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India's Intoxicating South

Karnataka & Kerala - spice hills, coast & backwaters
Holiday information
Nights: 16 
Accommodation: one city hotel, three rural guesthouses, one historic house, one houseboat, one city homestay
Meals: 16 breakfasts, 10 lunches/picnics, 11 dinners
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Important information about health, visa and passport requirements.
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • experience life in four different village communities
  • explore the plantations, temples and forests of the hills of Wayanad
  • relax on the palm-fringed beaches of the Indian Ocean
  • discover enchanting Mysore and the Maharaja’s palace
  • glide silently along Kerala’s lesser known backwaters

As you travel south from the melting pot that is Mumbai, the pace of life noticeably slows under wide, blue skies. To the first-time visitor, the tangible exoticism of Karnataka’s palm-lined coastline, spice plantations, the Wayanad Hills and the Keralan backwaters is enthralling, from the vibrant greens of the dense vegetation to the aroma of spices growing on vines and from coffee plantations to ostentatiously coloured birds. This is India slowed down, all the more magical thanks to the verdant terrain, which spills down from the mountainous Western Ghats towards the Arabian Sea, creating a landscape of undeniable beauty.

This mellow region will entrance you like nowhere else, and your stays among rural communities are complemented by time in the enchanting city of Mysore and the historic port of Kochi to create an enticing adventure on which the exotically flavoured cuisine – from spicy vegetable curries to delicately flavoured fish dishes – is a real highlight.

The people at the Spice House were wonderful and made us feel like family – from the great guide and lovely housekeeper to the ladies who came to the house to cook for us. The whole experience was hugely enjoyable and we were very sad to leave even after such a short time.
Peter and Marjorie Ramage

Surrounded by vast forests and rarely visited by outsiders, the spice village of Hulgol, where your adventure begins, seem worlds apart from Mumbai. Here, the sensory bombardment is thrilling: aromas wafting on the warm air, mounds of spices of seemingly every colour of the rainbow, delicious vegetarian curries and the tropical soundtrack provided by birds in the forest. The same can be said of your second base, the small fishing village of Pavinakurva, set on a coastline characterised by sandy beaches framed with palm trees.

The enthralling city of Mysore offers a very different experience – and a fascinating regal heritage – before you immerse yourself deep within the plantations coating the Wayanad Hills.

Journeying further south, you reach the Keralan backwaters, the very embodiment of the south’s laid-back atmosphere. Trees overhang the blue-green water of the intricate network of rivers, canals and lagoons which nourish countless rice paddies and coconut groves. You can watch life being played out before you during a leisurely cruise on a specially crafted houseboat: women washing clothes, fishermen diving for mussels, buffalo grazing, duck herders punting, and more. You finish in Kochi, a city renowned for its tastebud-tingling cuisine and which makes a fitting finale to your adventure through the hills, coast and waterways of Karnataka and Kerala.

> Learn how this holiday benefits the rural communities
> Information on climate

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