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  • Kerala
  • Kerala Explorer

Kerala Explorer

12 Day Escorted Tour

Kerala, Indian Subcontinent
Intermediate Pace

Characterised by winding emerald rivers, exotic wildlife, spice plantations and lush landscapes, the south Indian state of Kerala exudes tranquillity and beauty. Explore the region on this tour discovering the most captivating areas including an overnight boat cruise on the rural backwaters, tea plantations in Munnar and wildlife spotting in Periyar National Park.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Allepy backwaters cruise
  • City tour of Kochi and Trivandrum
  • Traditional tea plantations in Munnar
  • Hindu temples
  • Periyar Forest wildlife reserve
  • Two 45 minute Ayurvedic massages
  • City tour of Trivandrum
Number of nights


Day 1
UK to Cochin

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Cochin, via Mumbai.

Day 2


On arrival at Cochin International airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel where you will check in and have dinner. The rest of your evening is at leisure.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Start your day with a 45 minute Ayuervedic massage and breakfast at your hotel. This afternoon enjoy a traditional lunch of Sadhya, a delicacy in Kerala served on a banana leaf, before you begin your tour of Cochin, the historic centre of India's spice trade. See the ancient Chinese influence in the impressive fishing nets, still used daily by locals, and take a ride through the village road in a tuk-tuk. You will also see the Mattanchery Dutch Palace and the oldest European church in India, St. Francis before returning to your hotel in Cochin for the evening.

Day 4
Cochin to Thrissur

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast disembark and journey to the Athirapally Waterfalls which, falling from a height of 80 feet, are one of the highest in the state. Then head on to Thrissur with its strong cultural, religious and spiritual background and visit historical buildings such as the Vadkumnathan and Paramekkavu Devi Temples. Continue to your hotel in Thrissur where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 5

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, today will be your chance to gain insight into the local culture with 'A Day with the Masters', an introduction to the world of Kerala's traditional performing arts. Learn about traditional Sanskrit theatre, percussion music and the training of each art form, as well as the life of an artist. Retire to your hotel in the evening for dinner and your overnight stay.

Day 6
Thrissur to Munnar

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The tour will depart Thrissur in the morning and travel to Munnar, known for its expanse of tea plantations, rolling valleys and mountains. Stopping en route for lunch, the rest of the day will be free time where you may choose to hire a bicycle and ride through Munnar's beautiful paths, or simply relax with a good book at your hotel.

Day 7

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today you will have a tour of Munnar, a nature lover's paradise. Visit Mattupetty Lake, Echo Point, Gundala Lake and Jungle Honey Bee Nest, where over 20 nests occupy a single tree. You will then continue to a tea plantation and Rajamalai National Park, famous for its largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr (wild goat). Please note: Rajamala National Park will closed during the breeding period of Nilgiri Thars.

Day 8
Munnar to Thekkady

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The tour will then journey to Thekkady, a stunning area located high in the Cardamom hills containing tea gardens, rubber, coffee and pepper plantations. Following lunch, a visit to a plantation and spice market awaits you.

Day 9
Thekkady to Alleppey

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

A highlight of Thekkady is the Periyar National Park, India's largest wildlife sanctuary. Board a boat at Periyar Lake where you will have the chance to spot some elephants, or one of the park's 25 Bengal tigers amongst other birds, reptiles and mammals. Board a traditional houseboat which will be your transport and accommodation. This leisurely cruise takes you through the winding backwaters of Kerala, enjoying the local food and stunning rural scenery of the surrounding Kerala villages and waters. Meandering through the beautiful lagoons, rivers and canals is truly an amazing experience like no other.

Day 10
Alleppey to Trivandrum

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast travel to Trivandrum with stop at the Jatayupara Earth Centre. A rock them park with the worlds largest bird sculpture. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to Trivandrum. Enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 11

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Depart in the morning for a half day city tour. Witness the magnificent Kanakakunnu Palace, one of the last architectural relics of the colonial era, then see the famous Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple, one of the principle places of worship of the deity of Vaishnavism. You will then return to your hotel to enjoy another Ayurvedic massage before your farewell dinner.

Day 12
Trivandrum to the UK or Extension


Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, via Mumbai, or continue on to your chosen extension.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
January 2023
from £1,799
3 Dates
12th Jan - 23rd Jan
19th Jan - 30th Jan
26th Jan - 6th Feb
February 2023
from £1,799
2 Dates
2nd Feb - 13th Feb
16th Feb - 27th Feb
March 2023
from £1,839
3 Dates
2nd Mar - 13th Mar
16th Mar - 27th Mar
30th Mar - 10th Apr
April 2023
from £1,599
1 Date
20th Apr - 1st May
May 2023
from £1,349
3 Dates
4th May - 15th May
11th May - 22nd May
18th May - 29th May
October 2023
from £1,679
3 Dates
5th Oct - 16th Oct
12th Oct - 23rd Oct
19th Oct - 30th Oct
November 2023
from £1,759
4 Dates
9th Nov - 27th Nov
16th Nov - 27th Nov
23rd Nov - 4th Dec
30th Nov - 11th Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Holiday Inn Cochin
2 nights
Kochi-Cochin, Kerala
More details
River Retreat
2 nights
Thrissur, Kerala
More details
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Tour Reviews

Peter White

03 Mar 20

All very good. Taj Green cove excellent

Deborah Williams

02 Mar 20

All the hotels we stayed at were of a very good standard.

Mark Howarth

25 Feb 20

All of the Hotels were of a high standard but very different. The highlights were the hotels in Munnar and the Beach extension which were both fantastic. The staff at all of the hotels were excellent and we could not have asked for anything more. Food in the hotels was also very good however it would be nice to have the option to upgrade the buffet evening meal for one of the al a carte restaurants where the hotel had one.

Keith Robinson

21 Feb 20

Good quality and location of most of the hotels. My least favourite was the Casino Hotel at Cochin due to its location. I am glad most had swimming pools where you could cool off at the end of the day.

P J Cordery

18 Feb 20

Varied but all acceptable. Houseboat stay was special.

Lindsey Graydon

29 Jan 20

All hotels were excellent and some above and beyond expectations such as the Alleppey boat tour and the Uber suites. The staff at all hotels were excellent and attended to all needs very well.

Richard Ikin

16 Dec 19

The hotels were surprisingly good. More like old, colonial India. Each one had its own character and the rooms were well-maintained and large. Even the houseboat accommodation was incredible. The food was buffet-style and varied. Spicy for the adventurous and European with salad for the more cautious. The hotels have obviously been tried and tested many times because nobody had a problem with Dehli Belly! Stick to the advice given - drink only water from sealed bottles and eat only in those places recommended by your guide.

Richard Ikin

29 Nov 19

Great choice of hotels - just like colonial country retreats with good service and good, safe food.

L Saunders

07 Jun 19

Mohammed our guide was excellent went over and above. The tour was really interesting particularly the tea plantation.

Margaret Holmes

03 Jun 19

All the hotel rooms were comfortable . some even had a swimming pool.

Chris Wise

17 May 19

All hotels were fantastic. Quality of the food really good, rooms clean and staff polite and friendly. All in great locations.

Sally Turner

28 Mar 19

As our flights were changed at the last minute our first hotel was a stop gap, it was basic and thankfully we only stayed for a few hours. All the hotels were of a good standard so offering a few extras like The Casino who had live music in the evening. We opted for a beach extension and stayed at The Taj, impressive and luxuriant with service second to none.

Michael Paterson

23 Feb 19

Nice hotels along the way and the vivanta at the end was amazing

Anthony And Sally Trembath

22 Feb 19

We were very happy with the hotels we stayed in. All were clean and comfortable with very good food. We had a fabulous holiday and would recommend Mercury as everything was well planned and generous. Our tour guide was amazing, the best we have ever encountered. His English was excellent and he had answers for all our questions. He has a wonderful sense of humour and looked after each person's needs with kindness, tact and thoughtfulness. He went the extra mile to ensure we were happy. Our Driver and Baggage Boy were also charming, always smiling and welcoming and very hard working. The Team of Three really made the holiday extra special!

Tracy Highland

13 Feb 19

Hotels were all very good standard. The Rep Mohammed was very knowledgeable and helped with certain members of the group when needed.

Jennie Tomlinson

04 Dec 18

All hotels were good, with good food. Our tour guide Mohamed was excellent. very informative and went beyond his call of duty in respect of the other members of our party,

Ramesh Ramnarine

01 Dec 18

Excellent service, could not ask for more, everything provided. Friendly helpful staff

Pauline Virgo

28 Nov 18

All hotels stayed at were excellent. Le Meridien beautiful hotel in fabulous grounds. Houseboat was a relaxing experience. River Retreat very different kind of hotel, beautiful gardens. Tea County was a real adventure to stay in. Uday suites like staying in a tropical garden. Our guide Muhammad went over and above what was expected. He made sure we were comfortable in all situations. He was the most amazing guide I have experienced, knowledgeable, a sense of humour, very caring, helpful, nothing too much trouble for him. His team in Kerala is an asset to Mercury Holidays.

Jacqueline Humphries

28 Nov 18

All hotels which were used throughout this tour were excellent with good facilities, good food and good locations with easy access to sightseeing. The group who shared our tour gelled very quickly which enhanced our enjoyment. However I understand that one person was not happy and constantly complained, in my opinion everything was provided for this person but they still found fault! The tour guide Mohammed is one of the best guides I have been with on Mercury Tours - he was friendly, professional, knowledgeable and went the extra mile to ensure that our holiday was enjoyable - he is an asset to your Kerala Tour programme.

Julia Duggleby

24 Nov 18

Hotels generally of a good standard, clean and comfortable. Staff wonderful in every hotel.

Lynne Turner

23 Nov 18

The Taj Green Cove was exceptional in all respects and far exceeded expectations on all levels. As stated the service provided by Jayresee was excellent - very comfortable air-conditioned transport, driver dealt with exceptional road conditions which were still being repaired following flooding. Tour reps were extremely good and always ensured the whole party were comfortable and wanted for nothing. A credit to the company.

Mark Stanley

20 Nov 18

All hotels were good value for money

Sydney Short

24 Oct 18

All accommodation was of a high standard. Roomy bedrooms, king size beds, hot water, everything a traveller could require.

Geoffrey Crocker

23 May 18

Good standard in all hotels. Clean and staff were attentive, food good. Could have done with more Air conditioning to sit in rather than just our room. The restaurants were very hot.

Karen Bell

18 May 18

All the hotels were clean and staff very helpful

Christine Green

21 Dec 17

I liked all the hotels used

Pravin Tailor

10 Dec 17

most hotels were 4 star and provide excellent service for the guests 1 or 2 hotels had no hot water don't know which ones.

Ian Davidson

03 Nov 17

All the hotels were good, clean comfortable with friendly staff and good food.I feel they they represented excellent value for money. The tour extension hotel (Vivanta by Taj at Green Cove) was outstanding in all respects

Hilary Fagan

20 Oct 17

All hotels were very good especially Isola de cocco

Jackie Templeman

04 Mar 17

hotels were all great

Keith Douglass

14 Dec 16

The tour was very good and the guide and driver were excellent.

Nita Sproston

21 Oct 16

All the hotels on the tour were very good. Our driver was very good and our guide was also good

Jill Brown

18 Oct 16

We enjoyed all of the trip, especially enjoyed the houseboat.

Carolyn Dale

29 Mar 16

The staff at all the hotels were very friendly and well looked after. The rooms were clean & spacious

Julie Henson

08 Mar 16

All the hotels were excellent. The Aranya Nivas Hotel in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary did not have air conditioning so we were very hot but every other hotel had a/c so we were fine. We felt a little isolated at the Cochin hotel as we could not walk out to anywhere useful. We loved Fort Cochin which had loads of restaurants and interest .. a better place to have been placed.

Michael Jocelyn

12 Feb 16

All were excellent, perhaps a couple could have had better shower facilities in the rooms (no hot water) but all very comfortable and staff were excellent.

Christine Pretty

11 Dec 15

Very good standard. Rooms clean, no problems. We appreciated having tea-making facilities. Good range of local food in all hotels.

Gailyn Groves

10 Nov 15

Quality of hotels was excellent with usual issues of plumbing and electricity.

The pace of the tour was just right. I was never over tired.

The guide Raj was more than excellent, he went over and above anything that could be expected.

Janet Karamath

27 Feb 15

All hotels were of high standard. No problems. Beach stay hotel was the best --- Isola de cocco the high standard of this hotel is not evident in its reviews... a great shame

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Extend Your Tour

Kerala Explorer with Kerala Beach Stay

4 Day Extension



Kerala Explorer with Ayurvedic Treatment Extension

4 Day Extension



Kerala Explorer with Dubai City Stay

3 Day Extension



Important Information

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £134 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30-day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all the information they will require in order to apply for the visa.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flights are operated with Emirates, departing London Heathrow via Dubai. Each passenger is entitled to 30KG of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding (Max 10kg - 55cm/38cm/ 20cm) in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on your final documentation. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check - in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip.

The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. There are restrictions on taking Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to take any amount of Indian currency into the country. You can take cash or travellers' cheques (in pounds sterling or another foreign currency) and/or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100 - £200 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!