Kerala is a popular tourist destination in India and one that is really great to do with kids. It’s away from the craziness of the big cities and you can travel and move at a slower pace – perfect for younger children.
After spending a few days in Mumbai (please refer to Mumbai itinerary) we flew to Cochin using one of the many local airlines (Jet Airways is my first choice, but GoAir and IndiGo are also decent airlines).
Cochin has plenty of lovely little guest houses ranging from high end boutique bed and breakfasts to budget homestays. We stayed on the outskirts of the town in a small homestay. http://www.bethanyhomestay.com. It was very clean, owned by a lovely family, budget friendly and we could get into the centre of town easily by jumping in an auto rickshaw.
Cochin is a lovely little town and is perfect for a 2 night stay. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops to cool down in and there’s even a small kids park. It’s basic, but it’s worth noting.
In the evening I highly recommend seeing on the local Kathakali dances / shows here. Even though our son was only 5 he really enjoyed it.
From Cochin you can take the local train to Alleppey. It was a few pounds and was a very easy journey. We found that accommodation options were limited at the budget end of the market as it attracts a lot of international visitors. We did find a small homestay to use as a base for 3 days, but even my son commented on how dirty the bathroom was, so I won’t recommend it!
Kerala backwaters tours:
After reading up extensively about the different houseboats and tours we opted to book on arrival. Why? The standards of boats and services vary greatly. Many people who had made bookings online and who had paid in a advance were disappointed to find that the boat they had been allocated did not match the description of photographs on the website.
Negotiating on arrival worked in our favour as we could check the boat out in advance and clarify what was included. I’d be particularly inclined to do this if I was taking an overnight trip as you can have a look at the boat and its facilities before committing. There are so many boats and the standards do vary. Greatly.
Our 9 hours on the water was superb, although by the end of the day my bum was a little numb. We spent the day exploring the back waters, stopping off at some of the waterside villages for drinks and lunch and Alf even learnt how to paddle. If you’re short on time as we were then one day on the water is perfectly fine to get a taste of life on the riverside.
From Alleppey we took the train to Trivandrum and a taxi to Kovalam beach.
We stayed here for a few days to fully relax. Kovalam has a lovely holiday vibe as it’s a popular destination for locals on their family vacations.
We loved watching the fishermen bringing in their catch very early each morning. The seafood options here were amazing. Fresh fish BBqs every night overlooking the beach was a highlight.
Accommodation is again varied. The beachside hotels are circa $30 a night but venture off the beach front and you can find basic rooms for less than $10.
We then flew from Thiruvananthapuram airport directly back to Mumbai. Our trip was only 11 days in total, but we really felt as though we saw a lot without feeling too rushed.