Refreshing Countryside Walks in Kerala

- A Secret Retreats journey -
13 days / 12 nights
from 3,085 USD /person

 

ITINERARY BOOK
 


This journey has been personally designed by Altaf Chapri,
“Kerala’s is one of my favourite places in India. Kerala is one of the most unspoiled and picturesque areas of Southern India, offering beautiful beaches, backwaters, mountains and stunning Spice and Tea Gardens. It is a state to breathe and embrace nature!”


Highlights of the Journey:

  • Stunning nature walks with incredible birdlife
  • Visit hill stations, local villages and a tea estate
  • Learn about the region’s fascinating and diverse cultures
  • Enjoy an overnight cruise on the famed Kerala backwaters

This slow travel itinerary will lead you from Fort Cochin (Kochi) to the southern city of Kovalam. Your journey through this richly diverse state, both culturally and natural beauty, starts in Kochi to discover the history of this important and ancient port city. Your journey continues in the forests and tea estates of Valparai, a Kerala Hill Station where you will enjoy guided walks through stunning nature, visit a tea estate and enjoy the magnificent local birdlife, hopefully spotting a Hornbill along the way. Increasing the elevation a little with a move on to Munnar, a British colonial period hill station where you will practice yoga and meditation and enjoy walks to local villages learning about their unique ways of life. Next we head down from the hills to the canals at Allepey for an overnight on the famed backwaters. Finally, a few days relaxation at a delightful resort in Kovalam near a peaceful fishing village on the southern Kerala coast. Practice yoga, take a treatment or two at the Ayurvedic spa and contemplate on all you have enjoyed in this fascinating 2 week itinerary before heading home.

Best time: October to April


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Your Journey Day by Day

13 days / 12 nights from 3,085 USD /person

based on 2 people traveling together and sharing the same room

 
Day 1 : Airport – Kochi (-/-/-)
Welcome upon arrival at Kochi International airport by our team and transfer to the hotel. Kochi, known as ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’’, offers a fascinating blend of cultures. From time immemorial, traders and travelers have frequented the city.
Dinner at leisure
HOTEL: Tea Bungalow (Standard room)
Day 2 : Kochi (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel, and relaxing time at the property in the morning. Short drive to visit Mattancherry Palace (closed on Friday), which was built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. The main attraction of the Palace is the series of murals painted on the wooden walls.
Visit of the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Friday afternoon and Saturday), built in 1568 AD, the great scrolls of the old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the cochin rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand painted tiles are of interest. The main peculiarity of these tiles is that no two tiles are not alike.
Visit of Santa Cruz Basilica, built by Portuguese and elevated to Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. We go next to St. Francis Church, a protestant Church that was built by Portuguese in 1510 AD and is believed to be the first Church built by the Europeans in India. Vasco Da Gama was buried here. Discover the Chinese Fishing Nets, large nets that hang from bamboo or teak posts and are still used by local fishermen in Fort Kochi to catch fish attracted by the lights suspended above the net. During the Evening witness the Kathakali Dance drama show of Kerala in local theater.
No meal included.
HOTEL: Tea Bungalow (Standard room)
Day 3 : Kochi - Valparai (B/-/D)
After breakfast, we drive in the morning to Valparai - a hill station located in the Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu - a pollution free heavenly land. Located 3,500 feet above sea level, it shares its boundaries with Anamalai Tiger with Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Eravikulam National Park and Vazhachal forest division. Valparai stands majestically with green spread mountains, grass forests, grass hills and forest all around. Woodbriar Valparai tea estate is close to Parambikulam National Park.
After 5 to 6 hours in the car, just relax for the rest of the day at leisure or if you feel like it you can walk around the resort, there are many trails and path for gentle walks in the surrounding greenery. All around: plenty of rare flowers, butterflies and a variety of rare species of birds.
Dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL: Briar Tea Bungalows (Stanmore Cottage)
Day 4 : Valparai (B/L/D)
Today after breakfast, we will embark on a journey to explore the plantations around, through a long but interesting walk. Then around the estate, we will focus on our tea plantation and the factory to understand the entire process of plucking and churning. A tasting session is arranged at the end almost like a ritual to warm you, cheer you up, refresh and soothe in just one sip.
Dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL: Briar Tea Bungalows (Stanmore Cottage)
Day 5 : Valparai (B/L/D)
The theme of today’s walk: Birwatching.
After breakfast we will walk to the dams and other nature reservoirs nearby. Hornbill, which nests of natural cavities and cliffs of the trees are one of endangered species found in this area. The walk today is considered as moderate level, with the beauty offered by the fauna living around the property. For lunch, a simple picnic will be arranged at one of the most scenic spots. Back to the hotel in the afternoon, you can rest and enjoy the facilities of the hotel.
Dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL: Briar Tea Bungalows (Stanmore Cottage)
Day 6 : Valparai – Sugati Retreat (B/-/-)
After breakfast and check out, we drive towards Munnar (about 6hrs) to reach out next destination: Sugati Retreat. The drive is passing through the lush jungle and abundance of forests. Munnar, the former hill-station founded by the British during the period of colonial rule is located at an elevation of 1,600 metres (5250 feet), and is pleasantly cool after the heat of the lowlands. Tea grows well here and the lower slopes of the hills are carpeted by orderly plantations of emerald green bushes, tended by colourfully-attired tea-pickers. The evening is dedicated to a meditation session where you are taught various techniques of breathing and relaxation. No dinner arrangement
HOTEL: Sugati Retreat (Standard Villa)
Day 7 : Sugati Retreat (B/-/-)
Early start today for a yoga session at the hotel: guided by an instructor, you will learn how to practice this form of wellness for about an hour. You shall be in appetite after that for a nice breakfast. Sugati is a retreat, primarily focused on yoga and meditation; other physical activities envisaged are very light ones like plantation walks around the village. This morning, we proceed for a walk around the villages, to discover and understand the lifestyle of the people living in the hilly areas of Kerala. At the same time, you will learn also about the spices grown in this area. The walk will take around 2 to 3 hrs. The rest of the day is for you to plan. In the evening, another meditation session is planned. No arrangement for any meal.
HOTEL: Sugati Retreat (Standard Villa)
Day 8 : Sugati Retreat (B/-/-)
Today again will start with a yoga wherein your instructor will introduce you the Assanas (postures) along with their benefits. Breakfast will be served after. Later in the morning, we proceed to a stroll around the garden growing organic vegetables. Your guide will tell you about the techniques used to produce the vegetables, without chemical or pesticides. These are the vegetables used by the kitchen at the retreat. The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening, another meditation session is planned. No arrangement for any meal.
HOTEL: Sugati Retreat (Standard Villa)
Day 9 : Sugati Retreat - Alleppey (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, we will drive to Alleppey (also called locally Alappuzha) - a vast network of canals sends out their tendrils into the famed backwaters, a massive system of waterways that connect the region. Alappuzha is famous for its boat races and is a hub for the popular Kerala style houseboats. We need to leave around 7h00 hrs so that can make it early to the houseboat boarding point (6hrs drive). The houseboat is a great way to visit the area, as it is the only way to go where other means of transportation cannot go, and allows you to take time and stop when needed. Your houseboat is equipped with all the modern amenities. All your meals will be served on board, made with fresh ingredients and some catches from the river during the cruise.
Come evening and the boat will be anchored along a paddy field. You can take a walk to the nearby village, or relax on the deck till dinner. When you retire under starlit sky, the gentle lapping of water will rock you fall asleep.

Overnight: Houseboat (Deluxe Cabin)
Day 10 : Alleppey - Kovalam (B/-/-)
This morning, after breakfast on board, we drive to Kovalam (about 5 hrs) a calm fishing village in southern Kerala, surrounded by crescent beaches and blissfully swaying palm trees. On arrival check into the hotel, a place completely dedicated to relaxation and rejuvenation. No arrangement for meals
HOTEL: Niramayaa Retreat Surya Samudra (Heritage Premium Sea View Room)
Days 11 & 12 : Kovalam (B/-/-)
The last 2 days are for you to rest. You can start with yoga (between 7h00 and 8h00), then enjoy a breakfast. The day is at leisure: you can sleep or walk along the beach, go for a treatment at the Ayurveda Spa, ride a bicycle around. No arrangement. No meal included.
HOTEL: Niramayaa Retreat Surya Samudra (Heritage Premium Sea View Room)
Day 13 : Kovalam – Departure via Trivandrum Airport (B/-/-)
After breakfast and check out, transfer to Trivandrum airport in time to catch your flight to your next destination.

Your Accommodation on this Asia Travel Itinerary


Refreshing Countryside Walks in Kerala

13 days / 12 nights
from 3,085 USD /person

based on 2 people traveling together and sharing the same room

 


The total price includes:
Accommodation for 12 nights
All meals as mentioned in the program
All transfer services between airport, properties and for excursions, using air-conditioned vehicle (Innova or Minivan). No vehicle during the stay at Kovalam
English speaking guide for local sight-seeing (day 2, 9 and cruise)
One time entrance fees for all the monuments at each place as per the program
All activities mentioned in the program:
- Day 2 in Kochi: Kathakali Show in local theater
- Day 4 & 5 in Valparai : Visit of Tea Plantation (walk around the plantation, tea tasting); Bird watching tour and nature walk
- Day 7& 8 in Sugati Retreat: Yoga session with a Yoga instructor; Village walk; Meditation session with an expert; Visit of the organic Garden
All Taxes

The total price does not include:
International and Domestic flights to and from of Kerala
Visa to India
Extra activities and meals not mentioned in the program
Travel insurance


This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Altaf and Discovery Journeys.

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