel with incredible rooms, super tasty food and a lovely outdoor pool. The hotel takes our environment seriously and follows eco-friendly standards. I stayed in Spice Village on my own and can highly recommend this hotel!
- 4* Cardamom County by Xandari: A great hotel with a natural organic touch, which will make your stay unforgettable. Rooms are air-conditioned and there is a huge variety of food available.
- 3* Wildernest Thekkady: Cosy place with an incredible price-value. Not as luxurious as the two options above, yet, equipped with everything you need for your hotel in Thekkady.
- Periyar Inn: Great budget hotel in Thekkady, with big double rooms available for around 20$. Located perfectly in the city.
When to visit Periyar National Park
The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is one of the few National Parks in India that is open during the whole year, including the monsoon season with a lot of rain. While you can visit the Park the whole year and enjoy the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, here is a quick overview of the seasons in Periyar National Park:
- Summer (April – May): 28-36 Degrees Celsius
- Monsoon (June – September): 25-36 Degrees Celsius, heavy rain falls
- Winter (October – March): 10-18 Degrees Celsius
I personally visited Periyar National Park at the beginning of Summer and had a great time. Yet, it was super hot and chances to see animals are smaller than during the Winter season, which is the most recommended season to visit Thekkady and the Periyar Lake region. Not only do you have the best chances to see animals but also will the temperatures be much more bearable than during the hot summer time.
Safaris in Periyar National Park also take place during Monsoon season, however, everything is a bit more tricky and it is only recommended if you are open for some true adventures.
Kerala Highlight Video
If you’d like to see more of the beautiful state of Kerala, check out my little compilation video. I hope you like it and would appreciate if you can leave a sub!
I hope this blog post helps you plan your trip to the Periyar National Park! If you have any questions or feedback just comment below this post, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, feel free to contact me on Instagram.
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