Kerala's "intensely tropical landscape" has "intoxicated visitors" for hundreds of years, says Rough Guides. With lush rice paddies, exotic spice plantations and wildlife in abundance, this unspoilt corner of India is best seen with a guided tour. And at £1199 per person -- up to £595 less than similar tours -- we think this 10-night private trip is just the ticket.
Depart on select dates from August, 2014, to April, 2015. It's an extra £299 to travel on select dates throughout Christmas and New Year. Visit Citrus Holidays' website for a full list of dates.
The trip starts in Kochi, on the west coast of India. Known for its blend of cultures, the seaside town is home to Chinese fishing nets that stretch out across the water, a Jewish synagogue and the Portuguese Mattancherry Palace -- the included excursions take in all three. You'll also enjoy a free cooking lesson with a local TV personality.
Next, you'll be driven to Munnar along winding roads and through spice gardens, with a stop at a tea plantation and museum, including a free tasting session, plus a chance to ride an elephant. Continue on to Thekkady, India's largest wildlife sanctuary, for a 2-night stay plus a wildlife-spotting boat cruise in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, as well as a traditional Indian Kathakali dance and martial arts show.
Then it's a 2-day punt on a houseboat along the backwaters of Kerala, where coconut trees and lush vegetation line the river. Locally called a kettuvallam and held together entirely by knots, these houseboats give a real insight into Keralan life.
The trip finishes with a 3-night stay in Kovalam, a fishing village with pristine beaches and many Ayurvedic (alternative medicine) retreats.
The properties in Kochi, Munnar and Thekkady all have TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence 2014.
Transfers & baggage
This deal includes all transfers by private chauffeured car and 20kg checked luggage.