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 £1249 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 and through spice gardens, with a stop at a tea plantation. 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 and an elephant ride.
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.
Depart from Manchester every day until 5 December and from 13 January-30 June, 2014.
It's an even cheaper £1199 per person to depart from London Gatwick or Heathrow and £1299 per person to depart from Dublin or Glasgow.
Depart from 6 December-12 January for an additional £299 per person .
Upgrade to 4-star hotel stays for an extra £299 per person.
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