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 country. 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, checked luggage, 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.
Next, you'll be driven to Munnar along winding roads through spice gardens with a stop at a tea plantation and an elephant ride. 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 on to Thekkady, India's largest wildlife sanctuary, for an overnight stay plus a wildlife-spotting boat cruise.
Next 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) retreats. All of the hotels on this 9-night trip are highly rated on TripAdvisor.
Depart from London Heathrow or Gatwick on select dates from 1 September-5 December; 13 January-30 April, 2014. It's an extra £50 per person to depart from Manchester and an extra £100 to depart from Glasgow or Dublin.
It's an additional £300 per person to depart from 6 December-12 January.
Upgrade to 4-star hotels for an extra £299 per person.
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