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Spice Trails of Kerala

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Spice Trails of Kerala - Exodus Travels
Spice Trails of Kerala - Exodus Travels
Excellent
58 reviews
Starts
Kochi (Cochin)
+5 Destinations
Southern India
Ends
Kochi (Cochin)
Map

Highlights

  • Walk through tea plantations
  • Hike through forests of Silent Valley
  • Visit the temples of Madurai
  • Spot elephants, otters and more
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Accommodation
Hotel
Max Group Size
16
Start and end in Kochi (Cochin)! With the hiking & trekking tour Spice Trails of Kerala, you have a 15 day tour package taking you through Kochi (Cochin), India and 5 other destinations in India. Spice Trails of Kerala includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

58 Reviews

Write a review
  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 1
    Written on May 22, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A great mix of excellent trekking in glorious scenery, a quieter second week where you can unwind in the backwaters plus a few real jewels, Madurai for one.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?It has to be the trekking.  It was so varied and there was so much to see, really lovely walking.  Though the elephant ride was a treat.  And the food - I even ended up opting for spicy breakfasts in the end.  We ate in very local everyday cafes and it was great.  And Anthony the chef's cooking on the trek was another treat.  Madurai of course.  And as everyone says unwinding on the houseboat.What did you think of your group leader?Ajiy was terrific, really good fun.  We were a small end-of-season group and he turned this to our advantage.  He asked if we were happy to have a degree of spontaneity in what we did  - if so, he would try to show us the real India.  We were more than happy to trust Ajiy on this and he really delivered, taking us into small tea shops and even people's homes in a way that would not have worked with a large group.  Ajiy also worked out what everyone was most interested in and made sure we experienced this (I now have an unexpectedly thoroough selection of Malayalam movie music).  And we learnt so much without ever getting too earnest.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You don't get a lot of begging but a few spare pens for children go down well.Buy Connemara tea for your Irish friends.Leave space in your luggage for Popy umbrellas.Is there anything else you would like to add?One of my favourite holidays.  Not so touristy as some areas of India, more relaxed.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 2
    Written on May 22, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A great mix of excellent trekking in glorious scenery, a quieter second week where you can unwind in the backwaters plus a few real jewels, Madurai for one.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?It has to be the trekking.  It was so varied and there was so much to see, really lovely walking.  Though the elephant ride was a treat.  And the food - I even ended up opting for spicy breakfasts in the end.  We ate in very local everyday cafes and it was great.  And Anthony the chef's cooking on the trek was another treat.  Madurai of course.  And as everyone says unwinding on the houseboat.What did you think of your group leader?Ajiy was terrific, really good fun.  We were a small end-of-season group and he turned this to our advantage.  He asked if we were happy to have a degree of spontaneity in what we did  - if so, he would try to show us the real India.  We were more than happy to trust Ajiy on this and he really delivered, taking us into small tea shops and even people's homes in a way that would not have worked with a large group.  Ajiy also worked out what everyone was most interested in and made sure we experienced this (I now have an unexpectedly thoroough selection of Malayalam movie music).  And we learnt so much without ever getting too earnest.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You don't get a lot of begging but a few spare pens for children go down well.Buy Connemara tea for your Irish friends.Leave space in your luggage for Popy umbrellas.Is there anything else you would like to add?One of my favourite holidays.  Not so touristy as some areas of India, more relaxed.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 3
    Written on May 8, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    What an amazing trip; everything I hoped it would be and more!  I've done a few of these sorts of trips before and this one is up there as probably the best.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Getting away from the tourist trail and being up-close to the local people, flora and fauna.  The back-waters of Kerala are absolutely beautiful.What did you think of your group leader?Arvind was friendly, approachable and well-informed even though this was not his regular tour.  He was very good at keeping the group under control and making sure we got the most out of the trip.  He even included some interesting trips that were not on the trip schedule.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It was very hot and humid when I went at the end of March, so be ready for that.  The camping is fairly basic, including the sanitary arrangements and it was a good thing that we did it at the start of the trip so that the remainder of the time could be enjoyed in a personally clean condition.  The local support guys for the camping were brilliant anf the food they produced for us was incredible.Is there anything else you would like to add?The trip title does not fully decribe the range of experiences on this trip.  It would have been nice to have the hotel in Cochin in the older part of the city (Fort Cochin) instead of the newer part.  Otherwise 'well done' Exodus, I will be back again for a new adventure.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 4
    Written on May 8, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    What an amazing trip; everything I hoped it would be and more!  I've done a few of these sorts of trips before and this one is up there as probably the best.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Getting away from the tourist trail and being up-close to the local people, flora and fauna.  The back-waters of Kerala are absolutely beautiful.What did you think of your group leader?Arvind was friendly, approachable and well-informed even though this was not his regular tour.  He was very good at keeping the group under control and making sure we got the most out of the trip.  He even included some interesting trips that were not on the trip schedule.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It was very hot and humid when I went at the end of March, so be ready for that.  The camping is fairly basic, including the sanitary arrangements and it was a good thing that we did it at the start of the trip so that the remainder of the time could be enjoyed in a personally clean condition.  The local support guys for the camping were brilliant anf the food they produced for us was incredible.Is there anything else you would like to add?The trip title does not fully decribe the range of experiences on this trip.  It would have been nice to have the hotel in Cochin in the older part of the city (Fort Cochin) instead of the newer part.  Otherwise 'well done' Exodus, I will be back again for a new adventure.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 5
    Written on April 18, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    See last paragraph................................What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The elephant kissing my head with its trunk in the temple in Madurai.Day 7 - trek was outstanding and finished in the most beautiful campsite ever. We were visited by lots of inquisitive monkeys swinging by just to say hello!talking to the children in the villages.What did you think of your group leader?He was fine, but I understand he was not the usual leader for this trek. At times his instructions could be a little confusing. However he was a very professional person who did give us a great deal of information on the various religions and cultures.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I took very small presents for the local children - small notebooks and pencils, pens rubbers and sharpeners (no sweets). They love loved them and were so pleased with a small gift.Always ask before you take a photograph of a person.Is there anything else you would like to add?The title of the holiday belies the fantastic adventure I have just returned from in Kerala. The breathtaking scenery, the beautiful people, and the diverse culture of Southern India were magnificent to see. The wildlife was abundant. We were lucky enough to see wild elephant, buffalo, monkeys and wild boar during our travels. Cows roaming around everywhere!  Kingfishers, egrets, herons, drongos and eagles, to name but a few birds - in abundance! The butterflies and moths were the most beautiful I have ever seen.  The flowers and the plants were a mix of most beautiful colours, shapes and sizes. The fragrance of the mimosa tree was delicious! The jungle treks, the tea plantations and the spice growing areas were superb. The backwaters of Kerala were stunning, the houseboat stay luxurious. Still the surprises kept coming – the Coir Resort was a fantastic stay and the local villagers so welcoming.The local guides were very knowledgeable and the cultural visits we made were very interesting and well thought out.I can’t finish my write up without commenting on the beautiful food. Our camping chef and his team produced the most fantastic food throughout. It’s been hard settling back into life after the trip, but I have memories with me that will last forever.      

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 6
    Written on April 18, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    See last paragraph................................What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The elephant kissing my head with its trunk in the temple in Madurai.Day 7 - trek was outstanding and finished in the most beautiful campsite ever. We were visited by lots of inquisitive monkeys swinging by just to say hello!talking to the children in the villages.What did you think of your group leader?He was fine, but I understand he was not the usual leader for this trek. At times his instructions could be a little confusing. However he was a very professional person who did give us a great deal of information on the various religions and cultures.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I took very small presents for the local children - small notebooks and pencils, pens rubbers and sharpeners (no sweets). They love loved them and were so pleased with a small gift.Always ask before you take a photograph of a person.Is there anything else you would like to add?The title of the holiday belies the fantastic adventure I have just returned from in Kerala. The breathtaking scenery, the beautiful people, and the diverse culture of Southern India were magnificent to see. The wildlife was abundant. We were lucky enough to see wild elephant, buffalo, monkeys and wild boar during our travels. Cows roaming around everywhere!  Kingfishers, egrets, herons, drongos and eagles, to name but a few birds - in abundance! The butterflies and moths were the most beautiful I have ever seen.  The flowers and the plants were a mix of most beautiful colours, shapes and sizes. The fragrance of the mimosa tree was delicious! The jungle treks, the tea plantations and the spice growing areas were superb. The backwaters of Kerala were stunning, the houseboat stay luxurious. Still the surprises kept coming – the Coir Resort was a fantastic stay and the local villagers so welcoming.The local guides were very knowledgeable and the cultural visits we made were very interesting and well thought out.I can’t finish my write up without commenting on the beautiful food. Our camping chef and his team produced the most fantastic food throughout. It’s been hard settling back into life after the trip, but I have memories with me that will last forever.      

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 7
    Written on March 6, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the scenery was very impressive and the Indian people seemed very happy and cheerful.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The trek over the Western Ghats was the most enjoyable part of the trip and the best of that was the evening meal round the campfire. The group got on well together and all had a thoroughly enjoyable time. The camp support staff were extremely capable and very amusing.What did you think of your group leader?I thought that Ajith Kumar was a genuinely nice man who did everything he could to help us and make the trip as enjoyable as possible. He was affable, amusing and extremely informative about the flora of the region and its geology. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Money: £200 in cash will probably see you through depending on how much you spend on presents. Best take advice from the tour guide regarding money changing. When we were there you got R82 to the pound for cash in town but only R75 at the airport. ATMs were limited to a max of R10,000 and the effective rate was only about R76 when deductions were taken into account. My credit card paid R81 for hotel checkout bills.Mosquitoes: the only place we were bitten was in the Cochin hotel bedroom on the first night. Take a knockdown spray and use it before going to bed and use deet. Leeches: there should not be any outside of the rainy season. We did not come across any.Food poisoning: we ate whatever was given us and did not have a problem except on the flight home through Dubai.Camping: the sleeping mats are a bit thin, I would take a light selfinflating mat next time.Fluids: bottled water is readily available for about 20p a litre, even on the trek, we didn't need a water bottle  (hotel bottled water is about £1.50). We had beer each night on the camp provided by arrangement with the support staff for about £1.60 a 660ml bottle.Laundry: you'll probably want to wash some things after the trek, be aware that the Madurai hotel charges double the quoted rate per item received after 10.30am for express wash and you may not get your stuff back until after 11.00pm. Don't put anything delicate in. Consider waiting until you get to Thekkady. Is there anything else you would like to add?Be careful walking about in the villages, there are no pavements and lots of traffic. 

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 8
    Written on March 6, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the scenery was very impressive and the Indian people seemed very happy and cheerful.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The trek over the Western Ghats was the most enjoyable part of the trip and the best of that was the evening meal round the campfire. The group got on well together and all had a thoroughly enjoyable time. The camp support staff were extremely capable and very amusing.What did you think of your group leader?I thought that Ajith Kumar was a genuinely nice man who did everything he could to help us and make the trip as enjoyable as possible. He was affable, amusing and extremely informative about the flora of the region and its geology. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Money: £200 in cash will probably see you through depending on how much you spend on presents. Best take advice from the tour guide regarding money changing. When we were there you got R82 to the pound for cash in town but only R75 at the airport. ATMs were limited to a max of R10,000 and the effective rate was only about R76 when deductions were taken into account. My credit card paid R81 for hotel checkout bills.Mosquitoes: the only place we were bitten was in the Cochin hotel bedroom on the first night. Take a knockdown spray and use it before going to bed and use deet. Leeches: there should not be any outside of the rainy season. We did not come across any.Food poisoning: we ate whatever was given us and did not have a problem except on the flight home through Dubai.Camping: the sleeping mats are a bit thin, I would take a light selfinflating mat next time.Fluids: bottled water is readily available for about 20p a litre, even on the trek, we didn't need a water bottle  (hotel bottled water is about £1.50). We had beer each night on the camp provided by arrangement with the support staff for about £1.60 a 660ml bottle.Laundry: you'll probably want to wash some things after the trek, be aware that the Madurai hotel charges double the quoted rate per item received after 10.30am for express wash and you may not get your stuff back until after 11.00pm. Don't put anything delicate in. Consider waiting until you get to Thekkady. Is there anything else you would like to add?Be careful walking about in the villages, there are no pavements and lots of traffic. 

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 9
    Written on March 1, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A wonderfully varied insight into the areas of KeralaWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I was frequently inspired but our tour leader and the local support teams. They all wanted us to have the "best holiday " and I did... we were shown so many different and unexpected sides of Kerala.. loved it !!!What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader couldn't do enough for us. He quickly assessed what we individually were interested in, then stimulated the whole group. He showed no preferences and a great sensitivity. Amazing knowledge which helped to make the trip so satisfyingDo you have any advice for potential travellers?Go for it !!Is there anything else you would like to add?Loved every minute !

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 10
    Written on March 1, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A wonderfully varied insight into the areas of KeralaWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I was frequently inspired but our tour leader and the local support teams. They all wanted us to have the "best holiday " and I did... we were shown so many different and unexpected sides of Kerala.. loved it !!!What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader couldn't do enough for us. He quickly assessed what we individually were interested in, then stimulated the whole group. He showed no preferences and a great sensitivity. Amazing knowledge which helped to make the trip so satisfyingDo you have any advice for potential travellers?Go for it !!Is there anything else you would like to add?Loved every minute !

Itinerary

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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Cochin
  2. Day 2: Drive to the beautiful hill station of Munnar
  3. Day 3: Day walk through Munnar's surrounding hills; optional visit to a Tea Museum
  4. Day 4: Trek in the Silent Valley with beautiful views of the tea estates
  5. Day 5: Ascend Meesapulimala Peak (2630m), the highest in the area
  6. Day 6: Trek through plantations and thick forest land to Top Station (1900m)
  7. Day 7: Descend to Nagamalai Coffee Plantation, overlooking Kolukumalai Tea Plantation
  8. Day 8: Explore the rich fertile area of Tamil Nadu; finish trek near Mundhan
  9. Day 9: To Madurai; visit the colourful Sri Meenakshi Temple
  10. Day 10: To Thekkady (Periyar National Park); evening walk through spice gardens
  11. Day 11: Morning nature walk; optional afternoon boat ride on Periyar Lake to see wild elephants
  12. Day 12: To Alleppey for overnight stay on a traditional Keralan houseboat
  13. Day 13: To our homestay on the Malabar Coast; explore local fisherman's village
  14. Day 14: To Cochin; afternoon sightseeing; Kathakali dance show (optional)
  15. Day 15: End Cochin

What's included

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  • Accommodation

  • Guide

  • Meals

  • Transport

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

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  • Doris3rd February 2018
    Booking was very easy, the forms to fill out very clear. We had a few questions after booking and the messages we sent were answered quickly and fully explained.

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About the countries

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Visa

Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.

Vaccinations

These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
Typhoid
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Hepatitis A
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Cholera
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Tuberculosis
Recommended for India. Ideally 3 months before travel.
Hepatitis B
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 months before travel.
Yellow fever
Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for India. Ideally 10 days before travel.
Japanese B encephalitis
Recommended for India. Ideally 1 month before travel.

Policies

Location
Start and end in Kochi (Cochin).
Hold my space
TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
Deposit
TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 22 June 2018 the full payment of $2,365 is necessary.
Cancellation policy
No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $2365 for Spice Trails of Kerala, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
Credit Cards
The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express

Destinations

Covering a total distance of approx 471 km.
  • Kochi (Cochin) (India)
  • 88 km
  • Munnar (India)
  • 118 km
  • Madurai (India)
  • 110 km
  • Thekkady (India)
  • 16 km
  • Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (India)
  • 90 km
  • Alleppey (India)
  • 49 km
  • Kochi (Cochin) (India)

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