Spice Trails of Kerala

Spice Trails of Kerala

15 Days Starting and ending in Cochin

Visiting: Kochi, Munnar, Meeshapulimala Peak JEEP SAFARI, Yellapetty View Point, Koviloor, Vattavada, Vattavada beauty view point, Madurai, Periyar, Periyar Lake, Alappuzha, Malabar Coast

Tour operator:

Exodus

Tour code:

TGK

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

Moderate

Age range:

16-99

Special diets catered:

Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Activities:

Trekking, Walking

From:
$2700
$2626 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$74

NB: Prices correct on 18-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Traversing the Western Ghats from the colonial hill station of Munnar to the colourful temple town of Madurai, we discover the two southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala is a true tropical paradise with idyllic beaches, fertile forests and plantations of spice and tea, and it is here where we reach our highest point, Meesapulimala Peak (2630m). We then cross into the barren landscape of Tamil Nadu and marvel at the intricately carved Sri Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. A trip to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts an array of wildlife and an abundance of colourful birdlife, and a cruise on a traditional houseboat offers the chance to relax on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Our journey ends in historical Cochin, a port which has been luring traders and explorers for over 600 years.

Highlights

  • The beautiful hill station of Munnar

  • The colourful Sri Meenakshi temple at Madurai

  • A night on the traditional houseboats of Kerala

  • Trekking through the historic tea plantations of Kerala

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Start Cochin

Location: Kochi

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Grand Hotel (or similar)

Meals Included: No Meals

The group flight arrives in Cochin in the afternoon and we transfer to our

hotel. Those clients not travelling on the group flight will make their own

way to the hotel and will join us there. The evening is free for dinner and

for you to relax after your journey.

*Comfortable Hotel*



Day 2 : Drive To The Beautiful Hill Station Of Munnar

Location: Munnar

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Issac Residency (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

In the morning we drive away from the coastal plain to Munnar, set amongst

Kerala's highest mountains, they form a jagged line due east of Cochin. The

drive is approx. 160km and should take approximately 6 hours. Munnar is a

beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats at about 1600m above sea level.

It was once a summer resort of the British Government in south India due to

the fresh mountain air. The town is situated at the confluence of the three

mountain streams Mudrapauzha, Naliathanii and Kundala and is surrounded by

lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea estates. Anamudi (2695m), the

highest peak in south India dominates the skyline and the many smaller peaks

are a walker's paradise.

*Standard Hotel*



Day Walk Through Munnar's Surrounding Hills; Optional Visit To A Tea Museum

Location: Munnar

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Issac Residency (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast, we take a short drive through old Munnar and travel down to

Nagarmudi (1500m), a tiny village, where we start our trek accompanied by a

local guide. The walk begins with a gradual ascent through the tea

plantations and then climbs into the Seven Malai Hills. Just before reaching

the summit (1700m) we enjoy walking through cardamom and coffee plantations.

Our hard work will be rewarded with spectacular views over Munnar and other

local villages. We then descend back to our vehicle. There is an optional

visit in the afternoon to the Tea Museum.

*Standard Hotel*



Day 4 : Trek In The Silent Valley With Beautiful Views Of The Tea Estates

Location: Munnar

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Full-service camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have a beautiful 1 hour drive to the Silent Valley, passing through some

tea estates and plantations in a valley surrounded by hills. Our trek will

start with a gradual walk on the plains of the tea plantations at approx

1600m, followed by a gentle climb to the grasslands. There are beautiful

views all around, mostly of the tea estates, which gives us a good feel for

the area. After lunch, we continue with the second part of our trek, which

becomes steeper as we leave the tea plantation behind and finally reach our

camp (2000m), where we spend two nights.

*Full-service Camping*



Day 5 : Ascend Meesapulimala Peak (2630M), The Highest In The Area

Location: Meeshapulimala Peak JEEP SAFARI

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Full-service camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we trek to Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), the second highest in south

India (Anamudi is the highest but it is in a restricted area). From our camp,

the trail ascends through the rough shola grassland until we reach open

ridges, bringing us to Meesapulima Peak. From the top (which is also the

border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala) there are breathtaking views all

around. After a break at the top and our packed lunch, we will descend to our

camp (2000m).

*Full-service Camping*



Day 6 : Trek Through Plantations And Thick Forest To Yellapetty Village; On To Campsite (1750M)

Location: Yellapetty View Point

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Full-service camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning we start our trek through the thick forest land of Silent

Valley and then through pine forests and along the streams of the Rhodo

Valley. After this, we pass through grasslands and shola forest where we may

be lucky to spot giant squirrels, wild boar and the Indian Gaur. Following a

packed lunch en route, we will reach Yellapetty Village, arriving late

afternoon. From here we will be taken by jeeps, for approx. 20 - 30 mins, and

then walk to our campsite at Oorkadu. (1750m

*Full-service Camping*



Day 7 :  Trek To Koviloor Via Vattavada Village (1900M)

Location: Koviloor, Vattavada

Accommodation: Camp

Accommodation Name: Full-service camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we have a fairly easy walk with some slight ups and downs as we trek to

the beautiful village of Koviloor (1900m). Along the way we will pass through

the lush vegetable farming region of Pazhathottam and the ever-present tea

plantations in this part of India.  We will find a shady spot for our lunch

stop and then continue our trek to the tribal village of Vattavada.  The

customs, art forms and natural remedies of the tribes in this area make it an

interesting place to trek.  Our visit to Vattavada village will be an

opportunity to meet the tribal people and learn about their lifestyle.  If

we are lucky we may also observe some rare butterfly species fluttering

around. Continuing our trek we will cross a small canal before reaching our

campsite at Koviloor village.  It is here that farmers converge from miles

around to sell their produce. 

*Full-service Camping*



Day 8 : Trek Through The Plantation Ridge, Drive On To Mundhan

Location: Vattavada beauty view point

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Green Royale (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This last day of our trek we head through the plantation ridge. From our

vantage point we have views over beautiful Koviloor village. This whole area

is known as the 'market of India' because of the amount of fruit and

vegetables grown.  As we enjoy the scenery we may meet farmers busy with

their crops.  We will end our trek with a packed lunch under the trees while

enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us.   After lunch we take jeeps

for approximately 5 to 6 hours (depending on traffic) to our hotel in

Mundhan. (650m) 



*Standard Hotel*



Day 9 : To Madurai; Visit The Colourful Sri Meenakshi Temple

Location: Madurai

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Star Residency (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Leaving Kerala behind we drive for approx. 2-3 hrs through the plains to the

colourful temple town of Madurai, in Tamil Nadu. Madurai is one of the oldest

and most fascinating cities in south India. The great Sri Meenakshi Temple,

most of which was built during the Nayak period between the 16th and 18th

centuries, is at the heart of the city and the life of the town revolves

around it. It is a hive of activity and the scene of an almost continuous

religious festival. Worshippers bathe in the tank of the Golden Lily and

throng the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, where each one is uniquely carved.

Madurai is a perfect place to wander around and experience Hindu culture.

*Comfortable Hotel*



/ /



Day 10 : To Thekkady (Periyar National Park); Evening Walk Through Spice Gardens

Location: Periyar

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Jungle Park Resort (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Leaving Madurai in the morning we drive to the small village of Thekkady. The

drive is spectacular as the road climbs through the Western Ghats and we have

fantastic views across Tamil Nadu. Thekkady is a small bustling village from

where we visit the Periyar National Park. This whole area is a centre for

spice growing and after lunch, there will be a short walk around a spice

garden, where we can see many different spices growing. There is plenty of

time in the afternoon to explore the bazaar, where we can visit the numerous

shops selling cardamoms, vanilla, peppercorns, chillies, turmeric and other

spices. Total driving time approx. 4-5 hrs.

*Standard Hotel*



Day 11 : Morning Nature Walk; Optional Afternoon Boat Ride On Periyar Lake To See Wild Elephants

Location: Periyar Lake

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Standard hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

The Periyar National Park is one of the largest in south India and is set

around a large man-made lake. In the early morning we will have a short

nature walk in the surrounding tropical forest and in the afternoon an

optional boat trip and cruise on the lake (tickets for the cruise can be

purchased online in advance. We recommend this in order to avoid long queues.

Please inform your leader if you wish to purchase tickets in advance). This

is an ideal opportunity to spot birds, such as kingfishers, storks and

hornbills, and occasionally we may spot an elephant, otters, wild pig and

buffalo. There is also the opportunity of an Ayurvedic massage (optional),

which can be arranged in the nearby Ayurvedic massage centre, and also a

cooking class (optional). The park will most likely be your last chance for

souvenir shopping. Card payments are taken and there is also an ATM.

*Standard Hotel*



Day 12 : To Alleppey For Overnight Stay On A Traditional Keralan Houseboat

Location: Alappuzha

Accommodation: Houseboat

Accommodation Name: Houseboat

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we begin by transferring to Allepey on the coast. We board our

houseboats and begin our cruise along the backwaters of Kerala. The houseboat

cruise is one of the highlights of the trip - these enchanting houseboats,

built of Anjili wood and bamboo, were the traditional method of transporting

of goods for hundreds of years. Now they have been decorated and made into

comfortable cruise boats. The network of rivers, streams, lagoons and canals

occupies the alluvial plain between the Western Ghats and the Indian Ocean.

As our boat meanders through areas of lush tropical vegetation we have the

opportunity to view not only the prolific bird life but also gain a differing

perspective on village life. All the houseboats are comfortably equipped and

have 3 or 4 twin bedded rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

There is a cook, boat driver and assistants for each boat and the food served

is traditional Keralan fare using local produce. No trip to Kerala would be

complete without the wonderful experience of the backwaters aboard these

traditional Keralite vessels.

*Houseboat*



Day 13 : To Our Homestay On The Malabar Coast; Explore Local Fisherman's Village

Location: Malabar Coast

Accommodation: Homestay

Accommodation Name: Marari Beach Villa (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

After a relaxing breakfast on the houseboats, we will disembark and drive

along the scenic Malabar Coast to our homestay, which is situated near a

beautiful stretch of beach. There is plenty of time to relax here and explore

the local fisherman's village.



Day 14 : To Cochin; Afternoon Sightseeing; Kathakali Dance Show (Optional)

Location: Kochi

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Grand Hotel (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

We head back to Cochin and during the afternoon there will be a guided tour;

this will include Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese as a gift for

the Raja of Cochin, the Jewish synagogue dating from 1568 and St Francis

church. We also explore the town of Cochin, its bazaars and old harbour area.

Fort Cochin is believed to be the earliest European settlement in India and

was founded by the Portuguese in 1503. Warehouses filled with the smell of

tea and spices are lime-washed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old

bikes and hand-painted trucks, piled high with goods fill the narrow streets

and food stalls stand on every corner. Further along the road, you come to

Mattancherry and the Dutch Palace. Next to the Palace is the synagogue, built

in 1568 for the Jewish members of Cochin's trading communities (please bear

in mind that the synagogue is closed on Saturdays). Most people choose to

stay in Fort Cochin and wander around its fascinating streets. In the evening

there is the chance for an optional visit to see a display of Kathakali

Dancing, a form of dance unique to Kerala.

*Comfortable Hotel*



Day 15 : End Cochin

Location: Kochi

Meals Included: Breakfast

If you are on the group flights you will have an early morning transfer to

the airport for the flight back to London. Those not flying with the group

will leave us at the hotel in Cochin.



What's Included

  • Transfer for group flights

  • All accommodation

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included

  • Fully Guided

What's Not Included

  • Single supplement

  • Visas and vaccinations

  • Travel insurance

Food


All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included.

On day 1 you should be given breakfast on the flight. It is full board on
trek (5 days) and on the houseboat (1 day). You should allow at least £12
(approx. US$16) per day for lunch and dinner when not included. You can eat
out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants
most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most of
the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian
and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian, India is probably one of the
best destinations to travel to. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A
(large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$4.80). Please note
that hotels (apart from 5-star hotels) and bars in Kerala are no longer
allowed to sell alcohol, it is still possible to buy alcohol in government
shops. Mineral water is available. Please note that service in restaurants
can be quite slow. All meals are included on the houseboat, where traditional
Kerala cuisine is served. If you require any other cuisine, please inform us
in advance.

Accommodation

We spend eight nights in hotels, four nights in full-service camps, one night in a homestay and one night on a houseboat.



Hotels in India usually do not have heating as there are really only a couple of months in the year when the weather can be cooler. You can, however, request more blankets or the hotel may be able to provide a standing heater for your room. Please talk to your tour leader if you need help in this matter.



Houseboats are comfortable and all cabins have toilet facilities. The houseboat also benefits from a deck and dining area. The number of rooms per boat will vary depending on group size and availability. While camping (full-service), the group will be provided with two-person tents, mattresses, a dining tent, kitchen tent including all equipment, toilet tents including toilet rolls, and camping chairs.



Please note that single rooms may be limited at the homestay.

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  • Who is Exodus Travels?

    At Exodus Travels, we've been exploring the world for nearly 50 years. From Walking and Trekking, Cultural and Cycling, Responsible Wildlife, to Polar and our new Premium Adventures, we are proud to offer award-winning small group and self-guided tours to 100+ countries worldwide.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International flights are not included with this tour.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, our local guides are English speaking.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    The minimum age for this tour is 16 years old.

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    If you would like to be paired with a tour member of the same gender, there is no additional charge. A single supplement can be requested if you would like your own room.

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    We are happy to assist with pre and post tour accommodation. Please enquire for detailed information.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    If you wish to make any changes to your booking, particularly if you need to alter any flights booked through us, please let us know as soon as possible. There is a booking or flight amendment fee of £40 per change and flight amendments often incur extra airline costs depending on the changes to be made and if the ticket has been issued or not.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Exodus has been trading since 1974

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Your final joining instructions and flight details, if booked with us, will then be sent out 2 to 3 weeks before departure. If you would like a hard copy posted, or if you require these any earlier, please contact the customer operations team. We advise that if you are booking connecting travel before receiving these, please ensure you leave plenty of time.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Travellers are welcome to opt to share a room with a tour member of the same gender for no additional charge. If you'd like your own room, we can request a single supplement so that you will have your own room throughout.

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    You are welcome to meet the group after the tour has departed however there is no reduction in rate for joining a tour after the departure date.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

fun and rewarding trip.

Really enjoyed this trip. I liked the busy pace, t

Really enjoyed this trip. I liked the busy pace, the treks, houseboat and the homestay in particular. It was only a small group but we bonded easily over a couple of beers on the first night and that continued through the duration of the trip.

Spice Trails of Kerala

A mixture of trekking, culture and relaxation, thi

A mixture of trekking, culture and relaxation, this was probably one of the best Exodus trips I've ever done. Well organised with lots of extra 'surprises'. The trek, followed by some cultural discovery, then the mini cruise down the backwaters and ending up on the Malabar coast in a homestay and swimming in the Indian Ocean, couldn't have been a better itinerary. Even the hotels were better than expected.

SPICE TRAILS OF KERALA

The trip was well organised, the group we were wit

The trip was well organised, the group we were with mixed well and the group leader worked hard making the holiday a great success.   

SPICE TRAILS OF KERALA

I enjoyed the holiday very much. The scenery and f

I enjoyed the holiday very much. The scenery and forna were wonderful. The holiday was varied. The day on the boat on the backwater was restful after the exersion of the trek.

Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of South India

This is a fantastic trip with a lot of variety. Fr

This is a fantastic trip with a lot of variety. From trekking in the mountains to relaxing on a houseboat; from bird- and animal-spotting to touring a magnificent Hindu temple; from seeing tea and spices growing to tasting the most wonderful Keralan cooking; and generally seeing, hearing, and learning about the rich variety of South Indian life and culture. This was my first trip to India but it certainly won't be my last.

Spice Trails of Kerala

Have just returned from the 14 day Spice Trails of

Have just returned from the 14 day Spice Trails of Kerala tour with Exodus. Having travelled with Exodus before, we were familiar with the format and this trip certainly did not disappoint. Accommodation was good, the programme was varied and interesting and the support was excelellent.

Fantastic trip

This trip has it all. A wonderful variety of adven

This trip has it all. A wonderful variety of adventure, challenges, culture, stunning scenery, friendship, busyness and relaxation. South India is stunning.

Amazing trip

This is a very active trip and full of different e

This is a very active trip and full of different experiences. Max in Head Office provided excellent advice and customer service before the trip. It's actually a trip of 2 halves. The first week is spent hiking in the Western Ghats, with 4 nights camping. For me, this was probably the highlight. Each hike covered different types of terrain/landscape, and as others have mentionned, you need to be reasonably fit. But don't worry if you don't feel up to a long hike on a given day- you can sometimes do a shorter one or just relax. The guides were fantastic, and they even carried tiffin boxes on the treks for us to enjoy a full lunch ! The food on camp was out of this world- seriously some of the best food I've eaten in my life, creatively prepared by the executive chef and his small team in the middle of nowhere. Unbelievable! The second week is more of a sightseeing extravaganza, with several long 5/6 hour coach rides, as per the itinerary.

Spice Trails of Kerala

Just like previous Exodus trips everything was don

Just like previous Exodus trips everything was done to make our trip special.

Vibrant India

Beautiful, wonderful place and a very well organis

Beautiful, wonderful place and a very well organised holiday with a great combination of trekking and culture. Helps if you like camping!

Read all 59 reviews

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  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Exodus allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform exodus, 43 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Exodus requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of exodus charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

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