Join us on our Frequent Virgin Club exclusive departure to enchanting Kerala. One of India’s prized jewels, Kerala’s network of tropical waterways, lagoons and hidden riverside villages offer some of the country’s most enchanting experiences. From a mix of colonial and Asian charm around the busy historic port of Kochi (Cochin) to the gentle pace of life on the backwaters and the beautiful hill country, this feel-good region is of outstanding natural and cultural diversity. Highlights of the tour include visiting a local village to experience the dainty art of Rangoli, a Keralan dance show, tea-tasting, jeep ride and nature trek in search of wildlife and an unforgettable houseboat cruise along the beautiful backwaters of Kerala.
Depart Heathrow on Emirates overnight flight via Dubai to Kochi.
Arrive Kochi in the morning, India’s oldest European settlement, which grew on the wealth generated from the spice trade; Kochi has an eclectic mix of influences making it a delight to explore. Afternoon tour of Kochi including a visit to the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), a quaint and charming palace actually built by the Portuguese but refurbished by the Dutch afterwards in 1663. The highlights are intricately carved ceilings and murals. Visit the synagogue of Kochi: paying homage to India’s Jewish community, constructed in 1568, it is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Experience the dainty art of Rangoli making (floor painting). Stay 2 nights at the 8th Bastion Hotel.
Morning tour to the famous Chinese fishing nets, ingeniously designed for this intriguing method of fishing. Continue to the Kumbalangi village. Experience the extraordinary local life, including Kerala’s tropical backwaters, sure to rejuvenate your mind and described by National Geographic as one of the 50 must see places on the globe. Spend the evening experiencing the Kathakali dance show, demonstrating the authentic performing arts of the region – an integral part of Kerala life. (B)
Drive to Munnar up into the hills and visit the Tea Museum, the ideal place to showcase the genesis of tea in Kerala’s high ranges, with a fully interactive tasting tour of one of India’s major exports. Overnight at the Blackberry Resort. (B)
Depart by road to Thekkady, along the spine of the Western Ghats, through countryside, rich plantations and thick jungles. Afternoon jeep ride down into the valley to witness the farming of fruit and vegetables before returning to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure with the chance to see some of the diverse wildlife in Periyar National Park, with over 60 species of mammal and 320 species of bird many of which are endemic to the region. Stay 2 nights at the Greenwood Hotel. (B)
Morning nature trek into the forest in search of wildlife. Enjoy an authentic cooking demonstration preparing you for your fully-interactive cooking lesson. In the afternoon visit to Elephant Junction where you can get the opportunity to feed, bath and ride the elephants. (B/L)
After breakfast transfer down to Alleppey to board your houseboat, the most traditional and relaxing way to traverse the mirror-still lagoons and palm-fringed canals, bustling with glimpses of everyday life in the countryside. Overnight under the stars on the calm waters. (B/L/D)
Drive to Kumarakom where you will have the afternoon at leisure; a serene, emerald green peninsula in the backdrop of Vembanad Lake one of the most relaxing places to unwind in Kerala. Stay for 2 nights at the Lemon Tree Vembanad Lake View Hotel. (B)
Spend the day at leisure with options such as authentic Ayuverdic treatments or visit Kumarakom’s renowned bird sanctuary. (B)
Transfer to the airport for your return day flight with Emirates via Dubai to Heathrow, arriving this evening. Alternatively extend your stay at the beautiful Marari Beach. (B)
Special Frequent Virgin Club member tour departs Wednesday 27 February 2013.
Why not extend your tour with 3 nights at the Abad Turtle Beach Resort situated on the idyllic Marari beach surrounded by vistas of unspoiled sand and exotic lush greenery?
Prices start from £195