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Kerala & South India

Hillsides lush with the emerald green of tea plantations stretch out before you, touching the blue horizon.

From£2,829

  • India

  • 14, 16 nights
  • Pioneer

    Sightseeing

  • Jan

    Feb

    Sep

    Dec

Leisurely Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 47260

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Our holiday walking grades

Leisurely

Grade 3 Sightseeing

Easy countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day. You are unlikely to walk more than 6 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to 300m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.

Moderate

Grade 5 Sightseeing

Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore the hill district of Wayanad, a beautiful region of Kerala.
  • Visit the Raj-era hill station of Kodaikanal with breathtaking views.
  • Walk from Munnar, taking in the highest tea plantations in the world.
  • Explore Lake Vembanad and its canals by boat and villages and paddy fields on foot.
  • Local guide throughout for an in-depth insight into South India's culture & wildlife.

Hillsides lush with the emerald green of tea plantations stretch out before you, touching the blue horizon. Women, brilliant in jewel coloured 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 and butterflies flit around in search of crumbs. Breathe in – you’re in Southern India.

This is a fertile, verdant landscape, watered by the monsoon rains; 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 Mysore before we travel into Kerala to the beautiful hill country of the Wayanad, nestled among the Western Ghats. Here, our walks lead us through paddy fields, forests and plantations. We will walk to panoramic viewpoints with views across verdant countryside.  At Guruvayur, we’ll see Kerala’s most important shrine. We also have time to explore the old town of Cochin.

Taking a breather at Kumarakom, on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, we’ll cruise along Kerala’s famous backwaters and Lake Vembanad itself and explore village life, two timeless experiences. 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, in the state of Tamil Nadu, one of the oldest cities in south Asia. A highlight here is elaborately sculptured Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. We have time to explore before we fly to Chennai for one night and connect with our flight home.

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Bangalore returning Chennai to Heathrow (British Airways)
  • Airport transfers
  • Full board en suite accommodation
  • All entrance fees
  • All local walking and sightseeing excursions
  • English speaking naturalist guide throughout and knowledgeable local guides on walks and in cities
  • All local transport costs.
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, 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.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

In flight

We depart the UK on our flight to Bangalore. Please note Bangalore is the British colonial name for the city. From 2014 the official name of the city was changed to Bengaluru.  

Day 2

Mysore

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We arrive Bangalore and continue, with a breakfast stop, to the charming city of Mysore. The journey is 185 km and might take 4hrs. After lunch we will have time to visit the Maharajah's Palace to enjoy a stroll around the town. We stay in Mysore for 1 night.

Day 3

Wayanad

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After an early breakfast we drive up Chamundi hill 1062m to see the Chamundeshwari temple with a panoramic view of Mysore, before driving on to Wayanad (160km, 4hrs). Wayanad is a green paradise, nestling among the mountains of the Western Ghats. It forms the border world of the greener part of Kerala. Located 76 km from the sea, this verdant hill station is full of plantations, forests and wildlife. On arrival we will check in at the hotel and enjoy and enjoy a short walk to see some flora and fauna of the area.

Day 4

Wayanad

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    4 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    250m

After breakfast, we will leave the hotel to drive 45 minutes to the foot of Kurumbalakka Hill (1008 m). We will walk about 7km climbing 250m to the peak. The summit offers panoramic views across rolling countryside and makes the travelling and walking well worthwhile. After descending through coffee plantations back to the start, we drive back to the hotel to enjoy some free time.

Day 5

Wayanad

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

A very varied day. We start with a walk through a tea estate to a sacred Hindu copse. Then the morning’s walk goes through paddy fields, rich in birdlife, passing local farms growing rice, coffee, coconut, ginger and tapioca. We will be introduced to various medicinal plants and visit a bamboo handicraft cooperative.  After a traditional Kerala lunch in a local home, we finish the day with a visit to a farm to see the variety of fruit, vegetables, spices, even rubber tapping and a fish farm.  We shall return to the hotel better educated than we left.

Day 6

Guruvayur

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast and a short stroll, we drive 150km to Guruvayur, the journey might take 4hrs. Guruvayur is one of the important pilgrimage centres in South India. In the afternoon and evening we can walk around the temple surroundings. The temple is an important Hindu religious site, its name translates as 'the holy abode of Vishnu on earth'. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple area but there is plenty for non-Hindus to enjoy.

Day 7

Kumarakom

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We have an early start and drive 150km to Kumarakom with an en route visit at Kochi. The morning drive takes about 3hrs. The city, formally named Cochin under colonial rule, is the main port of Kerala. It is formed of a cluster of islands located on the coast of the Arabian Sea and has one of the best natural harbours in the world.  The major attractions include St. Francis Church - the oldest European built church in India, Chinese  fishing nets,  unique to this part of Kerala and working symbols of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast, the Dutch Palace - which was built by the Portuguese in 1555 and renovated by the Dutch in 1663 and the Jewish Synagogue at the heart of Mattancherry which is locally called 'Jew Town'. In the afternoon we continue about 2hrs drive to Kumarakom.

Day 8

Kumarakom

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

This morning we enjoy a boat cruise in the backwaters. This perhaps the quintessential Kerala experience and will not disappoint. The boat takes you through scenic canals, lagoons and lakes to see the village life around the backwater areas. The canals still used to transport rice and essentials to villages as well as by tour boats. Lake Vembanad is home to many resident and migratory birds like the Siberian stork, darter, egret, teal and heron. Many of these birds come here from the Himalayas and Siberia. In the afternoon we can enjoy a walk through the nearby village, meeting many local people going about their daily lives.

Day 9

Kumarakom

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we experience peaceful village life, walking through Aynanam village, the setting of Arundati Roy’s book The God of Small Things.  We have a chance to learn local skills like broomstick making using coconut leaves, screw pine and coconut-leaf weaving, climbing a coconut tree and coir ropemaking. We can extend the walk around the nearby paddy fields for some exercise and birdwatching. We return to the bus by boat and enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 10

Munnar

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast at the resort we drive 150km to Munnar. This will take around 5hrs. Munnar is a beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats at about 1600m above sea level. There are lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea estates here.  The Tata Tea (India's biggest selling brand) estate and factory is in Munnar.  After checking in and lunch at the hotel we will walk 5km down into the town to explore the markets and return to the hotel by tuk-tuk.

Day 11

Munnar

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    9 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    360m

We will go for a full-day trek in the Lakshmi Hills, walking through tea gardens, shola forests, hills and valleys and ascending the ridge seen across the valley from our hotel. We will have a boxed lunch en-route. Our high point today will be 1800m. Our local guide will explain what we are seeing on the way, perhaps spotting some birds endemic to the Western Ghats.

Day 12

Munnar

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    300/220m

This morning we drive about 1.5hrs from Munnar to Yellapatty to walk through the local hills. We start from Yellapatty with our local guide and trek through the tea gardens and shola forests (rain forest) which will lead you to a cliff (2150m) overlooking the deep valleys, beautiful mountains and peaks around. From here you can see the world’s highest tea plantation, Kolukkumalai (2170m) and Meesapulimalai (2640m), the 2nd highest peak in south India. On our walk today we are crossing between the two states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The walk starts in the aptly named ‘Silent valley’ and climbs steadily through plantations of eucalyptus and pine before reaching open grass lands with spectacular views all around. Returning to Munnar, we will have an opportunity to visit the Tata Tea Museum and buy some to take home.


Day 13

Kodaikanal

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast at the hotel we drive 170km to Kodaikanal leaving the state of Kerala. The drive will take 6hrs including a lunch stop. Kodaikanal is set in an area of granite cliffs, forested valleys, lakes, waterfalls and grassy hills. At 2,000m above sea level, the town is centred around the man-made, star shaped Kodaikanal Lake, bordered by evergreen forest. On arrival we check in at the hotel and hopefully have time for a stroll to town.

Day 14

Kodaikanal

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    8 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    300m

After breakfast we drive a short distance towards Vattakanal for a walk taking in forest, waterfalls and memorable valley views. We will visit the Anglo-American cemetery en route and return to town via La Salette Catholic church and pilgrimage site, and Coakers Walk.

Day 15

Kodaikanal

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    175m

Today we drive about 15 mins to our trail head from where we will walk in the Shenbaganur area through open land, pear orchards, farms and plantations. As well as enjoying a pleasant walk our local guide can give us some insight into local farms and crops. Then we should have time to visit the Natural History Museum and drive into Kodai to walk another 3 miles around the lake.

Day 16

Chennai

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After an early breakfast at the resort we drive 3hrs to Madurai. Over 2500 years old, Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu. It is an important cultural and commercial centre. It was once the seat of Tamil learning and still the place where the Tamil language is spoken in its purest form. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus. We have an orientation tour including the Sree Meenakshi temple and the Palace.  Mid-afternoon we transfer to Madurai Airport to catch our flight to Chennai. On arrival in Chennai we will be met by our local representative to transfer to the hotel in the city.

Day 17

Final day

We have an early departure from the hotel for our flight from Chennai for London Heathrow, arriving into London on the same day.

From (GBP)£2,899

Departure dates for your selected tour

10th Sep 2020 - 26th Sep 2020 (16 Nights)

20th Dec 2020 - 5th Jan 2021 (16 Nights)

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Bangalore (Bengaluru) 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
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required

Your Itinerary

Day 1

In flight

We depart the UK on our flight to Bangalore. Please note Bangalore is the British colonial name for the city. From 2014 its official name was changed to Bengaluru.  

Day 2

Mysore

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We arrive Bangalore and continue, with a breakfast stop, to the charming city of Mysore. The journey is 185 km and might take 4hrs. After lunch we will have time to visit the Maharajah's Palace and to enjoy a stroll around the town. We stay in Mysore for 1 night.

Day 3

Wayanad

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After an early breakfast we drive up Chamundi hill 1062m to see the Chamundeshwari temple with a panoramic view of Mysore, before driving on to Wayanad (160km, 4hrs). Wayanad is a green paradise, nestling among the mountains of the Western Ghats. It forms the border world of the greener part of Kerala. Located 76 km from the sea, this verdant hill station is full of plantations, forests and wildlife. On arrival we will check in at the hotel and enjoy a short walk to see some flora and fauna of the area.

Day 4

Wayanad

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

After breakfast we drive about 45mins to the starting point of our walk. We will walk along country paths to a village of the Paniyar community. Our guide will explain something of village life. We continue our walk to reach a Kaavu, a traditional natural sacred space or forest temple. Continuing further we will pass by fields with crops of rice, coffee, pepper and cardamom. The terrain is gently rolling for this walk with no steep ascents or descents.

Day 5

Wayanad

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

A very varied day. We start with a walk through a tea estate to a sacred Hindu copse. Then the morning’s walk goes through paddy fields, rich in birdlife, passing local farms growing rice, coffee, coconut, ginger and tapioca. We will be introduced to various medicinal plants and visit a bamboo handicraft cooperative.  After a traditional Keralan lunch in a local home, we finish the day with a visit to a farm to see the variety of fruit, vegetables, spices, even rubber tapping and a fish farm.  We shall return to the hotel better informed than when we left.

Day 6

Guruvayur

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast and a short stroll, we drive 150km to Guruvayur, the journey might take 4hrs. Guruvayur is one of the important pilgrimage centres in South India. In the afternoon and evening we can walk around the temple surroundings. The temple is an important Hindu religious site, its name translates as 'the holy abode of Vishnu on earth'. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple area but there is plenty for non-Hindus to enjoy.

Day 7

Kumarakom

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We have an early start and drive 150km to Kumarakom with an en route visit to Kochi. The journey takes about 3hrs. The city, formally named Cochin under British colonial rule, is the main port of Kerala. It is formed of a cluster of islands located on the coast of the Arabian Sea and has one of the best natural harbours in the world.  The major attractions include St. Francis Church - the oldest European built church in India. Chinese  fishing nets, unique to this part of Kerala are working reminders of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast. The Dutch Palace, actually built by the Portuguese in 1555 but renovated by the Dutch in 1663, and the Jewish Synagogue at the heart of Mattancherry, locally known as 'Jew Town' are important historic sites. In the afternoon we continue about 2hrs drive to Kumarakom.

Day 8

Kumarakom

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

This morning we enjoy a boat cruise in the backwaters. This is perhaps the quintessential Kerala experience and will not disappoint. The boat takes you through scenic canals, lagoons and lakes to see the village life around the backwater areas. The canals are still used to transport rice and essentials to villages as well as by tour boats. Lake Vembanad is home to many resident and migratory birds like the Siberian stork, darter, egret, teal and heron. Many of these birds come here from the Himalayas and Siberia. In the afternoon we can enjoy a walk through a nearby village, meeting many local people going about their daily lives.

Day 9

Kumarakom

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we experience peaceful village life, walking through Aynanam village, the setting of Arundati Roy’s book The God of Small Things.  We have a chance to learn local skills like broomstick making using coconut leaves, screw pine and coconut-leaf weaving, climbing a coconut tree and coir ropemaking. We can extend the walk around the nearby paddy fields for some exercise and birdwatching. We return to the bus by boat and enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 10

Munnar

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Distance

    3 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50/100m

After breakfast at the resort we drive 150km to Munnar. This will take around 5hrs. Munnar is a beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats at about 1600m above sea level. There are lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea estates here.  The Tata Tea (India's biggest selling brand) estate and factory is in Munnar.  After checking in and lunch at the hotel we will walk 5km down into the town to explore the markets and return to the hotel by tuk-tuk.

Day 11

Munnar

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    200m

We will go for a full day walk in the Lakshmi Hills, walking through tea gardens, shola forests, hills and valleys. We are in Tea country here and will walk amongst tea plantations. We will have a boxed lunch en route. Our local guide will explain what we are seeing on the way, perhaps spotting some birds endemic to the Western Ghats.

Day 12

Kodaikanal

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After breakfast at the hotel we drive 170km to Kodaikanal leaving the state of Kerala. The drive will take 6hrs including a lunch stop. Kodaikanal is set in an area of granite cliffs, forested valleys, lakes, waterfalls and grassy hills. At 2,000m above sea level, the town is centred around the man-made, star shaped Kodaikanal Lake, bordered by evergreen forest. On arrival we check in at the hotel and should have plenty of time for a stroll into town.

Day 13

Kodaikanal

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    7 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    250m

After breakfast we drive a short distance towards Vattakanal for a walk taking in forest, waterfalls and memorable valley views. We will visit the Anglo-American cemetery en route and return to town via La Salette Catholic church and pilgrimage site, and Coaker's Walk. The path is named after British army officer Lieutenant Coaker who, in 1872, cut the steep south east facing side of the ridge above Kodaikanal to create a walkway. The path is just over half a mile long and offers lovely views over the town.

Day 14

Chennai

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

After an early breakfast at the resort we drive 3hrs to Madurai. Over 2500 years old, Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu. It is an important cultural and commercial centre. It was once the seat of Tamil learning and still the place where the Tamil language is spoken in its purest form. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus. We have an orientation tour including the Sree Meenakshi temple and the Palace.  Mid-afternoon we transfer to Madurai Airport to catch our flight to Chennai. On arrival in Chennai we will be met by our local representative to transfer to the hotel in the city.

Day 15

Final day

We have an early departure from the hotel for our flight from Chennai for London Heathrow, arriving into London on the same day.

From (GBP)£2,829

Departure dates for your selected tour

29th Jan 2021 - 12th Feb 2021 (14 Nights)

19th Feb 2021 - 5th Mar 2021 (14 Nights)

17th Sep 2021 - 1st Oct 2021 (14 Nights)

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Bangalore (Bengaluru) 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
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Sandesh the Prince

In the city's historic centre, Sandesh The Prince hotel is 1 km from Mysore Palace and 5 km from Chamundeshwari Temple, perched at the top of Chamundi Hills. The refined rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and tea & coffee making equipment. There's a restaurant, pub, coffee shop, bar, outdoor pool, gym and spa.

Abad Brookside Resort

Set amongst the natural beauty of Wayanad known for its lush green mountains and misty landscapes. The Abad Brookside Resort offers spacious, comfortable rooms with WI-FI, air conditioning, ceiling fan, hair dryer, minibar and tea & coffee making facilities. The hotel has an outdoor pool set amongst forest trees.

Hotel Devaragam

In a building surrounded by trees at the edge of the town centre, the Hotel Devaragam is a 9-minute walk from Guruvayur Temple. Featuring classic furnishings and tiled floors, the rooms have flat-screen TVs, desks, and tea & coffee making facilities. An informal vegetarian restaurant overlooks the courtyard with a pond.

Abad 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.

Abad Copper Castle

The Abad Copper Castle  is loacted 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, amid sprawling tea plantations with picturesque mountains, valleys and stream views. You will find a restaurant on site and extensive lush gardens. All rooms offer en suite with free Wi-Fi, balcony, TV and minibar.

Benzz Park Hotel

The Benzz Park Hotel in Kodaikanal is located in a quiet area of Kodaikanal. The hotel is ideal for those seeking to unwind in the natural and serene environments of Kodai Hills. Rooms offer free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and tea & coffee making facilities. There is a lounge area and restaurant.

Crowne Plaza Chennai

Set in Chennai's upscale Alwarpet neighbourhood, the Crowne Plaza Adyar Park is an imposing modern building with a pillared portico. Refined rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars. There are 3 restaurants, a 24-hour eatery and a wood-panelled bar/lounge, as well as an outdoor pool and a fitness room.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This Grade 5 holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over varied terrain and includes an element of sightseeing as well. Our walks are on generally good tracks through villages, pasture, plantations and waterside with outstanding views from the higher ground. Please see the day to day itinerary for a more detailed description of the walks.

Walks & Excursions

The walking programme of this holiday will be made from Wayanad, Munnar and Kodaikanal, mostly following undulating forest trails, dirt tracks and natural trails in tea plantations. The daily walking times range from 3-5 hours, spread over the day. As we will be walking in the hills, there will be some steepish sections, but we will take our time, there is no rush, and our reward will be stunning views and exotic vegetation. You will be accompanied by our naturalist guide, a local walking guide and the group leader on our walking days. There will be days, such as Mysore and Madurai, where the sightseeing element will fill most of the day.

Please note: This itinerary has been planned to be busy and full-packed so that you make the most of your time in India and experience as much as possible. There will be some free time during the tour for you to sight see on your own or relax. Details will be confirmed locally by your leader.


Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for snacks and drinks is £5-£10 per person per day. This is a full board tour so no need to account for lunches.

Currency in India

The currency in India is the Rupee (Rs). It is not usually possible to buy or sell Indian currency outside India.  All prices in India will be listed in Rupees. It is possible  to exchange small amounts of cash (take some cash with you - US Dollars and Sterling being the easiest ) and the larger towns have banks with ATMs where you can withdraw Rupees (ensure your debit card is linked with Visa or Mastercard). If in doubt, check with your bank prior to travel that you will able to withdraw cash in India.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high.  In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Local Guides

To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.

Your Travel Details

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?

If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.

Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.

If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.

Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details. 

Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.

Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents

For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

General Passport Advice

It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.

Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.

General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.

Visa

A passport is required to visit India and it must be valid for a minimum of six months from your intended return to the UK. It is necessary to have at least two blank pages in your passport to allow for a visa to be inserted. A visa is required for entry into India. The visa is not included in the holiday charge and must be obtained by you before departure. You can apply for an e-visa for India between 30 days and 3 days prior to the date of arrival in India. The visa is double entry and will be valid for 30 days from date of arrival. The visa cost as of Mar 2020 was US$25. Please note this price changes regularly with no prior notice from the Indians.


You will need to complete the online form and it is necessary to upload a copy of the photo page from your passport, with all information showing clearly, plus a recent front facing photograph. Specific requirements for the photograph can be found on the application website. You should print off a copy of the confirmed e-visa to take with you. Biometric data will be taken on arrival and this is mandatory.


Information on the e-visa, cost, photograph specifications and your application form can be found at: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

Please note it is very important to use the correct site as there are many websites that charge huge sums and offer the same service.


Notes to assist you with completing your visa application:

You are required to supply details of a referee in the UK in India. You may wish to use the referees as listed below.


In the UK:

RWH Travel Ltd.

Lemsford Mill

Welwyn Garden City

Hertfordshire

AL8 7TR

Tel: +44 1707 331133


In India:

Dravidian Trails Holidays

Sreekandath Rd

Cochin

682016

India

Tel: +91 484 4060 604

Meals

Alcohol is not always available at hotels and restaurants in south India. Some of the accommodation on this itinerary is 'dry' and alcohol is not sold. We understand that you can purchase alcohol outside the hotel and are able to consume this in the privacy of your hotel room. Your tour leader will give you further information locally.

Breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday price and will be taken at our hotels. Packed lunches are included on 6 days, with restaurant lunches on the other days. Our first meal in India will be breakfast on Day 2 and our final meal in India will be dinner on Day 14. The food is predominantly South Indian which is generally mildly spiced, with plenty of vegetarian dishes. Western alternatives are generally available for those who prefer.


Accommodation

Hotel Changes

The hotel(s) listed within this document are examples of standard only. Whilst we strive to deliver the hotel(s) listed within this Holiday Information Sheet, there will be times throughout the year when they change. If this occurs, we will advise you as such. From time to time hotels will change near to departure and you will not be advised until after arriving into the destination. We always aim to provide a replacement of similar standard and location, although we cannot guarantee similar facilities such as pool or bar.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

Footwear As Hand Luggage

We recommend that you either wear your walking boots or shoes or pack them and some waterproofs in your hand luggage as in the unlikely event that your hold luggage is delayed, you will still be able to participate in the holiday programme.

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Binoculars 2

Wildlife and scenery viewing experiences are always improved with binoculars. For seeing a bird in the treetops or picking out some detail on the horizon they are invaluable. If you have a pair, please bring them with you on your holiday. On some holidays it will be appropriate to have them with you all the time. Sometimes you might prefer to avoid carrying the extra weight. Your tour leader will always be happy to advise which days it will be particularly useful to take them.

Traveling Light

You should be able to lift and carry and handle your own luggage. At some hotels, the coach may have to stop some distance short of the hotel entrance. Also, within some of the hotels themselves, there may be some long walks between the rooms and entrance area which could include some steps.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Electricity in India

In India: Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts at 50Hz. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a two or three pin style adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at  https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

  • Maps & Books
    South India (Lonely Planet Country and Regional Guides) – Lonely Planet Publications
    The Rough Guide to Kerala – Rough Guides Ltd
    Kerala and Southern India (Travellers) - Anil Mulchandani – Thomas Cook Publishing
    The God of Small Things - Arundati Roy

Websites:
Indian Ministry of Tourism www.incredibleindia.org

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for India

No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to India, although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK. 

Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Typhoid immunisations are recommended, and you might also like to consider immunisations against Rabies, Cholera, Japanese Encephalitis and Hepatitis B. 

Malaria is present throughout the year in India; please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic. 

Dengue fever, Zika virus and Chikungunya virus exist in India; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites. 

Seek pre-travel Zika virus advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel, particularly important if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy.

Air Pollution

Cities may at times experience periods of poor air quality. If you suffer from a respiratory condition you may wish to seek advice from your doctor prior to travel.

Diarrhoea & Boiled Water

Don’t forget to exercise caution with what you eat to avoid upset stomachs and stay away from unpeeled fruit and vegetables, salad and do not have ice in your drinks. Hot, fresh cooked food, where possible, is best. 

Hand washing facilities may be poor or unavailable when travelling, we therefore strongly advise you to carry antibacterial sanitizing gel and / or hand wipes at all times and use to them regularly.

Drinking or cleaning teeth in un-boiled water is not recommended.  Bottled pure water is inexpensive and widely available in shops, at hotels, and on the coach. Make sure you only buy sealed bottles.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.

See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.

Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.

Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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Useful Information

Find out more

India

  • Capital

    New Delhi

  • Currency

    Indian Rupee

  • Language

    Hindi; English

  • Time Difference

    UTC +05:30

  • Flight duration

    9.5hrs from UK

Visas and Passports

Visa Required

Average weather

  • January

    17°C

    Avg. Rain: 14mm

  • February

    19°C

    Avg. Rain: 17mm

  • March

    24°C

    Avg. Rain: 22mm

  • April

    27°C

    Avg. Rain: 40mm

  • May

    30°C

    Avg. Rain: 76mm

  • June

    29°C

    Avg. Rain: 197mm

  • July

    27°C

    Avg. Rain: 308mm

  • August

    27°C

    Avg. Rain: 274mm

  • September

    26°C

    Avg. Rain: 182mm

  • October

    25°C

    Avg. Rain: 83mm

  • November

    21°C

    Avg. Rain: 34mm

  • December

    18°C

    Avg. Rain: 15mm

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