south india malabar coast kerala waterways

South India Extension: The Malabar Coast

Cochin and a Cruise Along the Backwaters of Kerala


Roam the narrow lanes of Cochin, set along the Arabian Sea and a favorite port of call in the spice trade for two thousand years. Then, in enchanting tropical Kerala, watch the pageant of traditional riverside life as you journey through tranquil waterways and overnight aboard a beautiful private houseboat (and enjoy the good life as your on-board chef serves you a selection of savory Keralan cuisine!).

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel for your overnight.

 View Lodging
Day 2
Delhi / Cochin

Morning transfer from your hotel to the Delhi airport for your flight to Cochin (now known as Kochi), an intriguing old city set along the Arabian Sea, and an important stop along the historic spice trade attracting a mix of Arab, Christian, and Jewish settlers and traders from the Middle East. In the afternoon, enjoy a walk through the old lanes of Fort Cochin, a quiet European enclave that still contains some fine old British mansions and a few Dutch cottages, and sunset on a harbor cruise...BL

 View Lodging
Day 3

Europeans arrived in Cochin in the early 15th century and were welcomed by the Rajas of Cochin who were keen to expand the spice trade. By 1800, Cochin was part of the British Madras Presidency. In your full day of guided explorations today (with lunch at a local restaurant), visit Mattancherry Palace, locally known as the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and given as a gift to the Rajas of Cochin, a synagogue, and the spice market, and walk along the Fort Cochin waterfront to see the traditional Chinese fishing nets and fishermen's stalls selling their fresh catch. In the evening, witness the Kathakali dance performance, the elaborate and ancient dance-drama native to Kerala, which is traditionally presented in temple courtyards...BL

 View Lodging
Day 4
Kerala Backwaters Cruise

Head to the romantic port town of Alleppey (known now as Alappuzha), once one of the best known seaports of the Malabar Coast (drive time: 2 hours). On arrival, board a private houseboat that is your overnight accommodation as well as your vehicle for a relaxing cruise through the tranquil “backwaters” of Kerala, a beautiful region sandwiched between the sea and the hills of Cochin. A journey through this quiet region reveals the picturesque rural life of Kerala people working their fields with water buffaloes, fishing with nets from traditional longboats, and washing their clothes at the water's edge. You may even see some school boats (no school buses here) transporting uniformed children. The natural setting ranges from brilliant green paddy fields to tropical canopies dense with banana trees and coconut palms. As you glide along the waters, you can catch a view through the trees of the small farms, homes, churches, and mosques that dot the canals and lakes. Lunch and dinner are on board, a selection of savory Keralan cuisine served by your on-board chef. Overnight on board…BLD

 View Lodging
Day 5
Kerala Backwaters Cruise / Cochin Airport / Depart

After breakfast, disembark at Alleppey for your transfer to Cochin airport. After lunch at a restaurant near the airport, depart on your return flight to Delhi, connecting with your homeward-bound flights...BL


Length: 5 days
Cost From: $2925  
Arrive: Delhi, India
Depart: Chennai (Madras), Mumbai (Bombay), or Delhi, India
Lodging: 3 nights in a deluxe hotel, 1 night aboard private houseboat
Meals: Meals as indicated
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Walking tours, river cruising, and cultural exploration

Visa Requirements

A visa is required for U.S. citizens visiting India. Your visa must be obtained prior to arrival.