At the southern tip of India lies the oblong state of Kerala, aptly referred to as God’s Own Country for its miles of golden sandy beaches dotted with coastal villages, verdant landscapes of the Western Ghats, fragrant spice, tea and coffee plantations and its own vibrant culture. Our Essence of Kerala group tour commences with sightseeing in the historic Fort Kochi and Jew Town to see influences left by the Chinese, English, Dutch and Portuguese settlers.
Enjoy sweeping views whilst journeying through the beautiful countryside towards Periyar National Park. Visit a spice plantation and enjoy an afternoon cruise in Lake Periyar. Travel onward to the myriad of complex waterways that make up the backwaters of Kerala for an overnight stay on a traditional rice boat. A couple of days on the beach at Kovalam beckon, where the golden sands invite you to relax and swim before returning home.
Day 1 Cochin
On arrival in Cochin you will be taken to the Casino Hotel, Cochin on Willingdon Island. Spend the afternoon taking in the sights of historic Fort Cochin . Explore the colonial streets and St Francis, the oldest church in India. Visit the Dutch Palace, with its murals of the Ramayana and the Jewish Synagogue. In the evening take a sunset cruise on the harbour, a signature Kerala experience, for views of the landmark Chinese fishing nets, which provide a spectacular photo opportunity at dusk.
Day 2 Cochin
Visit the Kumbalangi village, in the morning, where you will have the change to interact with fisherman as they demonstrate local techniques used to harvest prawns, crabs, oysters and small fish. In the evening attend a Kathakali performance, a traditional dance drama in which the dancers wear elaborate costumes and make up.
Day 3 Cochin, Periyar
Drive along meandering roads through lush, green countryside ascending into the Western Ghats at
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary . Stay at the Cardamom County, Kumily for two nights. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 4 Periyar
Visit a spice plantation which offers an interesting insight into how various spices such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are grown, cultivated and processed. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Periyar which offers the chance to see a variety of birds and wild elephants.
Day 5 Periyar, Rice boat
Drive back down through the hills and plantations towards the backwaters to board a rice boat for an overnight Houseboat cruise through Lake Vembanad and the backwaters. This is a region that not only shelters some unique animal and bird life but also lush paddy fields, and is referred to as the ‘Rice Bowl of Kerala’. This is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
Day 6 Backwaters, Kovalam
Drive to the southern coastal town and the inviting beaches at Kovalam . Stay at the local styled
Travancore Heritage, Kovalam for two nights.
Day 7 Kovalam
Day at leisure to relax on the beach or at the resort.
Day 8 Kovalam, UK
Travel back to UK today from nearby Trivandrum on Emirates via Dubai.
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