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Kerala - God's own country, India...

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Tour summary
Itinerary
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Tour Summary...

Group Tour (9 days)
Departs Mid-November to mid-April, end-July to mid-September can also be considered when rainfall is minimal

London - Cochin - Periyar - Kumarakom - Kovalam - London

Group Size: No more than 12
Meal Plan: Bed and Breakfast; traditional meal; last night on room only (riceboat on full board).

Kerala backwaters

Holiday Highlights...

Vibrant port city of Cochin with its Dutch and Portuguese influences
Palm-fringed backwaters of Kumarakom
Wildlife sanctuary and spice plantations of Periyar
Inviting, secluded beach at Marari
Traditional meal on banana leaves
Optional riceboat cruise on Kerala's beautiful backwaters

Included in National Geographic Traveller Magazine's Millennium issue as one of the 50 "must see places in a lifetime", Kerala now competes with Rajasthan as India's most popular destination. Endowed with abundant natural beauty and only recently appearing on the tourist map, seasoned travellers have long appreciated Kerala's beautiful coastline, its spectacular festivals and cosmopolitan history. We include the better-known sights of this tropical paradise including the vibrant port city of Cochin with its Dutch and Portuguese influences and the Jewish settlement at Mattencherry, the palm-fringed backwaters of Kumarakom, the wildlife sanctuary and spice plantations of Periyar, and the inviting beach at Kovalam. A traditional meal on banana leaves forms part of the rewarding experience, as does the option of a night on a riceboat.

The hotels used are top of the range and combine comfort, character and high-class service.

Road travel is by coach or car, with air-conditioning where required. Indirect international flights are with reputable airlines such as Qatar or Kuwait Airways.

You travel with a small group, accompanied by one of our excellent hand-picked tour escorts.

Itinerary...

Day 1 London
Fly from Heathrow on an indirect scheduled carrier.

Day 2 Cochin
Arrive Cochin in the morning and transfer to the Brunton Boatyard/Malabar House Residency for two nights. After a relaxed day we enjoy a sunset cruise on the backwaters to see Chinese fishing nets.

Day 3 Cochin
We visit the sights including the Dutch Palace, with its murals from the Ramayana, the Jewish Synagogue in Mattancherry and St Francis' Church in Fort Cochin. This evening we enjoy a Kathakali performance, a traditional dance form of Kerala. A meal in a traditional setting is arranged for today.

Day 4 Periyar
We drive along the Western Ghats through tea and spice plantations to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. We stay at the exotic Spice Village for 2 nights. In the afternoon a boat cruise on Lake Periyar has been arranged, ideal for spotting herds of wild elephants and other wild animals on the banks of the lake.

Day 5 Periyar
A visit to the nearby spice plantations is arranged for the morning with the afternoon at leisure.

Day 6 Kumarakom/Riceboat
Transfer to Kumarakom where we stay two nights at the ethnic Coconut Lagoon, or Kumarakom Lake Resort, overlooking the vast expanse of Vembanad Lake. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool, enjoy an Ayurvedic massage or visit the Kumarakom bird sanctuary. (You have the option of spending the afternoon cruising on a riceboat with overnight stay on the boat for a small supplement)

Day 7 Kumarakom
This morning we enjoy a backwaters cruise (for those not taking the riceboat option). Remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 8 Kovalam
Today we drive to the Travancore Heritage Beach Resort, tucked away on a secluded beach in Kovalam, for overnight stay.

Day 9 London
Fly back from Trivandrum in the morning, arriving the same afternoon.

Suggested Tour Extensions...

Munnar (5 days) - On day 8 drive from Kumarakom to Munnar for 2 nights at the Windermere or Talliar Estate. At leisure in Munnar. On day 10 drive to Le Meridian, Cochin or the Marari Beach Resort. Fly back on day 11 from Cochin or extend your stay at Marari. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

North Kerala (4 days) - On day 8 enjoy a long daytime train journey to coastal Tellicherry. Stay 2 nights at Ayisa Mansil, the elegantly restored period home of a Mopilah family. Visit the local Mopilah homes and the nearby temple at Parassinikadavu and enjoy the hospitality of your hosts. On day 10 drive to Vythiri and stay at the eco-friendly Vythiri Resort, in the midst of a rain-forest, for 2 nights (or stay at the Tree House - suppl.). At leisure for walks or a visit to the nearby Muthanga sanctuary. A long drive on day 12 to Le Meridian Hotel or Marari Beach Resort, visiting the elephant stables at Guruvayoor en route. Fly back on day 13 or extend your stay at Marari. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast; Tellicherry on full board

Madurai (3 days) - Drive to Munnar on day 8 for a night at the Windermere Estate. Drive on through tea country to the other side of the hills and check into the Taj Garden Retreat in Madurai for 2 nights. Visit the Meenakshi Temple and other sights before driving to Kovalam for a night at the Travancore Heritage. Fly out of Trivandrum on day 12. Meal Plan: Half board in Munnar; bed & breakfast otherwise

Sri Lanka (6 days) - Day 9: Fly from Trivandrum to Colombo and transfer to Habarana Lodge or Deer Park in Giritale for 3 nights. Days 10-11: Visit Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and the Sigiriya Rock Fort. Day 12: Drive to Kandy visiting Dambulla Cave Temple and Matale Spice Garden en route. Stay at the Mahaweli Reach/Earls Regency for 2 nights. Day 13: Visit the local sights, the Peradiniya Botanical Gardens and the Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage. Late afternoon visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. In the evening enjoy a Kandyan cultural programme.Day 14: Drive to the Trans Asia or Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo. Remainder of the day free. You could drive through Colombo for an orientation tour. Day 15: Transfer to the airport and fly back to London (or extend your stay at one of Sri Lanka's famous beach resorts.) Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

Maldives (5 days) - On day 9 fly from Trivandrum to Male and transfer to your resort for 5 nights (various options in the price insert). Fly back from Male to London on day 14. Click here to see more details of Maldives resorts. Meal Plan: Half board

Kerala Beach Options (4 days) - click here

See below for price information for this tour

For information on what the tour price includes, please read what is included in your booking and what is not included in your booking  

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