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Signature Kerala: Cochin, Thekaddy, Kovalam Beach & More

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,057

DELUXE | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Start in historic Cochin, then head to the backwaters in lush Southern India and experience the local life on a small private houseboat sailing through a network of lakes, rives and canals in the State of Kerala. Finish your journey with a relaxing luxury beach stay in Kovalam!


Cochin (also known as Kochi) has been an important trading port since ancient times. Today, the land of spices that attracted the European traders, is a quaint blend of the old and the new, the Indian and the Western. Popularly referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin is today the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. It has a rich heritage of forts, churches and temples.   

Some of the places visited during your stay are the Dutch Palace at Mattancherry,  renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana; Fort Kochi, though now in ruins and which contains many remains of Indo-European architecture; the Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town and which is a fascinating mixture of shops, warehouses and spice auction rooms; the St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, which stands as the pride of Fort Cochin and the Chinese fishing nets, seen on the coast, which are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have been brought to Kochi by Chinese traders. The first evening, enjoy a performance of a classical Indian Kathaki dance performance.

From Cochin, drive south to Thekaddy to India’s largest wildlife sanctuary, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It consists of dense evergreen forest. In the centre is an artificial lake and an important source of water supply for the wildlife.  Herds of elephants can be seen, many of whom come to the lake to drink. During your stay, you will explore the lake by boat with animal sightings. Another day, you will have the opportunity to visit the nearby spice plantations for an aromatic experience.

Next stop is the Backwaters of Kerala, a network of rivers, lakes, lagoons and canals. It is also a unique ecosystem where freshwater meets seawater. Start your cruise on a private de luxe houseboat on sail on to Vembanad Lake. As you cruise through the Backwaters and enter the Alleppey Canals, you will travel through beautiful scenery consisting of sleepy villages, rice paddies and lush vegetation. This is a good opportunity to view local rural life.   

You will spend overnight on board before disembarking at Kumarakom. From here drive to Kovalam known as the “paradise of the south” where you will have time to enjoy the beaches. Finally, drive to Trivandrum for your departure flight from Kerala.


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Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,057

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Cochin

Arrive into Cochin. A trading port since at least Roman times, Cochin is on the main route between Europe and China. With a relaxed seaport lifestyle, it has changed little over the centuries. Guests experience the bustle of commerce in and about the city's go downs (warehouses) and open courtyards heaped with betel nut, ginger, peppercorns and hanks of coir (coconut husks). The air is filled with the scent of exotic spices and the shouts of vendors pushing heavy carts. It is easy to forget that one is in the 21st century.

Upon arrival proceed to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Crowne Plaza Cochin

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Location View map
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    Crowne Plaza Cochin



    Crowne Plaza Kochi, Kerala, is an ideal staying place for both the professional and leisure travelers from across the world. It is placed amidst exotic surroundings that comprised of alluring attractions of the city. The hotel is blessed with excellent accommodation arrangements in the presence …

    Crowne Plaza Kochi, Kerala, is an ideal staying place for both the professional and leisure travelers from across the world. It is placed amidst exotic surroundings that comprised of alluring attractions of the city. The hotel is blessed with excellent accommodation arrangements in the presence of fully furnished rooms and suites. Moreover, the extensive premises of the hotel consist of excellent arrangements for business and personal events.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 2

Cochin

Most of Cochin's historic buildings are in Fort Cochin, constructed by Portugal's Alfonzo de Albuquerque in 1500. Albuquerque arrived with half a dozen ships bearing settlers and five friars, and built the first European church in India, St. Francis Church. The simply styled building is enhanced only by the beautiful floor tiles that line the main aisle. A holdover from colonial days is the continued use of punkahs, large swinging cloth fans suspended above the congregation, and manually operated from outside the church. On the same square, and in striking contrast is the flamboyant decor of the 20th century Santa Cruz Cathedral in an Indo-Romano-Rococo style.

The large, graceful Chinese fishing nets that line the shore of Fort Cochin are probably the single most familiar image of Kerala. Chinese Fishing Nets were actually introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. They cantilever over the harbour, and operate by a system of weights and levers. The nets, on wooden frames, are raised periodically to check the catch. Visit the Pardesi Synagogue, a tiny but delightful structure built in 1568. They then continue to Mattancherry or "Dutch Palace" which houses a remarkable series of murals rich in color and with painstaking detail. In the royal bedroom alone are 45 paintings illustrating the Ramayana, every inch of space covered with rich colour and painstaking detail. There is also an interesting collection of Dutch maps of old Kochi, coronation robes belonging to the maharajas, royal palanquins, weapons and furniture.

The surrounding area still called Jew Town. Spend time is spent in exploring a fascinating mix of so called antique shops, warehouses, and spice auction rooms. Signs for N.X. Jacob's tailor shop and the offices of J.E. Cohen serve as reminders of a once thriving community, now consisting of about seven families. One tradition states that the first Jews settled near Cochin in 587 BC, after fleeing the occupation of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Another legend claims that they came much earlier in the 11th century BC, as part of a trading fleet sent by King Solomon. The earliest concrete evidence of their presence is a copper inscription dated AD 388. Whatever the truth of their arrival, they became and remained respected members of Kerala society.

Late this afternoon you will proceed to a local theatre and witness this dance performance. Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world. It originated in the area of southwestern India now known as the state of Kerala. It is a well-developed dance-drama, where the actors depict characters from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Kathakali dance performance is very dramatic and is enacted with elaborate masks and costumes. Kathakali recitals are emotive and narrative and combine dance with dialogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala. A traditional Kathakali performance begins in the evening and continues throughout the night, culminating at the auspicious hour of dawn, when Good finally conquers Evil. Today, however, this dance performance has been modified for the stage and the audience can witness this ritualistic theatre experience in the comfort of a plush auditorium, within the span of a couple of hours.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Cochin to Thekaddy

This morning you will drive to Thekaddy, the heart of 'God's own country' and home to India's largest wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 sq. km and in the centre of the reserve is an artificial lake, which covers 25 Sq. kms which is an important source of water for the many wild animals. Thekkady is a paradise on earth for nature lovers! With its vast and bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna it is the ultimate reservoir for many an endangered species. The forests around the lake were declared as a reserved area in 1899 and its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty attracts visitors from all over the world.

Upon arrival proceed to your hotel.

An enchanting way to explore the Periyar Tiger Reserve is by boat. As the boat glides upon the still dark waters of the lake, visitors can feast their eyes upon the vibrant green of the surrounding foliage. As the boat brushes gently against branches of trees, one is transported back to the times when this was the only means of transport. This incredible experience is further enhanced by rare sights of animal's drinking water at the edge of the lake. The best time to sight the animals is in the wee hours of the morning, when the day has just broken or at the end of the day, just before sunset.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Shalimar Spice Garden

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    Shalimar Spice Garden



    Built on a verdant land unscathed by modernization, the Shalimar Spice Garden is a perfect blend of European and Indian living without diluting the rich heritage of Kerala. The resort borders the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, making it a great place for your holiday. Shalimar is …

    Built on a verdant land unscathed by modernization, the Shalimar Spice Garden is a perfect blend of European and Indian living without diluting the rich heritage of Kerala. The resort borders the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, making it a great place for your holiday. Shalimar is the perfect place to be, for you to get closer to nature. The pace of life here is so easy and peaceful that even the birds and the butterflies do not seem to be in a hurry. The lush foliage of the coffee, cardamom and other spices plants surround the cottages.

    Facilities

    • Restaurant(s)
    • Spa
    • Swimming Pool

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Day 4

Thekaddy

This morning you will visit a Spice Plantation. Columbus went west to find the sea route to the land of spices but found America. Vascodagama, the Arabs and other explorers and traders came to India for the same purpose and stumbled on the spice rich south western tip of India, now known as Kerala. Spices have always been an important part of life in Kerala. Here the masters of Ayurveda, the science of life, discovered the use of spices for medicinal purposes. Spices also play an important role in the Kerala cuisine, non-ayurvedic medicine and cosmetics. Periyar due to its location in the lower mountains around 1000 metres above sea level, is blessed with numerous types of spices. Consequently, the spice plantation tour is in one of the most important activities outside the reserve that a visitor can engage in. It is an opportunity to see why the Kerala cuisine is so different from most of the other Indian cuisines. The tour gives you a chance to enjoy cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and many other varieties of spices and medicinal plants.

Return to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Thekaddy to Alleppey

This morning you will proceed to embankment point for boat cruises on an unforgettable journey to Alleppey passing through the coconut-palmed canals. Your cruise takes you through serene landscapes, coconut grooves and paddy fields. The term "backwaters" actually refers to the extensive network of rivers, lakes, canals and lagoons that lace together the coast and interior south of Kochi. For centuries these canals have provided a safe and efficient means of transportation for goods and people moving between the heartland and the port towns along the coast. Even today, coconut, pepper, coir (coconut husks), rice and other goods are carried along the waterways in traditional longboats called kettuvallam.

Relax back in your boat as you glide through waterways lined with dense tropical vegetation. As you pass by the small villages you can observe the rural lifestyles of the people who bathe and wash their clothes at the water's edge. Your views change frequently as you go past papaya and mango trees, coconut harvesting, coir factories and paddy fields. Glimpses of small churches, mosque and temples are testament to the many religions that co-exist peacefully. The occasional flash of a kingfisher or a parrot add color to the vista.

Overnight onboard the houseboat.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 6

Alleppey to Kumarakom to Kovalam

When nature is all you need to recuperate, Kumarakom is undoubtedly the most invigorating, fascinating paradise in Kerala, God's own country. The slender coconut palms standing here, there and everywhere, it's never ending paddy fields, meandering lagoons and backwaters, mangroves nesting birds of a hundred varieties can peacefully calm and invigorate your mind with renewed inspiration for your vocation and life. That is the pristine beauty of Kumarakom.

Disembark in Kumarakom and proceed to drive to Kovlam also known as the "Paradise of the South". Kovalam has three crescent shaped beaches separated by rocky outcroppings. Shallow waters stretching for hundreds of metres are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in color due to the presence of ilmenite and thorazite.

Arrive and proceed to your resort and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel

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    Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel


    Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel is located at the famed beaches of Kovalam, just 15 meters from the sea, this is an exclusive leisure beach hotel - a destination by itself. Set in four acres on the serene beaches of Kovalam, the hotel is located …

    Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel is located at the famed beaches of Kovalam, just 15 meters from the sea, this is an exclusive leisure beach hotel - a destination by itself. Set in four acres on the serene beaches of Kovalam, the hotel is located 15 kilometres away from the Trivandrum International Airport. The hotel has 207 room and suites. The setting, facilities, people, spa, cuisine and its whole philosophy - is dedicated to your personal wellness in a luxurious environment.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Gift Shop
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Hair/Beauty Salon
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Swimming Pool

    More Details

Day 7

Kovalam

The day is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Kovalam to Trivandrum

This morning you will drive to Thiruvananthapuram, popularly known as Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala. Located at the South Western tip of India, is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the West and Tamil Nadu on the East. The wooded highlands on the Western Ghats in the Eastern and North Eastern borders give some of the most enchanting picnic spots, a long shoreline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage.

Arrive and proceed to the airport for your onwards flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Private transfers and transportation as per itinerary
  • 2 nights deluxe hotel accommodation in Cochin
  • 2 nights first-class hotel accommodations in Thekaddy
  • 1 night first-class private houseboat accommodation on Kerala backwaters
  • 2 nights deluxe hotel accommodation in Kovalam
  • Private-guided touring as per itinerary with English-speaking local guides
  • Meet & greet service in each location
  • Shared Kathakali Dance Show in Cochin with private transfers
  • Shared large boat ride by common boat in Periyar National Park
  • Entrance fees
  • All currently applicable taxes
  • Breakfast daily (excluding day 1), 1 lunch, 1 dinner

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB TRAILBLCOC19SG: SK M2
2 Sep 2020
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