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Fascinating Kerala

£389 pp

 

Incredible India is more than a country – it’s a multicultural subcontinent with dozens of languages and religions. And nowhere is this diversity more evident than in the exotic south. With the Arabian Sea to the west, the Western Ghats towering in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features and an equable climate. With tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife, Kerala is a destination that will capture your heart.

 

Kochi: Sightseeing tour with visits to the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, the synagogue, St Francis’s Church and Santa Cruz Basilica as well as the famous Chinese fishing nets

Munnar: Visit a tea museum and plantations in this picturesque hill station in the heart of Kerala's tea country

Backwaters cruise: Sail on a traditional houseboat and see a side to India few visitors ever experience on this optional excursion.

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Guide - Operated with accompanying English-speaking guide throughout the tour

Accommodation - Five nights on twin sharing basis as indicated on a bed-and-breakfast basis

Meals - Breakfast in all the hotels

Transport - Air-conditioned transportation

Entrance fees & activities:

All monuments and parks as indicated: Mattancherry Palace, Jewish Synagogue and Kathakali dance show in Kochi, Athirapally Waterfalls visit and Tea Museum in Munnar

 

WHAT’s NOT INCLUDED

Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals if not stated explicitly in the programme

Backwaters cruise in Kumarakom

Spice planation tour

Any other optional activities or tours not mentioned in included section

Any airfare, airport taxes, supplement for which are quoted separately if applicable

Tips to drivers, local guides and hotel staff

Any service not listed above

 

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

Day

Destination

Hotel/resort

Room standard

Category

1

Kochi

Starlit Suites or similar

Standard

4* Standard

Crowne Plaza Hotel or similar

Standard

5* Superior

2-3

Munnar

Silver Tips Hotel or similar

Standard

4* Standard

Fragrant Nature Resort or similar

Standard

5* Superior

4-5

Kumarakom

Lakesong Resort or similar

Standard

       4*Resort

Vasundhara Sarovar Portico or similar

Standard

       5*Resort

 

Prices –

Standard Accommodation – Starting from £389 pp

Superior Accommodation – Starting from £489 pp

 

Departure dates –

Departure Dates –

2018 - Jan 6, 20, Feb 3, 17, Mar 3, 17, 31, Apr 14, 28 May 12, June 9, Oct 6, 20, Nov 3, 17, Dec 1, 15

2019 – Jan 12, 26, Feb 9, 23, Mar 9, 23

 

 

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

A wide range of optional excursions and pre and post-programme extensions are available on request at additional cost.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Comfortable and light clothing is the most suitable for travelling in India. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or skimpy clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Shoes should be removed before entering a temple or private house. Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay.

 

  • Day 1

    Meet and greet on arrival at Kochi International Airport, followed by an escorted transfer to the hotel by our airport coordinator. Kochi, which was formerly known as Cochin, is one of the most culturally diverse cities in India, with ancient Christian and Jewish communities as well as more traditional Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist ones. Its colonial past has also bequeathed a heritage that features Portuguese, Dutch and British culture and architecture.

    In the afternoon, walk through the historic districts of town. Our walking tour will take us to Jew Town, including the Pardesi Synagogue (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays); the Mattancherry Palace, known locally as the Dutch Palace (Closed on Fridays); Fort Kochi, reminiscent of European streets and houses; the Chinese Fishing Nets on the northern shore of Fort Kochi; and St Francis Church, near a typical English village green. Enjoy some time observing the fishermen working the nets as the sun sets. In the evening, you will be taken for one-hour Kathakali dance show - the ancient and intriguing dance form of Kerala.

    Overnight in Kochi hotel on bed-and-breakfast basis.

    Day 2

    Take to the road after breakfast at the hotel, driving inland to Munnar, which is some 1,600 metres above sea level in the Western Ghats Mountains. Pass lush and verdant landscapes, which become progressively more beautiful the higher you climb. On the way, we stop at the Athirapally Waterfalls, one of the most impressive waterfalls in India. These magnificent falls on the River Chalakudy are located at the entrance to Sholayar hill range. This waterfall drops from a height of 25 m (80 ft) is and is the biggest waterfall in Kerala. In monsoon season, the water rises gaining power, and the streams join together to lend the falls the nickname of ‘The Niagaria of India’. Admire spectacular views of the Sholayar hills and a unique view of the waterfalls from the viewpoint.

    Continue to Munnar, and on arrival, check in at the hotel with the rest of the afternoon at leisure to explore the small market of this quaint little hill station. Also worth a gander are the street food kiosks, very popular among the locals.

    Overnight in Munnar hotel on bed-and-breakfast basis.

    Day 3

    Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a sightseeing tour of Munnar. Nowadays, Munnar is all about the tea industry but its development dates from its days as the cool summer retreat of British administrators in Kerala, and English country cottages are dotted around Munnar town and its hinterland. The surrounding area features rolling hills of virgin forests, scenic valleys, mountain streams, splashy waterfalls and sprawling tea plantations, which seem to go on forever into the horizon. Visit the informative Tea Museum in the Nallathanni Estate to learn more about the process of tea making. The museum has exhibits such as old machinery used for tea production as well as intriguing photographs relating the history of the local industry. A documentary screening also informs about Munnar’s tea heritage and how it went from being a rainforest as recently as the 1880s to one of the world’s prime tea producing areas.

    Then visit the CSI Church of Christ. Built by the British in 1910, the church boasts unique architecture for the area, built on a rocky outcrop and displays some lovely stained glass and commemorative brass plaques. The afternoon is at leisure for you to relax at the resort or stroll through the quiet pathways crisscrossing the endless tea plantations.

    Overnight in Munnar hotel on bed-and-breakfast basis.

    Day 4

    After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Kumarakom on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks that weave an intricate and beautiful web. On arrival, check in at the hotel. Kumarakom is a stunningly beautiful cluster of backwater fishing villages set against the backdrop of Lake Vembanad. Also, spread across 14 acres, the local bird sanctuary here is a birder’s paradise. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom is truly one of the gems of Kerala, offering exotic sights of flora and fauna, boat cruises, and fishing experiences.

    Overnight in Kumarakom hotel on bed-and-breakfast basis.

     

    Optional spice plantation tour (not included) A fascinating and informative visit to spice plantations and the smaller spice gardens whose owners pride themselves on their adaptation of organic farming methods. The visit enables you to get a deeper understanding how the spices, used in everyday cooking throughout the world, are grown, harvested and processed before finally finding their way to the local supermarket. A must for foodies.

    Day 5

    Enjoy the day at leisure to enjoy the various facilities available at the hotel.

    Overnight in Kumarakom hotel on bed-and-breakfast basis.


    Optional backwaters cruise (not included): Head to Alleppey to board houseboat for a scenic and leisurely cruise through the famed backwaters. The houseboats are adaptations of kettuvallams boats, which were used for generations to transport rice and spices. Only natural materials are used and not a single nail should have to hold the boat together. Sail through the intricate labyrinth of backwaters, canals and brooks, which crisscross paddy fields, marshlands and lagoons. The serene natural beauty and simple charm of the backwaters surprises at every turn. This is the Kerala countryside at its best.

    As your boat journey comes to an end, disembark at Alleppey and transfer back to your hotel in Kumarakom

    Day 6

    Depart Kumarakom after breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the Kochi Airport.

    Breakfast included.

     

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