Explore the beautiful beaches, soothing backwaters and vibrant cities of Kerala, known as "God's own country." This 12-day tour begins in the busy capital of Trivandrum, from where you are whisked away to the serene beaches at Kovalam. Journey to Kanyakumari at India's southernmost tip before traveling northwards to the picturesque beach paradise at Varkala. Indulge in the comforts of a traditional houseboat as you float along the backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom before your journey comes to an end in Cochin, where you have ample opportunities for sightseeing and pure relaxation.
Arrive today in Trivandrum, capital of Kerala. You are met and greeted upon arrival at the airport and transferred to a beach resort at Kovalam, an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to acclimate after your long flight or relax at the beach.
This morning after breakfast, proceed for a full day sightseeing tour of the capital. Enjoy a visit to Vizhinjam Cave to see the magnificent 18th century rock-cut sculptures. Continue to visit Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace and Sree Chithra Art Gallery, whose collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. The Zoological Park is like a small jungle in the heart of the city, with a reptile house containing many species of snakes also located on the premises. Get a bird's eye view of the city from University Observatory, which is located at the highest point in the city. Return to the resort and stay overnight.
Today you have the option to relax at the beach or proceed for day trip to Kanyakumari (90 kms/ 2 hrs), at the southernmost point in India where the three seas meet. Enchanting Kanyakumari or Cape Comorin is one of the most popular tourist spots in the South India. Visit the Vivekananda Memorial, built on Vivekananda Rock where the charismatic philosopher Swami Vivekananda meditated and transformed himself. Return to the resort in Trivandrum for your overnight stay.
Spend your day at leisure, relaxing on the golden beaches of Kovalam or perhaps trying some Ayurvedic treatments at the resort.
This morning after breakfast, check out of the resort and proceed to Varkala (70 kms/ 2 hrs), the only place in Kerala where you can find picturesque cliffs adjacent to the Arabian Sea. Varkala is also an important Hindu pilgrimage center. Check in to the resort upon arrival and spend the rest of your day at leisure, where you may enjoy spa treatments at the resort or simply relax on the beach.
Enjoy breakfast at the resort. The rest of the day is yours at leisure in this coastal paradise.
This morning after breakfast, check out of the resort and proceed northwards to Kumarakom (130 kms/ 4 hrs), an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Upon arrival, check in to the resort. In the evening, enjoy a visit to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an enchanting backwater destination which is spread across 14 acres and is a favorite haunt of migratory birds. Return to the resort and stay overnight.
Today is yours at leisure to relax at the resort or explore the calming backwaters of Kumarakom. Overnight at the resort.
After breakfast, check out of the resort and board a Houseboat for a delightful cruise along the soothing backwaters of the Alleppey and Kumarakom. Enjoy all meals and an overnight stay on board the Houseboat.
Check out of the Houseboat after breakfast and proceed to Cochin, also known as Kochi (65 kms/ 1 hr), the commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Upon arrival, check in to a hotel and spend the remainder of your day at leisure, strolling around the city, shopping, or relaxing at the hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, take an exciting full day city tour of Cochin. Today, visit the centuries-old St. Francis Church which was built completely of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. Enjoy a tour of the Pierce Leslie Bungalow, a charming mansion that was once the office of the Pierce Leslie coffee merchants. This building reflects Portuguese, Dutch and local influences that comprise Cochin's rich heritage. Later, visit Loafer's Corner/Princess Street, one of the earliest streets constructed in Fort Kochi, and still retains its old world charm with European style residences. Today, it is the traditional hangout of the fun-loving people of the area. Return to the hotel for your overnight stay.
This morning after breakfast, check out of the hotel and proceed to the airport to board your departure flight home or to your next exotic destination.
What is the best time to travel to South India?
The best months to travel are between September and June, as July through August is monsoon season.
What are the passport/visa requirements for travel to India?
A passport with validity at least six months beyond your departure from India is required. Also, visas must be obtained prior to arrival in India. If you are a US citizen, please follow this link for details on obtaining an Indian Visa: https://www.indian-visa.com/. If you are not a US citizen, Please visit www.mea.gov.in, click on “Welcome” and then under "MEA Links" at the right, click on "Missions and Posts Abroad" and then click "Consulate Generals". You can then select your appropriate Consulate General office and link directly to its website, where detailed visa information and application forms can be found.
What is the travel time between each city?Travel times between cities are specified in the itinerary. Please be aware that on average, it takes one hour to cover 30 to 40kms while traveling through smaller towns and 40 to 50 kms per hour when traveling using highways. Please note that these times are approximate and are subject to change based on road conditions, weather, and the like.
What types of clothing should I bring?
We recommend that you travel as light as possible, as clothing and laundry are both quite inexpensive in India. The best outfit in the summertime is a tee-shirt worn with loose cotton trousers. It is best for women to avoid wearing tank tops or short skirts / shorts. Adventurous ladies can try wearing the Indian “Salwar-Kameez” which is comfortable and free sized.
Where and when are meals taken?
All breakfasts are included in your package and are served at your hotel. Lunches and dinners are usually not included unless specified. During your tour, your tour guide can provide you with names of hotels and restaurants where our guests typically enjoy lunch or dinner. We have tried our best to identify these based on our experiences and that of other travelers since quality and safety of food is an important factor while traveling. You would be able to choose the location depending on the availability and feasibility during your tour.
If I have a specific diet restriction or preference, will you be able to accommodate my request?
All efforts are made to accommodate reasonable diet preferences. We communicate the requests to the hotels and restaurants where you would be eating and your request should generally be honored and ready. However, it is always better to re-coordinate the requirements with your escort/attendant who will be able to ensure the establishments know about your requirements. We also request you to re-inform the establishment about your requirement at the time you go for meals to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.
What type of cuisine is served?
Beef and pork are not served in many parts of India, but good quality vegetarian food is easily available. Curd or yogurt is served with most meals, as it is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper the spicy food. We highly recommend that you drink only bottled water.
What should I expect during the sightseeing tours?Certain temples have dress codes, such as covering your head or going barefoot and/or do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises; please check with your guide beforehand so that you do not unwittingly give offence. Always switch off your mobile phones before entering a place of worship. Photography is not always permitted, and at many places it is permitted only at a fee (still camera and video cameras).
Can you provide a wheelchair if I need assistance on the sightseeing tours?
Wheelchairs must be arranged for at the client’s cost. Please be aware that sightseeing vehicles and many monuments are not fully wheelchair accessible. Therefore, it will be beneficial if the party can stand and walk at least a few steps with assistance for entering/exiting vehicles and maneuvering within certain monuments.
What can I do during my “at leisure” times?
You may utilize the car/driver to explore the city as you wish, within permissible limits. Parking charges and guide services are additional.
Are any monuments/sights closed on particular days?
Daria Daulat at Srirangapatna, Mysore (Summer Palace) is closed every Friday. Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore and Mysore Zoo are both closed every Tuesday.
What is the recommended gratuity?In hotels, porters and room service attendants are normally tipped at the end of the stay, though an early tip is likely to get you better service. Standard gratuity for restaurants is around 10%. Tipping of taxi drivers is not customary. Tipping of your tour guides/drivers is left to your discretion and should be a reflection of your enjoyment of the tour.
What type of currency is recommended?
U.S. Dollars and Indian Rupees are commonly accepted, as well as Thomas Cook or American Express travelers’ checks. In cities you can change major foreign currencies and any brands of travelers' checks. Most big cities have ATMs which accept Visa and MasterCard as well as American Express. The ATM network is ever expanding and in some states, you can find them even in some smaller towns.
What are the standard practices for shopping?Try to shop in government handicraft shops and a few other private shops, as their prices are fixed and the quality is certified. You may also visit some shops run by craftsmen/artisans in the smaller towns, where bargaining is a standard practice and is enjoyed by all.
What are your guidelines on local customs or social interaction?
If you are confronted by beggars, do not let them hassle you and do not encourage them by giving them money. If you are taking a taxi or rickshaw, insist on seeing the latest rate card and pay accordingly, as the fares are constantly changing and do not always conform to readings on the meters. Do not leave your luggage unattended in vehicles; we recommend using lockers at the hotels. Carry your wallet and passport at all times. Public toilet facilities may be few and far between; take every opportunity to use the facilities in hotels and restaurants.
What are the health precautions and recommendations?
- Always drink bottled water
- Clean your teeth using bottled water for the first few days
- Always wash fruit well before eating, or eat fruits that you can peel
- Wash your hands before and after eating.
- If you do catch a bug, do not panic; it will go away in a few days - but try the following tips to keep it at bay:
o Drink lassi, a yogurt drink which will help tone down the bacteria
o Eat plain rice or khichdi, an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils
o Drink coconut water – it is cooling and naturally sterile
o Drink plenty of fluids and take electrolyte salts if the bug persists
- Always keep a tube of mosquito repellent with you.
- Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need for diarrhea, fever, etc. Also, band-aids and an antiseptic ointment.
- Make sure you bring sun protection, such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Remember to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day
Unfortunately, we don't offer Visa assistance but we can provide you with all the information that you need for getting a visa to India
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