Whether it's a heady but swift sample of Keralan delights, a trip through the backwaters on a traditional rice boat, or simply a private driver for a couple of weeks, Oriental Routes can tailormake your trip of a lifetime. They will suggest itineraries, book the accommodation and arrange private transfers for you. You just need to decide what you want to do, and book your international flights.
Why we chose this partner
- They're well established, with 10 years' experience and 70 staff, which includes a good mix of foreign and local management. They know about all the new openings and best things to do in and around Kerala
- They employ their own guides and personally train them, then monitor their ongoing performance through customer feedback. During our trip with their Rajasthani branch, we found the local guides excellent: informative and friendly
- Clean cars and friendly, careful drivers make for a very pleasant journey, no matter how rough the terrain
- Drivers and guides tend to shoo away any hawkers; you’ll be extremely grateful at times
- Being looked after. India is fabulous but overwhelming at times. Having someone to metaphorically hold your hand will help you relax into the experience
- They take their social responsibilities very seriously
Please be aware
- i-escape can only vouch for those properties which are featured and reviewed on our website. For other areas and accommodations, while we do trust our operator to provide the best options for your needs, you should make sure that you are happy with their suggestions before confirming
Best time to go
But, if you are heading inland, visiting cities or taking a yoga or Ayurveda break, the monsoon season is still an option. Empty streets and beaches, fewer crowds and touts, and massive discounts on air travel and accommodation (sometimes as much as 50%) make it especially attractive. But some hotels and tourist attractions close during this time.
Our top tips
Kerala has a whole variety of accommodation, including stylish city hotels, romantic waterfront retreats, traditional rice barges and simple homestays.
We've reviewed many of them in extensive detail, so take a look and ask Oriental Routes to include any you like in your itinerary. Or ask for their advice; they work with hundreds of hotels, so can definitely find ones to suit your budget and preferences.
Food will be a definite highlight, if not the highlight of your trip. Perfectly spiced
Things we loved...
- Strolling around historic Fort Cochin, and seeing the Chinese Fishing nets
- Tiger spotting in the Lake Periyar reserve
- Visiting tea and spice plantations
- Cruising the backwaters in a traditional rice barge
- Ayurvedic treatments at a beach resort
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
Your private driver will meet you from the airport and be your main point of contact for your trip, unless you take an internal flight, in which case you will have a new driver from this point on. You will also have direct access to your local tour operator office (s) as you go. The company uses the following cars: the Ambassador, the Toyota Qualis, or the Tempo Traveller Mini Van. Drivers are fully trained and experienced in all possible terrains, with client safety their ultimate concern. The tour operator is very particular about its drivers and ensures that they are all calm and well-humoured with excellent manners. Drivers are responsible, friendly, helpful and most importantly, they all speak excellent English.
To fly to Kerala, see Getting There.
A driver from the tour operator will meet you at the airport and take to your first hotel.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.