Walking in Kerala

India - Trip code WIK Walking and Trekking
Carbon Footprint Leaf Icon
662Kg of CO²e
Average carbon footprint per person
Carbon Footprint
You deserve to know everything about your holiday, from what is included, what to expect and every kilogram of CO2 emitted on average per person along the way.

We've partnered with ecollective to measure the carbon footprint of this tour based on an average group size. Find out more about how we calculate this and why we think it's important here.

Why book this trip?

A walking holiday taking in the diversity of tropical Kerala in India's far south. Trek among the forests and grasslands of the mountainous Western Ghats, walk in search of wildlife in the Periyar National Park and meet the locals rambling through tranquil Backwaters' villages. Exploring on foot is the best way to discover the culture and landscapes of God's Own Country.

  • Meesapulimala Peak - Enjoy the views from one of South India's highest peaks (2635m)
  • Backwaters cruise - Observe daily life in the tranquil Backwaters and spend the night aboard a converted rice barge
  • Kochi - Explore colonial architecture and city sights on a walking tour
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 10

    Lunch: 5

    Dinner: 4

  • Trip staff

    Explore Tour Leader

    Boat Crew



    Trek Crew

  • Transport



  • i


    1 nights simple boat

    3 nights simple camping

    6 nights comfortable hotel

  • i

    Walking grade:


  • i

    Group Size:

    10 - 16


Day 1 - Join trip Kochi

Our Kerala adventure starts today in the harbour city of Kochi, a gathering place for merchants and traders since antiquity. Built on several islands and criss-crossed with waterways, the city has a very cosmopolitan feel today and attracts artists and artisans from around the region.

Your Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 6 pm for a welcome meeting after which, for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner as a group. There are no other activities planned today. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Cochin International Airport (COK), which is 40km, approximately one-and-a-half hour's drive from the airport.

Should you have time today, our hotel is located right in the centre of Fort Kochi not far from the famous Chinese Fishing nets. It's easy to explore this interesting area on foot.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Morning tour of historic Kochi; drive to Munnar

This morning we take in a walking tour of India's oldest European settlement, Fort Kochi.

Beginning with the arrival of Jewish and Arab spice traders in the first century AD, Kochi's prosperity and importance increased with the arrival of the Portuguese, who were later followed by the Dutch and the English. This eclectic heritage has invested the city with a fascinating mix of styles and influences.

We take in the architectural charms of the Church of St Francis and some of the other notable colonial buildings - the site of the city's 16th century Jewish synagogue (closed on Friday and Saturday), the oldest in the Commonwealth and the exterior of the Mattancherry Palace, originally built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Cochin in 1555, but later extensively renovated by the Dutch.

In the afternoon we then drive inland to Munnar and the stunning vistas of the Western Ghats. The 140 kilometre drive takes us into the heart of tea country, where fresh mountain air and tropical forests share the landscapes with spice plantations and tea estates.

Our walking tour today is graded easy and we expect it to take approximately two hours.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Hike to Seven Malai Hills through tea, coffee and spice plantations

Our first day's hiking in the Ghats begins from the small village of Nagarmudi (1500 m), just a short drive from old Munnar. Beginning with a gradual climb, we ascend through the tea plantations up into the Seven Malai Hills, passing crops of coffee and cardamom as we make our way to the summit (1700 m). The walk today will take us around four to five hours, but the views more than compensate for the hard climb, as we are presented with some spectacular panoramas across the Chittrapuram Dam and out towards the Anamudi Peak, Munnar and the local villages. Descending to our vehicle, we then drive back to Munnar for our second night.

Our 11 kilometre walk today is moderately-graded and we expect it to take approximately four to five hours.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 4 - Trek to Silent Valley through tea estates and shola forest

It's an hours jeep ride via the forest office this morning to the start of our three day point to point hike. The walk proceeds through a landscape blanketed with tea plantations, sholas of eucalyptus and plantations of plane. The beautiful views and array of tea estates laid out before us give a real flavour of the area. Stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch in shade of a tea garden, we then continue climbing towards our camp at Silent Valley, situated in a meadow close to a small stream.

Ascending to a height of 2000 m, today's walk will cover around 12 kilometres, taking us between four and five hours to reach the camp.


Grade: Simple Camping

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5 - Trek to Meesapulimala Peak (2635 m)

Leaving camp after breakfast this morning, we begin the ascent of Meesapulimala Peak, the second highest in South India. The trail towards the summit takes us from rough grassland and up onto the ridge line, where we continue climbing through patches of open grassland towards the peak. The journey to the top will take us around three to four hours and from its lofty heights, the views look down across Kerala and Tamil Nadu (if the summit isn't shrouded in mist). You might even pass the odd herd of Nilgiri Thar (a type of wild goat) on the way. After a chance to rest and enjoy the scenery, we then descend towards Rhodo Valley (2300 m), stopping off for a picnic lunch en route. As the camping area at Rhodo Valley is currently closed, we return by jeep for a second night at our Silent Valley camp.

Our walk today is moderately-graded and we expect it to take approximately six to seven hours to cover eight kilometres.


Grade: Simple Camping

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6 - Hike to Top Station through villages and plantations

Today provides us with our longest day's walking, as we meander our way through a stunning backdrop of verdant plantations and vivid red rhododendron forests. This part of the Western Ghats is home to a staggering array of life, with wild boar and Atlas moths sharing the stage with a dazzling mix of local flora. As we climb, the views out across the local countryside take in villages and lakes, before we begin a gradual winding descent towards Ellapetty village where we enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by vegetable gardens planted by the local tea workers. From here it's a 30 minutes transfer by jeep to our final camp at Top Station/Oorkad (1900 m).

Our walk today is moderately-graded and we expect it to take approximately seven hours to cover 16 kilometres.


Grade: Simple Camping

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7 - Drive to Thekkady, gateway to Periyar National Park

Breaking camp for the last time today we drive back towards Munnar and on to Thekkady, gateway to the Periyar National Park. Taking up much of the morning, the 160 kilometre drive weaves across the Western Ghats before reaching Thekkady later this morning. This part of India has long been renowned for its abundant spices. Indeed, it was to the spice rich shores of the Malabar Coast that Christopher Columbus was heading when he bumped into America by mistake. After lunch we take a short walk around a spice garden, enjoying an aromatic wander through crops of black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. There should also be time to explore the local bazaar before dinner.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 8 - Trekking in Periyar National Park

This morning we enjoy a walk in observation of the flora and fauna in the Periyar National Park. Set around the picturesque shores of Lake Periyar and one of the largest parks in South India, it is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife including elephant, tiger (although we don't expect to see one!), sambar, wild pigs, bison, monkeys and langurs. It also boasts some 112 species of butterflies and 246 species of birds including cormorants, darters, ospreys, kingfishers, hornbills and kites. The walk will take between two to three hours, after which there may be an opportunity this afternoon to enjoy an optional boat trip on the lake. Please be aware, tickets for the cruise are only available locally and are on a first come, first served basis.

Our walk today is graded easy, mostly flat and at a leisurely pace as we take in the flora and fauna of the park. We expect it to take approximately two to three hours.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 9 - Drive to Alleppey on the coast; Backwaters houseboat cruise

Driving to the coastal town of Alleppey this morning we head for the myriad canals and channels that make up the Kerala Backwaters, boarding a traditional houseboat for an overnight cruise through the region. A time-honoured form of transport, these wonderfully characterful boats are made of anjili wood and bamboo and come with en-suite twin bedrooms and an on-board chef, providing the perfect way to enjoy the scenic and cultural beauty of this remarkable setting. Along theses narrow channels, the industrious villagers survive on narrow spits of land, keeping cows, pigs, chickens and even cultivating vegetable gardens. Nothing goes to waste: the shells from the fresh water mussels are burnt to make building lime and coir is used for just about everything. This evening we'll moor up along the banks of Vembanad Lake.


Grade: Simple Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10 - Backwaters village walk; drive to Kochi

After a relaxing breakfast on board, we then drive on to the village of West Chennamkary in the heart of the Backwaters for a short walk around some of the local villages, soaking up the atmosphere of a region that provided Arundhati Roy with the inspiration for her book, 'The God of Small Things'. We'll enjoy a traditional Keralan lunch with a local family before driving back to Kochi later in the afternoon.

Our walk today is graded easy and we expect it to take up to two-and-a-half hours at a very leisurely pace.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 11 - Trip ends in Kochi

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Kochi.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Kochi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Cochin International Airport (COK), which is around 40 kilometres, one-and-a-half hour's drive from the hotel.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Climate and country information



There is considerable variation between the different regions of India but, in general, the climate is tropical. Summer temperatures on the plains are very hot, but cooled by the South-West Monsoon, which lasts from June- September. During these months it can be very wet and therefore very humid. At altitude, temperatures can become quite cool at night even in the summer and may drop below freezing between December and February so warm clothing is necessary. In the winter, northern and mid India can be very cool, with cold evenings, so warm clothing, including plenty of layers, are essential. The south of India remains warm and sunny during the winter months.

Time difference to GMT



3 Pin Round


Catholicism, Hindu, Islam and Sikhism


Hindi and English.

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.

Thekkady - cookery course - INR 700.00
Thekkady - Kalaripayattu (Keralan martial art) demonstration - INR 600.00


Due to the diversity of altitude encountered on tour, you will need to bring a range of comfortable lightweight clothing that can be layered according to the fluctuating temperature. On the coast and in the Backwaters you can expect both days and nights to be warm and humid and lightweight clothing is all that is needed. In the Ghats and especially on the 3-day trek, nights can be cold (possibly below freezing in Rhodo Valley).

We recommend walking trousers and shorts, breathable T-shirtshirts, walking socks, fleece jacket, waterproof jacket, warm hat and gloves and sunhat.

Whilst monsoon rainy season is from June through to early October, it can rain outside of this time. When it has rained there may be leeches in the Ghats and we highly recommend bringing your own leech socks which can be bought through outdoor equipment providers or online through retailers such as Amazon.

Please bear in mind that shorts and tight revealing clothing worn by women can cause offence and unwelcome interest.


We recommend you bring lightweight walking boots with ankle support, make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.



Luggage: On tour

You will need a daypack and your main luggage.

Daypack: 30-35 litres recommended. During the course of the Western Ghats trek you do not have daytime access to your luggage which is transferred between camps by jeep. In any mountain region the weather can change rapidly and you must be equipped for this eventuality. Your daypack should therefore be large enough to carry waterproofs, fleece jacketweater, long trousers (if walking in shorts), warm hat and gloves, sun hat, sun cream, water bottle and your camera. It should be waterproof or have a rain cover.

Main luggage: As this will be transported between the camps by jeep and stored overnight in your tent this needs to be a kitbag, large rucksack or soft holdall style bag that is easily stored and transported.


Bring a 3-season sleeping bag (whilst on trek you will be provided with a 5 centimetre thick foam sleeping mattress), 2 litre water bottle, sun cream, sunglasses and head torch.

Bring your walking poles if you usually use them.

An umbrella is useful for both rain and as a sun shade.


Explore leader
Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our leaders all receive a fair wage. However, you might want to recognise a leader that's done a great job or really added to your trip by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It's a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we'd recommend between £15 to £20 per person per week as a guideline
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, your leader may organise a group's tips kitty for included activities and meals and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.
Accordingly, you should allow GBP40, approx. 3'400 Indian Rupees for group tipping.
For all non-included services and meals on your trip please tip independently at your discretion.


Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Lunch price
Dinner price
Beer price
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Indian Rupee Recently new 500 and 2000 rupee notes have been bought in to circulation and as the old notes are no longer accepted there have been some cash flow issues. You don't need to worry about being given old notes as it's very easy to tell the difference, the new notes are pristine in comparison with most Indian money which is fairly tatty.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
GBP/US$ are the best currency to change into local currency.
Where To Exchange
The Indian rupee is a restricted currency and it is best not to obtain in the UK as rates are very poor. You can either change money at the airport on arrival or in major towns during the tour. Your Tour Leader will advise you on the best places in each town. Both GBP and USD cash are easy to exchange at the airport and at hotels however you will be restricted to changing £60 cash at a time and it's not possible to change money at these locations using a credit or debit card.
ATM Availability
ATMs are available in most large cities in India but they are very limited elsewhere so please do not rely on this.
Credit Card Acceptance
Very rarely, only in the larger outlets.
Travellers Cheques
Opportunities to exchange are limited.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Boat

Accommodation notes

The tents used for the 3 nights on the Western Ghats trek are 2-man 'Alpine' brand Indian tents which will be erected and broken down for you by the camp crew. 5 centimetre thick foam sleeping mattresses are provided - you just need to bring your own 3-season sleeping bag. Kitchen and mess tent, table, chairs and all cutlery and utensils are also provided. A field toilet tent serves the camp and water for washing will be provided by the bucket.

On day nine you stay on a simple boat. A time-honoured form of transport, these wonderfully characterful boats are made of anjili wood and bamboo and come with en-suite twin bedrooms and an on-board chef, providing the perfect way to enjoy the scenic and cultural beauty of this remarkable setting.

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

India: Visas are required for citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada and can be obtained in the form of an e-visa. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

The e-visa can be applied for through the official Indian government visa website only - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html . Please check all eligibility criteria that can be found on the website but important points are listed below -

You must be arriving into one of 28 selected entry points which can be found via the official Indian Government website link above. However, you can exit from any of the authorised immigration check posts in India.

Passports must have at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival in India and at least two blank pages for stamping. Visa applications will take approximately 4 days to process.
There are different validity visas and the costs are as follows:

30-day validity (travelling between April and June) - $10
30-day validity (travelling between July and March) - $25
1-year validity - $40
5-year validity- $80

Those applying for a 30 day electronic visa can only apply within 30 days of arrival for your visa to be valid. Furthermore double entry is permitted and you can only obtain two 30-day visas in a calendar year.

Please note these costs are subject to frequent change so you should check on the official Indian government visa website mentioned above. Biometric data will be collected on arrival in India.

If you are not eligible for the e-Tourist Visa, please refer to VFS Global to apply for your Indian visa - https://www.vfsglobal.com/india/uk/how_to_apply.html

Whilst the online form offers a relatively quick way to apply for a visa, some applicants have reported difficulty in completing the form. If you do require assistance, then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. They can complete the online visa on your behalf for a fee of £30 + the visa cost. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Minimum age restrictions

For our group tours, the minimum age is 16. The minimum age on Family trips varies between 7 and 11 - please check the 'Family information' section of the trip page for more information. 


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Maximum altitude (m)




Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Walking and Trekking information
Walking grade
Trek details
Walks on 6 days for between 2 to 7.5 hours in duration. On 4 of the days we will be trekking on uneven mountain trails through the plantations, jungle and grasslands of the Western Ghats. On the 2 other walking days the terrain is generally flat - the jungle trails of Periyar National Park and village footpaths in the Backwaters. The overall grade of the walking is Moderate.
Max walking altitude (m)
Award Winning Explore Leaders
Find out more
Price Guarantee Promise
Find out more
Airport Transfers
Find out more
Print Trip Notes

Table of contents

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Got it!