Between Cochin and the town of Alleppey (Alappuzha) on the low-lying coastal strip of central Kerala stretches a vast, shimmering saltwater lagoon known as Vembanad Lake. Surrounded by swaying palms and teeming with fish the 200-sq-km body of water is prime fishing ground for the inhabitants of tiny villages surrounding the shoreline and is home to scores of beautiful nesting and migratory wetland birds, for whom a protected sanctuary has been carved at Kumarakom.
Beautifully converted traditional Rice Barges glide across the calm still backwaters ferrying holidaymakers on tranquil journeys across the lake to see local life drift quietly by. An ideal way to spend a luxurious day and night with nature with your personal crew of a helmsman and chef.
You have the option of spending a time on the lake shore in one of the many ‘Resorts’ dotted around the lake, albeit the word 'resort' barely does justice to the ambience of these places such as Coconut Lagoon, an enduringly popular option among TransIndus clients. Comprising a mini village of traditional ‘heritage bunaglows’ with richly carved, gabled roofs and antique furniture, the hotel can only be reached by launch. There’s a dreamy Ayurveda spa looking directly on to the water. And huge monitor lizards and baby black ponds turtles can be spotted in the palm-shaded grounds, which is a haven for colourful tropical birdlife and butterflies.