Think beautiful backwaters, lush green swaying coconut trees, houseboat rides, Yummy fish and relaxing massages – Kerala is everything that you have seen in that ‘Gods own country’ ad and much more. While it’s a great location for solo travelers visiting India and couples looking for a romantic getaway, it also makes for a perfect family holiday destination delighting kids and adults alike.
This was a family holiday during the Christmas long weekend with my husband and 5 year old daughter. October to January is the perfect weather to enjoy Kerala. However if you dont mind the heat (extreme heat mind you), you could go anytime round the year too to just relax in the houseboats which anyways come with Air Conditioners and the prices will be almost slashed by half for obvious reasons. In this post, I am sharing with you our 5 day itinerary (Kumarakom 2N – Alleppey 1N – Fort Kochi 1N) and an indication of approximate budget for the holiday.
Travel to Kerala
We found a good deal of return flight tickets from Bangalore to Cochin costing 10,000 Rs for three of us. Overnight buses too are a good option if your kids sleep through. For travel within Kerala we had booked a tourist taxi through a travel agent. You can also avail pre-paid taxis from the airport to Kumarakom. As you can see, while travelling with the lil diva we do make some not so budget friendly choices specially on the mode of conveyance options.
Day 1 – Kumarakom
We landed in Cochin and post a brief stop for lunch we headed straight to Kumarakom. The drive to Kumarakom from the airport takes about 2.5 hours including the lunch break. We had booked two nights in a resort called CocoBay resorts. We spent the 1st day just relaxing at the resort and enjoying the backwaters.
Review of Cocobay resort –
It’s a lovely small resort right on the Vembanad lake. The entry to the resort is through a small canal and you are taken on a small boat to the resort entrance. The lil one was really fascinated by this. They have hammocks all around and benches facing the backwaters. You can watch the sunset from the resort and count stars with your kids lying on the hammocks. Lot of place for kids to run around, a nice clean pool and a bar facing the backwaters. Breakfast wasn’t really great, but the food ordered on ala carte was good, the serving takes a little long though. The stay was in a small cottage built in Kerala style with basic facilities.
Cost – Since we were travelling during the peak season and booked last minute and, the rooms costed us Rs.6500 per night. Otherwise the average room rates during non peak season is Rs.4000 -4500 per night with breakfast.
- Pro tips –
- Choose Cocobay or any resort which is on the lake to enjoy your stay to the fullest.
- For backwater boat rides and ayurvedic massages, go to the town and pick any from the many options. The ones offered by the resorts will always be priced on the higher side.
Day 2 – Kumarakom
We decided to venture out on our own the next day and our mode of transport for the day was auto rickshaw. It was great fun exploring the Kumarakom village at leisure in an auto and the lil one totally enjoyed the ride.
Our first stop was at the Kumarakom bird sanctuary. The best time to spot birds would have been early morning, but since we reached around 11 AM, we could spot only a handful of birds. However it was a pleasant walk through the sanctuary through paths surrounded by greenery. The best part was that we were the only people in the sanctuary at that time and for the little one the experience was more like that of exploring a jungle- except that instead of wild animals we were on lookout for birds and insects. If you are travelling with kids do give this place a visit.
- Pro Tip – Be warned it’s a 2 km walk one way and 2 km walk back with patches of puddle, so do wear appropriate footwear and carry a water bottle.
After the long walk, we took an auto and headed to a little fish joint recommended by our resort manager. I wish I had noted the name of that place (but I did manage to click a pic of how it looks-pic below). It was somewhere deep inside the village, facing the backwater and fresh catch of the day was cooked in Kerala style by an old lady. The Karimeen pulichattu I had that day was the best fish dish I have ever had and my mouth is watering right now as I think about it.
After this hearty meal, we decided to head back to the resort for a siesta. On our way back the auto driver recommended we take a boat ride in the lake and we gladly obliged. He took us to the boat jetty where suddenly many boatmen appeared, we randomly chose to go with a friendly looking guy. We requested the auto driver to comeback and pick us up in 3 hours. We hired a shikara for 3 hours which costed us 1200Rs. If you are in a larger group, it would obviously cost you cheaper, but we had the shikara to ourselves.
The painting like view of the lake lined with coconut trees on either side made for a wonderful ride. It was lovely rowing through the back waters with greenery on both sides. We had few stops in between for coconut water and maggi in the evening.
- Pro Tip – Take the shikara ride in the evening around 4 pm so that in addition to enjoying the boat ride you also get to watch the beautiful sunset being in the middle of the lake. And the boatmen always know the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Day 3 – Alleppey Boat house
We checked out in the morning after breakfast and headed to Alleppey for the house boat experience. Kumarakom to Alleppey is just about a 2 hour drive. Most house boats start at 11AM , gets anchored by the shore of a backwater village by about 5.30 PM and drops you back by 9.30 AM the next day. We had booked our houseboat in advance through the same travel agent who had booked our taxi. During off peak season, you can also chose to reach Alleppey and book a houseboat from the jetty where there will be plenty of options to choose from. You can chose the kind of houseboat depending on your budget – there are all kinds on offer from basic non AC ones to luxury 5 star houseboats. The one which we picked, a standard 1 bhk houseboat with AC costed us Rs. 10,000 for a overnight tour which included lunch, dinner and breakfast.
The houseboat stay is a must do and I will be detailing our houseboat experience in a separate post.
Day 4 & 5 – Fort Kochi
We reached fort Kochi by about 11.30 AM and checked into our rooms. Our flight was next evening so we had a little more than two half days to explore Kochi. If you are flying in or out of Cochin, would strongly recommend you budget a day in Fort Kochi and you will be amazed by what all this little town has to offer. Will be covering this too in a separate post else I wouldnt be doing justice to it.
So that’s the broad 5 day itinerary which is pretty relaxed yet covering different experiences which you and the kids will cherish for sure. So go ahead and plan that family getaway to Kerala as soon as you can.
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