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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Enchanting Kerala

By Chloe Holcroft
India Travel Expert for Alfred&

From the spice-laced hills of the Western Ghats to the coconut-fringed beaches of the Arabian Sea, slow-and-sleepy Kerala enchants with its history, culture and landscapes. Explore Cochin’s colonial-era architecture, hike amid the hill stations, meet local farming families and sail the legendary backwaters as you discover Kerala beyond the surface and get to know the people that call its enchanting landscapes home.

Places

Length
11 days
Best months to go
September to April
Guide price range
£2,385 - £2,795pp
including international flights

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Munnar

Why Munnar’s tea gardens are best explored by tuk tuk

As a photographer I gain access to some beautiful tea estates...

Thekkady

On the scent of a local spice farm

We want to show people the incredible produce of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots ...

Mararikulam

Marari Beach: Kerala’s best kept secret

Sometimes you can hear the sound of dolphins chattering ...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail

1

Arrival in Cochin

On arrival in Cochin (Kochi) , you’ll be met by a local representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this quaint harbourside city. Once a key stop on the Spice Route, Cochin is now a hotspot for visitors with colonial-era architecture, Raj residences and a beach area famous for its Chinese fishing nets. Wander its postcard-pretty streets at leisure or choose an optional workshop learning Kerala’s traditional Kathalaki dance, known for its elaborate costumes. Overnight at Forte Kochi (or similar).

Things to do:

2

Cochin

Continue your explorations in Cochin today. Explore independently, strike out on an optional guided walking tour or opt for an Anglo-Indian cooking lesson. If you’re looking to go beyond the city, the ‘village rubble’ experience will take you to meet a local family in a nearby village for a memorable fishing experience and hosted lunch. Overnight at Forte Kochi (or similar).

Things to do:

3

Cochin & Munnar

Head for the mountains this morning to explore the town of Munnar, a famous hill station in the Western Ghat range. Set at the confluence of three mountain streams, this was the South Indian summer resort for the British government and is set amid rolling tea, coffee, and spice plantations. Relax amid these peaceful surroundings, head out on a hike or visit the Tata Tea Museum to learn more about agriculture in the area. Overnight at Windermere Estate (or similar).

Things to do:

4

Munnar

Get off the beaten track in Munnar this morning with an included tuk tuk tour visiting some of the area’s many tea plantations on this traditional, three-wheeled rickshaw. You’ll get the chance to interact with local people as you delve deep into the region’s rural surroundings, with rolling fields and scenic mountain slopes for a backdrop. Alternatively, if you’re looking to get extra-active then take on an optional Letchmi Hills trek – a scenic amble exploring the region’s landscapes on foot. Overnight at Windermere Estate (or similar).

Things to do:

5

Munnar & Thekkady

Go deeper into the hills today as you head towards Thekkady, famous for its spice plantations and the gateway to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Set in the heart of the jungle, this protected park is home to an impressive array of wildlife, from tigers to elephants, leopards to lion-tailed macaques and sambar deer to bison. After checking in to your hotel you’ll have the rest of the day to relax. Overnight at Spice Village (or similar).

Things to do:

6

Thekkady

Today you’ll explore local village life on the Periyar Bouquet Trail. You’ll travel around the Kumily region by jeep, visiting a family to learn about the importance of spice-growing in the region. Interact with local farmers along the way as you hear more about sustainable farming practices in the area. The evening is free to enjoy. Overnight at Spice Village (or similar).

Things to do:

7

Thekkady & Kumarakom

Travel to Kumarakom this morning to explore Kerala’s famous backwaters, set amid rolling rice paddy fields and verdant coconut palms. Located on the edge of the Vembanad Lake, the village is dotted with canals where houseboats plough the waters, with excellent birdwatching on the surrounding islets and at the nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Coconut Lagoon (or similar).

Things to do:

8

Kumarakom & Alleppey

Climb aboard a traditional houseboat this morning for a signature Keralan experience: a cruise along the region’s glimmering backwaters for a full day and night. You’ll learn all about life on the water as you pass local villages, markets, and fishermen, before staying overnight on board. All food is included; expect fish fresh from the lake, served with local ingredients such as chilli and ginger. Overnight on Spice Coast Houseboat (or similar).

Things to do:

9

Alleppey & Mararikulam

After disembarking the houseboat this morning, you’ll have the option of a walking tour in the nearby town of Allepey, coined the ‘Venice of the East’ for its picturesque canals. Visit the town’s elaborate mosques and temples before stopping at a coir weaving workshop to learn how coconut husk is used as a material. In the afternoon you’ll transfer towards Mararikulam. This sleepy seaside fishing village is home to the little-known Marari Beach – a palm-studded stretch of sand lapped by the Indian Ocean. Your stay for tonight is a characterful cottage overlooking the water with coconut groves, lily ponds and fruit trees for company. Overnight at Marari Beach Resort (or similar).

Things to do:

10

Mararikulam

Your final full day is free to enjoy in Mararikulam. Wander the village, watch fishermen bring in their haul from the harbour or enjoy a well-earned rest on the beach ahead of your departure tomorrow. Overnight at Marari Beach Resort (or similar).

Things to do:

11

Mararikulam & Departure

The tour ends today. You’ll be transferred to Cochin airport for your flight home or onward travel.

Another stop?

Extensions

Extensions

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 Apr - 30 Sep

£2,385

Mid Season

01 Jan - 31 Jan, 01 Mar - 31 Mar, 01 Oct - 31 Dec

£2,640

High Season

01 Feb - 28 Feb

£2,795

Alfred & Chloe Holcroft

A seasoned traveller, Chloe Holcroft loves India for its distinctive regional cuisine, contrasting cultures and British-tinged history. Chloe has travelled from the Himalayan heights of Pelling to Cochin on the southern coast and has further plans to explore this mammoth country. Chloe counts one of her travel highlights in India as sipping loose-leaf tea at Glenburn Tea Estate while watching the clouds part to reveal views of the Himalayas.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656