If you’re thinking about moving to Kerala, then we’ve got some excellent news for you. This is one of India’s best up and coming regions when it comes to aspects involving lifestyles, such as accommodation, healthcare, food and safety. Of course, there are some downsides to living in Kerala, too, but we’re pretty sure the positives will outweigh the negatives when you decide to begin your expat adventure here. With that in mind, here is a brief overview of what you may expect.
Let’s start from the basics. As you’ll be living in India, don’t expect to encounter beef on the menu, and it goes without saying you should avoid asking the waiter about it if you don’t see it offered. Other than that, you will probably love Indian cuisine in all its forms, and vegetarians should generally have a much wider choice here than in their own countries (as long as they don’t crave tofu). As for fast food, it’s good to know there are bakeries on almost every corner.
In case you prefer cooking from scratch to eating out, then you’ll be beyond happy with the choice of fruits and vegetables here. However, don’t expect the supermarket to resemble a western one. First of all, convenience food is a rarity, as well as half-prepared (cleaned and cut out) vegetables. Typical western products such as mayonnaise or cereals are not always easy to find, or the offer is limited. Still, you should be able to locate some western supermarkets here and there.
Kerala is a very interesting place for expats since a lot of its local residents are expats themselves, working in some other countries, sending their revenues back home on a regular basis. Though this is one of the reasons why Kerala is one of the wealthiest states in India, tourism certainly makes up for one part of it. (Not to mention that well-developed tourism also speaks volumes about the personal freedoms one can expect in this region.) The economic situation is more than preferable with great technological developments and large commercial hubs. What is more, Kerala has also been voted the India’s best governed state for the third year in the row.
As for the non-financial riches, you will absolutely love the lush nature Kerala abounds with. It is very easy to get out of town and relish the wonderful greenery. The state was voted as one of the ten paradises on Earth and one of 50 places to visit in your lifetime by National Geographic.
Since Kerala’s major cities are frequently visited by tourists, it comes as little wonder that the state is considered safe even for independent female travelers. In addition, it is voted the least corrupt state by an international survey.
As it is in most of India, the traffic and the associated rules can be tricky. Though you may be faced with some attitude in the street while driving, such provocations usually lead to no serious trouble.
Admittedly, punctuality is not one of Kerala stronger points. If you’re thinking about working here, you can expect everyone and everything to be late. The best way is it to get used to it and go with the flow. This is not to say you should be irresponsible, but simply come to the terms that time is perceived differently here and there will be surprises along the way.
Water and electricity
Depending on your accommodation, you may expect some challenges in this respect. If the person in charge of the water tank for your building oversees some tasks, you may have issues. Also, sometimes you can expect to lose electricity supply for a few minutes or even hours.
Overall, the cost of medical services is more than affordable. Generally, medical insurance is needed only for some big interventions, e.g. surgery. Preventive dentistry is not really something to expect to find here, but along with the “regular” medicine, you can also find experts in homeopathy and Ayurveda (Indian herbal medicine).
Finding the right accommodation may pose a challenge for some expats, but as long as you live in one of the major cities (Kochi or Thiruvananthapuram, for example), you should have no problems finding something to suit your needs.
To sum up, if you’re thinking about relocating to India, Kerala could possibly be the right choice for you. There are some downsides to it, but compared to the rest of the states, this one would certainly be your best pick.