Kerala tailor made holiday

“Stretching from Arabian Sea shores to lush plantation-dotted hills, Kerala is a beguiling melange of tranquil palm-lined rivers, backwater hamlets and historic towns.”

Highlights

Kovalam beach | Historic lagoon city of Cochin | Cardamom Hills tea plantation | Spice and coffee plantations | Lake Periyar - elephants and bird life | Kumarakom resort | River cruise | Distinctive local cuisine

Description of Kerala tailor made holiday

Kerala is one of India's most beguiling regions, set between the Arabian Sea and the uplands of the Western Ghats, traversed by over forty tranquil emerald-green rivers lined with colourful villages. It's a laidback place too, whose countless palm trees – Kerala means 'land of coconuts' – provide cooling shade from the tropical sun.

Kerala has one of India's loveliest shorelines, including the glorious beach at Kovalam plus the delightful city of Cochin, perched on a saltwater lagoon. Visit its 16th century Church of St. Francis, Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Palace.

Heading inland and upward, you reach the picturesque town of Munnar for an overnight stay amid the tea plantations of the lush Cardamom Hills. Driving on to Periyar, you pass through pepper and coffee plantations before an afternoon boat trip on Lake Periyar - a beacon for birdlife (herons, hornbills and egrets) as well as hundreds of elephants.

After a day relaxing in the resort at Kumarakom, end the trip with a full-day cruise on a private houseboat (kettuvallom) along a palm-fringed backwater, with pauses ashore to visit local temples and other attractions. There will also be ample chance to enjoy a local cuisine inspired by influences from a rich trading past, from Syria to Portugal. Crab and coconut are classic Keralan ingredients, while karimeen is a delicious river fish traditionally served marinated in lemon juice and red chillies then baked in plantain leaves.

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 tailormade throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your requirements for 2 to 12 people. This tour can be taken anytime
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala tailor made holiday

In this trip we have made an arrangement with a local ground handling agent who takes care of our hotel bookings and other logistic support, hence 60% of the revenue generated from this tour goes back in the local hands of Kerala people. Throughout trip we only use local guides & escorts who are very well paid. The transport company is locally owned and we sometimes visit local restaurants en-route which are family run & owned locally.

One of hotels we use was a former palace and a living example of maintaining an old heritage building in its former glory.

Not only does our custom contribute to conservation of the building, but we also make it a point that they should give employment to the local people so that the local economy can benefit from tourism. In Munnar we use Tea County Hill resort, designed in the local style and surrounded by sprawling tea plantations. All staff is from the local area and purchasing is done locally from Munnar itself. This hotel has kept its old world charm by maintaining the old gardens which are dependent on recycled waste water.

On the backwaters cruise, the boats are owned by the local people, an ancient tradition and way of life which is still alive in Kerala and which we help maintain by our custom. At Kumarakom we use Backwater Resort whose staff is all locally appointed and very well paid.

While visiting Periyar National Park the clients are informed about the Park and advised: Stay in the vehicle all the time except at designated camps, do not leave your track while walking on foot, take all litter back home with you or put it in a bin at a camp, do not drop anything from the vehicle, please do not feed the animals or birds, please do not smoke or take matches or lighters into the park – fires can be devastating, please do not enter park under the influence of alcohol.

We work in partnership with Jagriti which works for the poor children who have no homes and make their shelter in railway platforms. We donate £5 per person to this association and help the children to find job placements.

10 Reviews of Kerala tailor made holiday

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Reviewed on 09 Mar 2018 by

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


Bamboo rafting and trek in Periyar National Park watching a family of elephants swim across the water in front of us and watching them as we ate our lunch (even the Rangers were excited to see a special event). Our overnight stay in a beautiful, tranquil location on our houseboat watching the sunset and dawn surrounded by birds and their calls Emerald Isle home stay in Alleppey, outside shower, hammocks by the pond watching kingfishers, cycling round the island, sunset boat ride, an absolute must if you are staying in the backwaters.

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


If you are having an overnight houseboat check where they plan to moor overnight as many just come back to dock where they started from so request they moor out in the countryside for a truly memorable experience.

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


Only in as far that we booked through an Indian agent instead of a UK one and we used a local driver and guides and I think the hotels were trying to be environmentally friendly and obviously tourism provides alternative employment opportunities

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


Excellent!

Reviewed on 23 Feb 2018 by

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


Spending New Year's Eve at a party at our hotel - great atmosphere, tremendous friendliness and warmth and fireworks whose proximity erred on the side of exciting rather than H&S. - but we were outside, in the mountains and it was cold! A great novelty to our fellow revellers - but we needed fleeces over our glad rags. Being looked after by our lovely skilled driver Akhtar who supervised, looked after and guarded us like day old chicks! Being approached everywhere we went by people wanting to know all about us, take photo's and especially to know if we liked their state/country. And we did! I don't remember any other tour during which we spent so much time laughing.

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


None of the hotels were licensed to sell alcohol, so if that is a necessity, take some. In Cochin and a couple of other places there were bars, but in some places - not so.

Bargain hard in Kashmiri stores - enjoyably!

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


Our wonderful driver was from Cochin and supports his family by driving tourists. We stayed in locally owned hotels and ate locally (except for 1 big hotel in Cochin) so what we spent was staying in Kerala and paying wages.

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


We all loved Kerala and (particularly) its people and were left with a determination to see more of India.

Reviewed on 18 Mar 2018 by

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


Seeing wild elephants in Periyar Tiger Reserve. We booked two treks their ourselves once we arrived at the homestay booked for us by the tour operator.

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


Be aware that your driver may not speak English very well, and it was difficult to communicate our needs to him. Our original driver became ill and had to be
replaced. Both drivers seemed to have a fixed agenda as to where to take us (ie tourist attractions which involved shopping), it was sometimes quite
frustrating as this is not what we wanted. Be clear in advising the tour operator exactly where and what you want to do. We ended up in some very exclusive lovely hotels but in isolated situations that did not work for us, the homestays were much better.

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


Too much driving between destinations, despite having a superb driver, it was not relaxing on town or country roads. Partly due to bad planning on our part,
but felt we were part of a tourist trail that I would avoid if I ever went to India again. We had a fabulous time, people so helpful and friendly and I assume
using an Indian company meant we benefited local people. It would have been good if the tour operator had planned for less travel as so much time was spent
in the car and the journeys were not planned efficiently. We arranged our own train journey at the end to avoid another whole day in the car.

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


We had a brilliant adventure which we enjoyed but we were frustrated with language problems and misunderstandings. The first hotel in Fort Cochin and
final hotel in Varkala and the homestays were brilliant, but other 3 hotels were too isolated (up a mountain, on an island, on edge of Cochin) were formal
and rather intimidating with many staff and security staff hugely outnumbering the few guests. The venues chosen inland were great but we would have
preferred homestays nearer to local amenities. Neelesh did respond to our request to change one of the bookings as we did not want to stay on the Island hotel for two nights as it was not only too isolated with nothing to do but also involved us in unnecessary road travel, we booked ourselves a ferry to avoid more car journeys.

Reviewed on 15 Jan 2018 by

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


Our stay at The Leaf hotel in Munnar, including New Year's Eve. Even without alcohol we had a wonderful evening with local dancers and drummers, a lovely
buffet meal and then we all danced up until midnight when we were entertained by a wonderful firework display. It was wonderful seeing the tea plantations
and visiting the Tea Museum. Eravikulam National Park gave us the opportunity of seeing the rare Nilgiri thar (mountain goat)

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


Kerala is a dry state so don't expect to be able to order beer or wine with your meal. We all eat only vegetarian and the meals were wonderful and everyone in
the party avoided any stomach upsets. Unfortunately we were only in Kochi on a Friday so were not able to see inside the Dutch Palace.

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


Yes we did particularly as we booked through our tour operator, who are an Indian company and who supplied us with an excellent vehicle and very safe driver.

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


Excellent and very varied holiday. We were lucky to see so many animals at Periyar wild life sanctuary. The trip on the house boat at Alleppey was very good, although we were disappointed when we arrived back at the jetty where we had started from just before sunset to moor for the night, but very pleased next morning when we moved off again and had breakfast while cruising on the backwaters.

Read the operator's response here:

Greetings

We thank you for submitting your reviews so quickly. We are happy that you enjoyed your holiday recently with us. Will will keep improving ourselves and look forward to have you here again.

Thanks
Neelesh

Reviewed on 29 Mar 2012 by

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


It was the holiday of a lifetime and there were so many memorable parts. Trekking in the nature reserve at Periyar and having a very close shave with wild elephants was one of them! When we stayed on the houseboat there was a strike which could have spoilt our day, but our captain moored next to his village the night before. We went for a guided walk around the village with our Captain and he took us to his house where we were looked after! It was brilliant.

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


Just make sure you have time to relax at the end, the first 2 weeks were full on and our last week was a planned week of relaxing. We needed it and it rounded the trip off perfectly.

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


I think it benefited local people and our eco-lodge stays were very low impact.

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


Wonderful! We really had the best holiday ever. So much to see and do and the food was incredible. People were very hospitable and welcoming.

Reviewed on 27 Jan 2012 by

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


There were too many to mention, but floating on the backwaters at sunset, felt
pretty magical.

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


Ensure to do your research beforehand, so that you can make the most of your
trip. My driver was really helpful to a certain degree, but the language barrier was a little difficult, so it was hard for him to understand if there was anywhere that I wanted to visit which wasn't part of the tour/schedule.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, to a certain degree.

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


It was everything that I had expected and more. Kerala is a fabulous place.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Colette,

Its such a great feeling to hear the feedback. We are happy that you enjoyed your recent trip to Kerala.

However at the time of arrival there was some confusion with the Hotel Booking which you have not pointed, we much appreciate & look forwards to have you here again.


Reviewed on 30 Sep 2010 by

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


The Nehru Snake Boat races were truly amazing- they take place once a year on the second Saturday of Augusts, which also marks the start of the religious festival of flowers. The boats carry more than 120 rowers plus drummers and singers, and four race at a time, making them the largest races in the world. We were found places on a barge near the finish from where we viewed the days festivities- tens of thousands of Indians having a carnival.

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


Try a home stay- it's a humbling experience to stay in local peoples' homes. Be aware that Periyar in August may be swathed in mist which restricts wild life visibility. Everyone we met was wonderfully hospitable and helpful.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes- the homestays certainly were. Driving around Kerala wasn't necessarily the most eco-sensitive way to travel, but there weren't trains going up to Periyar.

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


A fantastic experience for adults, teenagers and pre-teens alike. A wonderful combination of culture and the outdoors, plus plenty of wildlife.

Reviewed on 19 Mar 2010 by


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


Going to places where we were the only non-Indian visitors and being greeted with laughter, waves and smiles; elephants at dawn in the river; noise, chaos, colour and smells; the contrast of staying in Kaiaikudu...and the ghost-like silence of the empty mansions; eating wonderful curries every day!!

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


Know what type of holiday you want, research different places and be prepared to take time to plan it with your provider...

I must have exchanged 50 emails....but it was worth it. Accept that most hotels in big towns aren't 'atmospheric'!! (Though we did stay at a wonderful one in Bangalore). Absorb the clamour and chaos and relax. Learn to ignore the countless offers for 'guiding'... it's hard but for your own sanity you must. There will be the odd unexpected change to your plans... but this is India! Dress appropriately. Oh, and you must like curry!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. All our hotels were owned and/or managed by Indians. We had local drivers, did local shopping, and the company we booked with is based in India and uses other Indian companies to back them up.

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


It was all I had hoped for and more. It was up there with the best. I cant wait to go to Northern India!!

The tour operator was great and I had contact with them all through the trip and any problems were sorted immediately. There were some minor hiccups along the way but they were sorted and didn't spoil my enjoyment at all...

Reviewed on 02 Mar 2009 by

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


Watching my partner taking a shower with an elephant - the video is hilarious!!

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


It helped that we had read about some of the additional things we might want to do in the different areas we stayed. That, along with the knowledge of our guide, meant that we had lots of different activities and visits to choose from.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Difficult to tell as I am not sure whether the hotels were owned by local people or larger companies? Certainly the self employed guide was great and we did as many local activities as we could, thereby benefiting local people.

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


We had a really great time. We got to chill out as well as do different things and activities. We were able to see different parts of Kerala which we could have planned ourselves but this saved us a lot of time and stress.

Read the operator's response here:

Greetings… We always very carefully choose all our accommodation and make it sure that they are all owned by locals. We are happy that the trip went well and we look forward to further improve ourselves and deliver our best.

Reviewed on 30 Nov 2009 by

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


Taking a canoe ride along the canals at sunset, listening to the dusk chorus of birds and the chanting from a water-side Hindu temple.

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


The standard route does involve a lot of travelling time in a car. If you have more time (we had 12 nights), it might be worth spacing out the intervals in Munnar and Periyar or alternatively not staying on the south west coast (we stayed in Kovalam - not that impressive) but somewhere closer to Cochin and the backwaters.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Our trip was more at the "luxury" end of the spectrum, but we did trips with local people, some of whom appeared to be self-employed. This is a well-trodden tourist route and if want to get away from the plush hotels, you will need to proactively ask for "homestay" arrangements as this did not feature in our itinerary.

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


Beautiful place, tasty food, very friendly people. Very chilled holiday, good introduction to India. Good honeymoon idea.

Read the operator's response here:

First of all we would like to thank you for your feedback as it helps us always to perform better. We have taken all the suggestions in a very positive manner and have instructed our tour section to mention the distance well in advance before finalising the itinerary.


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