Southern Spice - Family Holiday in Kerala
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kochi/Cochin. KE land only group package services start with a single-timed transfer to our hotel. The afternoon is free for relaxation after our flight. In the evening we have an optional sunset boat cruise in the backwaters.
Day 2: After breakfast we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city including a visit to the Mattanchery Palace, built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Kochi. We also visit the synagogue and St Francis Church, finishing with a visit to see the huge Chinese fishing nets by the side of the harbour. Tonight we can enjoy a performance of traditional masked Kathakali dancers in a local theatre.
Day 3: After breakfast we drive to Munnar (approx 4 hours) in the heart of the Cardomom Hills. Munnar is a former hill station, surrounded by endless green rolling hills and 30 of the world's highest tea estates. In the afternoon we have time to visit Eravikulam National Park with its enchanting views. Overnight hotel in Munnar. February itinerary visits Thattekad Bird Sanctuary as Eravikulam is closed.
Day 4: This morning we have a scenic boat ride at the Mattapudy Dam before visiting the tea factory to see how tea is picked, processed and packed before tasting the finished produce. We then trek through the foothills stopping off to explore tea plantations. Tonight we stay with a local family in a homestay. Accommodation will be basic and simple, but there will be a warm welcome!
Day 5: Driving to Thekkady, we pass through tranquil countryside and plantations of rubber, pepper, tea and cardamom growing on the gentle hills of the Western Ghats. In the afternoon we explore the jungle by motorboat, looking out for elephant, wild boars and colourful birdlife, we have an optional elephant ride. We have dinner with a local family and a cookery demonstration. Overnight hotel Thekkady.
Day 6: We set off to Alleppey (3-4 hrs drive). Today we are going to explore the backwaters by houseboat, boarding at Alleppey. Cruising the backwaters is a wonderful experience - both relaxing and stimulating as well as a great way of viewing local life. Passing through coconut groves and palm trees, we eventually moor up for the night in Vembanadu Lake. Overnight on the houseboat.
Day 7: After breakfast on the houseboat, we disembark and drive to the seaside town of Kovalam. On arrival, we check into our hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Day 8: A free day to relax on the beach. Overnight at our hotel. `Kovalam` derives from the Tamil word meaning coconut groves for which the area is famed. We also have the opportunity to visit a local school. Overnight hotel in Kovalam.
Day 9: KE Land Only group package services end after a breakfast. A single-timed transfer will be provided to the airport in Trivandrum, which is just a short drive from the hotel.