The beautiful land of Kerala is the go-to destination for spices. The Spice Trial of India tour is a perfect opportunity to witness the land of traditional medicines and spices, rich wildlife and picturesque backwaters of South India. According to a legend, Parasurama, a warrior sage reclaimed the land of Kerala and its waters by throwing a spear into the sea. The colorful history and houseboats of Kerala are attractions to tourists all around the world.

The Spice trial tour of India carries thrill seekers along a strip of Kerala’s northern shores, ranging from the vibrant city of Cochin to the spice gardens of the highlands. Explore the picturesque backdrop of glistening waters, charming fishing villages and obtain knowledge about the traditional medicinal procedures of Ayurveda in this exotic part of the earth. Kerala has rightfully been included as one of the 50 places to see in a lifetime.

Kerala has something for everyone, and especially for spice enthusiasts. Visit locals and learn their cooking styles and take home different cuisines. If you are a fits time visitor to India, the spice trial tour of India is a perfect choice for you.

Itinerary

  • Day Arrival in Cochin

    Today, we arrive at the Cochin airport. Cochin is aptly called as the queen of the Arabian Sea. Ancient civilization intermingles with modern life perfectly in Cochin. Cochin also previously experienced some pulsating exposure to European Colonial rivalry. The mixture of the old, new and the western civilization makes Cochin a wonderful land to be in.

    In the afternoon, we explore the historic town of Fort Kochin on foot. Stepped in history, Cochin is a spectacle worth exploring. The city has retained the ambiance of a bygone era. The smell of the past, amalgamated with the smells of the spices that Cochin is famous for, makes this walk an incredible experience. The walk can be brought to an end by refreshing yourself with a large variety of flavored teas. Sample the plain tea as well as the Nilgiri tea. You can also choose from options like the jasmine tea, chamomile tea, and cranberry tea.

    • Meals not included
    • Overnight at hotel in Cochin
  • Day Exploration of Thomas Chettans Farm

    Today, we start off early morning, to visit the Thomas Chettans Farm. The tropical evergreen village is set beautifully among the fresh smell of orchards. The wetland rice fields, contrasting with the wood trees greet your presence. The ancient forms of farming are still evident in the Thomas Chettans farm. The farming system closely follows the cosmic rhythms based on the five-part, a traditional calendar called the Panchangam.

    The farm has been practicing organic deals for more than two decades but has recently reverted to follow a bio-dynamic direction. The farm grows a variety of spices, pepper, fruits, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, vanilla, hot-pepper, cinnamon, medicinal herbs and seasonal vegetables.

    Today, you will get to experience the culture and traditions of Kerala from close by, as you will be greeted by your very own host for the day. The host will take you through farming ideologies and history. Spend some time by discovering the farm. You will relish lunch with your host and this meal will include fresh produce directly from the garden. Return to Cochin after lunch, in order to take a tour of Jew Town.

    The dinner will be a lavish affair as well. Have some dinner in Fort Kochi- Seafood Restaurant. The restaurant has been claimed to be one of the best in India and gives you a sample of the product from the sea. The fresh produce available here comes directly from fishing nets in the Cochin’s rivers. You can choose from king prawns, mussels, shark, mackerel, salmon, and lobster. You can choose the cooking range too. Have the seafood items grilled, poached, baked or steamed. Also, try the local styles and an array of pickles and spices. Delectable indication and freshness await you in the ancient lands of Kochi.

    • Breakfast & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Cochin
  • Day Cochin to Houseboat

    Houseboats are considered to be one of the major attractions of Kerala. The houseboats are wondrous in itself. Furnished fully with single/double bedrooms, kitchen and a sun deck, all at your disposal, the houseboat are no less of a 5-star luxury. You will get a chance to cruise around several locations in the comfort of the houseboat.

    The houseboat also allows you to experience luxury on a delectable level. You will be given your own chef, oarsmen, and cabin assistant. You will get to enjoy panoramic views of narrow canals, paddy fields, and the perfection of the beautiful Vembanad Lake. Visit the Rani Chithira Mathanda R Block along the way and witness the views of the Pallikayal. You will also cruise through Irumbanam Narrow Canal as well as the Pallathuruhty River. You can also get a chance to witness the method of cooking by taking cooking lessons with the cook on board.

    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner included
    • Overnight at houseboat
  • Day Drive from Cochin to Alleppey

    Today is yet another interesting way to get a glance to the spices present in Kerala. We check out early morning and drive to Alleppey in order to join the Preserve Alleppey Tour. The Preserve Alleppey tour is a carefully created itinerary that has been created in order to bring focus into the preservation of the city. The project started with the Lion Ladies Club of Alleppey in the year 2000. The project started off with the realization that Alleppey was in dire need of preserving its beauty and ethnicity by all means. The tour has a pre-defined itinerary which starts with a presentation of history and unique features of the town. Later, the tour comes to an end in the gallery of the Society. Light refreshments are served in order to bring an end to the Preserve Alleppey Tour. The tour basically involves walking through the Gujarati quarter, canal banks and an old wholesale marker with a guide.

    After the tour comes to an end, the Preserve Alleppey Society also provides lunch on request. The unique opportunity to enjoy authentic Kerala meal features local tropical produce. The lunches are also a perfect opportunity to enjoy authentic Kerala meal and visit a home of a local. Meet with the residents and understand their way of cooking and eating food.

    • Breakfast & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Alleppey
  • Day Drive from Alleppey to Thekkady

    Today, the day starts with a drive to Thekkady. En route, we will make a stop at the Plantation Bungalow. The Plantation Bungalow is home to acres of coffee, rubber, pineapple, rubber etc. the experts there will give a clear picture of the processing procedures of these raw materials, into commercial products. Witness the conversion of sap into processed rubber, brewing of aromatic coffee and cultivation of tropical fruits and spices. Deep into the plantation is a tree house. From atop the tree house, you will get a chance to witness a bird;s eye view of the entire plantation.

    Sample authentic Kerala cooking with a huge number of spices. The large front lawn of the plantation will be used to serve lunch. Sample the flavors of ancient Kerala in groups of 4 or 5, under the mango tree. A gentle breeze, friendly conversation and the chirping of birds makes this experience worthy of all the trouble.

    • Breakfast & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Thekkady
  • Day Sightseeing around Thekkady

    Set out to visit the Spice Park at Puttady today. The Spice Park is devoted towards the processing of cardamom and pepper. The processing facilities of the Spices Parkis on par with international standards, the products undergo a vigorous procedure of the cleaning, grading, sorting, grinding, packing, warehousing etc.

    The Spice Park also offers educational services to the farming community on a regular basis. Training programs about Good Agricultural Practices advanced processing practices, global food safety and post-harvest operations to locals and any other people interested to obtain the training. We will visit the Connemara Tea Factory in the evening and will embark on a late evening lesson in tribal cooking.

    • Breakfast & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Thekkedy
  • Day Drive from Rajakkad estate to Chettinadu

    Today, we move through the Rajakkad Estate to Chettinadu and finally to Karaikudi. The ancient culture and traditions of Tamilnadu come alive as you visit the estate of Chettinadu. The sensory delights of the ancient and rich culture and warm hospitality of Chettinadu are inexplicable and cannot be put into words. Every meal that you have here is an elaborate affair, giving an idea about the spicy cuisine. Live the lavish lifestyle of the Chettiar people.

    There is no specific menu for the food and every day brings about a new menu. Lean back and be sure that the meals presented to you will be no less than the definition of delicious and lavish. Chettinadu is a food haven for foodies and one is considered to be lucky when having a meal there. The generous dose of pepper makes the meals spicy but subtle in its own way. The mixture of several spices and masala, creates a dance in the tongue of foodies, something which cannot be forgotten soon.

    In the afternoon, after a sumptuous meal, we will embark on a bullock ride to reach the streets of Karaikudi.

    • Breakfast & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Chettinadu
  • Day Drive from Karaikadi to Madurai

    We started off early morning in Karaikudi, in order to reach Madurai today. The early morning drive to Madurai is followed by a visit to the Meenakshi Temple. Witness the evening Pooja ceremony at the temple and visit the local bazaar filled with spices.

    • Breakfast & dinner included
    • Overnight at hotel in Madurai
  • Day Depart transfer

    The spice filled tour comes to an end today, as you fly to Chennai or Mumbai. Remember the scents and the taste of Kerala, as you decide to return back for more. Depart back to your countries and do not forget to take souvenirs for loved one back home.

    • Breakfast included

Trip Info

  • Accommodation & meals

    • Pre and post tour accommodation at 3 star hotels in Cohin & Madhurai.        
    • Twin sharing basis at 3 star hotels & house boat during the trip. 
    • 9 Breakfasts, 4 lunches & 3 dinners included during the trip.
  • Inclusions & Exclusions

    Inclusions

    • All monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
    • One English speaking tour leader depending on the group size
    • English speaking local guide for sightseeing in each monument.
    • First Aid Kit
    • All Govt. taxes including service charges

    Exclusions

    • Emergency evacuation fee
    • International airfare
    • Personal Insurance
    • Personal expenses (Alcoholic beverages, bottled drinks, telephone calls, laundry etc)
    • Visa fee
    • Any services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transportation

    All transfers will be conducted on a private vehicle

  • Visa & documentation

    It is now possible to obtain an electronic visa to India. US citizens can obtain the e-visa which is emailed to you. If you have an e-visa or an i-visa, you should make sure that you stand in the correct queue for it. The total expenses for the electronic visa are under $100. These visas are quick to obtain (about 18 hours of time). You will receive the e-visa in the email in less than 72 hours or three working days.

  • Insurance Policy

    We personally don’t recommend or advertise any particular insurance organization but we can help you figure out what kind of insurance company you should make a deal with. We kindly advise our guests that travel insurance is mandatory before any other travel and trek agreements.

    Ways of triggering your insurance:

    • There are actually two ways that your insurance fund can be triggered and brought into action. The first type is where you will have to use your own money if any injuries occurs or any medical attention is needed. Then the insurance company will pay you later when you return home and show them the documentation of insurance as proof.
    • Another type is where if any medical attention is needed and your insurance needs to be triggered the insurance company will cover all the cost up front and you won’t have to spend a single penny that is not meant for such incident.

    Personally we recommend you to pick an insurance company who are willing to pay you while you need medical attention in Nepal during the time of evacuation and other medical emergencies and not after you return from Nepal.

     

    Main conditions to look for in an insurance policy:

    General insurance only offers medical evacuation up to 4000m but we will attain maximum height of more than this, so we advise our clients to search for a company that provides medical insurance and evacuation plans up to 6000m. If you are planning to climb any peak along with trekking please make sure your policy also pays for “Climbing” as an option.

    You will need to find a policy where your insurance is activated only for the days that you are trekking. If you suffer from altitude sickness and have to be evacuated in an instant you will have to trigger your insurance. These insurance can cost up to $5000. Although these kinds of evacuations are very rare we still need to be prepared for it. So to make any insurance claim you firstly need to get a medical report from a hospital of Nepal as proof before triggering your insurance claim. You will be charged about $150 as a medical fee by the hospital to get your medical reports and documentations before claiming your travel insurance. Some insurance also cover for minor interference and obstacles like flight cancellations to Lukla or even from Kathmandu to your home.

    As mentioned before, please look for an insurance policy that pays you during the time of emergency while trekking and not after you get back to your country.

    What you need to know:

    We inform you that any kind of medical fees that your insurance does not cover will be your responsibility. So we want you to have a very good and thorough look at the insurance policy before applying for it. We do not take any kind of responsibilities for insurance related payments and fiscal managements but we will help you get required documentations and reports for the insurance.

     

    Examples of insurance companies:

    Bigcattravelinsurance.com, WorldNomads, travelguard.com, Squaremouth.com

     

    Important highlights to remember:

    1. Makalu travels do not hold any kind of insurance related financial management work but we will help you acquire important documentations needed for processing your insurance policies.
    2. Choose an insurance policy where you don’t have to pay your own money while trekking in Nepal while in need of medical attention. In other words look for a policy where your insurance company will cover all the money related process if you need any kind of medical attention.
    3. Choose policy with evacuation plan up to 6000m and with an option “climbing” if you are climbing any peak as well as trekking.
    4. Some companies like WorldNomads have a policy where clients have to pay their own money while trekking if they need any kind of medical attention and you will be payed once you return home. So please make sure you have a very good understanding of what type of insurance policy you are agreeing to.

     

  • Cancellation & Changes

    There are two ways to deal with modification in travel plans. First is you can cancel the trip completely and second is you can postpone the date. But for any of these change to take effect we need to be informed 6 weeks before your booked trip date before cancelling or postponing the trip.

    Important note: In case of natural disasters and national political issues our hands are tied so we cannot undertake any kind of activities which we will take full responsibility of and make sure our clients get the flexibility of making decisions to either postpone or cancel the trip they initially advocated for. There will be no extra fees or cost for rescheduling but if you decide to cancel the trip volunterily our cancellation fees apply which is listed and described below.

     

    Cancellation fees rules:

    These are our specific rules for trip cancellations and refund fees involved:

    1. If we are informed by our clients at least 43 days before the travel date then the full deposit amount will be refunded after deducting 4% bank surcharge on total deposit amount.
    2. If we are informed by our clients 6 weeks before the travel date then we can refund complete deposit by just deducting $195 per person.
    3. If cancellation is done between 4 and 6 weeks of travel date then we can refund your deposit after deducting $395 per person. This is because we will have to pay to the hotels, guides and other personals involved to make this trip possible to recover their financial plans.
    4. If we are not informed between 4 and 6 weeks of travel date there will be no refund as there are many other workers and organizations that needs to be paid by us for planning your trip. Losing you as a customer means losing their employment opportunity which will harm involved worker’s financial status.

    So, we request our respectful guests to inform us about any kind of modification plans (postpone or cancellations) at least before 43 days of travel date. This will help us to refund your designated deposit and also maintain financial status of every worker and organization involved.

  • Payments & Deposits

    Makalu Travels offers easy & reliable online payment through credit/debit card, & Paypal. All online payments are processed through the our highly secured online payment partner Authorize.net Please kinldy be informed that all online payments are subject to additional 4% bank surcharge & processing fee. 

    If you would like to avoid the 4% transaction fee then you also have an option to deposit the money into Makalu Travels' bank account in Wells Fargo Bank, USA. The bank details will be provided on request. You will receive a notice from us after a successful deposit or any kind of financial transaction. We will make sure that your transfer amount has arrived to us before sending you any type of confirmation invoice or notification.

  • Hotel & Room Bookings

    The hotel we will accommodate you to is Hotel Le Himalaya pre and post trek in Kathmandu. We will book the hotel rooms for you as per your request with a good pricing than that of online booking. We will transfer all your luggage while being transferred from one accommodation center to another. In Kathmandu we will have a very standard hotel but while trekking we won’t have such luxury so we will have to spend our nights in tea houses. These tea houses are fairly of good standard, you can’t be too picky in the Himalayas! You can contact us if there is any specific query you have about the accommodation structure.

     

    In Kathmandu

    Rooms are very spacious and have private bathrooms and toilets. You will not have to compromise even a bit while your stay at Kathmandu. Hotel Le HImalaya is where you will be before and after the trek as we will have pre booked everything for our respected guests. In case of extending your vacation in Nepal we can help you book rooms for extra nights but we will need to be pre informed. If it is a peak season it will be difficult to manage room in same hotel but we will make an utmost effort to accommodate you in the hotel of same caliber.

    Note: Our guests will not have to pay for the nights that they don’t spend in a hotel room in Kathmandu. We can always come to an agreement if there are certain flight delays or cancellations. During these kind of situations we will accommodate our guests fitting best to their requirements.

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