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SPICES, PLANTATIONS & HILL STATIONS

from £3299
Hillsides lush with the emerald green of tea plantations stretch out before you, touching the blue horizon.
  • Product Code 47260
  • Holiday Type Pioneer Holidays, Sightseeing And Walking Holidays
  • Grade Grade 5
  • Holiday Duration 16 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays - Spices Plantations and Hill Stations

Hillsides lush with the emerald green of tea plantations stretch out before you, touching the blue horizon. Women, brilliant in jewelcoloured saris, chat happily as they nimbly pluck the leaves, and flash you shy smiles as you wander past. The delicious scent of spices wafts past as they take their lunch, and colourful birds flit around in search of crumbs. Breathe in – you’re in Southern India.

This is a fertile, verdant landscape, watered by the monsoon rains; beautiful coastlines, lakes, inland waterways, green plains and undulating hills are there for you to discover. Nature’s colours seem more vivid in the south; the pace of life is mellow, and the cuisine rich in exotic fruits, vegetables and spices.

Our journey begins in India’s garden city of Bangalore before we travel to the beautiful hill country of the Wayanad, nestled among the Western Ghats. Here, our walks lead us through grasslands and valleys, forests and plantations. At Guruvayur, we’ll see Kerala’s most important shrine.

Taking a breather at Kumarakom, on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, we’ll cruise along Kerala’s famous backwaters and Lake Vemband itself, a timeless experience. We can also enjoy a peaceful sunrise walk. From both Munnar, at the centre of Kerala’s tea growing region, and the Raj-era hill station of Kodaikanal, perched on top of the Palani range, our walks in the surrounding hill country offer us unparalleled vistas as we explore tea plantations, shola forests, tranquil villages and waterfalls.

Madurai, one of the oldest cities in south Asia, has the elaborately sculptured Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which we visit before we fly to Chennai for one night and connect with our flight home.


Holiday Highlights

  • Walk in the hill district of Wayanad, one of the most beautiful regions of Kerala.
  • Visit the Raj-era hill station of Kodaikanal with breathtaking views of the Vaigai plain.
  • Walk from Munnar, taking in the highest tea plantations in the world.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Bangalore returning Chennai to Heathrow (British Airways)
      Internal flight Madurai to Chennai
      Airport transfers
      Half board en suite accommodation
      All entrance fees
      Lunches on walking days
      All local walking and sightseeing excursions
      Boat trip on Keralan backwaters
      Knowledgeable English speaking local guides
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 5/SS

  1. Day 1

    Depart London Heathrow for Bangalore.

  2. Day 2

    We arrive into Bangalore in time for breakfast and after we have freshened up we continue to the charming city of Mysore. (approx. 3 hours drive). Later this afternoon we’ll enjoy a stroll around the town, walking the back streets, seeing the turmeric painted cows and visiting the spice and vegetable market. Mysore is known for its sandalwood and silk and there will be the opportunity to buy. We stay in Mysore for 1 night.

  3. Day 3

    Mysore lies on the banks of the Kaveri River and was the historical residence of Mysore’s fierce sultans, Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. We take an early morning drive up into the Chamundi Hills to see worshippers going to temple and admire the wonderful views before we visit the sumptuous Maharajah's Palace. After an independent lunch, possibly a traditional “thali”, we continue to the hill region of Wayanad, one of Kerala’s most beautiful regions (approx. 3.5 hours drive) We enjoy a three night stay at Banasura near Kalpetta in a hotel set in 15 acres of gardens, on the edge of a lake.

  4. Day 4 to 5

    The Wayanad scenery is so rich and varied and our walks here will take us through lush green forests, tea and coffee plantations, grasslands and on mountain trails with stunning views of the lake and shola forests. Bonfires are lit at night as we watch the star studded skies. Wake to glorious sunrises and have plenty of chance to admire the wonderful scenery. We have two days to enjoy the area.

  5. Day 6

    We continue to the pilgrim town of Guruvayur for 1 night. Guruvayur is home to Kerala’s most important and richest Krishna shrine and is an important pilgrimage site. We can’t visit inside the temple, but can walk around the outside soaking up the atmosphere of the sights and sounds and see the constant flow of pilgrims, some dressed in their best white clothes, often trimmed with gold. We may even be lucky enough to see a wedding! Elephants are an important part of temple rituals and we may be get to see some dressed up for the occasion.

  6. Day 7

    We make a stop at the coast today en route to Kumarakom, and have the chance to dip our toes into the Arabian sea! This afternoon, we continue to Kumarakom, situated on the shores of Lake Vembanad, where we’ll stay for 3 nights.

  7. Day 8 to 9

    From our lakeside resort, where we stay in chalets with gardens or private terraces, we’ll spend our time boating on the vast Lake Vembanad, a paradise for birds and famous backwaters of Kerala, visiting local villages, taking a walk in a nature reserve and, for the early risers, a pre-dawn “quiet” walk to watch the sunrise. We’ll also sample Kerala’s excellent seafood at dinner and enjoy pre dinner classical music concerts.

  8. Day 10

    We travel to Munnar today (approx 5 hour drive) in the centre of Kerala’s principal tea growing region. In fact, the area has the highest tea plantations in the world. Munnar’s scenery is breathtaking and at an altitude of around 1600m, the views over the valley when the morning mist clears are second to none. We stay in Munnar for 3 nights, at a hotel set in gardens on the side of a hill, looking out onto the Lakshmi Hills.

  9. Day 11 to 12

    From Munnar, we’ll walk in the Lakshmi Hills, with panoramic views over the town and surrounding countryside, through Shola forests, sprawling tea plantations and local villages. Around Top Station, at over 1700 meters above sea level, we can enjoy panoramic views into the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. While at Munnar, we have the opportunity to purchase spices, tea and like all hill stations in south India – homemade chocolate!

  10. Day 13

    We leave Kerala today and head to the Raj-era hill station of Kodaikanal in the state of Tamil Nadu (approx. 7 hours drive). The hill station was founded by American missionaries in the 1840s. Today will primarily be a travel day, but stops will be made to stretch our legs and for refreshments. Kodai (as it is also known) is perched at an altitude of over 2,000 metres, on top of the Palani range, with breathtaking views over the Vagai plain. We stay in Kodai for 3 nights. Here, our small apartments surround a central garden and bonfires can be lit at night to keep away the chill.

  11. Day 14 to 15

    Our walks from Kodai take us through the shola forests, meadows, grasslands and plantations of Prakasapuram as well as to a sub tropical evergreen rainforest. We are only a short stroll from Kodai’s famous lake, which we will walk around during our stay. We’ll also see “Dolphin’s Nose”, a flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm over 2,000 meters deep.

  12. Day 16

    We leave Kodai this morning and drive to Madurai (approx. 3 hours drive), one of the oldest cities in south Asia. We’ll visit the impressive Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple and perhaps be lucky enough to experience a colourful ritual or procession. A late afternoon flight takes us to Chennai, where we’ll have dinner and an overnight.

  13. Day 17

    Early departure from the hotel for our flight from Chennai for London Heathrow, arriving into London on the same day.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Bangalore returning Chennai to Heathrow (British Airways)
  • Arrival transfer by road c.50mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights; Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote
  • Visa is required

Trip Map

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Banasura Island Retreat

The Banasura Island Retreat covers 15 acres of lush greenery in the natural beauty of the Wayanad. Here you are close to nature and can experience complete relaxation. Accommodation is in comfortable cottages in the grounds with all being en suite. The main house holds the restaurant and meeting areas.

 

 

 


Hotel Abad Copper Castle

Another example of the type of property we stay in on this holiday is the Abad Copper Castle in the hill top resort of Munnar, which was once a summer retreat during Raj-era times. The hotel is situated approx. 1600m above sea level, admits sprawling tea plantations with picturesque mountains, valleys and stream views. You will find a restaurant on site, a spa with steam room and extensive lush gardens. All rooms are en suite with wifi, balcony, TV and minibar.

 


Hotel Whispering Palms

We expect to stay at the Whispering Palms resort, set beautifully on the shores of Lake Vebanadu and the heart of the Kerala backwaters. This luxurious resort really is a place to switch off and relax. Delicious Keralan and European cuisine is served in the restaurant and every morning a good buffet breakfast is available. Enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool with views out over the lake and the setting sun. We stay in chalets with landscaped gardens or private terraces, that include air conditioning, en-suite facilities, tea and coffee making facilities, a daily newspaper(on request), desk, hair dryer(on request), internet access and TV. Ayurveda is an Indian tradition, and the hotel embraces the culture with its Ayurveda centre, offering massages and reflexology (may be chargeable). Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout.


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