SPICES & TRADE WINDS OF THE MALABAR COAST

Kerala in Classic Style

Kerala & Karnataka

Duration: 12 nights

Price: From £2,100 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers and taxes

Peaceful, green Kerala feels a world away from the chaos of India’s northern cities or the sweeping grandeur of Rajasthan’s desert. This luxury holiday allows you to get a taste of the best the tropical state has to offer, from serene backwaters to melting-pot port cities overflowing with character. Beginning in Cochin, where India meets China, Portugal and the Netherlands, you’ll head inland to the verdant tea country of Munnar, spot Bengal tigers in Periyar National Park, and cruise along the backwaters at Vembanad Lake. Your trip ends with some seafront relaxation at the beautiful Marari Beach.
Perfect forLovers of wildlife, culture and tea looking for a slice of tropical India.
In the knowCombining your Keralan adventure with a trip to beautiful Sri Lanka.

Best for

  • First-timers
  • Beach
  • Couples
  • Cultural Immersion

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This itinerary is just a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details

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 2 nightsCOCHIN

Your journey through tropical Kerala begins in one of the state’s most iconic and characterful cities, Cochin. As a major port city on the coastline of the Arabian Sea, Cochin has seen welcomed visitors from far and wide for centuries and long been a nexus for cultural exchange. An example of this can be seen in one of Cochin’s icons, the abundance of huge Chinese fishing nets which hang over the waterline and hypnotically rise and fall as they bring in the day’s catch. Other syncretic curiosities include the Pardesi Synagogue, Dutch-restored and lit by Belgian chandeliers, and the St Francis Church, India’s oldest European church built by Portuguese settlers in the early 1500s. Your home for the next 2 nights is Malabar House, a luxurious boutique hotel set in a colonial heritage property.
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2 nightsMUNNAR

The next stop on your adventure is Munnar, around 3.5 hours’ private road transfer inland from Cochin. A verdant hill station in the Western Ghats mountain range, this is southern India’s largest tea-growing region and is set in some truly beautiful landscapes, up in the clouds with bright green tea fields covering the slopes. You’ll spend 2 nights on a tea estate, Windermere, which has luxurious, colonial-style accommodations surrounded by pepper trees and cardamom plants. Needless to say, this is a great place for tea lovers, with various estates and plantations offering tours that will teach you how tea is plucked and processed to become your beloved cuppa – not to mention providing endless tasting opportunities.
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2 nightsTHEKKADY

Departing Munnar after 2 nights, you’ll be privately transferred to Thekkady, your next stop, which lies around 2 hours’ drive to the south. Thekkady is the home of the Periyar National Park, one of Kerala’s major natural attractions. Sitting high in the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats, it’s an area of great beauty, and home to rich biodiversity. Animals you can hope to spot here include the critically endangered Bengal tiger, including some even rarer white tigers, Indian elephant, and sloth bear. You’ll spend 2 nights at Aanavilasam, a luxurious plantation house surrounded by 7 acres of cardamom and pepper plants. Just a short drive from the national park, it’s a great base from which to explore the region but is also a fascinating place in itself, as a working spice plantation. Cooking classes are on offer, where you can learn to create authentic Keralan dishes.
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2 nightsVEMBANAD LAKE

Next up on your journey is beautiful Vembanad Lake, around 3.5 hours by private transfer west towards the coast. The largest lake in Kerala, and the longest in all of India, Vembanad is a beautiful spot and the jumping-off point for exploration of Kerala’s famous backwaters. Cruises on the lake are a beautiful way to spend an afternoon or watch the sun go down, with plenty of water sports also on offer including speedboat and banana boat rides. Your hotel is the beautiful Kumarakom Lake Resort, a luxurious resort made up of villas and buildings constructed in traditional Keralan style – it’s not hard to see why Prince Charles chose this place to celebrate his 65th birthday. A range of Ayurvedic treatments at the spa are perfect for indulging yourself after your exertions in the tea country and national park, while incredible seafood is on offer at the resort’s range of top-class restaurants.
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1 nightVEMBANAD LAKE

The next leg of your journey, also centred around Vembanad, sees you board the resort’s traditional houseboat for a classic Keralan experience: a cruise on the storied backwaters. This verdant network of rivers and lagoons is almost preternaturally serene, and is home to a unique ecosystem. Animals who live here and you can hope to spot on your trip include kingfishers, otters, turtles and crabs. Your houseboat is beautiful, a traditional kettuvallam in style with a wooden hull and thatched roof, and is a beautifully relaxing way to end your stay on Vembanad Lake.
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3 nightsMARARI

The final stop on your journey is Marari, an hour’s drive by private transfer from Vembanad. Known for its beautiful, palm-fringed beach, this is a relaxing place to wind down and end your Keralan adventure with some well-earned sun, sea and sand. Marari Beach Resort is just the place, a collection of luxurious thatched cottages in the style of traditional fishermen’s huts, with easy access to the deserted beach. Traditional local cuisine is served up at the restaurant, with dinner accompanied by live Keralan music, while Ayurvedic massage and wellness treatments are also available to help you relax. If you’re craving (a bit) more urbanity, nearby Alleppey is the main port of the backwater region and is home to fading colonial architecture, busy bazaars and a network of canals. After 3 nights relaxing at Marari Beach, your Keralan adventure reaches its end, and you’ll be privately transferred to Cochin for your onward flight.
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Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
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  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
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