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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.
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.
Morning with our local guide you will visit a Tea Garden & Tea factory, seeing how the process works from growing to picking to processing what for most of us Brits is the preffered hot drink. Afternoon at your leisure to explore, wander and enjoy the gorgeous natural surroundings.
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.
Day at leisure on board the rice boat.
fter 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.
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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