- Prices between £1949 - £2399
- 8 days
7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
7 nights’ accommodation in twin room hotels and mountain camping
All activities, from kayaking to yoga classes, included. Local Flash Pack guide and driver
Max 14 Flashpackers
Private airport transfers anytime on Day 1, country travel in private minibus
Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom
Idyllic riverside escape in Kerala’s Kuttanad region
Coconut Lagoon’s wooden bungalows and mansion house lie on the banks of picturesque Vembanad Lake. Rooms come with shady verandahs, there’s a large communal pool and excellent curries at the onsite Aymanam restaurant.
Why we stay here
Experiences are key here, from bird watching and canoeing, to sunset boat trips and daily yoga. There are also regular cultural performances and a floating tea shop.
The Marari Beach, Mararikulam
Eco-friendly coastal retreat
A super-stylish hotel with heart, thanks to initiatives such as plastic-free toiletries, solar panels and rainwater harvesting, plus a project with local female weavers who make the elegant towels in the guests’ thatch-roof bungalows.
Why we stay here
There’s no TV but who needs one when you have a yoga centre, an Ayurvedic spa, volleyball, tennis and a beach library with hammocks?
The Fog Resort & Spa, Munnar
Hilltop hideaway in the Western Ghat ranges
It’s our kind of hotel that welcomes guests with a drink, some dates and a cold towel. There are nice touches like that all over The Fog, from clever towel origami and a chai tea hut, to endlessly attentive service at the brilliant restaurant.
Why we stay here
Bobbing about in the infinity pool, gazing out across the Munnar valleys is a lovely end to a day. It’s particularly lovely when illuminated at night.
The Flash Pack Promise
Here at Flash Pack, we’re committed to unique adventures that deliver great value for money. We pack our trips with epic experiences (unlike other companies, all activities are included), hand-pick stylish hotels and match you with like-minded people.
The call of Kochi
Flashpackers, welcome to India’s green and serene coastal state. A private transfer awaits to whisk you off to your hotel in Fort Kochi, the city’s beguiling island quarter. Settle in to your majestic retreat and hit the rooftop pool before we gather in the early evening. With its eclectic mix of rich colonial history, ancient mosques and hipster cafés, Fort Kochi is a delight to discover. Wander past fishermen casting giant Chinese nets out to the Arabian Sea by the harbour front, or stroll through art galleries and boutiques that crowd the narrow alleyways. We’ll pause for a few sundowner drinks before grabbing dinner together. Kerala is prized for its brilliant flavours and spicy seafood curries are a must-try, as are appam (rice flour pancakes) and crispy dhosa (lentil and rice crêpes). Get to know your fellow Flashpackers in a restaurant wreathed by palm trees, with a soft sea breeze coming off the terrace.Read more
Ride the lowlands and rock the tea hills
Today begins with an hour-long bike ride in the countryside around Kochi. The first 10 minutes are hectic but before you know it, we’ll be out in the shimmering lowlands. With the Arabian ocean to your right and sleepy villages unfolding on your left, this is chilled-out Kerala at its finest. Next, we’ll grab breakfast, and a chance to try puttu and kadala curry, Kerala’s sunrise staple made from steamed rice cakes, shallots and grated coconut. Then we’ll load up our playlists for a five-hour drive south to the former colonial hill station of Munnar. Perched at 1,600 metres, mellow Munnar is home to South India’s largest tea-producing region, with a vast canvas of terraced plantations that stretch out below atmospheric puffs of cloud forest and mountains veiled by mist. Take a dip in the hotel pool for a front-row seat to the Western Ghat peaks.Read more
Camping in the clouds
Today we’ll drive 45 minutes to Yellapatty to begin our mountain walk to Central Station. This five-hour trek takes us right off the tourist trail, on a quiet pathway that meanders uphill across shola forest, grasslands and a tapestry of tea gardens. See the sunlight cut through low-lying clouds, casting sparkling rays over the ribboned valley contours. As you climb through the winding slopes of the Western Ghats, keep watch for wildlife amid the mass of stunted evergreens, from Nilgiri tahrs and lion-tailed macaques to blooming orchids and exotic species of butterfly. Along the way, we’ll stop for a picnic lunch – think freshly baked chapati and dal-stuffed idli (steamed lentil rice cakes) – before reaching camp at Central Station. Bedding is provided in one-man tents, with shared toilets and communal showers. Gather round for dinner and share a beer or two as you watch the sunset in this unsung yet beautiful region.Read more
Touch the sky and backwater boating
Rise at dawn to see the wild highlands golden and purple amid a carpet of morning mist. We’ll grab breakfast before hiking 45 minutes to the magnificent view at Top Station. Tucked away at 1,700 metres, Top Station marks the highest point in the Kundala Valley, offering a panoramic view onto neighbouring Tamil Nadu and the Western Ghats, with marshmallow-like clusters of cloud. We’ll soak in the Insta-worthy scene before hopping on a private bus for a five-hour journey to the coast, and Alleppey, Kerala’s “Venice of the East”. This is the portal to the Keralan backwaters; a vast maze of canals and rivers that zig-zag their way through paddy fields and wetland farming villages. Settle into your hotel, a lovely old Keralan home on Vembanad Lake with an Ayurvedic spa and open-air bathrooms. As evening nears, we’ll hop aboard a kettuvallum houseboat for a sunset shimmy around the nearby lagoons.Read more
Kayak a backwater paradise
Unwind in hotel yoga sessions this morning, or grab a mango lassi overlooking the lake. After breakfast, we’ll gather for a day-long kayaking adventure. Houseboats are now such a popular attraction in this region that the main canals can become clogged. Kayaks allow us to cut loose from the crowds, as we paddle along hidden rivers, with tall coconut trees arching gracefully overhead. This is a peaceful world of mangroves, palm-swept skies and families wading through the shallows. Pass by groups of school kids fly kites, crab fishermen reeling their catch and women in colourful saris spinning reels by the side of the canal. We’ll mosey our way back to the hotel in the late afternoon, where you can take a nap in the butterfly garden, book in for a massage or hit the lakeside restaurant for local dishes such as karimeen: pearl spot fish wrapped in plantain leaves, with a red chilli marinade.Read more
Life in a hammock haven
Optional meditation classes beckon again this morning and then we’ll hop half an hour up the Malabar coastline to Mararikulam. This is textbook beach territory, with azure sea, endless white sands and moored fishing boats scattering the horizon. Check in to our hotel, a luxurious retreat nestled in 30 acres of lily ponds and fruit trees, and spend today as you please in this self-styled “village by the sea”. Amble, flip-flops in hand, along the empty sands or hit the boathouse library and find a hammock down by the coconut groves. Plunge into the pool with Arabian Sea views and book in at the Ayurvedic spa for healing treatments. Come sunset, why not organise a Flashpacker game of volleyball down on the beach? Then head to the open-air palm bar for a refreshing beer or three before loading up on masala-fired squid at the nearby ocean grill.Read more
Palm trees and beachside basking
The day starts with optional yoga and meditation – you know the drill by now. Load up on a lazy buffet breakfast, before another day of freedom in this most dreamy of beachside settings. From cooking classes in the organic farm kitchen to coastline walks led by local naturalists to see turtles and bird species, there’s lots to get involved in here. Pop by local fishing villages or visit the harbour to see the daily catch hauled in. Or, just take it easy in your tropical home. Dive into the warm Arabian ocean, moments from your garden villa. Belly-up to the palm bar for delicious local cocktails. Float in the pool and watch the world slide by. In the evening, we’ll gather for a farewell meal in the beautiful grounds. Toast your Flashpackers by candlelight and dig into one final Keralan feast: bring on the fragrant curries, seafood stews and moreish cardamom bread.Read more
Catch you next time, Kerala
Flashpackers, it’s time to turn down the lights on our captivating Keralan escape. After a king-sized buffet breakfast, you might have time for a last dip in the pool before arranging your transfer back to the airport. It’s a 90-minute drive, but the hotel can help organise taxis for a reasonable price. Wherever you go next, let your soul be soothed by your taste of the sweet life in this beguiling Indian state. You’ve cycled the lowlands of Kochi and boated the mirror-like waters of Vembanad Lake at sunset. You’ve kayaked the hidden backwaters of Alleppey and hiked the remote grasslands of the Western Ghats. And you’ve touched the cloud forest at Top Station, with delicious Keralan cuisine, al fresco picnics and Ayurvedic spas thrown in. So, head on home, feeling fresh as a yogi. Or, grab a row boat and paddle off into the hazy sunset. No judgements here.
Want to see more of India? You can grab a prequel to this trip with our longer adventure in Rajasthan, Kerala’s majestic northern neighbour. Find out more here.Read more
- Fly into and out of Cochin International Airport (COK).
- In the backwaters of Alleppey, many people stay the night on kettuvallum houseboats. But between petrol fumes, blaring music and crowded parking spaces, we prefer to draw on the facilities of a luxury canal-front hotel.
- The mountain camp at Central Station is basic but we choose to stay there for its unbeatable location
- If you’re nervous about cycling, the bike ride on Day 2 might not be for you – we recommend relaxing by the rooftop pool instead.
- All included meals will be served in a buffet format, so you can pick and choose between a wide range of dishes and experience the diversity of Keralan cuisine first-hand.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.
- We take safety very seriously on Flash Pack adventures, click here to learn more.
- Find wild tigers 10 days
- Sunrise Taj Mahal 14 days
- Temples and turtles 11 days
- An express escape 8 days
- Many wonders await 12 days
- Embrace beach vibes 13 days