Much Better Adventures

Morocco Earthquake Response 💚

Every booking supports the recovery. Learn more.

Hike, Kayak and Cycle in Kerala

Ramble through lush hill stations, paddle serene backwaters and pedal along the coastline of the Indian Ocean


Trip Ref #10485

Hike, Kayak and Cycle in Kerala

Ramble through lush hill stations, paddle serene backwaters and pedal along the coastline of the Indian Ocean


7 nights




1 week off work




Up to 10 people


Kochi Airport



Hotel · Chalet · Boat



Based on 5 reviews


This is a light adventure with easy-going hikes, paddles and rides, manageable by anyone with basic fitness.

Trek through Munnar's tea plantations and high-altitude cloud forests to reach the stunning peak of Meesapulimala (2640m)

Paddle the network of languid lagoons and lily-strewn canals that make up Kerala's tranquil backwaters

Cycle along the palm-lined waterways and sleepy fishing villages of the Keralan coast

Bunk down in heritage hotels, traditional Keralan houseboats and peaceful waterside retreats

Day 1

Welcome to Kerala

Meet your host at Kochi Airport and head into Fort Kochi, a ramshackle melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. Settle into your hotel before meeting up with your guide and fellow adventurers for a welcome dinner and a chat through the trip to come.

Day 2

Meander to Munnar


2.5-3hrs · 3-4km · 125m up · 125m down


4-5hrs · 130km

Hop in the van for a scenic road trip to Munnar, stopping for lunch en route as you head into the verdant landscape dotted with hill stations. Check into the beautiful Windermere Estate and shake off the drive with an evening hike around the nearby tea plantations, with the chance to sample a few local teas.

Day 3

Trek to Meesapulimala


5-6hrs · 16km · 700m up · 700m down

Head to the top of Meesapulimala, the second-highest peak in Southern India and the highest passable trekking route. Beginning at the trailhead at 1500m, you'll gradually ascend through grasslands and cloud forest to reach the summit at 2640m. You'll be rewarded with sweeping views over the Western Ghats before heading back down to the Windermere Estate.

Day 4

Munnar to Alleppey


3hrs · 6km


5hrs · 162km

Following an early breakfast, get back in the van for the drive to Alleppey - the gateway to the Keralan backwaters. Head straight for the jetty to board your houseboat. Here, a smaller vessel will be waiting for you and you'll slip into your kayak to explore some of the narrower backwater channels beneath the lush forest canopy. Back on board the houseboat, tuck into a tasty South Indian dinner, watch the twilight turn to night and bunk down for a memorable night.

Day 5

Kayak the backwaters


5-6hrs · 13km

Head to a different part of the backwaters for further paddle explorations today, putting in at Chennamkary and heading to some smaller channels. These areas are great to explore by kayak, as larger boats and houseboats cannot navigate the narrower strips of water, leaving you free to weave past the palm-fringed banks and many local houses at the heart of the backwaters. Back on dry land, head for dinner and spend the night in beautiful villas on the shores of Vembanad Lake.

Day 6

Cycle to the Indian Ocean


4hrs · 50km · 40m up · 90m down


2hrs · 77km

Bid farewell to the backwaters as you drive to the coastal village of Thottappally, heading south by bike. Hug the coast as you pedal through the tranquil countryside, passing lakes Ashtamudi and Paravur. Cross the many canals where the Arabian sea converges inland with patches of wetlands. Cycle further along a narrow strip of coast, with lakes on one side and the sea on the other, passing fishing villages before ending this memorable ride at the small beach town of Kollam. A short transfer will take you further down the coast to Kovalam, where you can check into your cliffside beach hotel.

Day 7

Beach time

Enjoy a well-earned day off today - Kovalam's beaches and the relaxing surroundings of Niraamaya Retreat are yours to soak up as you please. There are optional visits to the ancient temple of Attukal Bhagavathy and the old signalling station of Anchuthengu Fort, if you would like to explore the area around Kovalam.

Day 8

Goodbye Kerala

Indulge in one last breakfast overlooking the Indian Ocean before checking out. Your host will transfer you to Trivandrum Airport in time for your return flight.



Local, English-speaking tour leader plus hiking, kayaking and cycling guides


Think heritage hotels, waterside villas and a luxury houseboat


All meals included - tuck in to delicious food throughout


Airport transfers and everything in between


All your kayaking and cycling equipment

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share




Day 2 – Day 3

Chalet · Twin share




Day 4

Boat · Twin share




Day 5

Chalet · Twin share




Day 6 – Day 7

Hotel · Twin share




Day 8

Departure day




What is the food like?

South India is up there with the world's best destinations to combine travel with amazing food experiences. From street stall classics like pani puri, breakfast masala dosas and sumptuous thalis served Kerala-style on banana leaves, you'll tuck into a huge variety of dishes on this trip, mostly Indian cuisine but with options for Chinese and Malaysian dishes on some menus.

Vegetarians and vegans are extremely well catered to in nearly all parts of India. Other dietary requirements and allergies can also be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?


2023 Departures: An incredible welcome to India awaits in Kochi where you'll stay at Forte Kochi, a beautiful 4-star boutique hotel nestled in tree-lined boulevards close to the waterfront. There is a stunning courtyard and swimming pool with iconic yellow decor. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

2024 Departures: You'll stay at The Tower House in Kochi, one of the few hotels which sits facing the famous Chinese fishing nets. Each room is unique at this boutique heritage hotel, which marks the spot of a 17th-century lighthouse. There's a swimming pool amidst the landscaped grounds. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.


You'll spend two nights at either the Windermere Estate or Blackberry Hills Nature Resort (depending on your departure date), nestled in the tea plantations of Munnar.

The Windermere Estate's series of chalet-style bungalows with beautiful natural designs are inspired by old plantation homes. Each has a balcony overlooking tea valleys on one side with the majestic high ranges on the other. There is a Chai Kada (tea shop) on the estate where you can sip a cup of chai. Evening meals at Windermere are a treat -their chefs let nature dictate the menu, picking out the freshest seasonal produce from their gardens and the local markets to whip up a feast for you.

Sixteen cottages make up Blackberry Hills, and you'll stay in one of the Altos Suites which comes with a balcony overlooking the forest, plus a living area. Evening meals will be at the on-site Hornbill Restaurant, and hotel also has a spa. A network of trails lead through the surrounding tea plantations and shola forest.

Houseboat on the Kerala Backwaters

A quintessential experience awaits in the backwaters, with an overnight stay on a luxury houseboat. The traditional name for the boat is a kettuvallam or 'boat with knots'- so called because the entire boat is held together with coir knots; not a single nail is used during the construction. The kettuvallams have been converted into houseboats using only natural materials and feature all the comforts of a good hotel: furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen and a balcony overlooking the backwaters. You'll stay in a twin-share cabin with an en-suite bathroom.


Your second night in the backwaters is spent at Punnamada Resort on the peaceful banks of Vembanad Lake. Staying in lakeside villas with traditional Keralan architecture, you'll be surrounded by orchids, coconut palms and mango trees. The resort is heavily influenced by ayurveda and yoga, and makes for a very peaceful and rejuvenating combination with your night on the houseboat. Again, you'll stay in twin-share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.


2023 Departures: Your final two nights of the trip are spent at Niraamaya Retreats. Perched on a dramatic cliff edge and flanked by secluded beaches, there are spectacular views of the Arabian Sea. You'll stay in twin-share heritage cottages, nestled in the shade of coconut trees. The retreat has an award-winning spa with a strong focus on ayurvedic practices, plus a separate cafe, restaurant and bar - perfect for relaxing at the end of your adventure.

2024 Departures: Your final two nights of the trip are spent at The Travancore Heritage. Nestled amidst green coconut gardens atop a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea and extensive white-sand beach. You'll stay in twin-share rooms. Relax in the pool or treat yourself to an ayurvedic massage. Dine in the main restaurant among historic arches or at the beachside 'ocean grill' restaurant.


For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and houseboat cabin can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area




Cochin International Airport (Kochi)

Any time on Day 1


Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (Trivandrum)

Any time on Day 8


Your host will meet you on arrival at the international airport in Kochi and transfer you to your accommodation in Fort Kochi. On the last day of your trip, your host will transfer you from your accommodation in Kovalam to the airport in Trivandrum in time for your flight home.

Airport transfers are included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 8. If you wish to arrive before the trip start date or stay longer at the end, your host can arrange private airport transfers and pre/post-trip accommodation. See Optional Extras for prices.

Travel options

There are direct and indirect flight options to Kochi from the UK, while return flights from Trivandrum will transit in Delhi, Mumbai, Dubai or Bahrain depending on your carrier. Travelling from various US origin points, your journey will usually transit in Delhi, Mumbai or Dubai in each direction between Kochi and Trivandrum.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Kayak, paddle and life jacket
  • Bike and helmet for the cycle day

What do I need to bring?


  • You can bring any kind of case of backpack for your main luggage
  • Daypack (20-30 litre rucksack) for personal belongings on hikes etc.
  • Waterproof cover/liner for daypack
  • Small drybag to take on the kayak for phone/camera and wallet etc.


  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Light waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket or similar for cooler evenings in Munnar
  • Buff or neckscarf for sun protection
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear (for the beach at Kovalam & swimming pools at accommodations)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots or shoes (worn-in)
  • Sandals


  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • 1/2 x 1-litre reusable water bottles
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Pre trip accommodation in Kochi (single, twin or double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre trip accommodation in Kochi (single, twin or double)

Post trip accommodation in Kovalam (single, twin or double)

Payable Before Departure

Post trip accommodation in Kovalam (single, twin or double)

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Private airport arrival transfer (1-4 people)

Payable Before Departure

Private airport arrival transfer (1-4 people)

Private airport departure transfer (1-4 people)

Payable Before Departure

Private airport departure transfer (1-4 people)

- Alexandra(March 2023)

Just returned from a fantastic trip to Kerala that I can only recommend! The guides were extremely knowledgeable and great company, the activities enabled us to discover the region off the beaten track and the accommodation and meals were all excellent. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better first experience in India and will definitely be looking into other MBA trips.

- Lesley(March 2023)

This is an amazing trip. I never imagined Kerala would be such a beautiful place, filled with friendly people, lush landscapes and abundant wildlife. Having such a knowledgeable guide with us was such a bonus, Thillip gave us a real insight into the way of life, the language, customs and the history of the country. The activities were all brilliant, well organised, with lovely, well informed local guides. The cycling day is an amazing experience. Don't be put off by the 50km cycle, as there is a back up vehicle with you that you can get into at any time if you've had enough. The accommodation is fantastic - as is the food. I would absolutely recommend this trip. If you are thinking about it - do it!

- Nicola(January 2023)

Absolutely amazing! Kerala has a piece of my heart, the food is the best, people soo friendly, lush green tea plantations and palm trees, beautiful beaches. Incredible scenery, what a wonderful place. This trip immersed us in Kerala and the variety of activities made it feel much longer than a week. Highly recommend.

- Laura(November 2022)

Our week exploring Kerala was so worth it and was absolutely made by our guide Afshar: his sense of humour and his extensive knowledge of the area, the wildlife, and the people. We got to see different areas, eat loads of different foods, and at the same time explore in ways many many tourists never do. From hiking through the tea bushes with locals, walking through local markets, or kayaking along narrow waterways above the paddy fields. Thanks again for an incredible experience, it truly was memorable.

The whole trip was excellent, and the leech socks were a very stylish addition to everyone's outfits. My boyfriend Toby keeps trying to suggest we should repurpose them as Christmas stockings this year!

- Catherine(November 2022)

The Kerala trip was great! Afshar was wonderful and always willing to accommodate where possible and did wonderful planning ahead.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 527kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This is a light adventure, easily manageable by anyone with basic fitness and able to walk or ride a bike for a few hours. The Meesapulimala trek is the most strenuous part of the trip - it's not an overly difficult trek, with no lung-busting climbs or technical terrain to manage, but you will be on your feet for 5 or 6 hours. The cycling is very easy going on flat, coastal terrain with plenty of stops. As long as you can ride a bike, you will be fine. The kayaking is a very gentle and relaxing activity in the backwaters, with still, calm water - there are no huge distances to cover.

Houseboats in the Kerala backwaters have a mixed history with regard to their impact on the environment. In short, some are excellent, but some leave a lot to be desired, so we have carefully selected a boat and crew with a strong approach to sustainability. The Marvel houseboat is certified Golden Category by the Department of Tourism in Kerala, using solar power for all the electrics on board and bio-septic plumbing to ensure non-toxic and non-harmful waste disposal. They have their own sewage plant, so waste is treated properly rather than being dumped in the backwaters. From 2022 onwards, the crew are moving away from using bottled water and will instead use a large water dispenser to reduce their single-use plastic footprint. The houseboat only moves through the canals, lakes and rivers up until 5 pm, after which it is anchored in a safe lake area. 5 pm to 6 am is the time when local people go fishing in their small boats, so any noise will disturb their fishing activity which is their livelihood. The crew are all locals of Kuttanad in Alleppey whose families depend on the backwaters - this gives the staff the ultimate incentive to protect this area.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

We recommend booking this trip in good time to ensure availability but if you must book last minute then there are a few things to be aware of. If booking this trip within 31 days of departure, your enquiry will initially be 'on request' as the local host will need to check availability with each of the hotels before accepting your booking - this may take a day or two. Please do not book flights (or make travel arrangements) until your booking has been accepted by the host. If at this stage some of the hotels only have availability in a higher room category than is included in the tour price, the host will let you know, and if you wish to proceed with your booking you will need to pay the supplement to cover the upgrade cost. Whilst we try to avoid supplements wherever possible, we feel that this is the fairest solution for everyone booked on the trip.

Please also allow enough time to get an India visa.

All foreign nationalities entering India require a valid visa and in most cases, this must be obtained in advance (please check the regulations for your nationality). You must have a machine-readable passport, valid for at least 180 days from your arrival date in India, with two blank pages for your visa. Persons of Indian origin must have an OCI card.

UK Nationals need to apply for a visa through the India High Commission's Visa Facilitation Service (VFS). Visas are valid for a year from the date of issue so we recommend starting this process well in advance of travel (at least 12 weeks before your trip). You will need to attend an in-person appointment at a visa application centre (even if applying through a visa service agency) and these can get booked up a few months in advance so don't delay.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

500 Indian Rupees per activity to the guides; 1000 Indian Rupees per day to the driver; approx. USD 3-5 per person, per day to the tour leader.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Filtered water is available at most of the hotels you stay at on this trip - you can fill up your refillable bottle and bike bottle from your hotel each day. Additionally, your tour leader and driver will carry a large container of purified water for the group to refill their bottles from.

Kerala's weather and climate can be split into 3 seasons:

Winter season: September to March
Summer season: March to the end of May
Monsoon season: end of May to mid-November

Winter season is generally the best time to visit Kerala, with comfortable temperatures, pleasant weather and lower humidity. Expect temperatures between 22°C / 71°F and 30°C / 86°F, however, in the higher altitude area around Munnar things will be much cooler at 10-15°C / 50-59°F. In the summer months of April and May, Munnar becomes a great place to avoid the heat, as while temperates creep up in lower areas, they remain in the late teens at the hill stations. We don't run trips between June and September during the monsoon season.

This trip starts and ends at different hotels in different parts of Kerala, so it's not viable to leave luggage in Kochi at the start of your trip. The same vehicle is used throughout the adventure, so you are free to leave additional luggage securely in the vehicle for the duration of your adventure through Kerala.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small daysack to carry personal items during each day of activity.

You'll be using sit-on-top kayaks. These are very stable and easy to paddle for everyone, from new paddlers through to experienced paddlers. Sit-on-top kayaks can be used on the sea, estuaries, rivers, lakes and canals. Your host has a mixture of single and double kayaks for use, depending on the group size and individual preference. It's more than likely that you'll be able to have a go at both during the trip.

Ramadan will take place from 22nd March to 20th April 2023 and 10th March to 8th April 2024. The national holiday of Eid ul-Fitr will follow for 2-3 days. Ramadan is an Islamic festival where the religious do not eat or drink during daylight hours. While this is a really interesting time to travel, you can expect some business hours will be shortened, alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and some restaurants will be closed during this festival period. Activities for local people tend to be limited during the day and the nights are very active in cities with lots of different foods being sold and consumed. However in hotel restaurants and tourist areas food and drink are served as normal and Ramadan will not affect the inclusions on your trip.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.


Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

Similar Trips