First stop, the idyllic Periyar River Lodge and then up early the following day for guided tour at Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. On to the hill station of Munnar, staying at the beautiful Windermere Estate. A spectacular route then took us to the Wildlife Sanctuary at Kumily, where vistas were reminiscent of Jurassic Park. Down to the coast and the Arabian Sea at Varkarla, staying at the chilled-out Villa Jacaranda, eating fresh fish at beachside restaurants, while watching the twinkling lights of fishing boats out to sea. At the Alleppey backwaters, we paddled quietly past families at work or play, spotting abundant birdlife on the way. Our final stop was the city of Kochi. Just by chance the biennale festival of art was on – an unexpected bonus to end our memorable road trip.