Thekkady and Periyar
A 4 hour journey by road from Kochi on the Malabar Coast, passing through rubber plantations (below) and tea estates, Thekkady is set in a forested area at around 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), close to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Most of the accommodation options are in the small town of Kumili, also referred to as Thekkady. Activities include a visit to a spice plantation, a jeep safari, a bullock cart ride and a selection of guided walks in the Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is officially a 'Project Tiger' reserve, although it has to be said that it is very rare to see these magnificent beasts. You should, however, see lots of birds (there are some 246 species here), and perhaps bison, wild boar and small deer, and there are frequently herds of elephants close to Periyar Lake (see picture below). Rafting on the lake is also organised.