12 days from £1398 per person
Places Visited: Cochin, Periyar National Park, Kumarakom, Maraikulam
Kerala offers plenty to keep the whole family entertained, and this carefully designed itinerary combines the comfort of CGH Earth Hotels with the excitement of this south Indian state.
Highlights of the trip include a rickshaw ride around Cochin, a boat cruise on Periyar Lake in search of wildlife, a trip to a plantation to help feed and bathe elephants, Coconut Lagoon's butterfly garden, canoeing on the backwaters and some relaxation time on Marari beach.
Fly to Cochin on Emirates, via Dubai.
You'll be met on arrival and transferred to Eighth Bastion, Kochi for a two-night stay. The rest of the morning and the afternoon are at leisure. This evening there is a relaxing sunset cruise around Cochin harbour. This is an ideal way to all the activity around the harbour as well as Cochin's iconic Chinese fishing nets.
The day begins with a half-day sightseeing tour of Cochin, a vibrant city on India's southwest coast. This morning's guided tour focuses on the historical and characterful heart of the city, the area of Fort Cochin. Surrounded by a wonderful blend of colonial architecture you'll be taken to Mattancherry Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, St Francis Church and for a close-up look at the Chinese fishing nets. Following the tour you'll hop on an auto-rickshaw to explore the rest of the city - a fun experience that children (and adults) of all ages are sure to love. This evening you'll attend a Kathakali dance performance, where the dancers primarily use facial expressions to tell a story. We'll arrive early so you can see the performers applying their elaborate and colourful make-up.
This morning they'll be a five to six-hour drive through the picturesque Western Ghats to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a three-night stay at Spice Village, Periyar. For lunch you'll stop at an estate bungalow and eat with a local family.
Periyar is well known for the variety of spices grown in the area. This morning you can take a guided tour of the spice gardens and see how the various spices are grown, harvested and used. Or alternatively, you can join the Pepper Vine programme at the resort and take a tour of the property with a naturalist who will talk you through all the plants, rare herbs, tree and birdlife within the property. This afternoon you will drive to the nearby entrance to Periyar National Park where you will board the boat for your afternoon cruise on the lake. This is a good way to spot wildlife that have come down to the lake edge to drink, and you may be lucky enough to spot deer, gaur (Indian bison), and elephants. An interesting physical feature of this park are the flooded trees that rise eerily from the water. If you are interested in the local style of cooking you could go for a cooking demonstration at the resort that is open for all residents in the evening. There is also a cultural show with local dances performed.
This morning there's a chance to get up close and personal with some of Periyar's largest residents! You'll be taken to a plantation where you can join in the washing and feeding of elephants and later take a ride (20-30 minutes). The rest of the day is at leisure.
After breakfast there'll be a four-hour drive as you leave behind the spice plantations of Periyar and head to the backwaters, passing through small villages and paddy fields. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom will be home for the next two nights.
This morning you'll set off for a cruise on Vembanad Lake on the backwaters. The rest of the day is at leisure. The resort has a butterfly garden that always proves popular with children and there'll be a naturalist on hand to point out the different species. Coconut Lagoon also has canoes that guests can take out onto the canals or Vembanad Lake; perfect for a leisurely afternoon on the backwaters.
An hour drive will take you from Kumarakom to Mararikulam where you'll stay at the Marari Beach Resort, Mararikulam for four nights.
Days at leisure.
Mararikulam, Cochin, UK
Early morning you will be met at your hotel and transferred to Cochin airport (two hours) for your return flight home via Dubai.
12 days from £1398 per person
✓ International flights from UK in economy
✓ 11 nights accommodation
✓ All road travel and transfers by private chauffeur-driven vehicles
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Breakfast daily
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
For centuries the hub of India’s spice and tea trade, Fort Cochin occupies the northern tip of a peninsula dividing the mouth of the Vembanad Lake from the Arabian Sea. Its low-ri...
Periyar National Park
High in the hills of inland Kerala, the famous Periyar National Park hugs the border with Tamil Nadu. Its focal point is a convoluted reservoir on whose muddy shores herds of elep...
Vembanad Lake & Kumarakom
Between Cochin and the town of Alleppey (Alappuzha) on the low-lying coastal strip of central Kerala stretches a vast, shimmering saltwater lagoon known as Vembanad Lake. As well ...
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