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Kerala Backwaters

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days 09 US$ 940 US$ 893
SavingUS$ 47
highlights
  • Houseboat - Drift through the backwaters on a traditional houseboat
  • Homestay - Enjoy a tasty homecooked curry whilst spending the night with a local family
  • Hill stations - Head for hills and spend time in the cooler climate perfect for cultivating tea
  • Kochi - Explore Kochi from the water, including Fort Kochi, St Francis Church and Mattancherry Palace
The Kerala Backwaters tour starts from and ends in Kochi. It is an active and outdoor trip that takes 9 days taking you through Periyar National Park, Thekkady and Munnar in India. Kerala Backwaters is a guided small group tour that includes accommodation, transport, meals and others.

Known as \ God's Own Country\ , Kerala is a relaxing contrast to other Indian states. Explore tea and spice plantations, learn about colonial influences in Kochi and immerse yourself with an overnight houseboat cruise and a stay in a family-run homestay. Kochi - Explore colonial Kochi from the water, including the Fort, St Francis Church and Mattancherry Palace Allepey - Witness waterfront village life as you cruise through the tranquil \ backwaters\ Munnar - Drive through vast plantations and learn about tea and spice production in cool climates.
customer reviews about Explore
4.9 - Excellent Based on 74 reviews
Edwina's review for another Explore tour
5 - Excellent
“I have travelled a few times with Explore and have always found them excellent Trip notes are detailed so you have a really good idea of how the trip will proceed. There is also flexibility and it has been my experience that leaders will do everything they can to ensure people do any extra activities they want to.”
Christie's review for another Explore tour
5 - Excellent
“It was an unforgettable trip. Couldn’t fault a thing. The tour leader and staff were just incredible - absolutely made the trip. ”
Gillian's review for another Explore tour
5 - Excellent


I think this was my 25th trip with Explore. I'm sure it won't be my last. Bring back camping, please!”
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Our tour begins this afternoon in the coastal city of Kochi (Cochin).
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Kochi has been a gathering place of merchants since antiquity and is full of bustling traders. The Fort Kochi area is the oldest European settlement in India (1500) and has a mixture of English, Dutch and Portuguese influence including the Mattancherry Palace which was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Extensive renovations by the Dutch some hundred years later earned it the name the Dutch Palace. It houses some of the best murals in India, depicting scenes from the Ramayana and other great legends. On our tour around the city by boat and on foot, we also visit the Jew town synagogue where Kochi's surviving Jewish community come to worship. Nearby are the famous cantilevered Chinese Fishing nets, and in the early evening we see a performance of Kathakali, which is thought by some to be the very essence of the culture of Kerala. Its origins may have come from traditional temple rituals and from an art form known as Koodiyattam. It is the face make up which makes this dancing so unique and the dancers can take up to three hours painting their faces - the features are heavily emphasised as it is the facial expressions and co-ordinated eye movements which are important in the dance. The dances usually portray events from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, great Indian epics.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
This morning we have a drive to Munnar of around 5 hours through an area of spice and tea plantations. Kerala has been renowned for its spices for at least 2000 years, the coast had been known by the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs and Chinese for its sandalwood and spices. There was also a flourishing trade in 'black gold' - pepper - which, along with the spices, was sent to Europe by the Jewish and Arab traders. In return, copper, brass and gold coins came to Kerala. It was this trading link which brought Christianity and Islam into Kerala - the first place in India to host these two faiths. Munnar is a pleasant place to spend time, with its green tropical forests, fresh mountain air and neat tea plantations. It is hardly surprising it has become a favourite for Indian honeymooners. The afternoon is free to explore this beautiful town.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
Our day starts with a fascinating visit to a tea museum where we can learn how it is processed. It is the women who usually pick the tea because of their nimble fingers, their brightly coloured clothes contrast sharply with the greenery of the plantations. Leaving the tea museum, we drive for around 4 hours to Thekkady where we'll take a nature walk through delightful countryside and visit a spice garden, learning about how the spices are grown and processed.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Our route this morning takes us past rubber plantations and varied spice gardens to Periyar wildlife sanctuary, close to the border with Tamil Nadu. One of 16 tiger reserves in India, Periyar is it is perhaps better known for its elephants. There are about 40 tigers living in the 777 sq km park but, as they are solitary creatures, the chances of seeing them are very slim. We go for a walk in search of other wildlife such as the wild boar, giant malabar, porcupine and the flying squirrel. The Park itself is made up of a variety of habitats, open grasslands, deciduous, semi-evergreen and tropical forests all of which have different animal species. The ecosystem of the tropical evergreen jungle is very interesting as the trees grow up to 40m, and the dense canopy only allows in limited sunlight. Therefore at ground level, there are abundant ferns, orchid and airplants- plants which need little light to survive.

Leaving the park we head back towards the coast and our homestay for the next two nights. We stay with local families within a village, and your tour leader will brief you on local customs and traditions. It is a great opportunity to spend time learning about the real life of Keralans as well as an opportunity to sample some delicious home cooking - perhaps a spicy coconut curry. The rooms are in the same style as a traditional Keralan home with mattresses made locally using coir fibres, a material taken from coconut husks which allows air to flow naturally - ideal in this humid region. All rooms are twin share and the majority of them have their own attached bathrooms, although there are some rooms with a private bathroom located in a corridor next to the room. Bathrooms are basic with a toilet and a simple shower, and hot water can be limited at times. All bedding and towels are provided.
Meals
  • Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation
  • Simple homestay
We spend today exploring the village and getting to know our host families. There will be a chance to take a cooking lesson, take gentle walks through the surrounding villages or just kick back and relax for the day.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation
  • Simple homestay
This morning we board our houseboats and begin our journey into the network of the Kerala backwaters. The traditional houseboats are simple vessels, with en-suite twin rooms. The pace is relaxed - enabling us to see riverside village life in its entirety. The industrious villagers survive on narrow spits of land, keeping cows, chickens and cultivating vegetable gardens. Even the shells from the fresh water mussels are burnt to make building lime, and the fibre from the coconut palm has many uses including coir products made from coconut fibre. The gardens are generally well tended often with brightly coloured flowers, such as hibiscus, contrasting sharply with the tropical greenery.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation
  • Simple boat
After a relaxed breakfast we disembark from our houseboats and return to Kochi where the rest of the day is left free for personal exploration.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Our tour ends this morning after breakfast.
Meals
  • Breakfast
what’s included
Meals
  • 8 Breakfast, 2 Lunch, 3 Dinner
Accommodation
  • 4 nights premium hotel
  • 1 night standard hotel
  • 2 nights simple homestay
  • 1 night simple boat
Transport
  • Bus, Boat
Guide
  • Explore Tour Leader, Boat Crew, Driver(s)
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Kochi are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Kerala Backwaters tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Kerala Backwaters
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Payment

A deposit of 89 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 59 days before departure. For any departures within 24 October 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Kerala Backwaters tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Kerala Backwaters tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Kerala Backwaters tour. You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 59 days of departure.
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