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Best of Kerala


     
 
Welcome to 'God's Own Country', a stunning corner of India replete with lush tropical landscapes of backwaters and beaches, mountains and jungles, embellished by a patchwork of immensely picturesque paddy fields.

 

 

 

Tour Highlights

 

Enjoy dinner in a local home in Cochin

Tour Cochin's many sights

Spend a night in Periyar, an incredible wildlife reserve

Experience local martial art Kalaripayttu

Take an elephant ride

Spend the night onboard a Keralan houseboat

Savour an Ayurvedic head massage

 

 

Our Opinion

 

Kerala is incredible and the back waters from a houseboat are simply magic. Highly recommended.

 

 

Itinerary in Brief

 

Cochin: 2 nights

Periyar: 1 night

Houseboat: 1 night

Kumarakom: 2 nights

 

 

Full Itinerary

 

DAY 1 - LONDON TO COCHIN

Fly Oman Air from London to Cochin via Muscat.

 

DAY 2 - COCHIN

Arrive in Cochin, and transfer to The Trident (three star) or the four star Taj Malabar for two nights. Enjoy the rest of the morning at leisure before a walk through a local market, where you can purchase spices and vegetables followed by a cookery demonstration and dinner at a local home.

 

 

The next day a leisurely tour includes the Dutch Palace, Jew Town and St Francis

 

Church, plus a stroll around the historic Fort Cochin harbour area and a stop to view the immense Chinese fishing nets. You may have time to bargain in the antique shops in the old part of town. In the evening relax or take an optional visit to a traditional Kathakali dance show.

 

DAY 4 - COCHIN TO PERIYAR

After breakfast this morning, you'll drive to Periyar (115 miles, approx 6 hours), one of India's finest wildlife reserves. The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats, you'll see wild animals and the charming mountain people.

 

This afternoon you will visit a spice plantation and spice market, and later you'll experience Kalaripayttu, an ancient local martial art. Stay at the three star Elephant Court or the four star Spice Village.

 

DAY 5 - PERIYAR TO HOUSEBOAT

This morning enjoy an elephant ride before driving to Kumarakom (approx. 90 miles, 4.5 hours). Board your Keralan houseboat. Known as a Kettuvallum, each thatch-roofed boat has been converted from an original cargo boat, complete with two or three bedrooms (you'll share with other members of the group), airconditioning (available 9pm to 7am), en suite basin and W/C, a separate kitchen and sit-out area.

 

 

A three strong crew will cater for all your meals and peacefully glide your boat along the labyrinthine network of lakes and canals that dissect the lush paddy fields, coconut groves and the occasional rustic dwellings. Have dinner and stay onboard overnight.

 

DAY 6 - HOUSEBOAT TO KUMARAKOM

In the morning disembark the houseboat to check in for two nights at the three star Eastend Lakesong or the four star Coconut Lagoon. Relax or go on an optional bird-watching tour. Enjoy a relaxing Ayurvedic head massage (included in the tour). You can also try yoga, meditation or one of the other rejuvenating massages (extra cost), or a number of optional recreational activities on Lake Vembanad.

 

 

DAY 8 - KUMARAKOM TO LONDON

Early-morning transfer to Cochin for your Oman Air flight to Heathrow via Muscat, arriving later the same day. Alternatively, extend your stay in Kerala

Extensions

 

 

 

Need to Know

 

Guide - Your 'Best of Kerala' tour is escorted from arrival to departure by a local English speaking guide.

Meal Plan - Prices include breakfast throughout; 1 dinner in Cochin; and breakfast, lunch and dinner onboard the houseboat.

Accommodation - A choice of three or four star hotels.

Group Size - Maximum 14 passengers.

Minimum Numbers - This tour is subject to a minimum number of passengers; please ask

Gratuities - Tipping is a way of life in India. Porterage and tips for meals are included in your tour price. We recommend that you tip your driver and guide at the end of the holiday.

Travel Tips - The best time to visit Kerala is from October to April.

NB - Driving times are approximate. Local conditions may mean slight variations to the timings of itineraries. Check-in at hotels in India is after 12pm.

The Festival of Colours, Holi, will be celebrated all over India on Mar20 2011, during which people spray each other with different coloured dyes

 

For more information or to book, please contact the reservations team