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India Tour – Exotic Kerala

$2,995.00

Famous for its backwaters, elegant houseboats, Ayurvedic treatments and taste-bud-tingling cuisine, Kerala is also home to wild elephants, jaguars, and the odd tiger. This is an indulgent and fascinating journey through India’s laid-back tropical south, to experience the diversity in scenery, architecture, culture, and most importantly…the people. Some of the friendliest folks in the world live in Kerala.

Kerala is a tropical bliss with an idyllic coastline and lush tropical hills. Despite its relative riches, the majority of the population in Kerala life continue with agriculture, tea, coffee, and spice plantations and the coir industry, which still provides the basic economic structure of the region.

Come to Kerala to experience firsthand why they call it ‘God’s Own Country’. This adventure is pure Kerala Indulgence with Boutique Properties and can be tailored for group or individual travel.

DATES: Recommend travel between Nov to Mar

Category:

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HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

    • Exploring fascinating Colonial Cochin
    • Staying at Luxury Boutique Hotels
    • Cruising enchanting backwaters
    • Learning about local arts and crafts
    • Cooking demonstration
    • Searching for wildlife in Periyar National Park
    Visiting tribal communities

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Day 1 Arrival Cochin

On arrival meet and assistance at the airport, then proceed to your hotel and check-in at the Hotel. The Malabar House is a small exclusive luxury hotel in the heart of historical Fort Cochin -a member of Relais & Chateaux. Subsequently owned by spice traders, tea traders & bankers, in 1996 it became Fort Cochin’s first boutique heritage hotel. Every room is unique and has distinctive antiques and artworks brought in from various parts of the country.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure on the streets of this colonial township. In the evening discover the famous dance drama of Kerala, the “Kathakali” show. This dance can be characterized by grotesque gesticulations, amazing costumes and very extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 2 Cochin City Tour

Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will Experience Real life of Cochin during an Ethnic tour – start with the visit of the famous Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin. The huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that droop towards the waters like over-sized hammocks, have become a hallmark that represents Fort Kochi on every postcard…

Next visit is at the St. Francis CSI Church, the oldest European church in India built in 1503, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama was originally buried and the Santa cruz Basilica, one of the finest and imposing churches in India. Then take an exciting tuk tuk ride – the most popular mode of transport among the localities. Continue through the small streets of Mattanchery, and arrive at the fruit market on Palace Road where locals get a variety of fresh and organic produces at bargains prices. Don’t miss a stop at the Spice Market, where exotic odour of the finest ginger, cloves, cardamom, turmeric and pepper emanate from the spice warehouses lining the street and fills it.

Make a pause with a refreshing tea at one of the tea shops where you get the “one meter” tea. There is now an opportunity to interact with a Brahmin Family. The Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes, made up of priests and scholars of Vedic literature and their traditional occupation is to conduct rites at marriages, births, deaths and other auspicious occasions.

Later visit the Jewish Synagogue and finally the Dutch Palace with its beautiful mural paintings from the 17th century.

Tonight join Mariamma Jose (President of one of the largest Christian organization in Cochin) for a demonstration of traditional Kerala cuisine at her demo kitchen at home, followed by an incredible dinner. This is a great opportunity to share thoughts, culture or simply discuss about the life of a Keralite.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 3 Cochin – Thekkady (160 km / 4.5hrs)

Enjoy a breakfast at the hotel and take a beautiful drive from the plains to the green mountains of the Nilgiris. Rubber, coffee and cardamom plantations and tea gardens will follow. Arrive at your hotel Hills & Hues, in Kumily, one of the entrance door for the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. This hotel is nestled on the edge of a mountain, on a pristine stretch of forest land and feature pine wood log cabins English country style, each with a breathtaking view of the valley that stretches as far as the eye can see…

Afternoon, explore the beauty of nature, the flora and fauna of the region with a 2 hrs Nature walk in the remote areas of the National park. This reserve is an established tourist spot and home to elephants, bison, sambar, wild boar, langur etc. with unending Chains of hills and spice-scented plantations.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 4 Kovilamala

After your breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a full day in the lap of the high range. You will be directed deep into the inner settlements of the village Kovilmala. Kovilamala is inhabited by the tribal community Mannan which has unique culture and rituals and an elected tribal king. This community is the only tribal community in Kerala that has a king, and one of the only two such tribes in India. Take the unique opportunity to have a lunch in the Kings house and observe some insights into the world of nature people. You will then scroll into the Spice gardens, explore the surroundings nature and have awesome view of the mountains.

Overnight stay. (Breakfast & Lunch)

Day 5 Thekkady – Munnar (120 Km / 3.5 hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Munnar, South India’s largest tea growing region. Passing through the rolling hills and sculpted tea gardens arrive at your next accommodation, Spice Tree Hotel. Nestled among the mountain ranges of Kanan Devan and Bison Valley Hills, the charming chalets of Spice Tree offer tranquillity with incredible views of the valley below. It features a solar heated outdoor swimming pool with organic mountain spring water. Each room has colonial style with hand chiseled granite, befitting the environment. To top it all, each unit has an attached ‘recharge room’ that feature a complete list of modern bathroom amenities, and a magnificent Victorian Jacuzzi with a splendid valley view.

Afternoon, proceed to the Eravikulam National Park (subject to opening)- A sanctuary for the mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr. The Park stands out for the beauty of its rolling grasslands spread over 97 sq km in the Kannan devan hills. Later if time permits see the Mattupetty dam with its still water reflecting the tea gardens around.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 6 Munnar

Breakfast at the hotel. Go on a half-day Jeep safari – Drive though the mind blowing scenery uphill to Kulukamalai Estate, the highest located tea factory in the world which still practices the Manual processing of Tea. Reach Kulukkumalai and join hands with the plantation workers to understand the art of tea plucking (subject to the working days). At the Tea factory you see the processing of tea, followed by a tea tasting session.

Return to your hotel to enjoy all its features and premises. Rest of the day free.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 7 Munnar – Muhamma (160 Km / 4.5 hrs)

After your breakfast, drive to your next unique Boutique Hotel Purity located in Muhamma (15 km from Alleppey). Overlooking the lake Vembanad at its widest point, Purity is the first sophisticated small hotel in the backwaters with unique rooms with terraces overlooking the lake and an infinity lakefront swimming pool.

Check-in and rest of the day at leisure in your hotel, sipping a cocktail at the pool or observing the surroundings cantilevered Chinese fishing nets and the traditional fishermen routine….

Later on experience a sunset cruise on the shores of the Lake Vembanand and take a closer look at the village activities.

Overnight Stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 8 Muhamma – Alleppey (15 Km / 30 minutes)

Breakfast at the hotel. Late morning drive to Alleppey and embark your Houseboat for a Backwaters Cruise. These Houseboats are a reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times and made out of huge planks of jack wood, joined with coir from coconut shells. The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are at times the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns.

The Allepey district is one of the most popular areas where you can cruise the Backwaters. It is also one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea-level, using a system of dykes. Cruise through the palm fringed canals enjoying the beauty of rural village life. Enjoy a sumptuous Keralan lunch onboard as the trip continues through a wonderful area of the lush green vegetation. Disembark and return to your hotel.

Overnight stay (Breakfast & Lunch).

Day 9 Muhamma

Today, wake-up with chanting birds in the surroundings. Relax in this serene lakefront area, enjoy the lakefront infinity pool, the Kerala cuisine in your exquisite in-house restaurant or opt for some activities organized by the hotel, such as a Coir factory visit, a neighbourhood excursion to the closest village where you will observe this traditional handcraft work process of coir weaving, product of the coconut fibre (Payable locally).

You may also choose to enjoy a heritage craft experience where you will be taken by car to Mannar, the heart of Kerala’s ancient metal casting craft. Only few hundred families are in the trade, passing on the skills and secrets of the lost wax process from one generation to the next. The sheer variety and sizes of brass and bronze is amazing (Payable locally).

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 10 Muhamma – Kovalam (190 Km / 5 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. Late morning drive to one of the well known beach destinations in the world, Kovalam. On arrival check into Niraamaya Surya Samudra Resort and Spa. Surrounded by lush greenery, this up-scale beachfront resort has Keralite heritage styled cottages blended with contemporary and luxury features with open-to-sky rain showers. Its amenities include an Ayurvedic therapies spa, a beach-view infinity pool, an elegant cliff-top restaurant plus an ocean-view bar. From the hotel, you will be able to directly access the beach. Rest of the day free to familiarize with the resort or to enjoy some massages in the hotel Spa. (payable locally).

Overnight stay. (Bed &Breakfast)

Day 11 Kovalam

Breakfast at the hotel. Full day free for sun, sand and surf. Watch golden sunsets, wait for fishing boats to empty out the day’s catch or gaze at the hotel infinity sea view pool.

Overnight stay at the hotel. (Bed &Breakfast)

Day 12 Kovalam

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a Full day free at your beach resorts Or you may opt for one of our optional sightseeing tour below:
Go on a guided half-day sightseeing of tour Trivandrum, visiting its art galleries, museums and Gardens. The Sree Chitra Art Gallery, located near to Napier Museum has a collection of century old and original world famous paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova, Nicholas Rorich, and exquisite works from the various schools of arts in India. The Kuthiramalika Palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, Social reformer and statesman. Wood carvings, Paintings and various priceless collections belonging to the royal family are at display here.

One may also visit Padmanabaswami temple – the richest in the world (from outside). Finally enjoy an Authentic traditional lunch at Villa Maya restaurant, with its classical architecture, minimal style and selected art and craft pieces. Return back to your hotel for the rest of the day free.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 13 Kovalam

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a Full day free at your beach resorts Or you may opt for one of our optional sightseeing tours below:
Go on a guided half-day sightseeing of a Fishing Village. Morning drive to Vizhinjum Harbour, one of the busiest fishing harbour in Trivendrum, with the sight of hundreds of fishing boats, women taking head loads off to local markets and fishermen gliding into the sea.

Continue to Mukkola, where we will be able to get the feel of a typical Kerala rural market with an array of shops and the fish/vegetable market lying ahead, which becomes active during the day hours. Proceed with a visit of Balaramapuram Handloom village, famous as the core place for the unique production of traditional varieties of handloom textiles meant for clothe wearing style of Kerala. Return back to your hotel for the rest of your day free.

Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 14 Departure Trivendrum Airport
Breakfast at the hotel. Time to say good bye. Transfer to Trivandrum International airport to connect your flight back home or extend to Northern India (Taj Mahal, Jaipur, etc)
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Important Info” tab_id=”1449289392103-be095264-cb20″][vc_column_text]PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change. Although we always do our best to stick to the itinerary, due to the ever changing nature of Namibia, activities, restaurants, hotels, campsites, and visits are subject to change due to forces beyond our control.

PASSPORTS: Must be valid for at least 6 months upon return date to your home country. Proper documentation is the responsibility of each traveller.

VISAS: Most visitors require a VISA when visiting India. It is the TRAVELLER’S responsibility to check on entrance requirements. Please visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html.

INFO ABOUT INDIA: India has intent travellers for thousands of years. It’s exotic, romantic and geographically diverse – from the Himalayan Mountains and wide deserts in the north to lush rainforests and sandy beaches in the south. India is not just one of the world’s oldest civilizations, it is also the world’s largest democracy, and has made stupendous progress among developing nations. India’s impressive variety of history and culture, from the ancient Kingdoms to the present state, harmoniously blend to form a unique atmosphere in over a million square kilometres of scenic sights.
A continent-sized country, India possesses an amazing wealth of sights and sounds, tastes and textures. From a bustling cosmopolitan city to the quiet countryside, hill station or a beach resort, India has destinations, which offer a backdrop of unmatched beauty. Although more than a hundreds of languages are spoken, English is the second language and is widely taught in Indian schools.

WEATHER:
Expect daytime temperatures ranging from 15 to 35 degrees on average. In the hills the temperatures fall by around 5-10 degrees Celsius and you will need a warm sweater for the evenings. Whilst rainfall is at a minimum it is worth bringing a rain jacket for the odd shower you may encounter.

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PREMIUM HOTELS*
COCHIN 2 nights The Malabar House
THEKADDY 2 nights Hills & Hues
MUNNAR 2 nights Spice Trees
MUHAMMA 3 nights Purity
KOVALAM 4 nights Niraamaya Resort & Spa

Please note ALL ACCOMMODATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Hotels will be confirmed 30 days prior to departure.

Pre and Post Tour Accommodation: If you require accommodation before or after your tour we can arrange this for you

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Inclusion & Exclusion” tab_id=”1449208780765-5fd2d40a-5e8d”][vc_column_text]TOUR INCLUSIONS:
Services of a local guide/driver and assistant
Accommodation 14 days / 13 nights hotel and camping based on double occupancy
Transportation as per itinerary
Entrances to National Parks
Activities as per itinerary
Sightseeing – all entrances as per itinerary are included
Meals as per itinerary
All applicable taxes

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:
International flights (can be arranged through us [email protected])
Mandatory travel medical insurance and optional cancellation insurance (can be arranged through us [email protected])
Services not specified, meals not specified
Alcoholic beverages, other beverages
Items of a personal nature
Tips All local tips included (drivers, servers, local guides, porters)
Departure taxes (domestic and international if applicable)
Passport, visa or vaccination fees

*IMPORTANT NOTES:
– Though we will do our best to follow this itinerary as closely as possible, it is subject to change due to factors beyond our control[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Pricing & Dates” tab_id=”1449223591510-29ce0fb2-4171″][vc_column_text]

Date: AVAILABLE ON A CUSTOM BASIS THOUGH WE RECOMMEND MID OCT – MARCH

Single Supplement $1620 USD

Final Payment

Full payment is due 60 prior to departure.

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