Kerala Kaleidoscope | Unventured

Kerala Kaleidoscope

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Secure Site

  • 11 Days
  • 440 Kms
  • Cochin International Airport
  • Cochin International Airport

Tour Intensity

Activity

Best Season

Tour Overview

Kerala’s virtue is tucked away amidst its lush green forests, tranquil backwaters, old colonial towns, verdant mountains, rich traditions, humble people, eclectic food and stunning landscapes. A kaleidoscope of experiences, rich culture, art, architecture and stories to indulge your senses at a leisurely pace with the comforts of high-quality accommodations and transport.

Our Kerala Kaleidoscope is a laid-back vacation offering a good mix of relaxation by the beach, exploring nature and rich cultural experiences. It’s a journey into time and space through ancient towns, traditional spice markets and art bazaars, learning about local arts and colourful performances. It’s about life at a slow pace, indulging yourself in luxurious medicinal massages, exploring the wilderness and savouring lip-smacking local food. Life in “God’s Own Country” paces itself as slowly as the boats sailing through its serene backwaters and canals.

Who can do this tour?

Low Intensity: This 11-day drive tour with a moderate amount of walking is apt for people with an interest in Indian art and culture who are open to experiencing the diversity of Kerala’s heritage through its varied cuisines and local communities.

With experiences of nature and wildlife combined with art, history and architecture, this prolonged tour is a slow-paced exploration of the state of Kerala with moderate indulgence in luxurious experiences. This tour allows travellers to experience Keralan traditions and interact with locals to get a better understanding of their way of life at a slow relaxed pace.

Physically, this is not an intensive tour.

Itinerary

Your Kerala exploration begins with the verdant forests of Thattekad. Famed for its many species of endemic birds, it is a bird watcher’s paradise. Winding our way up to the hill station of Munnar, one can witness unending stretches of green tea garden. A beautiful sight as you get to appreciate the abundance in the hill terrains of Kerala. We’ll explore these hills from spice plantation walks to short hikes before descending down towards the backwaters of Kerala. Following a few days of relaxation and rejuvenation by the backwaters of the Vembanad lake we take time to explore the villages for local food, farm life and also indulge in learning to cook traditional food. This is followed by more time by the beaches overlooking the Arabian sea before we head into the old colonial town of Fort Kochi. This old port town is a treasure trove of local markets, art shops, rich history, local communities, cultural performances and stories of traders and colonisers. We’ll spend our last few days in the old port town learning about the people and their way of life and some shopping indulgence before heading back home.

Day 1 : Arrive at Cochin

Arrive in Cochin and meet your Unventured tour host who will be taking you on an unforgettable experience over the next 11 days. Check in to your hotel for a scrumptious lunch, which will be followed by a briefing session. Given your interest, you may spend the evening exploring the city or choose to get some rest. Overnight stay in Cochin.

Drive Distance: 30 Kms (Airport to Cochin)
Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:

● Meet and greet
● Tour briefing
● Evening at leisure

Day 2: Drive to Thattekad and Bird Watching

Our day starts with a drive to Thattekad bird sanctuary. After a refreshing drive through the countryside, we reach the small hamlet by the edge of the Thattekad bird sanctuary. Post lunch, we spend the afternoon spotting some endemic bird species and learning about the bird sanctuary guided by a local naturalist. Stories of bird behaviour and encounters in the wild including elephants make for interesting conversations with your birding guide. Overnight in Thattekad.

Drive Distance: 65 Kms
Accommodation Type: Wilderness Resort

Highlights:

• Bird watching session
• Learning about Indian wildlife
• Stay at a wilderness resort

DAY 3: Drive to Munnar

We start the day with another interesting bird watching session followed by breakfast. Post breakfast we check out and drive up into the Kannan Devan hills, which is a part of Munnar. The drive winds its way through hamlets and as we get higher offers a panoramic view of unending carpet of green and tea plantations. Surrounded by picturesque landscape with valleys and mountains, Munnar is home to some of the largest tea plantations in southern India. Check in to your plantation bungalow, and enjoy lunch prepared from locally sourced produce. We’ll spend the evening at leisure exploring the markets in Munnar town. Overnight in Munnar.

Drive Distance: 90+ KMs
Accommodation Type: Plantation Bungalow

Highlights:

● Bird watching session
● Stay at a plantation bungalow
● A picturesque drive

DAY 4: Explore Munnar

Wake up to a sunrise in the mountains and post a delicious breakfast, we head out to explore the hidden gems of Munnar. We start the day with a short hike in the Eravikulam national park as we look out for the elusive Nilgiri Tahr – a wild mountain goat . Our quest to spot more birds and wildlife takes us on a winding trail to Top Station. Enjoy a picnic lunch with a view of the tea garden from here. Post lunch, we head out to visit a local tea plantation/factory. The tour is a great way to learn about the varieities of tea in India, tea leaf plucking practices and sampling. An in depth first hand experience on processing “chai” from scratch. Overnight in Munnar.

Drive Distance: 50 – 60 KMs
Accommodation Type: Plantation Bungalow

Highlights:

● Explore the National Park
● Picnic lunch
● Visit to a tea factory

DAY 5 : Munnar to Kumarakom

Today we start early and bid adieu to the town of Munnar and drive through forest stretches and head to our next destination, the backwaters in Kumarakom. Check-in to your hotel in Kumarakom which is a quaint resort that overlooks the mesmerizing Vembanad lake. Spend the afternoon at leisure indulging in an ayurvedic massage or taking a dip in the pool or reading a book in the gardens that overlook the resort. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.

Drive Distance: 150 KMs
Accommodation Type: Lake Resort

Highlights:

● Scenic drive to Kumarakom
● Ayurvedic massage
● Stay at a lake resort

DAY 6 :Kumarakom to Alleppey

Today we’ll take a day cruise on the Vembanad lake and into the backwater canals of Alleppey before docking at our homestay, a traditional home by the backwaters. Our local host will take us on a tour of the farm post checking in to the property. We keep the afternoon relaxed. Spend the evening visiting a local toddy shop to try some locally brewed hooch along with a few lip-smacking delicacies that are touted as the best local dishes of the region. Overnight in Alleppey.

Drive Distance: 35 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Homestay

Highlights:

● Day cruise on the lake
● Local hooch and food
● Stay by the backwaters

DAY 7 : Explore Alleppey and a day of indulgence

Wake up to a canoe ride along the backwaters as you explore the quaint and tiny canals that lead to traditional Keralan homes. Post breakfast we spend the day exploring Alleppey town and picking fresh produce for your afternoon cooking session. On our way, we will also visit local coir making units and learn about the ancient art of making ropes. We head back to the resort for a guided cooking session where you will try your hand at preparing authentic Keralan/ South Indian dishes. Lunch is an assortment of vegetables and meats cooked with the local flavours, and served on a plantain leaf.
Post lunch, you can choose to indulge in an Ayurvedic spa session of your choice or choose to sit back and relax by the backwaters or drive out to the beach. Overnight in Alleppey.

Drive Distance: 10 -15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Homestay

Highlights:

● Sunrise canoe ride
● Keralan cooking experience
● Optional Ayurvedic Spa

DAY 8 : Drive to Mararikulam

Post breakfast,, we drive towards the beautiful beaches of Mararikulam. Check-in to your beach resort and spend the day at leisure, exploring the seaside restaurants and relaxing at the white sandy beaches lined with palm trees.
Overnight in Mararikulam.

Drive Distance: 15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Beach Resort

Highlights:

● Day of relaxation by the beach
● Stay at a beach resort

DAY 9 : Mararikulam to Fort Kochi

Post a delicious breakfast, we bid adieu to the sandy beach resort and drive towards the colonial port town of Kochi, passing through many fishing villages and hamlets with views of the Arabian sea. Check in to your hotel and enjoy a delicious lunch. In the evening we explore the 16th Century Portuguese town of Mattancherry where your tour host will guide you on a visual journey of colonization, trade wars and the establishment of different foreign communities in our country. Overnight in Kochi.

Drive Distance: 45 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Scenic drive through coastline and countryside
● Explore the Mattancherry area of Kochi

DAY 10 : Explore Fort Kochi

Post breakfast, we’ll dive into the history of Fort Kochi as we visit some prominent monuments in the old town. Relish in the colonial architecture while your tour host guides you through the historical and colonial influences this quaint seaside town had to endure. Take a walk around the spice markets and learn about the different migrant communities, mainly Dutch and Jewish, who still reside within the by-lanes. Post lunch, we’ll learn about Keralan culture through two art performances – Kathakali (dance form) and Kalaripayattu (a martial art form).
Time permitting, we’ll also have the opportunity to watch the artists prepare for the performance. A behind the scenes makeup session where you will witness the artists transforming themselves into their characters. Overnight stay in Fort Kochi.

Drive Distance: 10 -15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Explore colonial Fort Kochi
● Stroll through spice markets
● Traditional cultural performances

DAY 11 : Onward Journey to home-destination

Post breakfast, depending on your flight schedule we check out and we will head toward Cochin International Airport for your onward flights. Some of you may be planning some further travel adventures in this beautiful land. Speak to us at Unventured about what other travels in South India could await you!

Drive Distance: 45 KMs (Fort Kochi to Cochin Airport)
Accommodation Type: NA

Tour Inclusions

Culturally, this is an immersive tour with hands-on experiences and many opportunities to learn the local way of life. For the luxury seeker in you, we have some of the best accommodations with highly-rated spas in the region. The journey also has short hikes through parks, canoe rides and walking trails along plantations.

PREPAREDNESS – PHYSICAL & MENTAL

Our Kerala Kaleidoscope tour is a good blend of food, nature, wildlife, culture, history and real-world understanding of Kerala, giving you a unique experience of the local way of life with offbeat experiences. Information with regard to people, culture, currency and introducing the region’s political, historical and cultural structures will be via detailed emails well before the tour begins. This tour is graded as low intensity in terms of physical activities. We will be walking and hiking for short to moderate distances.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in Heritage Hotels, Plantation Bungalows, Homestays and Eco Hotels (with good hygienic attached bathrooms) offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport: We will have a dedicated AC private vehicle at your service through the entire term of the tour. All transfers from the Airport to the hotel will be in comfortable cars or vans.

Inclusions

  • Internal transfers to the Airport and hotels
  • Accommodation on all days on twin share basis
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on all days except first and last days (First day- Lunch and Dinner, last day- Breakfast)
  • Day long Houseboat experience in Alleppey
  • All entry fee to museums and places of interest
  • All entry fee to forest reserves
  • All guided hikes and walking tour experiences
  • Private AC vehicle for the Group/Individual through all days of the tour
  • Kathakali performance at the theatre in Fort Kochi
  • An English speaking NOLS Certified Unventured Guide

Exclusions

  • Flights to and from home destination
  • Meals those not mentioned in the Inclusion
  • Alcohol and aerated beverages
  • Optional Activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa Charges/Travel Insurance
  • Filming and Camera charges
  • Those not mentioned in the “Inclusions” section
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