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Kerala India Vacations Tiger Safaris Holidays Periyar Backwaters Houseboat

Beautiful Kerala


IPS12K
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,495
International flights quoted separately
See a more relaxed side of India on this wonderful holiday to beautiful Kerala in the southwest. From the port city of Cochin, once the centre of the spice trade, visit the tea plantations at Munnar & get up close to Asian elephants in Periyar. Stay overnight on a traditional Rice Houseboat, then relax on Kovalam beach. English speaking guides, private driver & all sightseeing included.
Periyar Asian Elephants India Kerala Houseboat Munnar Kovalam
• 
Cochin
• 
City Tour & Dutch Palace
• 
Thattekad
• 
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
• 
Munnar
• 
Tea Plantations
• 
Periyar Elephants & Tigers Reserve
• 
Kerala Backwaters
• 
Rice Houseboat
• 
Kovalam Beach
• 
Cochin
• 
City Tour & Dutch Palace
• 
Thattekad
• 
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
• 
Munnar
• 
Tea Plantations
• 
Periyar Elephants & Tigers Reserve
• 
Kerala Backwaters
• 
Rice Houseboat
• 
Kovalam Beach
Day 1
You will be met at Cochin Airport and transferred to your hotel in this Arabian seaport,  now known as Kochi, that was at the centre of the spice trade for many centuries.
 
Check in and relax in the beautiful southern state of Kerala - fondly called "God's own Country".
 
In the evening a special treat awaits - a performance of the famous Kathakali classical dance.
 
Day 2
This morning enjoy a city tour of Cochin - known to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Jews, Arabs and Chinese as an important trading centre. The Portuguese established the first European settlement in India here and the city was later colonised by the Dutch and then the British.
 
Visit St. Francis Church built by the Portuguese, where explorer Vasco Da Game was first buried. Also visit Mattancherry Palace with its famous murals depicting scenes from Hindu legends associated with Shiva, Vishnu and Krishna (closed Fridays); the Dutch Palace and the Jewish Synagogue (closed Fridays & Saturdays). Then walk to see the old shore-operated Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, each operated by a team of up to six fishermen.
 
Your driver will then introduce you to the beauty of rural Kerala, as you travel 4-hours up steep winding roads to the scenic hill station at Munnar with its vast tea plantations. After checking into your hotel, relax in the clear mountain air of this beautiful summer resort.
Day 3
At leisure to relax at the mountainous hill station of Munnar, with your driver providing your transfers (pay any entrance fees locally).
 
You can visit the Tea Museum (closed Mondays), enjoy wonderful walks and taste some of the best food in India.
Day 4
This morning drive 4-hours down from the hills of Munnar and continue through coffee and pepper plantations to Periyar National Park in the Western Ghats mountains.
 
Situated in the Cardamom and Pandalam Hills, this park forms the watershed for two important rivers - the Periyar and Pamba. It is home to several rare and endangered species including tigers, although they are rarely seen.
 
In the afternoon enjoy a boat trip on Lake Periyar, a haven for bird life including herons, hornbills and egrets and where you may see wild elephants coming down to the lake for a drink.
Day 5
This morning enjoy a 2.5-hour Guided Nature Walk led by a local tribesman, who speaks only basic English, with the opportunity to observe the birds, butterflies and other wildlife that live in these evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with grasslands.
 
There are 35 different mammals in Periyar National Park, a 400 sq. mile (640 sq. km) wildlife sanctuary that it is an important elephant and tiger reserve and home to many threatened species. However tiger sightings are rare as they are so difficult to spot in the jungle. This park is also home to gaur, sambar, wild boar, giant squirrel, flying squirrel, jungle cat, sloth bear, nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, nilgiri langur, nilgiri marten, stripe-necked mongoose and fruit bats.
 
In the afternoon we visit a spice plantation, followed by a special treat -  the opportunity of interacting with Asian elephants while they bathe and shower in the river.
 
In the evening enjoy a Kalaripayattu martial arts show.
Day 6
This morning we drive 4-hours to the small town of Kumarakom on Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater in India.
 
Check into your hotel and relax in your lush surroundings.
Day 7
At leisure to relax and enjoy the leisurely lifestyle and wonderful food of Kumarakom on Vembanad Lake - an important habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and shrimps.
 
Kerala is famous for yoga and ayurvedic spa treatments. Bird watching is also outstanding, with nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary offering a safe refuge for many migratory birds. Sunset boat rides, pedal boats and fishing are available from some hotels.
Day 8
This morning board your air-conditioned Rice Houseboat set on Vembanad Lake. This network of backwaters, lakes and rivers stretches over 930 miles (1,500 km) and provides a vital waterway for transporting people and their produce, once used to transport goods from isolated interior villages to the larger towns but now largely used for pleasure.
 
As the water is level with the land here, spend the afternoon relaxing and watching the agricultural lives of the people who live along the canals and work in the rice paddy fields, as you cruise through the Kerala Backwaters.
 
In the evening see the sun setting over the tranquil backwaters and enjoy dining on delicious local Kerala cuisine prepared by your chef.
Day 9
After breakfast disembark at the merchant town of Alleppey and transfer 5-hours to Kovalam (meaning "a grove of coconut trees").
 
Check into your beach hotel and relax on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
Days 10 To 12
At leisure to relax on the beautiful beaches of Kovalam on the Arabian Sea, with its warm shallow waters that are ideal for swimming.
 
Three famous beaches separated by rocky outcrops form the crescent of Kovalam Beach - popular Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach (also known as Eve’s Beach) frequented by fishermen in the early mornings, and the much quieter Samudra Beach.
 
Also enjoy the wide variety of ayurvedic spa treatments for which this region is renowned and its tasty regional cuisine.
Day 13
Transfer 30-minutes to Trivandrum Airport for your flight home.
Day 14
At leisure to relax at your hotel where a very late checkout has been arranged, so that you have the use of your room all day.
 
Later you will be transferred 30-minutes to Trivandrum Airport for your flight home.
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