Many locals term Kerala as God's Own Country for its rolling hills, crystal lakes, and coconut palms. The cooler hill stations are nestled above pink-sand beaches and backwater canals. The Western Ghats are scattered with tea plantations, spice gardens, and wildlife reserves. There is always a celebration in Kerala with temple dances, snake-boat races, and a unique culinary palate.
Welcome to India! Upon arrival, meet our representative and transfer to the hotel.
Cochin, also known as Kochi, is one of the principal seaports of India and a growing center of international trade and information technology. The region has Arab, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Chinese influences. Kochi is a scenic city sprawled over several narrow islands and a strip of peninsula sheltered within a saltwater lagoon. Coastal Cochin is an intriguing mix of giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses, and the remains of the British Raj.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performance. Originally performed only by men, this art form, with its intricate hand gestures, facial expressions and choreographed movements, evolved from an ancient martial art form.
After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of the Fort Kochi area. The sites will include:
Chinese Fishing Nets/Vasco Da Gama Square- Chinese fishing nets along the coast are a reminder of the days of Chinese settlers and merchants. A legacy left behind by the earliest people to call on the Malabar Coast, these nets are unmistakable as one enters the harbor. Records show that they were first erected between A.D. 1350 and 1450. Constructed out of Teak wood and bamboo poles, they work on the principle of balance. The best place to watch is from Vasco Da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that parallels the beach with stalls that serve fresh seafood and tender coconuts.
Cochin Club- Set in a beautifully landscaped park, the Cochin Club dates back to early 20th century. Once restricted to British men, today the club is more liberal. With current membership of about 250, it still exudes the aura of a traditional English club, though oddly enough alcohol is not served on the premises. Found inside are an impressive library and an assemblage of sporting trophies from yester years.
St. Francis Church- Considered India’s oldest church, St. Francis was a Roman Catholic Church during the Portuguese period from 1503 to 1663, Dutch Reform from 1664 to 1804, and Anglican from 1804 to 1947. Today it is governed by the Church of South India. The building was originally constructed out of timber and later reconstructed in stone during the 16th century. Vasco Da Gama, who died in Cochin in 1524, was buried here before his remains were returned to Portugal 14 years later.
Thakur House- The magnificent bungalow facing the sea was built by Gelderland Bastion. With graceful lines that reflect the leisurely lifestyle of the colonial area it is one of the seven bastions of the old Dutch Fort. The walk proceeds towards Dutch Cemetery, consecrated in 1724 and now managed by the church of South India. The inscriptions found here are some of the most accurate reminders of countless men and women who left their European houses behind to play their roles on the colonial canvas of 17th,18th and 19th century of Fort Cochin.
Vasco House- Along Rose Street stands Vasco House, one of the oldest Portuguese houses in Fort Cochin. Though never fully authenticated, it is believed to have been the residence of Vasco Da Gama in the 16thcentury.
Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue- The palace road will take you to the famous Dutch Palace and Jewish synagogue.
In the evening,visit the home of a local family for a traditional Keralan cooking demonstration. Overnight.
Kochi - Munnar
Enjoy a scenic morning drive through the hills to reach Munnar (4 hours). Munnar is nestled in the Western Ghats. A hill station and former resort for the British Raj elite, it's surrounded by rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the late 19th century.
Later, explore the tea plantations and visit a tea factory to sample the local blends. Munnar tea has flavor notes of cardamom, fig, pepper, coffee, and other spice influences.
Evening at leisure and overnight.
After breakfast, visit Vattavada Village. Your visit to this area will cover the village, vegetable gardens, and strawberry farms which gives you a closer glimpse of the local culture and lifestyle practices. During your walk you can visit some of the oldest mud houses in this village and also contribute to a community project. It is a non-profit organization called Biodiversity Research & Conservation Society (BRCS).
BRCS runs a small community center where children are taught verbal English and arithmetic. BRCS also works closely with the local school, assisting the management with maintenance and upkeep of the school. We encourage our guests to be a part of the project and interact with the students.
Return to Munnar and overnight.
Munnar - Inchathotty
After breakfast, drive to Inchathotty (2 hours) for a stay at the Windermere River House. Located off the popular tourist circuit, the 5-bedroom plantation offers guests an immersive experience. Enjoy canoeing, birding, village walks, cycling, or simply sit by the pool with beautiful views of the Periyar River.
Evening at leisure and overnight.
Inchathotty - Kumarakom
After breakfast, drive to Kumarakom (2 hours). Kumarakom is a charming village on the Eastern bank of Vembanadu Lake surrounded by paddy fields. The lake's majestic canals, streams, and distributaries weave an intricate and enchanting web. Enjoy a sunset cruise or sit on the lakeside with a cocktail or cup of tea.
Evening at leisure and overnight.
ST's Hotel Recommendation
Coconut Lagoon is an exclusive hideaway nestled in a cove of Vembanad Lake. A CGH Earth property, the guest experience is luxurious and ecological, starting with the arrival at a private boat jetty.
In the morning, enjoy a cruise on the backwaters. The canals thread their way through the state to the sea. Along the way you will pass rice fields, tiny villages, boats transporting children to school, and farmers transporting their produce to the market.
Later you will be transferred to Philipkutty’s Farm for lunch, a hideaway set on a remote farm island. The cuisine is mostly local and cooked by the family. Share stories, relish in the surroundings, and enjoy a lavish lunch influenced by the backwaters. Return to your hotel and evening at leisure.
Kumarakom - Mararikulam
After breakfast, drive to Mararikulam (2 hours), a picturesque fishing village by the Arabian Sea. The village has a host of sandy beaches fringed by coconut palms, ideal to stroll around, enjoy the waves, and interact with the locals. Afternoon at leisure to soak up the splendid coastal scenery of Mararikulam. Overnight.
Mararikulam and Departure
Day at leisure. In the evening, transfer to the Kochi airport (1.5 hours) for your onward flight. Bon Voyage!
Private vehicle and driver
Comprehensive touring with a private guide
Entrance fees to the monuments
Philipkutty plantation lunch
Local, immersive experiences
Airport transfers with assistance
Road/interstate taxes, fuel surcharges, and parking fees