Choose our comprehensive Kerala tour for a great experience in this south-west state of India. Discover the main highlights of tropical Kerala, including Cochin, Munnar, Peiyar, and the backwaters. You’ll also have time on the beach to relax at the end of the trip. This is a complete Kerala package, and we are happy to answer any questions that you have.
Depart London Heathrow or your regional airport on your first day.
Arrive at Kerala’s bustling port city of Cochin (Kochi) in the morning. You are met and transferred to your hotel in the charming historic enclave of Fort Cochin. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure to explore. Don’t miss the historic Saint Francis Church, built by the Portuguese in 1502. Along the waterfront is the dramatic sight of the Chinese fishing nets, first erected in the 14th century, a reminder of India’s trading links with China. (B, L)
Enjoy a tour of the old quarters in auto-rickshaws. Some of the main sights covered will be the Chinese fishing nets, the Vaniar Dhobi unit, the Dutch Palace, now a museum with a splendid collection of royal portraits, the Paradesi Synagogue (the oldest in India, built in 1568), and the vibrant spice markets, still going strong after hundreds of years. The quaint Old Dutch houses around Jew Town now are home to boutiques and antique shops. (B, L)
Spend your afternoon as you wish, or enjoy one of the activities on offer. Activities include a cycle trip to a local fishing village/along the coast, a Kathakali dance performance (the ancient pantomime dance drama of Kerala), or a foray into the old market on the local ferry that plies between the islands. There is also the option of going on a sunset cruise around the harbour. (B)
The day begins with a drive to the scenic hill station of Munnar, located high in the rolling green hills of the Western Ghats. Spend the night at a guesthouse, set in a lush green cardamom plantation with panoramic views across the hills from your private balcony. The afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the pleasures of town, with its bustling shops and cafes. For those interested, a three-hour walking tour can be arranged. Visit the Tea Museum, where they have fascinating displays revealing what life was like on the tea plantations over the years, and detailed descriptions on how tea is cultivated, from the first buds to the final cup. (B)
Drive for five/six hours to the wildlife sanctuary of Periyar in the morning. The eco-tourism projects in Periyar are an amazing success story. These programmes are conducted by local people that are responsible for the surveillance of vulnerable parts of the reserve. By taking visitors on a tour of the reserve, valuable revenue is generated for community welfare and conservation of the habitat. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests have since become forest protectors, and earn their livelihood through these programmes. Join one of the tours and you will be directly contributing towards preserving this precious sanctuary. (B, D)
Enjoy a day of leisure andexplore the reserve. One activity is included from the list below. If you wish to do more than one activity, it can be arranged for an additional fee. The activities include the following (B):
Drive down the hills of the Western Ghats for four/five hours to the backwaters of Alleppey. Based on Vembanad Lake, it’s one of Kerala’s great beauty spots. You are sure to enjoy a sunset cruise for about an hour and a half in the labyrinthine waterways. See the local village life as it has been for years, with fisherman casting their nets, children coming home from school by canoe, and ‘toddy tappers’, men who can scale the tallest coconut palms in order to extract the sap.
Cruise past water lilies in a glorious bloom of colour as exotic birds dive in search of fresh fish. The boat will then enter the broad waters of Vembanad Lake and return to the hotel just as the first stars are rising in the twilight sky. (B)
Enjoy a canoe cruise through the narrower backwater canals that the larger tour boats cannot access. This gives you the chance to see local life close-up, with villagers working in the rice fields, ferries plying their trade, and local fisher-folk fishing! Alternatively, go for a stroll instead, along the pathways that run along the waterfront and through the rural villages. You’ll then enjoy a scenic drive for three/four hours to the coastal village of Varkala. (B)
Enjoy a day of leisure to explore Varkala. Indulge in relaxing Ayurvedic treatments or just relax and enjoy the pleasures of a day at the beach. Don’t miss the spectacular sunset views from the cliff top. (B)
Travel to an airport for a flight back to the UK. You will arrive later the same day. (B)
PLEASE NOTE: B = Breakfast at Hotel – L/D = Lunch or Dinner at Local Restaurants or Your Accommodation
A range of tours are available at Zero Distance Tours. Here is a sample of the options that we offer: