- Start point: Kochi
- End point: Kochi
- Exploring colonial Kochi, and reeling in Chinese fishing nets with the locals
- Admiring Munnar’s rolling hills and tea plantations
- Cruising along Alleppey’s backwaters
- Understanding Keralan village life
- Enjoying a beach sunset over Varkala’s cliffs.
DAYS 1-2 KOCHI
Arrive in Kochi. Sightseeing in the city on Day 2.
Arrive in Kochi at any time on the first day and check into the hotel anytime after 12:00pm. There are no activities this day, so enjoy exploring the city on your own. In the late afternoon, your guide, Krishna, will come to greet you and the rest of the group in the hotel lobby. Over a welcome dinner, Krishna will go over the itinerary for the next 9 days!
Kochi, a historical trading and fishing city, has an eclectic feel contributed by the many groups of people who inhabited it during it’s colonial past. Famous for 14th century fishing nets, towering Catholic churches, and the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth, you’ll see remnants all over town of the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and Jewish merchants who have called this port city home and influenced its diverse history and culture.
Krishna, born and raised in Karnataka, Kerala’s neighbouring state, will guide you through this city- an introduction to the warmth and charm you’re sure to encounter throughout the rest of Kerala.
The second day in Kochi will begin with an orientation walk with Krishna, including spending time with some fisherman at the famous Chinese fishing nets and a chance to try it yourself first-hand. In the evening, you’ll attend an amazing Kathakali performance. Kathakali, at 17th century dance-drama that originated in Kerala, will capture you with it’s elaborate costumes, make-up, and most of all, complicated facial expressions.
Day 1: Welcome dinner
Day 2: Orientation walk
Day 2: Kathakali performance
DAY 3-4 MUNNAR
Travel by van to Munnar on Day 3, arriving in the afternoon. Day 4 is flexible, with options to learn about Munnar’s famous tea, visit South India’s highest Peak, or embark on a nature trek.
Travel by: van
Estimated travel time: 6-7 hour drive, with interesting stops along the way.
This morning you’ll travel to Munnar by van, departing Kochi in morning after breakfast.
Kerala, known as “God’s Own Country”, is known for it’s variety of landscapes, and Munnar proves this! Arriving from the hustle and bustle of Kochi, you’ll barely recognize where you are amidst the rolling mountains, fresh air, and tea plantations for as far as the eye can see.
During the long, winding journey to Munnar, Krishna will show you many aspects of Keralan village life, including understanding some local industries such as brick making, and a visit to a local orphanage.
Upon arrival in Munnar in the late afternoon, you’ll have time to get settled into your guesthouse and explore Munnar a bit on your own and Krishna can help you decide how to spend your next day here. Like hiking? Great! Want to learn how tea is farmed and produced? No problem! Prefer to sit back and relax with a good book, a nice cup of tea, and enjoy the scenery? Good choice!
Also on Day 4, you’ll have the chance to visit Munnar’s tea museum to really understand how what makes this hill station famous transforms from a simple leaf to a piping hot cup of chai.
Day 3: Lunch en route to Munnar
Day 4: Entry to Munnar’s tea museum
Cooking course: Rs. 300-600
Boat ride on Lake Piccola: Rs. 250
DAY 5-6 ALLEPPEY
Laze about on a houseboat in Alleppey’s backwaters.
Travel by: van
Estimated travel time: 5 hours
On Day 5 we’ll continue south from Munnar to Alleppey, home to some of Kerala’s most famous backwaters. Along the way, we’ll stop off at a spice plantation to learn about the ingredients that make Indian cuisine so vibrant.
We’ll arrive in the afternoon, settle into our guesthouse, and Krishna can recommend a number of restaurants for dinner this evening after the long journey.
The Kerala backwaters are a vast network of lakes, rivers, canals, and lagoons that make up over 900 km of waterways. The ecosystem is unique in that freshwater from the rivers meets saltwater from the Arabian Sea. Along these waters are villages, towns, and cities- quite a site to behold and some unbelievably unique scenery that you’ll find hard to compare to anywhere else in the world.
Day 6 will begin early with a visit to a local fish market, where Krishna will help you choose delicious seafood to be cooked on board our very own houseboat for lunch! After visiting the fish market, we’ll make our way to the backwaters and board our kettuvallam (Keralan houseboat). It will be a relaxing day spent cruising along the backwaters, observing rural life along the backwaters, and maybe even stopping off for one of Kerala’s famous toddys!
We’ll arrive back in the evening, and have one more night at our guesthouse before heading to the beach.
Day 5: Lunch en route to Alleppey
Day 5: Visit to a spice farm.
Day 6: Full-day private houseboat cruise (seafood lunch with vegetarian options included onboard.)
DAY 7-8 VARKALA
Early morning train to Varkala for two days relaxing on the beach.
Travel by: train
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
Today we’ll leave Alleppey in the morning to head to Varkala by train.
Varkala is the perfect beach town to end our whirlwind tour of Kerala. Perched atop some stunning bluffs, there are plenty of places to lounge and relax along the cliffs, with scenic beaches below. Due to these cliffs, this beach town has avoided the overdevelopment that has plagued many other beaches in India and retains an laid-back vibe and local feel. Varkala is also an excellent spot to sample some of Kerala’s famous Ayurveda treatments such as a massage. Quite the idea set-up for a couple of days or rest and relaxation after a long trip!
Your two days here are completely flexible, but if you for some reason get bored with lazy days on the beach, afternoon massages, and sea-food dinners with a view, Krishna will most certainly be up for exploring Varkala town, or even more-likely -- fishing with the locals over the cliffs!
DAY 9 KOCHI
Head to Kochi mid-morning. Final afternoon in Kochi, and tour ends on Day 11.
Travel by: train
Estimated travel time: 4 hours
We’ll catch another scenic train back to Kochi, where we’ll end our tour on Day 11.
The afternoon of Day 10 can be spent visiting any sights you missed at the beginning, or perhaps shopping for souvenirs in Jew Town. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a dinner together before we bid farewell to each other the following day!
Day 10: Farewell dinner
If you’d like to conclude the tour in Varkala (if planning to spend longer at the beach, or continuing your travels south), this is no problem and we can change the price accordingly. Please let us know when booking.
- All accommodation.
- Service of Krishna, your leader, and Reality Tours & Travel co-founder, throughout the tour.
- Select sightseeing and meals as mentioned in the detailed trip itinerary.
- Visa procurement and fees
- Optional Excursions as listed in itinerary - to be paid locally on tour