Kerala and the Southern Highlights
|Resort:||Kerala and the Southern Highlights|
|Operator:||Wendy Wu Tours|
18 Day Kerala and the Southern Highlights Tour Itinerary
Days 1-2: Fly to Chennai
Fly overnight to the city of Chennai and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3: Discover Mamallapuram
After breakfast and tour introduction, you will travel to Mamallapuram. On arrival you will explore this coastal temple town, seeing the fascinating 7th and 8th-century rock carvings including the magnificent Shore Temple and the impressive Varaha Cave.
Day 4: Chennai City
Return to Chennai. Formerly known as Madras, the city was developed as a British trading post and so is home to a number of colonial sights. A city tour begins at the 13 kilometre Marina Beach before a stop at Fort St. George, established by the East India Company, and the British built St. Marys Church. The final stop is the colourful Shiva Kapaleeswarar Temple.
Day 5: Train to Bangalore
Rise early to catch the Shatabdi Express to the garden city of Bangalore. Take an afternoon city tour to see the Bull Temple, Tipu Sultans Palace and Vidhana Soudha.
Day 6: Mysore
Head to Mysore, stopping at Srirangapatna Fort en route. Visit the magnificent Maharajas Palace and drive up to Chamundi Hill to admire the 12th-century Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and Nandi Bull. Tonight, enjoy a traditional cooking demonstration hosted by a local family.
Day 7: Coonoor Hill Station
Journey up into the cool climes of the Western Ghats to the beautiful hill station of Coonoor. Relax and appreciate the peace and natural splendour of this quaint town.
Day 8: Ooty Narrow Gauge Railway
All aboard the miniature, narrow gauge Toy Train to Ooty, nicknamed the Queen of Hill Stations. Upon arrival youll visit the botanical gardens and walk up to a small village where youll be able to gain insight into the lives of the local people, as well as getting incredible views back over Ooty.
Day 9: Travel to Coimbatore
This morning you will enjoy a morning tour of Coonoor before lunch. After, you will drive through the hilly roads for 3 and half hours to Coimbatore. Here you will spend the night.
Day 10: Munnar
Travel to Munnar, a hill station enveloped by lush tea plantations. In the afternoon visit a tea plantation and the Tata Tea Museum. This day is at altitude.
Day 11: Travel to Thekkady
Today explore Eravikulam National Park where you will have the opportunity to spot the local wildlife (closed Feb-Apr, an alternative light trek will be available). Continue your journey to Thekkady, home of Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. This day is at altitude.
Day 12: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Though designated a Tiger Reserve in 1978, the Periyar Wildlife Reserve is best known for its elephants. Take a walk through the reserve, keeping an eye out for its resident elephant population, as well as wild dogs, barking deer, mouse deer and the elusive Bengal Tiger. Visit a spice village and browse a local market before enjoying a traditional Kalaripayattu (martial art) show this evening.
Day 13: Drive to Kochi
Travel to the coastal town of Kochi. This evening enjoy an exuberant Kathakali dance performance.
Day 14: Explore Kochi
Take a full day tour of Kochi. Start at St Francis Church, the first European church built in India, before a visit to Santa Cruz Basilica, where you can get excellent views of more Chinese fishing nets. Finish by admiring the synagogue in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and a stroll around the nearby markets.
Day 15: Backwaters Cruising
Travel to Kumarakom where youll board your houseboat, stopping en route at Kumbalangi, a village created to highlight the lifestyle of fisher-folk in the area. Later board your houseboat a converted rice barge, known as a kettuvallam. Sit back and watch life on the water and the surrounding, untouched wilderness as you cruise unhurriedly along the canals. A delicious dinner of traditional cuisine will be served on board and youll spend a comfortable night on the water.
Day 16: Discover Trivandrum
Take breakfast on your boat before disembarking and heading for the beach town of Kovalam. Stop on the way in Kerala’s capital Trivandrum to discover the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Observatory and Sri Chitra Art Gallery.
Day 17: Kovalam
This morning take a walking tour of the town and visit the lighthouse. The rest of the day is yours to relax, or head to the beach, until a farewell dinner this evening.
Day 18: Fly Trivandrum to UK
Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day.