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South India Bird Watching Tour

Duration:
13 days / 12 nights
Destinations:
Cochin, Thattekad, Periyar, Munnar, Coonoor, Mudumalai, Mysore, Bangalore
Price Guide:

Price guide for this 13 day South India Bird Watching tour:

  • £2045 in low season
  • £2050 in high season

based on two people travelling.

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Overview

Part of our range of bespoke South India Tours, this birding tour is an exciting chance for bird lovers to see rare species endemic to the region. You’ll be guided around some of South India’s most famous wildlife sanctuaries to the best places to spot particular species, as well as taken to hill stations known for their bird spotting opportunities.

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you.

South India Birding Tour - 13 Days / 12 Nights

Part of our range of bespoke South India Tours, this birding tour is an exciting chance for bird lovers to see rare species endemic to the region. You’ll be guided around some of South India’s most famous wildlife sanctuaries to the best places to spot particular species, as well as taken to hill stations known for their bird spotting opportunities.

Code: COC006

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Day 1 - Arrive in Cochin

Upon arrival at Cochin International Airport, you will be welcomed by your Authentic India Tours representatives who will transfer you to your hotel, located in the city’s historic district, Fort Cochin.

The port city of Cochin (also known as Kochi) offers a captivating mix of cultures and is a wonderful place to explore.

In the evening, enjoy a boat trip past Cochin’s island shores. As the sun sets, you will see the famous cantilevered fishing nets. It's fascinating to watch the fishermen skilfully dip the hammock-like nets into the water, silhouetted against the orange and pink sky.

Accomodation: Hotel Fort House
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Day 2 - Cochin

The morning will be spent on a sightseeing tour around Fort Cochin & Mattancherry. At Fort Cochin you have the opportunity to explore the local fish market and the 16th Century St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. Then in Mattancherry you’ll visit the Dutch Palace, which is a colonial style palace with grand murals depicting the Indian epics, and see the intricately decorated Jewish Synagogue.

The evening holds a cultural treat in the form of a Kerala traditional dance. The Kathakali dance performance involves theatrical representations of gods and demons to the spiritual sounds of gongs, drums and cymbals. If you arrive early you can see the artists applying their dramatic, ceremonial make-up.

Accomodation: Hotel Fort House
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 3 - Cochin to Thattekkad

Starting off your tour of the national parks and sanctuaries of India, after breakfast you’ll travel to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, which is known as the best place for bird spotting in the whole of South India. The relatively small area of 25 square kilometres is home to 270 species of birds, including those endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range.

During your visit you can expect to see species including the Red Spurfowl, Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, and the Brown-breasted and Rusty-tailed Flycatcher. Staying overnight at the Hornbill Camp, on the banks of Periyar River, also gives you the thrilling chance to go on a night birding tour to see nocturnal birds like owls, night jars and frog mouths.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours, 70 kms

Accommodation: The Hornbill Camp
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 4 - Thattekad

You get to experience another full day of birding at this prime location. Today will be focused on spotting rare birds like the Wynaad Laughingthrush and Grey-headed Bulbul, which can both be found in the remote Urullathany area of the sanctuary. While at Edamalayar, on the south side of the river, you’ll be shown the habitats of the Streak-throated Woodpecker and Yellow-billed Babbler, among others.

Accomodation: The Hornbill Camp
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 5 - Thattekkad to Periyar

After breakfast you’ll be driven to Periyar National Park, which houses the best kept wildlife sanctuary in Kerala, boasting over 320 species of birds. It’s also a prime habitat for the Bengal Tiger and houses a number of other endemic species across its varied landscape of grasslands, forest and riverside scrub.

In the evening you can spot more of the sanctuary’s residents on a boat cruise across Lake Periyar. Impressive bird sightings include the Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, Blue-winged Parakeets and Great Pied Hornbill. The birds are often joined by herds of Wild Elephants, Sambars Deers, Bisons, Nilgir Langurs and Malabar Giant Squirrels.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 120 kms

Accomodation: Greenwoods Resort
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 6 - Periyar

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary warrants more than one day of exploring, and on the second day here you’ll trek deep into the park on jeep and by foot to the best places to find certain bird species. In particular, your guide will be looking to give you a sighting of the elusive Wynaad Laughingthrush.

On your journey, other exciting bird sightings are likely to include the Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Black Eagle, the migratory Chestnut-winged Cuckoo and the Asian Fairy Bluebird. You should also be on the lookout for the Black-naped Monarch, Woolly-necked Stork, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Little Spiderhunter and Jungle Owlet.

Accomodation: Greenwoods Resort
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 7 - Periyar to Munnar

After breakfast you’ll start the journey towards Munnar. Not only does this 1450 metre high hill station afford amazing views across the tea producing region, it’s also a prime South India birding area. Munnar is home to the Large Grey Babbler, Jungle Bush Quail, the Grey Fancolin and many more species. Stopping off at Bodi Ghats en route also gives you the opportunity to sight the rare Yellow Throated Bulbul, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Indian Robin and Bluefaced Malkoha.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 hours, 100 kms

Accomodation: Ambady Estate
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 8 - Munnar

Today you’ll experience Munnar’s varied terrain for bird spotting, from the grasslands to the high altitude montane forests situated in rolling valleys, locally known as sholas. This is your chance to see such species as the Painted Bush Quail, Black & Orange Flycatcher, Whitebellied Shortwing, Broadtailed Grassbird and Grasshopper Warbler. Again, you’ll stay overnight at the Ambady Estate.

Accomodation: Ambady Estate
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 9 - Munnar to Coonoor

An early start means you can go birding at Chinnar dry scrub forest for Blue-bearded bee-eater, Sirkeer Malkoha, Blue faced Malkoha and the Yellow-legged Button quail, before making the journey to Coonoor. After a drive into the Nilgiri Mountains, you’ll reach the 2,200 metre hill station of Coonoor by evening to spot Black-and-rufous, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers, as well as the endemic Nilgiri Laughing Thrush and White-bellied Shortwing. You’ll stay overnight at the Kurumba Village Resort, which is a superior grade hill resort in a tribal village setting.

Approximate travel time and distance: 6 hours, 225 kms

Accomodation: Kurumba Village Resort
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 10 - Coonnor to Mudumalai

There’ll be another chance to go bird watching in Coonoor this morning before departing for Mudumalai, located at the foot of the Nilgiri mountains. Birds thrive in this area of varied forest, ravines, watercourses and swamps, and you should see the Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, White-bellied Minivet, Jerdon’s Bushlark, Large Cuckooshrike and Banded-bay Cuckoo, among many others. You’ll stay overnight in Mudumalai.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 hours, 80 kms

Accomodation: Jungle Retreat
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 11 - Mudumalai to Mysore

Today you’ll start the journey towards Mysore, with stops along the way to spot birds like the Ashcrowned Finch Lark, Paddyfield Pipit and Richards Pipit. The Bandipur Reserve gives the perfect opportunity to seek out any of the endemics you haven’t already seen, especially the very rare Broadtailed Grassbird. That evening you get the opportunity to visit the Nandi Bull statue in the Chamundi Hills and stroll through the famous Devaraja fruit and vegetable market.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3hrs, 110 kms

Accomodation: Radisson Blu Plaza
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 12 - Mysore

From Mysore you’ll take an early morning boat trip around the famous heronry islands of the Cauvery River in the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. This peaceful rowing boat cruise will enable sightings of the Black-crowned night heron, three species of Cormorant, Eurasian spoonbill, River Tern, Thick Knee and many others. After returning to Mysore you can visit the grand and historic Mysore Palace.

Accomodation: Radisson Blu Plaza
Meals included:  Breakfast
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Day 13 - Mysore - Bangalore Departure

You’ll be transferred to Bangalore International Airport for your return flight.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hrs, 150 kms

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Fort House Hotel, Cochin

Close enough to enjoy the heritage monuments of Kerala but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city is Fort House Hotel. Air conditioned rooms built around tropical gardens and with lovely views of the backwaters provide the comfortable accommodation designed with the traditional architecture of Kerala in mind. The waterfront restaurant offering local cuisine with seafood specialities and Eastern European dishes caters for all tastes.

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The Hornbill Camp, Thattekad

Known as the ‘Birder’s Paradise’, the Hornbill Camp is situated at the heart of nature with forest and river views, overlooking the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekkad in Kerala. Cottage tents with veranda and en suite bathrooms ensure a unique yet comfortable stay providing everything you could need. With an eco-friendly ethos, locally sourced Keralan dishes and an abundance of activities close by for the more adventurous traveller, Hornbill Camp delivers a truly distinctive experience.

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Greenwoods Resort, Periyar

Greenwoods is a superior resort set in six acres of forest where guests can embrace nature whilst relaxing under a canopy of exotic trees. Offering elegant private rooms with balconies, this romantic and beautiful setting is ideal for a South Indian honeymoon! Fresh local cuisine crafted from recipes handed down over generations ensure visitors enjoy a culinary delight. With performances of traditional Kerala art forms and a multitude of activities on offer, there is plenty to enjoy.

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Ambady Estate, Munnar

Ambady Estate is located in the Western Ghats and covers 70 acres of beautiful land surrounded by the Parvathy Hills and Sahya rainforest. This unique plantation is ideal for nature lovers and offers a peaceful retreat. Capturing the essence of India and focussing on being at “one with nature”, you can enjoy natural organic produce in an environment created from locally sourced materials. Spacious cottages with modern bedrooms, living areas and private gardens make up the accommodation.

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Kurumba Village Resort, Coonoor

Named after the Kurumba tribe and located in picturesque surroundings, Kurumba Village provides the perfect setting in which to live at one with nature. With options to dine in the open sided restaurant, Bevina, poolside dining or in the cave located under a ledge at the resort, you really are immersed in nature at every turn. Cottages are modern, airy and spacious with stunning views and decor inspired by the location’s tribal past.

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Jungle Retreat, Masinagudi

Offering the ideal sanctuary for animal and wildlife lovers Jungle Retreat offers unobstructed views and the most peaceful location. With regular sightings of deer, wild boars, elephants and even the sounds of lions and leopards nearby you are immersed in the jungle. With an emphasis on preserving the tranquillity of the surroundings, Jungle Retreat will transport you to a haven of relaxation.

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Radisson Blu Plaza, Mysore

Offering beautiful views of the Chamundi hills but with the convenience of the city centre this hotel is considered to be one of the best in Mysore. With chic rooms offering scenic outlooks and located next to Mysore zoo, a golf complex, excellent shopping facilities and its close proximity to Mysore Palace there really is something for everyone. Spring, the hotel restaurant, offers Indian and global cuisine with poolside seating.

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Destinations

Cochin (Kochi)

Cochin, also known as Kochi, is a port city located on an extensive network of waterways in the state of Cochin. It has been one of the primary gateways to the region for distant merchants and travellers since 1341. Cochin is a great place to start your Kerala holiday offering beautiful hotels, wonderful culture and architecture, friendly people and the opportunity for some retail therapy.

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Periyar National Park (Thekkady)

If you've ever dreamed of seeing elephants roaming free, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers you the chance of experiencing these beautiful animals in the wild from the comfort of a covered boat or car tour, without disturbing their way of life.

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Mysore (Mysuru)

Mysore is located a short drive or train ride from Bangalore. Known as the City of Palaces, it is famed for its royal heritage and ancient monuments. The Mysore Palace is the most famous and richly decorated of these, with Lalitha Mahal, in the east of the city, coming a close second. The ancient Sri Prasanna Krishna Swamy Temple is also a must visit, providing a taste of India’s rich cultural and religious traditions. Mysore is also the birthplace of Ashtanga yoga, and the city has a plethora of different yoga classes and luxury yoga retreats to try if you’re feeling adventurous.

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Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Located on the foothills of the Western Ghats and surrounded by 25km of beautiful forests, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary was the first of its kind in Kerala. This paradise for birds was declared a sanctuary in 1983 after Salim Ali the ‘Birdman of India’, a renowned and world famous ornithologist, described the sanctuary as the ‘richest bird habitat’ he had seen. 

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Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Located 19km from the city of Mysore, Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary consists of six small islets positioned along the banks of the River Cauvery. Named after the Hindu God, Sri Raganatha Swamy, the site was declared a bird sanctuary in 1940 after the observations of Dr Salim Ali persuaded the Mysore Maharaja of the time that the area should be protected due to the high volume of birds seen there. The six islets, formed after an embankment was built along the river in 1648, provide important nesting sites for many species of birds including migratory birds form places like Australia, North America and Siberia.

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Bandipur Reserve

If you enjoy wildlife holidays, India is a remarkable destination to visit offering famous wildlife sanctuaries showcasing a plethora of exotic species of animals ranging from birds, elephants, tigers and much more. Bandipur National Park is a great place for nature lovers to enjoy an experience like no other. At the forefront of Ecotourism in India for over thirty years, Bandipur National park allows you to visit this untouched environment whilst supporting the conservation and protection of the animals and their habitats.

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Munnar

Standing at a heady 1,532m above sea level, the majestic town of Munnar is sure to captivate even the most sceptical visitor, just as it did the British colonial settlers generations ago when they visited each summer seeking reprieve from the heat of the Keralan valleys below. 

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Coonoor Hill Station and Tea Estates

Nestled in the heart of Tamil Nadu, Coonoor is a natural wonderland of viewpoints with evocative names like Lamb's Rock and Dolphin's Nose. You'll find acres of coffee and tea plantations surrounding the town, speaking to its rustic heart. Foodie festivals in January and May make the most of the fresh greens and goods grown here, but if it's greenery you're after, Sim's Park is another gorgeous must-see. It has 12 hectares of lush botanical gardens and many rare plant species.

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Pricing and Inclusions

13 day South India Bird Watching tour price guide

  • £2045 in low season (May 2019 - September 2019 inclusive)
  • £2050 in high season (October 2018 - April 2019 inclusive)

Please be aware some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times. This is normally from mid-December to mid-January. Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with an accurate quote.

Prices vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements.

 

Included with this South India bird watching tour are:

  • Meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • All transfers and sightseeing tours using air-conditioned Toyota Innova
  • Services of a naturalist for the entire tour
  • Accommodation for 12 nights on a single/twin sharing basis
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Bed & Breakfast
  • Sunset cruise along the harbour in Cochin
  • Tickets for Kathakali dance show in Cochin
  • Spice garden visit in Periyar
  • All birding activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tickets for boating on Lake Periyar
  • Entrances at all National parks, Museums and Monuments as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water on all days of travel

Price does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance and visa
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera & video fees at National parks, Museums & Monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com