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Keralan Backwaters, India

Relaxing in Kerala


  • Itinerary:
    Cochin - Munnar - Periyar - Kerala Backwaters - Marari
  • Duration:
    13 days / 12 nights (flexible)
  • Price:
    From £ 1,274.- per person (excluding flights)
If you have two weeks holiday time and are looking for a leisurely paced introduction to Kerala, look no further! This itinerary travels from the colonial city of Cochin to the palm-fringed beaches of Marari, via picturesque hill towns and the Keralan backwaters. You’ll sample some of India’s finest tea and freshest seafood, search for wild elephants and sleep aboard a traditional rice barge and enjoy plenty of R&R along the way.
Boat in Kerala at sunset with locals
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Days 1-3 – Charming Cochin

The colourful, coastal city of Cochin (or Kochi) is the perfect place to start your Kerala adventure. It’s a melting pot of Portuguese and Dutch influences, cultures and religions, and still an important seaport for trade in gold, textiles, fish and spices. The spice market here is one of the best in Kerala. Down by the water, you can see the famous Chinese fishing nets in action. We’ll arrange a guided tuk-tuk tour as a fun introduction to this charming city.

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Days 3-5 – Emerald valleys & misty mountains

Time to leave the coast behind and travel inland to the hill station of Munnar. Travelling up through the misty hills to Munnar is one of the most scenic drives in India, so relax and take in the impressive views. The region offers some great hiking opportunities with fantastic views. It’s also South India’s largest tea-growing region and you will visit the tea museum to learn more about the process from leaf to cup. There will be different tea blends to sample and you’ll leave with a new appreciation of the humble cuppa!

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Days 5-7 – Wildlife spotting in Periyar National Park

Continue your exploration of the scenic, green Keralan hills as you journey south to Thekkady which will be your base for two nights whilst you explore the Periyar National Park. This expansive protected park is home to several species of deer, Indian bison, wild boar, langur monkeys and an abundance of birds and reptiles. But it’s best known for its wild elephants. Periyar is also an important tiger habitat and the population is gradually growing here, although you’ll be very lucky to spot one. You’ll spend a morning in the park, trekking through the forest with one of the park’s patrolmen who is an expert on the flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for tiger pug marks and wild elephants grazing in the tall grass.

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…and Keralan cooking class

During your stay in Thekkady, you will be introduced to the spicy cuisine of Kerala during a cooking workshop at a local restaurant. The restaurant’s experienced chef demonstrates how to prepare a traditional Keralan dish, explains the important spices and local ingredients he uses and shares his tips. We guarantee the delicious aroma will make your stomach growl! And once the dishes are prepared, it’s time to sit down and enjoy dinner.

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Days 7-8 – Explore the backwaters by boat

This morning you’ll depart the hills and head to Alleppey, which is the hub of Kerala’s famous backwaters. Here you’ll board a traditional houseboat to explore this picturesque region from the water. The labyrinth of tiny canals is fringed by palms on all sides and as you float along you’ll pass small villages, hidden temples, lush paddy fields and rice barges. Tonight you’ll sleep aboard your houseboat, moored on the banks of the scenic Lake Vattakayal. Just like hotels, houseboats come in different styles and comfort levels. We’ve selected an affordable but charming boat with all the necessary comforts. But if you’d like a bit more space and luxury, then just let us know and our India travel specialists will arrange an upgrade.

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Days 8-10 – Country life on the backwaters

You’ve explored the backwaters by boat, now for a real insight into life on the Keralan backwaters. After disembarking your houseboat you’ll travel the short distance to a comfortable homestay near Alleppey where you will spend the next two nights. This family-owned and operated property is set in secluded gardens leading down to the famous backwaters.

Whilst here you can take it easy, enjoying the relaxed pace of life. Doze in a hammock or relax with a book in the gardens. If you’re feeling active, the homestay offers complimentary bike hire, so you can explore the area by bicycle. For a small cost you can learn how to prepare traditional Keralan dishes at a cooking demo, join the morning yoga session, relax with an Ayurvedic massage or try your hand at fishing in the river just in front of the property.

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Days 10-13 – Relax on Marari’s palm-fringed shores

After a final homecooked breakfast, your driver will be waiting to drive you up the coast to Marari – the final stop on your Kerala holiday. Marari is a friendly fishing village, lined with palm trees and an idyllic and tranquil beach. It’s the perfect place to end your India trip, so kick back and take it easy. Spend your days relaxing in a hammock, taking a refreshing dip in the pool or just lazing on the beach. Your India trip comes to an end after your time in Marari. On your final day your driver will transfer you to Cochin airport (about one hour’s drive) in time for your homebound flight.

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Relaxing in Kerala


For this bite-sized trip we offer the following options

onboard houseboat
Cardomom County Hotel Thekkady
Windermere Estate Munnar
Marari Beach resort, India
Marari Beach Resort, Kerala, India

Upgrade this Itinerary

  • Price:
    from £ 1,939.- per person (excluding flights)
  • Included:
    In Style accommodation, excursions, transport and meals as described above

For the locations included in this itinerary we have alternative options available in terms of comfort. Our In Style options can be more luxurious, offer something unique or offer a more comfortable transport option – all with that local flavour! If you would like to upgrade your itinerary, select our In Style option below.

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