Simply, this is the best of Kerala, knitted together by stays in boutique lodges and explored on included private tours, with the services of a private driver throughout. You’ll start with the colonial-town charm of Kochi before heading into the hills of Munnar, staying in a hill station among its gorgeous tea plantations. Periyar’s tiger-dotted jungles and spice-village idyll will then see you onto a private houseboat cruise on the Keralan backwaters – a criss-crossing network of palm-fringed waterways and rice paddies. It all ends with three nights on Kerala’s golden beaches.
Day 1: Depart UK
After making the most of your complimentary airport lounge access, board your overnight flight to India.
Days 2-3: Kochi
Kochi, formerly Cochin, lies at the centre of Kerala's coastline and makes a wonderful introduction to the region. A private guide will take you to visit the Jewish Synagogue, the Mattancherry Palace and St Francis Church, all built during the 16th century. Together, they form a certain quiet, historic charm. Be sure also to take a stroll along the waterfront, where Chinese fishing nets take centre stage, and to watch a performance of traditional Kathakali dance. You'll stay right on the harbour in charming colonial accommodation.
Days 4-5: Munnar
After breakfast, your private driver will bring you to Munnar in the Western Ghats. At 5,000 feet above sea level, this hill station was the British Government's summer resort in the south – something remembered today by quaint churches and acres upon acres of tea plantations. And, you'll stay right among them, enjoying spectacular views from your quaint mountain-resort accommodation. To get your bearings, we've included a private tour of a tea or coffee plantation, learning about the process behind creating that perfect cup. There's also plenty of time for you to explore, perhaps with a scenic walk among the plantations.
Day 6: Periyar
Your private transfer today will bring you to Periyar National Park, where lakes and hilly jungle hide elephants, sambar deer and hard-to-see tigers – hopefully spotted on a lake cruise. You'll stay in luxury on a private plantation estate, where the likes of thatched roofs and yoga classes betrays its eco credential. It's the perfect introduction to the region's spice-village idyll.
Days 7-8: Kumarakom
Much of Kerala's allure is down to its backwaters – a network of rivers, canals and lagoons backed by impossibly green plantations of tea and spices. While you'll explore on your drive in, your stay in the village of Kumarakom will see you relax right among it all, among paddy fields and coconut groves. Our Deluxe accommodation option here is a particular treat, complete with an Ayurvedic centre and jacuzzi on the banks of Lake Vembanad. Alternatively, Coconut Lagoon is a heritage hotel with authentic architecture and an ecological focus. Be sure to explore on cruises, trips to bird sanctuaries and visits to colourful local towns.
Day 9: Alleppey
Cruising along the Keralan backwaters on a traditional houseboat is an essential Indian experience. You'll be treated to your very own private offering, delightfully thatched with plenty of deck-space so you can unwind as the palm trees drift by. Not only does it come with a pilot, but an onboard chef, who'll prepare your magnificent full-board dining as you sail among the network of criss-crossing canals.
Stay: House Boat
Days 10-12: Kovalam Beach
After enjoying breakfast onboard the houseboat, you'll be brought by your private driver to Kovalam. Here, you'll end the trip in style with three days on its golden sands, staying in a luxury beach resort. Expect Keralan wood charm, four-poster beds and Ayurveda treatments. Walks also bring you between historic lighthouses and colourful temples. There's also the option of staying at the Superior-standard Marari Beach Resort or the Deluxe Carnoustie Wellness Resort & Spa.
Stay: The Leela, Kovalam (Superior) or Niraamaya Surya Samudra (Deluxe)
Day 13: Depart India/Arrive UK
Enjoy time to yourself before a private transfer brings you to the airport for your flight home.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown
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