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Houseboat backwaters cruise

Keralan Spice Coast

13-day tailor-made holiday from £2,790 pp incl. flights


Short description

Houseboat cruises, colonial tea plantations and a beach stay – this is the best of southern India


  • Cruise verdant backwaters in a traditional houseboat
  • End with a luxury beach stay
  • Take in Kerala’s charming colonial towns
  • Enjoy stays in boutique lodges
  • Explore with the services of a private driver throughout

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Kochi
  • 2 Nights Munnar
  • 1 Night Periyar
  • 2 Nights Kumarakom
  • 1 Night Alleppey
  • 3 Nights Kovalam


Recommended for:
History & culture | Honeymoon | Natural world | Spa

Put simply, this is the best of Kerala, knitted together by stays in boutique lodges and explored on included private tours, with the services of a private driver throughout. You’ll start with the colonial-town charm of Kochi before heading into the hills of Munnar, staying in a hill station among its gorgeous tea plantations. Periyar’s tiger-dotted jungles and spice-village idyll will then see you onto a private houseboat cruise on the Keralan backwaters – a criss-crossing network of palm-fringed waterways and rice paddies. It all ends with three nights on Kerala’s golden beaches.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

After making the most of your complimentary airport lounge access, board your overnight flight to India.

Days 2-3

Kochi, formerly Cochin, lies at the centre of Kerala's coastline and makes a wonderful introduction to the region. A private guide will take you to visit the Jewish Synagogue, the Mattancherry Palace and St Francis Church, all built during the 16th century. Together, they form a certain quiet, historic charm. Be sure also to take a stroll along the waterfront, where Chinese fishing nets take centre stage, and to watch a performance of traditional Kathakali dance. You'll stay right on the harbour in charming colonial accommodation.

Stay: Old Harbour Hotel, Kochi (Superior) or Brunton Boatyard, Kochi (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Days 4-5

After breakfast, your private driver will bring you to Munnar in the Western Ghats. At 5,000 feet above sea level, this hill station was the British Government's summer resort in the south – something remembered today by quaint churches and acres upon acres of tea plantations. And, you'll stay right among them, enjoying spectacular views from your quaint mountain-resort accommodation. To get your bearings, we've included a private tour of a tea or coffee plantation, learning about the process behind creating that perfect cup. There's also plenty of time for you to explore, perhaps with a scenic walk among the plantations.

Stay: SpiceTree Munnar, Kerala (Superior) or The Windermere Estate Plantation & Retreat, Kerala (Superior)

Day 6

Your private transfer today will bring you to Periyar National Park, where lakes and hilly jungle hide elephants, sambar deer and hard-to-see tigers – hopefully spotted on a lake cruise. You'll stay in luxury on a private plantation estate, where the likes of thatched roofs and yoga classes betrays its eco credential. It's the perfect introduction to the region's spice-village idyll.

Stay: Spice Village, Periyar (Superior) or Aanavilasam Luxury Plantation House, Kerala (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 7-8

Much of Kerala's allure is down to its backwaters – a network of rivers, canals and lagoons backed by impossibly green plantations of tea and spices. While you'll explore on your drive in, your stay in the village of Kumarakom will see you relax right among it all, among paddy fields and coconut groves. Our Deluxe accommodation option here is a particular treat, complete with an Ayurvedic centre and jacuzzi on the banks of Lake Vembanad. Alternatively, Coconut Lagoon is a heritage hotel with authentic architecture and an ecological focus. Be sure to explore on cruises, trips to bird sanctuaries and visits to colourful local towns.

Stay: Coconut Lagoon Resort, Kumarakom (Superior) or Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kerala (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 9

Cruising along the Keralan backwaters on a traditional houseboat is an essential Indian experience. You'll be treated to your very own private offering, delightfully thatched with plenty of deck-space so you can unwind as the palm trees drift by. Not only does it come with a pilot, but an onboard chef, who'll prepare your magnificent full-board dining as you sail among the network of criss-crossing canals.

Stay: House Boat

Meals: B L D

Days 10-12
Kovalam Beach

After enjoying breakfast onboard the houseboat, you'll be brought by your private driver to Kovalam. Here, you'll end the trip in style with three days on its golden sands, staying in a luxury beach resort. Walks also bring you between historic lighthouses and colourful temples. There's also the option of staying at the Superior-standard Marari Beach Resort or the Deluxe Carnoustie Wellness Resort & Spa.

Stay: The Leela Kovalam, a Raviz Hotel (Superior & Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 13
Depart India/Arrive UK

Enjoy time to yourself before a private transfer brings you to the airport for your flight home.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

13-day tailor-made holiday
from £2,790 pp incl. flights


Low Season

from £2,790 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £3,700 pp. incl. flights


  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights from London to Kochi and from Trivandrum to London
  • 10 nights accommodation in 4* (Superior) hotels on a B&B basis
  • 1 night accommodation in a Deluxe Keralan houseboat on a full-board basis
  • Private transfers and private touring

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0798 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
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