Spice Trails of Kerala

15 days
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£1,449
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4.7 / 5 from 52 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TGK
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
16

Walking through the beautiful hills and tea plantations of South India

Traversing the Western Ghats from the colonial hill station of Munnar to the colourful temple town of Madurai, we discover the two southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala is a true tropical paradise with idyllic beaches, fertile forests and plantations of spice and tea, and it is here where we reach our highest point, Meesapulimala Peak (2630m). We then cross into the barren landscape of Tamil Nadu and marvel at the intricately carved Sri Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. A trip to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts an array of wildlife and an abundance of colourful birdlife, and a cruise on a traditional houseboat offers the chance to relax on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Our journey ends in historical Cochin, a port which has been luring traders and explorers for over 600 years.

Highlights

  • The beautiful hill station of Munnar
  • Trekking through the historic tea plantations of Kerala
  • The colourful Sri Meenakshi temple at Madurai
  • A night on the traditional houseboats of Kerala

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels, 4 nights camping, 1 night homestay, 1 night houseboat
  • 5 days point-to-point trekking with full porterage; plus 2 shorter walks
  • Altitude maximum 2630m, average 1600m
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

7

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths

Day by day breakdown
Day 36.5km/4.0miles
Day 414.0km/8.7miles
Day 515.0km/9.0miles
Day 616.0km/10.0miles
Day 77.0km/4.0miles
Day 87.0km/4.0miles
Day 115.0km/3.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Cochin
to
Cochin
  • Day 1

    Start Cochin

    The group flight arrives in Cochin in the afternoon and we transfer to our hotel. Those clients not travelling on the group flight will make their own way to the hotel and will join us there. The evening is free for dinner and for you to relax after your journey.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Drive to the beautiful hill station of Munnar

    In the morning we drive away from the coastal plain to Munnar, set amongst Kerala's highest mountains, they form a jagged line due east of Cochin. The drive is approx. 160km and should take approximately 6 hours. Munnar is a beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats at about 1600m above sea level. It was once a summer resort of the British Government in south India due to the fresh mountain air. The town is situated at the confluence of the three mountain streams Mudrapauzha, Naliathanii and Kundala and is surrounded by lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea estates. Anamudi (2695m), the highest peak in south India dominates the skyline and the many smaller peaks are a walker's paradise.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Day walk through Munnar's surrounding hills; optional visit to a Tea Museum

    After breakfast, we take a short drive through old Munnar and travel down to Nagarmudi (1500m), a tiny village, where we start our trek accompanied by a local guide. The walk begins with a gradual ascent through the tea plantations and then climbs into the Seven Malai Hills. Just before reaching the summit (1700m) we enjoy walking through cardamom and coffee plantations. Our hard work will be rewarded with spectacular views over Munnar and other local villages. We then descend back to our vehicle. There is an optional visit in the afternoon to the Tea Museum.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Trek in the Silent Valley with beautiful views of the tea estates

    We have a beautiful 1 hour drive to the Silent Valley, passing through some tea estates and plantations in a valley surrounded by hills. Our trek will start with a gradual walk on the plains of the tea plantations at approx 1600m, followed by a gentle climb to the grasslands. There are beautiful views all around, mostly of the tea estates, which gives us a good feel for the area. After lunch, we continue with the second part of our trek, which becomes steeper as we leave the tea plantation behind and finally reach our camp (2000m), where we spend two nights.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ascend Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), the highest in the area

    Today we trek to Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), the second highest in south India (Anamudi is the highest but it is in a restricted area). From our camp, the trail ascends through the rough shola grassland until we reach open ridges, bringing us to Meesapulima Peak. From the top (which is also the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala) there are breathtaking views all around. After a break at the top and our packed lunch, we will descend to our camp (2000m).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Trek through plantations and thick forest land to Top Station (1900m)

    In the morning we start our trek through the thick forest land of Silent Valley and then through pine forests and along the streams of the Rhodo Valley. After this, we pass through grasslands and shola forest where we may be lucky and spot giant squirrels, wild boar and the Indian Gaur. Following a packed lunch en route, we will reach Yellapetty Village, arriving late afternoon. From here we will be taken by jeeps, for approx. 20 mins, and then walk to our campsite at Top Station (1900m).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Trek to Koviloor via Vattavada village (1900m)

    Today we have a fairly easy walk with some slight ups and downs as we trek to the beautiful village of Koviloor (1900m). Along the way we will pass through the lush vegetable farming region of Pazhathottam and the ever-present tea plantations in this part of India.  We will find a shady spot for our lunch stop and then continue our trek to the tribal village of Vattavada.  The customs, art forms and natural remedies of the tribes in this area make it an interesting place to trek.  Our visit to Vattavada village will be an opportunity to meet the tribal people and learn about their lifestyle.  If we are lucky we may also observe some rare butterfly species fluttering around. Continuing our trek we will cross a small canal before reaching our campsite at Koviloor village.  It is here that farmers converge from miles around to sell their produce. 
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Trek through the plantation ridge, drive on to Mundhan

    This last day of our trek we head through the plantation ridge. From our vantage point we have views over beautiful Koviloor village. This whole area is known as the 'market of India' because of the amount of fruit and vegetables grown.  As we enjoy the scenery we may meet farmers busy with their crops.  We will end our trek with a packed lunch under the trees while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us.   After lunch we take jeeps for approximately two hours to our hotel in Mundhan. (650m) 

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    To Madurai; visit the colourful Sri Meenakshi Temple

    Leaving Kerala behind we drive for approx. 2-3 hrs through the plains to the colourful temple town of Madurai, in Tamil Nadu. Madurai is one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in south India. The great Sri Meenakshi Temple, most of which was built during the Nayak period between the 16th and 18th centuries, is at the heart of the city and the life of the town revolves around it. It is a hive of activity and the scene of an almost continuous religious festival. Worshippers bathe in the tank of the Golden Lily and throng the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, where each one is uniquely carved. Madurai is a perfect place to wander around and experience Hindu culture.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Please note, due to a  fire that took place  inside Meenakshi temple in February 2018, the temple authority has closed  off the Thousand Pillared Hall to tourists until further notice (potentially until August 2018). Other parts of the temple remain open for the public.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Thekkady (Periyar National Park); evening walk through spice gardens

    Leaving Madurai in the morning we drive to the small village of Thekkady. The drive is spectacular as the road climbs through the Western Ghats and we have fantastic views across Tamil Nadu. Thekkady is a small bustling village from where we visit the Periyar National Park. This whole area is a centre for spice growing and after lunch, there will be a short walk around a spice garden, where we can see many different spices growing. There is plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the bazaar, where we can visit the numerous shops selling cardamoms, vanilla, peppercorns, chillies, turmeric and other spices. Total driving time approx. 4-5 hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Morning nature walk; optional afternoon boat ride on Periyar Lake to see wild elephants

    The Periyar National Park is one of the largest in south India and is set around a large man-made lake. In the early morning we will have a short nature walk in the surrounding tropical forest and in the afternoon an optional boat trip and cruise on the lake (tickets for the cruise can be purchased online in advance. We recommend this in order to avoid long queues. Please inform your leader if you wish to purchase tickets in advance). This is an ideal opportunity to spot birds, such as kingfishers, storks and hornbills, and occasionally we may spot an elephant, otters, wild pig and buffalo. There is also the opportunity of an Ayurvedic massage (optional), which can be arranged in the nearby Ayurvedic massage centre, and also a cooking class (optional). The park will most likely be your last chance for souvenir shopping. Card payments are taken and there is also an ATM.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Alleppey for overnight stay on a traditional Keralan houseboat

    Today we begin by transferring to Allepey on the coast. We board our houseboats and begin our cruise along the backwaters of Kerala. The houseboat cruise is one of the highlights of the trip - these enchanting houseboats, built of Anjili wood and bamboo, were the traditional method of transporting of goods for hundreds of years. Now they have been decorated and made into comfortable cruise boats. The network of rivers, streams, lagoons and canals occupies the alluvial plain between the Western Ghats and the Indian Ocean. As our boat meanders through areas of lush tropical vegetation we have the opportunity to view not only the prolific bird life but also gain a differing perspective on village life. All the houseboats are comfortably equipped and have 3 or 4 twin bedded rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

    There is a cook, boat driver and assistants for each boat and the food served is traditional Keralan fare using local produce. No trip to Kerala would be complete without the wonderful experience of the backwaters aboard these traditional Keralite vessels.
    Houseboat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    To our homestay on the Malabar Coast; explore local fisherman's village

    After a relaxing breakfast on the houseboats, we will disembark and drive along the scenic Malabar Coast to our homestay, which is situated near a beautiful stretch of beach. There is plenty of time to relax here and explore the local fisherman's village.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To Cochin; afternoon sightseeing; Kathakali dance show (optional)

    We head back to Cochin and during the afternoon there will be a guided tour; this will include Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Cochin, the Jewish synagogue dating from 1568 and St Francis church. We also explore the town of Cochin, its bazaars and old harbour area. Fort Cochin is believed to be the earliest European settlement in India and was founded by the Portuguese in 1503. Warehouses filled with the smell of tea and spices are lime-washed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old bikes and hand-painted trucks, piled high with goods fill the narrow streets and food stalls stand on every corner. Further along the road, you come to Mattancherry and the Dutch Palace. Next to the Palace is the synagogue, built in 1568 for the Jewish members of Cochin's trading communities (please bear in mind that the synagogue is closed on Saturdays). Most people choose to stay in Fort Cochin and wander around its fascinating streets. In the evening there is the chance for an optional visit to see a display of Kathakali Dancing, a form of dance unique to Kerala.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Cochin

    If you are on the group flights you will have an early morning transfer to the airport for the flight back to London. Those not flying with the group will leave us at the hotel in Cochin.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

India

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. For UK residents full details of the visa process can be found here. Other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies.

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the northeast, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

When you reach immigration, you are required to pick up an immigration form. If you have an e-visa, ensure you stand in the correct queue - please follow the signs to the e-visa booth (in Delhi this is at the back of the immigration hall). You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth - please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready (these details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions).

 

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included.

On day 1 you should be given breakfast on the flight. It is full board on trek (5 days) and on the houseboat (1 day). You should allow at least £12 (approx. US$16) per day for lunch and dinner when not included. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In most of the towns there is a good choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian, India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$4.80). Please note that hotels (apart from 5-star hotels) and bars in Kerala are no longer allowed to sell alcohol, it is still possible to buy alcohol in government shops. Mineral water is available. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow. All meals are included on the houseboat, where traditional Kerala cuisine is served. If you require any other cuisine, please inform us in advance.

Weather

The most important feature of the Indian climate is the 'wet season' or monsoon. The main monsoon strikes the coast of Kerala in late May and sweeps its way northward over the next month or so. The ideal time to visit is during the dry season from late November to March. Days will be hot and the nights warm, the average range of maximum daytime temperatures being between 21ºC-30ºC and from -2ºC-20ºC at night. However, in the hills and on trek temperatures can be considerably cooler and although the days on trek will be hot you can expect temperatures to drop to a few degrees above zero or just below at night for 3 nights on trek. We ask you to note that frequent rainstorms can be expected throughout the tour on November departures. The storms are usually of quite a short duration but have been known to be persistent as well. This can mean that campsites can sometimes be affected by these adverse weather conditions.

Cochin, India

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)

Although this is not a demanding walking tour, it is a busy and active itinerary with lots to see. Driving time is kept to minimum and the roads are generally pretty good, but local traffic and/or road damage can sometimes lengthen journey times. This trek is suitable for the average walker who is prepared to put in some physical preparation.

Most days are not overly taxing (apart from day 8 when there is the option for an easy walk) and most of the trails are on well made reasonable paths but are steep in places. Daytime temperatures can be very hot in the middle of the day and the sun is very strong. Nights will be cooler and 3 nights of the trek can be very cold, particularly during December and January, with temperatures just below freezing. Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI's schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

Holi and Diwali Festivals

Some departures will be in India during the festivals of Holi and Diwali. They are great festivals to witness and some very minor itinerary alterations may be made locally in order to make the most of these occasions. Holi celebrations typically involve people throwing coloured water at each other and smearing powder on each other's faces. This is accompanied by dancing, music and traditional Holi sweets such as Ghujiya and Bhanng. It's a riot of colours as the powder bursts into the sky. During Diwali, the festival of lights, people typically light up their houses, shops and streets, and celebrate on the streets with fireworks.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Camping, Homestay & Houseboat

You will spend 8 nights in hotels with ensuite facilities, 4 nights in full-service camps, 1 night in a homestay and 1 night on a houseboat. Houseboats are comfortable and all cabins have toilet facilities. The houseboat also benefits from a deck & dining area. The number of rooms per boat will vary depending on group size and availability. Whilst camping (full-service), the group will be provided with 2 man tents, mattresses, a dining tent, kitchen tent including all equipment, toilet tents including toilet rolls and camping chairs.

Please note that single rooms may be limited at the homestay.

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed January 2019
    Sally Sokoloff

    A Great Trip

    All the positives about this mix of walking and touring in beautiful South India that others cite are true. It's a feast for the eye and the mind. To add that the group, the guides, and Exodus responded really well when I had the misfortune to fracture my wrist on day 2. Practical help was at hand and I was able to complete the tour apart from two nights of camping and the tougher walks. Week two - seeing Madurai and the Periyar forest - was fascinating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one moment, but the daily experience of travel across a fascinating region, while practicalities were sorted for us, was very good. Just looking takes you a long way in India. The choice of little places such as museums, cattle market, and eco spice woodland, even ordinary tea shops, was good, and there was never pressure to buy, except - inevitably - in a carpet shop in Madurai.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santush Kumar is a great leader and a born fixer, concerned that we should know Kerala and have fun. Choice of restaurants was good too. Santo James was also a good communicator and his personal account of the Keralan floods in 2018 was remarkable. Other local guides were OK too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have a torch or headlight to use in towns at night and not just when you are camping. Take Exodus' advice about getting fit before the trip. A flask of whiskey is good to have when camping for those out-of-energy moments. Be prepared for a lot of early starts: the daily pace is quite intense when you're touring, however, slow drives in the coach are relaxing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to all at Exodus. My holiday would have been ruined without the support of an experienced team.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Margaret Meyers

    Spice Trails of Kerala

    Loved the trip with the mixture of walking and sightseeing. Would highly recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking through the hills around Munnar

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks are a little bit harder than you think they are going to be.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip, would highly recommend.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Beth Lord

    Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of South India

    This is a fantastic trip with a lot of variety. From trekking in the mountains to relaxing on a houseboat; from bird- and animal-spotting to touring a magnificent Hindu temple; from seeing tea and spices growing to tasting the most wonderful Keralan cooking; and generally seeing, hearing, and learning about the rich variety of South Indian life and culture. This was my first trip to India but it certainly won't be my last.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There is no one moment that stands out for me. The day-to-day interaction with south Indian culture - whether through food, commerce, walking in the heavily congested cities, stopping at village tea-houses, meeting people and guides, spotting wildlife, and just looking through the bus windows at people working and living were all inspirational. All life is here! I have to say that I didn't really enjoy the camping. I am not a "camping" person and for me it was to be tolerated rather than enjoyed. However, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the trip overall. And it is true that the food on trek is wonderful (including a cooked lunch for 12 that the guide carries up the mountain!!)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santhosh is the best tour leader I have met on any organized tour. This kind of trip involves a huge amount of logistics and management - in India things do not always run to plan and the tour leader has to have a very high level of local knowledge and a plan B (and plan C) up his/her sleeve. Santhosh was just oustanding: hugely informative, generous, and good-humoured, so much so that you don't realize just how much work he is doing behind the scenes to make sure the trip runs smoothly. We all felt very well taken care of on this trip, thanks to him and all the local guides and camping/cooking crew that we met.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take everything that is recommended in the trip notes. Also take tissues, wet wipes, and the recommended dog-poo bags (you'll need them). The weather is cool for a surprising amount of this trip, and can be cold on trek, so bring several pairs of long trousers and warm layers. Flip-flops are useful for bathrooms, which are often wet. A deck of cards or a board game would be a good idea; there is not much to do in the evenings after dinner. Mostly, bring your curiosity and you will not be disappointed.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Paul Arnold

    An excellent two weeks

    A good mix of hiking in the Western Ghat mountains was followed by visits to interesting historical sites, a trip on a houseboat and a swim in the Indian Ocean. The trip had a change of itinerary from the original planned version due to damage from the earlier monsoon. However, Sam, our leader took us along some different trails, which with the special interaction needed with the local people probably made the holiday even better.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we were asking about a suitable place in the shade for lunch, we were promptly invited into a local's house (a complete stranger), to eat there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good indeed. He did particularly well in sorting out our bus, which had broken down late at night in the middle of nowhere.....

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be too concerned if the plan has to change.....it will most likely lead to even better alternatives!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were also fortunate in being part of a very relaxed and laid back group of people!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Karen McIlravie

    Colourful India

    A truly comphrehensive tour of Kerala with just the right amount of contrast throughout the 2 weeks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention but amongst them has to be seeing elephants in the wild up close and personal, the magical temple in Madurai at sunset, the relaxing houseboat in Allepey, watching fruitbats flying overhead in their hundreds, pulling up a fishing net in Cochin...Oh, I could go on and on..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. He even went out and bought one of our group a cake when it was her birthday. He was a mine of information and always wore a smile no matter what was thrown at him. Our coach broke down one night in the back of beyond and Sam handled the whole situation very swiftly and with great professionalism. He is a charming man and a credit to your company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trekking is quite hard in places so make sure you are fit enough. Take extra sd cards because there is a photograph around every corner!! Just go...and enjoy the beauty of southern India and all of her wonders.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Helen Torode

    Fantastic trip

    First trip to India, and would travel there again. And recommend to others Excellent mix of sightseeing, culture, trekking and wildlife. A sensory overload of sight, sound and aroma. Hadn't anticipated the distances to travel between destinations

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trekking, some harder than anticipated, particularly in the heat and the altitude, so feel a sense of achievement. Happy faces. Humbled by the stay at the school, and seeing what the pupils have compared to pupils in schools here. Hindu temples Colour Wildlife at first hand

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent tour leader, certainly did a tremendous job, when the coach broke down between Munnar and Mundhan, finding alternative dining, and another coach/minibus to continue our journey. Came away with much more insight into Indian/Keralan life, ways, etc Supportive when we struggled with some of the trekking, and had a humorous side. Went out of his way to source a birthday cake for one of our travelling companions, and fireworks for us to celebrate Diwahli.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Leech socks, may not look good, but a necessity. A number of our group were affected by leeches, including myself. They're smaller than I expected. However it wasn't a painful experience, just expect some bleeding. Be prepared for early starts, particularly if you want to get the most out of this trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful experience, with a group of strangers at the start of the trip, and who become friends within a matter of days. I went with no expectations and have come back wishing to go again.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Robert Tuddenham

    An wonderful trip!

    This was a superb and varied trip with so many experiences and all in two weeks! A lovely group and with an excellent leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many it's difficult to be specific - all the walks, Madurai temple, Periyar Reserve, the Houseboat... ............. The top two are getting to the top of Meesapulimalai and the many interesting and informative stops on our coach journeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam Benjamin was brilliant -a great guy always prepared to go the extra mile. He got on well with all the group and with a lovely sense of humour. He is very well informed and his talks on the bus journeys and the interesting stops were highlights for me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a great introduction to Southern India. - recommend with no reservations at all. The walks in the Western Ghats are quite demanding so you need to be reasonably fit and up to walking on rough and steep terrain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A truly memorable trip!
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Lisa Brollo

    Extraordinary Holiday

    I had the most amazing and extraordinary holiday and most of that was down to the lovely people in the group and our wonderful guide Sam Benjamin. From start to finish it was out of this world. The holiday proper started at our hotel in Cochin and ended there two weeks later when I actually felt very emotional - it was all over! The trek and camping were just incredible- our cook should be on Masterchef. Food was out of this world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I had to use the hole to do my toilet in! 😂😂😂

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam Benjamin was the most inspiring and thoughtful and decent young man ever, he made the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your expectations low! 😂😂😂😂

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you never visit India then you have never lived!
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Chris Parker

    Great experience

    Our trip was the first visit I'd made to India and so having a guided tour was brilliant. Our tour leader was really good at his job and in addition was willing & able to discuss India and Indian life & society. This made our experience so much more than just a series of visits to tourist spots. I felt that the very best part of the trip was the trekking in the hills, which was hard work but well within my capability. We did experience unusual weather during this, with rain when it was totally unexpected. This meant a change to our schedule as one camp site became inaccessible. Our tour leader had this under control very quickly, and we had a night in a local hotel and a revised trek next day. This got us back on track by the end of that day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the achievement of reaching the summit of Meesapulimala, though seeing Indian Gaur and elephants in Periyar Park was very impressive too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sanhtosh was great, managing things brilliantly and telling us an amazing amount about India, it's people and society. I can't praise him highly enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes and other instructional material and follow the advice. We nearly missed our connecting flight in Mumbai due to the slow process for e-visas at immigration there. If travelling on an e-visa, get the immigration form at Heathrow or on the flight & complete it before arrival in Mumbai. Go straight to the e-visa queue and be prepared for delays.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Mike & Helen Hudson

    Great southern India Experience

    A great all round trip with lots of variety.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking to the peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santosh was very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly. Lots of small interesting stops and diversions along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    At our time of year you really needed at least two pairs of long trousers (leech area trekking and temple visit). The reason the trip notes mention thin socks is that you will likely be wearing the free issue leech socks on top. You will likely get a beer or two every day (if you need one) but a plastic bottle or two of duty free sprirts is not a bad idea.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great way to see two scenic states in Southern India where much is changing as their economies grow. The walking is not hard but you do get into the wild, as well as seeing local country life close up.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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