Curry on Cruising
A rollicking, rip snorting jaunt through India’s lush interior. Head from Trivandrum up to Varkala for prime beach gallivanting. Take a boat ride through the Kerala Backwaters. Catch a kathakali dance in Kochi. Don the safari hat for Periyar National Park. Pig out on curries in Hampi and seafood in Goa.
Take a break from the horns, the traffic, the cows and all those people. Beaches, ayurvedic massages, curries and coconut groves await. Word of warning, beware the bhang lassi.
Day 1 - TrivandrumIf Mahatma Gandhi refers to your hometown as the 'Evergreen city of India', you better make sure you keep it that way. Thankfully, Trivandrum is now considered as one of the 10 greenest cities in India. Phew.Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.There are no activities planned for Day 1, enjoy exploring Trivandrum.South Park Hotel or similar
Day 2-3 - VarkalaIf you love beaches you’ve come to the right place. If you don't love beaches, then we feel quite sorry for you. But not sorry enough to replace this day with something else. Because Varkala is incredible.Spend a couple of days in Varkala - a beautiful beach town on the Arabian Sea.The main beach here is Papanasham Beach, which is long and golden with a backdrop of red laterite cliffs from which mineral water springs forth, chill out here and witness fishermen pulling up their nets from the sea.The tour guide can take us to various beaches in the surrounding areas and advise us on optional activities - maybe witness an evening Kathakali or Kalaripayatt show.This place is also known for its Ayurvedic massage centres.Dream Beach Resort or similar
Day 4 - Kerala Backwaters HomestayTake a local train along the Keralan Coast to reach Alleppey (approx 2.5 hrs).Auto rickshaws take us from Alleppey train station to the boarding point for our boats.Alleppey's sleepy, palm-shaded backwaters are Kerala's hidden treasure. Once an important trading port and now famous for its August 'snake boat' races, Alleppey is the starting point for most journeys into the backwaters and also hosts a mid-December musical festival.Crossing the backwaters, head to an island village to stay with local families (approx 1 hour).Explore the backwaters with a local guide to observe the different facets of local life - this is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who live here. Strolling under palm trees and weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, learn about their lifestyles.Take a leisurely pole boat ride around the lake and enjoy the outstanding scenery.Accommodation is on a multishare basis and all the families live within a few hundred metres of each other, with at least one person in the family speaking a reasonable standard of English. Food is traditional Keralan home cooking.Kerala Backwaters homestay
Day 5-6 - KochiThose enormous structures on the beach are Chinese fishing nets, hence all the awesome seafood. You can't miss them, they're about 10 metres high and hold 20-metre horizontal fishing nets out across the water. If you do miss them, then we suggest getting your eyes tested.Take a local bus to Kochi (approx 2 hrs).Spread over several islands, Kochi is a fascinating place full of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences.Some options for your free time here include:Head out to explore the major sights of Fort Cochin and visit the spice bazaars and antique shops. The best way to get around the islands is by using the ferry network.Visit the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. It was taken over by the Dutch in 1663, who added some improvements before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin.Be part of a Kathakali dance performance. This classical dance is a highly charged and powerful drama that combines devotion and physical virtuosity with symbolic storytelling to produce one of the most impressive and vibrant forms of theatre in the world. It requires lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures.Stay at Kaliveedu. This is a special lodge offering very different ambience with large landscaped gardens, air-conditioned rooms and a central location close to most of the sights in Fort Cochin.Board an overnight train to Bangalore - our gateway to Mysore (approx 13 hrs).Intrepid Kaliveedu Lodge or similar
Day 7-8 - Periyar National ParkSet high in the ranges of the Western Ghats is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. This wildlife sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, formed by the building of a dam in 1895, which meanders around the contours of the wooded hills and provides a permanent source of water for the local wildlife. Though it's a tiger reserve, tourists come here to view the Indian elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the lake.Ambadi Hotel or similar
Day 9-10 - MaduraiCrammed full of bazaars, pilgrims, cycle-rickshaws, beggars and street markets, Madurai showcases southern India at its colourful and lively best.Visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple, which lies at the heart of the city. This ancient, still active temple is a labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors which lead to shrines where some mysterious and interesting rituals are performed.Wander the bazaars and the tailors' market.The Pearls Hotel or similar
Day 11-12 - MysoreYou’ll remember the City of Palaces for sandalwood, rosewood artefacts, palaces, temples and landscaped gardens.Board a local bus to Mysore (approx 3 hrs).Mysore is an easygoing town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot.A visit to Mysore isn't complete without a look around Mysore Palace. One of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is a riot of colour, mosaics and mirrors.Visit the Keshava Temple in Somnathpur - a stunning example of Hoysala temple architecture (approx 1 hr from Mysore).You have plenty of time to explore the surrounding countryside, so head out and climb Chamundi Hill - site of the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Durga.Catch the bus to Bangalore (approx 3 hrs).Board an overnight train and head up to Hampi, via northern Karnataka (approx 10 hrs).Bombay Tiffany Hotel or similar
Day 13-14 - HampiIf you like it hot this is the place to be – in terms of both the curries and the weather. There's an overnight train to Goa so make sure you get your snacks situation sorted early. Try not to eat them before the train has pulled out of the station.Arrive in Hampi and cross the river to our guesthouse by canoe.Hampi is a beautiful ancient temple town situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.Explore the Vittala Temple - the architectural highlight of Hampi's Vijayanagar ruins.We drive to Hubli (approx 3 hours) and jump on an overnight train to Goa (approx 8-9 hours).Shanti Guesthouse or similar
Day 15-16 - GoaBetween the beaches, the seafood and the nightlife you’ll probably never want to leave. But sadly, you have to.Famous for the sandy beaches that line its coast, Goa is a fascinating and distinctive region in India's southwest. Brimming with Portuguese influences and bursting with fresh food, this region has earned its idyllic badge.There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.The trip ends on Day 16.Hotel Santiago or similar
What to Know
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Festivals: Holi and Diwali
Travelling in India and Nepal during the Holi festival, a lunar festival generally held in March each year, can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.
Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
Petty theft and personal safety
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Traffic and driving on the other side of the road
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 16 Aug 2014 - 31 Aug 2014 Fully Booked US $945 On Sale Sale: US $803 Contact us 23 Aug 2014 - 07 Sep 2014 2 places left US $965 On Sale Sale: US $820 Book Now 06 Sep 2014 - 21 Sep 2014 3 places left US $965 On Sale Sale: US $820 Book Now 20 Sep 2014 - 05 Oct 2014 Available US $945 On Sale Sale: US $803 Book Now 27 Sep 2014 - 12 Oct 2014 2 places left US $945 On Sale Sale: US $803 Book Now 04 Oct 2014 - 19 Oct 2014 Fully Booked US $925 Contact us 11 Oct 2014 - 26 Oct 2014 Available US $1,005 Book Now 18 Oct 2014 - 02 Nov 2014 Available US $1,005 Book Now 25 Oct 2014 - 09 Nov 2014 Available US $1,005 Book Now 08 Nov 2014 - 23 Nov 2014 3 places left US $1,005 Book Now 15 Nov 2014 - 30 Nov 2014 Available US $1,030 Book Now 22 Nov 2014 - 07 Dec 2014 Available US $1,030 Book Now 29 Nov 2014 - 14 Dec 2014 Fully Booked US $1,030 Contact us 04 Dec 2014 - 19 Dec 2014 Available US $1,030 Book Now 06 Dec 2014 - 21 Dec 2014 Available US $1,030 Book Now 13 Dec 2014 - 28 Dec 2014 Available US $1,030 Book Now 18 Dec 2014 - 02 Jan 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 20 Dec 2014 - 04 Jan 2015 Available US $1,030 Book Now 27 Dec 2014 - 11 Jan 2015 Fully Booked US $925 Contact us 29 Dec 2014 - 13 Jan 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 03 Jan 2015 - 18 Jan 2015 Available US $1,005 Book Now 10 Jan 2015 - 25 Jan 2015 Available US $1,005 Book Now 17 Jan 2015 - 01 Feb 2015 Available US $1,005 Book Now 24 Jan 2015 - 08 Feb 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 31 Jan 2015 - 15 Feb 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 07 Feb 2015 - 22 Feb 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 14 Feb 2015 - 01 Mar 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 21 Feb 2015 - 08 Mar 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 28 Feb 2015 - 15 Mar 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 07 Mar 2015 - 22 Mar 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 14 Mar 2015 - 29 Mar 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 21 Mar 2015 - 05 Apr 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 28 Mar 2015 - 12 Apr 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 04 Apr 2015 - 19 Apr 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 11 Apr 2015 - 26 Apr 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 18 Apr 2015 - 03 May 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 25 Apr 2015 - 10 May 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 15 Aug 2015 - 30 Aug 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 22 Aug 2015 - 06 Sep 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 05 Sep 2015 - 20 Sep 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 19 Sep 2015 - 04 Oct 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 26 Sep 2015 - 11 Oct 2015 Available US $920 Book Now 03 Oct 2015 - 18 Oct 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 10 Oct 2015 - 25 Oct 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 17 Oct 2015 - 01 Nov 2015 Available US $975 Book Now 24 Oct 2015 - 08 Nov 2015 Available US $975 Book Now 07 Nov 2015 - 22 Nov 2015 Available US $975 Book Now 14 Nov 2015 - 29 Nov 2015 Available US $975 Book Now 21 Nov 2015 - 06 Dec 2015 Available US $1,000 Book Now 28 Nov 2015 - 13 Dec 2015 Available US $1,000 Book Now 05 Dec 2015 - 20 Dec 2015 Available US $1,000 Book Now 12 Dec 2015 - 27 Dec 2015 Available US $1,000 Book Now 19 Dec 2015 - 03 Jan 2016 Available US $1,000 Book Now 26 Dec 2015 - 10 Jan 2016 Available US $1,000 Book Now
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What to know
The operator for this Geckos trip is our experienced sister company Intrepid Travel. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Geckos booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.