Itinerary Highlights

  • Explore Kochi; watching the famous Chinese Fishing Nets and a Kathakali Dance Performance
  • Discover the tea plantations and national parks of Munnar, home to the Lakkam Waterfalls
  • Visit the ‘city of temples’, Mudurai, including the great Meenakshi-Sundareswar Temple
  • Cruise on the Kerala backwaters past mangrove forests, rice paddies and coconut groves
  • Best time to travel September to March

What's Included

  • Accommodation Throughout
  • International Flights
13 nights from £4,299 per person

Mari

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect Asia holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Kerala, on the south-west coast of India, might only be 1% of the country’s land mass. But this stretch of Malabar Coast has for decades attracted those visitors who come for a different experience of India.

Certainly what makes the region so special is the wealth of places to go and things to see which, because of their close proximity, can be packed into just a few weeks’ holiday; like Inspiring Travel’s Introduction to Kerala tour.

On this 13-night itinerary you’ll discover Kerala’s beaches, backwaters, national parks and plantations, guided as you go by local people with a passion for introducing you to what makes the region unique; like being the home of Kathakali Dance and Ayurveda treatments.

The pace in Kerala is slower than in other regions of India, the coastal landscape making way for a network of backwaters that will take you into tea and spice plantations surrounded by wildlife reserves and national parks.

Our chosen hotels and resorts (and a houseboat!) will place you at the heart of these destinations, but of course with all the luxuries and comfort you’d expect from Inspiring Travel. And while this carefully curated India tour will maximise your time and tick off as many of the main sites of interest as possible, our team also remembers that you’re on holiday; so downtime is scheduled in to have a swim then curl up in a hammock with a chai tea.

This tour is a perfect introduction to Kerala, guiding you through her main tourist attractions and taking you for a more in-depth look at her extraordinary landscapes too.

Itinerary

Depart the UK on your flight to Cochin via Dubai or Doha.
You will be welcomed at arrivals by an Inspiring Travel representative who will take you to your hotel, the boutique Brunton Boatyard, Kochi in the town’s historic harbour. The rest of your day is at leisure to enjoy the view from your sea-facing room, or take a dip in the hotel’s waterfront pool.
After breakfast you’ll be taken on a sightseeing tour of Kochi, which includes visits to St Francis Church, the Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, the city’s spice market and finally a stop to see the Chinese Fishing Nets; a technique used by local fisherman for 500 years and one of Kerala’s main tourist attractions. The afternoon holds another special experience in the form of a Kathakali Dance Performance and introduction to this healing practice by a Maestro, who will show you how the ritual hand gestures can have huge benefits to your health.
Following breakfast in your hotel you’ll check out and be picked up for your 4 ½ hour drive to Munnar. After the journey you can spend the rest of the day at leisure at your next hotel, the Windermere Estate. Set in 55 acres of plantation, this retreat is a place of calm and tranquillity, filled with hidden spots to find quiet, and immersing you in nature from the moment you arrive.
After breakfast this is a day to throw yourself into the outdoors, exploring your surroundings on a gentle hike, and taking a walk through the tea plantation to learn about the growing and processing of teas on the estate. Don’t miss a walk to the Windermere Estate’s stunning Vantage Point with its panoramic views of the landscape, and then head back to the hotel’s very own Tea Shack for a hot cup of chai and a snack.
A driver will collect you after breakfast for the 4-5 hour journey to Madurai, where upon arrival you’ll check into your hotel: The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai, Madurai, located at the top of the Pasumalai hill and surrounded by 62 acres of scenic gardens. In the afternoon this India tour includes a visit to Sree Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple, which is the beating heart of the city and an important symbol for the Tamil people. Here there are thought to be as many as 33,000 sculptures within the temple complex, at the centre of which are two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareshwara.
What a day of discovery awaits! The morning is spent with a half day sightseeing tour of Madurai, visiting the Meenakshi temple and Thirumalai Nayak Palace. The former is spread over six hectares with 50-metre-high gateway towers, while the latter is a striking landmark where you can watch a sound and light show that portrays the virtues of King Thirumalai. Spend your afternoon at leisure, perhaps with a dip in the hotel’s pool set in lush gardens where peacocks strut along the pathways.
A driver will collect you after breakfast for the 3-4 hour drive to Thekkady, where you will check into your next hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Your hotel will be the Spice Village from CGH Earth Group, staying in your own thatched cottage in a tribal village set within a spice garden in Periyar, Thekkady. Designed to immerse you in nature, bringing you closer to the land and its people, you could spend your first afternoon here experiencing one of the included activities, such as an Introduction to Spice with the hotel’s chef.
Today you’ll wake early for a pre-breakfast, private nature walk with the hotel’s naturalist, taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds of the forests along the way. After heading back to the Spice Village for breakfast your next stop will be at the Spice Plantation/ Here you can wander through the fields of cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, learning about the harvesting and processing of them from the plantation’s owner.
After your final breakfast at the unique Spice Village your driver will collect you for the 4-5 hour journey to Kumarakom. Here you’ll check into the Kumarakom Lake Resort, where your villa has direct access to the “meandering pool”, perfect for an afternoon dip after your journey. Alternatively, indulge with the many activities on offer, like a guided village walk. Then round off your evening with a candlelit dinner.
Today is yours to do as you please in one of Kerala’s most alluring regions. Set on a subtropical peninsular that juts into Vembanad Lake, attractions close to Kumarakom include the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls and a bird sanctuary where you can see many rare species of birdlife. Or of course you could take the opportunity to have some downtime; this is, after all, a key place to study yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic massage, your resort being home to an Ayurveda Spa.
After breakfast you’ll board a traditional houseboat, or kettuvallam, for your overnight stay cruising on the backwaters of Kumarakom. This small, intimate boat creates a serene part of your Kerala tour, as you wend your way gently past the scenery enjoying the views and the delicious food as you go (all meals are included); an opportunity to slow the pace of your trip and see this special part of India from a different vantage point.
You’ll disembark from your houseboat and make the short journey to Maraikulam for the last stop on your tour of Kerala. The Marari Beach Resort has been chosen to allow you a few quieter days to wind down before you return home. But should you be inspired to experience more of India, there is plenty to tempt you away from the pool, beach and spa; like a cooking class at the Farm Kitchen and watching a local festival steeped in tradition.
When you’re not spending your final few days in India swimming in the resort’s large saltwater pool or reading a book from the small library in a hammock strung between two coconut trees, then here are a few ideas: • A herbal massage at the Ayurveda centre • A session at the yoga centre • Visiting a local fishing village and a butterfly garden • Taking a nature walk with the in-house naturalist
After you’ve had your last breakfast of the tour you’ll be collected for your 2-hour transfer to the airport at Cochin for your return flight home to the UK. No doubt your friends and family will be enthralled by all of your memories and photos from your tailor-made tour of Kerala in India.

Mari

Travel Specialist

Not sure where to stay in Asia? I'm here to help. Give me a call and I'll share my first-hand insights to find your perfect spot.

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13 nights from £4,299 per person

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