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Best of Southern India

From calm Kerala backwaters and spice plantations to incredible temples and searching for tigers in the wild, have your camera ready as you experience the highlights of Southern India. This 2-week adventure offers a great balance of guided excursions and free time to explore on your own. Travelling by train, bus, rickshaw, and country boats will bring you closer to the locals and is a fascinating way to gain insight into the peaceful backwaters of Kerala and stunning temples of Tamilnadu.

  • Duration: 14 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: AHBS/126393
  • Starts: Kochi, India
  • Finishes: Kerala Backwaters, India
You will Visit
  • Kochi

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Kochi

Arrive at any time.
There are no planned activities before the evening welcome meeting, so check into the hotel and enjoy the city.

After the welcome meeting, visit the harbour to enjoy sunset over the Chinese fishing nets followed by an optional group dinner.

02

Day 2: Kochi

Take a orientation walk to the Dutch Palace, Jewish synagogue, and town. Enjoy a kathakali performance.
Enjoy an early morning orientation tour of Fort Kochi. Enjoy free time to explore before an evening performance of kathakali, a form of traditional dancing from Kerala.

03

Day 3: Kochi/Kalpetta

Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district.

04

Day 4: Kalpetta

Walk the nature trails in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and prehistoric Eddakal Caves.
Here, we go on nature trails in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and visit the Edakkal Caves, which are believed to have been a shelter of neolithic people.

05

Day 5: Kalpetta/Mudumalai

Spend the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary provides one of the most important refuges for elephants and bison in India.
We leave the hills for the plains, and stop for the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.

Spend part of the afternoon on a short safari and spot the variety of wildlife within the park.

06

Day 6: Mudumalai/Mysore

Visit the Chamundi Temple and Mysore Palace.
Imagine life as a Maharaja on a guided tour of the Mysore Palace. Later, join the throngs of pilgrims at Chamundi Hills, with its temple on top, and Nandi the Bull (ridden by the Hindu god Shiva) a short walk below.

In your free time, visit the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market or join a yoga class at one of the many local institutes.

Opt to drive to Somnathpur, home to one of the most famous Hoysala Temples in India.

07

Day 7: Mysore/Māmallapuram

Enjoy a full day of train travel to Chennai before a short bus ride to Mamallapuram. Visit the Shore Temple.
Arrive by train to Chennai before continuing south for a short ride to the small village of Mamallapuram. Visit the 7th century Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

08

Day 8: Māmallapuram

Free time to explore Mamallapuram.

09

Day 9: Māmallapuram/Puducherry

Continue to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) and learn about Sri Aurobindo Ghose at the ashram.
In the morning, drive to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry), formerly the the largest French Colony in India and an important trading town. There is a strong French influence in the city's layout, with wide boulevards and French-style houses, but the city is undoubtedly Indian.

10

Day 10: Puducherry/Madurai

Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

11

Day 11: Madurai

Hope on a cycle rickshaw for a tour of the city before visiting the famous Meenakshi Temple.
After visiting the temple complex, opt to visit the handicraft shops or duck into the cool shade of the covered, stone tailor's market where, for a few rupees, rows of expert tailors will whip you up a custom shirt in minutes, all done on antique foot-pump sewing machines. In the late evening, opt to visit the Meenakshi Temple again for a glimpse of the nighttime rituals.

12

Day 12: Madurai/Periyār Sanctuary

Drive to Thekkady. Take a guided tour of spice plantations in the Cardamom Hills.
Thekkady, adjacent to Periyar National Park, is the spice capital of India. On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the spice plantations and a tea factory.

Opt for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake.

13

Day 13: Periyār Sanctuary/Kerala Backwaters

Take a private bus to Alleppey followed by a riverboat to a homestay. Experience local life and a guided walk along the lagoon.
Travel down to the backwaters from Thekkady to catch a private boat for the short journey to the village homestay.

In the afternoon, explore the island with a local person to observe the different facets of local life — it's a great opportunity to meet and talk with the people who live in this unique location.

Just before sunset, hop on a small country boat and journey along with the locals to enjoy sunset on the winding backwaters.

14

Day 14: Kerala Backwaters/Kochi

Travel back to Kochi where the trip ends upon arrival.
The morning is spent enjoying the last of our host family's hospitality. Learn to cook some of the wonderful food, watch the toddy tappers at work, or wander around the village and explore more of the life on the backwaters.

Depart the homestay and travel back to Kochi. The trip ends on arrival to Kochi in the early afternoon.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Local Living: Kerala Backwaters Homestay, Alleppey
    • Fort Kochi orientation walk
    • Kathakali dance show
    • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary walk
    • Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary safari
    • Chaumundi Temple and Mysore Palace visit
    • Mamallapuram Shore Temple visit
    • Pondicherry orientation walk
    • Madurai cycle-rickshaw ride and Sri Meenakshi Temple visit
    • Cardamom Hills spice plantation tour
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (12 nts), homestay (1 nt, multi-share)
    • 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
    Transport
    • Train, private vehicle, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, ferry
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Relax in peaceful backwaters
  • Spot wildlife in beautiful parks
  • Uncover ancient temples
  • Explore tea and spice plantations
  • Take a rickshaw ride through the streets of Madurai


Reviews (10)
Janice D Posted on: 

I enjoyed the varied activities from backwaters, to cities to wild animal parks. Nicely paced.

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Mark W Posted on: 

Great trip, Charles, did an amazing job! the accommodations were great with a wonderful home stay with Thomas in Kerala backwaters

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Sue W Posted on: 

The tour was great. I was able to get to and see many things that I would not have been able to do on my own.

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Carole L Posted on: 

Isaac our guide was outstanding. The overall trip covered a wide & interesting area. all accommodation & transport organization very satisfying.

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Frank J Posted on: 

This was a very good tour I would recommend to anyone not physically challenging and getting enough time to see the best places of south India.

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Jane H Posted on: 

This tour was amazing. We absolutely loved everything about it. In a life-time we never could have experienced what G Adventures offered us on this trip.

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John H Posted on: 

A nice variety of activities and events. Days were well organized and explained.

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Kristine G Posted on: 

I was very pleased with the tour. It allowed me to see and experience the things that first attracted me to southern India. Indeed, it surpassed my expectations.

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Francesco C Posted on: 

The tour was very good. A perfect way to have an overall idea of the area in a short period of time.

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Kathleen K Posted on: 

Well organized tour. Covered all the sites. Excellent tour leader.

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