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South India: Slow Beauty in Kerala

Spend the night on a houseboat in Kerala’s backwaters, search for wild elephants & embrace slow living with morning yoga

What's Included

  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Max 14 travelers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Stay in handpicked 3-5 star hotels
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

About your trip

Nicknamed God’s Own Country; spend any amount of time in Kerala’s picturesque Eden and there’ll be no questioning where the name came from…

From misty tea plantation to remote backwater village, elephant-inhabited nature reserve to hippy-favored crescent beach; this 10-day adventure will see you discover serenity in India (yes, really) alongside a group of other peace-seeking adventurers.

You’ll take to Kerala’s famous backwaters aboard a boutique houseboat, complete with your own private chef, and kayak down a labyrinth of waterways to pass isolated villages. There’ll be time spent tea-picking with locals, mastering the art of Keralan cuisine at the home of a local family on their spice plantation and taking part in a morning yoga session as the sun burns through the dawn haze.

And all those lush landscapes mean wildlife abound here, too. You could find yourself face-to-face with wild elephants on a nature-walk in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. And to finish? A stint on Kovalam’s idyllic beaches – some of the best in India, so we’re told.

A slower paced adventure, but an adventure all the same. This is God’s Own Country. Would you like to come in?

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The call of Kochi
  • Touch down in Kochi, a colourful port city that’s been attracting traders for over 600 years, where a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting for you at the airport
  • Explore the charming streets of Fort Kochi and get to know your group over sundowners and a welcome dinner at a local restaurant
Sunrise city & Keralan cuisine
  • Catch an early ferry to the bustling district of Ernakulam; see the shops opening and office workers taking their morning exercise or buying breakfast as the city comes to life
  • Immerse yourself in the spicy world of authentic Indian curries with a bespoke cooking demonstration by Nimmy Paul, a renowned local chef
  • Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a Kathakali performance, as you watch the dancers prepare their elaborate make-up and costumes before the show
Kochi walking tour & emerald mountains
  • After a delicious South Indian breakfast, you’ll set off to explore some of the city’s famous sites including the oldest European church in India.
  • Travel to your next boutique hotel in the terraced tea hills of Munnar through misty emerald hills dotted with sparkling waterfalls to
Tea picking with a view
  • Take a gentle cycle ride to the picturesque Letchmi Tea Estate, soaking up the scenes of rural village life as you pass the homes of plantation workers and vibrantly colored temples
  • Visit the Lockhart Estate and follow a trail to where the tea pickers are working
  • Be welcomed into the home of a local tea picker for a special tea tasting with your group
Aromatic spices & ancient martial arts
  • Travel through spice-scented countryside to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one India’s best reserves, home to wild elephant, bison, antelope, langur and sambar
  • Spend your afternoon at a spice plantation in the Cardamom Hills, learning how typical spices like cinnamon, vanilla and cumin are grown, harvested and processed
  • Enjoy a ringside seat at a flamboyant Kalaripayattu performance, a martial art dating from the 12th century involving acrobatic rolls, jumps and dives
Nature hikes & village crafts
  • Explore the diverse habitats of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on a nature walk with an expert local guide; learning about the birds, butterflies and other exotic species
  • Stop off at the craft villages of Vaikom and try your hand at weaving coir ropes from dried coconut husks or straw mats out of wild pineapple leaves, before lunch in a local home
  • Continue to your lakeside resort in Kerala’s sleepy backwaters – a vast network of canals, rivers and waterways extending for hundreds of miles across the state
Backwater kayaking & houseboat life
  • Embrace zen with an early morning yoga session before your backwater kayaking adventure, paddling past local villages alive with everyday bustle
  • In Alleppey your traditional houseboat awaits. Set off for a memorable sunset cruise before mooring up for a freshwater feast and a peaceful night on board
Lazy beachside living
  • Soak up the morning tranquility of Vembanad Lake, and enjoy breakfast on board
  • Onwards to the sparkling coast. Settle into your beach resort in the quiet hamlet of Poovar on one of the most beautiful stretches of Keralan coast
  • Enjoy a free afternoon to relax and explore, perhaps taking a walk along the endless white crescents of sand backed by cascading palms
Sunsoaked charms & candlelit feasts
  • Today is yours. Choose your own activities from boat rides and Ayurvedic treatments to relaxing at the resort’s on-site spa
  • Tonight it’s a farewell candlelit dinner with a spread of fragrant curries and seafood dishes
Goodbye, Kerala
  • Say goodbye to your new Flash Pack friends as you make your own way to the airport; your Pack Leader will be on hand to help you arrange a local taxi
  • Arrive home feeling rejuvenated and oh-so-zen from your peaceful Keralan adventure. You’ve slowed the pace and embraced a simpler way of life, taking a piece of calm back with you

Our Favorite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Blue Jelly houseboat

What better way to explore Kerala’s vast backwaters than aboard a houseboat. With a private crew to attend to your every need and prepare a fresh Keralan feast, you’ll be free to sit back with a cocktail and watch the world drift by.

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Fragrant Nature, Munnar

With mountain vistas all around, you’ll be fully immersed in the landscape at this tranquil five-star hill retreat. The elegant rooms have fireplaces to keep you cozy and the state-of-the-art spa is known for its rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments.

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Travancore Heritage

Perched on a cliff overlooking one of Kerala’s best beaches, this is a view you won’t forget in a hurry. Kick back in a hammock between swaying palms, find a quiet spot in the lush 15-acre gardens or wander barefoot along the pristine sand.

Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly into? Plus airport code

Fly into Cochin International Airport (COK) in Kochi. You’ll need to secure an open-jaw ticket as you’ll be departing from a different airport. 

Which airport do I need to depart from? Plus airport code

Depart from Trivandrum International Airport (TRV). 

What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

Before 2pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 7 pm onwards starting at the hotel, which is located approximately 60 minutes away from the airport.

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

There are no activities planned for the last day, so leave any time you wish. The airport is approximately 45 minutes away from the hotel.

Do you include airport transfers?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

A departure transfer is not included, but taxis to the airport are good value, especially if you split the cost with others in your group. Your Pack Leader can help you book your transfers the night before if needed.

Are tips included?

Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:

  • Pack Leader: 7.5 USD per day
  • Drivers: 7 USD per day
  • Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty (approximately 60 USD) at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.

However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.

Do I need a visa?

Up-to-date visa and entry information can be found using our official partner, Sherpa, who can help you arrange a visa if needed.

You can also find essential travel advice – including security and local laws, as well as passport and visa information – on the government website of your home country:

Please be aware that passport and visa requirements can change before departure, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest information.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalized medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

What level of fitness do I need for this trip?

A moderate level of fitness is fine. There are no difficult hikes on this adventure. 

Will this itinerary change?

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 – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.

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