- Ground Operators
Be one with the rich diversity of “God’s own country,” as this southern Indian state is known. Kerala is bestowed with thousands of shades and hues of nature—the clear, sparkling lake waters, sprawling verdant landscapes, vibrant festivals, and enticing dance forms. And there’s nothing more serene than cruising the gentle backwaters of the Arabian Sea aboard a private houseboat, watching village life pass you by and local children run along the lush, green shoreline. If you think India is all hectic cities and bustling street life, quiet Kerala has much to teach you.
Day 1: Arrive Cochin
You will be met on arrival in Cochin and escorted to your hotel. Depending on timing, you may be able to explore some sites in “Old Kochi” this afternoon.
Day 2: Exploring Cochin
After breakfast, enjoy a tour of Fort Cochin, believed to be Portugal’s oldest settlement in India. Thereafter, visit the St. Francis Church, first erected between 1350 and 1450, and the famous Chinese fishing nets that dot the shoreline. You may then visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays). In the early evening, attend a Kathakali dance performance, the most developed form of dance-drama in India.
Day 3: Drive to Thekkady
After breakfast, drive (4-5 hours) to Thekkady, bordering the Periyar National Park in the heart of India’s spice-growing region. After checking in to your hotel, the afternoon is at your leisure.
Day 4: Exploring Periyar National Park
You have the full day to explore this wildlife sanctuary; while tiger sightings are rare, the park has large Asian elephant herds and a host of other species. At sunrise and sunset, take a boat ride on Periyar Lake to see the wildlife in their natural habitat.
Day 5: Board Houseboat
After breakfast, drive to the starting point of your cruise aboard a private luxury houseboat. Traditionally called a kettuvallom, or rice barge, the shallow and rounded hull of the boat is made without using a single nail.
Day 6: Cruising the canals of Kerala
On this comfortable floating home, you spend your day relaxing and unwinding. As you slowly cruise along the backwater canals of the Arabian Sea, you may choose to stop and explore some of the many villages, farmlands, old temples, and churches that you come across.
Day 7: Disembark Houseboat / Depart India
Continue exploring the backwater canals of the Arabian Sea. You will be driven to the Cochin airport in time for your outbound flight.
Trip Dates: Private Departures – on demand year round
Trip Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Staring City: Cochin (airport code – COK)
Ending City: Cochin (airport code – COK)
Land Cost: valid October 2015 – April 2016*
Deluxe Hotel Option 1
(Cochin – Vivanta Malabar by Taj; Thekkady – Spice Village; Deluxe Houseboat)
2 – 3 participants: $1,433 per person
4 – 9 participants: $1,371 per person
10 + participants: $1,382 per person
Single Supplement: $690
Deluxe Hotel Option 2
(Cochin – Eighth Bastion Hotel; Thekkady – Niraamaya Retreats Cardamon Club; Deluxe Houseboat)
2 – 3 participants: $1,360 per person
4 – 9 participants: $1,293 per person
10 + participants: $1,309 per person
Single Supplement: $617
NOTE: The same Houseboat will be used in both hotel options
*NOT VALID for Christmas/New Year period (Dec 20 – Jan 15) and the month of February; supplement cost applies.
Internal India Airfare: None
Not Included in Land Cost
• International airfare to/from India
• Movie, video, and still camera fees
• Gratuities to local staff (guides, drivers, bell boys, porters, etc.)
• Items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone calls, etc.
• Trip Cancellation insurance
At TourDirect, we will assist you in obtaining any necessary visas or other travel permits required for your journey, all done through our Visa Service Partner. Detailed visa instructions, application forms, and information about applicable visa fees will be included in your Pre-Departure Packet.
You must have a valid passport with an expiration date more than 6 months from the date of your return to the U.S. The passport must also have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you will be visiting in Asia.
India: Visas on arrival (with pre-authorization) are available for most nationals, but can only be applied for 30 days prior to arrival, and are valid for single entry only. Visas can also be procured prior to departure from your home country.
No immunizations are required for entry into India or to return to the U.S. However, proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from (or have recently visited) a country that has risk of yellow fever. Several immunizations are recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
A copy of the CDC’s recommended immunization list and additional health information will be included in our Pre-Departure Packet.
Please let us know if you wish to arrive early or extend your stay to visit any other sites in India or other South Asian countries—Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka—and we will be happy to make the additional arrangements.
I cannot imagine anyone better at being a Trip Leader than Shagzil. It was a real pleasure knowing him and seeing Kerala through his eyes. Don’t lose him!
– Tony H, CA
I cannot thank you enough for helping us plan our trip across India. Your knowledge of India, combined with your sensitivity to traveling with children made us so grateful to have you guiding us through this! Thank you Sanjay!
– Laura T, CT
- Carol S, CT
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