Kerala Backwaters, Hills and Wildlife holiday is perfect to explore Kerala, India’s southern paradise. No doubt, Cochin with its narrow lanes, old building, this coastal town is the best starting point for your tour. Besides misty laden hill stations (Munnar), exotic wildlife (Periyar) and lively backwaters (Kumarakom), will thrill every visitor. Situated along the shores of the Indian Ocean and the spice growing Cardamom Hills to the east, Kerala is by far the most beautiful and fertile part in India. Admittedly, a highlight of your tour will be an overnight stay onboard the houseboat in Alleppey.
At a glance
Day 1 Arrive Cochin. Afternoon City tour
Day 2 Transfer to Munnar Hill Station
Day 3 Munnar at leisure
Day 4 Leave for Periyar National Park
Day 5 Onwards to Kumarakom
Day 6 Kumarakom at leisure
Day 7 Board Houseboat in Alleppey
Day 8 Return to Cochin Airport.
India’s Different Seasons
India climate is considered hot; however, the weather varies a lot depending on which part of the country you visit. The South has Monsoons whereas the North may be covered in snow. The best time to travel is between October and March (except for the Far North, where you will encounter winter conditions from November onwards)
Overview of food & drink
India’s food is tantalizing and spicy and comes in so many varieties. Rice is the foundation of each dish. This does not exclude a number for breads from light to roasted. Northern Indian food mostly consists of meaty stews and kebabs. Southern India is known for its spiced vegetarian curries and dosas. Goa and Kerala will serve you the best seafood dishes.
Drink only bottled water during your stay in India. Nimbu Pani (Lemonade) is a traditional and most common Indian drink, made of lemon and ginger juice. Coconut water is preferred by many locals across India. Toddy is a famous alcoholic drink in Madhya Pradesh that is made from various palm plants. Jal Jeera, the magical drink to survive the hot Indian Summers
Usually, add 10 to 15% when eating out. Restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai often charge a ‘service charge’, not to be confused with ‘service tax’ (which is a government-levied tax). When a ‘service charge’ is levied no tip is expected. When you have a driver over multiple days you should tip him between 150 – 300 INR per day. Again, base this on how happy you were with his service and local knowledge
Culture and Language
It’s traditional to greet people using ‘Namaste’; place both hands together and bow slightly. In urban areas this is often overlooked. Indian culture is based on a hierarchical system, so elders and superior are greeted first. Avoid standing too close to others. Use your right hand to touch, accept or give something. Do not use public displays of affection
Getting around in India
Air carriers serve all major cities and large towns. There are several domestic “low Budget” options
Taxis and auto rickshaws are a very popular way of getting around the major cities. These rides are charged by the kilometer. Insist that your vehicle has a meter before going on your journey. Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai have metro systems. Rail is India is widely available. Shatabdi Express connects major and secondary cities. Advanced reservations are essential
Here are some traditional dishes
Alu Gobi: a dish made with potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gobi) and Indian spicesButter Chicken: traditionally cooked in a tandoor; but may be grilled, roasted or pan-fried with a special gravy
Rogan Josh: consists of braised lamb chunks cooked with a gravy based on browned onions or shallots, yogurt, garlic, ginger and aromatic spices
Malai Kofta: cooked in a creamy gravy made of tomatoes and cashew nuts
Naan: leavened, oven-baked flatbread normally served with all meals
Munnar Hill Station
Located 1,524 meters above sea-level. Munnar’s cool climate provides a welcome relief from the heat of the plains. Carpets of tea plantations (Camellia Sinensis) cover the surrounding hills. This makes them one of the world’s highest plantations.
Between the hills and coast are the lush backwaters, a network of waterways providing fish for food, water for farming and a communication route for local villagers.
As a result of its outstanding network of canals, lakes, lagoons and estuaries, it is the perfect place to enjoy nature. The backwaters play a major role in helping it earn international fame. The peaceful and blissful blue backwaters promise to make your stay so treasured that it will stay engraved in your mind forever.
Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, leafy plants and bushes fringing the backwaters leave the onlookers captivated.
The backwater cruise represents beauty, excitement, fun and pleasure. Indeed, cruising across the waters on a traditional houseboat is like slipping slowly into a heavenly dream.
The traditional Houseboats, also called Kettuvallams, come in various sizes and are equipped with modern comforts and fitted in traditional Kerala style. They provide the best ways of exploring the treasured beauty of Kerala. Kettuvallams are built of bamboo poles and mats, coconut fiber, ropes and carpets and are therefore eco-friendly. It has one or two bedrooms rooms and a small sitting room. The food onboard consists of local Kerala dishes giving you a real taste of Kerala cuisine.
The spellbinding backwaters of Kerala also attract beautiful birds. Terns, kingfisher, darters and cormorants to mention a few. All in all, a perfect paradise for the birdwatcher
- You will be met by our representative for transfer to the hotel for check-in.
- Afternoon sightseeing of Cochin; a city till today influenced by medieval Portugal; Holland and England.
- Visit St. Francis Church; built-in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars where Vasco da Gama was buried for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone still stands.
- Nearby is the Mattancherry Palace or Dutch Palace. The central hall on the 1st floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin. Other rooms depict scenes from the Ramayana and Puranic legends connected with Hindu gods.
- Amazing are the Chinese fishing nets. These cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbor mouth. They were introduced by traders from the courts of Kublai Khan.
- You also see the Jew City with the Jewish Synagogue; constructed in 1568; with hand-painted; willow-pattern floor tiles brought from Canton in the mid-18th century.
Cochin – Munnar (B)
- In the morning; check out of your hotel and drive to Munnar (5 hrs).
- One of the most popular hill stations in India; Munnar is situated at the confluence of three Mountain streams – Mudrapuhza; Nallathanni and Kundala.
- Remainder of the day at your leisure.
- Full day at leisure to explore the hill station. Munnar town is located 5200 ft above sea level.
- The Sita Devi Lake; Mattupetty Lake and Kundala Lake are memorable spots renowned for their Scenic beauty.
- Eravikulam National Park is a rare wild garden of rolling grasslands and evergreen tropical forests.
- Anamudi; the tallest peak in south India is located here.
- Top station is a picturesque place with laterite; rocky mountains. Where the rare Neelakurinji flowers (which flower once in 12 years) are seen.
- Devikulam; Rajamalai; Pallivasal are other interesting places.
- Meet and assist on arrival and departure by our local representative
- Sightseeing tours and intercity transfers as per itinerary in AC vehicle
- 7 Nights’ Accommodation at selected hotels in a double room sharing
- Meals: as mentioned
- Local English Speaking Guide
- International/Domestic flights – Departure & Fuel taxes (Contact us for best airfares)
- Personal expenses, meals and drinks unless otherwise specified
- Travel insurance
- India visa fee
- Entrance fees
- Services not stated in the itinerary
- Rate valid for travel between 01 APR and 30 SEP 2018
- Seasonal supplements may be applicable