DAY 01 – ARRIVAL COCHIN
You will be greeted at the airport with a traditional welcome by the Kerala Travel Centre team and escorted to Cochin to check into the Brunton Boatyard hotel overlooking the sea. Cochin, also known as the Spice Coast of India, has been a port town since early centuries, attracting traders and invaders from all over the world. Needless to say, Cochin offers you some fascinating snippets of history and culture. The town is broadly divided into two areas – Ernakulam, the bustling cosmopolitan metropolis, and FortCochin, the cultural hub where the hotel is located. Step out of the hotel and you are within walking distance of the sea and other attractions like the Chinese fishing nets, said to have been left behind by Chinese traders in the 15th century. Relax and unwind at the hotel on your first day in India. Overnight at the Koder House with a chauffeured vehicle at your disposal.
DAY 02 : COCHIN
Go for a sightseeing tour to explore the many fascinating highlights of Cochin; including, the Jewish Synagogue; St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India; the Santa Cruz Basilica, which was built in 1557 by the Portuguese; the Dutch Palace; the Spice Market; and the 15th century Chinese fishing nets believed to have been brought by Chinese traders. In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise, and in the evening attend a Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali, the traditional dance of Kerala, literally means a story play and is a highly dramatic dance form which depicts the moral values of god and man. The characters wear elaborate makeup and heavy ornaments and the performances are enthralling to watch. Overnight at the Koder House with a chauffeured vehicle at your disposal.
DAY 03 – 9TH AUGUST 2016-COCHIN – KUMARAKOM (72 KM / 2 HRS)
Drive to Kumarakom from where you will board a boat to go to the Coconut Lagoon resort, located on a little island in the backwaters. Rated as one of the twenty-five best getaways in the world, the authenticity of the resort, along with the captivating beauty of its surroundings, will not fail to mesmerise you. Kerala's rainwater surges down its hills and mountains and runs into canals and streams where the rolling water tumbles in an effusive surge to join the forty rivers in the state. This labyrinth network of rivers, canals, streams and lagoons form the famed backwaters. The landmass along these waterways pulsate with a different tempo, possessing a lifestyle and ethos so unique that it has become one of the biggest highlights in Kerala. Spend the day relaxing. Overnight at the Coconut Lagoon with a vehicle at your disposal.
DAY 04 – KUMARAKOM (BOAT RACE)
It’s the big boat race day today. Perhaps the most prestigious boat race in Kerala, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is also one of the largest team sports events in the world. 60 to 70-meter snake boats manned by over 100 oarsmen each compete for this coveted prize, and people come from far and wide to watch this spectacle. To get you a ringside view of the action, we organise a private motorboat from which you can enjoy the races. A small crew will be available to assist you. After the races, have the evening to relax and explore. Overnight at the Coconut Lagoon.
DAY 05 – KUMARAKOM – PERIYAR (135 KM/ 4 HRS)
Drive to Periyar, an area known for its undulating hills, spice plantations and elephant sightings. One of the 27 tiger reserves in India, the Periyar valley in Thekkady is the oldest. Check into the Spice Village hotel. Either have the rest of the day to relax or go on a spice plantation tour where you will be enticed by the aroma of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and nutmeg and learn how they are grown, harvested and processed before they reach the supermarkets. Overnight at the Spice Village hotel with a vehicle at your disposal.
DAY 06 : PERIYAR
Enjoy an escorted three-hour jungle trek through the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Though its rare to see tigers, you will have the opportunity to spot elephants, bisons, deer and several other animals on this trek. Enjoy the rest of the evening enjoying the ambience of the Spice Village. Overnight at the Spice Village hotel with a vehicle at your disposal.
DAY 07 – HOUSEBOAT (135 KM/ 4 HRS)
Drive to the backwater region of Allepey to embark on your private houseboat and cruise on the backwaters, a splendid area full of canals, lakes and coves. Your houseboats, or Kettuvalloms, are converted rice barges with well-appointed bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms. You can sunbathe in the well-appointed lounge or observe the palm-fringed landscape from your cabins. Apart from the mesmerizing surroundings, it is the life along the backwaters that adds a touch of exotica to this experience. The locals travel in canoes, and you will find vegetable sellers, fishermen and other traders bringing household goods door-to- door in small, wooden boats. A small crew will be available at all times to assist you during the cruise. The crew includes the captain who mans the boat, a chef and a housekeeping staff member. The local food prepared by the chef is another delight not to be missed. As you cruise along the backwaters, you can ask your captain to stop at villages, paddy fields and other places, en route where you can choose to go on a village walk. Whilst the houseboats can cruise along the fascinating backwater stretches, they cannot navigate some of the narrower canals, which are equally mesmerising. Take a canoe ride along the narrow canals to explore these channels on your own. In the evening, enjoy a specially-organised romantic, candlelit dinner on the houseboat. With your boat moored along the tranquil expanse of the Vembanad Lake under a starry night, this promises to be an experience like no other. Waking up the following morning on the houseboat is another memorable experience that will stay with you forever. Overnight on board with full board and a vehicle for your transfer.
DAY 08 – HOUSEBOAT – MARARI (20 KM / .5 HR)
This morning you will be transferred to Mararikulam, a typical fishermen's village and check into the Marari Beach Resort. The Marari is an eco-friendly resort on the beach with accommodations built like traditional fishermen’s huts. All that separates the resort from the sea are rows of coconut trees, letting the splendours of the beach be truly experienced all day. The simplicity and charm of village life that pervades the resort will make you feel one with nature. Overnight at the Marari Beach Resort with a vehicle provided for your transfer.
DAY 09 – MARARI
Day of leisure on the beach. Enjoy a rejuvenating, full-body Ayurveda massage today. The five-thousand- year-old ancient natural science of Ayurveda finds its origins in Kerala, and a massage is the best way to enjoy your last day in Kerala. Have the rest of the evening to relax. Overnight at the Marari Beach Resort.
DAY 10 – 16TH AUGUST 2016- MARARI – COCHIN – DEPARTURE (75 KM / 2 HRS)
Departure transfer to Cochin airport for your return flight with a vehicle provided for your transfer.