Explore the relaxing side of India on this 2 week Kerala holiday exploring the cities, wildlife and beaches of the south west coast. From misty tea plantations to peaceful bird sanctuaries, this is a great way to see a lesser-visited area of the country and experience the beautiful landscapes and hospitable people of Southern India.
Beginning amongst the Portuguese forts and Chinese fishing nets of Kochi, you’ll move up to the hill station of Munnar, where miles of lush tea and coffee fields carpet the gentle slopes of the area. Next, you’ll encounter elephants and bison in the Periyar Game Reserve - perhaps even a tiger if you’re lucky - before wandering through aromatic cardamom and pepper plants in the Spice Plantation. Sleep over in a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala before unwinding on the beaches of Kovalam; the perfect way to end your trip.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport. Flights from the UK generally land in very late at night or early the following morning, for the purpose of this itinerary we will assume you land on the evening of the same day.
On arrival in Kochi you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
After breakfast, your first day exploring southern India starts in the seaside city of Kochi. Beginning at the ancient Mattancherry Palace, adorned with intricate murals depicting the legends of Shiva, Vishnu and Durga you’ll take in the city, stopping in at the oldest church in India, St Francis’ Church and the Chinese fishing nets along the shore.
End the evening with a traditional Kathakali dance performance, a fascinating local art form.
Today is yours to enjoy the city at your own leisure. Why not wander around the Fort Cochin or treat your taste buds to the street markets with their endless options of spicy fish curries, fresh mangoes and strong local coffee?
After an early breakfast you’ll be driven to Munnar, a magnificent hill station in the Western Ghats, around 5000 feet above sea level. As the centre of Kerala’s tea industry, green plantations, clear lakes and European architecture abound.
Today you’ll visit one of the tea and coffee plantations that decorate the pretty hills of Munnar. Learn about the history of the area and the process of making tea and coffee from the first shoots of the green plants to bagging and distributing all over the world.
In the afternoon, you could take a hike through the misty plantations or simply relax and your hotel and enjoy the cool breeze high up in the hills.
After breakfast you’ll be driven to Thekkady on the Tamil Nadu border. This region is known as the ‘Spice Village of India’ due to the large fields of spices that are grown here. The road winds through a carpet of tea bushes, estates of tall rubber trees and gardens of coffee, cardamom and pepper.
Take a leisurely boat ride along the river before checking into your resort which is located right on the fringe of the Periyar Game Preserve. From here you’ll take an evening game drive looking out for elephants, bison, deer and even occasionally the elusive tigers as they wander through the tropical undergrowth.
In the morning you’ll visit one of the many spice plantations in the area where cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla cover much of the landscape. Enjoy the misty slopes full of cloves, ginger and turmeric before being driven on to Kumarakom, a cluster of islands in the Vembanad Lake where you’ll check in for 2 nights.
Here you’ll enjoy the peaceful quiet of a bird sanctuary where you can take an afternoon boat trip looking out for egrets, darters, cuckoos and teal amongst the shimmering waters.
Today you’ll spend the morning visiting the Kurarakom Bird Sanctuary where you’ll enjoy the favourite haunt of migratory birds who comes here from as far away as Siberia.
Look out for the Siberian Stork as well as swooping paradise flycatchers and the psychedelic flashes of colour that are the local kingfishers, parading up and down the river in their pink and blue plumage. In the afternoon you’ll have some free time to enjoy the area or relax at the hotel at your leisure.
After breakfast at your hotel you’ll be transferred to the jetty to board your houseboat which will become your home for the night. Cruise through the narrow lakes and famous canals towards Alleppey where a network of rivers, both manmade and natural wind their way through the marshy lands of Kerala.
“Kettuvalloms” used to be the main way of transporting cargo in the area – large stitched boats made of bamboo matts and wood from arecanut trees. Now they are a way to explore the backwaters and enjoy the quiet living of these dreamy canals and the delicious dishes of white prawns and pearl spotted fish, served on board by a personal cook. You’ll spend the night anchored on a beautiful part of the lake surrounded by the hushed swaying of coconut palms.
After a cosy night onboard your houseboat, you’ll disembark after breakfast and be drive over to Kovalam. The rest of your time here is free to enjoy the windswept beaches and peach coloured sands. Pushed inthe limelight in the early seventies with the arrival of hordes of hippies, Kovalam was transformed into a casual fishing village into a destination famous for its beautiful beaches. There are three crescent shaped beaches to choose from and shallow waters to enjoy swimming. You have two nights to enjoy this beachside paradise.
The next 3 days are yours to enjoy the local beaches. If you fancy a day trip, why not head up to the famous lighthouse beach or just spend time relaxing at your hotel.
Your Kerala holiday has come to an end. You’ll be transferred to the airport ready for your flight home, taking with you many memories of a fantastic trip to India.
The best time to visit India is from November to March. From April onwards the temperatures rise in preparation for the monsoon rains that follow during the summer months – travel is possible during this time but you should expect high humidity, torrential downpours and possible transport delays.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.
13 nights in 3/4* standard boutique accommodation. Hotels in this standard include: