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The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Red Dot's Explore Kerala itinerary takes you on the classic route through Kerala's diverse landscapes, taking in the cultural delights of Fort Kochi, a journey on the serene backwaters, the jungles of Periyar, stunning mountain tea plantations of Munnar and, finally, the sandy beaches of the south-west coast. We will discuss your accommodation choices with you to ensure that your preferences are catered for and, as ever, Red Dot's commitment to tailor-made holidays means we can adjust to any itinerary requests you wish to make.
Upon arriving at Kochi International Airport, transfer to Fort Kochi. The Fort area retains an old colonial charm, possessing tree-lined streets, an expansive parade ground and some fine buildings The city of Kochi is on a series of islands, but it is Fort Kochi's cultural and architectural heritage that will most attract you. Visit the Mattancherry Palace, once occupied by the local Verma Kings and now a museum. Explore the Jewish Town with its narrow cobblestone walkways where wayside shops overflow with antiques, silk shawls and kurtas. The beautiful 16C synagogue with intricate chandeliers and porcelain tiled floors stands in a corner of Jewish Town. Several fine churches are also well worth a visit. At Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade parallels the beach where huge Chinese fishing nets are tended by fisherman. We can also arrange cooking demonstrations and dance displays.
It is not far short of five hours to drive from Kochi to the tea-laden hills of Munnar, but lovers of mountain scenery will find the trip into the lush green forests of the Western Ghats thoroughly worthwhile. Explore the hill station of Munnar, once the summer resort of the British during the colonial period. Sprawling tea plantations, mountain peaks (Anamudi, at 2,695m is the highest) and gushing waterfalls makes this an inspiring holiday destination. The region is perfect for trekking, mountain climbing, birdwatching, boating, trout fishing, and cycling. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Eravikulam National Park which is home to the famous Nilgiri Tahr - a rare species of mountain goat -- is worth a visit. Don’t forget to pack a sweater or jacket – especially in Kerala's winter months when daytime temperatures in the mountains can fall to between 10-15C and, at night, even lower.
As an option, if you find birdwatching rewarding, you could consider spending an extra night at a homestay en route to Munnar, close to the renowned Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.
Today you travel to the Cardoman Hills - the spice-growing foothills of the Western Ghats – and the picturesque Periyar National Park. You are likely to see elephant grazing by the lakeside, bison, sambar, wild boar, barking deer and numerous birds. The tigers are wary and are usually heard not seen, especially during the nights as they prowl the jungle for their prey. The forest department have successfully co-opted the support of the indigenous Mannan community who now conserve the reserve in exchange for money from eco-tourism. This lakeside wildlife sanctuary is best explored by boat or on foot with a trekking guide. We can also organise a spice plantation tour, a night trek, elephant rides and even a bullock cart if you can tear yourself away from your island home.
Journey to Alappuzha (Alleppey) to board a traditional Kettuvallum houseboat (reconverted rice barges) at noon for an overnight water journey through Kuttanad country, a land of shimmering waterways, dense tropical greenery and age-old village livelihoods so vividly described in Arundhati Roy’s remarkable novel `The God of Small Things’. Your fully-staffed houseboat will chug slowly through this network of lagoons, lakes, canals and 41 rivers. More than 900 kms of this massive water body can be explored by boat. Watch lush green paddy fields and coconut groves, tranquil waters momentarily disturbed by cormorants and brahmini kites diving down in search of their catch, fisherman tending to their Chinese nets, and villages passing by in canoes filled with coir and vegetables. Take a canoe trip to explore some of the smaller tributaries. At night, once your houseboat is anchored, dine under a starlit sky with the sound of crickets in the background.
Spend two nights in one of the excellent resorts on the backwaters. This region is known as the rice bowl of Kerala and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Alappuzha, surrounded by a large network of inter-connecting canals, has a rich history, having been an important trading port for centuries and is famous for its coir industry, manufacturing of boats, and the traditional snake boat races which takes place annually in August and September.
Head towards the south west coastal town of Kovalam. Relax for four nights on the sun-kissed beaches of Kerala's popular south-west coast. There are many day trips you can take from your resort, including a visit to Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital city. When your beach stay is over, transfer to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) or Kochi Airport to begin your journey home. You might also prefer to sample a quieter stretch of Kerala's coastline further north and we will happily adjust your itinerary to suit.
Windermere Estate, a few miles south of Munnar and close to Attakad waterfall, is a stirring mountain retreat on an old cardamom estate with fine views, attractive gardens and (if you are brave enough to try it) an outdoor pool.
This attractive little resort offers cabins dotted around a lush spice garden, with a stream winding through it, and has a yoga centre, pool and a library among its facilities. On the fringes of Thekaddy and the Periyar National Park.
Keralan houseboats navigate the winding backwaters and offer a tranquil method look at a State where water often dominates. Although modern Kettuvallams serve principally as a tourist attraction, these boats have a long economic history, once carrying rice and spices. Comfort levels in the best houseboats can rival a top-grade hotel and an on-board cook and crew ensure the journey goes smoothly.
Kumarakom Lake Resort is a superior option on the quieter shores of Lake Vambanad. Fifty attractive bungalows dotted around a patchwork of tiny canals lined by palm trees.
A reliable luxury hotel, with individual villas in a serene and green coastal setting, Highly regarded for beautiful grounds, impeccable service and good restaurants.
Old Harbour Hotel, once the premises of an English tea-broking firm, has a prime location in Kochi Fort and is a heritage hotel with attractive modern flourishes.
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