Cochin - Munnar - Thekkady - Kumarakom - Kovalam

ITINERARY OVERVIEW

Day 1: Mumbai – Cochin

Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a captivating island city nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters, much like the reclaimed land of Mumbai. Its origins date back to 1341 when a flood shaped a natural safe port, which eventually became the primary harbor for the spice trade along the Malabar Coast. Positioned on the major trade route connecting Europe and China, Cochin welcomed people of diverse religious backgrounds, attracting Jewish and Christian communities who established their own places of worship and settlements.

A must-visit destination in Kochi is Fort Kochi, a charming village along the Arabian coastline. Here, you can admire the iconic Chinese fishing nets (despite their misleading name), explore the Dutch cemetery, and marvel at the Synagogue and Churches that symbolize the city’s rich heritage. In the evening, immerse yourself in the captivating art form of Kathakali by attending a pre-booked performance. Kathakali, meaning “Story Dance,” seamlessly blends dance and acting to convey the emotions and thoughts of its characters. This unique art form primarily features male performers, who never stand erect but instead assume a rhombus-like stance with spread-out knees. The portrayal of female characters in Kathakali showcases grace and gratitude, known as “Lasya.”

Day 2: Cochin – Munnar (126.6 km ~ 3hrs 50 min)

After enjoying breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to the hotel and embark on a scenic drive towards Munnar. Nestled at the convergence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kundala – this charming hill station sits at an elevation of 1600 meters above sea level. Once a favoured summer retreat for the British Government in South India, Munnar captivates visitors with its expansive tea plantations, idyllic towns, meandering lanes, and delightful holiday amenities.

The region’s rich biodiversity boasts a myriad of exotic flora, including the famous Neelakurinji. This mesmerizing flower adorns the hills in a breathtaking shade of blue, blooming only once every twelve years. The next anticipated bloom is scheduled for 2030. Additionally, Munnar proudly boasts the tallest peak in South India, Anamudi, which majestically reaches a towering height of 2695 meters.

Upon arrival in Munnar, you will proceed to your pre-booked hotel and complete the check-in process. The remainder of the day is yours to indulge in leisure activities, allowing you to unwind and soak in the tranquil ambience of this enchanting destination.

Day 3: Munnar

After breakfast proceed for a local sightseeing tour of Munnar.

Begin your day by immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature at Photo Point, a picturesque location adorned with tea gardens on both sides. As the name suggests, it is the perfect spot to capture stunning photographs and take delightful selfies.

Next, venture to the enchanting Mattupetty Dam, where you can partake in a memorable boat ride (additional cost may apply). Afterwards, make your way to Echo Point, a renowned tourist attraction in Munnar. Here, every loud call made from the edge of the lake is echoed back manifold, creating a fascinating auditory experience. The area is also ideal for leisurely nature walks, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.

Continue your journey towards Kundala Lake, where the tea estates present a feast for the eyes. Delight in a unique experience by taking a Shikara boat ride on the serene waters of the lake.

Your next destination is Top Station, situated near the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is famous for the rare Neelakurinji plant, which blooms once every 12 years. From the viewpoint at Top Station, you can marvel at the captivating vistas of the Kannan Devan Hills, valleys, and distant waterfalls.

Embark on a scenic drive towards Rajamalai/Eravikulam National Park, a mere 16 kilometres away from Munnar. This expansive park extends into Tamil Nadu and was established to safeguard the Nilgiri Tahr, a critically endangered species. Today, it serves as a sanctuary for nearly half of the world’s population of this rare animal. Additionally, the park is home to other fascinating creatures such as elephants, gaurs, giant squirrels, leopards, lion-tailed macaques, tigers, and sambars. To enhance your experience, consider indulging in a thrilling safari within the park.

Day 4: Munnar – Thekkady (91.3 km ~ 3 hrs)

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, complete the check-out process at the hotel and embark on a scenic drive to Thekkady. Thekkady proudly hosts Periyar, the largest Tiger Reserve in the country, and boasts an incredible wealth of biodiversity, making it one of the most diverse regions on the planet. It offers a serene environment, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation, and provides a rare opportunity to spot tigers in their natural habitat. To enhance your experience, you can choose to indulge in a variety of activities such as a captivating boat cruise, an exhilarating jeep or elephant safari (bookings required), or even embark on a thrilling bamboo rafting adventure.

For a comprehensive exploration of Thekkady’s wonders, we can arrange a full-day tour that includes a captivating boat ride, an enchanting jungle trail, an exciting jeep ride, and a delectable lunch.

In addition to the captivating wildlife experiences, Thekkady offers a chance to immerse yourself in the world of spices. You can explore a spice plantation, learn about the various aromatic treasures that grow there, and visit the vibrant Spice Market, where you can purchase a wide array of aromatic and flavorful spices to take home as souvenirs.

Day 5: Thekkady – Kumarakom (130.5 kms ~ 3hrs 26min)

After having breakfast and completing the check-out process at the hotel, we will embark on a drive towards the enchanting destination of Kumarakom. Nestled in the picturesque backwater region, Kumarakom is situated along the delightful shores of Vembanad Lake, approximately 16 km away from Kottayam. This tranquil village has transformed an old rubber plantation surrounding the lake into a splendid bird sanctuary.

As we explore the area, a captivating pathway leads us through the swamp towards the primary nesting area, while the island situated in the middle of the lake can be accessed by boat. Upon reaching Kumarakom, we will proceed to check in at our pre-booked hotel in either Kumarakom or Alleppey. After taking some time to rest and rejuvenate, we will have the opportunity to experience a mesmerizing backwater sunset cruise on the serene waters of Vembanad Lake. It is advisable to book this cruise in advance to secure your spot.

Additionally, for nature enthusiasts, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a must-visit attraction. Sprawling across 14 acres of lush land, it serves as a favoured habitat for migratory birds. You can capture stunning photographs of these birds using your SLR or professional camera.

Furthermore, for a unique and immersive experience, you have the option to stay aboard a moving houseboat. These houseboats provide the opportunity to explore the picturesque stretch between Kumarakom and Alleppey or locally. They offer all meals and a chance to savour the delectable local cuisine during your journey.

Day 6: Kumarakom – Kovalam (176kms ~ 4hrs 36min)

Begin your day by enjoying a delicious breakfast before proceeding to depart from the hotel. Your next destination is the captivating beach of Kovalam, adorned with pristine silvery sands and bordered by towering palm trees. In the past, Kovalam was merely a collection of sandy bays divided by rocky headlands and inhabited solely by fishing communities. However, it has now transformed into a thriving hub for tourists. Kovalam offers a serene coastal environment, featuring a protected bay and an extensive array of water sports activities for your enjoyment.

Upon reaching Kovalam, complete the check-in process at your prearranged hotel. The remainder of the evening is yours to relax and unwind, granting you the freedom to indulge in leisurely pursuits of your choice.

Day 7: Kovalam

Start your day by enjoying a hearty breakfast, and then embark on a captivating journey to explore the mesmerizing sights of Kovalam. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque beach, relishing the tranquil ambience and admiring the renowned landmark of Kovalam, the Lighthouse. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this coastal gem as you soak in the sun and bask in the soothing ocean breeze.

Continue your exploration by visiting the magnificent Halcyon Castle, majestically perched atop a rugged rock formation. Marvel at its architectural grandeur and absorb the historical significance it holds. Enhance your cultural experience by immersing yourself in the Kovalam art gallery, where you can appreciate and admire the exquisite artworks on display.

For a spiritual touch, consider paying a visit to the Parashurama Temple, the only one of its kind in South India. Explore its sacred grounds and embrace the serene atmosphere as you delve into the rich religious heritage of the region.

As the day comes to a close, indulge in some well-deserved relaxation and leisure time. Embrace the freedom to unwind and rejuvenate, either by immersing yourself in the scenic surroundings or by engaging in activities that bring you joy. The evening is yours to savour and cherish as you, please.

Day 8:  Kovalam – Trivandrum – Onwards

After enjoying breakfast, complete the check-out process at your hotel and commence your journey towards Trivandrum airport or railway station in order to connect with your onward destination.