South India Highlights with Backwaters

11 days from $2,420 per person*
  • Cruise the backwaters of Kerala on a fully equipped houseboat.
  • Explore exotic tea plantations & fragrant spice villages with an expert guide.
  • Discover mystical temples and a 400-year old synagogue.
  • Indulge in sumptuous south Indian cuisine.
  • Enjoy carefully selected boutique hotels.
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Discover the natural wonders and fascinating cultures of South India. Take to the scenic palm-lined Kerala backwaters on an incredible multi-night houseboat cruise.

The south of India is renowned for its stunning tropical beaches, dense forests, and shimmering waterways. Journey to the heart of the subcontinent through its verdant backwaters and explore its rich history, culinary delights and mystical temple towns along the way. Find serenity in peaceful Cochin, as you gaze out over its warm tropical waters. Sacred cities, golden beaches, backwater coconut groves await. Visit Munnar, a former resort for the British Raj elite set in the lush the Western Ghats mountains. Discover a breathtaking 400-year-old synagogue set on a tropical coast, and journey through a jungly green maze of waterways and rice paddies in Kerala. The total expanse of backwater stretches over 1500 kms, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south. Here you'll feel the vibrant life in the region known as god's own country. Glide across canals passing remote villages, and indulge in traditional Kerala flavors such as Pearlspot fish & prawns. Kerala is a little piece of paradise. ... Show More »

Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance. « Show Less

Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Cochin
    Cochin
    • Transfer - Private - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Assistant
  • Day 2 Cochin
    Cochin
    • Tour - Private - Synagogue & Palace - Vehicle/Driver
    • Kathakali Dance Performance - Vehicle/Driver/Admission
  • Day 3 Cochin to Munnar
    Cochin to Munnar
    • Transfer - Private - Cochin - Munnar [4.5 hrs] - Vehicle/Driver(3)
    • Tea Factory and Museum - Ticket
  • Day 4 Munnar
    Munnar
    • Semi-Private Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary - Ticket
  • Day 5 Munnar to Thekkady
    Munnar to Thekkady
    • Transfer - Private - Munnar - Thekkady [3 hrs ] - Vehicle/Driver(3)
    • At Leisure
  • Day 6 Thekkady
    Thekkady
    • Tour - Private - Nature Walk - The Guided Day Trek - Guide/Entrance
    • Tour - Private - Spice Tour - Entrance/Guide
  • Day 7 Thekkady to Alleppey
    Thekkady to Alleppey
    • Transfer - Private - Thekkady - Alleppey [3.5 hrs] - Vehicle/Driver (3)
    • Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Activities - Embarkation Day
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8 Alleppey
    Alleppey
    • Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Activities Day 2
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 9 Alleppey
    Alleppey
    • Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Activities Day 3
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 10 Alleppey to Cochin
    Alleppey to Cochin
    • Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Activities - Disembarkation Day
    • Transfer - Private - Alleppey - Cochin [1.5 hrs] - Vehicle/Driver (3)
  • Day 11 Cochin
    Cochin
    • Transfer - Private - Airport - Vehicle/Driver/Assistant
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
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Day 1: Cochin

A transfer with private vehicle, professional driver and English-speaking assistant between the airport and Cochin is provided.

Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard (Fort Kochi) (5*)

The Brunton Boatyard possesses a remarkable sense of scale, evident the moment you turn into the tiled forecourt. The lobby is a vault of sunlight and air, framed by arches and overhung with punkahs - enormous, old-fashioned fans of Indo-Portuguese origin. Most rooms have a balcony. The corner suites are large with a separate sitting / dining and a private pantry for the Butler. All bathrooms too enjoy a great view and there is no better way to enjoy a luxurious bath than to lie in the long tub and keep the window shutters open to watch a fascinating scene below. The hotel has its own private jetty, which doubles up as a ‘café’, overlooking the pool garden and the sea.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Brunton Boatyard
Brunton Boatyard

Day 2: Cochin

Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation for your private tour of Cochin. The first stop is the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568, it is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. The synagogue is magnificently decorated with Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Then visit Dutch Palace offering a fantastic view of the city. This palace is notable for some of the best mythological murals in India, particularly in the bed chambers. In that room one can see the entire story of Ramayana on the walls. The palace also contains rare examples of traditional Kerala flooring, which look like polished black marble but are actually a mixture of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, plant juices and egg whites.

This evening, enjoy a Kathakali dance performance. Dating back to the 17th century, it originated in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means "Story-Play". It is known for its large, elaborate makeup and costumes. Usually performed only by men, the actors rely heavily on hand gestures to convey their story.

Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard (Fort Kochi) (5*)
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Paradesi Synagogue
Paradesi Synagogue
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Kathakali Performer
Kathakali Performer

Day 3: Cochin - Munnar

Meet your driver for a private transfer from Cochin to Munnar. The transfer takes approximately 4.5 hours. 

Munnar Tea Museum stands as an effort to acknowledge the hard labor of the futurists who showed great willpower to transform Munnar into a major tea plantation center in Kerala. The tea museum outlines the development of Munnar's tea estates, which is veritably conveyed through the displays that include the elementary tea roller as well as the modern fully automated tea factory. These machineries depict various stages of tea processing. One can also learn about the production of black tea. A sundial placed on a granite block sitting in the tranquilities of the compound welcomes every guest in the museum. The artifact was crafted by Art Industrial School at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu, in the year 1913. It symbolizes the growth and prosperity, which the Munnar tea estates experienced.

Accommodation: Windermere Estate (4.5*)

One of the best hotels in India, Windermere Estate in Munnar is the perfect accommodation option for business and leisure travelers. Ranking high among the hotels in Munnar in India, this hotel is buttressed with the finest possible amenities for the visitors. Perched atop the mountains 3 km from Munnar, the convenient location of Windermere Estate in Munnar helps the tourists to explore the land of Munnar with ease. The hotel, set on a cardamom plantation 1600 meters above sea level, is 95 km away from Cochin International Airport.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Athukadu Waterfall
Athukadu Waterfall
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Windermere Estate
Windermere Estate

Day 4: Munnar

The sanctuary stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands spread over 97 square kilometers of unblemished natural splendor. Anamudi, the highest peak south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas Moth, largest of its kind in the world, is a unique possession of the park. The sanctuary was declared as a National Park in 1978. The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world.

Accommodation: Windermere Estate (4.5*)
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Anamudi
Anamudi

Day 5: Munnar - Thekkady

A private transfer from Munnar to Thekkady is provided.

Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.

Accommodation: Spice Village (4.5*)

The Land Where Pepper Grows. Spice Village is located in the Periyar wilderness, high in the western ghats of Kerala. For centuries, the area attracted voyagers and adventurers, mercenaries and empire builders, kings and merchant princes. Men and women drawn not only by the lure of spices, but by the romance and wild beauty of the land. The Portuguese and the Jews of Cochin visited as traders, turning the natural bounties of the area into wealth. Pepper and cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise the Periyar hills became nature's taste factory in the 14th century, as Cochin became nature's harbour, the port of lading for a spice-hungry world. Today, it's the rainforests, the animals and the vast silences that attract the modern visitor.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Elephant
Elephant
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Spice Village Courtyard
Spice Village Courtyard

Day 6: Thekkady

Today your guide will pick you up from your accommodation to walk one of the different trails traversing diverse nature habitats. The treks are generally between 4 and 5 kilometers in length. This is an interpretive program offers excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands. The walking tour lasts for about 3 hours departs between 7.00 a.m. and 10.30 am and returns between 2.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m. A maximum of 5 persons can go for trekking at a time along each nature trail, accompanied by a trained tribal guide. The Nature Walk is the right program to feel nature, hear her whispers and smell her flowers.

Take a private tour of a Kerala spice plantation, where you can see how natural pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg are grown. The spice plantations in Kerala are captivating farms to wander in and the various spices are cultivated in different sections of each plantation. On the spice plantation you can go for nature walks, bird watching treks, taste the various spices and breathe in the fragrant air.

Accommodation: Spice Village (4.5*)
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Elephant
Elephant
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Plantation Workers
Plantation Workers

Day 7: Thekkady - Alleppey

Meet your driver for a private transfer to Alleppey. The drive is approximately 3.5 hours.

Board the Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat from Alleppey at noon where you will be briefed with an introduction with the houseboat crew before your cruise begins. Cruise through Vembanadu Lake and anchor for lunch at approximately 1 pm.  After lunch, your cruise resumes at 3 pm and proceed to Muhamma. Reach Muhamma where you will visit a traditional village market for a coir making demonstration. After the visit, proceed to Pathiramanal and anchor for the overnight.

NOTE: cruise itinerary is subject to change.

Accommodation: Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat

Lakes & Lagoons is the first and only ISO 9001 - 2000 certified Houseboat Tour Company in Kerala. With a fleet of more than 21 luxury Houseboats, Lakes & Lagoons offer some of the best backwater cruise journeys. The Houseboats are situated in Alleppey, which can be described as a real natural treasure house providing splendid views of the blue over the lake surrounded by the green of the palms and vegetation, active with the aquatic life and local villages engaging in everyday errands.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Alleppey Backwaters
Alleppey Backwaters
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat
Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat

Day 8: Alleppey

After breakfast, cruise to Kumarakom via Puthen Kayal. Anchor for lunch at R’ Block (coconut plantation below sea level). After lunch, cruise to Kainakaray and visit chavara Bhavan (birth place of the blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias – 15 minutes walk through country pavement).  After your visit, cruise to Pulincunnoo via Mancompu. Visit St. Mary’s Forane Church and village market at Pulinkunnoo. During your walk you can witness the traditional Kerala Houses.  After the village visit, cruise to Onnamkara for overnight stay.

NOTE: cruise itinerary is subject to change.

Accommodation: Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Deck
Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Deck

Day 9: Alleppey

After breakfast, you will cruise to Champakkulam via Nedumudi.  Visit St. Mary’s Forane Church, the oldest Syrian Church of the region (42 A.D).  After the visit, proceed to Karuamadi via Kandamkary and Puthen Thodu.  Anchor for lunch at Kandamkary and after lunch you will reach Karumady.  Visit Karumadi Kuttan (an 11th century statue of Buddha).  After the visit, proceed to Kanjippadom for your overnight stay.

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change.

Accommodation: Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Sundeck
Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat Sundeck

Day 10: Alleppey - Cochin

Enjoy the early morning at leisure to enjoy the beautiful scenery. After breakfast, cruise to Alleppey and reach Pallathuruthy by 9.30 am for check out.

Meet your professional driver for a private transfer to Cochin. The drive takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard (Fort Kochi) (5*)
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat
Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat

Day 11: Cochin

A transfer with private vehicle, professional driver and English-speaking assistant between the airport and Cochin is provided.

Accommodation: Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard)

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Brunton Boatyard (Fort Kochi) (5*): Cochin

The Brunton Boatyard possesses a remarkable sense of scale, evident the moment you turn into the tiled forecourt. The lobby is a vault of sunlight and air, framed by arches and overhung with punkahs - enormous, old-fashioned fans of Indo-Portuguese origin. Most rooms have a balcony. The corner suites are large with a separate sitting / dining and a private pantry for the Butler. All bathrooms too enjoy a great view and there is no better way to enjoy a luxurious bath than to lie in the long tub and keep the window shutters open to watch a fascinating scene below. The hotel has its own private jetty, which doubles up as a ‘café’, overlooking the pool garden and the sea.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Brunton Boatyard
Brunton Boatyard

Windermere Estate (4.5*): Munnar

One of the best hotels in India, Windermere Estate in Munnar is the perfect accommodation option for business and leisure travelers. Ranking high among the hotels in Munnar in India, this hotel is buttressed with the finest possible amenities for the visitors. Perched atop the mountains 3 km from Munnar, the convenient location of Windermere Estate in Munnar helps the tourists to explore the land of Munnar with ease. The hotel, set on a cardamom plantation 1600 meters above sea level, is 95 km away from Cochin International Airport.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Windermere Estate
Windermere Estate

Spice Village (4.5*): Thekkady

The Land Where Pepper Grows. Spice Village is located in the Periyar wilderness, high in the western ghats of Kerala. For centuries, the area attracted voyagers and adventurers, mercenaries and empire builders, kings and merchant princes. Men and women drawn not only by the lure of spices, but by the romance and wild beauty of the land. The Portuguese and the Jews of Cochin visited as traders, turning the natural bounties of the area into wealth. Pepper and cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise the Periyar hills became nature's taste factory in the 14th century, as Cochin became nature's harbour, the port of lading for a spice-hungry world. Today, it's the rainforests, the animals and the vast silences that attract the modern visitor.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Spice Village Courtyard
Spice Village Courtyard
South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Spice Village Cottage
Spice Village Cottage

Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat: Alleppey

Lakes & Lagoons is the first and only ISO 9001 - 2000 certified Houseboat Tour Company in Kerala. With a fleet of more than 21 luxury Houseboats, Lakes & Lagoons offer some of the best backwater cruise journeys. The Houseboats are situated in Alleppey, which can be described as a real natural treasure house providing splendid views of the blue over the lake surrounded by the green of the palms and vegetation, active with the aquatic life and local villages engaging in everyday errands.

South India Highlights with Backwaters Tours 2017 - 2018 -  Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat
Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat

Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard): Global Location

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Bonnie Carroll — August 14, 2017 — India & Area

    The trip was FABULOUS! We are now loyal Kensington converts - you took care of everything, and each day unfolded with new surprises and adventures! They were made aware (by Kensington??) that it was our shared birthday trip (my 60th!) and so each Oberoi really outdid themselves in doing special birthday celebrations! Wow, amazing! Just overwhelming!

  • Pamela L — August 22, 2017 — India & Area

    Everything was great, when we wanted to change something they were very good at doing so. I was more than satisfied. Thanks for a wonderful trip.

  • Bruce Rubin — August 14, 2017 — India & Area

    I loved working with Kenny and all the people at Kensington Tours. I loved how easily everything flowed during our journey. Your people were mostly wonderful with a few who simply showed up. We had a few hotel rooms that were less than perfect but in the case of Varanasi I mentioned my displeasure and the room was immediately changed. Many of the hotels were as luxurious as promised and the service was impeccable. We truly loved our trip and would happily use your services again and recommend them to our friends.

  • Renee Martin — August 14, 2017 — India & Area

    Really great experience! The quality and the individuality of how our tour was designed was perfect! Would definitely like to do another tour with Kensington!

  • Richard B. — July 15, 2016 — India & Area

    Guides and especially drivers were very good, indeed.

  • Alicia H. — June 30, 2016 — India & Area

    Each of my guides was absolutely wonderful, making a whirlwind tour feel well-paced and meaningful as well as providing interesting historical/cultural insights and offering excellent shopping and restaurant recommendations. In particular, Sanjil made sure I got all of the best photo angles of the Taj Mahal. Vivek was an amazing story-teller who went above and beyond to make Udaipur come alive, and Indrajeet was an excellent teacher of India's many religions and cultural traditions. The Oberoi hotels were unbelievable; I have never stayed in more luxurious accommodations or experienced more attentive service! This tour was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

  • William C. — May 19, 2016 — India & Area

    Mahipal, our driver for 10 days, was absolutely excellent. My wife has had 3 previous neck surgeries, and cannot ride in a bumpy vehicle. Mahipal was careful to make our travel as smooth as humanly possible. Thank you! Sunita Singh was excellent in arranging everything we needed, as well as our driver.

  • Sherri W. — May 18, 2016 — India & Area

    The choice of hotels and the guides selected for each city were very knowledgeable. We especially liked Rotan in Jodhpur, Gowinda in Jaipur, Iqbal in Agra and Mr Satya Gupta in Deli. They were all very patient, humorous, and happened to be willing photographers. They even made restaurant suggestions for local places outside the hotel. Great versatility. Our driver, Mr. Ronnert Singh, navigated those tough Indian roads safely and flawlessly. We've taken a few tours but quite frankly Kensington was one of the best.

  • James H. — May 18, 2016 — India & Area

    The pacing was well thought out. It's about as easy as you will ever do, i think, touring for a month in India. The Oberoi Hotels were uniformly excellent.

  • Diana D. — May 12, 2016 — India & Area

    Just arrived back from a spectacular 13-day visit to Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and Varanasi. Sunita Singh of Kensington put together a perfect itinerary to give us a taste of Indian sights, sounds, people and culture and the hotel bookings exceeded our expectations. Everywhere we went we were met by the local Kensington representatives, who more than handled any request we came up with. We felt well cared for throughout the trip. The local guides selected by the local Kensington representatives were knowledgeable about their home city and they were very flexible and accommodating in seeking to make the trip special. Since we were driven in a private van from Udaipur to Jodhpur to Jaipur to Agra and back to Delhi, we could not have been in better hands. Our driver was spectacular. The trip was a success and we could not be happier. Thank you Kensington for a very special trip.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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