This tour is a great introduction to Kerala as it includes a number of the states highlights and a variety of experiences. Starting in the old colonial port town of Cochin you will head inland to the Western Ghats and the tea-carpeted hills around Munnar. From here you will drive to Periyar, the spice capital of Kerala and view elephants around the lake from a boat. Returning west, a few days in the Backwaters give you the chance to experience the laid back way of life along this unique network of rivers and canals and take a cruise on a traditional rice-barge. Finally, some time on the beach makes for a relaxing end to the tour.
Thekkady & Periyar
DAY 1 - COCHIN
Flight to Cochin. You will be met here by your private car and driver and be taken to your accommodation in historic Fort Cochin. There are no organised activities today so that you can relax and acclimatise after your journey and perhaps take a stroll to the water front to see fishermen hauling in their catch from their ingenious Chinese fishing nets.
DAY 2 - COCHIN
This morning your driver and guide will meet you for a tour of fascinating Fort Cochin where much of the architecture strongly resembles that of the old capitals of Europe. The Portuguese, Dutch and British all traded and settled here and marked the town with their colonial influences. Fort Cochin is easy to explore on foot so later in the day you might like to take a walk around the antique and spice shops in Jew Town or enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance-drama performance in a local art centre - its quite an amazing sight!
DAY 3 - MUNNAR
Today you will be taken to Munnar, Kerala's principle tea growing area, driving uphill though cardamom plantations and undulating tea fields. This is a great opportunity to take some photos of a unique landscape, and hopefully see the tea pickers at work. This afternoon you will have time to get out and enjoy the cooler air of the hills and take a guided walk through the plantations.
DAY 4 - MUNNAR
A full day at leisure in Munnar to enjoy the spectacular views of swathes of tea fields carpeting the landscape. Alternatively you could visit the town and perhaps visit the Tea Museum, which exhibits a great selection of old photographs of the area's tea industry dating back to the 1880's. If you're feeling energetic you could also take a
walk in the surrounding hills.
DAY 5 - THEKKADY & PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Drive from Munnar to Periyar today. You will descend slowly, winding your way down through the plantations before you reach the lowlands at Periyar. Here you will make a boat trip on Periyar Lake where you should see plenty of birds and perhaps even some elephants drinking at the waters' edge.
DAY 6 - THEKKADY & PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Rise early for your guided jungle walk to enjoy the local bird life. After returning to your hotel for a late breakfast and chance to freshen up, your guide will take you to a spice plantation where you can learn about pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla among many other spices and plants. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
You will drive from Periyar to Alleppey this morning and board your private converted rice barge in time for a freshly cooked lunch. You will spend the remainder of your day cruising around the serene backwaters, a vast network of lakes, lagoons, rivers and canals and watch life go by.
DAY 8 - THE BACKWATERS
This morning you will disembark your houseboat after breakfast, and your driver will transfer you to your accommodation in the backwaters. Its a great place to watch local fishermen at work, small vessels passing to and fro and enjoy the birdlife.
DAY 9 - THE BACKWATERS
A full day at leisure to perhaps explore a local village or paddle a canoe on the water.
DAY 10 - MARARIKULAM
Today your driver will meet you again for the short transfer along the coast to Marari Beach. Remainder of the day at leisure.
DAY 11 - MARARIKULAM
A day to relax in the shade of the palms and sip the cool refreshing water from a freshly cut coconut.
DAY 12 - MARARIKULAM
Day to relax on the beach, sunbath and take a paddle in the sea.
DAY 13 - MARARIKULAM
A final day at leisure. You might like to try a local ayurvedic body massage that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
This morning will be an early start to make the return journey to Cochin for your flight, arriving home the same day.