Visit the sequestered, refreshing hill stations of Southern India, travel through spectacular mountains, spot tigers and elephant herds in Periyar National Park, discover hidden lagoons and waterways and relax on one of Kerala’s beautiful beaches
Day 1 & 2: Brunton Boatyard, Cochin, Kerala
Upon arrival at Cochin Airport, you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel, The Brunton Boatyard, for 2 nights.
After a well-rested night of luxury, you will be provided with a sightseeing tour of Cochin. You will first visit The Dutch Palace, which was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555 AD. Its interior is decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins. You will then proceed to the sea-front, where you will be able to see traditional Chinese Fishing Nets, which are said to have been brought over from China by traders of Kubalai Khan’s Court. A visit to The Church of St. Francis, built by the Portuguese in 1510 AD and believed to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India, will also be provided. After returning in the afternoon for some relaxation and recuperation, you will spend the evening cruising the waterways in and around Cochin in comfort, to further explore this fascinating city.
Info: Brunton Boatyard & Cochin
Brunton Boatyard is housed in a renovated period building set in the historical boatyard where colonial trading houses ued to thrive. Being an area shaped by European trade, the hotel’s architecture and furniture reflects the mix of Dutch, Portuguese and British styles which all played an active role in Jaipur’s development. Rooms are tastefully decorated to reflect the hotel’s history whilst also being extremely comfortable and having all modern amenities, including a large shared swimming pool.
Cochin is based on a cluster of islands on the vast Vembanad Lake. The Lake opens out into the Arabian Sea here to form one of the finest natural harbours in the world. It is this natural advantage that has given Cochin its fascinating blend of diverse cultures and influences. The Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and the British have all left their mark here, passing through as traders, conquerors and explorers.
Day 3 & 4: Tea County Manor, Munnar, Kerala
In the morning you will be transferred from Cochin to Munnar, spending two nights at the Tea County Munnar, surrounded by beautiful, unspoilt nature. Before departure you will be able to visit the Jewish Synagogue in Munnar.
After checking-in you will be taken to the Eravikulam National Park, situated along the crest of the Western Ghats. The Park holds the largest viable population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, a mountain goat endemic to the region. Apart from Tahr, the Park is home to other little known fauna such as the Nilgiri marten, the ruddy mongoose, the small-clawed otter, and the dusky-striped squirrel, among others. The next morning you will be taken on a short, guided trek through the region’s most beautiful areas, including the highest hill-station in Munnar. In the afternoon a driver will be available for a scenic drive, if so desired.
Info: Tea County Manor & Munnar
As the name suggest, Tea County Manor is set amongst rolling hills clad in vast tea plantations. Each tastefully-decorated, colonial-style room has a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and valleys and the lodge itself feels sequestered and peaceful, proving a welcome rest from frenetic cities and a long journey.
Located at the confluence of three mountain streams, Munnar is a beautiful hill resort situated at an altitude of 1600 meters. Locals say it is blessed by Mother Nature, which its blue mountains, verdant pastures, distinct tea bushes and lush rainforests attest to. Whilst in Munnar you can go mountain-biking, paragliding over the valleys, trekking, rock-climbing or fishing.
Day 5 & 6: Spice Village, Periyar National Park, Thekkady, Kerala
After breakfast you will be taken on a stunningly beautiful journey through the heart of Kerala to Periyar (approx. 4 hours), where you will spend two nights at the Spice Village Hotel.
Over the next few days you can take part in cooking classes, where you can also enjoy the food after cooking, visit some of the regions spice plantations on a tour and visit the famous Periyar National Park to view wildlife by boat, which has a healthy population of Bengali tigers.
Info: Spice Village & Periyar National Park
Nestled in the mountains, the lodge is largely open, with verdant lawns and fresh mountain air to revive you after the heat and bustle of the cities. A large swimming pool, large and spacious rooms and a focus on cooking and educating guests about the use of Indian spices will ensure that your stay here here will be both memorable and unique. Cooking classes and the cooks’ in-depth knowledge of spices mean that guests can return home with a few new recipes to try.
Situated within the confines of the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve is one of the most captivating wildlife parks in the world. The park has a picturesque lake at its heart, where herds of elephant, deer, bison and wild pigs wander down to the lakeside, observable from the launches that cruise the lake. There are also leopards, wild dogs and monitor lizards in the park.
Day 7 & 8: Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom, Kerala
After breakfast you will be transferred to Kumarakom (approx. 3 hours), where you will spend two nights at the Coconut Lagoon.
Upon arrival the day will be spent at leisure, allowing you to enjoy Ayurveda treatment, a cultural healing practice using herbs and other natural substances, and massage or to take in the area’s calming beauty from the comfort of your private bungalow. In the evening you will be invited to enjoy a sunset cruise, which is when Kumarakom is at its most beautiful. The second day in Kumarakom will be free to allow you to wander and explore the area at your own pace.
Info: Coconut Lagoon & Kumarakom
Coconut Lagoon is a very relaxing guesthouse surrounded by mangroves and acres of rice paddies. A lovely garden, large swimming pool and hammocks by the river’s edge make it ideal for relaxing with a book for a few days, with rooms having king-size beds and all modern amenities.
Kumarakom is a patchwork paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals. The village of Kumarakom is formed of a cluster of small islands on the Vembanad Lake. The bird sanctuary here is renowned for its migratory birds and is an ornithologist’s paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that habituate the area provide fascinating viewing from a boat.
Day 9: Spice Coast Cruise, Allepey, Kerala
You will be transferred in the morning to Allepey (approx. 1 hour) to board a Kettuvallam rice boat for a fascinating cruise through the backwaters of Kerala, taking in the small lakes, scenery and inland lagoons from the comfort of the forward sun-deck. This is living life at its most leisurely, complete with air-conditioning and lunch and dinner served on-board.
The boats are extremely comfortable and come with a large double-bed, a dining area and a forward, open deck. They are designed in the traditional manner, with the interiors being up-graded to provide for a more luxurious and comfortable stay.
Day 10-13: Marari Beach Resort, Mararikulam, Kerala
After breakfast on-board, you will be driven to Marari (approx. 1 hour), where you will check-in to the Marari Beach Resort. Here, you will spend 3 days relaxing and participating in the various activities on offer at the hotel.
Marari Beach Resort is the ideal beach break hotel. Upon arrival at the wickerwork and bamboo reception area after a long drive, you are greeted with a fresh fruit juice and are escorted to your room, a lovely beach lodge with a fresh and spacious bedroom and a part open-air bathroom with a thatched roof. The restaurant offers excellent internationald and Keralan food, with meat kebabs and fish prepared on a barbeque in the restaurant, and the beach-side bar offers a wide range of innovative cocktails and fruit juices. The hotel has a large pool and countless sun-loungers, as well as having the sea a matter of metres from your room.