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South Kerala Tour (17 days)

Kochi, Munnar, Periyar, Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kovalam and Mumbai - with a stay on a houseboat!


Day 1: Arrival Kochi (Cochin)
After arriving at Kochi International Airport and clearing immigration controls, our representative will mmet you in the arrivals hall and transfer you to your hotel.

Day 2: Kochi (B/L)
Kochi (Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Today we take a tour of this city and surroundings. Your guide will point out the highlights - coconut plantations, palm fringed villages and fishermen about their catch. See the Mattancherry Palace, walk on cooling Chinese willow pattern floor tiles in the Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, and spice bazaars in the narrow streets of Fort Cochin. Relax after lunch and in the evening visit Kathkali Dance theatre for live performance of famous Kathkali Dance show. Kathakali is a traditional dance form of Kerala with impressive facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves.

Day 3: Kochi (B/L)
Today we take a special Muziris Heritage Tour. Muziris was also known in ancient times as Mahodayapuram, Shinkli, Cranganore, Muchiri (anglicised to Muziris by Romans and Greeks) and Muyirikkodu. Currently the location is around the place called Kodungaloor. Muziris, located 5 km south of Kodungalloor, is said to have been first occupied around 1,000 BC and continued to be active till the 10th century AD. Destinations we will cover: Muziris Heritage Market, Shiva Temple 2000 years old, First mosque in India AD 629, First Bagavathy Temple in India, Marthoma church AD 52, Portuguese fort, Portuguese church, Cranganore fort Excavation site, Fishing harbor, St.Thomas church AD 52, Paravour Synagogue, Brahmins Colony, Excavation site, Handloom weaving center, National fibre craft center, visit Chendamangalam synagogue, Vypee kottaa seminary, Paliyam Dutch Palace, Beach & Dolphin Point. Return to Kochi and overnight at hotel.

Day 4: Kochi - Munnar: Hill stations and tea country (B/L)
Check out after breakfast and drive to Munnar, seeing green plantations and pretty villages as you drive up into tea country. Your home for the next two nights is Windermere Estate, a charming retreat set amidst a cardamom estate surrounded by tea clad hills and dramatic rainforest. This is truly a retreat where you can unwind and fill your lungs with pure mountain air. This afternoon visit a tea plantation and the Tea Museum in Munnar town, to gain an insight into the art of tea making, which is so important in this area. Return to Windermere Estate for an afternoon and evening at leisure. If you are feeling energetic there are a number of walking trails through the soaring evergreen forests of this 60 acre estate to see cardamom cultivation and processing.

Day 5: Munnar (B/L)
Today we will visit Eravikulam National Park, located in the high ranges of Idukki district, the Eravikulam National Park unfolds across 97 sq km over high rolling plateaus at a base elevation of 2,000 m. Home to the largest population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius)—estimated around 700—the area was declared a national park in 1978 for its immense ecological wealth. Besides the shy Nilgiri Tahr, the Park is a prowling ground for elephants, Nilgiri martens, small-clawed otters, ruddy mongoose and dusky striped squirrels, besides a chirpy congregation of more than 120 species of birds including the Nilgiri wood pigeon, the white-bellied shortwing, the Nilgiri verditer fly catcher and the Kerala laughing thrush. The area experiences very heavy rainfall, and is therefore extraordinarily fertile. Made up of vast grasslands and sholas (stunted evergreens ), it has many perennial streams running across it breadth. Exceptionally endowed with orchids and balsams, Eravikulam enjoys a lofty status in more ways than one— the Neelkurunji (phlebophyllum kunthianum), a bright blue flower, blooms in profusion all over its grasslands every 12 years. (The next splurge of Neelkurunji is expected in 2018.) Later return to our hotel and overnight

Day 6: Munnar to Periyar. (B/L)
After breakfast, check out and travel by road to Periyar (4 hours approx.) Street traders line the roadside selling fragrant lotus blossom and mangoes, bananas and chillies. Working elephants sway to a graceful rhythm, seemingly unaware of their heavy load. An evening at a spice plantation. Discover the secrets of Keralan cuisine at a spice plantation. An expert will introduce you to a mind blowing array of tastes and smells to arouse your senses.

Day 7: Wildlife of Periyar Nature Reserve (B/L)
Today experience Bamboo Rafting - This is a dawn to dusk hiking and rafting programme through some of the richest forest tracts of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Starting at 8 am from the boat landing, a mosaic of habitats will be traversed before the party gets into rafts made of bamboos. The forests are rich in bird life and arboreal animals like giant squirrel and Nilgiri langur. The rafting is for about three hours and one gets a panoramic view of forest-clad hills reflected on the lake. Animals like elephants, gaur and sambar are sighted keeping close to the edges of the lake. The team hikes back to the boat landing by about 5 pm. An armed guard and 4 guides will accompany a maximum of 10 tourists. Tea, snacks and packed lunch will be served en-route. Overnight at hotel.

Day 8: Thekaddy - Alleppey (B/L)
Check out and drive to Alleppey (4 hours approx.) Check in at hotel. This enchanting settlement nestles in the backwaters. Pass through paddy fields and coconut groves which punctuate the landscape and the waterways teem with marine life.

Day 9: Alleppey (B/L)
At leisure.

Day 10: Alleppey - Kumarakom. Take to the backwaters on a houseboat (B/L)
After breakfast, check out and drive to Kumarakom, for a night in the traditional surroundings of one of Kerala’s famous houseboats. Originally converted from rice barges, these vessels are the perfect way to experience the narrow backwaters and give you an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of local life and the importance of the waterways where all business is conducted by boat. This evening your houseboat will be anchored in a quiet spot. The crew will take care of you and your cook will prepare simple traditional Indian cuisine.

Day 11: Kumarakom - Kovalam
Say goodbye to your boat crew and then drive to the beach resort in Kovalam. (4-5 hours approx.)

Day 12: Kovalam (B)
At leisure.

Day 13: Kovalam (B)
At leisure.

Day 14: Kovalam (B)
At leisure.

Day 15: Kovalam - Mumbai (B)
This morning we check out and drive to Trivendrum airport for your flight to Mumbai. Pick up & transfer to hotel. Rest of day at leisure.

Day 16: Mumbai (B/L)
This morning we take a ferry ride to explore the Elephanta Caves, rock-cut Hindu temples at Elephanta, an island 6 miles across the harbour, providing an exciting glimpse of Indian sculpture dating from 600 AD. Huge panels depict episodes relating to Lord Shiva, the central one being a five-metre bust of the God, representing his three aspects as creator, preserver and destroyer. (Elephanta Caves are closed on Mondays). Afternoon city sightseeing tour of Mumbai including Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum and Kamla Nehru Park, then ascend the slopes of Malabar Hill with its Hanging Gardens for a panoramic view.

Day 17: Mumbai - Departure (B)
Check out and transfer to Sahar International airport for your departure flight.

Please note that, whilst every effort will be made to carry out the programme shown above, small changes may sometimes be necessary.

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The perfect introduction to this beautiful country!

Please note that this itinerary is our suggestion only- all our tours are custom made to your requirements!

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Tour Price Guide
Cochin
Chinese fishing nets at Cochin
St Francis Church, Cochin
St.Francis Church, Cochin
Munnar
Munnar
Periyar Nature Reserve
Periyar Nature Reserve
Lake Palace Resort Alleppy
Lake Palace Resort Alleppy
Kumarakom Lake Houseboat
Kumarakom Lake Houseboat
Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach
Gateway to India, Mumbai
Gateway to India, Mumbai
Your quoted price will normally include:
International flights to/from UK
Accommodation with meals as shown (B/L/D)
Transfers, tours with English speaking guide.
Service charges, rooms tax and handling fee.
Departure taxes

Your tour price will not include:
Drinks with provided meals
Entrance fees
Visa fees
Tips, personal expenses and other services which are not mentioned in the program.