India – Kerala beaches and backwaters
12 days £668 per person Saving you £149 per person*
This itinerary isn’t set in stone. Pick, mix, swap however you like – your trip will be totally tailor made for you.
Day 1 Arrival in Kochi
Welcome to India! You’ll be greeted at Cochin International Airport and taken to your hotel. You’ll have the evening to settle in and relax.
Day 2 Kochi
Set out with your guide and get to know Kochi and its surroundings. Start in Fort Kochi, a small nearby village with picturesque fishing beaches dotted with Chinese fishing nets and sailboats.
Move on to the Dutch Palace to see the outstanding collection of mural paintings within, depicting scenes from the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. You’ll also stop at the Jewish Synagogue and St Francis Church, the oldest church in India to have been built by the Europeans.
Later on you’ll watch a traditional Kathakali performance, a Keralan dance form dating from the 17th century and noted for its elaborate costumes.
Day 3 Kochi to Munnar
Spend the morning travelling up to the hill station of Munnar. Check into your hotel and look out onto the misty rolling hills, sprawling tea and coffee plantations, sparkling waterfalls and mountain valleys.
In the afternoon, you’re off to a tea museum to learn about tea processing in bygone days, before visiting the onsite factory for a tasting.
Day 4 Munnar
Visit Eravikulam National Park, a reserve for the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered South Indian mountain goat. It’s also home to protected species of flora, such as the evergreen tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, and other animals like the Nilgiri marten, ruddy mongoose, small clawed otter and dusky striped squirrel. After a busy day studying the wildlife here, you’ll have the evening to yourself.
Day 5 Munnar – Periyar
This morning you’re travelling to Periyar, an area of unspoiled tropical forests and fascinating wildlife. Check into your hotel and spend the evening however you like – you’ve got a busy day of creature spotting tomorrow.
Day 6 Periyar
You’re off on a boat safari in the densely forested Periyar National Park. Look out for elephants, wild boar and sambar deer at the water’s edge. The park includes over 1,965 flowering plants, 171 species of grass, 143 species of orchid and the South Indian conifer, Podocarpus Wallichianus.
Next, take a fragrant walk through the Spice Plantation, where cloves, nutmeg, pepper, ginger, turmeric, curry leaves, cinnamon and cardamom are grown. Learn about their various uses in food, cosmetics and medicine.
Day 7 Periyar – Kollam
You’ll spend the morning traveling to Kollam (or Quilon), an old port town on Ashtamudi Lake. You’ve got the evening to settle in to your new hotel and surroundings.
Day 8 Kollam
Board a traditional 80-foot-long houseboat for a gentle cruise on Ashtamudi Lake. Ashtamudi means ‘eight coned’ in the local language of Malayalam, indicating the lake’s multiple branches. It’s locally known as the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Take in the views at a gentle pace and enjoy lunch served on board along the way.
Day 9 Kollam – Kovalam
This morning you’re off to Kovalam, a popular beach haunt for Europeans since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters, ideal for sea bathing. Check in to your hotel before padding out onto the sand to enjoy the views.
Day 10 & 11Kovalam
Your trip is nearing its end, but not before a blissful couple of days exploring the beaches along the stunning coastline here. The perfect way to wrap up your holiday.
Day 12 Adventure’s end
Pack up and take in those views for the last time. You’re heading to Trivandrum Airport for your flight home.
*Prices are based on private arrangements (not lower priced escorted tours with set dates). Quality three star accommodation is quoted here (unless mentioned otherwise), with breakfast included and other meals where mentioned. Mostly private transfers with an English speaking driver/guide and all activities mentioned, with top guides, are included. Domestic flights and transport all included from Day 1 to end point. Can be tailored to your needs, so prices could be lower for budget arrangements or higher for luxury.
International flight is not included