Depart London-Heathrow by overnight flight.
Day 2 Cochin
On arrival at Cochin you will be met and transferred to the Taj Malabar Hotel for a 2-night stay (Room & Breakfast). Optional evening sunset cruise.
Day 3 Cochin
Half-day sightseeing of Cochin, exploring the area around the Jewish synagogue known as Jew Town (once the centre of the spice trade), with several curio shops. Visit St. Francis Church, Fort Cochin constructed by the Portuguese in 1510 and believed to be the first European-built church in India. Vasco da Gama was initially buried here, though 14 years later his remains were taken to Portugal. See Bolgatty island, site of the Bolgatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744 (and now a hotel), and, of course, Cochin's famous Chinese fishing nets. There's time later for an Ayurvedic body massage (optional).
Day 4 Cochin/Munnar
Today you enjoy a scenic drive to Munnar a fascinating old hill-station on the lush slopes of the Western Ghats and once the summer resort of the British Government in South India - set at the confluence of three mountain streams, over 5,000 ft above sea level with lakes, forests and tea estates. Stay two nights at The Windamere Estate a small guest-house of great charm offering cottages and guest rooms within the grounds of a coffee and cardamon plantation (Half Board).
Day 5 Munnar
Time for leisurely exploration of Munnar, with visits to Mattupetty lake and dam and to Rajamala the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (a rare mountain goat - fast becoming extinct). A tea factory visit can also be arranged.
Day 6 Munnar/Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (Thekkady)
After breakfast you are driven to Periyar through the Cardamon Hills of the Western Ghats to the Lake Palace, set majestically on a peninsula on Lake Periyar amid the superb setting of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Stay for two nights at this delightful 6-room heritage hotel (Full Board).
Day 7 Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
A day to relax in this lovely setting. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978 and is also the home of large herds of wild elephants that come down to cool off in the lake waters. The Lake Palace provides the excitement of spotting wildlife from your garden chair! A boat trip on the lake is included in your stay.
Day 8 Periyar/Kumarakom
After breakfast leave for Kumarakom on the backwaters of Kerala to spend three relaxing nights in the tranquil surroundings of the comfortable Taj Garden Retreat on the banks of the tranquil Vembanad lake. It began life in 1877 as Baker's House - a country retreat originally built by Essex missionary George Alfred Baker (Room & Breakfast).
Days 9/10 Kumarakom
A free day to relax by the backwaters. Optional Ayurvedic body massage.
Day 11 Kumarakom/Allepey
Late in the morning you board your kettuvallam (houseboat) for an overnight journey through Kerala's serene backwaters, cruising along an intricate palm-fringed network of innumerable lagoons, lakes and canals. Overnight on board, with evening candlelit dinner.
Day 12 Alleppey/Varkala
After breakfast disembark at Alleppey and travel by road to Varkala for a 2-night stay by the Indian Ocean at The Taj Garden Retreat (Room & Breakfast).
Day 13 Varkala
At leisure in Varkala. Optional Ayurvedic body massage.
Day 14 Varkala/Chowara
Drive via Kovalam to Chowara to spend three nights at the Travancore Heritage (Room & Breakfast).
Days 15/16 Chowara
A leisurely finale by the beach.
Day 17 Chowara/London
Transfer to Trivandrum Airport for your flight to Colombo and connecting overnight flight for London.
Day 18 London
Arrive London-Heathrow this morning.