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Characterised by winding emerald rivers, exotic wildlife, spice plantations and lush landscapes, the south Indian state of Kerala exudes tranquillity and beauty.
Depart London on your overnight flight to Kerala, via Mumbai.
On arrival at Kochi International airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel where you will check in and have dinner. The rest of your evening is at leisure.
Start your day with a 45 minute Ayuervedic massage and breakfast at your hotel. This afternoon enjoy a traditional lunch of Sadhya, a delicacy in Kerala served on a banana leaf, before you begin your tour of Kochi, the historic centre of India's spice trade. See the ancient Chinese influence in the impressive fishing nets, still used daily by locals, and take a ride through the village road in a tuk-tuk. You will also see the Mattanchery Dutch Palace and the oldest European church in India, St. Francis before returning to your hotel in Kochi for the evening.
Today you will board a traditional houseboat which will be your transport and accommodation. This leisurely cruise takes you through the winding backwaters of Kerala, enjoying the local food and stunning rural scenery of the surrounding Kerala villages and waters. Meandering through the beautiful lagoons, rivers and canals is truly an amazing experience like no other.
After breakfast disembark and journey to the Athirapally Waterfalls which, falling from a height of 80 feet, are one of the highest in the state. Then head on to Thrissur with its strong cultural, religious and spiritual background. Visit historical buildings such as the Vadkumnathan and Paramekavu Devi Temples before exploring the Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary, where you can watch these magnificent creatures feed and bathe. Continue to your hotel in Thrissur where you will spend the next two nights.
Following breakfast, today will be your chance to gain insight into the local culture with 'A Day with the Masters', an introduction to the world of Kerala's traditional performing arts. Learn about traditional Sanskrit theatre, percussion music and the training of each art form, as well as the life of an artist. Retire to your hotel in the evening for dinner and your overnight stay.
The tour will depart Thrissur in the morning and travel to Munnar, known for its expanse of tea plantations, rolling valleys and mountains. Stopping en route for lunch, the rest of the day will be free time where you may choose to hire a bicycle and ride through Munnar's beautiful paths, or simply relax with a good book at your hotel.
Today you will have a tour of Munnar, a nature lover's paradise. Visit Mattupetty Lake, Echo Point, Gundala Lake and Jungle Honey Bee Nest, where over 20 nests occupy a single tree. You will then continue to a tea plantation and Rajamalai National Park, famous for its largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr (wild goat).
The tour will then journey to Thekkady, a stunning area located high in the Cardamom hills containing tea gardens, rubber, coffee and pepper plantations. Following lunch, a visit to a plantation and spice market awaits you.
A highlight of Thekkady is the Periyar National Park, India's largest wildlife sanctuary. Board a boat at Periyar Lake where you will have the chance to spot some elephants, or one of the park's 25 Bengal tigers amongst other birds, reptiles and mammals. From here you will then travel on to Trivandrum, en route enjoy the scenic beauty of Kerala's various villages before arriving at your hotel for your overnight stay.
Depart in the morning for a half day city tour. Witness the magnificent Kanakakunnu Palace, one of the last architectural relics of the colonial era, then see the famous Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple, one of the principle places of worship of the deity of Vaishnavism. You will then return to your hotel to enjoy another Ayurvedic massage before your farewell dinner.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.
A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £96 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30-day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 17 days cover||£42||£79||£135|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
All flights are operated by Air India Airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 8kg not exceeding 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm in size.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip.
The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100 - £200 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|20 Sep 2018||01 Oct 2018||£1563|
|27 Sep 2018||08 Oct 2018||£1609|
|04 Oct 2018||15 Oct 2018||£1643|
|11 Oct 2018||22 Oct 2018||£1655|
|18 Oct 2018||29 Oct 2018||£1701|
|25 Oct 2018||05 Nov 2018||£1643|
|15 Nov 2018||26 Nov 2018||£1666|
|22 Nov 2018||03 Dec 2018||£1678|
|06 Dec 2018||17 Dec 2018||£1701|
|03 Jan 2019||14 Jan 2019||£1781|
|10 Jan 2019||21 Jan 2019||£1724|
|17 Jan 2019||28 Jan 2019||£1712|
|24 Jan 2019||04 Feb 2019||£1758|
|31 Jan 2019||11 Feb 2019||£1724|
|07 Feb 2019||18 Feb 2019||£1724|
|14 Feb 2019||25 Feb 2019||£1666|
|21 Feb 2019||04 Mar 2019||£1643|
|28 Feb 2019||11 Mar 2019||£1724|
|07 Mar 2019||18 Mar 2019||£1724|
|14 Mar 2019||25 Mar 2019||£1781|
|21 Mar 2019||01 Apr 2019||£1804|
|28 Mar 2019||08 Apr 2019||£1781|
|04 Apr 2019||15 Apr 2019||£1724|
|02 May 2019||13 May 2019||£1494|
|16 May 2019||27 May 2019||£1321|
|03 Oct 2019||14 Oct 2019||£1643|
|10 Oct 2019||21 Oct 2019||£1666|
|17 Oct 2019||28 Oct 2019||£1712|
|07 Nov 2019||18 Nov 2019||£1655|
|14 Nov 2019||25 Nov 2019||£1689|
|21 Nov 2019||02 Dec 2019||£1689|
Please note that Kerala has strict laws regarding the governance of the sale of alcohol in public places including hotels and restaurants. The sale and consumption of alcohol is therefore often restricted in hotels, varying from one establishment to another. However, you may bring your own alcohol with you for private consumption in your room.
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
Extend your tour with a relaxing beach stay in the Indian State of Kerala. Relax in the popular resort of Kovalam, known locally as the paradise of the south, amongst the coconut groves for which the town is famous.
With a personalised consultation and treatment schedule, experience the widely recognised benefits of Ayurveda, the oldest and most complete healing system in the world.
This add-on tour must be taken at the end of the main tour.
Extend your stay with this 3 night cookery package with Dr. Lekshmi Nair, one of the most popular celebrity chefs in Kerala. Whether you're an expert in the kitchen or a complete beginner, this course is designed to give you the skills and confidence to create great tasting, authentic dishes time and time again. Over 3 days you'll enjoy unlocking the secrets to combining spices, learn about typical South Indian Cuisine, perfect essential cooking techniques with the opportunity to make your own delicious dishes.
This add-on tour must be taken at the end of the main tour.
Travelling from Delhi to Agra, then Jaipur, this 10-day, 8-night tour of the Golden Triangle and the exotic Ranthambore National Park takes you through India's most famous sights.
Experience the marble memorials, gilded domes and elegant minarets of India's lavish Mughal-era architecture as you explore the ancient palaces and forts of the north.
Journey through tropical lowland rainforests, rolling tea plantation-covered mountains and discover pristine white-sand beaches in the east of the island.