Kerala and the Cardamom Hills

Walking and discovery holiday in India`s tropical south





From $1,860 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview


  • Enjoy five days of trekking in the lush Cardamom Hills
  • Take a houseboat cruise on the Kerala `Backwaters`
  • Fantastic wildlife viewing at Periyar Nature Reserve
  • Chill out on the beaches of the Indian Ocean at Kovalam

At the southern tip of India, the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu offer a range of experiences unlike anything else on the Subcontinent. After a day's exploration in the picturesque old Portuguese port of Kochi, we drive up to former British Raj hill-station of Munnar in the Western Ghats. Here, 5 days of trekking through the Cardamom Hills takes us through rich forest and plantations of tea, coffee and spices, with a high point at the summit of Meesapulimala (2600m), Kerala's second highest peak. We then visit the unmissable Sri Meenakshi temple complex at Madurai, one of the most colourful examples of Indian religious architecture. At the Periyar Wildlife Reserve, home to wild elephant, deer, giant squirrel and the elusive tiger, we have a day-hike with a forest ranger, before recrossing the Western Ghats range to Alleppey, where we meet our houseboat for an unforgettable sunset cruise and overnight stay on the Keralan backwaters. A free day at Kovalam, beside the Indian Ocean, is a relaxing way to end this memorable holiday. Combining a great travel experience and 5 days of trekking, this is a deservedly popular South Indian adventure holiday.

Is this holiday for you?

This holiday involves a mix of sightseeing and walking. The 5-day trek through the Cardamom Hills begins with a short introductory walk around the tea estates at Munnar and then involves 4 days where we will be walking for an average of 6 hours each day. The altitudes attained are never sufficiently high to cause problems with acclimatisation and the underfoot conditions are generally good, on tracks and trails through tea plantations and forest and between villages. There are 4 nights camping during the trek. We may encounter some slippery conditions on forest trails. The trip also includes several relatively short (up to 4-hour) vehicle transfers on generally good roads.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Kochi. Transfers from Kochi Airport are provided before a sightseeing tour.
  • Drive to the hill-station of Munnar in the Western Ghats in preparation for our short trek.
  • Trek from Suryanelli (1550m) to Kolukkumalai where we visit a tea plantation.
  • Ascend Meesapulimala (2600m) on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu with 360 degree views of the area.
  • Continue the trek to the tea plantations of Ellapatti (2100m) where we set up camp.
  • Final day of trekking to `Top Station` (1700m), formerly the terminus of Kunala Valley Railway.
  • Drive east to Tamil Nadu to visit the temples of Madurai, including the Dravidia Sri Meenakshi Temple.
  • Returning to Kerala, we drive to Thekaddy, gateway to the Periyar Nature Reserve.
  • A day walk in the reserve at Periyar where we may spot tiger, elephant, sambar deer and leopard.
  • Cruise the Kerala Backwaters from Alleppey, overnighting on the houseboat.
  • Continue our Backwaters cruise then transfer to Kovalam, on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
  • A free day in Kovalam to explore or relax.
  • Departure day. Trivandrum Airport transfers are provided.
Mon 16 Nov - Sat 28 Nov Code KWG /03/15/ Adult$1,860 Status Guaranteed Book now
Mon 18 Jan - Sat 30 Jan Code KWG /01/16/ Adult$1,860 Status Guaranteed Book now
Mon 14 Mar - Sat 26 Mar Code KWG /02/16/ Adult$1,860 Status Available Book now
Mon 14 Nov - Sat 26 Nov Code KWG /03/16/ Adult$1,860 Status Guaranteed Book now
Mon 23 Jan - Sat 04 Feb Code KWG /01/17/ Adult$1,860 Status Available Book now
Mon 03 Apr - Sat 15 Apr Code KWG /03/17/ Adult$1,860 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Kochi and departing from Trivandrum. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Kochi Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Kochi. Transfers from Kochi Airport are provided before a sightseeing tour.

    We have an early rendezvous at the hotel in Kochi. Airport transfers are provided for all flights arriving on this day. The rest of the day is free and you can choose to take it easy after your long flight, or take part in a guided sightseeing tour which will depart from the hotel after breakfast. Kochi’s winding streets are crammed with 500-year-old Portuguese houses, synagogues, palaces and forts, spread over a charming cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas. Accompanied by a knowledgeable city guide, we will visit the Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese for the Raja of Cochin in 1557 and watch the Chinese fishing nets in action from the waterfront Vasco da Gama Square. Made of teak and bamboo, these picturesque fishing 'engines' are believed to have been erected here as early as the 14th century. There is plenty of opportunity too for souvenir buying today. After the tour, the rest of the afternoon is free for relaxing or further independent exploration.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to the hill-station of Munnar in the Western Ghats in preparation for our short trek.

    This morning, we drive up into the Western Ghats, passing through lush jungle low-down and then through a dramatic forested gorge, with impressive waterfalls at Valara. After a stop for lunch at a way-side restaurant, we arrive at the former hill-station of Munnar, founded by the British during the period of colonial rule. At an elevation of 1600 metres (5250 feet), Munnar is pleasantly cool after the heat of the lowlands. Tea grows well here and the lower slopes of the hills are carpeted by orderly plantations of emerald-green bushes, tended by colourfully-attired tea-pickers. Kerala's highest peak, Anamudi (2695m), which is also the highest Indian peak south of the Himalayas, rises up above the town. After checking in to our hotel, we will go out to do some exploring around the town. There are many small shops, a covered bazaar area and a colourful Hindu temple.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Trek from Suryanelli (1550m) to Kolukkumalai where we visit a tea plantation.

    It takes about an hour to drive to the start of our trek, close to the village of Suryanelli (1550m). Setting off on foot, we follow a tea estate road through stands of eucalyptus trees (planted to provide firewood for the tea factories). We soon reach a pretty tea plantation village, complete with both a church and a Hindu temple. Here, we are likely to meet the tea workers and their children, who are all pretty keen to see themselves on the screen of a digital camera. Beyond the village, the estate roads deteriorate and we find ourselves amongst the fields of tea bushes, which present a unique and very attractive landscape. If we are lucky we will encounter groups of colourful tea pickers, as we climb gradually towards the upper end of the Devikulam Tea Estate. Finally, we reach a ridge at around 2200 metres where the ground falls away to the north and east between dramatic rocky peaks. After a total of 4 hours very steady walking, we reach a levelled camping place above the Kolukkumalai tea estate and factory. Our trek crew have driven to this camp by 4WD vehicle, the tents are already set up and tea and biscuits soon follow. After a chance to sort out our tents, we can hike down to the Kollukumalai factory and have a quick guided tour of the various processes which are needed to turn the fresh green leaf into the finished product. This is reputedly the highest grown tea in the world and you can buy a bag - at source. Returning to our camp, we have dinner in the mess tent and maybe enjoy a bonfire.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Ascend Meesapulimala (2600m) on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu with 360 degree views of the area.

    Our camp is in a spectacular spot, facing east and looking out over the lowlands of Tamil Nadu. Given clear early morning conditions, the sunrise here is fantastic, with the sun framed by dramatic peaks. An early wake-up is recommended. After breakfast, we set out to skirt above the Kolukkumalai plantation to reach the open grassland that rises to Meesapulimala's upper slopes - we can just see the top of this peak from camp. Leaving the tea estate behind, we trek for a short while through luxuriant 'shola' forest and, once again, as this is a reserve area, we have a Forest Service guide who will show us a bewildering number of weird and wonderful plant species. A short, sharp 250 metre grass slope leads to the top of Meesapulimala (2600m), which stands on the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu and commands 360 degree views. On the ascent of this peak, we follow a trail made by elephants and we might also be lucky enough to spot the endangered Nilgiri tahr, a type of ibex. Dropping down from the peak, we find a sheltered spot to take lunch and then continue our gradual descent to Rhododendron Valley and our idyllic streamside camp at an elevation of 2400 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 700m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 400m

    • Time 6 hours

  • Continue the trek to the tea plantations of Ellapatti (2100m) where we set up camp.

    Our trek today starts out with a gentle ascent on an overgrown track much used by elephants (lots of elephant dung). After an hour, we reach a viewpoint and begin a winding descent towards the west, through rolling grassland, interspersed with gulleys and the narrow tracts of forest which occupy them, where we might encounter Nilgiri langurs, a large and impressive species of monkey with a jet black body and white face. The bigger stands of shola forest that we encounter are home to Indian wild bison or 'gaur'. This is great birdwatching country, with falcons and buzzards riding the thermals and a number of rare, endemic species including the Nilgiri pipit and the laughing thrush - easier to hear than it is to see. After around 4 hours (and a lunch stop) we reach the tea plantations above the village of Ellapatti and traverse around on the plantation tracks to reach our next camp. Located on a saddle between two extensive tracts of forest, this levelled site is known as Footprint Camp and, once again, it is brilliantly positioned for the sunrise.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 450m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 800m

    • Time 6 hours

  • Final day of trekking to `Top Station` (1700m), formerly the terminus of Kunala Valley Railway.

    After another early start to witness the sunrise, we have breakfast, then set off uphill on a tiny game trail which follows a forested ridge for an hour, to finally reach an isolated grassy summit. From here, looking across a deep and well-forested valley, we can clearly see the start of our route of 2 days ago, including the upper slopes of Meesapulimala. Descending through forest, we continue our trek at the upper limit of the tea growing and, after a lunch stop, arrive at our camp at Top Station (1700m). Some of the station buildings are intact and used by the tea estate. This place was formerly the terminus of the Kundala Valley Railway and the station was also at the top of the ropeway which descended from here all the way to Bodinayikkanur in Tamil Nadu. In the afternoon, there is plenty of opportunity for exploration, with one option being the short walk to a great viewpoint on the rocky promontory where the ropeway used to be.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 400m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 520m

    • Time 5 hours

  • Drive east to Tamil Nadu to visit the temples of Madurai, including the Dravidia Sri Meenakshi Temple.

    After breakfast, we board our transport for the morning's drive eastwards into the state of Tamil Nadu. This is a fascinating drive, as we quickly leave the Western Ghats behind and find ourselves on a rich agricultural plain, with orchards and extensive rice fields. Passing a number of impressive rock outcrops and through lots of small towns, our destination today, is the town of Madurai, one of southern India's great temple towns, with a history stretching back to the time of the Great Tamil Era more than 2500 years ago. Centrepiece of the town is the Sri Meenakshi Temple, built between the 16th and 18th centuries. This is a dramatic example of Dravidian Architecture, with its 'gopurams' (pyramidal towers) covered with images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythological figures. After checking in to our hotel in the city, we will have lunch, then set off on a sightseeing tour with a local guide. We will walk around the temple and surrounding bazaar area and also be invited by our guide to climb to the top of one of the 5-storey Kashmiri-run handicraft emporia which have viewing platforms on their roofs and do offer the best overview of the temple's towers. (There is no obligation to buy anything on your way down). Then, at 4pm, when it opens, we will enter the temple complex and mingle with the countless pilgrims who each day come to worship at the temple, to bathe in the Tank of the Golden Lotus and to wonder at the carvings of the Hall of a Thousand Pillars. As a taste of the Hindu religion, with all its colour and spectacle, this is hard to beat. Overnight at our hotel in Madurai.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Returning to Kerala, we drive to Thekaddy, gateway to the Periyar Nature Reserve.

    This morning, we drive back up into the Western Ghats and in so doing, cross back into the state of Kerala. We follow a part of the route that we drove yesterday, then continue southwards, through tea plantations and several small towns to the town of Thekkady, gateway to the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. We have some free time in the afternoon.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • A day walk in the reserve at Periyar where we may spot tiger, elephant, sambar deer and leopard.

    At the southern end of the Western Ghats, this reserve area extends over 777 square kilometres of hilly and mostly forested country. At its heart is the artificial lake formed by the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River. Declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978, some estimates suggest that there are as many as 40 tigers in the park, although that's not to say that they are easily seen. As well as tigers, the reserve is home to sambar deer, wild pig, dhole (Indian wild dog), gaur (Indian bison), leopard, several types of monkey and numerous species of birds. Undoubtedly, the greatest attraction at Periyar, however, are the wild elephants that come down to the lake to drink and to bathe. We make the short drive to the park, where we meet the forest guards who will be our guides on a full day hike into the reserve. We may need to split the group into 2 parties and visit separate areas of the park, as group size is limited to no more than 8 persons. The guards will set an easy pace as we head into the forest and will be keen to provide an insight into the wildlife of this important reserve area. They are quick to spot elusive deer and rare giant squirrels and will point out colourful birds and many traditional medicinal plants. We will carry a packed lunch and find a suitable place to stop to eat it. We may also get a cup of tea at one of the ranger stations in the reserve. Reunited with our transport by mid afternoon, we will drive to nearby Kumili, where it is possible to take a short tour on elephant-back. We spend a second night at our hotel in Thekkady.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Cruise the Kerala Backwaters from Alleppey, overnighting on the houseboat.

    After breakfast, we take a scenic morning's drive, westwards and out of the mountains, dropping down via long switchbacks to the coastal plain and the town of Alleppey. Situated at the southern end of Vembanad Lake, Alleppey is one of the centres for exploration of the Keralan backwaters. At the jetty in Alleppey, we will board the houseboats which will be our home for the night. Based on the large traditional cargo boats known as kettuvalloms, these houseboats provide surprisingly luxurious accommodation. There are usually either 2 or 3 twin-bedded rooms on each boat. Setting off on our cruise, we will traverse wide canals and shallow lakes, with isolated hamlets and houses on the banks. The way of life on the backwaters is based around fishing and the cultivation of rice, coconuts and cashew nuts. Birdwatchers will have a great opportunity to spot lots of exciting species, such as kingfishers, bee-eaters, bulbuls, darters, herons, cormorants and 2 types of kite. There are almost 2000 kilometres (1250 miles) of 'backwaters', interconnected lakes, lagoons and canals, which are mostly just inland of the Kerala coast. This is a unique and fascinating water world, enclosed by palm trees. We will cruise for a couple of hours and then find a quiet spot to anchor up for the night, possibly in Vembanad Lake. Each boat has its own cook. Meals are traditional Keralan fare, using fresh local produce.

    • Accommodation Houseboat

    • Meals bld

  • Continue our Backwaters cruise then transfer to Kovalam, on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

    Awaking to the peace and tranquillity of the backwaters is a special experience. We will enjoy breakfast on the boat deep within the backwaters, a place renowned as a stopping off place for many migratory bird species. Then, after a 1-hour cruise, we disembark at Alleppey and meet up again with our transport for the drive south to Kovalam. En route, we pass through forests of palm trees, rich farmland and lots of small towns. We cross several rivers and have occasional glimpses of the beach on our right hand side. Arriving at Kovalam, known as the 'paradise of the south', we will check-in at our resort-style hotel which is right beside the beach. The rest of the day is at leisure.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • A free day in Kovalam to explore or relax.

    This is a great place to spend a free day. Kovalam has a picturesque shoreline, dominated by a high rocky promontory. There are 2 main sandy beaches, lined with simple restaurants, bars and stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts. Each evening, the local fishermen take their boats out and these are pulled up onto the beaches during the day. Meals are provided at the hotel, although you might choose to take your lunch at one of the beach cafes. We have a second night at our Kovalam hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Trivandrum Airport transfers are provided.

    KE Land Only package services end with breakfast. Transfers to Trivandrum Airport are provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced English-speaking Indian tour leader
  • Airport transfers on group arrival and departure days
  • All overland transport and guided sightseeing tours using air-conditioned vehicles
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • Entrance and hiking fees for the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Entrance fees to monuments and other sites detailed in the dossier
  • Full trekking service including and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)

  • Travel insurance
  • Indian Visa
  • Tips for guides and trek staff
  • Optional elephant ride in Kumili
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

All clients arriving at Kochi Airport on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary will be met at the airport by a KE representative, who will arrange the transfer to the group hotel. The preferred flights are with Emirates Airlines and the usual arrival time is in the early hours of the morning. The group will be transferred to Trivandrum Airport in the early hours of the morning on Day 13 of the Land Only itinerary to meet the homeward Emirates flight.

Independent airport transfers can be arranged to meet clients arriving prior to Day 1 at additional cost. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation. Clients should let us know if airport transfers are not required.

A typical day on trek. Shortly after first light (around 6 a.m.) one of the cook crew will wake you with a cup of tea or coffee brought to your tent. You will have plenty of time to get up and pack your kitbag before sitting down to a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and the porters given their loads. Setting off in the pleasant cool of the morning, we will generally reach our lunch stop by 11 a.m. The cook crew, having overtaken us on the trail, will already have the lunch preparations well under way. Lunch usually takes an hour or even two and again this is a cooked meal. This is a great time for relaxing, reading and sitting in the sun. The pack-animals usually catch up with the group during lunch and are well on their way to camp which we hope to establish by 3 or 4 p.m., well before dusk. It is usual for the afternoon’s walk to be shorter than the morning session. During the day you are free to walk at your own pace and to take as many photographs as you wish, something our leaders are keen to promote. On arrival at camp, the local staff will quickly put the tents up and a hot drink will soon follow. Dinner is ready at around 6 p.m. and is a 3-course meal served in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trek so far and for general socialising. After dark, the temperature quickly falls and everyone will soon be tucked up in their sleeping bags.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

Throughout the trip, when staying in hotels and lodges, we will use a good standard of tourist class accommodation, with twin rooms. In addition to the 7 nights that we spend in hotels and lodges, there will be a single night in a houseboat or 'kettuvallom' on the Kerala backwaters. The boats we use have fully furnished twin-bedded rooms, as well as a balcony, sundeck and toilet and shower facilities. During our 4 nights camping, we will use spacious 2-person tents and the group will also have the use of a mess tent for dining and socialising. All accommodation is allocated on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The food in Kerala is terrific. Rice, vegetables, fruit, seafood and a range of delicious spices are the main staples of Keralan cuisine, traditionally served on a banana leaf. Whilst at hotels, we will have the opportunity to try the local fare, although other options with a more western flavour will usually be available also. Our night on the houseboat will provide an excellent opportunity to sample Keralan food at its best. The food served during the trek is a mixture of local and western dishes, purchased locally and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. The emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet. All meals while on trek and also while staying in hotels are included in the trip price.

All meals are included in the trip price from breakfast on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary to dinner on Day 12.

We recommend that £150 (or the equivalent in US dollars or euros) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including approximately £30 to £40 for tips for trek staff and hotel staff. This will also allow you plenty of money for soft drinks and/or beer. if you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). You should allow a small amount for the optional elephant ride at Kumili on Day 9. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of currency rather than travellers cheques, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in India, either at Kochi Airport or in the city. Sterling and US Dollars are equally acceptable for exchange. India’s unit of currency is the Rupee.

The group will be led by an experienced English-speaking Indian tour leader. There will be a support vehicle and driver throughout the trip. There will be additional 4WD support vehicles and drivers during the trek, together with a full trek crew for the 4 nights when the group is camping.

Tipping is an accepted and expected part of Indian culture, although you should only tip for services which are well done. The total amount that you can expect to pay in tips for your local guide, trek crew and drivers, as well as hotel staff, railway porters etc. is approximately £30 to £40. Your local guide will help to coordinate these payments and he will choose an appropriate time for the group to get together to pay the trek crew and the drivers. He might also ask you for a few rupees from time to time to pay tips to a sightseeing guide or a Forest Service employee who is with the group for just a short time. It is also a good idea if the group asks the local guide to look after the day to day tipping of hotel staff. This will do away with the need for you to be finding small numbers of rupees on a daily basis. The group will then reimburse the guide on account of these miscellaneous tips at the end of the trip.

There is no weight limit other than that set by your international airline. Your trek bag will be carried by the support vehicles throughout your time in India. We recommend that you travel with your KE trek bag and a small daysack only. Your trek bag should weigh no more than about 15 kgs.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

All nationalities need to obtain a visa for entry into India. You must have a machine-readable passport with at least 6 months validity at the time of your arrival in India and your passport must have at least two blank pages.


e-Tourist Visa Application

If you require a Single-Entry visa for a visit of up to 30 days, we recommend that you use the e-Tourist Visa Application process which has been available to UK nationals since 15 August, 2015. You should make your application at

Most nationalities, including travellers from the UK, USA and many European countries can apply for their Indian Visa online through the e-Tourist Visa system.

The e-Tourist Visa is valid for entry through 16 designated Airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi.

This visa is cheaper than the Regular Indian Visa and does not require that you send your passport to your nearest India Visa Application Centre (IVAC).

Please note: If you travel on an e-Tourist Visa, your passport will be stamped and your biometric data (fingerprinting and retinal scan) will be processed on arrival in India.

You must make your application a minimum of 4 days before your arrival and a maximum of 30 days before your arrival in India. You must also remember to print a copy of the e-Tourist Visa and take it with you to India for processing on arrival.

The validity of the e-Tourist Visa is 30 days from the date of arrival in India.

The e-Tourist Visa fee is $60.

Instructions for making the application are provided at the above link, including details and specifications of the passport and passport photo scans that you need to provide.


Filling out the application form
Where you are asked to state ‘Places to be visited in India’, please write “Kerala” or the destination you are travelling to in India. Please do not mention any restricted areas such as Sikkim or Ladakh as this may result in delays to the issue of your visa. Answer ‘no’ to the question about visiting Sikkim. Note that when applying online, most of the questions have ‘required fields’ (denoted by a red asterisk). This means that you will not be allowed to submit the form without filling in these fields. If the question is not applicable to you, please type ‘NA’ into these fields.

For ‘Sponsor’ use KE Adventure Travel; first UK referee use KE Adventure Travel; Second UK referee use a friend or relative. For the first Indian referee please use the name and address of our Ground Agent as listed on your Booking Confirmation. For ‘address in India’ and also for second referee in India, please use the name and address of the group hotel as listed on your Booking Confirmation.

If you need help with your e-Tourist Visa Application
A visa processing company such as Travcour can help with your application. Travcour charge £20 to process your application and a further £9 (for postage) if you want them also to handle the scanning of your passport and photo.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements and charges are subject to change.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

  • The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 15 kgs / 33 pounds.
  • You must bring the following items:

    • Hiking boots
    • Trainers / sneakers or sandals for river crossings and camp use
    • Socks
    • Technical walking socks (2 or 3 pairs)
    • Spare laces
    • Trekking trousers / pants
    • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rain-pants
    • Underwear
    • Trekking shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)
    • Shirts or T-shirts
    • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Warm hat
    • Eyewear - Sunglasses
    • Thermal (eg fleece) gloves
    • Daypack c. 30 litres
    • Headtorch / headlamp spare batteries
    • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
    • Water bottles 1 litre / 1 quart (x2)
    • Washbag and toiletries
    • Small towel
    • Antibacterial handwash
    • Sleeping bag (rated to 0 degrees centigrade)
    • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite)

    The following items are optional:

    • Trekking poles
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Thermarest (a foam mattress is provided)
    • Travel clothes
    • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
    • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
    • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
    • Camera, memory cards, batteries

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    Know before you go

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking up to 6 hours on some days. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but jogging, squash and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of walks in hilly country.

    The most important influence on the annual climate of the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is the monsoon, which brings a great deal of rain during the period from May to October. In November, the tail end of the monsoon can cause short-lived rainstorms. At the time of any of our departures, we will experience maximum daytime temperatures at sea level of between 25 and 30 degrees centigrade, falling to around 20 degrees centigrade at night. It is, of course, cooler at higher elevations, with daytime maximum temperatures of between 15 and 20 degrees centigrade in Munnar. At our highest camps, night-time temperatures can fall close to freezing, especially at the time of our January departure. From November to March, conditions in the Cardamom Hills are pleasant for hiking, fresh during the day and with cool evenings

    The national language of India is Hindi, although there are around 20 other languages spoken (and listed on some of the bank notes). For instance the language in Kerala is Malayalam. Generally in India many people speak some English and India is therefore an easy place to make friends and get to know local people. We recommend that you take a pocket phrase book and learn some basics such as common greetings. Your efforts to speak a few words of the local language will pay dividends in terms of the warm reaction you receive from the people you meet along the way.

    South India. Lonely Planet. South India. Rough Guides. India Guide. Footprint Guides. India. Fodor's Travel Publications.

    India: TTK State Road Maps - Kerala and Tamil Nadu sheets

    Fairly basic maps showing main towns, roads and railways. Relief is not shown but administrative boundaries are marked. Intermediate driving distances are marked on major roads. In the jacket of each map is a reference booklet giving background information about the state's geography, history, cultural aspects and main towns.

    Recent Reviews & Blog Posts