Uncover the delights of tropical Kerala in India's deep south. Visit historic Fort Kochi, the picturesque hill station of Munnar with its verdant tea plantations and spend a night aboard a houseboat, gliding along the tranquil, palm fringed backwaters.
Saturday. Welcome to India. You'll be met at Kochi airport and transferred to your hotel. Kochi (formerly known as Cochin) is long famed in the history books and offered refuge to Jews more than 2,500 years ago. The Portuguese founded the first European colony here in the 16th century. The Dutch quickly followed and eventually, the British. The cosmopolitan mix of cultures makes the city fascinating. This evening we watch a performance of Kathakali, the traditional dance of Kerala. Overnight - Kochi
Kochi - Munnar. This morning we enjoy a guided tour of historic Fort Kochi. We see the elegant Chinese fishing nets and explore the winding streets of the old town, visiting St Francis’ Church, Parsi Synagogue (exterior only) and a Dutch palace.
After our morning's sightseeing we drive east to Munnar - a picturesque hill station nestled on the verdant slopes of tea plantations. Located at a lofty height of 1600m, Munnar in South India offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills carpeted with tea plantations. From many locations in Munnar, one can view Anamudi (2695m), South India’s highest peak. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax or explore the area. The next morning we’ll visit a tea plantation, where we learn about the various stages of tea processing. Overnight - Munnar (B:2, D:2)
Captivating Kerala - 7 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Day 4: Kerala backwaters
Munnar - Alleppey - Keralan backwaters. We set off early this morning to visit the Tea Museum of Munnar before taking a scenic 4 - 5 hour drive to Alleppey. Later this afternoon, we board a simply furnished private rice-boat for a journey through the lush backwaters. Our private rice-boat takes us sedately along the enchanting palm-fringed backwaters, covering a distance of some 20 kms, during which time the boat glides past local villages and interesting scenes of everyday rural life. Watch a beautiful sunset over the backwaters and enjoy tasty meals (starting with a late lunch) prepared by the onboard chef using fresh local produce. Overnight - Deluxe rice boat (B, L, D)
Keralan Backwaters - Kumarakom. After breakfast we disembark the houseboat at Kumarakom. Perched sleepily amongst a tangle of verdant tropical waterways, the area is known as the Keralan backwaters, Kumarakom is technically a cluster of islands on Lake Vembanad - one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes. This is an ideal place to relax for the next two days, enjoy the beautiful scenery and laid back pace. There is also a wonderful bird sanctuary spread across 14 acres, which is a favoured haunt of migratory birds and certainly worthy of a visit.
Overnight - Kumarakom (B:2)
Alleppey - Kochi - breakfast. Today marks the end of our memorable journey. After breakfast we travel back to Kochi and transfer to the airport. Please note: flights from Kochi should depart after 2pm.
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FROM USD $1,389
Prices & Departure Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, (if another solo traveller of the same sex is already booked upon the tour), thus avoiding the single person supplement.
All our scheduled tour departures are guaranteed subject to a minimum of 2 travellers.
This tour is also available on a private basis - for details please see the Supplementary Prices at the bottom of this page.
Please Note: 20/3/14 is a Thursday departure, not a Saturday.
Found across Asia and Africa, the largest concentration of elephants can be spotted in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa. Track elephant with us on safari in Africa and India, visit the elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka or ride an elephant on safari in Nepal.
Sail the open seas aboard a traditional gulet in Turkey or island hop the picturesque Dalmation Coast in Croatia. See the best of ancient Egypt onboard a Nile cruiser or dahabeya, cruise through the breathtaking three gorges of the Yangtze River in China or along the Euphrates in Syria or the stunning Neva and Volga Rivers in Russia. Or those with a real sense of adventure can to travel to end of the world on an incredible Antarctic expedition, witness a wildlife extravaganza on the remote Galapagos Islands or explore mighty Amazon Rainforest on a riverboat.
Highlights & Inclusions
Below is a list of key highlights and what is included on this tour. Further, where appropriate, we have listed the items that are not included in the tour price.
Kochi - Fort Kochi, Dutch Palace,
St Francis’ Church and Chinese fishing nets
Lake Vembanad - one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes
Coastal Alleppey - gateway to the backwaters
Munnar Hill Station and tea plantations
Kumarakom - A picturesque cluster of islands
The palm-fringed backwaters
Kathakali dance performance
5 nights 3-4 star and heritage hotels, 1 night deluxe air-conditioned houseboat
Houseboat cruise along the Keralan backwaters
Traditional Kathakali dance show
Services of local English speaking specialist guides
All relevant transfers and transportation
1 lunch, 2 dinners
Guided tour of the Tea Museum in Munnar
Guided tour of Fort Kochi
Airport arrival and departure transfers on day 1 and day 7
English speaking Indian tour leader for groups of 6 or more
What's Not Included
International flights and visas
Tipping Kitty: $15-20 USD
Entrance Fees: $15-20 USD
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Travancore Court - Kochi
The Travancore is a simple, comfortable hotel, with a good sized rooftop swimming pool.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: 4 Star Hotel
Eastend Edassery - Munnar
The Eastend Edassery is a quaint resort set in landscaped gardens. The rooms are good sized and modern.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: 3 Star Hotel
Houseboat - deluxe airconditioned - Alleppey
These large floating structures have been part of Kerala's culture and heritage over the past years. Previously cargo boats, made up from different kinds of wooden planks put together and absolutely no nails. They have now been modified to house guests aboard for overnight cruising with comfortable rooms with air conditioning. Traditional meals are served aboard. A truly unique ‘hotel’ experience.
Our Rating : Superior —
Local Rating: Standard Cruise
Lake Song - Kumarakom
Nestled among the serene backwaters of Kumarakom, Lakesong comprises of 8 acres of facility packed leisure land. It is indeed a retreat with a difference in that it offers excellent facilities with uncompromising quality and superb service. We strive to enhance our abilities to meet and surpass the expectations of our guests.
Our Rating : Standard —
Local Rating: 3 Star Hotel
Here's what some of our past travellers have written in to us and said about their experiences on this trip.
Captivating Kerala - 7 days
Sarah, we are back home and had a wonderful time.
I'd like to give you some feedback, if that's okay with you.
Arrival at cochin airport was seamless, with your representative eagerly looking for us with his sign. he put us right into a cab and we got to the hotel easily.
Travancore Court Hotel is in a good part of town, has a nice lobby, gift shop, and restaurant. The staff was lovely, however, upgrading to another hotel is Cochin would be my suggestion. The bus that took us around (and the drivers) were top-notch.The Kathakali performance was fun, especially since we got to watch them put on their makeup.
Munnar was great and the Eastend Hotel was perfectly fine. Probably one of the best to be found in Munnar. Nice garden, rooms comfortable and cheerful, good restaurant. Tea plantations were interesting, but we were not able to go to the tea museum because it was closed so our guide (Alex) had to hunt around for other things for us to do. He came up with a visit to the Dam and to the Elephant Camp and took us to see a spice garden, and the local market, all of which were interesting.
Next day, on the way to Karakom, he pointed out lots of things of interest all the way. The houseboat overnight was great fun. The boat was comfortable and the food was good. The bathroom was a bit yucky, but it is, after all, a houseboat. We were comfortable and the scenery was fabulous. We slept well.
Lakesong was fabulous. Very beautiful. we arranged yoga classes and a cooking class with the chef and sous chef while we were there. also took advantage of the ayurvedic spa services. Rooms, landscape, food, etc. was all wonderful.
The best part of the whole trip, and the thing that really made it a great success was our guide, Alex. It would not have been the same without him. He was very knowledgeable, kept things moving along, was very protective of us, and made sure EVERYTHING was taken care of for us. I can't compliment him enough. You should make sure you give him a raise and hire him for all your Kerala tours next season!
I thank you enormously for all your help with putting this trip together.