Bikes & Houseboats in the Backwaters
Our adventure begins on the tropical Malabar Coast in Varkala, a stunning spot where cliff meets beach. Behind us lie the Backwaters- a maze of islands and villages linked by rivers and canals. First we set out to explore by bikes; although it's always hot in Kerala, the seemingly never-ending canopy of palm trees shade us as we ride through villages to a camp where festival elephants are trained. The following day we board houseboats converted from rice barges and cruise through the waterways. Our final day in the Backwaters is spent at a comfortable island resort from where we can visit the famous Manarasala Snake temple! Special August departures will visit the famous snake boat racing festival.
Plantation Home stay & Periyar
The 'Vanilla County' plantation home stay in the cooler inland hills of the Western Ghats, is a firm favourite with our customers. Our welcoming hosts, the Matthew family, offer us a unique opportunity to learn about life in Kerala - from learning to cook a spicy coconut curry in Rani's kitchen to discovering the uses for all the different spices and trees grown on their farm. In this unspoilt haven we'll enjoy picnics in the countryside, swimming in natural river-cut rock pools and visit the Poonjar Palace. A short drive away at the Periyar National Park, we make an afternoon trek in the jungle and if we're lucky could spot sambar deer or even a wild elephant!
From Kathakali to Kovalam's crescent beach
Back on the steamy coat we stay in the heart of the old Portuguese Fort of Kochi where we're ideally placed to visit the picturesque Chinese fishing nets, old churches and synagogue or shop for some interesting souvenirs and curios. Cruising the harbour at sunset, is also a popular option. We visit a Kathakali show where as well as watching the performers apply their intricate paints - will get a chance to try a design on our own face! We catch an early morning train south to our final destination by the beach at Kovalam. As well as relaxation at the end of your adventure, there's the chance to have a massage, cook a curry or visit India's southernmost tip at Kanyakumari.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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