Spice Trails of Kerala

15 days
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$2,165 USD
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4.6 / 5 from 48 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TGK
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Walking through the beautiful hills and tea plantations of South India

Traversing the Western Ghats from the colonial hill station of Munnar to the colourful temple town of Madurai, we discover the two southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala is a true tropical paradise with idyllic beaches, fertile forests and plantations of spice and tea, and it is here where we reach our highest point, Meesapulimala Peak (2630m). We then cross into the barren landscape of Tamil Nadu and marvel at the intricately carved Sri Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. A trip to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts an array of wildlife and an abundance of colourful birdlife, and a cruise on a traditional houseboat offers the chance to relax on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Our journey ends in historical Cochin, a port which has been luring traders and explorers for over 600 years.

Highlights

  • The beautiful hill station of Munnar
  • Trekking through the historic tea plantations of Kerala
  • The colourful Sri Meenakshi temple at Madurai
  • A night on the traditional houseboats of Kerala

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels, 4 nights camping, 1 night homestay, 1 night houseboat
  • 5 days point-to-point trekking with full porterage; plus 2 shorter walks
  • Altitude maximum 2630m, average 1600m
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

7

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths

Day by day breakdown
Day 36.5km/4.0miles
Day 414.0km/8.7miles
Day 515.0km/9.0miles
Day 616.0km/10.0miles
Day 77.0km/4.0miles
Day 87.0km/4.0miles
Day 115.0km/3.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Cochin
to
Cochin
  • Day 1

    Start Cochin

    The group flight arrives in Cochin in the afternoon and we transfer to our hotel. Those clients not travelling on the group flight will make their own way to the hotel and will join us there. The evening is free for dinner and for you to relax after your journey.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Drive to the beautiful hill station of Munnar

    In the morning we drive away from the coastal plain to Munnar, set amongst Kerala's highest mountains, they form a jagged line due east of Cochin. The drive is approx. 160km and should take approximately 6 hours. Munnar is a beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats at about 1600m above sea level. It was once a summer resort of the British Government in south India due to the fresh mountain air. The town is situated at the confluence of the three mountain streams Mudrapauzha, Naliathanii and Kundala and is surrounded by lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea estates. Anamudi (2695m), the highest peak in south India dominates the skyline and the many smaller peaks are a walker's paradise.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Day walk through Munnar's surrounding hills; optional visit to a Tea Museum

    After breakfast, we take a short drive through old Munnar and travel down to Nagarmudi (1500m), a tiny village, where we start our trek accompanied by a local guide. The walk begins with a gradual ascent through the tea plantations and then climbs into the Seven Malai Hills. Just before reaching the summit (1700m) we enjoy walking through cardamom and coffee plantations. Our hard work will be rewarded with spectacular views over Munnar and other local villages. We then descend back to our vehicle. There is an optional visit in the afternoon to the Tea Museum.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Trek in the Silent Valley with beautiful views of the tea estates

    We have a beautiful 1 hour drive to the Silent Valley, passing through some tea estates and plantations in a valley surrounded by hills. Our trek will start with a gradual walk on the plains of the tea plantations at approx 1600m, followed by a gentle climb to the grasslands. There are beautiful views all around, mostly of the tea estates, which gives us a good feel for the area. After lunch, we continue with the second part of our trek, which becomes steeper as we leave the tea plantation behind and finally reach our camp (2000m), where we spend two nights.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ascend Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), the highest in the area

    Today we trek to Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), the second highest in south India (Anamudi is the highest but it is in a restricted area). From our camp, the trail ascends through the rough shola grassland until we reach open ridges, bringing us to Meesapulima Peak. From the top (which is also the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala) there are breathtaking views all around. After a break at the top and our packed lunch, we will descend to our camp (2000m).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Trek through plantations and thick forest land to Top Station (1900m)

    In the morning we start our trek through the thick forest land of Silent Valley and then through pine forests and along the streams of the Rhodo Valley. After this, we pass through grasslands and shola forest where we may be lucky and spot giant squirrels, wild boar and the Indian Gaur. Following a packed lunch en route, we will reach Yellapetty Village, arriving late afternoon. From here we will be taken by jeeps, for approx. 20 mins, and then walk to our campsite at Top Station (1900m).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Trek to Koviloor via Vattavada village (1900m)

    Today we have a fairly easy walk with some slight ups and downs as we trek to the beautiful village of Koviloor (1900m). Along the way we will pass through the lush vegetable farming region of Pazhathottam and the ever-present tea plantations in this part of India.  We will find a shady spot for our lunch stop and then continue our trek to the tribal village of Vattavada.  The customs, art forms and natural remedies of the tribes in this area make it an interesting place to trek.  Our visit to Vattavada village will be an opportunity to meet the tribal people and learn about their lifestyle.  If we are lucky we may also observe some rare butterfly species fluttering around. Continuing our trek we will cross a small canal before reaching our campsite at Koviloor village.  It is here that farmers converge from miles around to sell their produce. 
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Trek through the plantation ridge, drive on to Mundhan

    This last day of our trek we head through the plantation ridge. From our vantage point we have views over beautiful Koviloor village. This whole area is known as the 'market of India' because of the amount of fruit and vegetables grown.  As we enjoy the scenery we may meet farmers busy with their crops.  We will end our trek with a packed lunch under the trees while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us.   After lunch we take jeeps for approximately two hours to our hotel in Mundhan. (650m) 

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    To Madurai; visit the colourful Sri Meenakshi Temple

    Leaving Kerala behind we drive for approx. 2-3 hrs through the plains to the colourful temple town of Madurai, in Tamil Nadu. Madurai is one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in south India. The great Sri Meenakshi Temple, most of which was built during the Nayak period between the 16th and 18th centuries, is at the heart of the city and the life of the town revolves around it. It is a hive of activity and the scene of an almost continuous religious festival. Worshippers bathe in the tank of the Golden Lily and throng the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, where each one is uniquely carved. Madurai is a perfect place to wander around and experience Hindu culture.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Please note, due to a  fire that took place  inside Meenakshi temple in February 2018, the temple authority has closed  off the Thousand Pillared Hall to tourists until further notice (potentially until August 2018). Other parts of the temple remain open for the public.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Thekkady (Periyar National Park); evening walk through spice gardens

    Leaving Madurai in the morning we drive to the small village of Thekkady. The drive is spectacular as the road climbs through the Western Ghats and we have fantastic views across Tamil Nadu. Thekkady is a small bustling village from where we visit the Periyar National Park. This whole area is a centre for spice growing and after lunch, there will be a short walk around a spice garden, where we can see many different spices growing. There is plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the bazaar, where we can visit the numerous shops selling cardamoms, vanilla, peppercorns, chillies, turmeric and other spices. Total driving time approx. 4-5 hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Morning nature walk; optional afternoon boat ride on Periyar Lake to see wild elephants

    The Periyar National Park is one of the largest in south India and is set around a large man-made lake. In the early morning we will have a short nature walk in the surrounding tropical forest and in the afternoon an optional boat trip and cruise on the lake (tickets for the cruise can be purchased online in advance. We recommend this in order to avoid long queues. Please inform your leader if you wish to purchase tickets in advance). This is an ideal opportunity to spot birds, such as kingfishers, storks and hornbills, and occasionally we may spot an elephant, otters, wild pig and buffalo. There is also the opportunity of an Ayurvedic massage (optional), which can be arranged in the nearby Ayurvedic massage centre, and also a cooking class (optional). The park will most likely be your last chance for souvenir shopping. Card payments are taken and there is also an ATM.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Alleppey for overnight stay on a traditional Keralan houseboat

    Today we begin by transferring to Allepey on the coast. We board our houseboats and begin our cruise along the backwaters of Kerala. The houseboat cruise is one of the highlights of the trip - these enchanting houseboats, built of Anjili wood and bamboo, were the traditional method of transporting of goods for hundreds of years. Now they have been decorated and made into comfortable cruise boats. The network of rivers, streams, lagoons and canals occupies the alluvial plain between the Western Ghats and the Indian Ocean. As our boat meanders through areas of lush tropical vegetation we have the opportunity to view not only the prolific bird life but also gain a differing perspective on village life. All the houseboats are comfortably equipped and have 3 or 4 twin bedded rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

    There is a cook, boat driver and assistants for each boat and the food served is traditional Keralan fare using local produce. No trip to Kerala would be complete without the wonderful experience of the backwaters aboard these traditional Keralite vessels.
    Houseboat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    To our homestay on the Malabar Coast; explore local fisherman's village

    After a relaxing breakfast on the houseboats, we will disembark and drive along the scenic Malabar Coast to our homestay, which is situated near a beautiful stretch of beach. There is plenty of time to relax here and explore the local fisherman's village.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To Cochin; afternoon sightseeing; Kathakali dance show (optional)

    We head back to Cochin and during the afternoon there will be a guided tour; this will include Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Cochin, the Jewish synagogue dating from 1568 and St Francis church. We also explore the town of Cochin, its bazaars and old harbour area. Fort Cochin is believed to be the earliest European settlement in India and was founded by the Portuguese in 1503. Warehouses filled with the smell of tea and spices are lime-washed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old bikes and hand-painted trucks, piled high with goods fill the narrow streets and food stalls stand on every corner. Further along the road, you come to Mattancherry and the Dutch Palace. Next to the Palace is the synagogue, built in 1568 for the Jewish members of Cochin's trading communities (please bear in mind that the synagogue is closed on Saturdays). Most people choose to stay in Fort Cochin and wander around its fascinating streets. In the evening there is the chance for an optional visit to see a display of Kathakali Dancing, a form of dance unique to Kerala.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Cochin

    If you are on the group flights you will have an early morning transfer to the airport for the flight back to London. Those not flying with the group will leave us at the hotel in Cochin.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

India

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. For UK residents full details of the visa process can be found here. Other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies.

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the northeast, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

When you reach immigration, you are required to pick up an immigration form. If you have an e-visa, ensure you stand in the correct queue - please follow the signs to the e-visa booth (in Delhi this is at the back of the immigration hall). You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth - please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready (these details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions).

 

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included.

On day 1 you should be given breakfast on the flight. It is full board on trek (5 days) and on the houseboat (1 day). You should allow at least £12 (approx. US$16) per day for lunch and dinner when not included. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most of the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian, India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$4.80). Please note that hotels (apart from 5-star hotels) and bars in Kerala are no longer allowed to sell alcohol, it is still possible to buy alcohol in government shops. Mineral water is available. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow. All meals are included on the houseboat, where traditional Kerala cuisine is served. If you require any other cuisine, please inform us in advance.

Weather

The most important feature of the Indian climate is the 'wet season' or monsoon. The main monsoon strikes the coast of Kerala in late May and sweeps its way northward over the next month or so. The ideal time to visit is during the dry season from late November to March. Days will be hot and the nights warm, the average range of maximum daytime temperatures being between 21ºC-30ºC and from -2ºC-20ºC at night. However, in the hills and on trek temperatures can be considerably cooler and although the days on trek will be hot you can expect temperatures to drop to a few degrees above zero or just below at night for 3 nights on trek. We ask you to note that frequent rainstorms can be expected throughout the tour on November departures. The storms are usually of quite a short duration but have been known to be persistent as well. This can mean that campsites can sometimes be affected by these adverse weather conditions.

Cochin, India

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)

Although this is not a demanding walking tour, it is a busy and active itinerary with lots to see. Driving time is kept to minimum and the roads are generally pretty good, but local traffic and/or road damage can sometimes lengthen journey times. This trek is suitable for the average walker who is prepared to put in some physical preparation.

Most days are not overly taxing (apart from day 8 when there is the option for an easy walk) and most of the trails are on well made reasonable paths but are steep in places. Daytime temperatures can be very hot in the middle of the day and the sun is very strong. Nights will be cooler and 3 nights of the trek can be very cold, particularly during December and January, with temperatures just below freezing. Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI's schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

Holi and Diwali Festivals

Some departures will be in India during the festivals of Holi and Diwali. They are great festivals to witness and some very minor itinerary alterations may be made locally in order to make the most of these occasions. Holi celebrations typically involve people throwing coloured water at each other and smearing powder on each other's faces. This is accompanied by dancing, music and traditional Holi sweets such as Ghujiya and Bhanng. It's a riot of colours as the powder bursts into the sky. During Diwali, the festival of lights, people typically light up their houses, shops and streets, and celebrate on the streets with fireworks.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Camping, Homestay & Houseboat

You will spend 8 nights in hotels with ensuite facilities, 4 nights in full-service camps, 1 night in a homestay and 1 night on a houseboat. Houseboats are comfortable and all cabins have toilet facilities. The houseboat also benefits from a deck & dining area. The number of rooms per boat will vary depending on group size and availability. Whilst camping (full-service), the group will be provided with 2 man tents, mattresses, a dining tent, kitchen tent including all equipment, toilet tents including toilet rolls and camping chairs.

Please note that single rooms may be limited at the homestay.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed December 2018
    Karen McIlravie

    Colourful India

    A truly comphrehensive tour of Kerala with just the right amount of contrast throughout the 2 weeks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention but amongst them has to be seeing elephants in the wild up close and personal, the magical temple in Madurai at sunset, the relaxing houseboat in Allepey, watching fruitbats flying overhead in their hundreds, pulling up a fishing net in Cochin...Oh, I could go on and on..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. He even went out and bought one of our group a cake when it was her birthday. He was a mine of information and always wore a smile no matter what was thrown at him. Our coach broke down one night in the back of beyond and Sam handled the whole situation very swiftly and with great professionalism. He is a charming man and a credit to your company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trekking is quite hard in places so make sure you are fit enough. Take extra sd cards because there is a photograph around every corner!! Just go...and enjoy the beauty of southern India and all of her wonders.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Helen Torode

    Fantastic trip

    First trip to India, and would travel there again. And recommend to others Excellent mix of sightseeing, culture, trekking and wildlife. A sensory overload of sight, sound and aroma. Hadn't anticipated the distances to travel between destinations

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trekking, some harder than anticipated, particularly in the heat and the altitude, so feel a sense of achievement. Happy faces. Humbled by the stay at the school, and seeing what the pupils have compared to pupils in schools here. Hindu temples Colour Wildlife at first hand

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent tour leader, certainly did a tremendous job, when the coach broke down between Munnar and Mundhan, finding alternative dining, and another coach/minibus to continue our journey. Came away with much more insight into Indian/Keralan life, ways, etc Supportive when we struggled with some of the trekking, and had a humorous side. Went out of his way to source a birthday cake for one of our travelling companions, and fireworks for us to celebrate Diwahli.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Leech socks, may not look good, but a necessity. A number of our group were affected by leeches, including myself. They're smaller than I expected. However it wasn't a painful experience, just expect some bleeding. Be prepared for early starts, particularly if you want to get the most out of this trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful experience, with a group of strangers at the start of the trip, and who become friends within a matter of days. I went with no expectations and have come back wishing to go again.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Robert Tuddenham

    An wonderful trip!

    This was a superb and varied trip with so many experiences and all in two weeks! A lovely group and with an excellent leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many it's difficult to be specific - all the walks, Madurai temple, Periyar Reserve, the Houseboat... ............. The top two are getting to the top of Meesapulimalai and the many interesting and informative stops on our coach journeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam Benjamin was brilliant -a great guy always prepared to go the extra mile. He got on well with all the group and with a lovely sense of humour. He is very well informed and his talks on the bus journeys and the interesting stops were highlights for me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a great introduction to Southern India. - recommend with no reservations at all. The walks in the Western Ghats are quite demanding so you need to be reasonably fit and up to walking on rough and steep terrain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A truly memorable trip!
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Lisa Brollo

    Extraordinary Holiday

    I had the most amazing and extraordinary holiday and most of that was down to the lovely people in the group and our wonderful guide Sam Benjamin. From start to finish it was out of this world. The holiday proper started at our hotel in Cochin and ended there two weeks later when I actually felt very emotional - it was all over! The trek and camping were just incredible- our cook should be on Masterchef. Food was out of this world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I had to use the hole to do my toilet in! 😂😂😂

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam Benjamin was the most inspiring and thoughtful and decent young man ever, he made the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your expectations low! 😂😂😂😂

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you never visit India then you have never lived!
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Chris Parker

    Great experience

    Our trip was the first visit I'd made to India and so having a guided tour was brilliant. Our tour leader was really good at his job and in addition was willing & able to discuss India and Indian life & society. This made our experience so much more than just a series of visits to tourist spots. I felt that the very best part of the trip was the trekking in the hills, which was hard work but well within my capability. We did experience unusual weather during this, with rain when it was totally unexpected. This meant a change to our schedule as one camp site became inaccessible. Our tour leader had this under control very quickly, and we had a night in a local hotel and a revised trek next day. This got us back on track by the end of that day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the achievement of reaching the summit of Meesapulimala, though seeing Indian Gaur and elephants in Periyar Park was very impressive too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sanhtosh was great, managing things brilliantly and telling us an amazing amount about India, it's people and society. I can't praise him highly enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes and other instructional material and follow the advice. We nearly missed our connecting flight in Mumbai due to the slow process for e-visas at immigration there. If travelling on an e-visa, get the immigration form at Heathrow or on the flight & complete it before arrival in Mumbai. Go straight to the e-visa queue and be prepared for delays.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Mike & Helen Hudson

    Great southern India Experience

    A great all round trip with lots of variety.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking to the peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santosh was very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly. Lots of small interesting stops and diversions along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    At our time of year you really needed at least two pairs of long trousers (leech area trekking and temple visit). The reason the trip notes mention thin socks is that you will likely be wearing the free issue leech socks on top. You will likely get a beer or two every day (if you need one) but a plastic bottle or two of duty free sprirts is not a bad idea.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great way to see two scenic states in Southern India where much is changing as their economies grow. The walking is not hard but you do get into the wild, as well as seeing local country life close up.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Maria Leng

    Spice Trails of Kerala

    Very interesting and varied itinerary with beautiful scenery, great food and lovely group of people to share the experience . Felt like we were off the beaten track a little when trekking which was great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the hills and varied vegetation during the trek

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Managed the group well, organised and informative , made sure we all ate really well the whole trip

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get your own leach socks ,as one size fits all!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Michelle Mellors

    Spice trails Kerala

    Mind Blowing experience jam packed with activities and things to see and do

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting new people - experiencing their culture and visiting so many new places

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Extremely knowledgeable - fitted in so many extra visits and arranged anything we asked for

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Relax and enjoy the experience - everything arranged for you!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would recommend 100%
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Stephen Taylor

    Kerala

    A varied trip taking in the landscapes, culture and architecture of a lovely part of India.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the tea plantations. We never thought an agricultural area could be so lovely with waves of tea bushes stretching to the horizon. The trek section of the trip was good and not too arduous. The highest point was worth the climb for the views. The national park was scenic and plenty of wildlife incuding wild elephants. The houseboat cruise was a lovely relaxing way to wind down before a day in Fort Cochin and the journey home.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Umed was an excellent leader and very personable. Always on the ball and full of interesting anecdotes about the areas we visited. Umed made sure we were all looked after and well fed even in the remote camps. The local guides were also good and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not a hard trek, but we had good weather throughout. Can get a little cold at top station, so take a thermal.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking of booking this trip you will not be disappointed. A good introduction to southern India if you have not been before.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Linda Tansley

    A wonderful trip

    A mix of walking camping and sight seeing. A wide variety of landscapes and cultural destinations. Every day was new and different. The local guides were extremely well informed and constantly pointed out new plants, animal tracks or agricultural practices when we were trekking. In the Madarai, we learnt so much about the Hindu religion and practices brought to life by our temple visits where we had the privilege of witnesses local traditions including a betrothal

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the mountain and the trek as a whole. I found it difficult as I had a breathing problem but I was well supported by the assistant local guide (Edison) all the way. The food was excellent, when walking we had drinks and snacks every mile or so and an excellent three course lunch. Camp sites were good and interesting and the camp cook talented.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    V Santosh Kumar was an excellent leader, quiet and modest he was able to anticipate our interests and needs. When we had the storm which washed out our next camp he arranged a decent hotel and for the next day an alternative walk to the local town which was fascinating. Several times he came up with a plan B when people where unable to walk which were thoroughly enjoyable. He also had sound eco principles

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cash free policy and ban in importing or exporting rupees is a nightmare. There is a limit on the amount you can withdraw ATMs are often empty. Please make sure you have your card with a bank that will allow you to register that you will be travelling in India (my bank Barclays doesn't and I was blocked and could have been in difficulties). Take two cards if you can and take every opportunity to withdraw cash in you first few days. The trip leader was helpful with this problem

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a wonderful trip for me and because of my personal circumstances it may be difficult for me to do another one. Trip of a lifetime with lovely fellow travellers and leaders, guides and crew. Loved it!

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