Spice Trails of Kerala

Code: KRWHW

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Activity types:

  • Culture
  • Food & drink
  • Wildlife

Level

  • Easier
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £2,659.00 - 11 to 12 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

Download trip notes

Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the lush Western Ghats, our itinerary treats you to scenes of untouched Southern India. We've avoided the touristy far south, and taken you instead on a connoisseur's walking tour, to discover some lesser known jewels. Our explorations take us to palm-fringed white sand beaches, wildlife havens and cities like Mysore with their wealth of culture and history. Our programme is perfect for total immersion in the rich culture of Kerala.

Holiday Highlights

  • Experience nature at her most magnificent in the wildlife haven of Wayanad
  • Discover lush green mountains and spice-scented cardamom hills
  • Enchantingly rich culture at historic Mysore and colonial Kochi
  • Enjoy an evening afloat on our luxury houseboat in a labyrinth of lakes and lagoons
  • Swaying palms, village strolls and beautiful white sand beaches

Prices include:

  • 11 nights’ en-suite accommodation (2 nights tented, 1 night houseboat)
  • Full Board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure
  • A full programme of guided walks led by a specialist local leader
  • Sightseeing, entrance fees, train and air-conditioned coach travel
  • Tips

Accommodation

From the secluded rainforest lodges at Wayanad to the charming colonial hotels of Kochi and Mysore, our selection of comfortable 3 to 5-star accommodation will be one of the highlights of your holiday. One night aboard our luxury houseboat, and an evening in the Bison safari camp, provide the ideal introduction to the rich and colourful culture of Kerala.

2016

The Paul, Bangalore (1 night)

Our first evening is at The Paul, in the "Garden City" of Bangalore, just a short transfer from the airport. This is a 5-star hotel with high standards, both in terms of accommodation and food. The ideal place for us to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation after our flight. 

Hotel Metropole, Mysore (1 night)

This is a Heritage Hotel located at the heart of Mysore, built as a royal residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. The colonial charm and elegance here give us an insight into days gone by. Its stunning architecture, historical charm, spacious rooms and great service, make our stay here memorable. After our day exploring, we've plenty of time to enjoy a drink in the gardens, or take a dip in the pool before dinner.

The Bison (2 nights)

This is unlike any camping I've ever done! All facilities and comforts of hotel accommodation are found here in this peaceful setting. Perfect wildlife watching opportunities present themselves without any searching. Listening to our hosts tell wildlife tales in the evening around the campfire will be one of many highlights of your holiday. 

Plantation Experiences (2 nights)

Located in the lush green hills of Wayanad, your accommodation here is set inside a 4,000 acre working tea estate at approx 3,000 ft above sea level. You'll be surrounded by lush tropical forests and mist-clad hills. Rooms are inside two colonial bungalows. This is an opportunity to experience the greenery of the Ghats away from the towns. 

Taj Gateway Hotel, Kozhikode (1 night)

This modern beach hotel has easy access to Kozhikode Beach, and its own outdoor pool in which to relax after our days' walks. All rooms are comfortable and spacious. If you want to experience one of their famous massages this is the ideal opportunity, as they have an Ayurveda Wellness Centre. 

Kumarakom Lake Resort (2 nights)

Here we're treated again; this time our accommodation is a luxury heritage resort in Kerala. With views overlooking Vembanad lake, you'll not want to leave here. Rooms are airy and air-conditioned, with plenty of space. The beach is only a short stroll across the gardens, which provide the perfect place for spotting butterflies.  

Houseboat (1 night)

These rice boats ruled the backwaters of Kerala, transporting rice and coconuts. There are widely varying standards of houseboat, but ours is a higher standard than many others. You'll enjoy comfortable en-suite rooms, simply on-board rather than in a hotel. This is a unique Keralan experience.

Taj Malabar House (1 night)

Maintained to a very high standard, this is one of Kochi's oldest 5-star resorts. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall stayed here in 2013. This is the ideal place to relax at the end of our holiday. There's an outdoor pool too, as well as a spa centre.   


2017

The Lemon Tree Premier Hotel Bangalore (1 night)

Our first evening is at The Lemon Tree, in the "Ulsoor" district of Bangalore, approx 45 mins transfer from the airport. This is a 4-star hotel with high standards, both in terms of accommodation and food. The ideal place for us to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation after our flight. 

Hotel Metropole, Mysore (1 night)

This is a Heritage Hotel located at the heart of Mysore, built as a royal residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. The colonial charm and elegance here give us an insight into days gone by. Its stunning architecture, historical charm, spacious rooms and great service, make our stay here memorable. After our day exploring, we've plenty of time to enjoy a drink in the gardens, or take a dip in the pool before dinner.

The Bison (2 nights)

This is unlike any camping I've ever done! All facilities and comforts of hotel accommodation are found here in this peaceful setting. Perfect wildlife watching opportunities present themselves without any searching. Listening to our hosts tell wildlife tales in the evening around the campfire will be one of many highlights of your holiday. 

Plantation Experiences (2 nights)

Located in the lush green hills of Wayanad, your accommodation here is set inside a 4,000 acre working tea estate at approx 3,000 ft above sea level. You'll be surrounded by lush tropical forests and mist-clad hills. Rooms are inside two colonial bungalows. This is an opportunity to experience the greenery of the Ghats away from the towns. 

Copper Folia, Kozhikode (1 night)

This modern contemporary 4 star hotel has a rooftop pool in which to relax after our days' walks. All rooms are comfortable and spacious. Although in the midst of this bustling township, the hotel has an air of peace and calm surrounded by nearby green space. . 

Kumarakom Lake Resort (2 nights)

Here we're treated again; this time our accommodation is a luxury heritage resort in Kerala. With views overlooking Vembanad lake, you'll not want to leave here. Rooms are airy and air-conditioned, with plenty of space. The beach is only a short stroll across the gardens, which provide the perfect place for spotting butterflies.  

Houseboat (1 night)

These rice boats ruled the backwaters of Kerala, transporting rice and coconuts. There are widely varying standards of houseboat, but ours is a higher standard than many others. You'll enjoy comfortable en-suite rooms, simply on-board rather than in a hotel. This is a unique Keralan experience.

Poovath Heritage Hotel, Kochi (1 night)

Set in a restored Dutch palace, this 3 star hotel is a minute's walk from Fort Kochi Beach, a 4-minute walk from St. Francis Church and an 8-minute walk from Santa Cruz Basilica. 
The elegant rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with cable channels, and desks, as well as minibars, and tea and coffeemakers. 

On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.

 

Itinerary

Download trip notes

The perfect mix of walks and sightseeing. Walks range from 3-6 miles (4.75-9.5km) and include historical city tours, jungle walking safaris, village strolls and scenic spice trails. 

Day 1: departure from the UK.

Day 2: arrival in the garden city of Bangalore (1nt).

Day 3: our journey heads via the 18th century island fortress of Srirangapatna, to the royal city of Mysore (1nt).  A walking tour of the city provides an excellent introduction to ancient history and to the wonderfully rich culture of Southern India. 

Days 4-5: scenic safaris at Nagarhole sanctuary (2nts), once the Maharaja’s reserve and home to elephant, bison, antelope, monkey and tiger. Wildlife walks led by local naturalists give a fantastic inducion to the area.

Day 6: We enjoy a scenic early morning safari to spot some of Nagarhole’s resident wildlife, before beginning our journey to the cool green hills of Wayanad (2nts). En route we stretch our legs with a stop at the Kuruva islands on the Kabini River.

Day 7: Our walk today explores the Banasura foothills, giving us a good introduction to Wayanad, the green paradise of the Western Ghats.

Day 8: As the morning mist rises from the lush forest floor, we begin our plantation walk at the Edom Estates. After our walk we leave the serenity and greenery of the hills, and begin our journey to the bustling streets of Kozhikode (Calicut), where we visit the ancient boat building yards of Beypore, and the Kadalundi bird sanctuary.

Day 9: We explore the streets of Kozhikode this morning before boarding the train to Alleppey and our accommodation at the Kumarakom Lake Resort (2nts).

Day 10: Today we have time to enjoy the stunning setting of our resort. If you are an early bird you can attend an open-air yoga session, which runs daily. Mid morning we take a leisurely walk.  Afterwards we have time to relax, before another short, leisurely walk in the evening as the sun sets.

Day 11: After breakfast we take a short transfer to Alleppey from where we begin a magical cruise through the serene backwaters, a labyrinth of shimmering lagoons and lakes.

Day 12: Our final journey today as we travel the short distance to Kochi. We explore charming Fort Kochi on foot with a guided tour discovering its Portuguese, Dutch and British influences, before enjoying a traditional Kathakali performance, the perfect finale.

Day 13: return flight to London.

General Information

Passport

To enter India, a passport valid for at least 6 months and with at least two blank pages is required.

Visas

British, Australian, Canadian and US citizens require a e-visa to enter India. This can be done online. Please visit the following website for further information: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html Current cost is $60 (non-refundable) plus a 2.5% credit card charge. You will need to upload a photo and complete the application form online. Please remember to take a copy of the e-visa with you. You can apply for the e-visa minimum 4 days in advance of your travel date, with a window of up to 30 days. The e-visa should be emailed to you within 4 days.

Other nationals should check with their nearest embassy or consulate for details of entry requirements.

Health advice

Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk  www.traveldoctor.co.uk

Vaccinations are sometimes advised for diphtheria, hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus and polio. Dengue and malaria are both caused by mosquito bites and are prevalent in hot and humid conditions. There are occasional, seasonal outbreaks of dengue fever. Travellers should vigilantly protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Malaria prevention is strongly recommended so use insect repellent and wear protective clothing. Obtain anti-malarial medicine from your doctor before travelling.

Climate

Although Kerala lies closer to the equator than most Indian states, it is protected by the mountains of the Western Ghats, which keep out the hot, dry winds from the north. It's lush vegetation is helped by plenty of rain each year, and the Highlands of Kerala enjoy a cool climate during the months we have chosen to travel.

Money

The Rupee (Rs) is the official currency for India. The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Sometimes smaller shops and stalls will not accept notes larger than Rs 500. It is best to carry some smaller notes with you too. In major cities, debit and credit cards cards are generally accepted, including: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. However, in smaller towns and villages, choice is generally narrowed to cash or MasterCard and Visa. Travellers cheques are widely accepted and can be changed at banks and larger hotels. Currency can also be changed at banks, airports or authorised money changers. US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange. Traveller’s cheques are not advised

Drink

Please be aware that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited within the state of Kerala. Anyone found with alcohol can be fined, or worse, receive a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

Time

GMT +5.3 hrs

Tipping

Tips are included on this holiday.

For flights information please see the Dates and Prices tab.

Leaders

Pradeep Murthy

Pradeep worked in management consulting across the globe for close to 15 years before deciding to follow his passion for the outdoors. In his new avatar, he enjoys escorting guests in their discovery of India and delights in showing them the little facets of daily life that so often get missed in a typical "tour".

Pradeep divides his time half and half between the UK and India, making him an ideal leader for your Kerala holiday. He will be leading all our Kerala tours.

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
27 Nov 2016, 10:10 p.m.

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I'm very impressed by the tours that HF choose in a country. You manage to pick the highlights but incorporate interesting diversions.

Product review:

Such a good holiday! Excellent choice of heritage hotels and glamping; superb food; interesting sightseeing; friendly and well-informed guides; lovely houseboat stay; gentle walks in the heat.
23 Nov 2016, 10:34 a.m.

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The company always responded promptly to all my queries

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This holiday appealed to me because of the broad range offered by the itinerary and I wasn't disappointed
22 Nov 2016, 6:25 p.m.

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They are a reliable company.

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A very varied and rich experience.
22 Nov 2016, 4:54 p.m.

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Service review:

useful information, not too detailed and scheduled so there was room for optional extras, very easy to phone and ask questions. Needs for the holiday could have been more specific, information on obtaining visa needs to be updated to a more friendly and understandable website

Product review:

very varied visits, accommodation, excellent guide - attentive to our interests, good local knowledge, well organised, good food
21 Dec 2014, 1:46 p.m.

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usually very good holidays

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excellent holiday, very well planned trip
20 Dec 2014, 9:20 a.m.

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Excellent.

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Excellent.
18 Dec 2014, 9:23 a.m.

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Subcontracted to an Indian Company who were excellent

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Interesting,busy,full of variety,excellent guides
17 Dec 2014, 8:53 a.m.

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Service review:

Seamless organisation, excellent accomodation, unobtrusively helpful leader and very knowledgeable guides.

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Thoroughly enoyable and none of the problems sometimes associated with tourism in India
18 Feb 2014, 5:22 p.m.

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I like the ethos and sociability of HF holidays

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A very inspiring itinerary, a good mixture of walking and sighstseeing, culture and game viewing.
9 Feb 2014, 4:40 p.m.

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Service review:

Communications could be improved following booking of the holiday. No advice was given as to the procedure for the connecting flight in Mumbai to Bangalore. Also, very limited information as to the content of the holiday.

Product review:

A very good holiday but slightly expensive.

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
5 Nov 2017 KRWHW - Spice Trails of Kerala
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 5 Nov 2017, 2 p.m.
  • Arrive: 6 Nov 2017, 5 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Bangalore

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 17 Nov 2017, 9 a.m.
  • Arrive: 17 Nov 2017, 5:40 p.m.
  • Depart from: Cochin Mil. (Navy) & Civil
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
12 £3,199.00 Book Now
6 Nov 2017 KRWHW - Spice Trails of Kerala 11 £2,659.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Single room: £1,165 (2016), £1,020 (2017)
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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