Simply Kerala

Prepare to relax completely, slowing down to the laid back pace of southern India on our Simply Kerala holiday. Admire Cochin, get a taste of rural life at a farm homestay, and spend time aboard a houseboat before hitting the beach to complete your R&R.

At a glance
  • Explore Fort Cochin on foot
  • Escape to the cooler climes of Munnar hill station
  • Experience rural Keralan life at a homestay
  • Witness a traditional Kalaripayattu performance
  • Learn the secrets behind tea production
  • Watch the backwaters drift by from aboard a private houseboat
  • Relax on the golden sands of Marari beach
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Cochin - 2 nights

Cochin (also called Kochi) is an intriguing fusion of cultures. Dutch, Portuguese and British Raj colonists all left their mark on the city’s architecture, in the form of ancient mosques, European churches, and a 400-year-old synagogue... and the harbour's famous giant fishing nets were introduced by Chinese explorers in the 14th century! Well-known for its spice production, Cochin is also a centre for Keralan arts, and an excellent place to catch a traditional performance.

Day 1 - Arrive Cochin, sunset lake cruise

On arrival in Cochin, you'll be met by a Selective Asia representative, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Having checked into your hotel, you'll be at leisure until late afternoon, when you'll accompany your guide to Cochin harbour for a sunset boat cruise across Vembanad Lake, passing small islets and various seafaring vessels. As the sun sets, head to the harbour mouth and the Arabian Sea for beautiful views back over the harbour front, with its huge historic fishing nets in silhouette against the orange sky.

Day 2 - Fort Cochin walking tour

Includes:

Accompanied by your expert local guide, explore Cochin on foot and by tuk-tuk, stopping to admire the Chinese Fishing Nets, the Dutch Palace, synagogue and St Francis Church, breaking for chai or coffee at a local art cafe for a glimpse of Cochin's contemporary creative side.

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Kodikulam - 2 nights

The Dewalokam Homestay sits in an organic farm in the rural region of Kodikulam, surrounded by jungle and plantations growing spices and rubber. The property produces fruit, vegetables, spices, honey, milk and eggs, and a stay here offers a fascinating insight into rural Keralan life. You can easily while away an hour strolling around the farm, and various activities are on offer, from cookery classes, village walks, cycling through the countryside and river rafting, to rubber tapping, and milking the resident cow. There will also be plenty of opportunities to find a peaceful spot in the gardens and relax with a book!

Day 3 - Drive through rural Kerala to jungle homestay

Includes:

After a leisurely breakfast, depart Cochin for the rural region of Kodikulam, and the Dewalokam Homestay, where you'll be warmly welcomed before being introduced to the various ways to spend your time here.

Day 4 - At leisure to relax & enjoy optional homestay activities

Includes:

Your day will be at leisure, and can be as active or relaxing as you wish.

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Munnar - 2 nights

The hill station of Munnar, in the Western Ghat mountain range, was established as a summer retreat by the British Raj, who sought a cooler climate to escape the summer heat. Surrounded by rolling hills, Munnar was introduced to tea cultivation in the late 1800s, and is now defined by miles of vivid green plantations. The region’s largest tea company produces 20 million kg of tea a year, and your visit (as you might expect!) will be focused on this much-loved beverage, from exploring the tea fields to visiting a tea factory.

Day 5 - Drive to Munnar

Includes:

After breakfast and having said goodbye to your hosts, depart through rural Kerala to Munnar, where the rest of your day will be at leisure to enjoy the beautiful scenery and sample the local brew.

Day 6 - Scenic hill trek, tea farm jeep tour, tea factory visit

Includes:

We suggest a hearty breakfast this morning to prepare you for your trek through the Letchmi Hills. You'll follow an undulating trail through tea plantations and woodland, enjoying scenic views as you go. Stop at a suitably scenic spot for a picnic lunch, before walking to meet your driver, who'll drop you in Munnar in time for this afternoon's jeep tour of the plantations. Negotiating the dirt tracks in your 4WD, you'll witness the tea-pickers at work, before stopping at a tea factory to learn about the history and production of this region's most valuable commodity. Finish your tour by tasting some of the freshest tea you're likely to ever experience!

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Thekkady - 1 night

Thekkady is the spice plantation hub of Kerala, producing a wide array of spices, including clove, ginger and turmeric, alongside cardamom and coffee. It's also home to Periyar National Park, which harbours an impressive variety of fauna and flora, including elephant, sambar deer, langur, and gaur (Indian bison), and nearly 150 species of orchid. A small population of Bengal tigers also inhabit the area, although they are quite elusive. Your stay will include a trek in Periyar with an expert guide, a visit to a local spice plantation, and a demonstration of the world's oldest martial art.

Day 7 - Drive to Thekkady, national park walk, martial arts display

Includes:

After breakfast you'll be driven to Thekkady, where you'll head into Periyar National Park on foot, with a local guide on hand to identify interesting flora. Afterwards, there'll be time to freshen up at your hotel before attending the Mudra Cultural Centre for an hour-long demonstration of Kalaripayattu. Considered to be the world's oldest martial art, the technique originated in southern India and is understood to have influenced both Kung Fu and traditional Keralan dance, as well as ancient Indian combat techniques.

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Kerala Backwaters - 2 nights

The Alleppey region is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters, famous for its scenic waterworld. The best way to explore the water-logged landscape is by boat, so you’ll spend the next couple of days aboard a private houseboat - a converted Keralan rice barge - exploring the backwaters and witnessing local life.

Day 8 - Spice plantation visit, houseboat on scenic Kerala backwaters

Includes:

Start your day with an early visit to a local spice plantation, to learn about the history of Indian spices, how to cultivate them, and how they're used in Ayurvedic medicine. Afterwards, you'll be driven to the coast, where you'll board your private houseboat. Lunch will be served as you slip out into the shallow palm-edged lakes and narrow canals of Kerala's backwaters. You’ll pass by small villages, where there'll be time to stop at local markets or watch craftsmen at work using centuries-old boat-building techniques. Dinner will also be served on your private deck.

Day 9 - Continue houseboat cruise, explore local life

Includes:

Enjoy a leisurely second day on your houseboat, cruising gently through the tranquil backwaters. You will have the opportunity to disembark for a glimpse into local life; the rest of the time, simply relax and soak up the scenery from your private deck.

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Marari Beach - 2 nights

Marari Beach, a.k.a Mararikulam, is a tranquil, slow-paced resort, free from water sports and endless beach bars. If you enjoy long beach walks and a serene atmosphere, Marari is the place to be! The main beach gets a little busier with locals at weekends, but it’s still easy to find a quiet spot. Your time here will be at leisure to relax. If early mornings are your thing, we recommend heading to the shore at dawn to see colourful fishing boats returning after a night at sea.

Day 10 - Drive to Marari Beach

Includes:

After breakfast aboard your boat, disembark to be driven to Marari Beach, where your wind-down continues! Once you’ve checked into your hotel, the rest of your day will be at leisure to enjoy the beach and hotel facilities.

Day 11 - Marari beach at leisure

Includes:

Your day will be at leisure for some serious R&R.

Day 12 - Depart from Cochin

Includes:

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £1,980US$2,580 £1,805US$2,352 £1,715US$2,235

Eighth Bastion

Reflecting Fort Kochi’s history in the Indian spice trade, the Eighth Bastion combines high quality service and classic style... See more

Dewalokam Homestay

Stay in the ancestral home of an ancient Kerala family, with its own award-winning organic farm that produces ingredients for your traditional meals... See more

Windermere Estate

Step back into the 1940s of an old-style cardamom plantation at the Windermere Estate just outside Munnar. The 18 chalet style rooms have been built organically over time, so each one is slightly different. But what they all share is the sense of a rustic country hideaway... See more

Shalimar Spice Garden

Camouflaged by wild jungle and flourishing spice plants, Shalimar Spice Garden is a fully immersive nature retreat... See more

Lakes and Lagoons Cruises

Setting out from Alleppey to cruise through Kerala’s famous backwaters, Lakes & Lagoons offers a range of boats to suit every style... See more

Xandari Pearl

Set in 18 acres of gardens next to Kerala’s Marari Beach, the Xandari Pearl emphasises relaxation in a natural setting... See more
Superior £2,275US$2,964 £2,076US$2,706 £2,019US$2,631

Old Harbour Hotel

This 300 year old mansion was the first hotel in Cochin, and has become a heritage building in its own right in this historic town. Situated by the harbour... See more

Dewalokam Homestay

Stay in the ancestral home of an ancient Kerala family, with its own award-winning organic farm that produces ingredients for your traditional meals... See more

Spice Tree

Everything about Munnar’s Spice Tree resort has been designed to reflect and accentuate its mountain setting in the heart of the Western Ghats.... See more

Spice Village

This eco retreat uses local traditions to offer stylish and environmentally friendly accommodation, conveniently close to Periyar National Park... See more

Spice Coast Cruises

Boats are by far the best way to see the fabled Kerala backwaters, and these converted rice barges have been beautifully kitted out... See more

Marari Beach Resort

The Marari Beach is a seaside village style resort set in 30 acres of gorgeous gardens with its own organic farm, and offers cosy relaxation... See more
Deluxe £2,565US$3,342 £2,312US$3,013 £2,273US$2,962

CGH Earth Brunton Boatyard

A beautifully converted shipyard on the seafront in Cochin, this stately hotel offers graceful, comfortable accommodation within easy reach of this historic town’s key sights... See more

Dewalokam Homestay

Stay in the ancestral home of an ancient Kerala family, with its own award-winning organic farm that produces ingredients for your traditional meals... See more

Spice Tree

Everything about Munnar’s Spice Tree resort has been designed to reflect and accentuate its mountain setting in the heart of the Western Ghats.... See more

Spice Village

This eco retreat uses local traditions to offer stylish and environmentally friendly accommodation, conveniently close to Periyar National Park... See more

Kumarakom Lake Resort & Houseboat

With its traditional houseboat accommodation and beautiful heritage villas, the Kumarakom Lake Resort offers a taste of quintessential Kerala with a lavish twist... See more

Marari Beach Resort

The Marari Beach is a seaside village style resort set in 30 acres of gorgeous gardens with its own organic farm, and offers cosy relaxation... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with one of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • Any train journey listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will require a visa to enter India. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.