Itinerary in brief:
- 3 nights Kochi
- 2 nights Munnar
- 1 night Thekkady
- 2 nights Kumarakom
- 1 night onboard houseboat
- 4 nights Kovalam
Day 1: Depart UK
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.
Included: International flight, arrival transfer, hotel
Day 2: Kochi
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.
Included: Breakfast, morning city tour, lunch, evening visit to Kathakali
Day 3: Kochi
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?
Included: Breakfast, lunch, hotel
Day 4: Kochi to Munnar
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.
Included: Breakfast, transport, hotel
Day 5: Munnar
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.
Included: Breakfast, tea/coffee plantation visit, hotel
Day 6: Munnar to Thekkady
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.
Included: Breakfast, transport, boat ride at sanctuary, hotel
Day 7: Thekkady to Kumarakom
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.
Included: Breakfast, morning visit to Spice Plantation, transport, hotel
Day 8: Kumarakom
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.
Included: Breakfast, morning visit to bird sanctuary, hotel
Day 9: Alleppey Houseboat
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.
Included: Breakfast, afternoon & overnight on houseboat, lunch & dinner
Day 10: Alleppey to Kovalam
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.
Included: Breakfast, transport, hotel
Days 11-13: Kovalam
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.
Included: Breakfast & hotel
Day 14: Kovalam - London
Your time here 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.
Included: Breakfast, departure transfer, international flight