Leave the tourist trail behind on this nine-day exploration of the diverse southern Indian state of Kerala. Touch down in Cochin to explore its historic sights, then wind through the verdant tea plantations of the Western Ghats to reach Munnar. Spot exotic wildlife on a sunrise hike through Periyar National Park, hop on a houseboat to spend a night floating down the waterways of Alappuzha, and soak up the sun on the sands of Marari Beach.


  • Stroll along cobblestone streets to discover Cochin's colonial architecture
  • Travel through the Western Ghats and tea plantations to reach Munnar 
  • Explore Periyar National Park and witness its diverse wildlife and ecosystems
  • Hike in the jungle and float through Kerala on a houseboat 
  • Reach the coast and soak up sand, sea, and sun on Marari Beach

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cochin Cochin
Day 2 Cochin City Tour Cochin
Day 3 Transfer to Munnar Munnar
Day 4 Hike to Sevenmalai Hills, Tea Museum Tour Munnar
Day 5 Transfer to Periyar National Park Periyar
Day 6 Morning Jungle Walk, Transfer to Alappuzha & Houseboat Cruise Alappuzha
Day 7 Transfer to Marari Beach Marari
Day 8 Free Day at Marari Beach Marari
Day 9 Transfer to Cochin & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cochin

A tuk-tuk whizzing along a street in Cochin
Catch a Kathakali dance performance on your first night in Cochin

Welcome to Cochin! This port city in Kerala on India's southwest coast is a perfect place to start your trip. Upon arrival at the airport, your guide will greet you and take you to your hotel. Take some time to relax at the hotel or head out to start exploring your surroundings.

Cochin's history stretches back to the time of King Solomon, when it was known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea." This city is where Arab, Chinese, and European merchant traders came in search of spices, silk fabrics, and sandalwood. You'll find these influences at Fort Kochi, a settlement with tiled colonial bungalows. You'll have several options on how to spend your first evening, including a dramatic Kathakali dance show at the cultural center or a sunset cruise on the Arabian Sea.

Day 2: Cochin City Tour

 Bishop House is a museum in Fort Cochin
Visit Bishop House, a museum in Fort Kochi
Take a guided walk through Cochin today, heading first to the Fort Kochi area in Old Cochin known for its Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonial architecture. As you walk, admire the Chinese fishing nets that are a recognizable symbol of the city, and stop at the Dhobi Khana, a laundry station that has historical significance from the Dutch occupation in the 17th century. Then visit a spice market to pick up souvenirs. Next, it's on to the Mattancherry Palace (also known as the Dutch Palace), which was built by the Portuguese in 1557 as a gift for the king. Admire its two-story central courtyard and inner temples.

Day 3: Transfer to Munnar

Tea garden of Munnar
You'll pass through the Western Ghats as you head to Munnar
After breakfast, join your driver for the three-hour east to Munnar. Famous for its tea plantations, the town is located in the Western Ghats, approximately 5,249 feet (1,600 m) above sea level with stunning views. This was once the summer resort of the British administration in South India and it still retains its colonial feel. Upon arrival, the rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you please. Wander through the colorful streets, poke around a few bazaars for potential souvenirs, or rest up for tomorrow's hike.
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Day 4: Hike to Sevenmalai Hills, Tea Museum Tour

Spend two nights in Munnar, surrounded by plantations
Enjoy all the shades of green in Munnar's tea plantations

Set off first thing for a guided half-day hike in the beautiful hills surrounding Munnar. Your walk will start on a gradually sloped uphill path, passing through tea, cardamom, and coffee plantations. You'll then hike through biodiverse rainforests and grasslands to reach the Sevenmalai Hills. You'll be rewarded after your climb with knockout views over tea estates, Munnar town, Changulam Lake, Chittrapuram Dam, and local villages. 

If you still have the energy, visit the Tata Tea Museum located at the Nallathanni Estate after your hike. Here, the museum will give you an insight into how tea is processed from fresh green leaves to the final product, and how the tea industry has played an important part in the area's history. If you're tired after your hike, return to your hotel to put your feet up instead. Once you've rested, join your guide for an evening walk through Munnar's colorful markets.

Day 5: Transfer to Periyar, Spice Garden Walk

Periyar National Park
Discover wildlife at every turn in Periyar National Park

Keep your camera close during your two-hour private transfer this morning, as you're driven across lush green hillsides toward Thekkady, a small town close to Periyar National Park. Periyar is home to one of India's most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries, which supports a rich habitat for large mammals with its succulent shoots and grasses. While you're here, you'll have the chance to spot up to 30 different species of mammals including tigers, elephants, sloths, and monkeys. 

In the afternoon, you'll be taken on a short walk around a spice garden, where you'll be able to look at the assortment of plants. After you've explored, you'll have free time to wander around the town of Periyar where you can visit some shops selling wonderful spices such as cardamom and pepper, as well as other local crops such as tea, coffee, and vanilla.

Day 6: Morning Jungle Walk, Transfer to Alappuzha & Houseboat Cruise

A traditional houseboat also called as Kettuvalam
Your traditional houseboat awaits in the backwaters of Alappuzha

Today begins with a sunrise jungle walk in Periyar National Park, where you can admire butterflies and birdlife such as kingfishers, storks, and hornbills. It's an excellent way to start your day with nature all around you. Return to your hotel afterward to check out, then join your driver for the 3.5-hour drive west to Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey. Located on the shores of Vembanad, Kerala's largest lake, this entire area is laced with a network of wetlands and waterways traditionally used for transportation. These "backwaters" are now one of the major draws for tourists seeking a peaceful cruising experience. 

When you arrive, you'll set off on an overnight houseboat cruise, sure to be a highlight of your trip. The area's houseboats are made out of Anjili wood and bamboo, and were the traditional way of transporting goods for hundreds of years. Now, they have been decorated and turned into comfortable cruise boats. As you cruise, take in the tranquil backdrop of paddy fields, canals, villages, coconut trees, and diverse birdlife. You'll enjoy your meals onboard, which will be made by the houseboat's crew, and can enjoy being rocked to sleep by the gentle waves.

Day 7: Transfer to Marari Beach

Leave the backwaters and fishing villages for the beach

Leave the backwaters, jungle, and rice terraces today as you disembark from the houseboat and head to Marari Beach, about one hour away. This eco-friendly resort mimics the style of a traditional fishing village and boasts a stunning beachfront setting surrounded by lush coconut groves. Upon arrival, check in, get settled, then spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach—making sure to catch a glorious sunset over the Arabian Sea.

Day 8: Free Day at Marari Beach

Marari Beach
Admire the towering coconut trees along Marari Beach

Today, you'll have a free day to enjoy Marari Beach. You can relax, go for a swim, or get an Ayurvedic massage. Other options include a bicycle tour to the nearby villages where people make handspun coir, visiting arts and crafts markets, or tasting some of the fresh spicy fish that Marari is famous for at one of its many beachside eateries. 

Day 9: Transfer to Cochin & Depart 

 Bishop House is a museum in Fort Cochin
Farewell Kerala!

Spend a final morning at the beach in Marari. Finally, you'll bid farewell to Kerala and transfer the airport in Cochin, where you'll board your onward flight. Safe travels!

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