Holiday in detail

We begin our journey in the colonial part of Cochin (known as Fort Cochin) facing out into the Arabian sea. This will give you a real taste of old Kerala. This is a town that still has a thriving spice trade and was featured in Rick Stein’s TV series, with Chinese fishing nets lining a rustic beach and architecture that has both 17th century Portuguese and Jewish influences. Old Cochin is safe and pedestrian friendly, with interesting shopping boutiques, outdoor restaurants and a café-culture. We’ll take you on a tour of the sights.

As we help you book your own flights for this holiday, you may want to come out a day or more early, to enjoy more free time in this charming town. We’ll pick you up FREE whenever you arrive – up to 3 days before the tour begins.

From Cochin, we drive inland, up over the Cardamon hills to spend two nights in Munnar – a tea plantation hill station developed by the British. We’ll explore this area partly by jeep with an optional downhill trek through a tea plantation, as well as a drive into the surrounding areas. Next, we move south west to Thekkady, the heart of Kerala’s spice farms. We’ll visit a spice garden in the area and enjoy a night at a comfortable hotel, where you may also wish to take an optional trip into Periyar National park. Tonight, you can also enjoy an optional cookery demonstration and dinner.

Next, we move to beautiful Kumarakom for two nights, overlooking one of the largest freshwater lakes in South East Asia. You may also want to enjoy our optional (free) boat trips along the lake for sunset. Our hotel here is beautifully placed, within its own grounds with swimming pool near the lake.

keralaboat

You may wish to take an optional ‘bird of paradise’ walk into a nearby reserve. Take your time, to relax, enjoy the hotel facilities and sunbathe by the pool. The following day we continue to Allepy, where you will begin an overnight cruise on the backwaters by converted rice barge. All boats are relatively comfortable, with two to three ensuite cabins, and air conditioning at night time. Each barge comes your own dedicated chef (food is included and you can decide when to eat). You can sit out on the deck and enjoy the spectacle of the backwaters. The next day, we take you along the coast to the coastal resort of Varkala, for a comfortable 3-night stay. Here you can enjoy free time on the beach with rustic bars and cafes. If you like, you can also enjoy and optional day trip to Kerala’s capital Trivandrum, or a journey to the very southern tip of India. After relaxing in Varkala, we return to Cochin for a final night and farewell dinner. This is a relatively slow-paced tour, with good, interesting, comforting hotels, where you can also enjoy Kerala at your pace. Like all Angel trips you’ll be well looked after on this fully escorted tour. You’ll eat some enticingly exotic food, enjoy a nice social atmosphere within the group and can relax with some pampering such as Ayurvedic massage or just lying by the pool: at the same time you’ll see all the best Kerala has to offer.

Day 1 (Sunday 16th January, 2022) Depart UK

As India is 5 hours, 30 minutes ahead of the UK, most flights will arrive next day.

Day 2 (Monday 17th) Arrive Cochin HB, 2 nights

Also known as Kochi, you will be met at the airport on arrival and transported to your hotel. Please note, you may want to travel out a day or more early to enjoy more of this charming town and relax after your long flight. Extra nights start from just £ per room, please ask on booking. Remember, we pick you up free of charge up to 3 days before the tour starts (from Thursday 13th January). Tonight, there will be an included welcome meal.

Day 3 Tuesday Tour of old Cochin BB

Today we take you on a tour of the old town. We’ll visit what is known as ‘Jew Town’ with its old synagogue, St Francis Church, the oldest church in India, we’ll see how spices are prepared for export all over the world, as well walk along the traditional Chinese fishing nets that along the beach with market vendors and rustic eateries. Today is charming.

Day 4 Wednesday – The tea plantation town of Munnar BB, 2 nights

Today we drive over the Cardamon hills up into Munnar, a vista of beautiful undulating hills and tea plantations built by the British. This is a scenic drive, where we’ll find out why Kerala is also known as God’s country, not least with its abundance in growing things from pineapples, to coco, peppers to the ubiquitous coconut.

Day 5 Thurs Tour of Munnar and the surrounds.

Munnar is a beautiful setting and we’ll begin our exploration by jeeps. We’ll drive to the crest of hill with an optional short down-hill trek through a tea plantation (if you prefer, you can be driven down and enjoy tea and wait). We’ll also go inside a tea factory to see how tea leaves are processed and enjoy some tasting. Later, we’ll drive the surrounding countryside and stop for free time Munnar.

Day 6 Fri – Thekkady BB, 1 night

Today, we enjoy our trip virtually directly south through the middle of Kerala, rich countryside and plantations until we reach Thekkady, around 3 hours south. On route, we’ll also visit a spice plantation to learn about spices as well as their medicinal qualities. Later you may want to relax in our comfortable hotel with pool, stroll around the town or take a late afternoon optional boat ride into the nearby Periyar park. Tonight, you may wish to dine in the hotel or take part in an optional cookery demonstration.

Day 7 Sat, Kumarakon BB, 2 nights

Today we head west on our drive to Kumarakom, where we stay two nights in a comfortable hotel with pool overlooking the picturesque Vembanad lake – the second largest fresh water lake in South East Asia. After check in to our hotel, you may want relax by the pool or take an optional and free boat trip along the lake for sunset. Our hotel in Kumarakom is very comfortable with good pool, set in its own grounds and surrounded by natural beauty.

Day 8 Sun HB (breakfast and lunch)

Today we’ll enjoy an optional and free, day trip to nearby Vaikom an area of outstanding beauty and your first experience of the backwaters. (If you prefer you can relax in the hotel grounds and pool). Vaikom has a vast network of rivers and canals which eventually merge into the lake. You’ll see local village life, travelling by small hand punted canoe and on foot. You’ll also enjoy a traditional included lunch on banana leaf. Rest of day/evening free.

Day 9 Mon Depart for Allepy and overnight cruise FB

This morning there is a free and optional early morning walk into the nearby national park to experience bird life after which you return for breakfast. Later this morning the whole group depart for our drive to Allepy where you will board your simple boat for the night. These are converted rice barges with comfortable 2 to 3 ensuite cabins per boat, air conditioning at night, and your very own chef to prepare your included meals – lunch, dinner, and following day breakfast are all included. Here you can sit out on the deck and watch the world go by on this relaxing experience.

Day 10 Tues Varkala, 3 nights, BB

Today we board a train and take you to Vakarla along the coast for a three night stay. Vakarla is an unusual beach resort along a cliff with the beautiful beach below. There is an abundance of restaurants to choose from. You will be staying at the very comfortable Gateway hotel, the best in the resort.

Day 11 Wed Optional trip to the southern tip of India BB

For those willing for a long drive (approx. 4.5 hours in each direction) we’ll take you on an optional (chargeable) trip to see the very southern tip of India. On route there will be a short stop in Trivandrum the state’s capital, before continuing to visit Vivekandanda Rock at the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea – the very southern tip of India. Return to hotel late evening.

Day 12. Thurs Varkala BB, Rest day

This morning we take you to Cu Chi tunnels, an area of traps and underground caverns in the jungle used by Vietnamese patriots against the Americans. Later, we return to Saigon for a tour of the city. We’ll visit the War Museum, Reunification Palace and the historic centre. Evening is free.

Day 13 Thurs Back to Cochin HB

Today we travel back to Cochin for our final night and enjoy a farewell dinner.

Day 14 Fri Home (29th January)

CODES

B&B = Bed, Breakfast, HB = Half Board

* Your free transfer for your flight home after the tour is only available upto 3 days after the end date of the tour