About the challenge
Kerala in southern India is renowned for its wonderful palm-fringed beaches and the rich tropical landscape of its interior. Our trek takes in the lush green forests, cardamom-scented hills and photogenic tea plantations of the Western Ghats. From the beautiful colonial hill station of Munnar, we trek over forested hills and open ridges, passing plantations of coffee and mango as well as the famous tea. En route we take in Meesapulimala Peak, the highest accessible point in the region, where the views over this beautiful area are breath-taking. The cool mountain air is perfect for trekking these wonderful hills; afterwards we head down to the tropical palm-fringed coastline, known for its sandy white beaches, fascinating fishing villages and backwater houseboats.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|19 Nov 2016||10||Open challenge||Limited||£299||+||£3450||Or||£1500||Contact office|
|11 Feb 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£3450||£1500||Book now|
|18 Nov 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£3450||£1500||Book now|
|10 Feb 2018||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£3550||£1550||Book now|
|17 Nov 2018||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£3550||£1550||Book now|
Trek the beautiful tea plantations and lush hills of Kerala
Pass traditional villages, rice paddies and fields of spices
Cruise serene backwaters of Alleppey on houseboat
Chance to spot wildlife including elephants
Day 1-2: Flight to Kochi, Kerala
Day 3-4: Drive to Munnar in Western Ghats, warm-up walk through tea plantations
Day 5-7: Trek through forest and over ridges to Meesapulima (2640m), descend through plantations and small villages
Day 8-11: Transfer to houseboat on Alleppey backwaters, then beautiful beach to finish and flying home
What makes it demanding?
Trek 6-8 hours each day
Diverse terrain with some challenging hills
Narrow paths with steep descents
Heat can add to challenge
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
For details of our Kovalam beach extension (adds 3 extra days) please contact us.
The tour cost includes all flights and transport, accommodation, camping equipment (other than sleeping bag and mat); all meals except three as specified in the itinerary; houseboat cruise and entry to any sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of local guides, drivers and porters.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline taxes if charged by the airline (capped by Discover Adventure), entry visa, tips for local crew or international departure tax. It also does not include any optional activities (eg Kathakali dance, tea museum).
We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Singapore or Malaysian Airlines; internal flights will most probably be with Garuda, however, we don’t always use fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp when trekking and stay in hotels on other nights. We usually camp in two-man tents and have a communal dining area, great views and a sunset bar! Hotel accommodation is on a twin-share basis; rooms are comfortable and clean with private facilities. Standards may vary between hotels but are generally very good.
The food is great and will give you plenty of energy for the long days of trekking. Meals are generally local in style.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are.
Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Borneo would be led by one or two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, porters, cooks and drivers. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters rarely speak more than a few words of English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! See ‘Costs in Borneo’ above for a guideline amount; your leader will let you know if there is any change to this guideline. All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and equipment is carried by vehicles or boats. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening. Bags should be waterproofed or lined with plastic bags to protect the contents.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Walking is on good dirt or grass paths through plantations, grassland and open ridges. Terrain is generally up or down, there is very little flat, and there are some steep sections which can be very demanding in the heat. We will be supported by experienced Discover Adventure leaders who work closely with the local support crew. All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by porters.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through very remote regions, where we could be exposed to extremes of weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer.
Kerala has a pleasant climate throughout the year due to its coastal position and protection from the Western Ghats. Temperatures range from 24-32°C on the coast but are cooler in the hills. Rainfall is frequent, Athough we avoid the monsoons, there is likely to be some rain. Weather conditions can change quickly, and you should be prepared for a range of conditions
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months after departure from India. There is a visa requirement for UK citizens.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. There is a low risk of malaria in this region so prophylaxis are not recommended, though care should be taken to avoid bites.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.