April 2, 2018
One of the things we love about a tour of Kerala is the diverse and unique range of accommodation options there are to stay in. From houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala to homestays, beach resorts, luxury hotels in Kerala, conventional hotels and boutique hotels in Kerala – there is a range of options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Every tour of Kerala we do, we always stay in a homestay. Homestays are a property that is usually run by a family, can be as small as 2 rooms and as large as a dozen. A family member is usually the host or the manager and a stay at such property usually allows you the chance to meet and interact with local people in India and learn more about their daily lives, cuisine and customs. They are often some of the best experiences we have had during a private tour of India, and many of our guests agree. To find out more about what to expect from the best home stay experiences in Kerala – read more here.
During our current family tour of Kerala, we stayed at a small homestay/ farm stay property set on an organic farm in Kerala, between Cochin and Munnar. (If you stayed near the airport in Cochin you can reach this property in about 2 hours.) The property has 8 rooms and is run by a husband and wife. The property is surrounded by a lush tropical garden, sits on the edge of a lovely clean river and has plenty of space to run around.
The weather in Kerala at this time of year is warm and humid – mornings are the best time to be out and about, while the middle of the day and afternoon is hot. (A perfect time for a rest!) Early evenings when the sun has weakened is when you see many locals coming out for tea and to do errands, such as shopping or going to the local market. When we arrived at the farm stay our eyes are instantly drawn to the swimming pool and the beautiful gardens. A homestay style property with a pool is rare as most homestays are usually smaller, family homes and don’t usually have a pool. We will definitely be spending time in the pool in this heat!
Our room at this farm stay is on the top floor of a large Kerala style building. It’s big – with a queen bed and an extra single, air-conditioning, a bathroom a separate luggage space. We have a fridge and tea and coffee making facilities in the room.
One reason a homestay is particularly good for family travel in India or just curious travellers in general that want to engage with the people they meet – is the range of activities to participate in and try. This afternoon we are offered chai, followed by a guided farm walk (they have a dairy with cows and goats here, local spices and fruit trees) and a cooking demonstration. All very gentle, pleasant activities that are good for children. We also spent some time enjoying the pool and lingered over a beer and salted cashew nuts in the garden before dinner. Given the spacious garden there’s also some kicking of a football too. (If we were staying longer we were also keen on the local village walk, swimming in the river and the river boat ride. Just a few more of the activities offered here. There are also bicycles available for use and all the activities are included in the room rate.)
Days here start with yoga each morning – a gentle stretching and meditation for an hour. It’s quite lovely – surrounded by the garden, the gentle morning light, and the sound of the busy birds all around us – while we stretch our jet lagged bodies. Afterwards, it’s breakfast (which includes what could quite possibly be the best buffalo curd we’ve ever eaten).
Given this stay is at the start of our family tour in Kerala I would easily suggest at least 2 nights here. There’s plenty of gentle activities here that would suit children and most visitors on a tour of Kerala and the welcoming pool in the afternoon is a pleasant place to enjoy a holiday in India. All the meals here are prepared fresh, using ingredients from the organic farm. They are also included in your room rate.
This farm stay homestay in Kerala can be included in any private tour of Kerala in South India.
This India travel blog was written in April 2018 during a one month tour in India with a focus on travelling in India with children and planning new itineraries for luxury travel in India.