South-West India Highlights & Maldives Island Stay

14 days - from £1600pp

This tour is a perfectly balanced two weeks exploring the very best bits of Kerala in south-west India before heading to the Maldives for a few nights of blissful relaxation. You’ll get a taste of culture in historic Fort Cochin, visit rural Kerala, the tea growing region of Munnar and the famous Keralan backwaters for a night on a houseboat. Then wind down in style at Velassaru resort in the Maldives.

Day 1 - Time to go!

Start your fantastic journey to India today with your international overnight flight to Cochin, situated on the south-west coast of India.

Day 2 - Welcome to India

Arriving into Cochin this morning you will be picked up by your driver who will transfer you into the luscious countryside of Kerala. Arriving at Dewalokam, around 2 hours from Cochin, your hosts will give you a truly warm welcome. A homestay experience is so fantastic in Kerala and Dewalokam really is perfect for this. The house is surrounded by a flowing river, which you can cool off in, and gardens which grow the fruit and vegetables used in your food. A peaceful paradise for the next two nights!

Accommodation

Day 3 - Explore the countryside

Today has been left at your leisure as there are many activities to choose from at Dewalokam. You may like to start the day with a complimentary yoga session, then cycle to the nearby village before your host takes you around the garden and spice plantation learning about the organic farm.

Day 4 - Munnar

Today your morning will be spent driving through the beautiful countryside up to the tea and spice plantations of Munnar in the Western Ghats. With stunning views surrounding you, you might just like to relax this afternoon or perhaps enjoy one of the many activities the hotel can arrange for you such as bird watching or cycling.

Accommodation

Day 5 - Tea Fields

Experience a working tea plantation today, exploring the tea fields and watching the skilled tea leaf pluckers at work. You will also have the opportunity to visit a tea factory and learn the fascinating process tea goes through from plucking to auction and eventually your tea cup at home!

Day 6 - Periyar National Park

After a leisurely morning where you might like to enjoy another activity in Munnar your driver will pick you up for your journey to the Periyar National Park. This drive is particularly beautiful and your driver will be happy for you to make stops to take some stunning photographs. When you have arrived you will have the evening to relax at your leisure.

Accommodation

Day 7 - Wildlife Sanctuary

An early start today as you head out with a local ranger on a jungle walk of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Keep your eye out for sambar deer, giant squirrels, monkeys and wild boar amongst impressive bird life. Your walk should last for around three hours so make sure you have suitable footwear. This afternoon enjoy a guided was around a spice plantation learning about exotic spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla, and their use in traditional Indian cooking and remedies. 

Day 8 - Kerala Backwaters

This morning you will be transferred to Kerala’s famous backwaters in time to board your traditional rice barge. Spend the afternoon drifting along the serene waterways watching local life on the water’s edge pass you by. Moor up this evening and spend the night on board, enjoying a magical dinner under the stars. 

Day 9 - Head to Cochin

After breakfast your boat will take you back to land where you will disembark, your driver will be there waiting for you. You will then transfer to Fort Cochin, the historic heart of Kerala home to beautiful architecture, great food and a fascinating past. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. 

Accommodation

Day 10 - Explore Fort Cochin

Explore the historic sights of Fort Cochin with your guide this morning where each corner holds an example of a bygone era that still stands proud. As you travel through the colonial streets by local tuk tuk, you will pass sights such as the oldest church in India, St Francis, the Dutch Palace and the Santa Cruz Basilica.

Day 11 - Fly to the Maldives

Transfer to Cochin airport for your 2 hour flight to the Maldives. On arrival you will be greeted by our local team and taken by speedboat to Velassaru, a stylish resort in the South Malé Atoll. Arrive in plenty of time for dinner on the beach. We recommend pre-booking to dine at the oceanfront restaurant ‘Sand’ this evening.

Day 12 & 13

Velassaru is a fantastic resort offering a wide range of activities and how you spend these days is up to you. Time moves at your pace in the Maldives and you can simply enjoy the island or pack your schedule with water sports, spa appointments and boat trips. Snorkelling is a must to experience the unique underwater world created by the colourful coral, and look out for manta rays, turtles and even whale sharks as well as the hundreds of varieties of tropical fish.

Resort option

Day 14 - Fly home

Your speedboat transfer will be ready to take you back to Malé for your flight home. Until then, enjoy your last few hours in paradise.

INCLUDED:

  • Prices start from £1600 per person
  • India Accommodation on B&B basis except Dewalokam Homestay and the Houseboat are on a full-board basis
  • Maldives accommodation is based on a Deluxe Bungalow on a B&B basis – upgrades and alternative resorts are available.
  • Private transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle in Kerala/speedboat in Maldives
  • Local taxes
  • All excursions and activities specifically mentioned in the itinerary
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered