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Inside Kerala and Karnataka

Group Tour

14 Days From £3,175

Overview

An ever-increasing number of holiday-makers are coming to Kerala, India’s most literate state, to enjoy its wonderful beaches and legendary hospitality. However there is so much more to this diverse area than many of its visitors ever realise and this trip aims to dip below the surface of Keralan society to discover something of its food, traditions and artistic contributions, be that in dance, craftwork or even its own unique martial art, Kalarippayattu.

Neighbouring Karnataka ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

13 x Breakfasts
13 x Lunches
13 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses and boats.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be staying in some wonderful and very comfortable character properties where available, as well as having the experience of spending two nights aboard a traditional houseboat. Similarly, accommodation and facilities are more basic on the plantation in Coorg. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

It should be noted that due to the smaller size of some of the properties used it may not be possible to give everyone in the group exactly the same standard of room. If this happens, your tour leader will do their very best to allocate rooms fairly throughout the course of the trip, so we thank you for your understanding of this impossible job in advance!

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Inside Kerala and Karnataka
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN BENGALURU (BANGALORE); DRIVE TO HASSAN

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN BENGALURU (BANGALORE); DRIVE TO HASSAN

The joining point of the trip will be at Bangalore International Airport this morning, the capital of Karnataka. We drive straight out of the city westwards towards Hassan, named after the Hindu goddess Hassanamba and famous for the many temples and monuments in the area. After a chance to relax and freshen up at our comfortable resort, we head out to nearby Shravanabelagola after lunch to see the Gomateswara temple. This Jain temple is famous for the Bahubali Statue, supposedly the tallest monolithic stone statue in the world at 58 feet in height, carved out of a single block of granite.

Hoysala Village Resort or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: IN HASSAN

DAY 2: IN HASSAN

Today we spend the full day exploring the striking Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid, constructed when this region was part of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries. The sheer quantity of the carvings in itself would be enough to impress, but when combined with the masterful detail and intricacy of the actual carvings, these structures will be sure to leave a lasting impression. We return to our resort late this afternoon for a second night.

Hoysala Village Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: HASSAN - COORG

DAY 3: HASSAN - COORG

Departing Hassan this morning we head to Coorg, the rarely visited coffee and spice growing region. Not only is Coorg a stunningly beautiful area but it is also home to the Kodavas, who are fair-skinned and whose origin is believed to be in Kashmir or even in Kurdistan. Here we stay in an eco-lodge on an organic plantation set in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. All proceeds from our stay go to an environmental NGO dedicated to nature by promoting organic farming. This afternoon we will have a tour around the plantation with the local staff for a chance to learn about their work and the crops they grow. This evening we can enjoy a pre-dinner drink around the campfire.

Rainforest Retreat Eco-lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: COORG - MYSORE

DAY 4: COORG - MYSORE

The morning can be spent participating in an optional walk in the plantation and surrounding countryside, or you may wish to simply relax and enjoy the tranquillity of this beautiful spot. After lunch we will drive on to Mysore, one of the country’s cultural gems. Depending on what time we arrive, there may be time for an orientation walk before dinner.

Metropole Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: IN & AROUND MYSORE

DAY 5: IN & AROUND MYSORE

Long known for its festivals and palaces, Mysore can boast one of the most opulent and iconic buildings in Southern India, the stunningly ornate Mysore Palace. Originally built in the 14th Century, the palace of today is the result of a significant redesign by the British architect, Henry Irwin. A wonderful fusion of European and Indian influences, the palace is still the official residence of the Wodeyar dynasty, the royal family of Mysore. We take a walking tour around the city this morning, taking in the palace and the markets before driving out to the hills that surround the city. The Chamundi Hills are home to the impressive Sri Chamundeswari Temple and the sacred Nandi bull, one of the largest of its kind and carved from a single piece of rock. We’ll also stop off at the nearby impressive Srirangapatnam with its 18th Century remains of Tipu Sultan’s Fort, Palace and Mausoleum.

Metropole Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: MYSORE - KABINI

DAY 6: MYSORE - KABINI

Today’s journey takes us on to Kabini, our base on the edge of the Nagarahole National Park. This afternoon, once we have settled into our rooms, there will be the chance to head out on safari to spot some of the local wildlife that includes Asian Elephant, Samba Deer, Langur Monkeys plus over 250 species of birds.

Kabini River Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: KABINI - CALICUT

DAY 7: KABINI - CALICUT

Before breakfast this morning we will embark on another safari in the Nagarahole National Park in the hope that we may see tiger or leopard, the two species of big cat that are resident in the park. Later we depart for Calicut, across the border in Kerala, an important trading centre and the place where Vasco de Gama first set foot on the Indian Subcontinent in 1498. This evening should be a tour highlight as we visit a Kalari, a special Keralan gymnasium, to witness kalarippayattu - a distinct martial arts discipline dating back over 1500 years.

Kadavu Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: CALICUT - CHERUTHURUTHY

DAY 8: CALICUT - CHERUTHURUTHY

Today we head south towards Cheruthuruthy on the Nila River. After a traditional lunch we will have the opportunity to meet some local artisans, including potters, weavers and toymakers. This evening there may be the opportunity to watch a performance of local folk song and dance.

River Retreat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: CHERUTHURUTHY - KUMARAKOM

DAY 9: CHERUTHURUTHY - KUMARAKOM

We hope to make an early morning visit to a Kalamandalam – a performing arts centre - which prides itself on maintaining and teaching the great arts and traditions of Keralan society for which it is famed. We then drive south towards the famous Keralan backwaters and will spend the night in Kumarakom.

Backwater Ripples Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAYS 10 - 11: KUMARAKOM - ALLEPPEY – BACKWATER CRUISE

DAYS 10 - 11: KUMARAKOM - ALLEPPEY – BACKWATER CRUISE

This morning we drive to Alleppey to take to the waters of this most beautiful and unique of landscapes. Boarding our traditional houseboats, we will spend the next two days cruising the waterways and channels that honeycomb the coastal plains running parallel to the Arabian Sea. A unique ecosystem that is home to a rich variety of aquatic life, the backwaters present us with a time-honoured image of an India long forgotten. Scattered villages survive amongst the labyrinthine channels much as they have for generations. Kettuvallams, Keralan houseboats, once negotiated these canals carrying rice, grain and even royalty through the backwaters. Today they provide us with an ideal way to appreciate the tranquillity and tradition of this part of southern India. We’ll pass isolated communities, and gardens of hibiscus and vegetables, as well as hopping off the boats to visit interesting sights en route. Our evenings will be spent moored up besides the lapping shores of these idyllic backwaters. Having two nights aboard our private chartered houseboats enables us to venture further into the backwaters - catching a glimpse of life rarely seen by foreign visitors to Kerala.

Houseboat x two nights
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: ALLEPPEY - KOCHI (COCHIN)

DAY 12: ALLEPPEY - KOCHI (COCHIN)

Disembarking our boats this morning, we drive to Kochi, the glittering ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. The oldest European settlement in India, Kochi is a vibrant mix of Arab, Chinese, European and Indian influences and home to the oldest church and synagogue in the country. Built on commerce the city began to prosper with the arrival of Jewish and Arab traders. With the later arrival of the Portuguese, and then the Dutch and English, Kochi went on to become a vibrant settlement - incorporating a rare fusion of European and Asian traditions and styles. Today we will take a walking tour around the historic old streets of Fort Cochin and the red-tiled riverfront of Mattancherry, once the old capital’s main market area and the centre of the Malabar spice trade. The city is also famous for its Chinese fishing nets, which are made from teak and bamboo. The huge cantilevered nets are a legacy of some of the earliest visitors to the Malabar Coast. Similarly, the city is renowned for its Santa Cruz Basilica and the Church of St. Francis, the oldest European church in India, where the body of Vasco de Gama was held before being returned to Portugal. This evening we will enjoy a sunset cruise on the harbour before learning to cook a traditional Keralan dinner with a local family.

Xandari Harbour or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: KOCHI – VAIKOM - KOCHI

DAY 13: KOCHI – VAIKOM - KOCHI

Today we head into rural Kerala to get a feel for everyday village life, spending time with the people of Vaikom. There’ll be opportunities to witness and perhaps even take part in various activities including rope and basket-making, toddy-tapping, mat-weaving and for the more active, canoeing and coconut-tree climbing! This is a great way to experience life beyond the beach resorts for which Kerala is usually known. Returning to the town tonight, we’ll enjoy our final dinner together and a chance to reflect on our experiences.

Xandari Harbour or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN KOCHI (COCHIN)

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN KOCHI (COCHIN)

The tour ends after breakfast at our hotel. Those on our suggested flights will depart early for the airport.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Mid-Range

Good quality service and overall comfort

Mid-Range

Good quality service and overall comfort

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Rainforest Retreat Eco Lodge

On this tour you will stay at an eco-lodge where all the proceeds go to a local environmental NGO dedicated to nature by promoting organic farming, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation and environmental education.  The eco-lodge is located on an organic plantation set in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats.

Supper with Neema

The best way to share stories and meet new people is over a plate of great food and a drink in hand. India is a diverse country, and this is reflected in the food. In Kochi, we will enjoy a cooking class at Neema’s home, which has been in the family for a hundred years. Supporting the local food industry in India not only maintains the cultural identity of India but connects cultures through the most ancient of pastimes, eating!

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.

Please note that if you will be spending time in Bangalore ahead of the tour, we can arrange for you to be picked up from our pre-tour accommodation to meet the rest of the group at the airport.

 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
EK 002 London Heathrow (LHR) 13:40 Dubai Airport (DXB) 00:40
EK 564 Dubai Airport (DXB) 03:40 Bengaluru Airport (BLR) 08:50
EK 531 Cochin Airport (COK) 09:40 Dubai Airport (DXB) 12:10
EK 003 Dubai Airport (DXB) 14:30 London Heathrow (LHR) 18:20

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for India.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Since this tour will not spend any time in Bangalore, you may like to spend time exploring the city beforehand. Often referred to as the 'Garden City' for its numerous parks, Bangalore is the sixth largest and one of the cleanest cities in India. Allow 1-2 days.

Beach Extension

If time allows, why not spend an extra night or two relaxing on the Keralan beaches at the end of your tour?

Tamil Nadu

Often referred to as the 'The Last Classical Civilisation' Tamil Nadu has much to offer from UNESCO World Heritage sites to unique Tamil culture. Allow 7 – 14 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Isolated from much of India by the Western Ghats, the climate of Kerala is tropical and as a result of themountain ranges the area isn’t as dry as much of India; Kerala receives on average 3000mm of rain eachyear. November is one of the drier months so perfect for walking. The temperature in Kerala normally rangesfrom 28°C to 32°C on the plains but drops to about 20°C in the highlands. The Highlands of Kerala, which isan area of major tourist attraction, enjoys a cool and invigorating climate the year-round.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional.

This is one of our few trips where vegetarians will be very well catered for!

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation, but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour apart from Coorg, where it may be necessary to share due to the limited number of rooms available.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/ twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 9990 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

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