Ladies Kerala Tour – 10 days exploring and unwinding, finishing up on a beautiful beach!
8th March to 17th March 2021
Volunteers in Udaipur, Rajasthan, often want to go on and see a different part of India after teaching or working with animals and we have come up with the lovely Ladies Kerala Tour! In 2021, the Ladies Volunteering Adventure arrives in Udaipur on 20th February and finishes in Delhi on 8th March. If you would like to join us, you can read all about it here: https://www.volunteervacations.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Ladies-India-Experience-2021.pdf
From the warm breeze of the Arabian Sea to the gentle maze of backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala is the place for both unplugging and reviving. Join us on our 10 days of adventure as we visit Palaces, cycle the route less traveled into the lush countryside, trek through grasslands and tea plantations up to Lakshmi Hill and experience the shimming clouds decend around us. Kayak the Keralan backwaters, finding hidden canals amid the mangroves and the welcoming local villages. Relax on the white sand beaches of Kovalam and dine on some of the most delicious cuisines Kerala has to offer… Kerala will leave you feeling chilled and yet rejuvinated at the same time.
Day 1 – Fort Kochi Dinner
Welcome to Kerala, South India’s green and tranquil coastal state. A private transfer will be waiting to escort you to your hotel in Fort Kochi, the city’s charming island quarter. Fort Kochi has a blend of colonial history, ancient mosques and hip cafes and from the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with an alluding chilled-out vibe.
If you have time before your welcome meeting, why not venture out and stroll past the fishermen at the harbour, or wander through the narrow alleyways filled with local artists and urban boutiques. A delicious dinner is in the hotel this evening where you can toast to a fabulous 9 days of adventure ahead.
Day 2 – Fort Kochi Breakfast / Dinner
After breakfast we board a local ferry and head to Mattancherry Palace. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century before it was renovated and gifted to the Rajas of Cochin by the Dutch, it now displays the art and culture of Kochi in the form of mural paintings. Paradesi Synagogue, our next stop is the oldest functioning synagogue in India and home to many rare and unique antiques. Jew Town is the narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Synagogue with each shop selling unique and quirky relics.
Early evening we experience a Kathakli performance, an ornate costumed display of storytelling relayed by dance. We finish our evening with a hands-on cooking lesson where we learn how to cook a classic Keralan dish. Once prepared and some secret ingredients divulged, we’ll sit down to enjoy the fruits of our labour and hear about the region’s food culture and local life in Kochi from our chef.
Day 3 – Munnar Breakfast / Lunch
Today begins with a bike ride as we head off the tourist paths and into the countryside around Kochi passing some historical monuments and lush grasslands. With the Arabian ocean to your right and sleepy villages unfolding on your left, this is chilled-out Kerala at its finest.
Late morning we drive south to the former colonial hill station of Munnar, home to some of the largest tea plantations in the world. Set against a backdrop of cragged, jungle-clad peaks, mellow Munnar is surrounded by a vast canvas of terraced plantations and picturesque hills that stretch out below atmospheric cloud forest and mountains veiled by mist.
The rest of the day is free to explore, or why not treat yourself to one of the hotel’s finest Ayurveda treatments on offer?
Day 4 – Munnar Breakfast / dinner
Rise at dawn to see the mist lifting from the shimmering landscape around us. After breakfast we’ll get ready for our invigorating trek to Lakshmi Hill, a surreal experience awaits as we walk through the lush green grasslands and tea plantations immersing ourselves in the tranquility and the glistening clouds below us that seem to form a veil of mystery.
This afternoon we go to the Tata Tea Museum to discover the history of tea production in Munnar, sample the refreshing flavours of fresh tea and admire the old photographs, machinery and other artefacts housed here that have been used since ancient times.
Day 5 – Periyar Breakfast / Dinner
Following the winding roads through the stunning mountainous landscape carpeted with lush tea estates, coffee plantations and fragrant spice gardens we arrive at our beautiful resort in Thekkady. Thekkady is famous for its dense evergreen and savanna grass lands and its home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
This afternoon we take a guided walk through the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and although sightings can’t be guaranteed, the sanctuary’s bonnet macaques and Malabar giant squirrels will be waiting to greet us at the entrance.
This evening we have the opportunity to watch a traditional Indian martial arts demonstration before we have our delicious dinner in the hotel.
Day 6 – Periyar Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
You can’t leave India without visiting a local spice plantation. This morning we can (if we want!) sample cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla whilst learning about the farming process.
Then we head to Kumarakom with its swaying palm trees, lush rice paddy fields, winding waterways and its welcoming locals, for our evening homestay where we can enjoy some traditional Keralan hospitality. A homestay is a similar concept to an airbnb where you’re either accommodated in the family home, or in a separate annex nearby, but get to experience authentic local life first hand.
We join our hosts tonight for a home-cooked dinner and learn the secret to whipping up payasam (a delicious, jaggery and coconut dessert).
Day 7 – Alleppey Breakfast / lunch / dinner
Today we cruise along the historic backwaters on our private houseboat, stopping off at sleepy tropical villages along the way to unwind on the pristine beaches and observe the local coir making industry.
Alleppey, Kerala’s “Venice of the East”, is set around a labyrinth of palm-fringed canals surrounded by elegant colonial mansions, paddy fields and sun-kissed beaches. The city was once an important backwater port, and Kettuvalloms (houseboats) were used to ship spices, coffee, tea and nuts to the sea along its complex grid of canals and waterways.
This afternoon we get a little closer to local village life as we board our kayaks and paddle along the tranquil web of hidden rivers. Shaded by the tall coconut trees as they arch over us like umbrellas, we pass through mangroves, see locals wading through the shallows, fishermen reeling in their catch, children playing and women in colourful saris spinning their reels at the side of the canals.
As the spectacular sunset draws in, our houseboat will be parked in a tranquil spot for an overnight stop. Dinner is served onboard the boat as you spend the evening chatting and laughing after your day.
Day 8 – Kovalam Breakfast / dinner
Sagara Beach Resort
After breakfast, we leave for the beaches of Kovalam which has been a mecca for travellers since the 70s, with its three postcard-perfect beaches each with its unique characters. Just a short way back from the golden sands, there’s an array of cafes, restaurants and boutiques giving way to verdant rice paddies and groves of swaying coconut palms.
The rest of the day is yours to relax, explore or try one of the Ayurvedic treatments the hotel has on offer. Kerala is considered the only place in India where Ayurveda is practised in its genuine traditional form and is said to treat conditions from arthritis, sinusitis and migraines to premature ageing.
Day 9 – Kovalam Breakfast / Dinner
Sagara Beach Resort
After a lazy breakfast, find a sun-bed and chill on one of Kovalam’s long golden beaches and take a dip in the warm Arabian Sea. If you’re an early riser, head to Hawah Beach to watch the jovial local fishermen haul their huge nets through the shallow waves that lap through the sands, or walk up the 142 steps to the top of the lighthouse to take in the stunning views. The day is yours to do as little or as much as you want to do.
Tonight we enjoy our last meal together at one of the best sea food restaurants in the area which overlooks the tranquil ocean. With a sumptuous range of vegetarian, grilled and tandoor dishes, fish, meat, you wont be able to resist the delicious food and the Kovalam vibes.
Day 10 – Departure Breakfast
It’s time to say our farewells and tear ourselves away from this chilled out way of life. You’ve feasted on delicious Keralan dishes, cycled the routes less known, kayaked through the hidden backwaters, trekked through the lush green plantations, possibly spotted one of the majestic animals in the wild life sanctuary and lazed on a picture post card beach. Head home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and a new version of you!
|8th March - 17th March 2021||£1,149|
|What's included||What's not included|
|Hotel accommodation for 9 nights in shared rooms||Single supplement available subject to availability|
|9 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 8 dinners||Visas and departure tax|
|a/c private vehicle transfers||Travel insurance|
|local airport transfers||Late check out|
|Activities as per itinerary||Drinks with lunches and dinners|
|Leader/guide||Spending money for shopping and additional activities|