£1199pp – India: private 10-night Kerala tour with meals
A private tour is a brilliant way to immerse yourself in the culture of India's beautiful deep south
Get chauffeured around laid-back Kerala this year on this 10-night tour of the southern Indian state, known for its coconut palm-studded coastline and lush green interior. At £1199 per person, this package includes a visit to a wildlife sanctuary, a boat trip down sleepy backwaters and plenty of time on Poovar's golden-sand beaches. It also saves up to £731 on similar land-only tours.
- Return flights from London (Gatwick or Heathrow)
- Private transfers with an English-speaking chauffeur in an air-conditioned car
- The services of an English-speaking guide throughout
- Two nights at Casino Hotel by CGH Earth, Kochi, in a Superior Room
- Two nights at Tea Harvester in Munnar, in a Tea Plantation View room
- Two nights at Pepper County, Thekkady, in a homestay
- An overnight stay on an air-conditioned houseboat in Alleppey, with all meals and a bottle of wine
- Three nights at Isola Di Cocco, Poovar, in a Heritage room
- A 60-minute full-body Ayurvedic massage
- Excursions throughout, with all entry fees and camera charges
- Daily breakfast and dinner, plus lunch during selected excursions
Fly from London (Heathrow or Gatwick) on select dates May, 2018-Mar, 2019.
Depart from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester or Newcastle for £1298 per person, or from Dublin for £1398 per person.
Select December departures over Christmas and New Year are available from £1499 per person.
The tour starts in Kochi, one the oldest ports in India and known for its blend of Chinese, European and Indian cultures. It was also the base for series two of the BBC's "The Real Marigold Hotel", which brought southern India to many people's attention.
Crumbling spice warehouses line its narrow streets, spider-like Chinese fishing nets loom over the shoreline and bustling markets boast curiosities from centuries past. You'll be taken on a guided tour of the city in an air-conditioned vehicle, then have a traditional Keralan cooking lesson from a local TV personality.
On day three, you'll drive to Munnar, the largest tea-growing region in southern India. You'll call in at a traditional tea plantation, cloaked in low-hanging clouds in the foothills of the Western Ghats, where you'll have a tea-tasting session before departing for the town centre for two nights' stay.
You'll then continue to the hills of Thekkady, where you'll spend two nights with a local family in a homestay. This leg includes a wildlife-spotting boat cruise in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, as well as traditional Kathakali dance and martial arts performances.
Next, you'll have two days aboard a traditional houseboat to discover the region's glistening backwaters. Locally called a kettuvallam and held together entirely by coconut ropes, these vessels give a real insight into Keralan life.
The trip finishes with a 3-night stay in Poovar, a fishing village with pristine beaches. The Isola Di Cocco is a quiet resort set in a coconut grove on the banks of the river, which is protected from the Arabian Sea by a golden sandbar. There's a shuttle service by boat to the beach throughout the day, as well as an outdoor pool with lagoon views, a spa and a restaurant.
- Solo travellers can book this holiday for the same price, with group transfers and private accommodation
- Add a 6-night tour of India’s Golden Triangle, with a private chauffeur, for £499 per person
- While in Poovar, stay in a Garden Villa at the 5-star Marai Beach Resort for an extra £249 per person (extras include yoga classes, meditation classes and a cooking class)
Transfers & baggage
Private chauffeured transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle are included throughout. There is a checked-baggage allowance of 20kg per person.
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