Kerala tailor made holiday, 11 days

“Kerala is more mellow than northern India and its cultural highlights, beaches and wildlife can be enjoyed on this pleasantly paced 11-day trip, which marries relaxation with seeing sights.”


Cochin| Periyar National Park |nature walk with park guides | Kumarakom | Lake Vembanad | Varkala | Alleppey day houseboat cruise | luxury accommodation throughout

Description of Kerala tailor made holiday, 11 days

Avoid the hustle and bustle India experience with this signature Kerala tour, which takes in the region’s beautiful highlights in 11 days. Gain an insight into the culture and wildlife of Kerala, but also enjoy some serious mellow time in between! No wonder this trip is a real favourite with our regular travellers!

Your trip begins in the ancient port city of Cochin, where you spend two nights. The influence of Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese settlers can still be seen here and you can visit synagogues, temples and churches in this fascinating cultural melting pot. You can also see the gravestone of Vasco de Gama, the explorer who discovered the sea route from Europe to India. Back at your hotel, enjoy a relaxing soak in your tub and gaze out of the window, watching for dolphins swimming in the glittering waters beyond.

From here, head to the interior. Periyar National Park is home to tigers, monkeys, antelope and a significant population of elephants. Once here, take an interpretive nature walk with park guides, then enjoy some relaxation, breathing in the scent of tropical flowers and the spices that are hanging in the plantation around your accommodation. Swim in the pool, relax in the shade of the palms, listen out for Macaque monkeys in the trees and spot butterflies.

Then take a scenic drive back to the coast for a stay at a beautiful resort near the emerald-green waters of Lake Vembanad. Here you can relax in your pool-side villa with its own private bathing cove or take a sunset cruise on the lake. You might also enjoy an Ayurvedic massage.

Finally, spend four nights in Varkala. From here, take a drive to Allepey for a day-long houseboat cruise along the canals and waterways of this region. While staying in Varkala you can feast on beautiful Keralan food and stroll the wide beaches. Each morning, watch as the fishermen take their boats out to sea, with the promise of fresh fish for dinner, too! Or simply relax in a hammock amid the coconut palms, dozing to the rhythm of crashing waves.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala tailor made holiday, 11 days


Responsible resorts
Your tour will include stays at two CGH Earth Hotels that offer tourism respectful of nature and local ethos, in search for new harmonies. The CGH Earth Hotels adopted the construction methods of the Ooralie tribe of Periyar and the fishermen of Mararikulum and made them their own.

Your first hotel will be the CGH Earth resort Brunton Boatyard in Fort Cochin. With a giant rain tree in the middle, the hotel was resurrected from the remains of a Victorian shipbuilding yard in the 19th century, using the precise building materials of the time - brick, lime, wood and terracotta.

The eco-friendly hotel is one of the rare hotels where small refillable ceramic pots are used for shower gel and shampoo as an alternative to single-sized plastic bottles. Brunton Boatyard also adapted an innovative solution of rain water harvesting that supplies all year around, without putting a drain on the city´s resources. You will moreover find filtered drinking water in large refillable glass bottles from rainwater that has been purified. If you don´t mind the heat, you can also rent bicycles from the hotel to explore the city with your guide in a more sustainable way.

Kerala has taken a deeper interest in increasing locally produced food and organic foods in the last years. The state is now meeting over 70% of its demand for vegetables on its own compared with just 20% a few years ago. Large tracts of land are now being converted for organic cultivation. Initiatives by government agencies, social organisations and farmers are all participating in what is becoming an organic farming revolution in Kerala, that will not only benefit the environment but also your health.

The greenest state of India offers shelter to some of the best and rarest plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. Naturally there are many wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala that have been developed to look after and preserve the wide variety of birds and animals.

During your stay in Kumarakom you will visit the Vembanad Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Asia located in Kottayam. Kottayam is a vast network of several rivers and canals that drains water into the large expanse of the Vembanad Lake. The lake supports the large variety of flora and fauna, from mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves to white lillies. You can also visit the famous Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary on the eastern bank of the Vembanad Lake.

Kumarakom, the clump of small islands on the Vembanad Lake, has launched a Responsible Tourism model, linking the local community to the hospitality industry and has won the national award for the best rural tourism project. Kerala Tourism’s “Responsible Tourism” model at Kumarakom also got the biggest international recognition when it was conferred the top United Nations Award, UNWTO Ulysses Award, for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance.

We believe that there are a thousand small ways to give back more than we take from the earth. We are trying to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours and actively promote that our guides educate local families that they visit with you to do the same.


The CGH resorts we select for you endeavor to employ people from local community, be it the naturalist who guides you through the wilderness or the therapist who rejuvenates your mind and body. CGH instituted community based programmes that helped rehabilitate poachers and smugglers. Local tribes were taught organic farming techniques, which helped them to prosper and preserve their way of life. CGH Earth have adopted the local culture and way of life as a form of respect for the local heritage and traditional modes of living. They set up market mechanisms such us purchasing produce from the local community only.

Local Culture
In Kochi, our experienced local guide will take you on a very special tour in Fort Cochin, providing you with rare and researched inisights about culture, heritage and spiritual history of the the city and its diverse buildings. We will take you for example to the oldest synagogue in all the Commonwealth of Nations, the Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568. It is run by the last and only Jewish woman in India.

We will take you to the local fishermen suspended on Chinese fishing nets, introduced by Chinese explorers. It is a very unique and unusal method of fishing operated from the shore. Set up on bamboo and teak poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms lowering them into the sea, they look like hammocks and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes.

You also have the possibilitiy to witness a very special and sacred Kathakali dance, performed by the local dancers, which tells stories from the ancient Hindu epic – Ramayana and Mahabharata, and maybe a Kalari spectacle, demonstrating parts of the origin of Martial Arts.

The Brunton Boatyard in Cochin also features a group of five Baul musicians. The Bauls are from West Bengal and combine heterogeneous spiritual and religious traditions, a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufi Islam — probably a good message for our fragmented societies today. The Baul community profess universal brotherhood and refuse differences of race, caste and religion. They wander from village to village detached from worldly possessions, except for their instruments, which are as simple as their singing - an ‘ektara’ has only one string while the ‘dotara’ has two - apart from their distinctive percussion, called the ‘dubki’.

On your boat ride or house boat visit on the serene lake Vembanad, you might be able to celebrate Onam (August-September), the most ancient Hindu festival, with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing. All boats used for the races are home-made out of indigenous materials.

At Marara Beach, you can learn local & sustainable traditions by watching the fisherwomen using palm fronds to prepare sapling protectors, or the fascinating process of coir making, a wonder fibre that forms the basis of numerous items, from handbags to ropes to sandals to mattresses.

If you do want to shop, then we will take you to local collectives where local women of that very region craft there products and help keep the money earned in that very community.

4 Reviews of Kerala tailor made holiday, 11 days

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 12 Nov 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We loved Dewalokam and wished we could have stayed longer. It is beautiful and we enjoyed the tour of the farm and the other activities. We loved the idea
that everything was home grown. The accommodation was simple, bright, spacious and spotless. The food was awesome and the choice amazing and we
enjoyed eating communally with the other guests. My husband loved the river swimming.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We could not fault the superb organisation and excellent advice from Sanjay Oberoi at the tour operator. His local agent in India, were also excellent.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes particularly the trips we had to the village and the local school at Dewalokam.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent we had an amazing and most memorable time.

Reviewed on 25 Oct 2018 by

Sanjay organised our trip to Kerala, India. He listened to our requests for experiences, different options for accommodation and made very useful suggestions to shape our itinerary.

We were very happy with the car and driver supplied. All the guides were professional and extremely good at their job. The accommodation was boutique and heritage as requested and included a marvellous homestay and a
2 day houseboat trip on the Kerala backwaters.

We had been to India before and we thought that Kerala is very different to other parts of India we haver explored. We absolutely loved our holiday and we are now planning a trip to Sri Lanka and we hope to have Sanjay prepare the itinerary for that trip as well

Reviewed on 05 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Amazing people who went out of their way to make our holiday special. We had a wonderful driver, Mr Jomy, who took special care of us. Every hotel was attentive and welcoming. The crew of our Backwater boat were a great bunch and the wildlife was spectacular!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

GO TO KERALA. The international news has devastated their local tourist industry with large scale cancellations following the flood and the people rely on tourism for their livelihood. Everything is safe and open and beautiful SO GO!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes definitely- see above, Everyone we came into contact with was local and they were so grateful that we had come despite flood effecting rumours (which were erroneous)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent , and more!

Reviewed on 25 Jan 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Experiencing the rich variety and beauty of Kerala

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Give yourself enough time in each place to really experience it and do some walking - don't travel too quickly!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - by staying in homestays we felt the money went into the hands of local people rather than big coimpanies

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great - smoothly organised, relaxed and enjoyable but we experienced much of the rich variety and beauty of Kerala

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