North Kerala homestay tours in India

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Departure information

This trip can be tailormade to suit your requirements and departure date
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Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

The tour operator offering this holiday is a British company with an intimate knowledge of the destination. All their holidays are tailor made which means that they can create a unique holiday for your individual requirements. They offer a range of accommodation from guesthouses and homestays to the more luxurious hotels. Where possible they use properties that are heritage or characterful. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips. They are licenced to sell flights from the UK and will search for the best airfare for your dates. If you book flights with them, then the whole holiday will be protected by ATOL. This tour operator is also a member of ABTA – this means that all their holidays adhere to the ABTA Code of Conduct, their finances, insurances etc are checked regularly and if you have a complaint that cannot be resolved there is an arbitration scheme available to you.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: North Kerala homestay tours in India

Environment

Because all the accommodation in this tour is at small locally owned properties the impact on the environment is kept to a minimum. You will be travelling only with your travelling companion (or companions) – and small numbers of people travelling together has a reduced effect on the environment.

Some of the income earned from welcoming guests will be reinvested in maintaining the property. In many cases the house is a heritage building – so this income is helping to restore old properties that might otherwise have been lost. Olappamanna Mana is a wonderful example of this. It is an old house built in the traditional style of the Brahmins in this area of Kerala. All homestays are normally equipped with locally made furnishings and handicrafts.

Staying in a family home is a very different experience to staying in a hotel. Your linen and towels will not be changed on a daily basis, food wastage is kept to a minimum and environmentally unfriendly facilities such as swimming pools are often not present. If the homestay has some air-conditioned rooms we ask that you use the facility responsibly – ie turn it off when not in the room and ensure that you do not open windows while it is on. Most local families use energy saving light bulbs – and again we ask you to turn off the lights when you are not in the room. Recycling is second nature to most Indians, and the Keralite families running homestays are no exception. Bio-degradable waste is generally composted and families try to keep the use of plastic to a minimum.

This tour visits some remote and mountainous areas. Ooty was the British Raj’s escape from the summer heat – it is now a busy town. So we include a homestay (Aakriti – which is a member of Responsible Travel in its own right) in a more rural area away from the main towns of Ooty and Coonoor. The delightful family know the area extremely well and will help you to make the best use of your time here.

The holiday also includes time at Wayanad – recognised as a bio-diverse region. Wayanad is located on the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau and the habitat is sub-tropical savannah and thickly wooded hills. The valleys are planted with spices and paddy fields. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest in Kerala. It is divided into two separate reserves called Muthanga and Tholpetty. Guests may visit the National Park while in the area. The National Parks are managed by the Indian government and entrance fees (which are always higher for foreign visitors) are used towards the up-keep of the protected areas. The homestay we use on this tour will help you make the most of this area and as they are affiliated to an adventure company offering cycling and trekking in the area.

All of our customers are supplied with detailed information about their holiday. We supply general advice relevant to all customers as well as more specific facts about your particular tour. These documents offer our customers lots of advice and guidance including how to obtain an Indian Visa, which immunisations are recommended, how much to tip people, how to dress appropriately and how to behave in National Parks.

Community

This holiday uses homestays and guesthouses, which means visitors are directly benefiting not only the family that own the accommodation but all the local staff that work for them. Most products are also purchased from the local area – so you are supporting the wider local community as well.

Welcoming guests is a major source of income for these families, and for their staff it may be the only means of support. From the visitor’s point of view it gives a wonderful insight into Kerala life. You can learn about the traditions and cuisine of the area. There is surely no better way to begin to understand a country than to live with the locals – albeit for a short time.

You will find that the Keralite hospitality is warm and friendly and the Malayalees (a person who speaks the language of Kerala – Malayalam) are mostly very open and happy to discuss most subjects. The subject of religion is often one that is brought up early as it is generally a major part of Indians’ lives. This is the case in Kerala particular as there are many Christians (as well as Hindus and Muslims) living in the State - so the mix is different here than in other parts of India. Your hosts at Aakriti are Jains – which is fairly unusual in South India. Consequently vegetarian food only is served (and no alcohol is allowed). The host of your first accommodation (Harivihar) is a doctor and Ayurveda (the ancient form of medicine) and yoga are offered here. Even if you don’t participate in these activities it is interesting to learn about them. Vegetarian food only served here too.

You will have your own car and driver with you for the majority of this holiday. This will give you plenty of time to get to know your driver. Our local agent only works with us, so he and his team (and their families) are dependent on us for their income. Our drivers have a contract and are paid a monthly wage rather than only earning during the season. This gives them income throughout the year and the knowledge that they have a job next season (most other drivers have to re-apply for their own job each year).

We provide very specific advice on tipping – both for the drivers and other staff that will contribute to the success of your holiday. Gratuities are an important part of the income of the lower paid workers – so it is important to get it right. We support Indian charities (and our customers are invited to make a contribution to these).

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