We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival…
Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
Kerala: Kayaking, Culture and Cuisine
Imagine: it's winter at home, and you are paddling on a tropical afternoon along serene, palm fringed-channels, past verdant paddy fields and ancient temples, as iridescent kingfishers flash by and water buffalo wallow in the shallows. This is Kerala, a small and abundantly beautiful state at the tip of India with huge achievements: a high literacy rate, long life expectancy, religious tolerance, good health care and education, and a fabulous cuisine. It's a place of superlatives, not least for the paddling, which is an enchanting journey into its fascinating, rich and diverse culture. Oh, and did we mention the food?
Day 1 – Fort Cochin
Settle into our hotel, an exquisitely restored 300 year old heritage building. Wander a short distance to the beach to see the famous Chinese nets being worked as they have for centuries. Meet your travel companions and enjoy a welcome dinner and your first tastes of Kerala’s world-renowned cuisine.
Day 2 – Fort Cochin
On a morning walking tour with a history guide, explore the old town, follow your nose to the fragrant spice warehouses, check out the architecture left by Portuguese, Dutch and British traders of old, and visit the church where Vasco de Gama was buried. After a free afternoon, marvel at the skills of heavily bejeweled and painted Kathakali dancers as they re–enact Hindu epics.
Day 3 – Kerala Backwaters
Head to the serenity of the backwaters – 900 km of waterways winding through swathes of paddy fields, orchards and palm plantations, which are 'roads' for villagers who farm and fish here. Go local as you begin your kayaking journey along tiny channels and past peaceful villages, arriving at our small family run resort.
Day 4 and 5 – Kerala Backwaters
Paddle past duck farms (and stop for duck crossings!) and watch the traditional toddy tappers at work in the coconut palms. Our destination, and home for the next two nights, is a waterfront heritage house, set in 9 acres of lush paddy fields. From here we go deep into a maze of tiny channels, meeting ladies doing their washing on the ghats and children running along paths on their way to school. To stretch our legs, we walk to a local village to watch the sunset over the paddy fields, and enjoy a touching cultural event.
Day 6 – Backwaters
Today we paddle across Vermbanad Lake, arriving at a village for a special lunch with a local family. Our final destination is a Tharavadu (ancestral home) built according to ancient rules and rites, converted into a lovely boutique hotel. As night falls, we are treated to an incredible musical performance from world-renown local musicians.
Day 7 and 8 – Rice boat mothership
After a final early morning paddle, we have a leisurely breakfast then board our "kettuvolams" with en suite bedrooms and a gourmet chef. We cruise through some of the bigger channels and across lakes, stopping at villages to go for stroll or a bike ride through the lush countryside.
Day 9, 10 and 11 – Kerala Spice Belt
Something completely different: after farewells to our mothership crew and the backwaters, transfer to a secluded organic farm – and beautiful homestay – in the rich spice belt of Kerala. Take a culinary journey into the intricacies of Keralan food, from the field to the kitchen to the table. Go walking in the rubber plantations, swim in the tranquil river, lazy by the pool, join the morning yoga classes, take a shopping trip to the local town – and don’t miss the opportunity of a wholly authentic Ayervedic massage.
Day 12 – Depart
Say farewell to your newfound friends and transfer to the airport for homeward or onward journeys.
Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.