Incredible Kerala

Cochin – Kanam – Munnar – Allepey

Duration:8 Days / 7 Nights

Day 1

ARRIVE COCHIN

Today on arrival in Cochin you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Overnight: Malabar House, Deluxe Room.

Day 2

COCHIN

This morning you will be escorted on a half day city tour of Cochin, formerly a princely state which beckoned travellers from distant shores, Cochin is also known as ‘The Queen of the Arabian Sea’. The sightseeing of Cochin will include the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, the famous Jew Street, the beautiful Cochin Synagogue built in 1568 and St. Francis’ Church. You will also be taken to see the Chinese fishing nets along the shores.

This evening you will be taken to witness the spectacular Kathakali Dance Drama. The most popular and sacred dance-drama of Kerala, Kathakali, has evolved over the last 400 years. This classical dance requires lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures. Themes centre round the two great Indian epics – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. We suggest arriving early in order to witness the artists putting on their make-up. Overnight: Malabar House, Deluxe Room. B

Day 3

COCHIN – KANAM

In the morning (0800 hours), you will be driven to Kanam (approx 6 hours). The rest of the day will be at leisure. Situated on a small hilltop, Serenity is surrounded by a rubber plantation located midway between Cochin and Thekkady. It is a delightful old plantation bungalow built in the 1920’s which has been beautifully converted. It is situated in a little visited region of Kerala that is an ideal stopping place between the backwaters and the hills. As well as wonderful staff to attend to your every need, there is a resident chef who can cook a range of Indian or Continental cuisines. Among the many delights of this house is Laxmi, the resident elephant with whom you can tour the estate’s rubber, spice, cocoa and coffee plantations, and with her Mahout’s help, bathe her in the river. Overnight: Serenity, Deluxe Room. B

Day 4

KANAM

Day with elephant at Kanam where you will have an opportunity to bathe and spend further time with the resident elephant Laxmi. Overnight: Serenity, Deluxe Room. B

Day 5

KANAM – MUNNAR

Today you will be driven to Munnar (4 hrs approx) and transferred to Windermere Estate where the rest of your day is at leisure. Munnar is located some 1600 metres above sea level and is a hill station that was once a summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Set amongst the sprawling green hills of tea plantations, Munnar is home to the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 metres. Overnight: Windermere Estate, Cottage. B

Day 6

MUNNAR

Today you can enjoy a visit to the Tea Plantation and the Tea Museum. The rest of you day is free to explore the local region with walks in the hills or private cardamom estate, and enjoy the peace and solitude of the hills. Overnight: Windermere Estate, Cottage. B

Day 7

MUNNAR – ALLEPEY

Today you will be driven to Alleppey and transferred to your private houseboat where the rest of your day is at leisure. Your houseboat is a traditional rice barge also called a ‘Kettuvallam’. In Malayalam, the word ‘kettuvallam’ means a sewn or stitched canoe. Traditionally they were built of planks sewn together with coir cordage, threaded through with a `needle’ carved from a palm frond. The seams, caulked with coir plugs soaked in sardine or cashew oil made the boats waterproof. The traditional houseboat of Kerala is one of the most enduring images of the backwaters – its natural, cocoon-like profile complementing the surrounding countryside. These ‘kettuvallams’, were designed to carry heavy cargo, such as coconuts and spices, and to provide living accommodation for the boatmen. Preserving their historic character and style, craftsmen have created a unique atmosphere on board, a luxurious, self-contained world from which to observe rural Indian life flowing gently by. Overnight: Lakes & Lagoons, Dlx A/C Houseboat. BLD

Day 8

ALLEPEY – COCHIN – ONWARD DESTINATION

This morning you will be driven to the Cochin airport in time to board your onward flight. B

MunnarTeaPlantations Note: All hotels and suggested flights mentioned within the itinerary are subject to change due availability at the time of booking.Kathakali2

  • B: BREAKFAST
  • L: LUNCH
  • D: DINNER

Dates and cost

please contact us for dates and prices

This tour is operational with a minimum of 2 people travelling.

What’s included

  • Accommodation on twin share basis in the mentioned hotels or similar.
  • Meals as mentioned above.
  • Transport in air conditioned Car Innova.
  • Porters’ fee at the airports and railway stations only.
  • Services of English Speaking Local Guide for the sight seeing.
  • Entrances to the monuments as per the itinerary.
  • All currently applicable taxes.

What’s not included

  • International airfare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc.
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’.

General Conditions

  • Domestic air fare is based on Economy Class Fare and is subject to revision by airlines.
  • Class of travel on trains may change based on availability at the time of booking.
  • All flight/train timings are based on current schedule and are strictly subject to change.
  • All prices are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure.

Operational Restrictions

  • Synagogue, Cochin is closed on Fridays & Saturdays.
  • Dutch Palace, Cochin is closed on Fridays.

How to Book

To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us directly to reserve a place, then complete a Booking Form and return to us with your deposit. Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form.

Deposit required: $1,000 pp
Balance due: 60 days prior to departure
If booking on or within
60 days of departure:
full payment must be made

Travel insurance is strongly recommended and Adventure Associates will be pleased to forward a selection of insurance proposal forms.

Cancellations

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels/boats/trains and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.

More than 100 days prior to departure AU$800 pp
Between 99-60 days prior to departure Full loss of deposit pp
Between 59-45 days prior to departure 75% of tour cost pp
On or within 44 days prior to departure No Refund

All cancellation charges will be strictly applied. If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance. Once the tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.

KeralaElephants2 KeralaFishNets3 Tour costs shown are quoted in Australian Dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Our Accommodations

HotelMalabarHouseMalabar House, Cochin

The Malabar House is not just another Cochin hotel, it is a documented part of Fort Cochin’s & Kerala’s historical fabric.Its history dates back to 1755, when Jan Herman Clausing, a Dutch, bought the property from Mathew Henrich Beyls. Subsequently owned by spice traders, tea traders & bankers, in 1996 it became Fort Cochin’s first boutique heritage hotel.

HotelSerenitySerenity, Kanam

Serenity at Kanam estate is an intensely private villa hotel surrounded by rubber estates and tropical spice gardens. Thoroughly re-designed, this dream come true 1920s estate bungalow has fully retained its heritage ambience and blends into an unspoiled rural setting. Location: On a small hilltop en route to Periyar 100 km from The Malabar House, 130 km from Cochin International Airport.

HotelWindermereEstateWindermere Estate, Munnar

Windermere Estate, is where the manicured tea gardens merge with the lush green forests of western ghats. Hallmarked for its exclusiveness and high range hospitality, Windermere is a 60 acre Cardamom Plantation. Six exquisite rooms owing their names to the vegetation around (Cardamom, Coffee and Vanilla ). The cottages are large having an area of 600 square feet each. Even the king sized beds, the huge bathroom and heavy furniture leave enough space to swing a few hats. The huge window frames do justice to the picture perfect mountains beyond.

HotelLakesLagoonsHouseboatLakes & Lagoons Houseboat, Allepy

Neeleshwar Hermitage is a place where you can gain deep rest, release the burden of the past and rejuvenate. A place of new beginnings, Neeleshwar provides a harmonious and tranquil setting in which to take stock of your life journey and take steps to enhance your growth. At The Hermitage we have created a nourishing environment where you can escape the pressures of the modern world, relax and take the time to regain your balance and get back in touch with yourself.

General travel guidelines for India

Passports

Passports must be valid at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from India. Travellers are advised to carry a photocopy of their passport and Indian visa.

Visa Formalities

For visiting India, all foreigners are required to acquire their visa in their home country. No visa is granted upon arrival in India. For those traveling to Sikkim an additional permit is necessary. This will be obtained once in India.

Dress

The hotels are smart but not hugely formal and the smart casual label is the best description for suggested dress code. Do carry a warm coat/jersey for early morning starts and especially for any train journeys, as the onboard air-conditioning can be very severe.

Dress Code for National Parks

Please wear appropriate colours when in any National Park or Reserve – these should be muted earthy colours. You may also like to carry a sun hat and sunglasses with you.

Please note from mid November until end February, the early morning and evening games drives can be very cold – this is attributed largely to the wind factor of the ‘open air’ jeep. We highly recommend you to carry fleeces, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. By about 8/9am, the sun is out and you will begin ‘de-layering’ and be comfortable in a t-shirt for the majority of the midday.

Currency

India’s currency is ‘Rupee’, abbreviated as ‘Rs’. One Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Coins are in various small denominations of 10, 25, 50 Paise (these are rarely in circulation these days) & 1, 2, & 5, Rupees. Notes (Bills) are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.

Foreign Exchange

Visiting foreigners can exchange money at international airports where 24-hour exchange facilities are available, through banks and approved moneychangers. Or, one may change money at the big city hotels.

One can also change money at national or international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank and others in the major metro cities. Most of these have 24-hour ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.

Bank timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs on weekdays and 1000hrs to 1400 hrs on Saturdays. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques particularly in small towns.

Exchange money only through authorized banks or Money Changers. Insist on a receipt/encashment certificate when changing money. Retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India. The current exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to the Indian Rupee is 1 AUD = Rs 41.82.

Travellers Cheques/Credit Cards

travellers’ Cheques should be of well-known brands like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Large establishments generally accept Major Credit Cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, etc, including hotels, shops and airlines.

Payments

All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (cash, Traveler’s Cheques or even by Credit Cards). This can be paid in Rupees if the visitor has a receipt to show as a proof of currency exchange.

Tipping

It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills, whether of hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, about 10% of the bill is usually acceptable.

Though we give below the general guidelines, it is to be remembered that tipping is a sign of gratification for good service, and therefore please view the below guidelines as the middle ground, which can be adjusted depending on the level of service you feel you have received.

Please note the below amounts are per couple/ individual traveller.

Electricity

In India voltage is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, though some areas also have DC supplies. Visitors are advised to check the voltage before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is as well to take a set of plug adapters, available from most electrical stores.

Prohibited Articles

The import of prohibited articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. The law provides heavy penalties for the infringement of this restriction, and in some cases punishment can extend to the death sentence. Also, by law, visitors are banned from taking antiques and wildlife products out of the country – any infringement is punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Caution

The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment up to 7 years. Foreigners are, therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives especially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.

Photography

Visitors to India find varied subjects for photography including people, monuments, wildlife, festivities, and landscapes. Note, however, these formalities, in respect of photography:

Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light on monuments.

Special permission of Government of India is required for any photography for the purpose of publicity and commercial use.

Photography is prohibited in tribal areas.

Taking photographs of airports, railway stations, bridges, military installations, and from the air is prohibited.

Visiting Places of Worship

Removing one’s shoes before entering temples, mosques or Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) is essential. Avoid taking leather goods of any kinds (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes into places of worship, as these are often not permitted. Do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops in places of public worship.

Insurance

It is always advisable to obtain good travel insurance to cover the worst possible scenario. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.

Inoculations/Vaccinations

Before traveling to India it is advised that you get vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis, rabies and typhoid. Consult your doctor before taking them / also take advice on other vaccinations for meningitis and tuberculosis. Most vaccination courses are completed within four weeks, best taken before the trip. Malaria preventive course may be taken before your trip, but again this should be consulted with your doctor.

Flowers Henna