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Curry & Tea: South India & Sri Lanka

  • Destination: Asia & India, India, Sri Lanka
  • Start: 03/12/2018
  • End: 03/31/2018

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  • Double Occupancy $6995 | Single Occupancy $8995 $8245
  • 19 days/17 nights including 10 nights in South India (Cochin/Kochi, Kumarakom, Alleppey, Periyar, Madurai, Chennai) & 7 nights in Sri Lanka (Colombo, Dambulla, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Galle)
  • Deluxe/1st Class (5★/4★) accommodations throughout
  • Activity level: Easy
  • International Air Routing: USA – Kochi (COK) / Colombo (CMB) – USA

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Please click ( + ) signs by each day for detailed information.

Day 1

MON MAR 12, 2018 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Kochi (KOK) (formerly Cochin), India.
Day 2

TUE MAR 13 • Arrive Kochi (Cochin)

Arrive in Kochi where you will be met and transferred to the hotel for check-in. Kochi’s history is a bright tapestry woven through the centuries with colonizers of the Hindu and Mughal dynasties, with Portuguese, Dutch and British influences during the lucrative pepper trade. Modern day Kochi is a busy port city spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Kerala Backwaters.

Hotel: Grand Hyatt Luxury Hotel ★★★★★
Room: Standard Room
Meals: None

Day 3

WED MAR 14 • Kochi

This morning, we will explore the city with a local guide and walk through the bustling harbor area and quaint backstreets to discover the rich and multifaceted history of the area. The city hosts the oldest European style church in India, St. Francis Church, and a Jewish community with roots from the Diaspora. See Mattancherry Palace, erstwhile home to the Verma kings and today a fine museum. In the afternoon, explore Kochi’s eclectic market unknown to most tourists, and in the evening, visit a local theatee to experience a Kathakali performance. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers this evening.

Hotel: Grand Hyatt Luxury Hotel ★★★★★
Room: Standard room
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4

THU MAR 15 • Kochi | Kumarakom

Begin the day early today with a morning excursion to a local beach to see the local fishing boats pull in their catch of the day. There is a lively auction on the beach with retailers and exporters bidding for the best catch. Continue to a farm house to sample a home -made breakfast.

Later, by bicycle or “tuk tuk” spend a morning exploring the surrounding village.

In the afternoon we see coir industrious villagers busy making traditional coir (the fibers from the outer husk of the coconut). Later continue to Kumarakom, the “Venice of the East”, a veritable paradise in the lush backwaters of Kottayam, Kerala’s heartland of lagoons, palm-fringed lakes and paddy fields.

The remainder of the day is at leisure at the hotel. Visit the Ayurveda Centre, based on India’s ancient healing art of Ayurveda, for a massage or treatment .

Hotel: Kumarakom Lake Resort ★★★★★
Category: Meandering Pool Villa
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5

FRI MAR 16 • Kumarakom

Wake up early for a session of yoga under the guidance of an expert yogi. Today is spent at Philipkutty’s Farm, a real Keralan experience in a fascinating location. Food is a highlight of staying at Philipkuttys farm and, being a traditional agrarian household, lavish meals are the norm. Here our lunch will be hosted by the charming family using the fresh produce bought from the nearby family organic farms managed and taken care of by the family themselves. Return to the hotel for the evening.

Hotel: Kumarakom Lake Resort ★★★★★
Category: Meandering Pool Villa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

SAT MAR 17 • Kumarakom | Alleppey

Board a houseboat for an overnight stay while exploring the backwaters. Exploring these series of canals allows a glimpse of life in Kerala that is impossible to get from the road. Along the way, pass rice fields, tiny villages, boats transporting children to school and farmers transporting their produce to the market. Disembark to wander in the villages and talk to the locals.  In the evening, the boat will anchor mid-stream and the crew will prepare delicious meals.

Hotel: Lakes and Lagoons
Category: Deluxe Allepey
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

SUN MAR 18 • Alleppey | Thekkady

In the morning, drive overland to Thekkady (about 4 hours). The road leaves the coastal plain, and then winds into the Cardamon Hills, which form part of the great Western Ghats range, dividing the Indian Ocean coast from the Deccan Plateau that covers most of the Indian interior.

Periyar is the “Land of the Spices” Columbus was seeking when he stumbled on the New World. Kerala’s Malabar Coast is famous for its fabulous spice crops. Visit the neighboring pepper plantation, walking past the rows of mats on which the plucked peppercorns are left to dry. The scent of pepper mingles with the fresh mountain air. This is the starting point of the centuries old spice trade and that delicious flavor which makes such a difference to foods worldwide.

Hotel: Spice Village ★★★★
Category: Standard Villa 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

MON MAR 19 • Thekaddy | Madurai

With 16 wildlife sanctuaries and 5 national parks nestled along the Western Ghats, Kerala is a hotspot wildlife destination. Drive up to nearby Periyar National Park reserve for a guided nature walk towards Periyar lake. At the bank of the lake, take a bamboo raft and cruise through the many delights of the sanctuary. Around 35 species of animals live here including elephants and tigers, but also the nilgiri sambar, wild dogs, leopard smooth-coated otters and lion-tailed macaques. Disembark the raft, return to the gate and head back to the hotel for an afternoon drive downhill towards Madurai.


Hotel: Heritage Madurai ★★★★★
Room: Luxury Villa
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9

TUE MAR 20 • Madurai

With a guide, explore the splendid Sri Meenakshi Temple which is the abode of Goddess Meenakshi and considered by many to be the height of South Indian temple architecture. Visit the impressive remains of the Thirumalai Palace with an entrance gate, main hall and Natakasala (Dance Hall), with their faded yellow plasterwork, lion and makara (crocodile-elephant creature) sculptures and a series of fabulous murals that hints at the opulence the Nayak rulers once enjoyed. Next, visit to the excellent Gandhi Memorial Museum. It contains an impressively moving and detailed account of India’s struggle for independence from 1757 to 1947. Included in the exhibition is the blood-stained dhoti (long loincloth) that Gandhi was wearing at the time he was assassinated in Delhi in 1948.

Late this evening, revisit the Temple to attend the night ceremony that takes place every evening when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bed chamber of Parvati. The procession is accompanied by religious prayer and temple music.

Hotel: Heritage Madurai ★★★★★
Room: Luxury Villa
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10

WED MAR 21 • Madurai | Chennai

Early this morning, fly to Chennai, a trade center, with both modern and traditional charm mixing its many British influences with Tamil-Hindu traditions. Visit the rich archaeology and art collection of the Madras Museum which also houses the Victoria Art Gallery. Continue to the Valluvar Kottam memorial honoring the Tamil poet and his classic work, the Thirukural. Next, visit St. Thomas Mount, the site where St. Thomas was believed to have been martyred, and St Thomas Cathedral.

Next stop, the Fort St. George, which is presently being used by the Tamil Nadu Government. Within the compound is a museum holding many remembrances of the East India Company and the British period. From here, drive to Egmore – which is the heart of city – to visit the State Museum. End the tour with a visit to the Kapaleeswarar Temple – the biggest temple in Chennai dating to the 13th century AD, honoring Lord Shiva.

Overnight in Chennai.

Hotel: The Leela Palace ★★★★★
Room: Deluxe Sea view
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11

THU MAR 22 • Mahabalipuram

Built in the 7th century, Mahabalipuram is an ancient Pallava port. The Pallavas perfected the art of sculpting rocks to build temples without brick, mortar or timber. This morning, visit the open-air bas-reliefs, structured temples, man-made caves and the five monolithic rathas (chariots carved from single processions) that reflect this art at its best. The landmark of this marvelous collection is the Shore Temple, a world heritage monument, and the only surviving one from a complex, the other’s having been claimed by the sea. Return to Chennai hotel. Rest of the day relax at the hotel.

Hotel: The Leela Palace ★★★★★
Room: Deluxe Sea view
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12

FRI MAR 23 • Colombo

Transfer to the Chennai Airport for a flight to Colombo, a trade and commercial capital and long time traditional gateway to the Orient. (Please note, this is a Srilankan Airline flight and meal/snacks and bottled water are available on board. Luggage allowance on this flight is 30 kg checked in baggage and 7 kg hand luggage). Sri Lanka’s largest city, it is located on the west coast and draws together all the cultures, religions and influences of foreign lands into a potpourri of sounds, smells and a kaleidoscope of color. The original traders and settlers – the Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and the British have left in their wake churches and monuments, names and religions, costumes and food and smatterings of their languages which have been absorbed into the speech of the Sri Lankan.

Hotel: Galle Face Hotel ★★★★
Room: Landmark Room
Meals: Breakfast

Day 13

SAT MAR 24 • Colombo | Dambulla

Explore the city by wandering through the sprawling collection of ancient artifacts and colonial era relics at the must-see National Museum, beautiful Buddhist and Hindu temples, the historic Wolfendhal church, Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the New Parliament in Sri Jayewardenepura, the Folk Art Centre, Art Galleries, Parks, Independence Square, the Ceramic Corporation, famous for its well-known brand Noritake and ODEL, and the renowned shopping center.

In the afternoon, drive through a lush green countryside with a mix of coconut palms, paddy fields and banana plantations to Dambulla. Here visit the magnificent Cave Temple, the most impressive sight in Sri Lanka.

Hotel: Jetwing Vil Uyana ★★★★★
Room: Garden and Marsh Dwelling
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14

SUN MAR 25 • Dambulla

Morning visit the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya. Known by some as Lion’s Rock, it is one of Sri Lanka’s most recognizable landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, drive to Polonnaruwa for a visit to the well-preserved remains of the capital of the Singhalese kings from the 11th-13th centuries. See the excavations: Temples, dagobas, the royal palace, the royal library.

Hotel: Jetwing Vil Uyana ★★★★★
Room: Garden and Marsh Dwelling
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15

MON MAR 26 • Dambulla | Kandy

Head into the hills to the picturesque town of Kandy. On the way, stop at a local spice garden near Matale where you can see various spices and herbs growing and have a chance to stock up on massage oils, spices and Ayurvedic medicines.

Upon arrival in Kandy, drive around the artificial lake in the center of the city and visit the National Museum. Visit the Temple of the Holy Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, the tooth of Buddha, which was taken from his funeral pyre in 543 BC. Then, attend a dance performance (subject to availability) where you will see the famous Kandyan dance as well as up-country and devil dances.

Hotel: Earl’s Regency ★★★★★
Room: Deluxe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 16

TUE MAR 27 • Kandy | Nuwara Eliya

While in Kandy, visit the world-famous Botanical Garden at Peradeniya which contains a rich history in addition to an immense variety of orchids, spice trees, palms, and tropical plants and flowers. Afterwards, drive an ascending road up 4,920 feet towards Nuwara Eliya, and enter Tea Country. Tea plantations are everywhere with thousands and thousands of rich, full, green tea bushes. Stop to visit one of the many tea factories and plantations.

Hotel: Heritance Tea Factory ★★★★
Room: Superior
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17

WED MAR 28 • Nuwara Eliya

Tour the resort town of Nuwara Eliya, situated on a little lake and surrounded by mountains covered over by tea bushes. The town itself was the favorite hill station of the British who set it up to look like a misplaced British village. The charming, old, pink-brick post office, the English country house-like Hill Club with its hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, the 18-hole golf course (said to be one of the finest in Asia), and even the well-stocked trout streams speak of the area’s English past.

Hotel: Heritance Tea Factory ★★★★
Room: Superior
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 18

THU MAR 29 • Nuwara Eliya | Galle

Drive along the southern shores of Sri Lanka to Galle and visit 17th century Dutch Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although many of the structures that made up the fort are in serious decay, the outer walls are completely intact. Walk along the top of the walls at dusk, and see dozens of cricket games, an old lighthouse, beautiful views of the town harbor and hundreds of Sri Lankans out socializing. Within the fort, visit any of several old churches (including a Dutch church dating from the mid-18th century) or simply stroll the narrow streets to get a good look at the old buildings.

Hotel: Jetwing Light House Hotel ★★★★★
Room: Deluxe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19

FRI MAR 30 • Galle | Colombo | USA

The morning is at your leisure until the drive to Colombo for your departure flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 20

SAT MAR 31 • Arrive USA

Rates & Facts

Rates Main Tour Intra-Tour Flights Full Program Total
Double Occupancy $6995 $300 $7295
Single Occupancy $8995 $300 $9295

Intra-Tour Airfare

Intra-tour flights are additional. Coda Tours will book the intra-tour flights: Economy Class Airfare
Sectors: Madurai /Chennai, Chennai/ Colombo. Fares are subject to change until ticketed.

  • 4 & 5 star accommodations, as stated in the itinerary and in the room category indicated
  • Meals, as stated in the itinerary; breakfast is included daily
  • All land transfers as required by the itinerary
  • English speaking local guides
  • Sightseeing excursions and entry fees as stated in the itinerary
  • All applicable taxes and service charges
  • Coda Tour Manager on minimum participation
  • Pre-departure assistance and Information Portfolio from Coda Tours
Not included

International airfare and baggage fees to and from the USA; Intra-Tour airfare required by the itinerary (quoted separately); Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance (highly recommended); Visas for INDIA & SRI LANKA (required) and Passport fees; Personal meals, drinks, telephone, gifts, and expenses not outlined in the itinerary; Any optional sightseeing excursions or additional visits not outlined in itinerary; Gratuity for local guides, drivers and Coda Tour Manager; Any meals not specified in the itinerary.

International Airfare

Airlines that have connections to Cochin (COK) are Air India, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airways. We recommend booking at least 7 months in advance if you want to use Frequent Flyer Miles or the American Express Platinum card 2-4-1 program.

Travel Documents & Visas

A valid passport is required for international travel and must be valid for 6 months after the date of return and have at least two available pages. A single-entry visa is required for travel to India for US and Canadian passport holders. You may obtain your visa upon arrival at the airport in Mumbai or New Delhi by applying for an E-VISA. To arrange for this, please refer to this webpage https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html for current costs and to complete forms. An EVISA is the least expensive and easiest way to obtain your visa. If you prefer to use a visa service, we recommend using http://www.visacentral.com To speak directly to Visa Central, call 877.535.0688 (toll-free in the U.S.). Please note that visas cannot be processed more than 90 days prior to departure and processing may take several days to complete. You may also apply directly with an Indian Consulate in your area. For information, google the Indian Consulate nearest you (e.g. Indian Consulate New York). A single-entry visa is also required for travel to Sri Lanka for US and Canadian passport holders. You may obtain an Electronic Visa Authorization though the following website http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ Once you have the authorization, you will obtain the visa stamp upon arrival in Sri Lanka. You may also use a visa service such as http://www.visacentral.com as described above.


No immunizations are required for travel on this tour. However, the Center for Disease Control suggests that all travelers make sure they are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

The CDC also recommends vaccines for hepatitis A and Typhoid for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

Zika virus is a risk in India. All travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus during and after the trip.


All departures are guaranteed on a minimum number of participants. A Coda Tour Manager will accompany a tour also based on a minimum number of participants. This tour can be operated as a Private Tour, can be customized and repriced based on a final itinerary. Rates are based on a minimum participation of 10. For fewer than 10 participants, rates may be revised.

Pre-Departure Information

A complete portfolio of pre-departure information will be mailed to you approximately three weeks prior to departure.


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