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Spice Land of Kerala

8 Days Guided Tours
  • Cochin
  • Munnar
  • Alleppey

Virgin Holidays' view

Positioned between the rolling hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, the state of Kerala is one of India’s prized gems. Famous for its tea industry, this destination offers so much. Explore the diverse city of Cochin and the picturesque Munnar which is surrounded by luscious forest and rolling hills. A relaxing cruise on the stunning backwaters of Alleppey is awe-inspiring and calming in equal measure. This vibrant tour will enrich all your senses as you explore this timeless area.

Itinerary

Day 1: Cochin

Welcome to Kerala! Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Le Meridien Cochin hotel or similar where you will spend the next 2 nights. Cochin India’s oldest European settlement, which grew on the wealth generated from the spice trade; Cochin has an eclectic mix of influences making it a delight to explore. Stay for 2 nights at the Trident Cochin Hotel.

Day 2: Cochin

After a hearty breakfast set off on your morning tour of Cochin. Your tour will including a visit to the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), a quaint and charming palace actually built by the Portuguese but refurbished by the Dutch afterwards in 1663. The highlight is the intrinsically carved ceilings and mural. Visit the synagogue of Cochin: paying homage to India’s Jewish community, constructed in 1568, it is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Finish the morning at the famous Chinese fishing nets, ingeniously created for this intriguing form of fishing. After seeing the sights of Cochin, return back to hotel before heading out to witness a Kathakali classical dance performance at a local theatre. ‘Kathakali’ is special dance from Kerala, with its origins in the ‘Theyyam’, a ritual tribal dance of North Kerala. Kathakali represents a synthesis of all that is best in dance, drama and music and has been recognised by connoisseurs of art. (B)

Day 3: Chochin — Munnar

This morning, drive to Munnar (140 km/approximately 4 hours). Munnar is a magnificent hill station in the Western Ghats about 5000 feet above sea level and is the major center of Kerala’s tea industry. It’s surrounded by about 30 tea estates, amongst the highest in the world and a forest that is still rich in wildlife that continues to survive the increase commercial use of the hills. The hills around Munnar are covered with a rare Neelakurunji plant giving it a wonderful look, especially when the flowers bloom and cover the entire mountain range. Drive up into the hills and visit the Tea Museum, the ideal place to showcase the genesis of tea in Kerala’s high ranges and the process of tea making will be explained to you by your guide. The rest of the day will be your leisure. Spend the next 2 nights at the Windermere Estate Munnar or similar. (B)

Day 4: Munnar

After breakfast set off on your morning tour of Munnar, where you’ll enjoy the charm of the Old Town visiting sites such as the Christ Church - constructed by the British in 1910 and is known for its stained glass windows and number of brass plaques in the memory of the tea planter of Munnar. You’ll also visit the beautiful Mattupetty Lake and the Tata Tea Museum which houses interesting photographs and machineries, each illustrating a turning point that contributed to a flourishing tea industry. After a morning of learning all about the tea industry, you will return back to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure. (B)

Day 5: Alleppey

Late morning transfer to Alleppey (175 km/approximately 4 hours 30 minutes) to board your houseboat for the next 2 nights, the most traditional and relaxing way to traverse the mirror still lagoons and palm fringed canals, bustling with glimpses of day to day life in the countryside. Spend the night on the boat under the stars on the calm waters. A houseboat is about 60- 70 feet in length, made of wooden planks joined and stitched together using coconut fiber ropes. Traditionally the boats are painted using cashew nut oil, which acts as a protective coating. Today will be spent on board experiencing the enchanting backwaters. As your houseboat drifts along the shady canals, appreciate the scenic beauty, enjoy authentic local food a, watch the villagers go about their daily lives and marvel the beauty of the backwaters. Lunch and evening meal will be on board the houseboat. (B/L/D)

Day 6: Alleppey 

A full day at leisure and all meals will be taken on board the houseboat (B/L/D)

Day 7: Cochin

After breakfast you will disembark your houseboat at Alleppey jetty and drive to Cochin (60 km/approximately 2 hours). Upon arrival you will check-in at the Le Meridien Cochin Hotel or similar for your overnight stay. The rest of the day will be at leisure to either take in some last minute shopping or sightseeing, the choice is yours. (B)

Day 8

This morning, you will be met by a representative from Cox & Kings in the hotel lobby and transferred to the airport for your onward flights arrangements. If you’re not read to leave Kerala, why not extend your stay on a tropical beach, how about Marari Beach? (B)

Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Dates & prices

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes.

Pre/Post Tour information

The first day of the tour is at leisure so allows you enough time to arrive and relax. If you wish to arrive earlier extra nights can be added to your tour in the Trident Cochin. We recommend extending your stay with a few nights at the Marari Beach Resort, this can be added to the end of your tour as a road transfer.

Time difference

GMT +5 1⁄2 hours (summer) +6 1⁄2 hours (winter)

Tour inclusions

  • Air conditioned transport throughout
  • Sightseeing as detailed including entrance fees and still camera fees
  • The services of an experienced local guide in each destination
  • Road taxes, parking fees, fuel surcharges, interstate taxes and porterage at airports and train stations.

Tour exclusions

  • International flight in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Indian visa
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary.

Dining inclusions

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners.

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Accommodation

Occasionally we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.

Journey times

India is a vast country and journey times between destinations can sometimes be long. Journey times are listed in the itinerary and are approximate. India is a vast country with different topography from the North to the South and road condition may vary depending on the region that they are travelling. You may find modern express highways to un-surfaced roads/tracks.

Visa requirements

An Indian visa is required for all British passport holders and MUST be obtained before your arrival in India. You can now apply for an e-Visa at a cost of $100 USD per person at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. The application must be completed between 4–120 days prior to your arrival in India. Your e-visa will be valid for 60 days from the date of your arrival. You should ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your departure date from India and have at least two blank pages.