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Private guided round trip - India

Tea & Culture Tour in South India

Highlights

  • Private guided tour in cooperation with our partner TeeGschwendner

  • Visit to selected tea gardens such as the Havukal Tea Estate

  • Varied program of activities and excursions

  • Panoramic train ride on the historic Nilgiri Mountain Railway

  • Flexible arrival and trip duration: We adapt the trip to your personal wishes

Description

Lush green meadows, sweeping valleys and rolling hills dotted with waist-high tea bushes as far as the eye can see. On our private guided tour of southern India, we will show you the different facets of the region with a main focus on the world of tea. In the higher mountain regions you will visit selected tea gardens and learn everything about the production of your favorite beverage from picking to drying. The round trip is rounded off by visiting the cultural highlights of the region.

Destination

Asia

Bangalore - Mysore - Coorg - Wayanad - Ooty - Coonoor - Kochin - Alleppey - Munnar - Thekkady - Kochi

Due to the proximity to the Equator, crops are harvested almost all year round, which means that South India is worth a trip at any time of the year. Spring and autumn are highly recommended, and the rainy season in South India happens in the summer months.

South India is widely known for its diverse and fertile nature. The proximity to Sri Lanka results in very similar conditions as far as the cultivation of tea and spices is concerned. Not just tea, but also pepper, cloves, cardamom and many other exotic plants grow in "God's own country", as the south likes to call itself.

Tea has been grown and processed in the south of the country since the 1840s. Today, Kerala's tea gardens produce about a quarter of the tea of the entire Indian harvest. In this respect, the teas differ significantly from their siblings from the north, Assam and Darjeeling. Also, much more green tea is produced in southern India than in the far north.

Would you like to prepare for your trip now? The easiest way is with the varieties No. 350 Black Oothu, BIO, No. 355 Green Manjolai, BIO or No. 347 Warwick Special Green from TeeGschwendner.

After your arrival at Bangalore airport, your tour guide will personally meet you and take you to Mysore, where you will spend your first night in India. On the approximately three-hour drive, you will have time to gather your first impressions of the foreign country that you will be traveling through over the next two weeks.

Trip from the airport to the hotel in Mysore: approx. 3 hours / 140 km

2 nights at Radisson Blu Plaza***** with breakfast in a Superior City View Room, Mysore, India

After yesterday’s long journey, today you can look forward to a day in Mysore. After breakfast, you will start a sightseeing tour of the city, more specifically the Palace of Mysore. The huge complex, built in the Indo-Saracenic style, will captivate you from afar with its turrets, domes, arches and colonnades. In the opulent interior, with its ornately carved doors and ceilings, works of art from around the world await you. Stroll through the luxuriously furnished rooms where the royal family once lived.

Afterwards, drive to Chamundi Hills, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city. After a photo stop, visit the Chamundeshwari hill temple, built in the 11th century in honor of the goddess of the same name.

Not far from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding metropolises is the next destination of your trip: Kogadu, better known as Coorg.

This idyllic region has preserved its beauty for centuries. Because of its hills and forests, often shrouded in mist, and scattered villages, the British affectionately called it the “Scotland of India”. Framed by the surrounding hills and clear skies, you will be able to spot fertile coffee farms. The warm and hospitable inhabitants do their part to give this place a special charm.

What few people know: In addition to the numerous coffee plantations, there is also a tea garden in Coorg, where the green wonder plant has been cultivated since 1914 - your only program for today. You can discuss with your guide when you would like to visit this heritage from the British colonial era on site.

Trip from Mysore to Coorg: approx. 2 hours / 200 km

1 night at Paddington Resort & Spa**** with breakfast in a Standard Room, Coorg, India

Today’s intinerary takes you further to Wayanad. Nestled in the mountains of the Western Ghats at an altitude of about 2,000 meters, spice plantations, tropical rainforests, steep hills and shallow valleys await you in Wayanad.

Upon arrival, you can spend the rest of the afternoon as you wish. Get familiar with your surroundings and enjoy unobstructed views of the lake from your accomodation for the next two days.

2 nights at the Wayanad Silver Woods Resort**** with breakfast in a villa, Wayanad, India.

Trip from Coorg to Wayanad: approx. 3.5 hours / 130 km

Your day begins with a relaxing bike ride to one of the famous spice villages of Wayanad. After being chauffeured out of town, you will get on your bikes and ride for about an hour through a quiet patch of forest. With a bit of luck, you will encounter one of the elephants that live peacefully here along the way. You will pass a tribal settlement and finally take a short break. In an old forest bungalow you will have a picnic lunch.

Fortified by your meal, you will continue your journey off the paved roads until you reach the Kabini River. You will cross the river with the help of an ingenious bamboo construction. On the other side, the fabulous Kuruva Islands await you. In the protected river delta on the Kabini you will find a dense and evergreen forest. Uninhabited by humans, it is home to rare plants and bird species. Once you have satisfied your urge to explore, it is time for a refreshing swim in the area's natural pools. Afterwards, it's time to go back to your accommodation. But don't worry: You won't have to get back on your bike, your driver will be waiting for you.

Udagamandalam is the next stop on your round trip. If you can't remember this name, Ooty, as the popular hill station in the Nilgiri Mountains is commonly called, will also suffice. On the slopes of Ooty, nestled among eucalyptus trees and pines, you will find numerous coffee plantations and tea gardens. Strangely enough, this piece of paradise remained unknown to the great southern dynasties in India until it was discovered by the British in 1800. The colonials were so delighted that they promptly built their first railroad line into the mountains and made Ooty the summer capital of the Madras Presidency. In the afternoon, you will visit the Dodabetta Tea Factory. In the tea museum, you will be introduced to three major sections of tea history: the origins of world tea, the history of tea in India, and finally the evolution of tea in the Nilgiris region.

Trip from Wayanad to Ooty: approx. 3 hours / 110 km

After breakfast, you will be picked up and transferred to the Ooty railroad station, from where you will take a train to Coonoor. Your means of transportation today, the Nilgiri Mountain steam locomotive, is one of the oldest mountain railroads in India and promises an unforgettable experience. Sit back and relax as the pristine, wildly romantic landscape passes you by until you reach the Coonoor train station after about 45 minutes.

In Coonoor, you will first check into your room before visiting the Havukal Tea Estate. The two tea estates, Havukal and Warwick, belong together and are jointly managed. The roots of Havukal go back more than 100 years: the garden was founded in 1910, Warwick even earlier in 1876.

The hilly location on the eastern slopes of the Nilgiri Mountains is ideal for tea cultivation. At altitudes ranging from 1600 to 1800m above sea level, tea plants grow and thrive here, covering the mountains with an emerald green carpet. In the tea factory, all kinds of different teas are produced from the fresh tea leaves, including black tea, green tea or "frost tea", which can only be picked in winter.

To this day, Havukal Tea Garden is family owned and cares for its employees and their families. For example, all employees and their families receive free housing, medical care, and a guaranteed place in their own elementary school for all of the employees' children. Incentives of this kind help to preserve the structures that have grown up in the countryside and prevent migration to the cities.

Trip from Ooty to Coonoor: approx. 45 minutes / 20 km

Trip from Coonoor to Havukal Tea Estate: approx. 1 hour / 30 km

1 night at Sunvalley Homestay with breakfast in a Standard Room, Coonoor, India

Today you will leave the mountains temporarily: Your journey continues by train to Kochi. On the approximately four-hour journey, you will have enough time this time to make yourself comfortable before your train rolls into the port city at Ernakulam station. Once there, your driver will already be waiting to take you to your hotel.

Spend the afternoon as you wish. Explore your new neighborhood on your own - Kochi is a place that has exciting and varied stories to tell. In the capital of Kerala you can still find many traces of the colonial past of the French, Portuguese and Dutch.

In the evening, a visit to the theater is on the agenda: you will attend a Kathakali show. Kathakali is a classical dance form that originated from the Theyyam ritual, which is over 1000 years old. Expect performers with striking makeup, grotesque gestures and elaborate costumes dancing to the sounds of exotic instruments.

Trip from Coonoor to Kochi: approx. 4 hours / 200 km

1 night at Tea Bungalow**** with breakfast in a Heritage Deluxe Room, Kochi, India

Before you leave for Alleppey today, you will discover one more special place in Kochi: After a fortifying breakfast, you will visit the Mattancherry Palace. Also known as the Dutch Palace, it was originally built by the Portuguese in 1555 and given to the then Raja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma. However, as the Dutch undertook extensive renovation work, the name Dutch Palace came to prevail. The two-story palace has a handsome collection of murals as well as numerous other exhibits that give a vivid impression of the life of the erstwhile royal family.

Afterwards, you will drive to the backwaters of Kerala, a complex road network consisting of lakes, rivers and small canals. The incredible variety of wildlife, especially birds, coupled with the lagoon-like landscape and traditional village life that has existed for centuries, ensure that a trip to the backwaters is the highlight of any trip through Kerala for many travelers. As you slowly glide along palm trees and rice paddies, passing the occasional village, temple or church, a feeling of intense tranquility is sure to come over you. At first, you will travel through the smaller waters in a canoe or motorboat, and later you will cruise the larger waterways in your houseboat. Enjoy the harmonious scenery as the sun gradually sets. You will spend the night on board the houseboat today.

Trip from Cochin to Alleppey: approx. 1 hour / 50 km

1 night in Lakes & Lagoons houseboat with breakfast in an air-conditioned cabin, Alleppey, India

Have you missed the mountains yet? Today you're heading back to higher ground. You'll drive to Munnar, a hill station 1,600 meters above sea level. Southern India's largest tea-growing region is dotted with rolling hills, undulating valleys, emerald tea plantations and sparkling waterfalls. Once used as a summer residence by the British government, the region still retains its colonial charm and presents itself as an ideal vacation destination, especially for tea lovers.

After freshening up at the hotel, visit the Tata Tea Museum. There you will find all sorts of curiosities, photographs and machines, each of which marked a turning point for the flourishing tea industry. The art collection set up in the Nallathanni Tea Estate is a tribute to the pioneers who helped make Kerala the major plantation center it is today.

After visiting the museum, you will have time to stroll through the tea gardens of Nallathanni. Afterwards, you will drive back to your hotel.

Trip from Alleppey to Munnar: approx. 4.5 hours / 170 km

1 night at Mountain Club Resort**** with breakfast in a cottage, Munnar, India

Today’s route takes you to Periyar, an area known for its rolling hills, fertile spice plantations and numerous elephant sightings. In Thekkady, your final stop for today, visit one of the many spice plantations. Learn how cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, nutmeg and other spices are grown, harvested and processed before landing on the shelf of your local supermarket.

Trip from Munnar to Thekkady: approx. 3.5 hours / 98 km

2 nights at Wildernest Bed & Breakfast** with breakfast in a Superior Room, Thekkady, India

After an invigorating breakfast, today we will take you on a half-day hike. The route takes you on a distance of about five kilometers through the vast green hills and valleys of the region. On the way you have a good chance to meet sloths or elephants as well as numerous birds and butterflies. In the late afternoon you will take a boat trip on the Periyar Lake, which was formed in 1895 by the construction of the dam over the Mullaperiyar River.

After check-out, you will drive back to Cochin today. Spend the rest of the day as you wish. Enjoy your last evening in the charming port city. Your guide will be happy to help you choose a good restaurant.

Trip from Thekkady to Cochin: approx. 5 hours / 160 km

1 night at Tea Bungalow**** with breakfast in a Heritage Deluxe Room, Cochin, India

After two varied weeks filled with culinary and cultural highlights, today it is time to say goodbye. Depending on the departure time, your driver will take you to the Cochin International Airport, from where you will start your journey home.

Radisson Blu Plaza*****, Mysore, India (2 nights)

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore. The hotel is just a 5-minute walk from the zoo. Several attractions and the Mysore Mall shopping center are nearby. You can enjoy a selection of Indian, Chinese and continental delicacies at the hotel's Spring restaurant.

Paddington Resort & Spa****, Coorg, India (1 night)

Located near Madikeri hill station, Paddington Resort & Spa offers an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi. International dishes are served at the on-site restaurant.

Wayanad Silverwoods Resort****, Wayanad, India (2 nights)

Wayanad Silverwoods is a luxurious retreat overlooking Banasura Sagar Dam. It features a spa, an infinity pool and a tapas bar. The resort is spread over 16 acres. All villas feature modern amenities such as minibars, safes, air conditioning and hairdryers. Recreational facilities continue to include a fitness center, clubhouse, Ayurvedic spa, and children's play area.

King's Cliff***, Ooty, India (1 night)

At King's Cliff, you'll stay in charming, historic accommodations surrounded by hills and plenty of greenery. The air-conditioned rooms are equipped with satellite TV. Some rooms also have a four-poster bed or a fireplace. Ooty Train Station is about 4 km away. Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes are served at Earl's Secret Restaurant. You can also choose to have your meals in the on-site garden.

Sunvalley Homestay, Coonoor, India (1 night)

At Sunvalley Homestay you will stay in private accommodation with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries. Each accommodation also features a terrace with mountain views. In the morning, you can have a continental breakfast or a buffet breakfast, depending on your preference.

Tea Bungalow****, Cochin, India (2 nights)

Set in a 100-year-old building amid landscaped gardens, Tea Bungalow offers elegant colonial-style décor. It features a pool, free Wi-Fi and parking. The luxurious suites have a modern feel and are peppered with custom lighting. You'll find organic toiletries and a rain shower in each suite.

Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat, Alleppey, India (1 night)

Your houseboat is furnished with elegant interiors and features spacious, air-conditioned rooms. Facilities at the houseboat's private marina include a swimming pool, spa, and restaurant

Mountain Club Resort****, Munnar, India (1 night)

Mountain Club Resort Munnar is located on a quiet hill in a small hamlet called Chinnakanal. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a spa center offering Ayurvedic treatments. Cottages are set in gardens and all have private balconies. The Hot Hill Restaurant serves à la carte dishes and buffets with Chinese, Continental and Italian options, as well as Mughal and Kerala dishes.

Wildernest Bed & Breakfast**, Thekkady, India (2 nights)

The Wildernest is a tranquil bed & breakfast in the evergreen rainforests of Thekkady. The facility includes 10 large, comfortably furnished rooms. Each room is individually decorated and has a private garden or balcony.

Closest city: Bangalore

Closest airport: Kempegowda International Airport

Duration of the trip: 14 days / 13 nights

Including

  • 14 overnight stays according to the program
    • 2 nights in Mysore at Radisson Blu Plaza incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Coorg at Paddington Resort & Spa incl. breakfast

    • 2 nights in Wayanad at Wayanad Silver Woods Resort incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Ooty at Kings Cliff incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Coonoor at Sunvalley Homestay incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Kochi at Tea Bungalow incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Alleppey at Lakes & Lagoons Houseboat incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Munnar at Mountain Club Resort incl. breakfast

    • 2 nights in Thekkady at WIlderness Bed & Breakfast incl. breakfast

    • 1 night in Kochi at Tea Bungalow incl. breakfast

  • Meals as per program
  • All airport transfers
  • All mentioned train rides
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned car
  • Excursions as per program with English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees

Not included

  • International flights
  • Visa fees and travel insurance
  • Day trips not mentioned in the program
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the program
  • Personal expenses like telephone costs etc.
  • Tips

Additional experiences

Bike Tour through Fort Kochi

  1. Per person from 15 € excl. Flight
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