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.
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.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
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.
Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district.
Train (4.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
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.
Wayanad Nature Walk
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.
Mudumalai Jeep Safari
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
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.
Chamundi Temple Visit
Mysore Palace Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00-4.00 hours)
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.
Shore Temple Visit
Enjoy a scenic ride to the east coast aboard Indian's vast rail system. Play cards, meet your fellow passengers or let the landscapes soak in.
Train (8.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)
Free time to explore Mamallapuram.
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.
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours)
Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
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.
Meenakshi Temple Visit
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.
Cardamom Hills Spice Plantation Tour
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
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.
For this homestay, you will only need to take a small overnight bag. Your main bags will be transferred directly to the hotel in Kochi.
Kerala Backwaters Homestay
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.50 hours, 145km)
Boat (0.25 hour(s))
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.
Departure Day (Activities)
Boat (1.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
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I enjoyed the varied activities from backwaters, to cities to wild animal parks. Nicely paced.Overall Rating
Great trip, Charles, did an amazing job! the accommodations were great with a wonderful home stay with Thomas in Kerala backwatersOverall Rating
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.Overall Rating
Isaac our guide was outstanding. The overall trip covered a wide & interesting area. all accommodation & transport organization very satisfying.Overall Rating
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.Overall Rating
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.Overall Rating
A nice variety of activities and events. Days were well organized and explained.Overall Rating
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.Overall Rating
The tour was very good. A perfect way to have an overall idea of the area in a short period of time.Overall Rating
Well organized tour. Covered all the sites. Excellent tour leader.Overall Rating
Trip Name: Best of Southern India
Duration: 14 Days
From Price: 1495
Trip Code: 126393
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