A serene 25-sq-km park in the foothills of the Western Ghats, cut through by two rivers and two streams, Thattekkad shelters around 300 fluttering species – unusual in that they are mostly forest rather than water birds – including Malabar grey hornbills, Jerdon's nightjars, grey drongos, darters, kingfishers, flycatchers, warblers, sunbirds, tiny 4g flowerpeckers and rarer species like the Sri Lankan frogmouth.
River boating (₹150 per person) and guided birdwatching trips (rates vary) are organised by the efficient reception office at the sanctuary's entrance; accommodation places also offer birdwatching.
Simple sanctuary accommodation includes Frogmouth Watchtower and Hornbill View Tower (both ₹2500 per two people, with food and birdwatching); book ahead by phone. The area's independent homestays and resorts make comfier alternative bases.
Thattekkad is on the Ernakulam–Munnar road. Buses from Ernakulam (₹40, two hours) and Munnar (₹60, two to three hours) run to Kothamangalam, from where you can catch an autorickshaw (₹150) or a bus (₹12, 25 minutes) for the final 12km northeast to Thattekkad.