Unforgettable Travel Company

Enchanting Kerala

  • Duration12 Nights
  • StylePrivate Tour
  • When to GoSep - May
  • Price GuideFrom $3,180 Per Person
Embark on an enchanting journey through the lush landscapes and vibrant culture of Kerala, India's southwestern gem, on this exclusive private tour. Begin your adventure in the historic port city of Cochin: a fusion of colonial influences, traditional Keralan charm, and striving modern city. Then ascend to the mist-kissed hills of Munnar, where emerald tea plantations carpet the slopes, offering breathtaking panoramas. Continue to the cultural hub of Madurai, where ancient temples narrate tales of a bygone era; then contrast with the wild beauty of Periyar National Park, encountering diverse flora and fauna. Head back down to the coast to experience the warmth of Kerala's hospitality with a homestay in the tranquil Kumarakom Backwaters, where life unfolds at the languid pace of the water. Finally, unwind on the serene shores of Marari Beach, where the rhythmic waves provide the perfect soundtrack to relaxation.

At a Glance

  • Days 1 & 2
    • Cochin

      • Arrive in Kerala and private transfer to your hotel
      • Guided tour of Cochin including the Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace, St Francis Church, and Chinese fishing nets.
  • Days 3 & 4
    • Munnar

      • Road transfer up to Munnar and two-night tea plantation stay
      • Short tour of Munnar town
      • Guided hike in the Letchmi Hills
  • Days 5 & 6
    • Madurai

      • Road transfer across the Tamil Nadu border to Madurai
      • Evening ‘Putting to Bed’ ceremony at Meenakshi temple
      • Walking tour of Madurai’s markets and a full visit to Meenakshi
  • Days 7 & 8
    • Thekkady

      • Road transfer back across the Keralan border to Thekkady
      • Spice garden visit
      • Nature walk in the Periyar Reserve
  • Days 9 & 10
    • Kumarakom Backwaters

      • Road transfer out of the hills to the Allepey backwaters
      • Two-night stay at a deluxe homestay with hosted meals and activities
      • Explore the lush backwaters by boat, bike, on foot, or relax at the homestay
  • Days 10-13
    • Marari Beach

      • Short transfer to Marari Beach
      • Two full days at leisure to enjoy the beach and local area
      • Private transfer to Cochin Airport for your onward flight
  • Meet Our Expert

    Luke 257 246

    Luke Stapylton-Smith

    Asia Specialist

    I am totally captivated by Asia. Having lived in Singapore, Nepal, South Korea and Hong Kong, travelled extensively across all of our destinations in Asia, and worked in luxury travel for many years, curating exceptional trips comes naturally to me.

    CALL US ON: +1 844 879 7838
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    What's Included

    • 12 nights in 4-star hotel accommodation
    • Daily breakfast included in Cochin, Munnar, Madurai, Periyar, and Marari
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included at Backwaters homestay
    • Private road transport throughout in air-conditioned minivan
    • Private English-speaking guides for all mentioned tours and activities
    • Entrance fees for any mentioned sightseeing, permits, local taxes, etc
    • Comprehensive final itinerary and travel app
    • 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
    • Flexible, personalized itinerary based on your interests

    What's not Included

    • E-visa for India costing $25 per person; can be obtained online before departure
    • International flights from your country of origin
    • Tips or gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel staff
    • Any meals, tours, or activities other than those specifically mentioned in the itinerary
    • Incidental local expenses - souvenirs, laundry, taxis, etc
    • Travel insurance - we strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    • Day 1

      Cochin: Arrive in Kerala and private transfer to your hotel

      Kochi danceKochi waterfront

      Welcome to God’s Own Country! Upon arrival, you will meet our local representative and private driver and be transferred to your hotel in the heart of Old Cochin. 

      Check in and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Your boutique hotel is brilliantly located in the heart of the old Fort area which, in comparison to most Indian cities, is very sedate and walkable. From the hotel, it’s an easy stroll to explore cafes, art galleries, shops, and restaurants in the immediate area.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Old Harbour Hotel Exterior

        Old Harbour Hotel

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    • Day 2

      Cochin: Guided tour of Fort Cochin

      Kochi churchKochi fishing nets

      This morning you will accompany your private local guide on a half-day tour of Cochin. Kerala’s state capital was the first European settlement in India, and you’ll witness the influences left by a wide range of visitors who have passed through this quixotic port city over the last few centuries. 

      This will include St. Francis Church, the original burial place of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama; the Dutch Palace at Mattancherry; the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Saturday); and the famous and very picturesque Chinese fishing nets. 

      Return to the hotel in the afternoon to relax or continue exploring. Cochin is an easy place to discover: try an auto ride, saunter around the streets at your leisure, or why not just spend some time sitting and watching the world go by at one of the local cafes or restaurants?

    • Day 3

      Munnar: Road transfer up to the Munnar Hills

      Munnar teaMunnar tea pickers

      This morning you will leave Cochin behind and head ‘up country’ to the tea plantations and former British Hill Station of Munnar. As you climb up the winding roads, you’ll appreciate the stunning scenery and cooler weather which both make this destination perfect for tea production and the perfect escape from the summer heat for the British. 

      Check into your hotel in the early afternoon, which is situated within a working tea and cardamom plantation. The rest of the day will be at leisure to admire the views whilst sampling this classic drink made from the leaves of the tea bushes that surround you.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Windemere Estate Exterior

        Windemere Estate

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    • Day 4

      Munnar: Guided hike in the Letchmi Hills

      Munnar townMunnar sunset

      Today you have the full day to discover Munnar with your private driver, with its old Hill Club and bungalow cottages of this former hill station of the British Raj. 

      Just 3 km from Munnar are the Letchmi Hills: seven small summits surrounded by forests and plantations. Embark on a half-day trek (of around 8 km) through upcountry nature, forests, and tea plantations, learning about tea as you go! The summit offers mesmerizing views across Munnar.

    • Day 5

      Madurai: Road transfer to Madurai & evening ‘Putting to Bed’ ceremony

      Munnar roadMeenakshi

      After breakfast, your driver will continue your journey across the hills, over the state border into Tamil Nadu, and into the temple town of Madurai. 

      This holy city couldn’t be further removed from the tranquillity of the tea plantations! Madurai has the legendary Sri Meenakshi Temple at its heart, whose towering gopurams (gateways to the temple) are a profusion of hundreds of colorful figures. Thousands of pilgrims flock here daily to worship the goddess Meenakshi and her consort Sundareswaran, a form of Shiva.

      Check into the hotel and then, in the early evening, head into the temple to watch the evening ceremony where, amidst great fanfare, the gods are put to bed at the end of the day.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Heritage Madurai Exterior

        Heritage Madurai

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    • Day 6

      Madurai: Walking tour of Madurai markets & full tour of Meenakshi

      Madurai (1)Meenakshi gopuram

      This morning you will enjoy a guided walk through the enticing markets of Madurai. The fruit and vegetable markets in India are a profusion of sites and colors, sounds and smells, and full of unusual vegetables that we may not be used to…and Madurai is no exception. In addition, there are countless stalls selling coconuts and other items needed as offerings to the gods.

      In the afternoon head back into the Meenakshi temple, for a full tour of the vast complex. This living temple is a hive of activity, littered with bustling markets and stalls, and lots of people bargaining for items in a cacophony of sounds. All around the temple people gather, meet, and chatter, while small and deeply individual acts of worship take place right beside. Meenakshi is a profusion of people, noise, and color and is endlessly fascinating to explore. In the late afternoon, return to the hotel for a well-earned rest.

    • Day 7

      Thekkady: Road transfer to Periyar & spice plantation walk

      MeenakshiPeriyar river

      This morning your driver will transfer you back across the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and through the hills to Thekkady. This region is most famous for its lush spice and rubber plantations, and nowadays also known for the Periyar Tiger Reserve at its heart, a key part of India’s ‘Project Tiger’ aiming to restore Tiger populations. 

      In the afternoon, you’ll be taken on a private guided walk around a spice garden. You may consider buying spices here: they are definitely fresher, more pungent, and therefore more flavorful than any you will previously have experienced. On the way, you’ll see plenty of rubber trees and your guide will be able to show you how they are tapped and how rubber is made.

      Accommodation Options:

      • CGH Spice Village Exterior

        CGH Spice Village

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    • Day 8

      Kumarakom: Nature walk in Periyar, then road transfer to your homestay in the Backwaters

      Periyar birdlifeVembanad

      Early this morning you will be taken for a nature walk in the buffer zone of Periyar Reserve. There are a range of well-established trails on offer, most ranging an easy-going 5km, passing through evergreen and deciduous forests as well as marshy grassland. Keep a keen eye out for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife while enjoying the sights and sounds of the forest. 

      Return to the hotel and check out, and then transfer by road down to the backwaters of Alleppey. Arrive early afternoon at your charming homestay: right on the edge of one of these beautiful, Backwater canals. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, get to know your hosts, soak in the surroundings, and plan your activities for tomorrow. As the sun dips you may opt for a gentle sunset cruise out onto the backwaters – the perfect introduction to this lush region.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Philip Kutty's Farm Exterior

        Philip Kutty’s Farm

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    • Day 9

      Kumarakom: Exploring the Backwaters

      Kerala thaliBackwaters

      Today is at leisure to relax at your upmarket homestay and explore the beautiful backwaters. Your hosts have lots of ideas on how best to discover this unique region.

      You may opt for a canal cruise to catch a glimpse of the backwater villages and way of life, or take an escorted walk to learn about farming on land below lake level! There’s the option to take a cookery class to learn the nuances of Keralan cuisine, then go on a cycle ride to discover the coconut groves, paddy fields, canals, and villages further afield. For bird watchers the backwaters and the farm offer the chance to spot a wide variety of avian life.

    • Day 10

      Marari: Short road transfer to Marari Beach

      Marari BeachKerala beach (1)

      After breakfast, you may choose to partake in one more local activity at the farm before you enjoy one last home-hosted breakfast and then are taken by road to Marari Beach Resort. This is a very short transfer of approximately 45 minutes. Check into the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure at this beautiful beach location.

      Accommodation Options:

      • Marai Beach Resort Exterior

        Marari Beach Resort

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    • Days 11-12

      Marari: Days at Leisure on the beach

      Marari BeachKerala coast

      These days are free to relax in South Indian tropical paradise. Take wonderful strolls along the beach, casual games of cricket, and local fishermen at work, or head out to cycle through the placid surrounding villages. Alternatively, enjoy an Ayurvedic treatment at the hotel spa, or simply kick back by the pool with a good book. 

    • Day 13

      Marari: Departure transfer to Cochin Airport

      Kerala SunsetIndia airport

      Sadly, your adventures in Kerala have come to an end. At the appropriate time, you will be collected from your beach hotel for your private transfer back to the airport for your onward flight.

      Please speak to your consultant to arrange extensions to this tour or further transport arrangements to facilitate your journey home.

    Let’s make this itinerary yours.

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