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Experience an authentic taste of South India on this relaxing 7 day introduction to Kerala. See the sun set behind the giant Chinese fishing nets in Kochi, watch Elephants and Tigers on a jungle river safari cruise and spot rare birds among the tropical mangroves at Kumararkom. In Alleppey, cruise along palm-fringed waterways in a traditional houseboat, stopping to stretch out on white sandy beaches and explore sleepy villages.
On arrival at Kochi's International Airport, meet with your guide. After a warm welcome to the country with garlands of fresh marigolds, transfer to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
Heralded as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea", the city of Kochi is spread out across several islands connected to the mainland by a series of bridges and ferry services. Once an important 14th century spice trading port, Kochi's magnificent Portuguese Palace, cluster of markets, ancient mosques and massive Chinese fishing nets are living homage to the city's complex multicultural past.
This morning, embark on a tour of Kochi, starting with a visit to the Pardesi Synagogue. Located in the heart of the lively port area known as Jew Town, this quaint structure is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. Its elegant interior features an ornate gold pulpit, extravagant chandeliers and hand-painted willow pattern floor tiles from China.
Admire the astonishing murals that adorn the walls of the Mattancherry Palace, before stopping by the beautiful St Francis Church to visit the final resting place of famed adventurer Vasco de Gama. Stroll to the ocean to see the giant Chinese fishing nets permanently installed on the waterfront. Standing at around 10 metres tall, each of these innovative mechanisms are gently lowered into this sea by teams of fishermen working from the shore. They are believed to have been introduced under the rule of Kublai Khan and are the only structures of their kind in India.
Tonight you have a chance to witness Kathakali, Kerala's unique performance art. Sit back and take in this memorising dance-drama which vividly brings to life epic struggles between gods and demons with lavish costumes, masks, chanting and live music.
Journey to Thekkady, following winding roads through a stunning mountainous landscape carpeted with lush tea estates, coffee plantations and fragrant spice gardens.
In the evening, venture into the Periyar Game Preserve for a safari cruise. Centred around a tranquil artificial lake, this tropical, 777 square kilometre nature reserve is an important refuge for a diverse selection of endangered animal species, rare migratory and native birds and more than 1,900 kinds of flowering plants. Accompanied by an experienced naturalist, enjoy an evening cruise along the preserve's waterways, watching closely for Elephants bathing in the water, Bison and Deer grazing peacefully on the lakeside pastures, and if you're fortunate, perhaps even a Tiger creeping through the tall grass.
This morning, travel to Kumarakom with your guide.
Jutting into the placid Lake Vembanad, the state's largest freshwater lake, the sleepy peninsula settlement of Kumarakom is a haven of endless paddy fields, meandering canals and glittering lagoons. The town's renowned bird sanctuary, spread across 14 acres of picturesque woodland and mangroves, offers a safe refuge for a fascinating variety of migratory and native birds, including parrots, kingfishers, herons, Siberian stork, wild ducks and cuckoos.
In the evening, enjoy free time to relax and explore, perhaps taking some time out to unwind with a traditional ayurvedic massage or a boat trip on the lake.
Today enjoy a whole day free to explore Kumarakom.
Hire a boat and explore the waterways that wind through Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, embark on an angling expedition with a fishing tour group, try your hand at one of the many water sports on offer locally or simply kick back with a picnic among tall coconut palms on the banks of Lake Vembanad. Art lovers might choose to venture to the outskirts of the village to admire the quirky collection of sculptures at the Bay Island Driftwood Museum. You'll find everything from monkeys to elegant human figures here, lovingly carved from twisted tree trunks, roots and stumps washed ashore by the infamous cyclones of the Bay of Bengal.
Drive to Alleppey and check into the houseboat where you will spend the last day of your trip.
Sometimes referred to as the "Venice of the East", Alleppey is set around a labyrinth of palm-fringed canals surrounded by elegant colonial-era mansions and sun-kissed beaches. The city was once an important backwater port, and Kettuvalloms (houseboats) were used to ship spices, coffee, tea and nuts to the sea along its complex grid of canals and waterways.
Today you will cruise along these historic backwaters on your own comfortable converted houseboat, stopping off at sleepy tropical villages along the way to unwind on the pristine beaches and observe the local coir making industry.
At sunset, the houseboat will be parked in a tranquil part of the lake for an overnight stop.
On your last day, drive to Kochi and transfer to airport for your departure flight.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $1,214|
|Superior:||from AU $1,298|
|Deluxe:||from AU $1,648|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels/lodges each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day).
• Accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at all the places except on board the houseboat where lunch and dinner is also included.
• All transfers, sightseeing's & excursions by air-conditioned vehicle
• Services of a professional English-speaking local guides as per the program
• Kathakali Dances show at Kochi
• Sanctuary visit in Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary by Boat with the naturalist
• All currently applicable entrances at the monuments
• The above prices include all current taxes and entrance fees. Any additional hikes or activities may cause extra costs.
Visas for India
All nationalities need to apply for an Indian visa in advance. Give yourself at least 4 weeks.
The Indian Government has advised that from December 2014, all visa applicants will need to be physically present at a visa application centre, by appointment, to submit their applications and biometric data, including fingerprints and facial imagery.
ALL Australian travellers to India will need to personally attend their nearest consulate to complete their visa formalities. There is NO visa on arrival in India for all nationalities. Indian visas CANNOT be obtained in Nepal.
Availability of accommodation and season.
"My tour guides were marvellous, the representative that met me at the airport was an absolute delight, the gifts were a lovely touch. It was a pleasure to have guides that you could chat to and have a laugh. Again the tour guide for Best of southern India was a treasure, very informative, relaxed very easy to get along with and willing to do options with us during our free time. The highlights for me were the homestays, in Kalpetta (Villa Wayanard) l could have stayed there for awhile, clean, relaxing and great food. The trip to the waterfall and village was a favourite for me. To me India is not a holiday as such but an in-creditable experience, and if l was younger l would go back. " — Lynda, Farmborough Heights NSW, September 2018
"The trip was rather spectacular. Service was courteous and perfectly loveable. Nothing is ever a problem in this part of the world.Incredible work ethic.We loved North and South India with our family!" — Fallon Family, Perth, February 2018
"We enjoyed India and Sri Lanka- guides and drivers were helpful and great mix of culture . Lots of driving involved but enjoyed the sites." — Mr and Mrs Mosey, Perth, November 2017
"The trip was excellent. Always someone to meet us and we did enjoy the company of the two drivers we had in Rajasthan and Kerala – the length of time enabled us to form a friendly relationship. We loved the Marigold hotel – and I had no idea it was in such a small village. We had a couple of gin and tonics whilst they put the first movie on for us – Rob had not seen it before. The guides were good – and did all they were meant to do. There was fascinating history of intrigue, wars, conquerers and the destruction and rebuilding of palaces and temples Hard to think of highlights – as everywhere was so different. The differences between Rajasthan and Kerala was very marked – but both equally fascinating, and very enjoyable. One of the highlights must have been the tiger in Ranthambore though. Thanks again for the organization." — Mr and Mrs Harris, Adelaide, December 2017
"I especially loved the cruise on the backwaters of Alleppey and going to a village which was like the 'Venice of Kerala' - accessible by small boat. Other highlights were the Snake Boat Race; the cool mountain area and tea plantations of Munnar. We were able to make adjustments to the recommended tour to suit our needs, including later- than- usual starting times each morning. I loved it and would certainly recommend this trip to others." — Gaye and Neville, Kew VIC, August 2016
"This was a well-designed trip, with well-chosen destinations, the right degree of flexibility and the right amount of "free time.". Hotels were of a high standard; away from the cities, accommodation was always a pleasant quirky surprise. The drivers and guides and everybody else we met were helpful and comfortable to be with; we felt safe and never pressured. We had a wonderful time in Sri Lanka & Kerala, India. " — Mr Paul and Frances Dudley, Richmond , September 2015