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Simply Kerala Backwaters

  • Cochin
  • Kanjippadom
  • Kainakari
  • Champakkulam
  • Kumarakom
Simply Kerala Backwaters Simply Kerala Backwaters
£ 1900

Delve into Kerala’s enchanting backwaters on this pioneering cruise aboard a traditional 9-cabin wooden rice barge.

On this itinerary, you’ll navigate Kerala’s emerald waterways aboard the elegant RV Vaikundam with its stylish wood-panelled cabins and exquisite dining hall, bar and lounge. A truly comfortable base from which to immerse yourself in this labyrinthine network of canals, streams and rivers.

Travelling between the region’s villages, you’ll stop to visit ornate temples, hidden beaches and lively market places, and get a fascinating insight into the vibrant culture of the region from displays of coir handloom weaving, martial arts and toddy tapping.

Price not applicable from 20 December till 10 January 2021.

11 days from
per person
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Day 1-2 London - Cochin
London - Cochin

Before starting your cruise, you’ll have a couple of nights to explore the bustling port city of Cochin with its rich brew of Arab, Portuguese, British, and Dutch influences. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the graceful Taj Malabar Resort & Spa with its magnificent views across Cochin harbour.

Enjoy a walking tour of Mattancherry, the bustling part of old historic Cochin and the epicentre of the spice trade for centuries. Begin at the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Cochin in 1555, before continuing to St. Francis Church, original burial site of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama. Next comes the picturesque Chinese fishing nets, an iconic sight in Cochin, which were first introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He in the 14th century.

Stay: Two nights in a superior charm city view room at the Taj Malabar Cochin – bed and breakfast

Day 3-9 Backwaters Cruise
Backwaters Cruise

Today, after breakfast, you’ll transfer to the Maradu Jetty in Ernakulam to board the RV Vaikundam for your enchanting backwaters cruise. Despite the rapid development in the city, Cochin’s backwaters remain ever placid, giving life to many island villages. By evening, you will arrive in the old town of Vaikom in Kottayam where you can visit one of the largest temples of Lord Shiva in Kerala.

Over the next few days, you’ll observe a traditional Kathakali performance, see locals making coir and learn about the indigenous methods of fishing and coconut farming. You’ll also enjoy a canoe ride through the lush Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in search of waterfowl, egret, heron and migratory species like parrots and larks.

By the end of day six, you will have explored the vibrant village of Kainakari, the ancestral home of Saint Kuriakose Chavara and the laid-back village of Pulinkunnu. You’ll also spend time at a traditional Ayurveda centre to get a deeper insight into this ancient form of healing. Day seven brings you to a village settled over 1,000 years ago by Syrian Christian traders where you’ll visit a church, school and local artisans. See the village’s beautifully decorated Snake Boat, a vessel once made for maritime war but now used for regattas.

On day eight you will proceed to Aranmula village where you’ll visit the ancient temple of Krishna and meet a family skilled in the art of mirror making. Later you will cruise to a tiny settlement near Thottappalli where you can walk to the beach and visit a toddy shop. The following day, your last full day on board, you’ll have the opportunity to visit an 11th-century statue of Buddha, watch toddy tapping in action and plant a coconut sampling for a village.

Stay: Seven nights aboard the RV Vaikundam 

Day 10 Alleppey - Cochin
Alleppey - Cochin

Cruise to Alleppey, the ‘Venice of the East’ and ancient port town crisscrossed by rivers, lakes, canals, lagoons and paddy fields. Here you’ll disembark and take a guided tour of the old part of town. Visit the markets, temples, churches and mosques before transferring back to Cochin.

Stay: One night in a deluxe room at the Courtyard by Marriott Cochin

Day 11 Cochin - London

Transfer to Cochin Airport for your flight to London.

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  • Alison was so helpful, patient & organised things beautifully. Very professional & knowledgable.

    -
    CC, USA