A serene 25-sq-km park in the foothills of the Western Ghats, cut through by two rivers and two streams, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is home to over 320 fluttering species – unusual in that they are mostly forest, rather than water birds – including Malabar grey hornbills, Ripley owls, jungle nightjars, grey drongos, darters and rarer species like the Sri Lankan frogmouth. There are kingfishers, flycatchers, warblers, sunbirds and tiny 4g flowerpeckers.
Boating on the river (₹250 per person) can be organised at the park office, while accommodation places offer guided birdwatching trips. Thattekkad is on the Ernakulam–Munnar road. Take a direct bus from either Ernakulam (₹35, two hours) or Munnar (₹60, three hours) to Kothamangalam, from where a Thattekkad bus travels the final 12km (₹12, 25 minutes), or catch an autorickshaw for around ₹300.