Behind the long sweep of Kerala's sandy beaches lie the 'backwaters' - a maze of villages and islands linked by rivers and canals. Staying aboard a coir-roofed houseboat, we glide through waterways and quiet lotus-filled lagoons. To gain a deeper insight into the lives of the wise and sociable Keralans, we stay with local families - a chance perhaps to try spicy coconut curry!
Elephants & Tea
Heading into the forested highlands, we reach Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. During an early morning nature trek we watch out for herds of sambar deer and a host of bird species. As we climb to Munnar (1600m) we admire views across misty valleys of pepper, rubber, cardamom and tea plantations. On the slopes of Mount Anamudi, we take a walk in the Erivakulam National Park and look out for the rare Nilgiri Thar goat.
Kochi's Masked Dancers
Returning to the coast, we head for Kochi where we explore by boat; navigating past the Chinese fishing nets en route to Fort Kochi. The Portuguese Fort, Jewish synagogue and Syrian Christian priests remind us of Kerala's incredible and diverse history. We also have the chance to see Kathakali dancers interpret the demons and heroes of the great Indian epics. Finally, we relax on Kovalam's crescent beach.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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