Your Kerala tour begins with an arrival in Cochin where you will be met and transferred to Hotel Brunton Boatyard - a spacious and elegant hotel, built on the site of a boatyard in a charming heritage style. With expansive views over the Cochin waterfront, the Brunton Boatyard is located in the heart of Fort Cochin and within walking distance of Fort Cochin's attractions. The old-world charm and well appointed rooms are complemented by a large, sparkling pool, courteous staff and am excellent Keralan kitchen.
Cochin's half day of sight seeing includes Cochin Harbour terminus where the Chinese fishing nets present a wonderful sight; Mattancherry Dutch Palace; The Jewish Synagogue and St. Francis Church (built in 1510 Vasco Da Gama was originally buried here). Later visit the Hill Palace which was built in the 19th century by the Raja of Kochi, the Kochi province was ruled from here. Later you will be collected for a Kathakali Dance Show and afterwards returned to the Brunton Boatyard.
Drive to Periyar, regarded as one of the best places to see the Asian Elephants. On arrival, check in at Spice Village Resort - most definitely a special place to stay, the Village is an eco-friendly traditional Keralan style resort on the outskirts of the Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread over a huge expanse, the Spice Village cottages are surrounded by a glorious plantation which boasts hundreds of species of flowers, spices and plants. The Resort also has a resident naturalist who is happy to escort you on informative walks through the plantation.
Later head out for an evening boat ride into the Wildlife Sanctuary, in the cooler air as the sun sets wildlife comes to drink at the Lake's edge.
Morning visit to a Spice Plantation - the area is famous for cardamom, coffee and tea plantations and you will learn a bit about the many uses of the spices, both medicinal and culinary! Overnight in Periyar.
Day 05 - Drive Periyar to Kumarakom and board Houseboat (200 kms/04 hrs)
Morning you drive Kumarakom to board your private house boat for an overnight stay. A cruise along the beautiful backwater canals of Kerala, is a highlight of any Kerala tour. The converted rice barges or "Kettuvallams" sail along shallow, palm-fringed lakes and narrow canals where coconut and cashew are loaded onto dugouts. You pass villages built on narrow spits of land, stopping to visit local markets by bullock-cart, or to marvel at craftsmen engaged in centuries-old boat-making traditions.
The boats used in the Kerala backwaters, offer one or two cabins with a small sitting room and a crew of two staff and a chef. Onboard the cuisine is authentic Kerala cuisine, purchased fresh along the way. For most of the journey, the boat is poled, sailing only between dawn and dusk. Although the accommodation is a little on the basic side, this is an unforgettable experience.
Disembark your houseboat in Kumarakom and transfer to the Coconut Lagoon Resort for a 2 night stay. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, at the mouth of the Kavanar River this resort is set on an abandoned coconut plantation and has been designed to give visitors an authentic insight into Kuttanad life, and the Kerala Backwaters.
Accommodation consists of individual cottages called tharawads, the traditional wooden house of Kerala. Though some of these cottages are new built, many are well over a century old and a few actually date back to the early 1700s. The Heritage Mansions and Heritage Bungalows are furnished in a style that retains all the charm of the original family home and features a private, modern, outdoor bathroom, complete with a banana tree reaching up through the open roof.
Meals are served in the resorts restaurant, housed in one of the most impressive tharawads, and it is renowned for its superb Keralan (veg and non-veg) cuisine. There is a large pool area overlooked by a beautiful teak wood bar and plenty of hammocks all over the property for that afternoon nap.
Day at leisure in Kumarakom - set out to explore the area by boat or bicycle and enjoy the spectacular flora and fauna, try your hand at fishing, enjoy yoga and meditation or just relax and treat yourself to delicious Keralan cuisine and pampering treatments.