Take a fascinating journey through India’s tropical south. Experience the diversity in scenery, culture and enjoy the warm hospitality of the people.
Kerala is a tropical bliss with an idyllic coastline and lush tropical hills and we offer a unique touring trip to Kerala from Australia.
Start with a stay at a beautiful boutique hotel located in the middle of Forte Kochi, Kerala where discoveries by foot are at the doorstep. Your Kerala visit starts with an afternoon tour of Fort Kochi, one of the oldest cosmopolitan port cities in the world. Next, embark on an overnight journey discovering the beautiful backwaters of Kerala by houseboat. See the communities and how they have adapted to life by the water. End with a two night stay by the backwaters at Kumarakom.
Dubbed as ‘Gods Own Country’, Kerala boasts of its rich flora, fauna and the harmonious mixture of communities.
Come and visit the ‘Venice of the East’ on this unique itinerary for solo travellers.
EXTEND YOUR TRAVELS:
Join this tour with our Discover North India that connects with the end of Kerala Backwaters.
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
SIGHTSEEING & GUIDES
Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for joining this tour and is in addition to the package price.
# Arrival and departure airport transfer provided for nominated tour flight, booked with us as part of your package.
We opt to stay at Fort Kochi, the charming Dutch and Portuguese influenced area of yesteryears. It’s the best option if visiting for leisure if you want to experience the charm of this local area by the water. We avoid the big modern chain hotels that are located away from this area as they don’t offer the local experience that a Fort Kochi hotel provides.
Touring commences in the afternoon of day one of the itinerary. Due to flight schedule arrivals many travellers will need to arrange to arrive the day prior. The additional night of stay would be required. Ask our Travel Team about this option, and the additional costs.
For travellers making their own international flight arrangements please ask our travel team about airport transfer options.
On arrival at Cochin Airport you will be met by an Encounter Travel Representative once you exit the arrival hall and whisked away to your waiting transport. You will be transferred to Fort Kochi, a region of the city of Cochin, spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port, which became the principal harbour for Malabar Coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians who built places of worship and their own communities.
This afternoon, we head out with your local guide to visit key sights around Cochin. Visits include the include the Dutch Palace at Mattancherry, that’s renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana, the Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town, the St Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India, the Santa Cruz Basilica, originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese and the famous Chinese fishing nets believed to brought to Kochi by the Chinese Traders..
This evening, your guide will host our welcome dinner at a local restaurant
Meals: Welcome Dinner
SNAPSHOT – WHAT’S INCLUDED:
After breakfast we make our way to Alleppey. Alleppey is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. From a graceful and greenery-fringe Alleppey appears into a watery world of villages, punted canoes, toddy shops and of course houseboats.
This afternoon board your houseboat for a cruise in the backwaters of Kerala and explore the life around this region. Float along and gaze over fields and enjoy seeing village life along the banks.
Lunch will be served onboard the cruise.
Large wooden Cargo boats are converted into Houseboats with overnight staying Facilities became an attraction in the backwaters. The houseboats are equipped with fully furnished bedrooms with ensuites. Mouth-watering Kerala dishes are served onboard the boat. Relax while floating along, taking in your beautiful surrounds. Tonight, enjoy the delight of a royal dinner under the stars.
SNAPSHOT – WHAT’S INCLUDED:
FREE TIME EXTRAS
There is an optional activity this evening, to roam around the villages by bicycle (additional expense).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast disembark at your backwater resort. Kumarakom is an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world you'll come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes which will take you into the heart of the scenic lake. Check in at our hotel and you are at leisure for the rest of the day.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
SNAPSHOT – WHAT’S INCLUDED:
FREE TIME EXTRAS:
There is time in the afternoon to enjoy the resort facilities
After breakfast spend the morning exploring a typical Kerala backwater village and witness first-hand the unhurried pace of life. Take a small country boat cruise, with a local guide. During the trip, experience how local people, who have their home on the banks of these canals, use this canal for their daily life.
This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the backwaters. This evening, enjoy a sunset cruise for in-house guests from the hotel. Tonight, there will be a farewell dinner to enjoy.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
SNAPSHOT – WHAT’S INCLUDED:
FREE TIME EXTRAS:
An afternoon at leisure to enjoy the backwaters
Your tour package inclusions come to an end after breakfast at the time of hotel check out.
SNAPSHOT – WHAT’S INCLUDED:
Itineraries may be subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. If there is any itinerary change prior to departure of significance, we aim to inform you prior to travel. Itinerary changes while on tour will be informed by your tour leader/guide while on tour.
This tour is operated by Encounter Travel. Book with Encounter Travel for your Return Traveller Reward (conditions apply) or earn your status as a Return Traveller for future savings.
HOTELS - KERALA BACKWATERS– OPTIONAL EXTENSION – 5 DAYS
Nights of Stay
HOTEL FORTE KOCHI, FORT COCHIN
Come, step into yesteryear, into a world gracefully tucked in the glories of the past, brimming with regal heritage and plush luxury, and as far away from the present as possible!
Forte Kochi shines like a pearl among the hotels in Fort Kochi - one of the oldest cosmopolitan port cities in the world. The hotel Fort Kochi has welcomed weary travellers for centuries from Arab and Chinese traders to Jews seeking shelter and new lives. Originally built by the Portuguese, the mansion presents a medley of Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and was converted to a magnificent home in the late 1800s. This ancient structure was once part of the palatial home of an eminent Jew family. Now restored to its past glory, this boutique hotel enchants its visitors with glimpses of life once known and lived, centuries ago.
Step into one of the best Heritage Hotels in the south, and step into an age so far away.
MALABAR HOUSE, FORT COCHIN
Designed to the last detail, The Malabar House effortlessly combines the old and new. The 17 rooms & suites blend tradition and contemporary design. The feel is small, cosy and personal, a heaven amidst this vibrant yet historical harbour city. The restaurant at Malabar House specialises in innovative Keralan cooking,the best of local produce with a focus on fresh seafood and they prefer organic products whenever possible.
LUXURY HOUSEBOAT, ALLEPPEY
The Houseboats are equipped with fully furnished bedrooms with attached bathrooms. Mouthwatering Kerala dishes are served onboard the boat.
Note: Some twin share rooms may have single beds.
Hotels are subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. Should this occur, a hotel of a similar standard will be provided.
Arrive to: Cochin, India
Depart from: Cochin, India
VISAS – YES, REQUIRED
You must hold a valid passport with a minimum of six 6 months validity from your return date to your home country and have at least two blank passport pages for stamping. See 'VISA' information in our MORE INFORMATION section below. An e-Tourist Visa (eTV) is available for Australia passports travelling to India. It also applies to passport holders of Canada, New Zealand, USA. Many other countries apply. Visit this link for details.
For full details, click here
HOTEL CHECK IN /CHECK OUT TIMES
Consider the hotel check in time on arrival and the hotel check out time on departure. Early check in or late check out can be requested but without payment cannot be guaranteed.
All travellers with included group transfers are met and greeted at the airport, outside the arrivals halls.
With Group Flight, 1 Day Pre Tour
There is one group transfer provided as part of the tour package when you book your flights with us as part of the package.
The nominated group flight is a Singapore Airlines flight that arrives the evening prior to the tour commencement and a departure flight on the final day of the tour.
If you arrive and/or depart on the group flight, booked with us as part of your travel package the airport to hotel transfers are included as part of your package price. It’s a private group transfer for our group members.
All Other Non-Group Flights or Own Arrangements
For guests arriving on flights other than the nominated group flights, or making their own flight arrangements may request a transfer service. A service fee applies.
Read on for other key trip information that you should know before you decide on joining the group.
If this trip seems right for you then we encourage you to book early and secure your place with a deposit. Tour space is limited. Also, many services on this tour must be booked well in advance. To ensure your place, please check trip availability at your earliest convenience
You will enjoy this small group experience with a maximum group size of 16 travellers. This tour is exclusively for single-solo travellers. The tour suits an independent solo traveller that wants to enjoy the benefits of joining other solo travellers. There is a guide on 2 of the days but there are days that are at your leisure, and not guided.
ABOUT THE MEALS
It’s regular that our trips include a number of group dining experiences. There’s nothing better than to share a meal with new friends and discuss the day’s adventures.
Daily breakfast is included and lunches and dinners as specified by the itinerary.
Meals are Indian cuisine. If you do not like Indian food you will have limited choices in most destinations except most breakfasts have some western choices. There are meal options that are tasty but not overly hot in taste but spices are used in the majority of Indian meals. To a western palette it may seem repetitious if you are not accustomed to eating a lot of Indian food. This is all part of the experience – to eat like a local.
Drinks, desserts and extra tea/coffee are not included with meals.
About the Food in India
We advise travellers against street food and that you only dine at places that are recommended by your guide or escort/leader. By following best advice it’s far less likely that you will become unwell with any stomach complaints.
Food of Kerala
You can expect the food of Kerala to be more spicy that the north. Some dishes may be more spicy than the western palette is accustomed too – take care when you choose your dishes – you may find some curries packed full of spice that take you by surprise.
About the Water in India
Due to poor quality of drinking water in India, you must only drink bottled water and only bottled water from reliable sources. Also, use bottled water for brushing teeth. Most hotels have bottled water included in the room for the purpose of brushing teeth.
About Special Diets
Please be sure to advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. We always do our best to accommodate special diet needs and in most cases, special dietary needs can be met. However, in some destinations the variety of choice for certain special diets may be limited. If you are concerned please check with us before you book.
This is a private group tour with a local English speaking group escort and a driver. The driver may have limited or no English.
About The Road Transport
While on the road, commuting from one destination to another, driving is generally at around 75-80 kilometres per hour on the main highways. The speed is slower on lesser roads and through towns, and it’s not uncommon to be travelling at only 40-50 kilometres per hour. It’s a slower pace than what we are accustomed to in countries like Australia, New Zealand and other western countries. Furthermore, the driving style is different. There is a lot of overtaking of slower vehicles, more ‘honking of horns’ and at times what may feel like a precarious situation to westerners. Tour drivers are very experienced and well adept to managing this driving style. For anyone anxious about this, you should talk to us before you confirm your booking.
TOUR LUGGAGE INFORMATION AND RESTRICTIONS
Luggage is limited to one medium size suitcase per person up to 20kg, the sum of its length/width and depth not to exceed 140cm (56") plus an overnight bag (airline bag size) which may be carried on board the vehicle. If your luggage exceeds this limit, we ask that you make alternative arrangements for the excess to be forwarded to the termination point of your tour. We suggest you have wheels on your suitcase, as there are certain places where assistance is not available.
For airline luggage information and restrictions refer to your airline for details. If you are flying business class they will have limits above those permitted for touring and therefore the minimum checked luggage weight needs to be adhered to.
ABOUT MOBILE PHONE USE / INTERNET
You may like to purchase a prepaid sim card to take with you while travelling. Otherwise, ask your phone provider about International Roaming packages/offers for your mobile phone.
SIM cards or international roaming packages can be good options to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Be sure the sim card you purchase will cover all the countries you are travelling to.
Many hotels these days offer WiFi—some for free, others for a modest fee.
If you don’t already use this service, we recommend downloading this application also. It’s a mobile phone App that offers fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free (data charges may apply – ask your phone provider).
As a general indication, for many of our tours, our guides use WhatsApp to communicate with the group.
TRAVEL GUIDE QUICK FACTS
Visit our Travel Guide page on our website for destination information.