Spice Trails of Kerala

15 days
from
1 815 €
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 41 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TGK
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Walking through the beautiful hills and tea plantations of South India

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

Highlights

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

Key information

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

What's included

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

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

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

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

7

Pace:

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

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths

Day by day breakdown
Day 36.5km/4.0miles
Day 414.0km/8.7miles
Day 515.0km/9.0miles
Day 616.0km/10.0miles
Day 77.0km/4.0miles
Day 816.0km/9.0miles
Day 115.0km/3.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

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

Itinerary

Cochin
to
Cochin
  • Day 1

    Start Cochin

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

  • Day 2

    Drive to the beautiful hill station of Munnar

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Descend to Nagamalai Coffee Plantation, overlooking Kolukumalai Tea Plantation

    We start our trek towards Nagamalai Coffee Plantation (Central Station) with a steep descent through lemon grass. The route includes some challenging terrain but we are rewarded with views across the valley to the Kolukumalai Tea Plantation (known as the world's highest tea region). We continue descending to coffee plantations. Due to the price of coffee falling in the past few years the plantations and trails have become overgrown. From a distance, we can see the tribal village of Kezhmuttap. The government has settled these tribes of Mudhuvans here and given them small houses with electricity and almost all of them are working in nearby estates as labourers. We then have the final stretch to reach camp (1700m). 
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Explore the rich fertile area of Tamil Nadu; finish trek near Mundhan

    The last day of walking is fairly easy as we descend through coffee plantations, dense forests and cotton plantations. We cross through Central Station Village and further down past Kotakuddi. At one point we pass a lovely waterfall where we stop for a rest to cool off our feet. Continuing on we finally reach the Betel Nut plantation at the valley bottom. The final stretch of our trek takes us through coconut and mango plantations, which spread over hundreds of acres of land. We finish our walk near the village of Mundhan (650m), where a minibus will meet us for a 15 minute drive to our hotel. Please note that the hotel is subject to availability and on rare occasions, groups may have to camp. There is also the option today to go the shorter, easier pony route that will take around 2hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    To Madurai; visit the colourful Sri Meenakshi Temple

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Alleppey for overnight stay on a traditional Keralan houseboat

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Cochin

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

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

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

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included.

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

Weather

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

Cochin, India

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)

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

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

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

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

Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

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

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

Accommodation

Hotels, Camping, Homestay & Houseboat

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

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

Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

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

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

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

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

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

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2017
    Michelle Mellors

    Spice trails Kerala

    Mind Blowing experience jam packed with activities and things to see and do

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting new people - experiencing their culture and visiting so many new places

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Extremely knowledgeable - fitted in so many extra visits and arranged anything we asked for

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Relax and enjoy the experience - everything arranged for you!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would recommend 100%
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Stephen Taylor

    Kerala

    A varied trip taking in the landscapes, culture and architecture of a lovely part of India.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the tea plantations. We never thought an agricultural area could be so lovely with waves of tea bushes stretching to the horizon. The trek section of the trip was good and not too arduous. The highest point was worth the climb for the views. The national park was scenic and plenty of wildlife incuding wild elephants. The houseboat cruise was a lovely relaxing way to wind down before a day in Fort Cochin and the journey home.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Umed was an excellent leader and very personable. Always on the ball and full of interesting anecdotes about the areas we visited. Umed made sure we were all looked after and well fed even in the remote camps. The local guides were also good and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not a hard trek, but we had good weather throughout. Can get a little cold at top station, so take a thermal.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking of booking this trip you will not be disappointed. A good introduction to southern India if you have not been before.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Linda Tansley

    A wonderful trip

    A mix of walking camping and sight seeing. A wide variety of landscapes and cultural destinations. Every day was new and different. The local guides were extremely well informed and constantly pointed out new plants, animal tracks or agricultural practices when we were trekking. In the Madarai, we learnt so much about the Hindu religion and practices brought to life by our temple visits where we had the privilege of witnesses local traditions including a betrothal

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the mountain and the trek as a whole. I found it difficult as I had a breathing problem but I was well supported by the assistant local guide (Edison) all the way. The food was excellent, when walking we had drinks and snacks every mile or so and an excellent three course lunch. Camp sites were good and interesting and the camp cook talented.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    V Santosh Kumar was an excellent leader, quiet and modest he was able to anticipate our interests and needs. When we had the storm which washed out our next camp he arranged a decent hotel and for the next day an alternative walk to the local town which was fascinating. Several times he came up with a plan B when people where unable to walk which were thoroughly enjoyable. He also had sound eco principles

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cash free policy and ban in importing or exporting rupees is a nightmare. There is a limit on the amount you can withdraw ATMs are often empty. Please make sure you have your card with a bank that will allow you to register that you will be travelling in India (my bank Barclays doesn't and I was blocked and could have been in difficulties). Take two cards if you can and take every opportunity to withdraw cash in you first few days. The trip leader was helpful with this problem

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a wonderful trip for me and because of my personal circumstances it may be difficult for me to do another one. Trip of a lifetime with lovely fellow travellers and leaders, guides and crew. Loved it!
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Ellen Momsen

    Spice Trails

    A fantastic trip with a lot of variety! We enjoyed every activity. Our guide,Santosh Kumar was outstanding, and wow! The food while camping was amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many inspirational moments that it is hard to select just one. Seeing elephants, making it to the top of the second highest peak in So. India, walking through the colorful markets, visiting a rural school, and meeting amazing fellow travelers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santos Kumar was wonderful! He was so knowledgeable, patient, and fun. I can't imagine a better group leader, and would love to take another trip that he leads. Since getting home, I have told everyone I know to go on this trip, and hope that they get Santosh.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for a couple days of challenging hiking! The walks were very fun and rewarding, but for some people, they might be difficult. Also, pack lightly, and bring walking sticks. Light weight long sleeve shirts are recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was one of the best trips I have ever been on! Truly an adventure of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Andreas Hoelscher

    Stunning South India trip

    Extremely nice trip with a good balance of activities ( trekking), culture (temple, optional programs) and relaxation (houseboat) with plenty of nature and wildlife to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Coming close to a group of wild Elephants during morning walk in the wildlife reservation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santos's is a Very knowledgable guide with good feeling for the group dynamics and lots of stories to tell. All extra wishes were taken care of and always everything arranged a very proficient manner.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Amazing food was prepared in the campsites.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Marian Watson

    Spice Trails of Kerala

    A mixture of trekking, culture and relaxation, this was probably one of the best Exodus trips I've ever done. Well organised with lots of extra 'surprises'. The trek, followed by some cultural discovery, then the mini cruise down the backwaters and ending up on the Malabar coast in a homestay and swimming in the Indian Ocean, couldn't have been a better itinerary. Even the hotels were better than expected.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking through the Western Ghats. Different walks every day with different scenery and opportunities to see the local wildlife. Just one day was slightly more strenuous with lots of ascents and descents but the other days were fine. Also the sighting of wild elephants in Periyar NP was an added bonus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cannot speak highly enough of Santosh Kumar. One of the best. Professional, extremely knowledgeable, cool, calm and collected even under extreme pressure. At one point no-one in the group had any money because of the sudden demonitisation by the Modi government, Santosh did everything in his power to help everyone to obtain some money in every way possible. He was entertaining during our campsite evenings and informed us on a wide range of Indian customs and traditions. Sociable at all mealtimes. Informative of our day by day itinerary. Not for nothing he was voted best leader in India in 2011

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Even if it's hot, don't wear shorts with your leech socks. Keep to long trousers. Or if you do wear shorts keep some insect spray handy. Nothing to worry about but not very pleasant to find leeches attached to you! Don't bother taking gaiters. The leech socks the trekking crew provide you with are much better.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If it's your first time to India this is really a good introduction to the place. Quieter than the north and very laid back on all fronts, with spetacular scenery
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Susan Toms

    Spice trails of kerala

    Well organised and led. A large number of additional activities and good variety of food

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the Western Ghats

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, well organised, good sense of humour, reacted to money crisis in India with practical and innovative counter measures. Provided many high quality additional activities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to enjoy the basic camping. Inspirational and attention to comfort
  • Reviewed December 2016
    John Willwohl

    Spice Trails of Kerala.

    I enjoyed this trip very much; the accommodation was of a high standard throughout. I paid the single supplement and had a tent to myself on the camping days, this was very acceptable. However those sharing would have to get very close to each other. The walking days are described as moderate but I thought a couple of the walks would more accurately be described as hard or strenuous, particularly as the average age of the group was probably in their sixties.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the second highest point in Southern India. The temples at Madurai. The night on the Houseboat - I would have been happy with two nights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was very knowledgeable and was able to identify much of the wildlife. He always kept his cool and remained calm throughout the trip. Despite the extra pressure he must have been under due to India's demonetisation policy, i.e. the 500 & 1000 rupee notes were no longer acceptable currency and the shortage of lower value notes as a result.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The local guide at Periyar National Park was very good and had good English and a broad knowledge of the wildlife and bird life. Unfortunately this was not the case with the other local guides. One in particular stands out as being a complete waste of time supposedly showing us round a tea factory.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Stephen Toms

    Spice Trails of Kerala

    Just like previous Exodus trips everything was done to make our trip special.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the Western Ghats, truly a magnificant experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    For a great holiday you need a great product and India has such a diverse offering and in order to be able to get the most from your experience you a good team of people to support the many needs of a diverse group of people, this we had in abundance. All of this needs a great leader and in Santosh Kumar we had one of the best and his organisational skills cemented the whole trip together. Added to this his knowledge and enthusiasm make him an exceptional guide who went out of his way to find extra added attractions during our days of travel. During our visit the Indian government made the decision to withdraw all 500 and 1000 rupee notes causing national chaos but Santosh took this all in his stride without any negative impact on our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring some Gin, after two weeks and our case three we got fed up of inferior wine and bored with beer.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Margaret Williams

    Spice Trails of Kerala

    Have just returned from the 14 day Spice Trails of Kerala tour with Exodus. Having travelled with Exodus before, we were familiar with the format and this trip certainly did not disappoint. Accommodation was good, the programme was varied and interesting and the support was excelellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were lots of inspirational moments on the trip but the 5 day trekking and camping was a highlight, along with the houseboat experience on the backwaters. The support group for the camps were amazing and produced the most fantastic meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner with additional 'snacks' along the way. Also, our travel companions were great company!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was an inspiration and I cannot speak highly enough of him. He was experienced, patient, professional, knowledgeable and a lot of fun. We have travelled with the award winning Adventure Travel Guide of the Year when we were in Sri Lanka, and Santosh would be equally worthy of such an award.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come to India with an open mind and be prepared for anything. Our drivers were exceptional, but the traffic is crazy. Camping is not going to be like staying in a 5 star hotel and food can be spicy. Having said that, our tour leader still managed to cater for all requests thrown at him!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would not hesitate to recommend this trip and definitely look forward to doing future trips with Exodus.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

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

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

 

What kind of options do I have ?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

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

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

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

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

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

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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