• Escorted Tour

Sri Lanka, South India, Kerala

Sri Lanka and South India share their history with the Arab traders, the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonialists. Reminders of past rulers sit side-by-side with Buddhist temples that depict Hindu images. Cricket unites both countries, men, women, old and young. Marco Polo dubbed Sri Lanka as the finest island in the world. See endless rich, green foliage, swirls of Singhalese alphabet, a myriad of colourful Buddhist flags, saris, tropical fruit and spices in the market.

Our Kerala cruise onboard RV Vaikundam is new as the waterways have just opened to allow through traffic for a longer seven day cruise.Meander along visiting village communities, see the production of coir, fishermen at work – all in the comfort of our own charter boat. Add in the IT city of Bangalore, Mysore, the game park at Kabin and Cochin and you will return home with this part of the world holding a special place in your heart. 

Your travel itinerary

Tuesday 11 March

Auckland – Singapore – Colombo, Sri Lanka

Depart Auckland on Singapore Airlines. Change planes in Singapore, arriving in Colombo late evening and transfer to city hotel.

Wednesday 12 March


Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Colombo’s harbour and Fort area – home to the country’s administration and banking sector. The multi-ethnic population is reflected in the various religions and cultures. Explore the unique Red Mosque and the Gangaramaya Temple complex before a Welcome dinner tonight.

Thursday 13 March

Colombo – Dambulla

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

Our journey takes us north-east, through countryside, to Dambulla. Here, we visit the impressive Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, a World Heritage site. This five-cave temple is one of the largest and best-preserved temple complexes in the country. Housing over 150 Buddha status and exquisite murals, all nestled within a series of caves carved into a massive granite outcrop. 

Friday 14 March

Dambulla – Matale – Kandy

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

An early morning visit to Sigiriya Rock, the UNESCO Heritage Site rock fortress. If you are not up to climbing the rock for spectacular views, the ancient landscaped gardens (5AD) and frescoes are worth seeing. Continue to Matale to explore a spice garden before continuing to Kandy. 

Saturday 15 March


Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

Today we visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, another World Heritage site. We proceed to the spectacular botanical gardens before an afternoon of leisure and take in a tuk-tuk ride to experience the sights and sounds of Kandy.

Sunday 16 March

Kandy – Nuwara Eliya (by train)

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

After breakfast, transfer to Kandy railway station for a scenic train journey through tea plantations and scenic waterfalls to Nana Oya. Continue by coach to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

Monday 17 March

Nuwara Eliya - Yala

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

This morning, visit a tea plantation and tea factory. Learn how tea is graded and of course enjoy a cup of pure Ceylon tea. This afternoon we travel onto Yala National Park.


Tuesday 18 March


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A day to enjoy Yala National Park where we enjoy a jeep safari to spot elephants, crocodile, the elusive leopard and a myriad of birds are special.

Wednesday 19 March

Yala – Galle

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Coach to UNESCO-listed Galle Fortress built by the Portuguese in 1588 and later extended by the Dutch. See the lighthouse on the southernmost tip and the car free streets which reflect Portuguese, Dutch and British rule

Thursday 20 March

Galle – Colombo – Bengaluru, India

A morning to relax, swim or take a walk on the beach. This afternoon transfer to Colombo airport for the early evening flight to Bengaluru and transfer to a central hotel for a two night stay. Bengaluru, is a modern cosmopolitan city, considered to be one of the big IT centres of India. This forward-thinking city with a mix of new shopping malls is sometimes referred to as the Garden City of India.


Friday 21 March

Bengaluru - Mysore Drive

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch

Following a leisurely breakfast, visit the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens - home of the largest collection of tropical plants in India. It’s also home to a wide range of bird species – parakeets, herons and owls. 

Saturday 22 March


Breakfast iconBreakfast

Visit the river island town of Srirangapatna, with its celebrated and impressive 9th century temple. Later journey to Chamundi Hills, site of the 12th century Chamundeshwari Temple with its 1,008 ancient steps leading to the summit. Finally, visit the Palace of Mysore, a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles that remains one of India’s most popular attractions. 



Sunday 23 March

Mysore – Kabini

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

Morning departure for Nagarhole National Park, established in 1955, where abundant wildlife, including tiger, Indian bison, wild dog, deer, antelope, hyena and elephants, make it one of India’s finest reserves. After lunch, set out on a boat safari that includes parts of Nagarhole’s 640 sq/km. Dine at our lodge tonight.

Monday 24 March


Breakfast iconBreakfast

Enjoy a morning safari in an open-air 4 wheel drive vehicle through Nagarhole in search of wildlife.  After our excursion return to the lodge for breakfast. Free time to relax and enjoy the lodge.

Tuesday 25 March

Kabini – Calicut

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch

Today we make the five-hour drive to Calicut, dubbed the ‘City of Spices’ in ancient times for its role in the thriving eastern spice trade.  Stop at a spice garden for lunch before continuing to Calicut.

Wednesday 26 March

Calicut – Kochi

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

This morning we explore the vibrant streets of Calicut by tuk-tuk. After lunch, transfer to the railway station to board the train to Kochi (formerly called Cochin). On arrival, transport to our hotel.

Thursday 27 March


Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

A morning walking tour of Mattancherry, part of Old Fort Cochin and the epicenter of the spice trade for centuries. Today reveals Kochi’s multi-layered past, a rich brew of Arab, Portuguese, British and Dutch influences. Begin with the Dutch Palace then see St Francis, India’s first European church (1510) and the burial site of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524.  Later visit the picturesque Chinese fishing nets unique to Kochi.


Friday 28 March

Kochi – Changankari for Kerala Cruise, RV Vaikundam

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

After breakfast, travel to the serene village of Changankari to embark on your 5-night cruise. The remainder of the day, relax onboard and cruise pass the scenic villages bordering the waterways. 

The Kerela backwaters are known as the Green Venice of the East due to the green coconut trees making the water an emerald shade. The waterways are teeming with life as most villages are connected only through wooden boats. Villages, temples, churches, coir handloom, cultural centres, paddy fields, market places, wooden boat building yards, long snake boats, home hosted meals, beaches, beaches and festivals make this a vibrant living destination.

Saturday 29 March

Changankari – Champakkulam – Mankompu

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

Drive to the ancient village of Aranmula, home to a family of craftsmen who are skilled at making mirrors out of a special combination of certain metals. Visit Lord Krishna’s Hindu temple, Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy, before a traditional lunch will be served at a beautiful local house located on the bank of Pampa River. We return to the boat and cruise to Champakkulam to experience Kerala’s old spice trade route and visit St. Mary’s Church, one of India’s oldest Christian churches. Finish the day with Kerala’s classical dance performance.

Sunday 30 March

Mankompu – Kainakari – Kavalam

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

Cruise the narrow, yet harmonious, canals to Kainakari, with a stop at Chavara Bhavan - the ancestral home of the first canonised Catholic male saint of Indian origin.Lunch onboard. Cruise the expanses of land reclaimed from the lake for paddy cultivation. These paddy fields are lying below sea level and are protected by building dykes around them. Complete the day learning about “toddy tapping” and take a relaxing walk at sunset.

Monday 31 March

Kavalam – Kumarakom

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

This morning, enjoy a special escorted canoe ride to watch the migratory and endemic birds of Kumarakom – a cluster of lake lagoons with a backdrop of mangroves, paddy fields and coconut groves. Lunch at an island farm house where there will be a demonstration on the preparation of traditional Syrian Christian cuisine. Cruise through the Thanneermukkom barrage which divides the lake into two – one half with perennial salty water and the other with fresh water enriched by the rivers. 


Tuesday 01 April

Kumarakom – Chenganda – Vaikom

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

At daybreak, join a professional naturalist on a birding expedition. Then sail to the village of Chenganda to meet the people - the coir weavers, coconut harvesters, mussel and prawn farmers and discuss riparian life over a drink of tender coconut water. In the cultural centre of Vaikom, explore the ancient town and watch Kathakali - a traditional dance performance with its own unique blend of movement, music, literature and make-up. Farewell dinner on board.

Wednesday 02 April

Pallippuram – Kochi – Singapore

Breakfast iconBreakfast

Disembark the cruise in Pallippuram and conclude the tour with a Kalarippayattu performance, the martial art form of Kerala. Transfer to Kochi Airport for an evening flight to Singapore.

Thursday 03 April

Singapore – Auckland

Change planes in Singapore and arrive Auckland late this evening. 


• Return economy airfares Auckland – Singapore - Colombo - Bangalore // Cochin - Singapore – Auckland 

• Travel in air conditioned coaches

• Accommodation in 4 star hotels with private facilities

• Breakfasts daily, lunches and dinners as specified

• Entrance fees at monuments as outlined

• Boat safari in Nagarhole National Park

• Vehicle safari in Nagarhole National Park

• Transfers as outlined

• Coracle ride in Kabini

• Plantation visit including lunch

• Train fare Calicut to Cochin 

• Five night / Six day river boat cruise including meals 

• Excursions off the boat 

• Mineral water per person, per day

• Government Service Tax

• English speaking guide for the 10 days prior to the cruise

• Services of English speaking guides during all the included boat excursions

• Pukekohe Travel tour escort (subject to 15 people travelling)


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
 Cabin with private facilities 



 Superior (1 Cabins only)   SOLD OUT


Business Class Upgrade


Premium Economy (Auckland - Singapore Return Only)

(Singapore Airlines flights only )      

On Request 0nly



Early Booking Discount ( 02 August 2024) $150
Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount $100

*This is a cash price. Credit cards will incur a 1.5% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment


• Airport and security taxes (approx. $220 per person)

• Items of a personal nature

• Camera / video fees at monuments

• Sri Lankan Visa (NZD70 per person) for NZ Passport holders

• Indian visa (approx. NZD100 per person) for NZ Passport holders

• Travel Insurance (Please ask us for a quote)

• Gratuities and tips


Booking Conditions

• A non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person will secure a place on the tour

• Full payment due no later than 13 December 2024


• From the date of booking until 13 December 2024 – loss of deposit 

• After 13 December 2024 – no refund

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is essential. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

General Information


• A current New Zealand passport is required valid six months beyond the date of travel.

• New Zealand passport holders require a visa for India (approx. NZD100 per person) And Sri Lanka Visa (approx. NZD70 per person)

• All other passport holders please ask

Temperatures ˚c Max     Min

Colombo              30       25

Calicut                32        24

Bangalore          33       19

Cochin              31      26


Comfortable clothes are the order of the day – the laundry service in the hotels is inexpensive and efficient. Hats, sunglasses and comfortable sandals are a must.  A scarf or pareu is handy for temples etc or for sun protection.

A small umbrella is great for rain showers or sunshade.

Photographic opportunities are plentiful – respect the local people and ask before taking photos.

Currency / Money

• Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka Rupee

• India – Indian Rupee

Cash is king in both India and Sri Lanka. Take USD, Euro or Pounds Sterling to change into Rupees

ATMs are available in the cities and it is advisable to use ones located inside a bank – this can be time-consuming!

• Credit Cards, Visa and Mastercard are accepted in all the hotels we will be staying in and larger more up-market restaurants and shops


Health and Fitness

• There are no obligatory inoculations required

• The tour stays in 4 Star hotels and included meals will be at recommended restaurants which will minimise health risks

• Hepatitis should not be an issue but precautionary measures are your personal choice

• Update your tetanus and polio

• Malaria prevention varies considerably. Check with your medical professional

• The streets of India are busy and pavements crowded and rough. A good standard of health and mobility are required with the ability to climb steps and walk up hills


Ship Information

RV Vaikundam

3 Star traditional Indian standard. The river cruise boats of today are modified versions of the traditional rice barges of the past which were used for transporting produce and goods from the interior farms to the markets. RV Vaikundam has nine lower deck cabins with attached bathrooms and kitchen, air-conditioned dining hall and an open lounge on the top deck.

The wooden hull of the boat is made by joining planks of local wood (Aanjili), using strong coir rope on the section above the waterline, while below the waterline, copper tacking is done to keep the hull strong and traditional. The wood is coated with caustic, black resin made by boiling cashew kernel and fish oil.  The wood is periodically treated with the Neem oil and Fish oil. 

Crew: 10

Guests: 18

Length: 36m

Speed: 11 knots / 20 km/h

Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change