A walking holiday taking in the diversity of tropical Kerala in India's far south. Trek among the forests and grasslands of the mountainous Western Ghats, walk in search of wildlife in the Periyar National Park and meet the locals rambling through tranquil Backwaters\ villages. Exploring on foot is the best way to discover the culture and landscapes of God's Own Country. Meesapulimala Peak - Enjoy the views from one of South India's highest peaks (2635m) Backwaters cruise - Observe daily life in the tranquil Backwaters and spend the night aboard a converted rice barge Kochi - Explore colonial architecture and city sights on a walking to

Day 1: Join trip Kochi

Start Point

Hotel Bright Heritage, Hotel reception,

1/508, A1, Tower Rd, Fort, Kochi, Kerala

682001, India


Our Kerala adventure starts today in the harbor city of Kochi, a gathering place for merchants and traders since antiquity. Built on several islands and crisscrossed with waterways, the city has a very cosmopolitan feel today and attracts artists and artisans from around the region. Your Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 6 pm for a welcome meeting after which, for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner as a group. There are no other activities planned today. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Cochin International Airport (COK), which is 40km, approximately one-and-a-half hour's drive from the airport. Should you have time today, our hotel is located right in the centre of Fort Kochi not far from the famous Chinese Fishing nets. It's easy to explore this interesting area on foot.

Day 2: Morning tour of historic Kochi; drive to Munnar

This morning we take in a walking tour of India's oldest European settlement, Fort Kochi. Beginning with the arrival of Jewish and Arab spice traders in the first century AD, Kochi's prosperity and importance increased with the arrival of the Portuguese, who were later followed by the Dutch and the English. This eclectic heritage has invested the city with a fascinating mix of styles and influences. We take in the architectural charms of the Church of St Francis and some of the other notable colonial buildings - the site of the city's 16th century Jewish synagogue (closed on Friday and Saturday), the oldest in the Commonwealth and the exterior of the Mattancherry Palace, originally built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Cochin in 1555, but later extensively renovated by the Dutch. In the afternoon we then drive inland to Munnar and the stunning vistas of the Western Ghats. The 140 kilometer drive takes us into the heart of tea country, where fresh mountain air and tropical forests share the landscapes with spice plantations and tea estates. Our walking tour today is graded easy and we expect it to take approximately two hours.

Day 3: Hike to Seven Malai Hills through tea, coffee and spice plantations

Our first day's hiking in the Ghats begins from the small village of Nagarmudi (1500 m), just a short drive from old Munnar. Beginning with a gradual climb, we ascend through the tea plantations up into the Seven Malai Hills, passing crops of coffee and cardamom as we make our way to the summit (1700 m). The walk today will take us around four to five hours, but the views more than compensate for the hard climb, as we are presented with some spectacular panoramas across the Chittrapuram Dam and out towards the Anamudi Peak, Munnar and the local villages. Descending to our vehicle, we then drive back to Munnar for our second night. Our 11 kilometre walk today is moderately-graded and we expect it to take approximately four to five hours.

Day 4: Trek to Silent Valley through tea estates and shola forest

It's an hours jeep ride via the forest office this morning to the start of our three day point to point hike. The walk proceeds through a landscape blanketed with tea plantations, sholas of eucalyptus and plantations of plane. The beautiful views and array of tea estates laid out before us give a real flavor of the area. Stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch in shade of a tea garden, we then continue climbing towards our camp at Silent Valley, situated in a meadow close to a small stream. Ascending to a height of 2000 m, today's walk will cover around 12 kilometers, taking us between four and five hours to reach the camp.

Day 5: Trek to Meesapulimala Peak (2635 m)

Leaving camp after breakfast this morning, we begin the ascent of Meesapulimala Peak, the second highest in South India. The trail towards the summit takes us from rough grassland and up onto the ridge line, where we continue climbing through patches of open grassland towards the peak. The journey to the top will take us around three to four hours and from its lofty heights, the views look down across Kerala and Tamil Nadu (if the summit isn't shrouded in mist). You might even pass the odd herd of Nilgiri Thar (a type of wild goat) on the way. After a chance to rest and enjoy the scenery, we then descend towards Rhodo Valley (2300 m), stopping off for a picnic lunch en route. As the camping area at Rhodo Valley is currently closed, we return by jeep for a second night at our Silent Valley camp. Our walk today is moderately-graded and we expect it to take approximately six to seven hours to cover eight kilometers.

Day 6: Hike to Top Station through villages and plantations

Today provides us with our longest day's walking, as we meander our way through a stunning backdrop of verdant plantations and vivid red rhododendron forests. This part of the Western Ghats is home to a staggering array of life, with wild boar and Atlas moths sharing the stage with a dazzling mix of local flora. As we climb, the views out across the local countryside take in villages and lakes, before we begin a gradual winding descent towards Ellapetty village where we enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by vegetable gardens planted by the local tea workers. From here it's a 30 minutes transfer by jeep to our final camp at Top Station/Oorkad (1900 m). Our walk today is moderately-graded and we expect it to take approximately seven hours to cover 16 kilometers.

Day 7: Drive to Thekkady, gateway to Periyar National Park

Breaking camp for the last time today we drive back towards Munnar and on to Thekkady, gateway to the Periyar National Park. Taking up much of the morning, the 160 kilometer drive weaves across the Western Ghats before reaching Thekkady later this morning. This part of India has long been renowned for its abundant spices. Indeed, it was to the spice rich shores of the Malabar Coast that Christopher Columbus was heading when he bumped into America by mistake. After lunch we take a short walk around a spice garden, enjoying an aromatic wander through crops of black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. There should also be time to explore the local bazaar before dinner.

Day 8: Trekking in Periyar National Park

This morning we enjoy a walk in observation of the flora and fauna in the Periyar National Park. Set around the picturesque shores of Lake Periyar and one of the largest parks in South India, it is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife including elephant, tiger (although we don't expect to see one!), sambar, wild pigs, bison, monkeys and langurs. It also boasts some 112 species of butterflies and 246 species of birds including cormorants, darters, ospreys, kingfishers, hornbills and kites. The walk will take between two to three hours, after which there may be an opportunity this afternoon to enjoy an optional boat trip on the lake. Please be aware, tickets for the cruise are only available locally and are on a first come, first served basis. Our walk today is graded easy, mostly flat and at a leisurely pace as we take in the flora and fauna of the park. We expect it to take approximately two to three hours.

Day 9: Drive to Alleppey on the coast; Backwaters houseboat cruise

Driving to the coastal town of Alleppey this morning we head for the myriad canals and channels that make up the Kerala Backwaters, boarding a traditional houseboat for an overnight cruise through the region. A time-honoured form of transport, these wonderfully characterful boats are made of anjili wood and bamboo and come with en-suite twin bedrooms and an on-board chef, providing the perfect way to enjoy the scenic and cultural beauty of this remarkable setting. Along theses narrow channels, the industrious villagers survive on narrow spits of land, keeping cows, pigs, chickens and even cultivating vegetable gardens. Nothing goes to waste: the shells from the fresh water mussels are burnt to make building lime and coir is used for just about everything. This evening we'll moor up along the banks of Vembanad Lake.

Day 10: Backwaters village walk; drive to Kochi

After a relaxing breakfast on board, we then drive on to the village of West Chennamkary in the heart of the Backwaters for a short walk around some of the local villages, soaking up the atmosphere of a region that provided Arundhati Roy with the inspiration for her book, 'The God of Small Things'. We'll enjoy a traditional Keralan lunch with a local family before driving back to Kochi later in the afternoon. Our walk today is graded easy and we expect it to take up to two-and-a-half hours at a very leisurely pace.

Day 11: Trip ends in Kochi

End Point

Hotel Airlink Castle, Hotel reception,

NH-47, Near Cochin International Airport,

Athani, Nedumbassery, Ernakulam,

Kerala 683585, India


The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Kochi. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Kochi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Cochin International Airport (COK), which is around 40 kilometers, one-and-a-half hour's drive from the hotel.

What’s Included

  • Accommodation

1 nights simple boat

3 nights simple camping

6 nights standard hotel

  • Guide

Tour Leaders are quite simply the glue that holds our tours together. They are chosen for their travel experience and people skills and are thoroughly trained by Explore, widely acknowledged as some of the best training in the industry. A Tour Leader's ultimate aim is to ensure everyone is well looked after and have a fantastic trip. They are there to ensure that the tour logistics run smoothly, that health and safety is adhered to and provide comprehensive briefings at the beginning and throughout the tour.

  • Meals

A key facet of our responsible approach to tourism is that we encourage our groups to eat in local restaurants that prepare locally grown food. We give customers choice as to their meals and do not use rather bland and impersonal hotel restaurants or all- inclusive options

10 Breakfasts

5 Lunches

4 Dinners

  • Transport

Bus, Boat

  • Others

All accommodation, activities and meals that are shown in the itinerary are included in the total cost of your trip You will also receive a complimentary transfer to and from the airport if you arrive on day 1 of the trip and depart on the last day and have provided your international flight information



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