Personally Escorted Tour

Essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu

Through the ‘Essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu’ tour package, we want to share with you the tropical sights, sounds and sensations that we enjoy about Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Small GroupMax 10 guests
Duration18 days
WhenNov & Dec ’19

Tour Overview

Kerala houseboat in the backwaters with ATI Travel NZ

Through the ‘Essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu’ tour package, we want to share with you the tropical sights, sounds and sensations that we enjoy about Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Starting at balmy Kovalam on the southern tip of India, we travel up north to experience life in the backwaters. Overnight cruise on a houseboat gives us a flavour of life along Kerala’s backwaters.

In our own private air-conditioned vehicle, we travel through Kochi city and Munnar hills, we then make our way into the temple city Madurai to witness the architectural marvel. From here, we travel to Kochi through villages of Tamil Nadu & Kerala. This tour is as much about fun and excitement as it is about relaxation, and of course, there are more optional activities for anyone interested, from bird-watching to village walk, tea-tasting to the cooking demo, martial arts to trek through cardamom plantation.

Hosted by

Joji spinning cotton yarn in Bhujodhi village in Rajasthan with ATI Travel NZ

Since childhood, Joji Jacob has travelled extensively throughout India. He loves sharing the knowledge he has gathered over the years with the guests who come from all over the world.

He acts as a catalyst connecting guests with the locals prompting interactions and conversations. “The more we communicate from our heart,” Joji says, “then the more we will understand about each other and the greater the opportunity there will be to have an immersive travel experience despite language barriers. Moreover, this will dispel any initial concerns we may have had before embarking on what will certainly be a journey of discovery.” Read More +


What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • An intimate group of maximum 10 guests.
  • Business owners lead the tour, this enables us to fine-tune the itinerary to meet the travel needs of the all the guests on almost daily basis.
  • Houseboat cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
  • Stay in hand-picked boutique accommodation, such as retreats, palace, four & five-star hotels & heritage properties.
  • We visit potters and weavers in their own workshops.
  • Visit architectural marvels, such as Madurai Temple and Kanakakunnu Palace.
  • Optional activities, such as canoe ride, martial art demonstration, trekking are available on request.
  • Birdwatching & cycling through the village are the other highlights of the tour.


Essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu

16 Days

18th Nov – 5th Dec 2019

Tour Type:
Personally Escorted by Joji Jacob

Max Guests:

Group discounts available. Contact us for details.


Through the ‘Essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu’ tour package, we want to share with you the tropical sights, sounds and sensations that we enjoy about Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This tour is as much about fun and excitement as it is about relaxation – we want to take you on a leisurely but experience-rich journey of discovery.

Arriving at balmy Kovalam, we unwind to the sound of waves. After enjoying a good night’s sleep, we journey south to visit a beautiful wooden palace surrounded by rice fields and coconut trees, which once belonged to the King of Travancore. Leaving the sandy beaches behind, we travel up north to experience life in the backwaters and to see how sustainable coir is transformed into amazing products.

A relaxing backwater houseboat cruise gives us a flavour of life along Kerala’s backwaters. We then motor on upwards towards Kochi, a bustling port town. With its unique concoction of harbour and inland waterways, it provides a beautiful setting for historical buildings, great architecture, Chinese fishing nets, antiques and spice walks.

We ascend the majestic Western Ghats to Munnar where tea plantations sitting on misty hills welcome us. Cradled within the green hills, rest and recreation feeds both body and soul. We descend from the heady heights to the temple city of Madurai in the adjacent state of Tamil Nadu. Enjoy village life in Pollachi where we will visit a family owned and run organic cotton farm and store. In a relaxing environment, at a river retreat on the banks of the Nilla river in Kerala, we conclude this trip.

Come join us and experience the essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu!

Day 1 – Thiruvanthapuram

We will receive you at the Thiruvananthapuram International airport and take you to the hotel.

Day 2 – Poovar

After breakfast, we go for a short drive to visit two must see places in Thiruvanthapuram – Kuthiramalika Palace & 19th century Napier Museum. After lunch, we drive down to our coastal resort. In the evening we will have an early dinner & relax.

Day 3 – Poovar

Relax & Enjoy – a tropical haven bathed in sunshine, lined with coconut trees and sandy beaches and caressed by the waves from the balmy Arabian Sea. Find your spot in the sun and enjoy the heat and waves or just enjoy a good book and lots of cool drinks. A day in Kovalam is yours to colour in as you please. Before dinner, we will go for a country boat ride through the scenic mangroves near the resort.

Day 4 – Poovar

After a restful first day, we will visit a village of handloom weavers. Meet and mingle with the weavers and watch them at work. Back at the resort in the afternoon, the day is yours to laze around the pool, or go to the beach or just sit and read. You may even treat yourself to a nice, relaxing massage or have henna patterns applied to your hands.

Day 5 – Alappuzha (‘Venice of the East’)

Rise early for our journey to Alappuzha, ‘Venice of the East’. We will cruise along the backwaters in a lovely houseboat and enjoy the sights and sounds of life along the backwaters. Enjoy an authentic Kerala lunch & dinner cooked & served on the boat. Overnight stay on a houseboat moored on Vembanad Lake.

Day 6 – Kochi (Gateway to Kerala) After enjoying breakfast on the houseboat, we will motor up a scenic route to Kochi and dive into the hustle and bustle of Kerala’s Harbour city. Here you will see locals’ love for silk and cotton, gold and platinum and everything in between before retiring for the evening. The evening is yours to put your feet up and relax.


Day 7 – Kochi

We will set off early to walk around and visit historical sites, watch Chinese fishing nets in action and then leisurely stroll around Mattancherry and Jew Town where history, architecture, spices, antiques, Indian jewellery and handicrafts abound. Those who need an excuse to spend – look no further. Those who would rather not spend – walk past and relax in a café of your choice and enjoy a cool drink whilst the spenders sweat it out. The evening is yours to put your feet up and relax.

Day 8 – Munnar (Three rivers)

We head off early to the misty hill station of Munnar, making a few stops along the way as we ascend the majestic Western Ghats. Enjoy the misty coolness of the hills covered by emerald green tea and cardamom plantations. Relax far away from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the green luscious retreat. We will attend a short cultural performance in town before dinner and leave you to enjoy the cool of the evening.

Day 9 – Munnar

For early risers, start your day with a free yoga session. After a sumptuous organic breakfast we will head off to see, hear and smell how tea is processed and get an appreciation of the history of the tea industry in Munnar and India. We will wander around the Munnar market before heading off for an elephant safari. Treat yourself to a relaxing evening.

Day 10 – Madurai

After an early breakfast, we will head towards the temple city of Madurai in the adjacent state of Tamil Nadu. We will drive down the east side of the Western Ghats and across a fertile and flat agricultural belt where we will see all kinds of crops being cultivated and sold at markets. Depending on the timing, we may stop at a market and meet and mingle with the locals. Once we reach Madurai, we will check in, kick back and just relax for the afternoon.

Day 11 – Madurai

After breakfast, we will visit the Meenakshi Amman Temple, believed to have 33 million granite sculptures. After lunch, you can choose to do some sightseeing or just relax to your heart’s content.

Day 12 – Pollachi

We bid Madurai farewell, and head north towards another town in TamilNadu, Pollachi, where we will visit a family owned and run organic cotton farm and store. Since we will be driving through a pass in the Western Ghats, the rural scenery will be captivating.

Day 13 – Pollachi

Relax and enjoy the day in this beautiful and serene rural location.

Day 14 –Cheruthuruthy

We will undertake a leisurely drive to our final destination, a river retreat on the banks of the Nilla river, Kerala. After lunch, we will visit Kerala’s Kalamandalam which is a centre for learning traditional dance and music.

Day 15 –Cheruthuruthy

After a leisurely start and breakfast we will visit artisans living and working nearby. The evening is yours to put your feet up and relax.

Day 16 – Kochi International Airport

After yet another sumptuous breakfast, enjoy a leisurely and relaxing morning.In the afternoon, we will meander towards Kochi taking in some sight seeing along the way. We will drop off the guests who are flying out of Kerala at the Cochin Airport and bid them ‘Bon Voyage’.

Essence of Kerala & Tamil Nadu Tour Route Map.

Kerala escorted tour route map

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy
Package Price for 18 days: NZ$7685 
Group DiscountUp to NZ$400 One person on twin share
Single SupplementNZ$2950 Per Person

Package cost includes:

  • Land transport in private air-conditioned van & houseboat cruise
  • All breakfast, 2 lunch & 1 dinner
  • All entrance fees
  • Contact us for  the whole list of inclusions & exclusions


Best time to travel

Between Oct to Mar is the best time for this tour.

Private group of 6+ guests

If you have a group of friends keen to travel together, we can further customise this tour to meet your specific travel needs. At least one of us will accompany the group to provide much more flexibility and exploration on the tour.

Private group of fewer than 6 guests

We can tailor-make this tour specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you. You will have your own vehicle and driver and also will be joined by guides at various destinations. Above all, you & your driver will be in constant contact with our team in India and also us here in Wellington, NZ.

Request a detailed itinerary

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