- Munnar tea plantation
- VIP door to door
Discover a different side to India…
With golden beaches, breezy hill towns and sleepy backwaters, Kerala is India at its most laid-back. On our 'Classic Kerala' tours, we’ll uncover the best of this south-western state, from its tea and spice plantations to its cultural cities (where you’ll find ancient temples and reminders of the area’s colonial heritage).
You’ll also have the chance to spot a little of the local wildlife - as we cruise along Lake Periyar, we’ll keep an eye out for elephants, deer, otters and even tigers along the shoreline.
9 nights in hotels, 1 night cruise on houseboat and 1 in flight
29 meals: 10 breakfasts (days 3-12) 9 lunches (days 3-11) 10 dinners (days 2-11)
Local tour manager
- International flights†
- Travel in destination by coach
Excursions and visits
- Tour of Kochi
- Tour of Munnar and its surroundings
- Visits to a tea plantation and museum, and spice garden
- Boat ride on Lake Periyar
- Houseboat cruise
- Kathakali dance performance
†Prices are based on return flights with Emirates from London Heathrow or Gatwick via Dubai. Supplements may apply from other airports
- Day 1 UK to Kochi
- Day 2 Kochi
- Day 3 Kochi to Munnar
- Day 4 Munnar
- Day 5 Munnar
- Day 6 Munnar to Periyar
- Day 7 Periyar
- Day 8 Periyar to Alappuzha
- Day 9 Alappuzha to Kollam
- Day 10 Kollam
- Day 11 Kollam to Kochi
- Day 12 Kochi to UK
Chandy's Windy Woods
Poetree Sarovar Portico
Fragrant Nature Backwater Resort
Day 1 UK to Kochi
Our VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your flight to Kochi.
Day 2 Kochi
Our Kerala tour begins as we touch down in Kochi. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel before a walking tour, taking us through the town’s nooks to see the historic St Francis Church, the Santa Cruz Basilica and the age-old Chinese fishing nets still in use in the bay.
We’ll visit the Synagogue and Dutch Palace, built in traditional Kerala Nalukettu style. The tour ends in the Fort Kochi area, with its well-preserved Dutch and Portuguese buildings.
Day 3 Kochi to Munnar
We take to the road for a journey through captivating countryside to the verdant slopes of tea country, where we stay in Munnar for three nights. Our stunning location begs to be explored during your afternoon at leisure.
This evening, we take a walking tour of the small but vibrant local market, with stalls of colourful fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, and vendors selling homemade treats.
Day 4 Munnar
Munnar is a quaint little town that exudes a rare old-world charm, evoking memories of the days of the Raj with its elegant splendour, soothing sunshine and invigorating scent from the tea gardens. We take a sightseeing tour this morning, passing some of the old colonial homes.
This afternoon, we’ll visit a tea plantation and tea museum, where you can watch a documentary narrating the interesting history of tea in Munnar. We also visit the beautiful areas of Mattupetty Dam, Echo Point, a natural echo phenomenon; Kundala Lake; Jungle Honey Bee Nest and Rajamalai National Park (subject to being open), the natural habitat of the rare mountain goat.
Day 5 Munnar
Today is free for you to relax or enjoy this scenic region further.
Day 6 Munnar to Periyar
We depart Munnar this morning, swapping views of tea plantations for spice plantations. Sitting a kilometre above sea level, Periyar boasts the perfect natural environment for growing cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, vanilla, ginger and coffee.
Through millennia, Periyar has produced much of India’s pepper and became an important part of the 15th-century spice trade, when black pepper was equal in worth to its weight in gold. We check in to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax into your surroundings.
Day 7 Periyar
We head to a spice garden to learn about their harvest.
Afterwards, we’ll take a boat ride on Lake Periyar for a chance to see various species of wildlife. In the midst of a sanctuary that bears its name, where elephants, tigers and Indian wild dogs roam; deer, boar, otters and a great array of birdlife are more readily spotted on this adventure.
Day 8 Periyar to Alappuzha
This morning we head to Alappuzha and board a beautifully crafted deluxe houseboat for an unforgettable overnight cruise.
These elegant crafts were once common along the backwaters of Kerala, used as cargo vessels, poled along by one or two men. They are now restored as extremely eco-friendly houseboats that glide through the 1,500km maze of waterways that link small lakes and lagoons, surrounded with an array of coconut trees and endless paddy fields.
Take this opportunity to relax to the sound of nature and gently rippling waters, and to step ashore for short strolls through riverside villages, interacting with the locals.
Day 9 Alappuzha to Kollam
After our magical overnight cruise, we’ll transfer to Kollam, the ‘dreamland of Kerala’ for a relaxing two-night stay.
Our hotel is located on Mala lake, amidst landscaped gardens and coconut groves.
Day 10 Kollam
Our time here is free of plans, so you can choose to spend another relaxing day as you wish.
Or maybe explore the old seaport town, which has led the way in the spice trade since medieval times. The remains of Fort Thomas and the British Residency highlight its historical importance to Europe.
Day 11 Kollam to Kochi
We transfer back to Kochi and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
This evening we’ll watch a traditional Kathakali dance performance, based on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Day 12 Kochi to UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Upon arrival, your vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.
We regret that it isn't possible to take wheelchairs on the houseboat.
Accommodation is locally rated and may change, but will always be of a similar standard.