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Unexpected India - Exploring Kerala

Explore's Julie Holloway recently visited India for the first time and the experience she had was the opposite of what she expected...

"This was my first trip to India, and was not at all as I expected – my image of busy, bustly and loud was completely and most pleasantly shattered, the Kerala region is green, beautiful and so relaxing.

And how much more relaxed can it be, floating along the backwaters in an amazing houseboat. I had been really looking forward to this, and it didn’t disappoint at all.  Each room had an en suite and a/c.  The crew produced amazing food from their small galley, and even treated us to afternoon tea! The scenery is beautiful and interesting - tropical palm trees lined the banks, each house a different colour, children boarding a canoe to go to school, ladies doing the washing in the water, goods being transported in all sorts of craft. I loved it.

I was nervous about the homestay, something I have never experienced, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Though, as I should have realised when it comes to travelling with Explore, my fears were totally unfounded. What a wonderful experience! We were made so welcome by our ’Mum’ Shayla, and had great fun in the evening when she shared her saris with us. Though, I'm still a little disappointed the men didn’t take up the offer of wearing a lungi – maybe next time. The children of the village loved to stop and have a chat with everyone on the trip – really hoping for a present or a coin for their collection, so take some lollipops or pens along with you and you will really make their day.

Though a relaxing tour, there was still plenty of action to be had – taking a walk through the National Park, joining in the cookery evening (great fun), and being invited onto the arena floor of a Martial Arts display really stood out for me.

And how can I describe the scenery in the hills? Another aspect I really didn’t appreciate until I was there – it’s absolutely stunning.

And finally, a word for Raj, our fantastic Tour Leader. He was considerate, attentive and looked after each and every one of us as only an Explore Tour Leader can."

Julie travelled on our Kerala Backwaters holiday.

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