Spice of Kerala

Tour Type:
Private Escorted Tours
Start:
Cochin
Duration:
12 Days
End:
Trivandrum
Departs:
Daily

Starting From

NZ$ 3217
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On this 12 day holiday you will be transported back in time to the spice-trading port of Cochin, with its melting pot of cultural influences, lulled by the serene beauty of Kerala’s backwaters and thrilled by the game-spotting in the jungles of Periyar. The fragrant tea plantations and hill forests of Munnar are sure to enchant as you discover the Spice of Kerala.

Itinerary

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DAY 1

On arrival at the airport meet your tour manager who will assist you to transfer to the hotel for two nights stay in Cochin.

DAY 2

Early morning, if you wish, you can wake up early to witness the mesmerizing sights of sunrise over the Chinese fishing nets. The beautiful expanse of nets with the backdrop of sun rising is a perfect start to enjoy the scenic beauty of India. After breakfast, we will set out to explore this port city with a rich and interesting past. The Chinese, Jews, Arabs, and Europeans sailed into this city to trade and their influence is still found in the buildings and lifestyle of the city. We will walk through the Fort area, exploring Jewish Synagogue – which is one of the oldest synagogues amongst all the commonwealth nations, St Francis church, Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace - a 16th-century palace. Just opposite the Mattancherry Palace, visit the spice market, one of the biggest centers of spices in Cochin. Here you can buy some of the authentic spices, smell and see what makes Indian curries so hot and tasty. In the evening we will take you to a Kathakali Performance. Kathakali is a ritualized dance form that is native to Kerala, with elaborate costumes and makeup.

DAY 3

Drive from Cochin to Munnar a hill station at a height of 1525 meters, Munnar offers a breathtaking view of the hills swathed in an impossibly green carpet of tea bushes. Munnar - the right royal resort lazily nestled in the verdant slopes of tea country, is a quaint little town that exudes a rare old world charm and strangely reminds one of the days of the Raj in its elegant splendor. Beyond the rolling hills discover the rich tropical forests abounding in exotic flora and fauna. Afternoon free to relaxing or explore the surroundings and stay overnight at Munnar.

DAY 4

After a leisurely breakfast proceed on a sightseeing tour of the city which is difficult to describe. Witness tea gardens spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometers, lush green hills, very low population and far from pollution. The place is encircled by wooded hills of the Annamalai Ranges, with the towering bulk of Anamudi, which is peninsular India’s highest peak at about 2695m. Sprawling tea plantations, picture books towns, winding lanes, exotic flora and fauna in the forests and grasslands, make Munnar a pleasant hill station. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight at Munnar.

DAY 5

After breakfast, we drive through the Western Ghats to Thekkady, a beautiful area of tea gardens, rubber estates and coffee and pepper plantations, located high in the Cardamom hills. On our way, we en-route and visit the Tea Museum opened by the Tata Tea group. The museum puts light on the important fact and figures about the growth of the tea plantations in Munnar. It contains curious, old photographs, machinery and other things which have been used for a long time. In the afternoon, visit a spice garden where you will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of the spices are grown. Stay two nights at Thekkady.

DAY 6

We wake up early to experience a boat cruise on the Lake Periyar, which showcases a kaleidoscope of activities that incur around the lake and jungle. Evergreen moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands characterize Periyar. Later proceed to view the rare species of plantations, animals and visit a spice plantation growing cardamom, pepper, coffee, and tea estate. Walk amidst the palette displaying variant shades of green, neatly arranged into terrace farms, the symmetry broken only by the sudden appearance of a gurgling stream. It is believed that the spice trade dates back three thousand years in Kerala and many spices find their home here. The slanting slopes caress a variety of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves. On the way back you could stop at the local market and purchase some fragrant spices. Dinner and overnight at Periyar.

DAY 7

After breakfast travel to Alleppey, on arrival embark on the houseboat; while sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals, panoramic sights one can never forget. Flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remain an enduring picture reflecting the charm of this beautiful land. Enjoy fishing and sunset when heading towards Kumarakom. All meals and overnight on the houseboat.

DAY 8

After breakfast travel to Kollam, also known as Quilon, that is the center of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. The Malayalam Era is based on the founding of Kollam in the 9th century and is one of the oldest ports of the Malabar Coast, it was an important centre of trade during the ancient times and was frequented by Phoenicians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, and Chinese, with also famous travellers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta, who have acclaimed the historical importance of Kollam as a commercial town. The industrial center is well known for its titanium, mineral sands and china clay and is also the birthplace of the legendary art form of ‘Ramanattam Kathakali’. The historical importance of the place also stems from the fact that the township was designed and built by Syrians, an instance of foreign influence on Kerala. On arrival check into the hotel with the rest of the day free to explore and enjoy this beautiful small town. Dinner and overnight at Kollam.

DAY 9

After breakfast visit this small village, this is an opportunity to interact with locals and experience their day to day life. Kollam is blessed with all unique features; sea, lake, mountains, plains, streams, rivers, backwaters, forest, vast green fields and tropical crop of every variety. The sight of white egrets dipping into the clear waters of the Ashtamudi Lake on a moonlit night is simply stunning. At the many temples, mosques, churches of this town, one can meet people eager to share their stories and monuments. Rest of the day is free to enjoy the backwater recreation club. Dinner and overnight at Kollam.

DAY 10

After breakfast travel to Kovalam, a site enriched with rich greenery of palm fingered bays in secluded coconut groves and laced with golden sands. The boundless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and miles of white sands washed away by the surf at the feet of the strong palms and the rocky promontories make this beach a paradise. Stay for two nights in Kovalam.

DAY 11

Have a leisurely breakfast, enjoy basis Ayurveda massage and relax at the beach.

DAY 12

After a leisurely breakfast check out and transfer to the airport to board the flight for your onward journey.

Inclusion


Accommodation with private facilities

Travel by private air-conditioned car with driver 

Local English-speaking guide 

Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

Private Backwater cruise

Kathakali Dance show

Boat ride at Cochin

Spice Plantation Visit

Wildlife safari at Periyar 

Entry fee/Monument charges

Assistance and Transfers

All current taxes

Exclusion


Any international or domestic airfares

Train fares other than specified in the what's included section 

Airport taxes, visa & passport fees

Extra baggage charges

Early check in or late check out

Meals other than specified in the what's included section

Tips & gratuities

Travel & medical insurance

Camera & video permits

Expenses incurred due to flight / train cancellation or delay

Any expense of a personal nature, like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mini bar, postage etc

Any optional excursion or tour

Entry charges at monuments/forts etc

Any other expense not mentioned in the what's included section