Simply Kerala - God's Own Country
- Duration: 10 days
- Board Basis: Mixed Board
- Tour Ref: D2TNEW99514
- Travel Type: Air
9 nights. November 2021. From £1809.00.
Wildlife, Culture & History of Kerala
Discover an idyllic land of ancient ports, labyrinthine backwaters, forested uplands and spice- and tea-plantations. This wonderful escorted tour journeys to India’s far southwest, and is bookended by stays in sublime port-city Kochi, an ancient, cosmopolitan trading gateway fusing Indian, Chinese and a rich mélange of European cultures in an enthralling, captivating mix. Cruise gently through a verdant, languid landscape on a traditional houseboat, then head into the temperate, misty mountains beyond, where the spices and wildlife of Lake Periyar, and colonial hill-station Munnar’s tea plantations are memorable highlights.
What's IncludedSeven nights’ half-board accommodation at hotels in Kochi (3 nights), Kumarakom (1), Periyar (2) and Munnar (1), plus one night on the aircraft
One night’s full-board accommodation on a traditional Keralan houseboat
Return flights to Kochi, via Muscat
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers
Fully escorted by a friendly, professional tour manager
Holiday HighlightsEnjoy an included city tour to cosmopolitan Kochi
See Kochi’s famous Chinese fishing nets
Enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performance
Visit a traditional Keralan crafts village
Spend a night on a traditional kettuvallam houseboat
Cruise through the languid backwaters, through coconut groves and rice fields
Spend a night in lakeside birdwatchers’ paradise Kumarakom
Idyllic Periyar with its spice plantation and wildlife sanctuary
Enjoy a boat trip on Lake Periyar, looking out for elephants and other species
Scenic hill-station Munnar's colonial-era charm
Visit the famous Tata Tea Museum and learn about tea cultivation
A farewell cookery lesson and dinner with a Keralan family
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Day 1Fly overnight to Kochi, via Muscat.
Day 2Upon arrival at Kochi Airport, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel in this, one of India’s most cosmopolitan cities and a trading port for centuries, that still has a distinctly European feel – especially in the Fort Cochin area. This evening, experience a traditional Kathakali dance performance, a colourful spectacle that combines elaborate costumes with literature, music, painting and dance, before sitting down to dinner in your beautifully appointed hotel.
Day 3Today, you’ll enjoy an included guided tour of Kochi, historic Cochin. See the Dutch Mattancherry Palace and its exquisite murals, the ancient Jewish synagogue and enchanting Fort Cochin, where the Chinese fishing nets lining the northern shore are one of India’s most photographed sights. A village green straight from a genteel English scene is overlooked by historic St Francis Church, while a short ferry ride away, sprawling Ernakulam, with its high-rises, cinemas, international shopping and modern take on street-food, is the contrasting face of 21st-century Kerala. Enjoy a second dinner and relaxing evening at the hotel.
Day 4Today you’ll travel the short distance to Alleppey, your gateway to the Keralan backwaters and often described as the Venice of the East. Here you’ll board a traditional, thatched-roofed kettuvallam houseboat, and enjoy a welcoming lunch prepared by the boat’s chefs, as you begin a wonderful cruise through a labyrinth of canals and waterways lined with coconut groves and rice fields dotted with temples. Tiny islands offer subsistence to fishermen, buffalo farmers, coconut growers and coir processors, who turn the fibre taken from coconut husks into rope and matting. After a wonderful day, you’ll enjoy dinner and a night aboard this very special vessel.
Day 5Bidding farewell to your floating home, you'll disembark in Kumarakom, an island town in the heart of Kerala's backwaters and a well-known haven for migratory birds. Enjoy the chance to rest and relax at your lakeside hotel, a perfect overnight retreat.
Day 6Travel up into a lush, rolling landscape dotted with tea and spice plantations, where the air is filled with the scent of cardamom, to remote Periyar. This National Park is one of India’s most celebrated wildlife sanctuaries, and a refuge for several species of endangered mammals and over 250 bird species. This evening, enjoy a traditional Kalaripayattu martial arts display before dinner at your comfortable hotel in its beautiful setting.
Day 7This morning, join a guide to explore a spice plantation and learn about the history of Indian spices, which are grown in abundance on the verdant slopes around you, dried, sorted by hand, and exported far and wide. This afternoon, complete your visit to enchanting Periyar with a boat ride (water levels permitting) on serene Periyar Lake at the National Park's heart. Keep an eye out for of elephants, who come down through the forest to play in the waters, as well as colourful bird life during the cruise. Indian tigers and even leopards, some of which inhabit the sanctuary, are more elusive. Enjoy a second evening in this idyllic place.
Day 8Today you’ll leave Periyar for a memorably scenic drive to the hill-station at Munnar, a quintessential reminder of the days of the Raj and a place of tea plantations, verandas, golf links and manicured lawns. You’ll spend a night in this former favourite of South India's European settlers, and will also enjoy visits to a working tea plantation and the fascinating Tata Tea Museum, for insights into the cultivation and production of Indian teas. Later, enjoy the evening and dinner at your comfortable resort hotel.
Day 9After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll journey back down to the shores of the Indian Ocean, returning to Kochi for a last overnight stay. Your final holiday treat will be a cooking demonstration and dinner hosted in the home of a welcoming Keralan family – the perfect ending to a wonderful South India tour.
Day 10Transfer to Kochi International Airport, and check in for your return flight to London via Muscat. Back to top
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Special requirementsIf you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
Disabled accessThe majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Itinerary changesOccasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Foreign Office Travel AdviceVisit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
Flight informationPlease note, all flights operate via Muscat. New local laws prohibit some hotels in Kerala from selling alcohol.
Passports and visasBritish citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for 180 days after your return date from India. A visa is also required for entry to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. British CITIZENS and some other European nationals satisfying certain conditions may use the online e-Tourist Visa application process at a cost of $10 (US) per person for entry to India for arrivals in the months of April, May and June or $25 (US) per person for arrivals in other months. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs £112. You may also, at extra cost, use the services of CIBT, our recommended visa handling partner, who will handle the whole process for you. Note that all travellers of Pakistani descent, regardless of citizenship, will generally be subject to more detailed processing by the Indian authorities, which can take up to four months from application.
On your flightFlights from London leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
Travel vaccinationsRequirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Road conditionsIn developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads.
Changes to your hotelsShould circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Luggage allowanceYou are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg. Back to top