Backwaters and Beaches of Kerala
India, Discovery, 12 days - from £925 (land only) - from €1,300 (land only) - from $1,510 (land only)
Day 1: We rendezvous at the group hotel in Kochi. Airport transfers are provided. After an initial briefing from the guide, the rest of the day is free to explore this fascinating city, with its palaces, forts and Chinese fishing contraptions. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner and an evening visit to a Kathakali dance show.
Day 2: In the morning, there is a guided sightseeing tour of the harbour area by boat. We also explore Fort Kochi, the Mattancherry Palace, the Jewish synagogue and Saint Francis's Church. More free time in the afternoon and a second night at our Kochi hotel.
Day 3: After an early breakfast, we drive out to Koadanadd where we can see elephants bathing, before continuing our drive to Kothamangalam. After checking in at our hotel, we have an evening visit to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, one of the richest in India.
Day 4: From the foothills of the Western Ghats, we drive up to the charming town of Munnar, which sits beneath Anamundi (2695m), Kerala's highest peak. We have plenty of time to walk amongst the colourful shops and temples of this former hill-station.
Day 5: After breakfast, we drive to the nearby village of Nagarmudi and set off with a local guide on a walk thorough plantations of tea, coffee and cardamom, ascending to the Seven Malai Hills. In the afternoon we will take a visit to a tea museum. We spend a second night in Munnar.
Day 6: Today, we drive southwards from Munnar through the Western Ghats, passing through tea plantations and with far-reaching views across a rolling, green landscape. Arriving at the village of Thekkady, we check in at our hotel. After lunch there will be a short guided walk around a spice garden.
Day 7: We will have an early morning walk with a Forest Guard in the Periyar Wildlife Reserve, returning to our hotel for a late breakfast. Later, there is the option to take a boat ride on Periyar Lake at additional cost, a chance to get close to elephant, wild pig and buffalo. We spend a second night at Thekkady.
Day 8: Leaving the hills, we drive down to the coastal plains through tea and fruit plantations. At Alleppey, we board a houseboat and begin our cruise along the backwaters of Kerala. Overnight on the houseboat.
Day 9: After a relaxing breakfast on the houseboat, we will disembark and drive to Coir Village Resort at Thrikunpuzzha. Overnight in a beautiful setting on the banks of the backwater canals, surrounded by coconut palms.
Day 10: Today, we drive to Varkala and check in at our beach resort accommodation. We have the rest of the day to enjoy the idyllic soft sandy beaches and warm water of the Laccadive Sea.
Day 11: A full day to relax on the beach or to explore the surrounding area. We spend a second night at our Varkala beach hotel.
Day 12: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Transfers to Trivandrum Airport are provided.