Hills and Backwaters

11 nights

  • Historic Fort Cochin
  • Gentle walks in the Wayanad Hills
  • Village discovery by houseboat

This is a wonderful and unique taste of life in Kerala, hosted by rural communities. Enjoy stays in a hill-side village guest-house amid the coffee and pepper plantations in the glorious Western Ghats, followed by a glide through palm-fringed lagoons, onboard a very special village-owned houseboat. Contrast life in the luxuriant forests, plantations and hill stations with the traditions of canopy-makers, fishermen and coir spinners from their beautiful waterside villages. A gentle-paced, enchanting holiday, topped and tailed by a stay in the vibrant port-city of Cochin.

The hospitality of Hill House

The delightful hillside village of Mothakkara sits amid pepper and coffee plantations, with views across the splendid tea gardens towards the spectacular hills. Hill House guest-house, owned and run by the village, enchants guests with its simple comfort and great hospitality.


Western-ghats hill-station, unique insights

Explore the rubber, coffee and banana plantations and twining vines of pepper and vanilla, enjoy walks towards Banasura Mountain and take a day trip to nearby Thrikaipatta to watch the local craftswomen create wonderful bamboo products.


A very special houseboat

Enjoy gently cruising on the Goodearth houseboat around the network of peaceful waterways, fringed by coconut palms and secluded villages, remote from the main centre of houseboats. Moor each night at a different village.

Marvel at the design of the boat, based on traditional rice barges that formerly conveyed grain from up-stream paddy fields. The Goodearth is owned and crewed by the village communities and was built in Valayar by the village team, from local materials.


 Traditional life along the backwaters

Wander around the water-side villages, with your own guide,  themself a fishermen and steeped in the environment and traditions of the backwaters. Meet village friends and sharing an understanding of riparian life over a cup of tea. Take part in fishing, from shore-side ‘Chinese” nets, or from hand-paddled traditional boats using drift nets, help with prawn catching or even diving for brackish water mussels.


Kerala cuisine

Kerala's cuisine is justly famous and makes use of amazing local produce and tropical spices. In Mothakkara enjoy delicious, fresh vegetarian meals.

On the houseboat, select the fish of your choice or opt for vegetarian, locally-sourced and cooked on-board by the crew and women’s committee members. 


Vibrant port city

Chinese Fishing Nets Kochi

Your holiday starts and ends in style, with a stay in the vibrant port city of Kochi, or Cochin. Kochi comprises a number of small islands and peninsulas, all connected by ferry, including the historic quarter of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry which have an unusual mix of Portuguese, Dutch and English influences.

For this holiday we recommend flights to and from Kochi, via Mumbai. Spicejet  offer flights from Kochi to Mumbai. 

Fort Cochin

Day 1 Welcome at Kochi airport, transfer to Fort Cochin  where you stay in a traditional Hotel.

Day 2 A train to Kozhikode and a road transfer takes you into the Wayanad region of the Western Ghats. Transfer to Ernakulam to catch the day train to Kozhikode, welcome at Kozhikode and road transfer (3 hours) to the charming hillside village of Mothakkara in Wayanad.

In the Wayanad Hills

Night 2 - Night 5 Enjoy four nights with the community of Mothakkara. Explore the coffee and pepper plantations, enjoy forest walks and spectacular views across the Western Ghats and visit nearby Thrikkaipatta to meet the ladies weaving beautiful bamboo handicrafts.

DAY 6 Return by road to Kozhikode and take the train to Ernakulam. Meet at Ernakulam station and short transfer to Vayalar village to board the Kayal Kettuvallam houseboat.

In the Backwaters

Night 6 - Night 9 Spend four nights onboard the Goodearth Kayal Kettuvallam, visiting four of the five communites; Vayalar, Chenganda, Perumbalam, Chemmanagri and Kodamthuruthu. Your mornings and evenings are spent in the villages, getting to know the communities and discovering the customs and traditions, or exploring deeper into the backwaters in the houseboat’s own canoe/tender.

During the hotter, central part of the day the boat progresses gently through the backwaters to the next village. You navigate dense, narrow canals and open waterways, while on the banks busy village life takes place. You may pass duck herders on a punt, buffalo grazing at the water's edge, fishermen in dugout canoes, coir weavers and coconut harvesters. If you wish to take a cooking class from some of the local ladies, your guide can arrange this.

The houseboat has two twin cabins with private facilities. If there are fewer than four in your party, you may wish to upgrade and have exclusive use of the houseboat.

Fort Cochin

Day 10 Short transfer to Kochi.

Night 10 - Night 11 With two nights in Fort Cochin you have time to explore this exciting port city and the wonderful old fort district.

Day 12 Transfer from the hotel to Kochi Airport for your homeward flight.


For this holiday we recommend flights to and from Kochi, via Mumbai. Spicejet offer a flight from Kochi to Mumbai.

Transfers included

We look after you from the moment of your arrival at Kochi (Cochin) airport. Your holiday includes transfers, your own guide throughout your stay with the communities, accommodation in Mothakkara village, on the Goodearth Houseboat and in Fort Cochin.

All meals are provided during your stay with the communities; in Kochi breakfast only is included. In the city and during transfers, meals are at your own local charge.

Your own houseboat

The houseboat has two twin cabins with private facilities. If there are fewer than four in your party, you may wish to upgrade and have exclusive use of the houseboat. This can be arranged at a supplement of £96 per person (£192 for a single traveller).

Extra nights

All our itineraries can be tailor-made to create your perfect holiday. You can extend your stay on the houseboat, in Mothakkara and in Fort Cochin or shorten the itinerary if time is limited. Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help fashion the holiday to suit you.

Travel information for India can be found here.

Contact our bookings team

Our experienced reservations team will be happy to talk you through your options and help you to create your ideal holiday to south India.

From UK or other countries:
+44 (0)1223 750049

From France:
+33 (0)5335 20774

From India:
+ 91 9920882409 or +91 9869005642

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Booking enquiries: 01223 750049