What to do and Where to stay in
Kerala

This southern corner of India, stretching 580km along the Malabar Coast, is a laid-back tropical paradise. It greets you with tranquil waters and quiet beaches, charming backwaters, fishing villages, lush forests and hill stations, and an abundance of exotic wildlife. The perfect destination for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Experiences in Kerala

Once a small fishing village, the centuries old trading post of Cochin, made up of a series of islands, is a delightful city to explore. The fort area retains its colonial charm with a mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture lining the streets. Watch the famous Chinese fishing nets, lining the promenade, in action, take a sunset harbour cruise, and soak up the history of area with a stay in one of its many beautifully converted heritage hotels.

The area south of Cochin is famous for its network of waterways, known as the backwaters. Traditional rice boats, once used to transport rice, now make the perfect mode of transport for visitors to drift through the serene waters and witness life on these inland channels. The boats are comfortable, with air-con cabins, a deck to relax on and sumptuous food whipped up by the onboard chef. Spending a night onboard allows you to venture further where it is quieter, and perhaps even hop into a canoe to explore the smaller waterways not accessible by rice boat.

Heading inland from the coast to the cooler climes of the Western Ghats, you’ll find forested mountains, spice and tea plantations, and the most spectacular views. Visit the tea gardens of Munnar to experience the production of tea first hand, and tour a spice garden to see how spices such as cardamom, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon are grown. Perhaps even join a cooking class or demonstration to learn more about Keralan cooking and the use of these spices.

The Western Ghats is also home to Kerala’s most famous wildlife reserve, Periyar National Park. A boat trip on the lake at the heart of the park is one of the best ways to see elephant, Indian bison, wild boar, and variety of fascinating birdlife. For those looking to explore further, you can also join a bamboo raft safari or a walking safari to take you deeper into the national park.

Back down on the beautiful Keralan coastline, and you are spoilt for choice. Palm-fringed white sand beaches stretch along much of the coastline and there is no better place for a few days of relaxation. We love the Marari Beach Resort, nestled in the palm groves of the small fishing village of Mararikulam, and built in the style of a fishing village. The gardens overlook a long expanse of beach where you’ll see fisherman hard at work. It is also the perfect spot to try some Keralan Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine, the techniques of which are used to de-toxify and relax in spas across Kerala.

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