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Tranquil Kerala

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Cruise the backwaters of Kerala on board a houseboat

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Tailor-made Journey
Houseboat on Kerala Backwaters, India

11 days from £2855pp

Take it easy on this tranquil journey through sleepy Kerala.


From the historical delights of laid-back Kochi, to the palm-fringed canals of the picturesque backwaters, with cool hill stations, serene bird sanctuaries and lazy beaches in between, this peaceful region allows you to sit back, relax, and soak up the watery vistas.

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Get a taste of Kochi’s hospitality during lunch with a local family
  • Spot colourful migratory birds in lakeside Kumarakom
  • Cruise the backwaters of Kerala on board a houseboat
  • Laze on soft beaches and swim in calm seas in Kovalam

Holiday Type

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Wildlife & Nature
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What's included
  • Indirect international flights
  • 8 nights in 4–4.5* hotels
  • 1 night aboard a houseboat
  • 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
  • City tour of Kochi
  • Visit to a tea & coffee plantation in Munnar
  • Visit to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
  • Services of a tour manager throughout your Journey, with airport meet & greet
  • All transfers
  • Journeys exclusive: Lunch with a local Keralian family.
Need to know
  • Arrives: Cochin International Airport (COK)
  • Time difference: GMT+5:30
  • Visa requirements: British passport holders require a tourist visa; please ask your travel consultant for more information
  • Language: Hindi, English
  • Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
  • Flying time from UK: around 12 hours
  • Plug type: 3 large round pins
  • Voltage: 230 volts/50 cycles
Your route


Day 1
Fly from UK to
Days 2-3

Explore the delightful island city of Kochi, whose glittering harbour has given it the name ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Take a look around the city, visiting the pretty synagogue, the ancient Mattancherry Palace, and the historic St Francis Church. Observe the advanced mechanics of the Chinese fishing nets, and take your seats for a fascinating performance of Kathakali dance. Finally, a unique experience for Flight Centre: head to a spice plantation to watch a sizzling cooking demonstration, then sit down with a local family and tuck into tasty local dishes.

4.5* Crowne Plaza

Includes a morning city tour of Kochi; a Journeys exclusive: Lunch with local Keralian family

Santa Cruz Basilica - Kochi, India
Days 4-5

Head for the hills and breathe in the fresh air of Munnar, a magnificent hill station in south India’s largest tea-growing region. Admire the emerald-hued carpet covering the peaks and valleys, soak up the tranquillity of the three mountain streams that converge here, hike the winding pathways or visit the pretty church. At an altitude of 1600 metres, Munnar is a lot cooler than the surrounding regions and so the perfect spot to relax and refresh. While you’re here, tour the verdant tea and coffee plantations.

4* Windermere Estate

Includes visit to a tea & coffee plantation

Tea Plantation - Munnar, India
Days 6-7

Continue to Kumarakom, a peaceful cluster of islands on Lake Vembanad. This pretty area is a haven for bird watchers, who flock to the excellent Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to seek out migratory birds, such as the stalks, egrets and darters, some of which come from as far away as Siberia. It’s not just migratory birds that congregate here though, the native kingfishers, with their royal blues and striking orange feathers, are a favourite, and are best spotted on an unhurried boat trip. After admiring the birds, perhaps indulge in a traditional Ayurveda natural healing session.

4.5* Zuri Kumarakom

Includes visit to a bird sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, India
Day 8

Cruise Kerala’s tranquil backwaters, a picturesque waterworld of nearly 950 miles of canals, 38 rivers and five lakes fringed by lush palms. Explore the waterways by converted kettuvallam, a traditional wooden boat tied with coconut rope and painted with cashew oil. This relaxing mode of transport slows down the pace and allows you to soak up the watery scenery. You’ll dine on board, tucking in to a delicious traditional fish or seafood-based speciality. Sail past local villages, coconut trees, tea shops, rice paddies and temples, then watch the sun set over the water, before spending the night in your cabin.

Houseboat on Kerala Backwaters, India
Days 9-10

Dock in Alleppey’s maze of canals, then head to Kovalam to swim, chill or sunbathe on the 10-mile sweeping curve of sandy beach. The town became famous in the 1970s, attracting hippies in droves and transforming the former fishing village into a hippie hotspot. Nowadays it has moved away from its bohemian days and is popular with bathers, due to the shallow waters and gentle seas. The pristine coastline is actually made up of three beaches, with the hotels, restaurants and lodges of Lighthouse Beach being the most fashionable, and Hawa Beach at the northern end being popular with day-trippers.

4* Turtle on the Beach

Beach in Kovalam, India
Day 11
Depart Kovalam and return to the UK

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