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Classic Kerala 9 Amazing Days - 3rd MAR- *Can add to Golden Triangle India Trip*

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Price: £156.00 /per person

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Join other Solo Travellers on this amazing 9 day tour of ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala. Visit the cultural fishing village of Kumbalanghi in Cochin, marvel at the magnificent mountain scenery at the Munnar tea plantation, spice things up at the Thekkady spice plantation, visit Kerala’s largest freshwater lake in Kumarakom, explore the temples of Kollam and Kovalam and finally gaze at the paddy fields as you drift down Kerala’s famous backwaters on a houseboat for the night, feasting on backwater delicacies prepared by your own personal chef… what could be better? This Kerala tour is not to be missed.

Depart UK - Friday, 02 March 2018

Day 1: Saturday, 03 March, 2018: Cochin Arrival

Today you will arrive at Cochin International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, proceed to your hotel for check-in. Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. Kochi or Cochin is popularly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, also flaunts one of the finest natural harbours in the world and was once the center of the world spice trade for many centuries. Today Kochi includes Ernakulam city, old parts of Kochi, Kumbalangi, and outlying islands.

After check-in, you will proceed for a half day guided sightseeing tour of Fort Cochin. Visit the Dutch Palace-built by the Portuguese in 1557 and subsequently renovated by the Dutch after 1663. The murals are perhaps the best in India. Jewish Synagogue - built in 1568 and the oldest Synagogue in the Commonwealth are at Mattancherry. St. Francis Church - built in 1510 and the oldest European church in India, The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi is one of the eight Basilicas in Kerala and counted as one of the heritage edifices of Kerala. Chinese Fishing Nets- introduced by Chinese ruler Kublai Khan can be still seen in the whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi. In the evening, you will visit the Cultural Art Centre that showcases Kerala’s best known dance drama, Kathakali, and other Art forms of South India. An interesting make up application demonstration of the show starts an hour before the show itself. Overnight at Cochin.

Day 2: Sunday, 04 March, 2018: Cochin-Munnar (120 km/ 4 Hours)

After breakfast at the hotel, you will check-out and drive to Munnar. It will be a scenic drive to the famous hill station Munnar at an altitude of nearly 6000 ft. Here the British government established their summer retreat many years ago, thus avoiding the summer heat of the coastal regions. On reaching Munnar, you will check-in to the hotel and get tuned in to the new chilled atmosphere. Later, you can pay a visit to the famous tea Museum in Munnar Town surrounded by tea Gardens - the only Museum of its kind; which illustrates the timeworn method of Tea production! Overnight in Munnar.

Day 3: Monday, 05 March, 2018: Munnar

This day is devoted to sightseeing in & around the mesmerising Munnar. After breakfast, you will start with a visit to the Eravikulam National Park (Rajamala National Park), this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr. It becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once every twelve years. Located inside the Eravikulam National Park is the Anamudi Peak. This is the highest peak in southern India, standing at a height of over 2700m. Then you will visit the pleasant Dam Reservoir area at Mattupetty. Later, visit eco Point - a spot where, as its name implies, you can hear multiple echoes of your own sound. This is also an ideal location for nature walks. Overnight in Munnar.

Day 4: Tuesday, 06 March, 2018: Munnar-Thekkady (110km/ 3.5 Hrs)

Enjoy a breakfast at the hotel and take a beautiful drive down to the green mountains of the Nilgiris. Rubber, Coffee and Cardamom plantations and tea gardens will follow. Your hotel is in Kumily, one of the entrances to the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. At an altitude of 2,700 feet above sea level, it is situated near the Club Mahindra Thekkady resort, built in traditional Indian ‘machan’ style, with accommodation scattered amongst the thickly wooded plantations of coffee, cardamom, pepper, teak and fruit trees.

In the afternoon, explore the beauty of nature, the flora and fauna of the region, with a 2-hour nature walk in the remote areas of the National Park. This reserve is an established tourist spot and is home to elephants, bison, sambar, wild boar, langur etc. with unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. Return to your hotel for overnight.

Day 5: Wednesday, 07 March 2018: Thekkady- Alleppey (150 Km- 4 Hrs)

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and proceed to Alleppey. Alappuzha – most still call it Alleppey – is the hub of Kerala's backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. Wandering around the small, but busy, town centre and bus-stand area, with its modest grid of canals. But head west to the beach or in practically any other direction towards the backwaters and Alleppey becomes graceful and greenery-fringed, disappearing into a watery world of villages, punted canoes, toddy shops and, of course, houseboats. Float along and gaze over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences. Check-in to your hotel.

Proceed for the Village Life Experience Program in Kumarakom (Winner of UNWTO ULYSEES Award). The village is well acclaimed for its backwaters, delicious cuisines and greenery. This tourist destination, over the years, is one of the most-visited in Kerala. Our journey will begin at Kavanatinkara after a briefing session. You will be accompanied by a guide who will familiarize you to the picturesque landscapes and the lush green surroundings of Kumarakom.

Activity 1- Covered Shikara Boat/ Canoe Boat ride

Your journey begins in a country boat. Proceed over a lake flanked by greens, to the manjira village, where you will receive a grand reception from the villagers.

Activity 2- At the top of a Coconut Tree

Learn how the times changed, as Ajeesh shows you two ways of climbing a coconut tree - the laborious traditional way using a thalappu and the modern way using the latest instruments. Celebrate the end of class by treating yourself to fresh tender coconut!

Activity 3- Taste of Tender Coconut

Enjoy the beauty of lush green paddy fields at Sabu’s house. In his coconut grove, you will get to taste some sweet coconut water and more tender coconut. Then you head to Ajeesh’s home.

Activity 4- Toddy Tapping

Proceed across paddy fields to reach the next stopover - a coconut grove. Taste the famed Kerala beverages and toddy, fresh out of the pot. Watch toddy being made, and learn about unique plants and spices.

Activity 5- Gowri’s Home

Gowri takes you through the art of weaving coconut leaves. Then she lets you try your hand at it.

Activity 6- Net Fishing

Suresh, a skilled fisherman of manjira, will teach you some tried-and-tested fishing tips. Watch in awe as he casts a net and catches a few with ease. We then proceed to Latha’s home in a little boat.

Activity 7- Latha’s Home for Coir Making

Latha’s home is where you get to watch the fascinating process of coir-making. Check out the various steps involved and try your hand at coir spinning. Activity 8- World of Screw Pines

Learn from Omana how screw pine products are made. Don’t forget to buy the one or two that catch your fancy.

Return to your hotel to enjoy the water front and view the spectacular sunset. Overnight at hotel.

Day 6: Thursday, 08 March 2018: Alleppey House Boat

Check out from the backwater resort and drive to the Houseboat embarkation point. Check-in to the houseboat. The Kerala houseboats used to form an inseparable ingredient of the way of life in Kerala, this traditional boat is locally called as Kettuvallom. Your private boat will be facilitated with bed rooms, bath rooms, living area, dining and beautiful corridor. The boat will also have a kitchen that prepares all your meals onboard. A journey through the curving and winding Kerala backwaters in houseboats of Kerala is an experience of returning to nature. The tiny villages are lined up both on the side of the backwater canals, which is panoramic and memorable site. Dinner and overnight stay will be in your houseboat.

Day 7: Friday, 09 March 2018: Alleppey – Kovalam (165 Kms/ 4.5 Hrs)

After breakfast check out and proceed to Kovalam. Check-in to your hotel. Kovalam is an evergreen and pleasant beach resort. Kovalam has three beaches separated by rocky outcroppings in its 17 km coastline; the three together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach.

Lighthouse Beach: The southernmost beach, the Lighthouse Beach is the one most frequented by tourists. Lighthouse Beach got its name due to the old Vizhinjam Lighthouse located 35-meters-high on top of the Kurumkal hill. The lighthouse is built using stones, colored in red and white bands and enjoys a height of 118 feet.

Hawah Beach: Eve’s Beach, more commonly known as Hawa Beach, ranks second, in the early days it was a beehive of activities with fishermen setting out for sea. With a high rock promontory and calm bay of blue waters, this beach creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights.

Samudra Beach: A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn't have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part. The shallow waters stretching for hundreds of meters are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services.

Spend your day at leisure on the beach. Overnight stay in Kovalam.

Day 8: Saturday, 10 March, 2018: Kovalam

After breakfast, proceed for local sightseeing of Trivandrum to explore some of the best landmarks and attractions of this city. Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, one of the richest temples in the world, the Kanakakkunnu Palace and the Kowdiar Palace are some of the last remaining royal insignia of this city, which will remind you of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore. Overnight in Kovalam.

Day 9: Sunday, 11 March 2018: Kovalam - Trivandrum (tour Ends)

In the morning, you will have breakfast at the resort and later, check-out of the hotel and drive to airport for your return journey with beautiful memories in Kerala.

What's included?

• Accommodation based on sharing a twin room at 3-star hotels with breakfast (single supplement £259)

• Premium Houseboat Stay at Alleppey with all meals included (Room+Lunch+Dinner+Breakfast)

• Kathakali Dance Show at the A/C Theatre in Cochin.

• Visit to Eravikulam National Park, Tea Museum and other sightseeing in Munnar

• Nature walk in Periyar National Park. • Spice plantation visit at Thekkady.

• Guided Village Life Experience program in Kumarakom (3 Hours)

• Sightseeing tour of Cochin with English-speaking guide.

• Sightseeing tour of Trivandrum with English-speaking guide.

• All entrance fees to the monuments and parks.

• Arrival & departure transfers if travelling on suggested flights, sightseeing/excursions & surface travel as per programme using A/C Force Traveller inclusive of fuel charges, parking, taxes, drivers allowance etc.

• All currently applicable taxes.

***VISA REQUIRED FOR INDIA, NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE, YOU'LL ALSO NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE AND INOCULATIONS***

The cost of this tour, including all of the above is just £699.00 for all bookings made by 31 August! This price does not include flights from the UK. We have both ATOL and TTA bonding for all trips for complete financial protection. Any trips that include flights are ATOL bonded whereas tours without flights are TTA bonded. If you wish to reserve a place on this trip, please pay a non refundable deposit of £150.00 via bank transfer or £156.00 via PayPal (to include their fees).

Please note that a check-in time of 14.00 is typical at most hotels. If you are arriving on an early flight, please let us know if you would like the room to be booked from the night before (for an additional cost) to ensure that the room is available for you when you arrive.

By paying a deposit you are agreeing to the following cancellation policies:

http://www.meetup.com/solo-travellers/pages/Booking_and_Cancellation_Policy/

**Please get in touch for suggested flights and timings**

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