Kerala - Flavours Of Southern India
Famed for its aromatic spices, peaceful backwaters and lush, tropical landscape, Kerala is a mesmerising and enchanting destination. Its capital, Cochin, is your first call, and here you'll enjoy a sightseeing tour, a cookery demonstration with a local chef and a performance of traditional Kathakali dance. You'll then journey past huge tea, coffee and spice plantations to Thekkady, where your base is close to the Periyar Game Reserve. Here, you'll enjoy a morning nature trek and a cruise, in search of a host of thrilling wildlife. In Vayalar there's time for rest and relaxation, with Ayurveda treatments available in your hotel's luxury spa, or why not get out and about in rural Kerala. A wonderful treat comes in the shape of an overnight stay on a houseboat in Alleppey, which is followed by time at leisure in the beautiful beach resort of Kovalam.
See a different side to India as you explore Kerala's fragrant spice plantations and tranquil backwaters.
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
- Return flights from Heathrow with Emirates
- 8 nights in 4 and 5-star hotels including 1 night full board in a houseboat, plus 1 night in flight
- 19 meals: 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 8 dinners
- Travelsphere Tour Manager
- Overseas transfers and other transportation
Explore the port city of Cochin
Cookery demonstration by local chef Nimmy plus lunch
Traditional Kathakali dance performance
Spice plantation visit
Cruise through the Periyar Game Reserve
Overnight houseboat cruise on Kerala’s backwaters
- Day 1 UK/Cochin
- Today you'll depart on your overnight flight to India.
- Day 2 Cochin
- On arrival in Cochin we will transfer you to your hotel for a two-night stay. Cochin is Kerala's cosmopolitan capital, where you'll discover a beautiful harbour and tranquil backwaters. A wonderful time to appreciate its beauty is at sunset, and an optional excursion this evening gives you the chance to do just that. You'll board a motor boat and cruise through the heart of Cochin, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Take in amazing views of picturesque islands and the traditional Chinese fishing nets that the area is famous for as you watch the sun dip behind the horizon.
- Day 3 Cochin
- You'll get to know Cochin on a tour this morning. Highlights include the Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1557, and St Francis Church, which is the oldest European built church in India. At lunchtime we're invited to a cookery demonstration with a local chef and food journalist, and the demonstration will be hosted in their home. Kerala was once the spice trade centre for India, and our chef will show you how to use these aromatic ingredients in your cooking. After the demonstration, we'll enjoy the dishes that have been cooked for lunch.Tonight you've a display of Kathakali classical dance to look forward to. It's a traditional art form dating back to the 17th century.
- Day 4 Thekkady
- After breakfast we are going to drive to Thekkady. Our journey takes us past mountains, vast carpets of tea bushes and gardens of coffee, cardamom and pepper. On arrival we'll head straight to our hotel which is located close to the Periyar Game Reserve. This evening we'll visit a spice plantation, where exotic aromas fill the air.
- Day 5 Thekkady
- Our optional early morning nature trek is a must for wildlife enthusiasts. The forest is a haven for a huge variety of flora and fauna, and a Local Guide will point out interesting sights. Look out for guar bison, sambar deer, otters, macaque monkeys, the Malabar giant squirrel and many species of bird. This afternoon we'll step aboard a traditional vessel and cruise through the Periyar Game Reserve. This evening you have the chance to watch the spectacle that is Kalaripayattu - believed to be the oldest form martial art. Originally practiced by the most powerful warriors, it features intense and physically demanding moves with the perfomer using every muscle in their body.
- Day 6 Vayalar
- After breakfast this morning we'll drive to the small, traditional village of Vayalar. We'll stay here for the next two nights in a hotel with an idyllic pool area and luxurious spa. It's a lovely place to relax, and there are lots of opportunities to get out onto the backwaters and explore this intriguing environment.
- Day 7 Vayalar
- Spend some time at leisure relaxing in this idyllic location. Ayurveda treatments are offered at your hotel and a specialist is on hand to give you an insight into this style of treatment. If you wish, you could head to the spa for a treatment such as an Ayurveda massage. Alternatively, you might prefer to lounge by the pool or explore the lake. It's home to a wide variety of fish, so why not see how many you can spot.If you want to carry on exploring, we recommend an optional excursion to a village located along the backwaters. Here you'll enjoy a tour and witness the unhurried pace of life in rural Kerala. You'll also watch as the villagers carry out traditional work such as boat building, prawn cultivation, sand mining and basket making. You'll enjoy a lunch of local specialities, served in the traditional way on banana leaves, before returning to your hotel.
- Day 8 Alleppey
- Your adventure continues with a drive to Alleppey this morning. On arrival we will transfer you to one of Kerala's famous houseboats for an overnight stay. These 80ft long kettuvallams have been converted from rice boats and turned into modern, comfortable vessels. They offer an unforgettable experience in traditional surroundings.
- Day 9 Kovalam
- Breakfast will be served on board your houseboat and then we will disembark and drive to Kovalam. Located on the coast, there are some lovely beaches here and you're free to soak up the sun this afternoon.
- Day 10 Kovalam/UK
- After an early breakfast you'll transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.Please note that the itinerary for 2020 will differ slightly from that shown here. On day 3 we've added a 'Sadya' vegetarian feast for the included dinner. It consists of 12 dishes served on a Banana leaf. This shared meal will take you on a gastronomic journey through Kerala as you try a tempting selection of dishes from many different regions. Each is served following local customs, and come in an order which is said to help digestion. You'll eat from a banana leaf, which points in a certain direction, with rice served on the bottom half, and other items placed in clockwise order. You'll find that your hosts serve dessert mid-way through the meal.
- Trident Cochin
- The 4-star Trident Hotel is situated in Cochin.
Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, safe, hairdryer, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.
- The Elephant Court
- Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere
- The 4-star Vasundhara Premier Hotel is situated by the serene backwaters of Kerala in Vayalar.
Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and a spa. Bedrooms have private facilities and air-conditioning.
- House Boat Alleppey
- Your 'kettuvalom' is modelled on the area's traditional rice boats. Your luxuriously furnished houseboat has a dining room, open deck lounge and 2-4 bedrooms. You will have your own bedroom and private bathroom.
- Travancore Heritage Hotel - Kovalam
- The 4-star Travancore Heritage Hotel is situated on a high cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea in Chowara.
Hotel facilities include a restuarant, health club and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, mini-bar, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.
Nature trek in Thekkady
Village tour and lunch in Vayalar
Sunset cruise by Cochin Harbour
Witness Kalaripayattu performance (Martial Arts)