10 days, 9 nights
Duration
16-25 Oct 2020, 12-21 Dec 2020, 21 Feb-2 March 2021
Dates

Special offer: Kochi, in beautiful South India, has just been named as the top trending travel destination in the world. International travel company TripAdvisor has recognised the Keralan city as part of their annual Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best awards. This news comes after Kochi was also chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten cities in the world as part of the Best in Travel 2020 list. To celebrate we are offering a bonus Ayurvedic massage in Kochi when you book our Enchanting Kerala tour. We have also created an optionalthree-day bespoke add-on to Kochi if you wish to further explore the bazaars, history, culture and cuisine of this enchanting city.

 

Our Enchanting Kerala tour takes in some of the bespoke highlights of this stunning region. This tropical state in southern India is a wondrous land of serene backwaters and coconut palm lined beaches. Further inland the coastal plains rise to meet the Western Ghats whose vast fertile slopes grow a dizzying array of spices, cashews, tea and coffee. The beautiful National Parks are home to elephants, various primates and the elusive tiger. Kerala’s 600km of stunning coastline supports a lively fishing industry making seafood an important part of the local cuisine.

Known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, Kochi is a relatively small heritage city known for its iconic Chinese fishing nets, colonial backstreets, interesting architecture, thriving art forms and bespoke cafes and galleries. Originally this port city was an important spice trade post and was the first point of European colonisation in India. Firstly occupied by the Portuguese and then closely followed by both the Dutch the British, Kochi abounds with fascinating European architecture including lavishly designed Christian churches. In recent years the city has modernised, making it easier than ever to travel to as it enjoys many of the conveniences of India’s other modern cities. But unlike India’s mega cities, Kochi has held on to the elegant charm that it is so well known for. As befittingly described by TripAdvisor, Kochi is a unique, chilled out destination where travellers can enjoy ‘sunset strolls, sampling fresh fish from seaside vendors and boat rides through the islands just offshore.’

Come with us on this amazing journey to South India as we discover all that this magical place has to offer.

 

TOUR DATES

16-25 October 2020 (add-on 25-27 October 2020)

12-21 December 2020 (add-on 21-23 December 2020)

21 February – 2 March 2021 (add-on 2-4 March 2021)

TOUR COST

A$2300 per person, twin share
A$1100 single supplement* price based on minimum 2 peopleThree-day Kochi add on: Price on Application

*Independent travel price on application

DURATION

10 days, 9 nights,

Kochi add-on: 3 days, 2 nights

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the wonders of the heritage city of Kochi
  • Enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performance and Ayurvedic massage in Kochi
  • Trek in Munnar through scenic tea plantations and enjoy views of the Western Ghats
  • Experience the unique wildlife of Periyar National Park
  • Discover the spice plantations and spice markets in Thekkady
  • Cruise the backwaters of Alleppey with an overnight stay on a traditional Kettuvalam boat and enjoy delicious South Indian food
  • Relax with a village home stay on a car free backwater island
  • Opportunity to enjoy three extra days in Kochi with our bespoke add-on

TOUR ROUTE

Kochi – Munnar – Thekkady& Periyar National Park – Alleppey Backwaters – Kochi

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Day 1

Arrive Kochi

Welcome to India! On arrival at Kochi Airport, you will be met by our guide and transferred to your hotel in Fort Cochin. Spend the afternoon exploring this historical area, famed for its colonial era architecture and iconic Chinese fishing nets. There are also galleries, cafes and boutiques in addition to beautiful old churches. In the evening you can wander down to the fishing nets where the local fishermen will let you have a go for a small tip. For a truly local experience you can buy fresh sea food from one of the nearby fishmongers, take it to a nearby shack to be cooked and then enjoy it as you watch the sun going down.

Overnight: Hotel, Kochi

Day 2

Explore Kochi

After breakfast take a bespoke heritage walk around the local area. Fort Cochin is a maze of older style southern Indian houses and colonial era buildings which makes for an interesting walk. Along the way visit some of the most important landmarks which include Fort Immanuel, the Dutch Cemetery, Santa Cruz Basilicaand Saint Francis Church, believed to be the oldest European church in India.

We will then visit Mattancherry, the old bazaar district and home to the famous spice warehouses. We will also visit Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. We will then explore Jew Town, home to an interesting synagogue as well as antique and curio shops. The area is also home to many heritage restaurants and cafés with excellent street views when it is time for a break.

In the afternoon relax and enjoy your bonus Ayurvedic massage. Ayurveda is a holistic form of medicine established over 3000 years ago in India and is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of exploring. In the evening don’t miss the opportunity to catch a traditional Kathakali dance performance.

Overnight: Hotel, Kochi

Day 3

Kochi - Munnar

After a leisurely breakfast we will depart for Munnar, which is a scenic 4 hour drive up into the Western Ghats mountain range and is 1600m above sea level. Check into the accommodation and enjoy the fresh air of South India’s largest tea growing region.

In the afternoon we will take a drive up to the Top Station (1880m) for picturesque views of the Western Ghats and out across to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. There is a good chance we might see wild elephants wandering through the lush hills and jungles on our way. We will also check out Mattupetty Dam.

Overnight: Hotel, Munnar

Day 4

Explore Munnar

Today we will take a trek through the beautiful tea plantations around Munnar, the best way to enjoy the beauty of the rolling verdant hills. The mountain scenery is breathtaking, and you’ll often be above the clouds or amongst the veils of mist. Be amazed at the variety of fresh local produce as we stop to admire the many tea and spice plantations.

Overnight: Hotel, Munnar

Day 5

Munnar - Thekkady

After breakfast we will take a spectacular 3-hour drive through the Cardamom Hills to Thekkady, along a route lined with plantations of tea, cocoa, tapioca, bamboo, coconut, banana, and of course cardamom. Thekkady is the gateway to Periyar National Park, which is home to tigers, elephants, primates and deer.

The afternoon is at your leisure to relax or wander the village and explore the local markets. You may also wish to enjoy an optional extra such as a guided hike or safari in the national park, a therapeutic Ayurvedic treatment or a traditional South Indian cooking class.

Overnight: Hotel, Thekkady

Day 6

Thekkady & Periyar National Park

Take a scenic walk through the spice gardens before visiting the fragrant and colourful spice markets, which is a great opportunity to purchase spices.

In the afternoon we will take a wildlife cruise on Periyar Lake. This is a great opportunity for wildlife spotting, especially for deer, boar, otters and the many varieties of birdlife.

Overnight: Hotel, Thekkady

Day 7

Thekkady - Alleppey Backwaters

After an early breakfast we will depart for Alleppey (4 hours) where we will board our houseboat for a trip along the backwaters. Our houseboat has been made in the traditional rice barge or Kettuvalam style and is luxuriously fitted out with bedrooms, a dining room, open lounge and deck. A captain and cook are on hand to look after your every need. Spend the afternoon cruising the backwaters, drifting along coconut lined canals and past the small villages that line the banks. Enjoy the delicious South Indian food on board and the peace of sleeping on board a boat. For many people this is a highlight of their time in India.

Overnight: Houseboat, Alleppey Backwaters

Day 8

Alleppey Home stay

After a delicious breakfast, you will be dropped at your home stay on a backwater island. Your home stay is with a local family in a picturesque village surrounded by lush rice paddies. The homestay is situated on a car-free island and the only way to get around is on foot, bicycle or by boat. Do all three or just chill in a hammock watching life pass by at a snail’s pace. You can also take the optional extra of trying out a South Indian cooking class.

Overnight: Homestay, Chennamkary (Alleppey Backwaters)

Day 9

Alleppey - Kochi

After a relaxed breakfast we will depart Alleppey for the drive back to Kochi (2 hours). Spend the rest of the day at your leisure or exploring Fort Cochin. Princess Street is one of the oldest streets in the city and is an excellent place to go for people-watching. It is also home to countless cafes, restaurants, bookstores, tea shops, art galleries and boutiques, making it a perfect place to enjoy good South Indian coffee or to do any last minute for souvenir shopping.

Overnight: Hotel, Kochi

Day 10

Departure

After breakfast we will transfer you to either Kochi or Trivandrum airport for your onward flight. Thank you for travelling with Ekno Travels, we hope to see you again soon!

Optional 3- day add-on in Kochi

Day 10

Kochi (Vypeen Island & Local Experiences)

This morning join the locals and catch the ferry to Vypeen Island. The island is quiet with beautiful long beaches and a chilled-out atmosphere. Relax on Cherai Beach, explore the quiet backwaters and visit the 16th century Pallipuram Fort.

In the afternoon we will return to Fort Cochin by ferry. The afternoon is yours to try out a unique local experience (optional extra). Choose from a Kathakali dance lesson, a cooking class at a local’s home, an Ayurvedic spa treatment, a guided bike tour or a sunset boat cruise.

Overnight: Hotel, Kochi

Day 11

Explore Kochi

Today we will head to the mainland area of Ernakulam where we will visit the Kerala Folklore Museum. This privately-owned museum offers a unique way to learn about the culture of Kerala with over 4000 artefacts and magnificent architecture, including the main entrance which is made from the remnants of a temple.

Whilst we are in Ernakulam, we will also visit the bustling Broadway Bazaar markets, where it is possible to find just about anything you could ever want. Enjoy a walk along Marine Drive promenade before catching a ferry back to Fort Cochin.

Enjoy your last night in Kochi by taking a final promenade from Mahatma Gandhi Beach to the fish markets.

Overnight: Hotel, Kochi

Day 12

Departure

After breakfast we will transfer you to either Kochi or Trivandrum airport for your onward flight. Thank you for travelling with Ekno Travels, we hope to see you again soon!

INCLUDES

Met at airport by an Ekno representative

Services of an English-speaking guide for the duration of the tour

7 nights’ accommodation in hotel with breakfast

1 night on a luxury houseboat with lunch, dinner and breakfast

1-night homestay accommodation with lunch, dinner and breakfast

Private vehicle for all transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary

Entrance fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary

Activities as mentioned in the itinerary

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India

Indian Tourist Visa

Compulsory insurance of any kind

Lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified in the itinerary

Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs

Tipping

Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments

Occasional optional items not identified in the itinerary description

Optional extras as mentioned in the itinerary (see below)

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

  • 1-day trek in Munnar
  • Half day trek and boat ride in Thekkady
  • Ayurveda treatment, Thekkady
  • Cooking class, Thekkady
  • Guided walk, Chennamkary
  • Bike or canoe hire, Chennamkary
  • Cooking class, Chennamkary

KOCHI ADD-ON

INCLUDES

Services of an English-speaking guide for the duration of the add-on

2 nights’ accommodation in hotel with breakfast

Private vehicle for all transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary

Entrance fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary

Activities as mentioned in the itinerary

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India

Indian Tourist Visa

Compulsory insurance of any kind

Lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified in the itinerary

Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs

Tipping

Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments

Occasional optional items not identified in the itinerary description

Optional extras as mentioned in the itinerary (see below)

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

  • Ayurveda treatment
  • Cooking class
  • Kathakali dance lesson
  • Bike tour
  • Sunset Cruise
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