Kerala & Tamil Nadu holiday, hidden gems of India

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Departure information

This trip can be booked at any time and tailor made to suit your requirements
Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

The tour operator offering this holiday is a British company with an intimate knowledge of the destination. All their holidays are tailor made which means that they can create a unique holiday for your individual requirements. They offer a range of accommodation from guesthouses and homestays to the more luxurious hotels. Where possible they use properties that are heritage or characterful. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips. They are licenced to sell flights from the UK and will search for the best airfare for your dates. If you book flights with them, then the whole holiday will be protected by ATOL. This tour operator is also a member of ABTA – this means that all their holidays adhere to the ABTA Code of Conduct, their finances, insurances etc are checked regularly and if you have a complaint that cannot be resolved there is an arbitration scheme available to you.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala & Tamil Nadu holiday, hidden gems of India


This holiday is arranged on an individual basis and a vehicle of appropriate size will be used. All the accommodation owners are committed to operating in an environmentally friendly way.

Vismaya is an exclusive two bedroom villa so can only accommodate four guests at any one time. Small numbers of guests have lower impact on the environment. Vismaya is a 400 year old building of traditional Kerala style complete with antique fittings. Sustainable policies include minimal use of air-conditioning due to the design and location of the property and reverse osmosis water filtration. Paradisa Plantation is a small resort set within an estate. Rajakkad was an old palace falling into disrepair in the backwaters of Kerala. It was dismantled and moved to the current position in Tamil Nadu and with the thoughtful conversion undertaken it is now a delightful place to stay. Guests staying here mostly remain relaxing in the area as it is set in a garden, within an estate with a small village on the edge. There are many birds (said to be 200) in the forests of this area. Shenbaga Vilaasam was built in the early 1900s as the farm estate for a royal family. In recent years it was rarely used by the family so was shut up most of the time. Then in 2007 it was decided to make it into a heritage guesthouse – and the building and the heirlooms it contained have been saved. The land around (running to hundreds of acres) is still farmed. Teak House is a family home not too far from Cochin or the airport but right on the banks of the Periyar River and in a plot of almost an acre. This is a good place for birding and the host is a very keen birder and photographer himself.

As all the accommodation in this tour is in a rural location (and in many cases set in a plantation or farm) and away from the main tourist areas we expect guests selecting this holiday to be interested in nature, walking or photography as well as wanting a very personal experience of South India.


All the accommodation used on this tour is privately owned. Vismaya and Rajakkad are both owned/ managed by an Indian/European partnership. The combination of Indian and European owners/management is good as the European input ensures that certain standards are maintained. Paradisa Plantation, Shenbaga Vilaasam and Teak House are all Indian owned. Paradisa is a small resort owned by a man from Kottayam. Shenbaga is the farm/country estate of a royal family and was converted into a guesthouse in 2007. Teak House is a family home with members of the family in residence. All the properties employ local people as staff - cooks, housekeepers, managers etc. As all the properties are in rural areas away from the normal tourist destinations this local employment is very important to the individual communities. The experience and training they get often enables them to pursue a career in tourism.

Our local agent is also a family owned business and our lovely team of drivers (most of which have been with us for many years) are dependent on our company for their business. We have an unusual arrangement with our drivers who are paid a monthly wage. This helps them to budget as work in South India is very seasonal and during the low season drivers typically have no work and therefore get no salary and no tips. Our drivers have a contract of employment too which means they know that they still have a job at the beginning of the next season. The drivers and their families were also given a ‘free’ holiday. Many people in India do not take a holiday as such – rather they visit family members. Our agent negotiated with the hotels and houseboat operators we work with and arranged a holiday for 36 people with transfers, accommodation and meals all included. The highlight was to return from Cochin to Trivandrum by air. None of them had stayed in a hotel or flown before so this was a tremendous experience for them. We know of no other local agent who has provided their staff and family with a holiday.

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