Culinary Highlights of South India

13 DAYS – FROM £1800 PER PERSON 

This 13-day trip through India’s lush southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is a wonderful opportunity to explore the culinary and cultural highlights of this colourful and tropical region. From gently spiced curries and the freshest seafood, to hand plucked tea and rich coffee grown in the Western Ghats, the varied landscape of south India delights visitors with regional delicacies and unique recipes that are so different to elsewhere in vibrant India. As you taste your way through this itinerary, you will also have the opportunity to gain an in-depth insight in to local culture, meeting and interacting with families and exploring village life.

Day 1 - Welcome to India!

This morning your overnight flight arrives in to Kochi. Your driver will greet you at the airport and transport you to your boutique accommodation in charming Fort Kochi. Once you’ve had an opportunity to unpack and have some rest today, you will head out this evening for a sunset cruise. The cruise will last for a couple hours and will gently meander around the surrounding islands giving you an opportunity to watch the fishing boats return to the harbour with their catch and the sun set behind the iconic Chinese fishing nets. Keep your eyes peeled for river dolphins too! Later this evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner to start off your foodie tour, which will be local fusion cuisine. 

Day 2 - Village visit and coastal cuisine

This morning you will enjoy an excursion to nearby Parayll Homestay. This homestay is a century old traditional Kerala house nestled in acres of fruit trees, coconut groves and ambling pathways. You will have some time to explore the house, surrounding land, family church or local village before your cooking demonstration. Learn traditional Syrian Christian (coastal) cuisine and family recipes before enjoying your delicious freshly cooked lunch. Later today you will head back to Fort Kochi and dinner this evening will be at the Casino Hotel, a well known seafood restaurant in the city. 

Day 3 - Journey in to Tamil Nadu

Today you will journey in to neighbouring Tamil Nadu for a two night stay in a village called Sethumada. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience rural Tamil Nadu first hand, exploring the village, farm and local temples. Of course during your stay you will  also cook and sample traditional Tamil cuisine and learn family recipes. 

Day 4 - Enjoy time at leisure

Today has been left to free to explore or relax under your own steam. Enjoy! 

Day 5 - Journey to picturesque Munnar

This morning you will be transferred to Munnar which is a beautiful drive through small towns, markets, farms and rolling tea fields. En-route visit the tea estate of Talayar, where you will experience first-hand how tea is picked, processed and sold. Your lunch (with a view!) will be arranged at the bungalow, which is an original estate bungalow dating back from the colonial period, before continuing on to your hotel nestled within the spectacular Western Ghats. 

Day 6 - Mountain walks and local delicacies

Today has been left free to enjoy spectacular walks in to the surrounding mountainside. At your own pace, explore the beautiful tea fields, forests and local flora and fauna and breath in the fresh mountain air. Make sure you keep your camera handy for some incredible photographs! Lunch, local snacks and tribal cuisine will all be on the menu today.

Day 7 - From tea to spice plantations

Today your journey will continue through the Western Ghats to Thekkady, home of Periyar National Park and endless spice plantations. You will be staying in a property nestled within a cardamom estate and exotic jungle surroundings. Relax on arrival and enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening with cooking demonstrations of various local dishes. 

Day 8 - Cook with a local family

Your day will start with a tour of a spice plantation with a local guide. This fascinating tour introduces you to exotic spices, such as cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon, growing in their natural habitat and it is an opportunity to learn how they are used in Indian cooking and remedies. Later, visit a local food market with your hosts to explore fresh local ingredients and pick a selection for your meal. Enjoy a hands-on experience of cooking a traditional local recipe from scratch and eat with the family – a wonderful chance to share not only a delicious meal fresh from the kitchen, but also stories and experiences with the family.

Day 9 - From dramatic mountains to serene backwaters

Your journey continues today to Kerala’s famous backwaters. Enjoy the dramatic change in scenery as you descend from the mountains and arrive amongst the lush palm-fringed waterways. It is a very different way of life on the water and the region also has a very distinctive cuisine which you will sample during your stay. Enjoy a cooking session and evening meal at your hotel tonight. 

Day 10 - Drift along the waterways

This morning has been left at leisure so that you can relax in your new surroundings. At around midday you will be picked up by your traditional rice barge for a 4 hour cruise on Kumarakom Lake. As you drift along the waterways, local village life is revealed as you witness daily activity and rituals take place on the waters edge. A traditional Keralan feast will be served to you on board upon a banana leaf. Later, arrive back at your hotel for an evening at leisure. 

Day 11 - To the beach!

Today you will make the short transfer to Mararikulam for your final two nights on Kerala’s golden coast. En route you will visit a Toddy shop, a place people gather to drink the local fermented coconut alcohol and eat plates of spicy food. You will be shown how a couple of dishes are prepared, mainly seafood and fresh catch, and you can enjoy lunch at the shop. You can also see first-hand how toddy is collected from the coconut tree and if you’re feeling adventurous you can also have a taste! Continue your journey to your property on the beach and enjoy dinner at your hotel. 

Day 12 - Relaxing on the beach

Today you have a full day at leisure to enjoy your beach side hotel. Laze by the pool, indulge in a spa treatment or perhaps try a spot of yoga! Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening before your journey home tomorrow. 

Day 13 - Home time!

Take your international flight home today. Safe journey! 

DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £1,800 per person and is based on two people sharing during the high season (Oct-Mar) excluding the peak Christmas and New Year period. The price includes all private transfers, domestic travel, excursions and meals as per the itinerary but not international flights.

International flights tend to cost about £600pp for a return. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee applies.

INCLUDED:

  • Prices start from £1,800 per person
  • Private transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Local taxes
  • All excursions, activities and meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered