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Kerala: A Different Side of India


9 days 8 nights

Code SI01

Category South India Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-16
  • Difficulty Level 1
  • Rating Popular
  • Trip Starts From Kochi
  • Trip Ends At Trivandrum
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Kochi Munnar Thekkady Alleppey Kovalam Trivandrum
Dates & Prices

Overview

Kerala, a state on Malabar Coast in South India, is one of the most desired tourist destinations in Asia. It has nearly 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline with serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald green backwaters, hill resorts with tea, coffee and spice plantations and wildlife reserves with abundant wildlife. Kerala, with its colonial history, offers historic and cultural monuments, colorful festivals and dances and exotic cuisines.

In this trip, we truly experience a different side of India. We explore the colonial town of Fort Cochin, experience the lifestyle of farmers and fishermen in Kumbalanghi village, visit the tea and spice plantations in Munar, observe the wildlife in Thekkady, cruise the backwaters of Alleppey and relax in the tranquil beaches of Kovalam.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Cochin (Kochi)

Flights to Cochin (Airport Code COK) arrive from major cities of India, South-east Asia and Middle-east Asia. Upon arrival, meet your guide and driver and transfer to the hotel.

No sightseeing is scheduled today but depending on your arrival time and if you wish, we can rearrange the itinerary and arrange some visits today. Cochin has been the principal port for southwestern India for centuries and so we can notice the evident Portuguese, Dutch and British influences as we travel through Kerala. Cochin, also called Kochi is made up of an array of islands. Cochin is known for palace architectures, old spice warehouses, Jewish synagogue and churches.

Overnight hotel.

Day 02~Visit the colonial Fort Cochin and enjoy Kathakali Dance

After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you for sightseeing of Cochin. We begin from Fort Cochin, also called Old Cochin. Fort Cochin was the fishing village in pre-colonial Kerala and later it went to the control of Portuguese, Dutch and British in different period of time. We visit the Church of St. Francis which is the oldest church in India. Vasco de Gama- the Portuguese explorer was originally buried in this church but his body was later moved to Lisbon, Portugal. Next, we visit the Portuguese built Mattancherry Palace (closed on Friday) where you will find some of the finest murals in India. The Chinese Fishing Nets are also attractions of Cochin as they are in no other states of India. The fishing nets are huge and have elegant construction. The way they are operated is quite hypnotic. Interestingly, catches can be purchased individually and needs to be taken to a street vendor nearby who will cook it for you.

In the afternoon enjoy the Kathakali dance – the stylized and theatrical art form retelling stories from Hindu legend. Kathakali, as a form of dance has evolved from many social and religious dramas which existed in the southern region in ancient times.

Overnight hotel in Cochin.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Morning excursion of Kumbalanghi Village. Afternoon travel to Munnar by car

In the morning, you can go for an excursion to Kumbalanghi Village- a verdant green village near Cochin. The village has the reputation as the first model fisheries and tourism village with its own tradition and culture. Most of the villagers here make their living by farming or fishing. On arrival in the village, you are welcomed with tender coconut drink and then you are taken by boat to visit the crab farm. We can see two kinds of crabs here- mud crabs and red crabs. Next, proceed to the workshop where coir yarn is made with coir fibers used for making rugs.

Another interesting thing to watch here is the coconut leaves weaving by local women. Coconut leaves are used in thatching the roof and for fencing. Later, we proceed to a farm where we can see different kinds of plantations that includes coconuts, betel nuts, pepper, jack fruit, nutmeg, orchids, vanilla etc. We also watch the giant and elegant Chinese finishing nets. After lunch, we return to our hotel. The tour generally concludes at 1 p.m.

Afternoon, we embark on a scenic drive to Munnar- a haven of peace and tranquillity. We travel through the areas with abundant forests and waterfalls. We may get a chance to see some wildlife along the way.

Situated at an altitude of 1524m (5000ft.), Munar has a cool climate and provides a welcome relief from the heat of the plains. Munnar was among the favorite summer resort for British rulers.

Overnight hotel in Munnar.

Day 04~Visit Eravikulam National Park in the morning. Afternoon travel by car to Thekkady

Eravikulam National Park is known for high elevation shola-grassland ecosystem. Spread over 37 square miles, the Park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, in the Kannan devan hills. The park is home to the endangered mountain goat of South India and the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrious).

Later, we will visit the tea plantations and tea museum (Closed on Monday).

In the afternoon, we transfer to Thekkady (75 miles/4 hrs drive). The road zigzags through a charming countryside with plantations of tea, cardamom, pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Thekkady is a popular hill resort and a spice trading town. Thekkady is also known for wildlife Sanctuary and is home to wild elephants.

Overnight hotel in Thekkady.

Day 05~Nature walk, Tea and Spice plantations exploration and Boating trip in Lake Periyar

Early morning, we go for a nature walk in the forest and enjoy the calls of birds and monkeys. Children under 12 years are not allowed on a nature walk.

Next, we tour the area of spice plantations and learn how the crops such as pepper and nutmegs are grown and harvested. It's quite an educational and enjoyable experience. You can experience the aroma of the spices lingering in the air all over the area as you walk through the plantations.

The afternoon is for boating trip on Lake Periyar. The boat takes us around the sanctuary. Most commonly spotted animals are monkeys, wild-pigs, deer, wild-buffaloes and elephants. Tiger sighting is very rare. The boat ride lasts in about 2-hour.

Overnight hotel in Thekkady.

Day 06~Transfer to Alleppey and embark the Houseboat

After breakfast, we leave for Alleppey (100 miles, 4 hours). Upon arrival, check into the traditional houseboat accommodation and cruise on the Kerala's backwaters. The boats are made by joining wooden planks together with the help of coconut ropes. Originally, these traditional boats were used for transporting rice. The boats have one or two fan-cooled bedrooms with western style en suite bathroom and shower. The sides can be opened to allow the breeze to flow freely. You will have private crew, steering the boat and cooking meals and serving for you. Tea and soft drinks are also served.

As you float along the backwaters, you can observe the local life in the shores. Some are fishing and others are washing clothes and children trying their English with you while they are splashing in the water. Backwater cruising also offers opportunities to view the various species of aquatic birds; mainly storks, egrets.

Overnight on Houseboat.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Disembark boat and transfer to Kovalam

We disembark the boat after breakfast and get on our transport for a 4-hours' drive to Kovalam (100 miles)- internationally renowned beaches with three adjacent crescent beaches. Kovalam with shallow waters and low tidal waves has been very popular tourist destinations in South India.

Upon arrival, check in hotel and take your leisure time enjoying the beaches.

Overnight resort in Kovalam.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Enjoy the scenic beaches of Kovalam

You have a free day to enjoy the beaches of Kovalam.

Overnight resort in Kovalam.

Day 09~Departure

Transfer to Trivandrum International Airport (10 miles, 40 minutes) for your flight to next destination. Service ends.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation for (8) nights on twin or double share basis in superior class (4*) hotels or resorts.
  • Breakfast at hotels except on houseboat where it will be on full board.
  • English speaking local guides.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.
  • A private minivan for all transfers and sightseeing.
  • Boat ticket in Lake Periyar.
  • Currently applicable taxes

Trip Doest Not Include

  • Airfares
  • Lunch and dinner except during the houseboat trip
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone, internet usage and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Additional fees for camera.
  • Early check in and late checkout fees

Note on itinerary

We do our best to adhere to the itinerary but its subject to change for a number of reasons beyond our control such as weather, travel conditions, government holidays etc. The sightseeing or the travel order may change to adjust the local conditions.

Hotels

The hotels on this trip are first class properties, classified 4 star by local standard with adequate amenities and facilities. You will have private bathroom with running hot and cold water. During the backwater crusie, you have one night in a traditional houseboat. Usually, the houseboats have one or two bedrooms with ensuite bathroom.If listed hotels are not available under circumstances we will provide you the best available alternative.

Meals

Your trip includes daily breakfast at your hotel. During your accommodation in houseboat while cruising in the backwaters of Kerala, meals are prepared and served by the boat crews. You will have opportunity to try local cuisines and also western style dishes are available in most tourist class restaurants. Please, budget $10-15 per meal.

Tour Guide

You will have a private tour guide to accompany you throughout the tour. Your guide will be a local individual, well versed in English and knowledgeable about the local history, geography, culture and religion. You will meet your guide upon arrival in Cochin. Tour Guide and driver are the different persons.

Transportation

Depending on the group size, we provide good conditioned minivan or minibus for all transfers and sightseeing. Your vehicle will be well kept, air-conditioned and driven by an experienced driver.

Getting in and away

The trip starts in Cochin, now called Kochi and concludes in Kovalam. Cochi has an international airport served by major Asian and Middle-eastern airlines. Flights to Kochi arrive from major cities of India, Middle-east and South-east Asia. If you are already traveling in South India, you can also get to Kochi by train or public transports. The trip concludes in Kovalam and the nearest airport -Trivandrum is 45 minutes drive away.

Best Time to Travel to Kerala

Kerala is blessed with a very mild and enjoyable climate throughout the year. The period between the months of October and March receive the biggest tourist traffic in Kerala. The weather is comfortably warm and not as hot as rest of South India. April and May are hot months but due to its proximity with the tropics, it's not so humid. Monsoon season begins from June and lasts in early September and this is the right time if you are into Ayurveda treatment.

Booking Deposit and Payment Schedule

US$ 300 deposit is requested along with the completed trip registration and normally balance payment is due 90 days prior departure but we may also request you second payment if need be. Payment by credit card except the initial deposit will attract additional 3.5% fee. We reserve the right to refuse certain form of payment.

Cancellation and refund

Notice of cancellation and refund request must be received in written form.

Cancellation charges

  • 180 days prior departure: No penalty unless stated as non-refundable.
  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 300 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher. Less than 30 days: 100%

Cancellation and refund of air tickets cost will be as per rules and regulations of the concerned airlines plus a service charge of US$ 25 per segment will be levied. Cancellation terms and conditions of certain services may vary which will be informed per case to case basis.

No refund or adjustment to other services will be made for any unused land or air services for any reason whatsoever, once tour begins. We highly recommend that all travelers purchase trip cancellation insurance.

We reserve the right to cancel any trip prior to departure for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient signup or logistical problems that may impede trip operations. We also reserve the right to refuse your participation on the  tour with or without any reason. So, please do not purchase your international airfare until your participation on the tour is confirmed by us.

Final trip dossier

A comprehensive trip dossier will be sent to you about 2 months before the trip date. The trip dossier includes the final itinerary, list of confirmed hotels and flights and service details. The document will also include the travel notes including weather, packing suggestions, currency information etc.

Travel Insurance

While we plan and do our best that your trip goes smoothly as planned but there are always chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather conditions, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It's also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. The trip cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

Accomodation

Hotels

The hotels on this trip are first class properties, classified 4 star by local standard with adequate amenities and facilities. You will have private bathroom with running hot and cold water. During the backwater crusie, you have one night in a traditional houseboat. Usually, the houseboats have one or two bedrooms with ensuite bathroom.If listed hotels are not available under circumstances we will provide you the best available alternative.

  • Casino Cochin Hotel

    Casino Cochin Hotel
  • Fort Munar Hotel

    Fort Munar
  • Carmelia Haven, Thekkady

    Carmelia Haven, Thekkady
  • Alleppey House Boat

    Alleppey House Boat
  • Travancore Heritage Kovalam

    Travancore Heritage Kovalam

 

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(Toll Free from USA & Canada)

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