Tea Estates in Munnar, Kerala.
What better way to explore India's southern cities, rolling hills and enticing coastline than on this carefree journey of discovery? You'll trek, cycle and cruise your way through this varied state taking in its architectural wonders and natural landscapes as you are met by smiles everywhere you go.
Carefree Kerala is the perfect blend of urban life, outdoor adventure and total relaxation. Cycle through colonial Fort Cochin and learn the secrets of Keralan cuisine, before breathing in the cooler air at Munnar's lush tea plantations. Round off the trip cruising along the shimmering backwaters before relaxing on the palm-tree lined Marari Beach. Pure, unparalleled bliss.
Explore the various colonial influences of the historic Fort Cochin
Indulge in a cup or two of authentic India tea
Watch the fascinating 'Going to Bed' Ceremony in Madurai
Glide through tropical backwaters on a traditional rice barge
Chill out on palm-tree lined beaches
Learn the secrets of Keralan cuisine in a family-run cookery class
This beautiful trip to India includes international flights, a private car and driver throughout, accommodation, excursions, breakfasts and some lunches and dinners.
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip. All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
The day has arrived, and today you’ll be waving goodbye to family and friends as you board your international flight to Kochi.
On arrival meet with a local representative and your driver who will be with you throughout your Keralan adventure. Waste no time in jumping in the car as you are whisked to the oldest part of the state's capital - Fort Cochin. Take some time to freshen up after the flight before delving out into the city to explore at your own leisure. From colonial architecture to Chinese Fishing Nets, this is a marvellous place to uncover on foot. Unearth the history of the 400-year-old Jewish synagogue and Dutch Mattancherry Palace.
After an exhilarating day, you’ll have a chance to tuck into some hearty home cooked food, as you head off to a local family's home in the evening. Here you'll be shown how to make some classic Keralan dishes before sharing these tasty dishes with the family.
Day 2 in Kochi brings with it an early start but one that's very much worth it as you'll be you’ll be whizzing round the 13 different ethnic and religious communities of Fort Cochin on an exhilarating cycling tour. As you travel past markets, temples and local homes you'll notice the diversity within this historic city where different groups live harmoniously as neighbours.
A well-deserved breakfast back at your hotel awaits before you have the rest of the day at leisure to explore at your own pace. Spend time lazing in the eclectic range of cafes and eateries, sampling local delicacies or book onto a harbour cruise to watch the sunsetting over the Chinese Fishing Nets.
Things to do
Activity and Adventure
Early today, you’ll be saying a fond goodbye to Kochi as you are driven inland towards the rolling green tea plantations of Munnar. Famous for its tea cultivation, no trip to Southern India would be complete without a trip to this lush landscape.
On arrival you'll be heading to a local tea factory, museum and plantation as a way to delve into the tea growing and picking process. Of course, you’ll need to try a cup or two so enjoy a local tea tasting experience and put your own taste buds to the test!
On your second day in Munnar leap out of bed and pull on your best walking shoes, as today you'll be heading out on a trek in the region. Wandering through lush forests, rolling tea estates and quaint local villages, breathe in the fresh, cool air of the Western Ghats, meet friendly local tea-pickers and enjoy never-ending views over vivid green tea.
Things to do
You’ll be crossing the border this morning into the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, with a drive down the Western Ghats, into the fast-paced, ancient city of Madurai.
Along the way, pop into the city's flower market allowing the vivid colours of blossoms to brighten your journey. As you wander past the countless stalls watch women creating beautiful garlands and breath in the aromas of freshly picked blooms. From here you'll carry on to your hotel at the heart of the city where you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon by the pool or head out to see what sights you can uncover in this enticing city.
On your final day in the city, you’ll explore Madurai in a very unique way, on a thrilling local rickshaw ride. First up on the exploration agenda, is the extensive Sri Meenakshi temple complex drawing pilgrims from far and wide to this holy site. Then it’s on to the Mahatma Gandhi museum and city palace before your rickshaw takes you on a journey deep into Madurai's sprawling markets where you will weave in and out of stacks of bananas, pyramids of spices and assortments of colourful fabrics.
Enjoy a leisurely afternoon before you head back to the Temple in the evening for the daily 'Going to Bed' Ceremony. Join pilgrims and travellers for this fascinating ritual where Lord Shiva is ceremoniously laid in his resting place for the night, to the sounds of music and chants.
Things to do
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Activity and Adventure
Leaving the city of Madurai behind you this morning, you'll be heading back into Kerala as you drive to the Periyar National Park. Midway between Madurai and the calming shores of Kerala's coastline, this makes the perfect rural stop off on your journey.
It’s also well known for its cultivation of spices, which means that you’ll get the chance to explore one of the sumptuous spice plantations on arrival. Learn from your local guide, as they explain the origins of classic Indian spices. From clove, to cinnamon, and ginger to turmeric, you’re in for an aromatic experience!
You’ll rise with the balmy sun this morning, as you head into the depths of the Periyar National Park with a local naturalist guide. For wildlife lovers, this is the best time of day to spot the park's animals, such as deer, langur monkeys and plentiful birdlife.
Back at your property you’ll delight in an authentic breakfast before jumping in the car and heading towards Kerala's blissful backwaters at Alleppey. As you make your way down to the jetty, there will be a small crew waiting to welcome you on board your traditional rice barge, which is exclusively yours for 24 hours. You’ll take to the smooth backwaters as you glide along on this pleasant cruise. From fishermen going about their daily business to children travelling to school, watch the world go by in slow motion as you explore the relaxing rivers and calming waterways.
And to top this magical journey off, watch the sunsetting over the palm-tree lined waters before enjoying a fresh Keralan dinner on board.
Now it’s time for the beach! Disembark your boat this morning and drive the short distance to Marari Beach where you can kick off your shoes and stroll barefoot along the velvety soft sands, before dipping a toe into the cooling turquoise waters. Spend the rest of the day and the next meandering between resort and beach as you enjoy watching the colourful fishing boats that line the shore, lounging by the resort pool or simply curling up under a palm-tree with a book.
On your final day wake up to a filling breakfast before heading back to the airport to catch your flights home, eager to tell your friends and family all about this magical trip.