Places Visited: Cochin, Kodungallur, Cheruthurthy, Wayanad, Nagarhole National Park, Tellicherry, Valiyamparamba Riceboat Cruise, Neeleshwaram, Kozhikode
Comparatively few travellers make it to north Kerala, but those who do invariably return feeling like they’ve struck gold. Boasting miles of exquisite, empty beaches, unseen backwaters and soaring mountains draped in forest and spice plantations, the region is home to a profusion of exotic wildlife, including tigers and huge herds of elephant. It’s also the crucible of Kerala’s distinctive music and dance traditions, and the best place to experience them in their authentic contexts.
This two-week journey uncovers the cream of the north’s varied attractions. You’ll get to stay on a working coffee estate high in the mountains, watch a new generation of Kathakali actors being schooled on the banks of a sacred river, and see wild elephant and tiger in the forests of the Nilgiris, before a three-day spell relaxing at our absolute favourite beach hideaway in India.
In short, if you’re the kind of traveller who prefers off-the-beaten-track areas, or if you’ve been to Kerala before and wish to see a more unspoilt side of the state, then this trip is for you.
With three weeks to spare, we recommend extending the tour north for a few days to the city of Mysore, famed for its grandiloquent palaces, and silk and incense workshops.
✓ Luxury houseboat cruise in undiscovered backwater region
✓ 3 nights at a secluded barefoot beach resort
✓ 2 nights on a remote coffee plantation
✓ 2 nights in South India’s top wildlife reserve
✓ Special guided visit of Kerala’s academy of performing arts
✓ Visits to crafts workshops, markets, temples and historic synagogues
✓ Wonderful Malabari cuisine throughout
✓ Archeological site of ancient Muziris
✓ 2 nights in a former British mansion