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Explore the backwaters and tea plantations of Kerala, before heading to the Maldives

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What's Included

  • A private guide accompanying you from arrival to departure
  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers and domestic flights
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
  • Houseboat cruise through the backwaters of Kerala
  • Cycle ride through Munnar's tea plantations
  • Private city tour of Fort Cochin
  • Five nights in the Maldives
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Kerala is often referred to as God’s Own Country, and is one of India‘s most tranquil destinations. This 11-night trip takes you from the quaint town of Fort Cochin to the lush backwaters and rolling tea plantations, and finally to the Maldives for five nights of island bliss.

Fort Cochin is Kerala’s colonial gem, its streets lined with cottages and elegant churches built by the Portuguese. Hop on a bike and explore this fascinating town, heading off down side streets and paths less trodden to get an insight into local life. The Chinese fishing nets that line the waterfront are one of Fort Cochin’s most iconic sights, and best admired at sunset against the backdrop of a fiery Indian sky.

You’ll then head to Munnar, a patchwork of tea plantations buried high in the Western Ghats. Experience the fresh mountain air as you cycle through the rolling hills, each one a slightly different shade of green. You’ll even have a go at picking the leaves and make your very own cup of tea. When you’re not out exploring, this is a beautiful place to simply sit back and relax; early mornings are particularly atmospheric as a thin veil of mist hugs the lower slopes.

The next two nights will be spent in Kerala’s backwaters. Navigate the emerald waterways on a houseboat, gliding along the network of lakes, rivers and canals and enjoying the leisurely pace of life on the water.

You will then head back to Cochin for your onward flight to the Maldives, where you’ll spend five night snorkelling through crystal clear waters, relaxing on the white sand beaches and enjoying world-class cuisine at your luxury hotel.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

Fort Cochin

Airport assistance at Cochin Airport Airport assistance at Cochin Airport

After collecting your luggage you will be met and assisted through arrivals.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Fort Cochin with guide

Accommodation in Fort Cochin

Two nights in Fort Cochin Two nights in Fort Cochin

Nestled on the north west tip of Cochin’s peninsula, Fort Cochin is a quaint coastal region with strong links to its colonial history. Having been under the rule of the Portuguese, Dutch and British, the town has a distinctly European feel, its narrow streets lined with cottages and bungalows. Colonial relics are scattered throughout Fort Cochin, from the remains of Fort Immanuel and St. Francis church, both built by the Portuguese, to the Dutch cemetery.

Walk through the backstreets of Fort Cochin Walk through the backstreets of Fort Cochin

Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, then in the late afternoon take a walk with your guide through the backstreets of Fort Cochin, ending at the iconic Chinese fishing nets to watch the sunset.

st-francis-church-fort-cochin-india
Walking tour around Cochin's Heritage Zone Walking tour around Cochin's Heritage Zone

Today you’ll explore Cochin’s Heritage Zone, whose architecture reflects the many foreign rulers that came to settle in the area. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set foot on Cochin’s soil and they built the St Francis Church in 1503, where explorer Vasco Da Gama was buried before his body was returned to Portugal. You’ll also visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral with its impressive muralled ceiling and wander the narrow streets lined with Dutch and British buildings before ending at the Chinese fishing nets. You will also visit the Dutch Palace and the synagogue in Mattancherry. There will be time to wander through its winding streets, past antique shops and spice bazaars should you wish to purchase souvenirs.

Kathakali dance performance Kathakali dance performance

Kathakali is a classical dance form popular in Kerala. Its name translates as ‘story play’ and the dances present themes derived from mythology and legend. Kathakali is well known for its elaborate costumes and heavy make-up and if you arrive early you can see the performers getting ready.

Cycling tour around Fort Cochin Cycling tour around Fort Cochin

Explore the areas of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry by bicycle, riding down side streets to get an insight into local life. You’ll cycle past the Chinese fishing nets, dhobi ghats (open air laundries), temples, churches, mosques and the beach. Continue past spice warehouses, the air rich with the smell of dried ginger, cardamom and pepper. This area is very diverse and home to a variety of communities, each with their own dress and language. You’ll cycle for approximately 8km at a very relaxed pace, with plenty of stops for your guide to point out interesting sights along the route.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer with guide to Munnar via a spice and rubber farm

Days 3-5

Munnar

Accommodation in Munnar

Two nights in Munnar Two nights in Munnar

Nestled in the mighty Western Ghats and surrounded by sprawling tea plantations is the hill station of Munnar. A favoured summer retreat of the British who were lured by the cool mountain air and refreshing climate, the surrounding mountains and valleys are one of India's most picture-perfect destinations. Munnar sits at the confluence of three rivers and is the centre of Kerala's tea growing region. The surrounding hills and plantations create a sea of green as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by a sprinkling of colonial-style bungalows and paths that wind their way through the estates. A veil of mist hangs over the lower slopes while higher up, crags and peaks soar towards the clouds.

Cycle through the plantations and make your own tea Cycle through the plantations and make your own tea

A short drive will bring you to the start of your cycle ride where you will meet your guide, who will be waiting with your bikes and all the necessary gear. You will cycle through the rolling hills to Talayar Bungalow, a private tea estate located in one of the most beautiful areas of Munnar. The ride is approximately 15km. After a tour of the garden and learning to pick your own tea leaves, you'll head to the factory to make your very own cup of tea. Enjoy lunch in the garden overlooking the valley before cycling back - there is the option to return by vehicle, should you prefer.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to the Keralan backwaters with guide

Days 5-7

The Kerala backwaters

Accommodation in The Kerala backwaters

Two nights in the Kerala backwaters Two nights in the Kerala backwaters

With the Western Ghats towering to the east and the Arabian Sea flowing out from the west, Kerala is one of India's most verdant and beautiful states. Crisscrossing this green lung are the backwaters that snake their way through towns and villages. Teeming with aquatic life and providing an invaluable resource to all who sit on their banks, these waterways have helped create an impossibly lush pocket of India.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Transfer to your houseboat

 
Houseboat cruise through Kerala's backwaters Houseboat cruise through Kerala's backwaters

Kerala is affectionately known as God's Own Country, and as you glide along the network of lakes, rivers and canals that make up the backwaters, it's easy to see why. A houseboat cruise is a great way to explore rural India and you'll pass locals washing, fishing and bathing while enjoying the shade of the lush green surroundings. You'll transfer to a smaller canoe to explore the very narrow canals.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Cochin airport with guide

Flight

Flight from Cochin - Male

Days 7-12

Maldives

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in the Maldives

Accommodation in Maldives

remote-island-maldives
Five nights in the Maldives Five nights in the Maldives

Spend your days relaxing on the picture-perfect islands of the Maldives. While away the hours on the powder soft sand or take to the sparkling waters to discover the wealth of marine life that teems beneath the surface. Your luxury accommodation is the perfect place to simply switch off and enjoy the fine dining and impeccable service, but as soon as you want to take it up a gear and explore, the Maldives are one of the world's most beautiful destinations in which to do so.

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Classic Kerala and the Maldives

12-Day Example Trip
 
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