Amazing Kerala-12 days
Places covered: Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Marari beach, Kumarakom-Alleppey by houseboat cruise, Kovalam, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum
Day 1 Cochin arrival:
On arrival at Cochin airport, you will be welcomed by Concept Voyages’ representative and transferred to the Fort Kochi hotel. Go for a short sightseeing tour of Cochin. Known as the queen of the Arabian Sea is one of the most interesting cities of India and has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. St Francis Church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama, is the first European church built in India and is the site where da Gama was buried. The Jewish Synagogue was built in 1568, Chinese hand-painted tiles are one of the attraction. This, the only Synagogue in India has a nostalgic past of a Jewish Diaspora. The "Dutch Palace" was built in the 1550s; the palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring - a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites - which gives the effect of polished marble. Overnight stay at the Hotel.
Day 2 Cochin-Poothotta Village visit:
After breakfast at hotel, depart for visiting the Poothotta village. Your village backwater cruise will be an unforgettable journey in a country boat into the pristine purity of a typical backwater village of Kerala as your boat goes zigzagging through the narrow canals and paddy fields fringed with coconut palms. Drive towards Vaikom-Kottayam and reach Poothotta - a fisherman's village. The backwaters are network of lakes, coconut shaded canals and estuaries - tiled and thatched cottages bright with hibiscus dot the embankments. Backwaters are a gateway for the visitor to see first hand the unhurried village life of rural Kerala. The life is tough and traditional work is highly labour intensive. Here one meets the people engaged in country boat building, prawn cultivation, sand mining, coir manufacture, limestone collection, rice farming and duck rearing, Bamboo basket making, coir craft, straw mat weaving, toddy tapping etc., Such unhurried life holds a certain fascination for the visitor to these places. Watch a demonstration of toddy tapping and coir crafts before having a sumptuous lunch at the village home. Visit coir and coconut farm -spices garden like Black pepper-coffee-cashew nut, coco, pineapple, Nut meg-Betel nut etc. You can also watch the cooking demonstration directly from the villagers who will be glad to teach you prepare some delicacies. Relax till evening and depart for Cochin for overnight stay at hotel.
Day 3 Cochin- Munnar (130kms, 3hrs):
After breakfast, transfer to Munnar, known as nature lover’s paradise. Munnar is a breathtakingly beautiful place, a haven of peace and tranquillity with unending expanse of tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains, exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests. To top it up an aroma of spice scented cool air will engulf you while you are there. It is Munnar, known as the Kashmir of South, the idyllic tourist destination of God's own country. Munnar, once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India, has sprawling tea plantations and picturesque views making Munnar a popular hill resort town in South India. Afternoon visit to Rajamala and Eravikulam National Park. Overnight stay at the Resort.
Day 4 Munnar sightseeing:
Breakfast at resort, proceed for sight seeing tour of Munnar. Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Apart from being a popular hill station in India, Munnar is also one of the major centers for tea trade in Kerala. Surrounded by almost 30 tea gardens that give it a picturesque view, Munnar is near Anaimudi, the highest peak of the Kerala Western Ghats. Besides tea and other plantations, the old-world charm of colonial establishments attracts visitors to this place all the year round. The hills around Munnar are covered with the rare Neelakurunji plant giving it a wonderful look, especially when the flowers bloom to cover the entire mountain range. It is said that this exotic plant flowers every 12 years and the next scheduled flowering time is the year 2018. Munnar a misty, lush green hill station up in the Annamalai range of Kerala, Munnar's tea gardens, some of the highest in the world, stretch up the sides of the hills and are interspersed with pockets of forest rich in wildlife. On your holiday, enjoy the scenic beauty of Munnar with its marvelous waterfalls, lush tea gardens and high mountains with low flying clouds. This days sightseeing can include visit to Mattupetty for boating, Kundala dam, Eco-point, Top station, Indo-Swiss cattle farm. Overnight stay at the Resort.
Day 5 Munnar- Thekkady (90kms, 2hrs, 30mins):
Breakfast at resort, transfer to Thekkady, the famous wildlife destination of Kerala. Perched amidst dense greenery, in the outskirts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the sole Tiger reserve of the Country, Thekkady, with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna, is the ultimate reservoir, of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture. Thekkady - The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting holiday. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wild life. A cruise through the waters of Periyar Lake around which the wildlife sanctuary is situated, offers a soul-stirring pleasant experience. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar remains the large herds of wild elephants that come down to the lake's edge. The tiger and leopard are sighted when the forest water holes dry up and these animals come and drink water from the river. India's most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries, where you can watch wildlife at close range; the vegetation, the flora and fauna and the birds of Thekkady are uniquely rich, vast and varied that it does not bear resemblance to any other wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Thekkady - The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations. The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wild life. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 6 Thekkady-Mararikulam (133 kms / 3 hrs 40 mins):
After breakfast, reach Marari beach by your private car. Check into your resort. Marari Beach is an endless vista of sand and surf, but it is more. An authentic experience of the world of Kerala's traditional fishing villages, and a recreation of an ancient, harmonious way of life. Free day at leisure to enjoy the tranquil beach in Marari. Marari Beach, you'll find, is the one place where you can unwind completely, without the trying bit. You can't watch TV to relax, for example. There isn't one in your room. You can’t plunge into a whirl of holiday activities like surfboarding or beach parties. Marari is not merely an antidote to stress. It's a cure for that other vexing holiday problem: Trying to take it easy. Because here, you can throw away the ‘to do’ list and be free, with no effort at all. Relax at Marari Beach. Overnight stay at resort.
Day 7 Mararikulam:
After breakfast, free day at leisure to enjoy beach activities and yoga at Marari. The village of Maraikulam lies on a forgotten shore, midway up the Malabar coast, where the Indian Ocean finally decides that it has now become the Arabian Sea. It was here that we found all our answers. A beach is a beach is a beach. Until you can seek out its living heart, the culture that calls it home. And so, Marari Beach is a celebration of Kerala's coastal fishing villages. Inspired by this ancient way of life, we sought to capture its essence and create a new experience in sensitive travel for the modern-day visitor. Overnight stay at the Resort.
Day 8 Marari to Kumarakom (by road)-Alleppey by Houseboat (30 kms / 40 mins):
After breakfast, check out from the resort and proceed to Kumarakom. On arrival, check in for the Houseboat cruise to Alleppey. What is truly magical about a houseboat ride is the breathtaking view of the untouched and otherwise inaccessible rural Kerala that it offers. The houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Meals would be cooked on board and supplemented with fresh fish from the backwaters. Today, the tradition is still continued and the food from the local cuisine is served by the Kuttanad localities, on board! Enjoy your dinner & overnight at the Houseboat.
Day 9 Alleppey to Kovalam (161 kms / 3hrs):
After breakfast checkout from houseboat and your chauffeur will transfer you to Kovalam. proceed to Kovalam, the world-renowned beach destination. Kovalam is a world famous Indian tropical beach, boarded by blue waters and lush coconut gardens, is a western cultural dot on a traditional and orthodox Kerala physique. Blue water and favourable climate make Kovalam a favourite year-round spot for swimming. Sea, here, is pacific and shallow where you can take a dip in the saline waters. Enjoy the blue waters of the beach. Overnight at the resort.
Day 10 Kovalam-Kanyakumari (83 kms / 1 hr 40 mins):
Morning, depart for Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of the Peninsula. Enroute, visit Padmanabhapuram Palace and Sucheendram Temple. Kanyakumari, once referred to as the "ALEXANDRIA OF THE EAST", has been a great centre for art, culture, civilization and pilgrimage for years. This is the only place in India where one can enjoy the unique experience of watching the sunset and moonrise simultaneously on a full moon evening. Enjoy the sight seeing place of Kanyakumari. After sunset, overnight at the Kanyakumari.
Day 11 Kanyakumari-Kovalam (83 kms / 1 hr 40 mins):
Breakfast at resort. Enjoy beach activities at Kovalam - sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in colour due to the presence of ilmenite and thorazite. There are two main beaches at Kovalam, separated by a high cliff. There is small light house in the Eve's beach. Overnight at the resort.
Day 12 Kovalam - Trivandrum (40kms, 1hr drive):
After breakfast, transfer to Trivandrum airport or railway station for departure.
End of tour.