Saturday. Welcome to India. You'll be met at Kochi airport and transferred to your hotel. Long famed in the history books, Kochi (formerly known as Cochin) offered refuge to Jews more than 2,500 years ago. The Portuguese founded the first European colony in Kochi in the 16th century, then the Dutch quickly followed and eventually, the British. The cosmopolitan mix of cultures makes the city truly fascinating. This evening we watch a Kathakali performance. Kathakali is the fascinating traditional dance form of Kerala.
Kochi - Munnar. On the morning of day 2 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 sightseeing in Kochi we drive east to Munnar - a picturesque hill station nestled on the verdant slopes of tea plantations.
On day 3 we'll take a stroll through one of the many tea plantations with our guide, who will give us a brief explanation about the different varieties of tea and how they are processed. Then we'll visit a local market before heading back to our hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your own leisure.
Overnight: Munnar | Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2
Munnar - Alleppey - Keralan backwaters. Early this morning we set off on a scenic 4 - 5 hour drive to Alleppey. Upon arrival we board a simply furnished private rice-boat for a journey through the lush backwaters. Our 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 fascinating scenes of everyday rural life. Watch a beautiful sunset over the backwaters and enjoy tasty meals (starting with lunch) prepared by the on board chef using fresh local produce.
Overnight: Deluxe rice boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Keralan Backwaters - Kumarakom. After breakfast on day 5 we disembark the houseboat at Kumarakom. Perched sleepily amongst a tangle of lush tropical waterways 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 and enjoy the beautiful scenery. 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 | Breakfast x 2
Kumarakom - Kochi. Today marks the end of our memorable journey. After breakfast we travel back to Kochi and included transfer to the airport. Please note: flights from Kochi should depart after 2pm.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Hotel Casino is a modern hotel located on Willingdon island, set in tropical gardens.
The Eastend Edassery is a quaint resort set in landscaped gardens. The rooms are good sized and modern.
Deluxe houseboats are elegantly furnished, with up to four bedrooms, equipped with modern en suites, an open lounge, dining area and a deck to relax and admire the beautiful backwater views. Air conditioning operates in the bedrooms between 9pm to 6am only. The cruises are full board, with tasty meals freshly prepared by the onboard chef.
Nestled among the serene backwaters of Kumarakom, Eastend Lakesong comprises of 8 acres of facility packed leisure land. Guests sleep in Villas and Cottages which are all well furnished with colourful interiors and comfortable beds. The onsite restaurants offer an excellent selection of local and international cuisine. Why not treat yourself to a relaxing massage at the Ayurveda on site Spa? The perfect way to unwind.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in India, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.
I really enjoyed the tour! It exceeded all my expectations. The hotels were clean, modern and very nice. The houseboat was also much more comfortable than I had expected. The tour was just the right mix of activities and relaxation. The things were visited were interesting, and our guide was very knowledgeable. The On The Go staff really went the extra mile, arranging a separate car to take me to the airport because i had a late flight, and then having someone meet me at the airport to help me with mu luggage and to navigate the check in. My arrival flight was eight hours late, but they still had a driver waiting for me when i arrived. I would definitely use the company again!”