Quintessential Kerala

10 Days : Cochin > Trivandrum

  • Cochin
  • Munnar
  • Thekkady
  • Alleppey
  • Kovalam
  • Trivandrum

Quintessential Kerala

Trip Code: AITQTK

Option 1 – homestays and heritage hotels: from AU$2,270 per person twin share

Option 2 – 4 star and heritage hotels: from AU$3,425 per person twin share

Prices are valid until 30 September 2016 except for the Christmas / New Year period, February and certain festival dates.

Please contact us for a detailed itinerary and current prices.

Included:

  • Accommodation in a double or twin room with breakfast
  • All meals on board the houseboat and at Philipkutty’s Farm
  • Air-conditioned Toyota Innova vehicle with English speaking driver for all transfers, touring and sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • All expenses related to the vehicle and driver such as fuel, tolls, parking charges, inter-state tax, driver accommodation and meals, etc
  • English speaking local guide in Cochin
  • Periyar: 2 hour elephant package; spice plantation tour; Kalaripayattu performance; and boat ride on Periyar Lake
  • Cochin: Kathakali dance performance
  • Assistance on arrival and departure at airports
  • 24 hour support through our local representative offices
  • Complimentary mineral water in the vehicles

Not included:

  • Entrance or camera fees at sightseeing places
  • Activities other than those specifically mentioned as included
  • Meals other than those mentioned as included
  • Tips, porterage and personal expenses
  • Visa Fees
  • Flights

Option 1 Hotels:

Option 2 Hotels:

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  • Introduction

    This 10 day itinerary is the perfect introduction to the laid-back lifestyle, wonderful food and friendly people of Kerala.

    Another in our line of “Quintessential” itineraries, this bite-sized tour of Kerala is aimed at first-time visitors to the state who have limited time but still want to sample a wide range of experiences that Kerala has become famous for – the charms of Fort Kochi, the picturesque tea plantations of Munnar, Periyar National Park, the renowned backwaters (and the luxurious houseboats that ply them) and the lively Kovalam beach area of south Kerala. 

    Please note that more time in Cochin and Kovalam is most worthwhile, if your timeframe allows for it. Please ask us to create a customised itinerary based on your interests and the amount of time you have available.

  • Day 1 Cochin

    You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

    Following years of maritime trade with the Arabs and Chinese, Cochin became one of India’s first European colonies when the Portuguese settled here in the 16th century.  Today the city embodies the eclecticism of Kerala -from its Chinese fishing nets, European buildings, Jewish Synagogue, Hindu temples and mosques – to the modern commercial centre of Ernakulam.

     

  • Day 2 Cochin

    Spend this morning sightseeing with a local guide, beginning at St Francis Church, reputedly India’s first European church and one of the oldest.  Built by the Portuguese in 1503, Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 (his remains were later shipped to Lisbon).  Continue on to  Mattancherry Palace; built by the Portuguese in 1555, it was extensively renovated by the Dutch in 1663 – and became known as the Dutch Palace. It contains 17th century murals depicting the epic Ramayana and palanquins, coronation robes, furniture and weapons of the Rajas of Kochi. Nearby is the Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568, it is still in use today.  It is strikingly decorated with hand painted Chinese floor tiles and silver lamps, and houses a number of treasures such as ancient scrolls.

    End your tour at Kochi’s iconic Chinese fishing nets.  Each huge structure – about 10 metres high, with a net of about 20 metres across – is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.  A finely balanced system, it is operated by a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. The elegant Chinese fishing nets are a popular tourist attraction – you may be given an opportunity to participate in the operation of one!

    This afternoon is free.  You may like to explore the quiet streets around the Chinese fishing nets,  which are filled with shops and restaurants.  Alternatively, take a short auto-rickshaw ride to Jewtown, a fascinating area of charming narrow streets lined with colonial buildings. It is famous for its curio and antique shops selling articles of Indian, European, Chinese and Arab origin, as well as handicraft and garment shops and cafes.

    In the evening attend a Kathakali performance, a 400-year-old dance-drama form depicting the Hindu epics. Arrive early to observe the artists apply their elaborate make and masks, and view their colourful costumes (that can weigh up to 40 kilos!).

  • Day 3 Munnar

    Depart this morning for the 4-hour drive up to the small hill station of Munnar. Situated at a height of 1,800 metres, Munnar is the highest town in Kerala and lies at the heart of the tea country.

    Check in to your hotel on arrival and afternoon at leisure. You may like to take a stroll through a tea plantation, visit the Tea Museum or relax at the High Range Club – a typically Raj-era building – with a round of golf, or a gin and tonic served on the club’s lawns.

  • Day 4 Thekkady

    After breakfast, set out for the 3-hour drive up the steep ‘ghat road’ to the town of Thekkady, which sits adjacent to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is situated high in the Western Ghat mountain range, on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

    Check in to your accommodation on arrival and afternoon at leisure.  You may like to tour a spice plantation with a guide to see how well known spices such as cardamom, cloves, pepper and nutmeg grow.

  • Day 5 Thekkady

    An early morning walk in the park with a naturalist guide is a lovely way to begin the day.   Other activities on offer here include village walks, jungle treks, jeep safaris and boat cruises on Periyar Lakeoffering an opportunity to observe wild animals along the shore. There may be an opportunity to spend some time with elephants; this is a very special experience as you learn about their life whilst feeding, riding and washing them.

  • Day 6 Alleppey

    This morning drive down the ‘ghat road’ to Alleppey, a small market town clustered along a network of canals, where you will board a traditional houseboat for a backwater cruise and overnight stay.

    As lunch is prepared for you – slowly cruise the serene backwaters lined  with coconut palms, groves of mango, papaya and jackfruit and lush green paddy fields; observe village life and cottage industries along the way – traders selling their wares from their boats, sari clad women doing their washing, children going to school … A quintessential Keralan experience  – a backwaters cruise is a true taste of paradise.

  • Day 7 Alleppey

    Disembark the houseboat after breakfast and drive a short distance to your backwater guesthouse/hotel. Check in on arrival and the remainder of the day is free to enjoy the property and surroundings.

    If you are feeling active, there are a number of activities on offer here. Enjoy a bicycle ride or walk to the local village; visit a pottery factory; see how toddy, a natural alcoholic drink, is tapped from the coconut tree; go fishing or swimming; or head out on a small country boat (canoe) to further explore the nearby small canals and rivers. If bird watching is of interest, there are ample opportunities for sighting kingfishers, woodpeckers, egrets, cormorants, herons, crow pheasants, snakebirds, teals, etc. You may like to participate in a cooking class and learn the nuances of the local cuisine.

    Alternatively, spend the afternoon just relaxing and cooling off, sitting on the veranda, by the pool or under the trees.

  • Day 8 Kovalam

    Depart the backwaters region this morning for the 4-hour drive south along the Arabian Sea coast to the Kovalam beach area. The famous crescent of Kovalam beach is actually three sandy beaches separated by rocky outcroppings and coconut palm groves along a 17-kilometre stretch of coastline. A popular spot with tourists, the palm covered headlands are lined with shops, stalls and cafes that offer a variety of goods and services.

  • Day 9 Kovalam

    Day at leisure to enjoy the beach – and perhaps indulge in an Ayurvedic massage treatment.

  • Day 10 Trivandrum

    Transfer to Trivandrum to board a flight to your next destination.

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