Kerala: A Luxury Holiday to the Malabar Coast

There are few places on Earth to match the diversity of culture, religion, landscape and cuisine of this tiny state tacked onto the southwestern tip of India. Kerala, known as the ‘land of coconut trees’ (with good reason – there are over 200 million of them) is a place that time seems to have forgotten. This two week journey through the stunning state of Kerala, from the spicy peaks of Wayanad to the luxurious houseboats of the backwaters, will however ensure its somewhere you always remember. Mixing old European influences with the vibrant sub-continental culture, you can begin to see why Kerala is high on most people’s must-travel list. Our travel experts have spent years combing through this enigmatic corner and their insight, access and knowledge will ensure you are in the best possible hands here.

Up close with local life

Your Keralan discovery begins amid the region’s authentic Backwaters as you settle in at the boutique Purity hotel set on the banks on Lake Vembanad. Taking straight to the water, you’ll set out that evening on a canoeing journey that will explore local life with a clam fishing experience. Tomorrow, you’ll continue your discovery in Kumarakom where you will have some time to explore the local villages and some of their unique practices such as coconut climbing, toddy tapping and coir making. Sample the local delicacies over lunch in an authentic toddy shop before returning to Purity in the afternoon.

The next day, you’ll venture deeper into the backwaters with a day spent cruising the canals from Alleppey. Sit back and relax as you take in life on the backwaters, where farming is done below sea level and boats ferry children to school and produce to market. After a final night at Purity tonight, you’ll continue your journey through Kerala tomorrow.

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The culture of Cochin

Arriving in Cochin, you’ll explore the local area with a leisurely cycle ride along the Kochi coast, passing through traditional fishing villages and lush coconut groves. Tomorrow, your explorations will take you further as you visit Fort Cochin, Mattancherry and Ernakulam. Your expert guide will take you from the Chinese fishing nets and the stalls that line the walkways through heritage Jewish and Dutch buildings and past the many dhobi ghats and temples. Spice warehouses scent the air with ginger, cardamom and pepper whilst the many cultural identities give the area a unique feel.

Stop by the Mattancherri Palace, with its murals and memorabilia of a bygone era, and the Pardesi synagogue, before returning to your hotel for the night.

A Tranquil stay in Wayanad

Tomorrow, a journey to remember on India’s rails as you board the train north through the vibrant countryside of South India to Calciut, before continuing on by road into the remote forests of Wayanad to the boutique Tranquil homestay. Set in 400 acres of coffee and spice plantation, your home for the next three nights will be a harming treehouse high above the forest floor. Re-charge with an ayurvedic massage treatment before touring the nearby tea factory or taking a traditional cooking class.

For the intrepid traveller, the two-hour trek to the Edakkal caves is a must. The caves are two natural rock formations, believed to have been formed by a large split in a huge rock many centuries ago. Now, you can step iside and discover the most beautiful carvings, thought to date back as far as the Neolithic age of 6000 BC.

Cruising on the backwaters of Kerala

Tomorrow, you’ll embark on one of our favourite Keralan experiences as you set off on a leisurely cruise through the Neeleshwar waterways on your private houseboat, The Lotus. As you enter the remote backwaters, you will be surrounded by the tranquillity of virgin rainforests with just the cool breeze rustling through the endless palm fronds for company. With your own onboard chef ready to cater to your every whim, any stress will surely melt away as you watch the magical scenery drift by.

The Snake Temple is an early highlight, heralded by the cluster of colourful boats that gather outside and its bright carvings dedicated to the fishing community. Colourful sights continue at Valiyaparamba village where houses speckle a long strip of land separating the backwaters and open sea. Finally, take a stroll on Monkey Island where the friendly inhabitants that reside in its thick forests have given it its name. Weave your way through and discover an ancient shrine in a clearing at the island’s heart.

After docking back on dry land, a leisurely drive takes you to the shores of the Arabian Sea where Neeleshwar Hermitage awaits. Spend your days relaxing by the infinity pool, listening to the sounds of the dolphins or integrating into the culture of the surrounding villages. Finally, a sunset cruise around Cochin’s islands and lagoons is a perfect, peaceful way to round off your Indian voyage and reflect on the journey you’ve made.