India starts to heat up in March, and by April and May much of South India is hot. The heat on the beaches becomes almost unbearable and although March is still sort of ok, the temperature rises surprisingly fast.
If you don’t mind the heat, March is a good time to visit Goa, Gokarna or Kerala: it is the end of the tourist season, there are less and less people on the beaches, and you can get some good discounts on accommodation. Kerala is pretty warm by March, though, and if you don’t like heat and humidity, it is best to head to the hill stations.
Coorg is one of my most favourite parts of South India. This green and lush region in the Western Ghats mountains is the perfect place to spend some time when the rest of South India heats up or when you can’t take the chaos in the cities anymore. Coorg is a major coffee producing area, but coffee plantations have also ventured into the tourism business, and many coffee farms double up as homestays. Cosy cottages, some of the best food in South India, green mountains, pleasantly cool evenings, forests, waterfalls and great roads for motorbiking – Coorg is very special.
Ooty, Coonoor and Kodaikanal
The hill stations Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu get very busy in April and May, so if you get there in March you might miss the worst holiday crowds. Weather up here in the Nilgiri mountains will be fresh, even chilled at night (bring a fleece, a warm sweater or a jumper, just in case). Ooty is a busy little hill town in the middle of tea plantations and national parks. Coonoor and Kotagiri are smaller and more peaceful. Even if you stay in Ooty, though, you’re likely to use it as a base for exploring the surrounding areas that include the Mudumalai National Park. The narrow gauge Toy Train to Ooty takes you through some lovely scenery as it slowly climbs up the hill. Lots of people also rave about Kodaikanal, a few hour’s drive from Ooty.
Green hills, tea plantations, spice plantations, homestays, lakes, trekking paths, what more do you want? Munnar in Kerala is a hugely popular honeymoon destination, a favourite with hikers and a good place to escape the heat from the beaches.