Kerala is where Indian life slows down, with lagoons, coconut groves, sandy beaches, exotic spice plantations and wildlife in abundance, not to mention some of the best food in the region. For £1199 per person -- 45% less than usual -- you can now experience this unspoilt corner of India on your own private tour.
As well as return flights, private airport transfers, daily breakfast and dinner, various excursions and a chauffeured car with an English-speaking guide, you get:
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 watch a martial arts and dance performance and visit a local family for a cooking lesson and a typical Keralan dinner.
Next, you'll be driven to Munnar along winding roads through spice gardens and tea plantations. You'll have a full day here with a driver at your disposal -- be sure to visit the Eravikulam National Park where leopards, tigers and the Nilgiri tahr, an endangered species of goat, roam. Continue onto Thekkady, India's largest wildlife sanctuary, for an overnight stay plus a wildlife-spotting boat cruise and an elephant ride.
The next stop is a 2-day punt on a houseboat along the backwaters of Kerala, overhung by coconut trees and lush vegetation. Locally called a kettuvallam and held together entirely by knots, these houseboats give a real insight into Keralan life -- make the most of the traditional food on board.
The trip finishes with a 3-night stay in Kovalam, a fishing village with pristine beaches and many ayurvedic (alternative medicine) resorts. All of the hotels on this 9-night trip are highly rated on TripAdvisor and two (Misty Mountain Resort and Hotel Jasmin Palace) were awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence last year.
Depart from London Heathrow or Gatwick every day from 1 April-5 December, 2013; 13 January-31 March, 2014.
It's an extra £50 per person to depart from Manchester and an extra £100 per person to depart from Dublin or Glasgow.
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