Kochi (Cochin)

Kochi (Cochin)

 Day 01: Arrive at Kochi International Airport, where a welcoming representative awaits you just outside the arrivals terminal exit, holding a personalized sign. Transfer to your hotel for your initial overnight stay. Depending on your arrival time, embark on your first cycling excursion to explore the local lifestyle and surroundings. Kochi dubbed the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, boasts a renowned natural harbor. Cruise through man-made islands adorned with waterfront lawns, witnessing the oldest European settlement in India. Kochi’s cultural richness is evident through centuries of diverse settlers – Chinese, Arab, Jewish, British, French, Portuguese – all contributing to its unique charm.

 Day 02: Start your day with a delightful breakfast, followed by a half-day exploration of Kochi. Discover historical landmarks such as the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, and St. Francis Church, along with charming Dutch and Portuguese architecture. Drive along the coastline to witness the iconic Chinese fishing nets in action. In the afternoon, experience an interactive cooking demonstration with Nimmi and Paul, learning about Indian spices and recipes. Enjoy a traditional Kerala lunch and engage in cultural conversations with your hosts. In the evening, immerse yourself in the captivating Kathakali dance drama, witnessing the intricate make-up process and mesmerizing performance.

 Day 03: Enjoy your breakfast before embarking on a refreshing morning bicycle ride towards the serene lowland forests of Thattekkad, nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats. We’ll start our journey away from the city hustle, ensuring a peaceful ride through picturesque farmlands adorned with temples, spice gardens, and rubber plantations. After a delightful lunch on the way, we’ll reach our eco-lodge by the tranquil Periyar River. Unwind in your cottage tent surrounded by coconut groves, each equipped with a private balcony offering views of the lush forest across the river. Indulge in delicious Keralan cuisine crafted from locally sourced spices. Your evening will be spent enjoying dinner and relaxing at the campsite.

Day 04: Embark on a day of adventure with a sunrise kayak journey down the river. Navigate upstream to a quaint village, offering a peek into the vibrant life of a traditional spice-growing community in Kerala. Following a hearty lunch, trek through lush rubber plantations, fragrant spice fields, and serene rice paddies. Engage with locals along the way, gaining insights into their routines and agricultural practices. Conclude the day with a breathtaking sunset paddle back to base camp.

Day 05: Embark on a scenic journey winding through the charming countryside roads tracing the Periyar River and weaving through the lush forests of Neriamangalam. Witness the transition of landscapes from rubber and cardamom estates to tea and pepper plantations as we ascend from 200 to 1,200 meters. Pause for a delightful packed lunch break before proceeding to Munnar, where your accommodation awaits.

Day 06: Munnar boasts breathtaking scenery and lush tea estates. After a hearty breakfast, drive 3km towards Kochi to access the starting point of the Letchmi Hills trail. The hike kicks off at 1,420 meters, winding through tea gardens for 30 to 40 minutes. Reaching the hilltop rewards you with panoramic vistas. Today’s trail meanders along a ridge, offering views of grasslands, rocky slopes, tea plantations, and pockets of shola forest. A delightful picnic lunch awaits at a scenic spot. After another hour amidst tea plantations, the trek concludes, reaching heights of approximately 1,950 meters. Our ride back to Munnar awaits at the endpoint. Later in the afternoon, explore a tea factory in Munnar to delve into the tea-making process, and savor freshly brewed blends.

Day 07: Start your day with the refreshing melodies and fragrances of Munnar, relish a delightful breakfast, and then embark on a cycling adventure through the verdant tea estates towards Periyar National Park. Feel the breeze against your skin as you coast downhill for an exhilarating hour, transitioning to smooth, level terrain. Cover approximately 60 km until finding a picturesque spot to pause for a rejuvenating picnic lunch. Following this, hop into a vehicle for a scenic transfer to your hotel, about an hour away.

Day 08: Embark on a morning guided nature stroll through the surrounding forest, where you’ll encounter a diverse array of plants and animals native to the area. Spend two hours birdwatching, butterfly spotting, and observing wildlife along the trails weaving through lush forests and marshy grasslands. After lunch, explore a spice plantation and discover an assortment of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, clove, vanilla, ginger, tea, and coffee flourishing in their natural habitat. Cap off the day with a cooking class led by the hotel’s expert chef, where you’ll uncover the art of traditional Kerala seafood cuisine.
Day 09: Hop back on your bicycle and journey to the foothills, where a charming homestay awaits nestled in the heart of Kerala’s lush interiors, by the tranquil Kannadipuzha River. Enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch on your way before reaching Vagamon. Explore the spice garden brimming with nutmeg, cinnamon, and pepper; meander through herbal gardens; tour the rubber plantation; trek through the forest along the river; and immerse yourself in the local village life. Don’t miss Thomas Falls, a short distance upstream, perfect for a scenic picnic.
Day 10: Following breakfast, embark on an invigorating 81km cycling journey to reach Kumarakom, a charming hamlet nestled along the serene backwaters of Kerala. Situated on the eastern fringes of Lake Vembanad, a renowned bird sanctuary and the largest lake in Kerala, Kumarakom offers abundant sightings of waterfowl, cuckoos, and wild ducks. During winter, the area becomes a sanctuary for migratory wild ducks from Siberia. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route before arriving at Kumarakom, recognized with the National Award for Best Rural Responsible Tourism in India. Upon hotel check-in, unwind and then set sail for a delightful one-hour sunset cruise on Lake Vembanadu.
Day 11: Discover the charm of rural living in Kumarakom, where you’ll glide along serene backwaters on a traditional boat, passing by quaint homes and verdant fields. Treat yourself to the sweetness of coconut water and tender meat under the shade of coconut groves. Experience the age-old practices of coconut farming, weaving, and coir-making in local households. Gain insights into traditional fishing techniques before indulging in a flavorful meal at a community-run food court promoting women’s empowerment. End your day with a cultural dance showcase and dinner back at your hotel.
Day 12: Enjoy your morning at your own pace until it’s time for your hotel pickup for transfer to the airport. From there, embark on your journey home or to your next adventure abroad.
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