Located at the southwestern corner of India, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features, which makes it an appealing and attractive destination. Highlights include historic and culturally rich cities such as Cochin, the tranquillity and birdlife of the Kerala Backwaters, lush countryside, hill stations, plantations including tea, rubber and a wide variety of spices, plus Ayurvedic medicines and massage treatments, a speciality of Kerala. Marvel at the wildlife including elephants, wild boar, sambar, monkeys and wild cats. Stumble across enchanting monuments and art forms, magical festivals and sample the exotic cuisine, on your Kerala tour there is something for everyone.
DAY 1: Arrive from the UK and transfer to a hotel near the airport (check-in at 12 noon) for an overnight stay.
DAY 2: Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Cochin with a stopover & change in aircraft. Upon arrival in Cochin transfer to Casino Hotel for check-in before departing for an afternoon guided sight-seeing tour of Cochin including St. Francis' Church, the oldest European church in India, the Chinese fishing nets where you will soon be recruited to help with the day's catch, the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese in 1557 and renovated by the Dutch from 1663 with its beautiful murals, and Jew Town including the antique warehouses, shops, spice trading houses, Return to the hotel, overnight stay. Evening performance of Kathakali, Kerala's traditional dance / art form at the Cultural Centre.
DAY 3: After breakfast, transfer to Alleppey (90 minutes), to meet your very own floating hotel in the famous backwaters. Made of wood and natural materials your houseboat has a balcony area, comfortable seating, panoramic views, plus bathroom with shower & WC. Houseboats have 1 bedroom sleeping two people although there are some 2- bedroomed boats available for parties of three or four. Accompanied by two boatmen and a chef, you will spend 2 nights on the riceboat on a fullboard basis. The boatmen co-ordinate with each other with remarkable proficiency, to take you gliding through the calm waters. The crew provides wonderful hospitality and are on hand if needed at the rear of the boat, where their separate facilities are located. The waterways are vast and can offer complete peace and relaxation as you travel between the waterside village settlements, rice fields, and coconut fringed banks getting a wonderful look at daily village life. As sunset approaches, the anchor is dropped and lanterns lit, the perfect end to a perfect day. (Please note, the houseboat does not have a private balcony or sundeck and is now motor driven, not operated by oarsmen)
DAY 4: Cruising the Kerala Backwaters. Overnight on the houseboat.
DAY 5: Disembark the houseboat and transfer to Periyar through the Western Ghats, a sharp contrast to the coastal areas with an abundance of tea, rubber and spice plantations including coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, pepper, cashew and clove. Check-in at Spice Village Hotel in time for lunch (optional at extra charge), with rest of the afternoon at leisure to take a swim or just relax and enjoy this superb setting. Two nights at the hotel on Bed & Breakfast basis.
DAY 6: A guided tour of Periyar which will include a visit to the local spice plantation, full of heavenly aromas and vibrant colour, and the tranquil Lake Periyar, the watering hole within the wildlife sanctuary to spot the wildlife in their natural environment. Otters playfully cavort in the lake and 314 species of bird are check-listed here, an ornithologist's dream. Elephants are a common sighting as well as wild boar, sambar, monkeys, wild cats and very occasionally, tigers but we admit, we've never seen one!
DAY 7: After an early breakfast depart for Cochin stopping at Kumarakom on the shores of the Vembanand Lake en-route, for a delicious lunch (included) at the fabulous Coconut Lagoon backwater retreat hotel. After a relaxing lunch continue on to Cochin with overnight at the Casino Hotel.
DAY 8: After breakfast, check-out and transfer to Cochin airport for the flight back to Goa. Upon arrival in Goa, transfer to your chosen hotel for the next 7 nights.
(Itinerary is subject to change depending on domestic flight timings and is based on the day after departure from the UK).
Please note luggage allowance on internal flights is 15kg per person in the hold..