making meaningful connections
Hills And Backwaters Of Kerala.
Relax in the warmth and beauty of southern India
This is a wonderful and unique taste of life in Kerala, hosted by rural communities, a far cry from the typical tourist routes. Enjoy stays in a picturesque hill-side village guesthouse amid the coffee and pepper plantations in the glorious Western Ghats, followed by a glide through palm-fringed lagoons, onboard a very special village-owned houseboat. Contrast life in the luxuriant forests, plantations and hill stations with the traditions of canopy-makers, fishermen and coir spinners from their beautiful waterside villages. A gentle-paced, enchanting holiday, topped and tailed by a stay in the vibrant port-city of Cochin.
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Itinerary | Day by Day
For this holiday we recommend flights to and from Kochi, via Mumbai. Spicejet offer flights from Kochi to Mumbai.
DAY 1 | Fort Cochin
Welcome at Kochi airport, transfer to Fort Cochin where you stay in a traditional Hotel
A train to Kozhikode and a road transfer takes you into the Wayanad region of the Western Ghats. Transfer to Ernakulam to catch the day train to Kozhikode, welcome at Kozhikode and road transfer (3 hours) to the charming hillside village of Mothakkara in Wayanad.
Night 2 - Night 5 | In the Wayanad Hills
Enjoy four nights with the community of Mothakkara in the special community-run guesthouse. Explore the coffee and pepper plantations and enjoy forest walks and spectacular views across the sprawling hills of the Western Ghats towards Banaura Mountain. You may discover local pottery, enjoy a concert from the women’s drumming group, and visit nearby Thrikkaipatta to meet the women weaving beautiful bamboo handicrafts. There is a strong sense of tradition and your hosts welcome you with genuine warmth. Our guests agree that Mothakkara is one of the most relaxing places to stay, and is a firm favourite. Why not add on an extra trip to nearby Tholpetty for a jeep safari through the Sanctuary, abundant with wildlife – including wild elephant.
Return by road to Kozhikode and take the train to Ernakulam. Meet at Ernakulam station and short transfer to Vayalar village to board the Kayal Kettuvallam houseboat.
Night 6 - Night 9 | In the Backwaters
Spend four nights onboard the Goodearth Kayal Kettuvallam, visiting four of the five communites; Vayalar, Chenganda, Perumbalam, Chemmanagri and Kodamthuruthu. Your mornings and evenings are spent in the villages, getting to know the communities and discovering the customs and traditions, or exploring deeper into the backwaters in the houseboat’s own canoe/tender.
During the hotter, central part of the day the boat progresses gently through the backwaters to the next village. You navigate dense, narrow canals and open waterways, while on the banks busy village life takes place. You may pass duck herders on a punt, buffalo grazing at the water’s edge, fishermen in dugout canoes, coir weavers and coconut harvesters. If you wish to take a cooking class from some of the local ladies, your guide can arrange this.
The houseboat has two twin cabins with private facilities. If there are fewer than four in your party, you may wish to upgrade and have exclusive use of the houseboat.
Day 10 | Fort Cochin
Short transfer to Kochi.
Night 10 - Night 11
With two nights in Fort Cochin you have time to explore this exciting port city and the wonderful old fort district.
The hospitality of Hill House
In the scented hills of Kerala, the delightful hillside village of Mothakkara sits at 1,000m amid pepper and coffee plantations, with views across the tea gardens towards the spectacular hills. Hill House guest-house, owned and run by the village, enchants guests with its simple comfort and great hospitality. This is a village full of life and activity, where women play a major role – all our guides here are female, and a highlight of any visit is to witness the women’s drumming group performing.
Western-ghats hill-station, unique insights
Explore the rubber, coffee and banana plantations and twining vines of pepper and vanilla, enjoy walks towards Banasura Mountain and take a day trip to nearby Thrikaipatta to watch the local craftswomen create wonderful bamboo products.
A very special houseboat
Enjoy gently cruising on the Goodearth houseboat around the network of peaceful waterways, fringed by coconut palms and secluded villages, remote from the main centre of houseboats. Moor each night at a different village.
Marvel at the design of the boat, based on traditional rice barges that formerly conveyed grain from up-stream paddy fields. The Goodearth is owned and crewed by the village communities and was built in Valayar by the village team, from local materials.
Traditional life along the backwaters
Wander around the water-side villages, with your own guide, themself a fishermen and steeped in the environment and traditions of the backwaters. Meet village friends and sharing an understanding of riparian life over a cup of tea. Take part in fishing, from shore-side ‘Chinese” nets, or from hand-paddled traditional boats using drift nets, help with prawn catching or even diving for brackish water mussels.
Kerala’s cuisine is justly famous and makes use of amazing local produce and tropical spices. In Mothakkara enjoy delicious, fresh vegetarian meals.
On the houseboat, select the fish of your choice or opt for vegetarian, locally-sourced and cooked on-board by the crew and women’s committee members.
Vibrant port city
Hills and Backwaters of kerala11 Nights
All meals and stay at villages
B&B in hotels
Guide and Porter services
Inclusive of all taxes as applicable
HOLIDAY PRICES per person