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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
43 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
Travel style
Hiking & Trekking, Mountain Hikes, In-depth Cultural
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.

43 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 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 3
    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 4
    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 5
    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 6
    Written on February 15, 2013
    3.0 - Average

    The trek and walks were excellent. I also enjoyed the boat trip through the backwaters of Kerala and a short walk along the beach. The sightseeing was more trying/tiring; long bus journeys for short, hot city tours. Even in January (winter) it was extremely hot and humid down at sea level.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I greatly enjoyed the walks through the tea and coffee plantations and up to the second highest peak in south India. Just a pity that on the summit we bumped into a KE Adventure group approaching from another route! Luckily we had bagged the best camp site by far.What did you think of your group leader?Ajay was very keen to help and went out of his way to make our trip enjoyable. We had the added advantage of an ex-pat Indian in our holiday group who was a Tamil speaker; we forget that many northern Indians have as many problems as Europeans in speaking to southern Indians who do not speak English.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The trek advice/list is rather too general. It is VERY cold at 8,000 feet at night so make sure you have lots of layers; we had ice on the water one night. Towels and head torches are also necessary. But the trek crew provided sterilised water all the time, so no need to take water purifying tablets. Do take a loo roll; the camping was fine, but there is no toilet paper in any of the many restaurants visited on the holiday.Is there anything else you would like to add?Personally I would have liked more walking and less bus travel/sightseeing. The temperature was much easier to cope with higher up; Kochi was extremely hot. A longer walk in the Tiger Reserve in Periyaar would have been great. The Kerala boat trip was very pleasant - but would have been even better with a few more 'shore' excursions. The holiday would have been better - for me - to have excluded Madurai and the Coir Village Resort and to have included another hill station for a walk.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 7
    Written on February 7, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    An enjoyable and awe inspiring treck of south IndiaWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Sri Meenakshi temple.Beer, rum & laughter round each evenings campfire.What did you think of your group leader?It was good to hear Ajay shout my name at the airport before I'd even collected my bag of the carousel. I'd met Ajay on a prevous treck in North India that was throught with danger and laughter at every turn. So it was good to reminise and share another adventure. Ajay is very knowledgeable about Indian whisky and the culture/history of his country. And good at mizing with the group making everyone feel part of the group. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?A very strong mosquito repelent.

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

    From begining to end this, my first trip with exodus, was superb.Magnificant scenery, lovely food, great companians, a brilliant tour leader in Ajay and  the guides on the trek were very  helpful especially Mani who helped me overcome, what was for me a particularly tricky ridge.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The most inspirational moment of my trip was the Hike in Silent Valley, wonderful scenery and lovely people along the way.What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader was truly wonderful, very helpful and always ready with a little anecdote and a glimpse into the real lives of the Indian people. Ajay really helped to make this a holiday to remember.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Although this is advertised as a moderate trek, I did find some parts quite hard but with the help of the guides, Mani in particular I enjoyed every moment.Is there anything else you would like to add?I managed to have an elephant ride and a top to toe massage, what more could you ask for.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 9
    Written on January 25, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Fantastic, Fabulous and Fun! This trip was the perfect combination of adventure, new experiences, brilliant walks and serious chilling on the backwaters! What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?So many it's hard to decide. Each day I would wake up knowing I would be experience something new and that's a very cool feeling! The laughter and chat around the campfire. Finally reaching the top of the second highest peak, didn't think I would make it, but a lot of encouragement I did it. Was a good feeling! As soon as Ajthi brought the chocolate out, we knew we would be climbing uphill. Watching the group play cricket with local kids.What did you think of your group leader?Ajthi was fantastic, he really made the trip for everyone. He had boundless energy and enthusiasm. His knowledge was incredible making this not only a fun trip but absolutely fascinating. I'll never look at tea and spices in the same way!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You will not be disappointed. go for the penthouse suite (top tent), as Lady Laura can vouch for it:-) Always have some small change for public loos and tips. Take your own loo rollIs there anything else you would like to add?Don't think about it, just do it! You will not regret it.

  • Spice Trails of Kerala reviewer 10
    Written on January 22, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    The trip was well organised allowing time to relax and discover some of south India after the more strenuous, though not too hard walking part of the trip. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The variety of the scenery, which constantly changed, while walkingWhat did you think of your group leader?Very relaxed, but well organised to cope with the Issues which arose.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Enjoy a bit of activity and discovery on this trip, though take the notes about climate and effort required into consideration when booking.Is there anything else you would like to add?Would recommend this to anyone who is fairly fit and wants a gently introduction to the noisy bustling world of India.

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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About the countries

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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 24 November 2018 the full payment of $2,174 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 $2174 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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