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Exotic Kerala: Backwaters, Wildlife and Houseboats

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 9 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 15 people
Destination(s): India  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   National Parks  
Season: October - May
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 910 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1700 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Kochi. Upon arrival met and transferred to your hotel. Transfer to your hotel for two nights. Evening enjoy a sunset cruise to see Chinese fishing nets (the boats have safety rings but no life jackets).

Day 2: Kochi. Enjoy a sightseeing of the town in the morning. (This will include the Synagogue, Dutch Palace and St Francis' Church). Cochin - formerly a princely state beckoned travelers from distant shores. This commercial city, also called “The Queen of the Arabian Sea” is famous for its exquisite designer Gold Jewelry. The Indian Navy, the Port and the Airport share the largely man-made Willingdon Island.

The sightseeing includes the visit to Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese for a local King in 1555 A.D. The famous Jew Street, a cul-de-sac leading to the beautiful Parsi Synagogue built in 1568. A walking tour of Fort Cochin will take you through the streets still graced with traces of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial architecture, including a few old trad¬ing factories, the only ones still standing anywhere in the world. Afternoon is at leisure. In the evening enjoy a Kathakali dance performance, the traditional dance-form of Kerala (Suggest arrive early to see make-up being put on by the artists).

The most popular and sacred dance-drama of Kerala, Kathakali evolved across the last 400 years. This classical dance requires lengthy and rigourous training to attain complete control of the body and sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures. Themes centre on the two great Indian epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. We suggest arriving early in order to witness the artists putting on their make-up.

Day 3: Kochi – Munnar. Drive to Munnar (135 kilometers/about 3½ hours drive). Arrive Munnar and transfer to your hotel for one night. A hill station at a height of 1525 m, Munnar offers a breathtaking view of the hills draped in folds of green carpet of tea gardens. Munnar - the right royal resort lazily nestled in the verdant slopes of tea country, is a quaint little town that exudes a rare old world charm and strangely reminds one of the days of the Raj in its elegant splendour.

Beyond the rolling hills discover the rich tropical forests abounding in exotic flora and fauna. It is here that you will find the Anamudi peak, the highest peak in the Western Ghats, in South India. Munnar’s serene atmosphere, silver streams and pleasant climate welcome you to have a whiff of the cool mountain breeze.

Day 4: Munnar – Periyar National Park. Drive to Periyar (113 kilometers/about 2½ hours drive). Arrive Periyar and transfer to your hotel for two nights.

Day 5: Periyar National Park. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Periyar to spot herds of wild elephants OR enjoy the visit to the tea estate to see tea plantation. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 6: Periyar National Park – Kumarakom. Drive to Kumarakom (185 kilometers/about 4½ hours drive). Arrive Kumarakom & transfer to your hotel for two nights.

Day 7: Kumarakom. Day is at leisure. Perched on the eastern banks of the mighty Lake Vembanad is the sleepy little town of Kumarakom in central Kerala. The hartland of Kerala’s famed backwaters, Kumarakom has changed little since the middle ages but for it’s string of exotic resorts that makes it the perfect jumping – off point to explore the backwaters, especially for a first time visitor to this chilli-shaped state in the south-western tip of India endorsed by the National Geographic Traveller as one the 10 paradises on Earth!

Day 8: Kumarakom – Backwaters. Checkout from your hotel. Board a private rice-boat for a journey through the backwaters in and around Alleppey. Overnight at the Houseboat. The riceboats were originally built 40 years ago and are constructed from Anjali wood and coir. They are 55 feet in length and 15 feet in width and with a capacity of 35 tons they were used for transporting a variety of goods, but mainly rice. Two men using tall bamboo poles push the rice barge through the water - they cover a distance of approximately 20 km a day!

They are simply furnished and consist of a thatched covered lounge cum dining area, a double bedroom (with mosquito net) and a bathroom with a WC and washbasin. In the evening the boat is lit by hurricane lamps. Thatched awning on both sides of the boat allows the breeze and views to flow in. There is a small service area at the back where the cook prepares simple meals using as much fresh provisions as can be plucked, caught or bought in the backwaters.

Rice Boat cruise in the canal by Bamboo Poles, sail through the lagoon with favourable wind, for a change swim in the water, enjoys the scenic beauty of colourful villages. Have a sumptuous meal on Banana leaves. In the evening, witness sunset through coconut palms. Enjoy dinner under million stars. Sleep and dream with the pleasant roll of backwater (You can have a discussion on various subjects on our Indian culture with your guide).

Day 9: Backwaters – Kochi – Onward destination. Disembark at Alleppey. Drive to Cochin (about 1½ hours drive) airport in time to connect your return flight (please note: check in is 3 hours prior to departure).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Accommodation on twin share at the hotels mentioned in the itinerary or equivalent for a total stay of 8 hotel overnights on bed and breakfast basis
- All transfers as per the itinerary in exclusive chauffeur driven non-conditioned transport (Note: Please request us for the air-conditioned supplement if required)
- Services of a qualified local English-speaking guide
- Entrances to monuments and National Park visited as per the itinerary
- All currently applicable taxes.