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Wildlife Beaches Ayurveda Hillstations Backwaters Houseboats Festivals Temples Spice & Plantations

Vintage Kerala Tour

This tour has been designed such that you can see the best of all the regions you are visiting and therefore includes all the major highlights in each area. Apart from these, Kerala offers a myriad of delightful, lesser known experiences. At the Kerala Vacation we have always been keen to showcase these little, special and off-the-beaten-track experiences that will make your Kerala holiday a memorable experience like no other. We have compiled a partial list experiences which you could choose to enjoy on this tour. When in doubt, just ask your Kerala Travel Centre driver and he will point you the right direction.

Duration: 14 Days
Destination: Cochin - Kothamangalam - Periyar - Alleppey - Marari

Day 01 : Arrival Cochin
Welcomed by a Our representative at the airport and transferred to your hotel. An ancient port town, Cochin, also known as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea', has attracted traders and invaders from the world over. Needless to say, Cochin offers you some fascinating snippets of history and culture. Relax and unwind at the hotel. In the evening you could go for a relaxing sunset cruise.Overnight at Brunton Boatyard. (Vehicle at disposal)

Day 02 : Cochin - The Queen of Arabian Sea
Spend a day at the home of Nimmy & Paul who belong to the traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. Nimmy has been a professional cookery instructor for more than 20 years and in keeping with family traditions, is very passionate about serving great Kerala food to guests. There will be one cookery session in afternoon with a traditional vegetarian meal. It offers an opportunity to participate and learn the typical Travancore Vegetarian Food. In the evening, visit the 'Pai Thattukada', named after the Pai brothers who popularized the concept of 'thattus' or small shops that offer cheaper and quicker alternative to restaurant food. Some of the 'Thattus' serve over 70 varieties of 'Dosas' or rice pancakes Overnight at the Brunton Boatyard.(Vehicle at disposal)

Day 03 : Cochin - Kothamangalam (60 km / 1 h)
Drive to Kothamangalam, a beautiful and tranquil tropical Eden surrounded by misty mountains with the river Periyar flowing right through it. The landscape is dotted with lush green vegetation and palm-fringed paddy fields. Spend the afternoon at leisure in a century old estate bungalow set in over 100 acres of multi crop plantation. Apart from exploring the estate you could also visit the local Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary'. One can spot the rare Mottled Wood Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Malayan Night Heron, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, Grey-headed Bulbul and the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon here.
Overnight at the Mundackal Estate Bungalow.(Full Board)(Vehicle at disposal)

Day 04 : Kothamangalam
In the morning, drive to the Kodanad elephant orphanage.You will get the opportunity to be up and close with the elephants and can participate in their bathing and feeding. Later in the afternoon participate in cookery demonstrations involving authentic Kerala cuisine.

Daisy Jose, a specialist in Kerala style cooking and your instructor for the day will teach you methods of preparing Kerala cuisine through an interactive session. All the recipes that Daisy uses have been passed down from her parents who hailed from an aristocratic Christian family. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the Mundackal Estate Bungalow. (Full Board)(Vehicle at disposal)

Day 05 : Kothamangalam - Periyar (175 km / 4 h)
Drive to Periyar, an area known for its undulating hills, spice plantations, and elephant sightings. One of the 27 tiger reserves in India, the Periyar valley in Thekkady is the oldest. Check into your hotel. You could go on a spice plantation tour today where you will be enticed by not only the aroma of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and nutmeg but will also get to know how they are grown, harvested and processed before they reach the supermarkets. The pepper grown in Kerala is considered to be amongst the finest in the world. Overnight at the Spice Village.(Vehicle at disposal)

Day 06 : Periyar - Only for Wildlife lovers
This morning you could go for an escorted three hour jungle trek offering excellent opportunities to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands. In the evening you will participate in another cookery demonstration at your resort. You could also try your hand at making your own variations of Kerala dishes.
Overnight at the Spice Village. (Vehicle at disposal)

Day 07 : Periyar - Houseboat (135 km / 3 h)
Drive to Kumarakom, an area full of canals, lakes and coves where you will board your 'houseboat'. Your houseboats or 'Kettuvalloms' are luxurious boats with well-appointed bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms. You can sunbathe on the deck or observe the palm fringed landscape from your cabins. Apart from the mesmerizing surroundings, it's the life along the coast that adds a touch of exotica to this experience. The locals travel in canoes and you will find vegetable sellers, fishermen and other traders bringing household goods door to door in small wooden boats. As you cruise along the backwaters you can ask your captain to stop at villages, paddy fields and other places, enroute.
Overnight on board.(Full Board)(Vehicle for transfer)

Day 08 : Alleppey - Marari (20 Kms/ 45 min)
Disembark from your boat at Alleppey and drive to the picturesque fishermen's village of Mararikulam and check into your resort. Tucked away inside quiet and lush coconut groves, the resort is set on a pristine white sand beach and offers you astoundingly beautiful settings. Spend the day at leisure on the beach. Overnight at the resort. For lunch you will relish the delicious vegetarian Thali meal at the resort. In the evening, you could take a relaxing full body Ayurveda massage.
Overnight at the Marari Beach Resort. (Vehicle for transfer)

Day 09 :Marari
Today you can visit the small organic farm at the Marari resort. Most of the greens, fruits and vegetables for the restaurants come from this vegetable patch. The farm practices water harvesting and is a chemical-free zone where only natural oils and local remedies are used for pest control. Vermiculture and composting keep the soil fertile, both in the vegetable patch and on the grounds of the resort.
Overnight at the Marari Beach Resort. (No vehicle)

Day 10 : Marari - Cochin - Departure (75 km / 2 h)
Departure transfer to the Cochin International airport for your return flight. (Vehicle for Transfer)

Special Experiences....

Cochin

Stroll down the beach in Fort Cochin to see the 15th century Chinese fishing nets. Whilst they are not as frequently used as before, you can see a demonstration of how the fishermen use these gigantic nets. It is also possible to take part in this experience along with the fishermen.

The bustling fish markets adjacent to the fishing nets also make for an interesting visit.

The sunset cruise in Cochin along the harbour is also a great experience where you pass other ships and boats of all sizes and can see the Cochin skyline and the Cochin shipyard which is more than 200 years old.

Fort Cochin has a number of seafood restaurants ranging from the high end 'History' restaurant at the Brunton Boatyard to the all vegetarian 'Roti Dal' restaurant where you can try the mouth watering fish food.

Enjoy an enthralling Kathakali dance performance while you are in Cochin. Watching the dancers put on makeup before the show is also quite a fascinating experience.

Your sightseeing excursion in Cochin includes several fascinating highlights including the Jewish synagogue, Dutch Palace, St. Francis Church, the Santa Cruz Basilica and others. Apart from this, you could also try exploring the streets with their many shops both in Fort Cochin and in the bustling Ernakulum part of Cochin. Cochin is great for shopping especially for jewellery and garments. (Our drivers should be able to point you to select shops that do not hassle customers). If you are a cigar aficionado don't miss the 100 year old R.Baliga & Sons who stocks cigars of all types.

If Henna and bangles are of interest to you, you can pay a visit to a small, yet vibrant shop selling bangles and other ornaments in Cochin.

Munnar

In the tea plantations of Munnar, you can go on a tea factory visit or hire bikes to cycle along the winding roads in the lush hills.

You could visit the 'Kurunji' store in Munnar which is managed by the Tata Tea officer's wives Association. (Tata Tea is the company that manages all the tea plantations in Munnar). The store offers some excellent homemade chocolates, Indian pickles and hand woven fabrics to take back home as souvenirs.

The CSI Church in Munnar has burial tombs of British Planters from the times of the Raj and makes for an interesting visit. Try the Kolukkamali Tea which is tea that is grown at the highest altitude in Munnar and can be bought only in a few select shops in the Munnar town.

Periyar

In Periyar, we would strongly suggest the spice plantation visits and also the jungle trek.

The Gavi sanctuary is worth a visit if you are staying for more than two nights in Periyar. Gavi is a one hour drive away from Periyar and is a great place for elephant sightings.

Periyar has a few forest inspection bungalows. Those who are really adventurous can try these bungalows which are right inside the forest reserve.

There are a large number of shops near the wildlife sanctuary selling handicrafts and other items. The handicraft shops are worth looking at as they make for excellent souvenirs. Please ensure you speak with your driver to point you to the appropriate shops.

Houseboat Cruise

During a houseboat cruise, ask your captain to anchor the boat by one of the villages, where you could take a village walk along the backwaters which is an exciting way to get up and close with life along the backwaters.

You could also go for canoe rides in the backwaters. Canoes can travel through narrower canals which houseboats cannot navigate. There is a boat building yard in a place called Champakkulam by the backwaters which makes the long banana boats used for Kerala's snake boat races.

Mararikulam

While in Mararikulam, you can hire bikes and go cycling along the coastal roads. You could take a tuk tuk into the Allepey town and visit its bustling bazaars. The fishermen's village has a boat landing area where one can see the fresh catch being brought in. You can also participate in the fish auctions that are held here by the local fishermen.

Kerala Climate and Weather

Being a coastal state surrounded by the Arabian Sea and because of its proximity to the equator, Kerala has a more or less consistent temperature pattern in the summers and the monsoons alike. The temperature hovers around 29 - 32 degrees (Celsius) throughout the year with varying levels of humidity.

Best months for travel to Kerala

The months of October through to March are considered to be the most favorable months to travel to Kerala when the weather is sunny and pleasant. The months of April and May are also favorable for travel but the humidity tends to be comparatively higher. August and September are also good months for travel.

Monsoon Months in Kerala

June and July are monsoon months in Kerala, the showers being heavy at first and then easing off gradually. Whilst these are not the best months for tours, interestingly, this happens to the best time for travelers seeking the therapeutic Ayurveda treatment which is said to be most effective in these months.

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