Premium North & South India


Premium North & South India

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Now From $ 8,991 AUD


Discover the best of north and south India on a 22-day Premium adventure, from bustling Delhi to multicultural Kochi. Experience the magic of the heritage-rich north at the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, and immerse yourself in local culture as you meet the owner of a royal haveli and cruise down the Ganges. Take in the natural charms of the south while looking for elephants in Periyar National Park, walking through the tea plantations of Munnar and cruising the Kerala backwaters. Travel with local leaders who will show you the vibrant heart of a country that delights, surprises and intrigues.

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Premium North & South India
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  • Enjoy accommodation like no other – an opulently decorated heritage stay in Jaipur, a beautiful converted houseboat on the Kerala backwaters and a suave heritage hotel in Kochi are your Feature Stays on this trip.
  • Find out what makes Indian cuisine so special during Exclusive Experiences, including local-lead food tours in Agra and Madurai, home-cooked meals with local families, and an ayurvedic cooking demonstration and dinner.
  • Embark on safaris through Ranthambore National Park in search of the elusive tigers that call the park home and track footprints in search of wild elephants in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Discover the beauty in buildings that lie across India, from Jaipur’s Amber Fort and Royal City Palace to Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal, and see architectural influences from a multicultural past in Puducherry and Kochi.
  • Take part in Exclusive Experiences to remember – visit a royal haveli in Jaipur and hear the stories of its owner’s ancestors, cruise down the Ganges with local musicians, and witness a lively performance of kalarippayattu.


ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Delhi
Welcome to India! On arrival at Delhi Airport, you will be collected and transferred to your hotel. This evening, there will be an important welcome meeting in the hotel at around 6 pm to meet your local leader and fellow group of travellers. Until then, you can use any time before the meeting to explore this excitingly chaotic capital city. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums, galleries and endless bazaars, there’s plenty to see in Delhi. After your welcome meeting, join your leader and small group for dinner at one of Delhi’s oldest restaurants that has been delighting visitors for more than 80 years. The iconic restaurant is credited with introducing India to ice cream and fine dining. Tonight your leader will introduce you to the exciting world of Indian cuisine. Perhaps start out with some classic dishes like mutton rogan josh and paneer tikka.
Day 2 - Agra
Today, make the drive to Agra. Once arrived, take some time to settle in to your hotel then head out to visit India's most iconic structure at sunset – the spectacular Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th-century Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Meet with a Taj Mahal guide who will illuminate the fascinating history of this world-famous building as you tour it at sunset. Beyond its most famous structure, Agra also boasts a marvellous food scene. This evening, a local expert will join you on a street food tour away from the main tourist trail and help you understand Agra’s cuisine and culture. Stop by a 19th-century shop serving up age-old recipes from the Braj region of India, and visit hyperlocal eateries most visitors to Agra never see. Pass by the incredible Jama Masjid of Agra, one of the largest mosques in India.
Day 3 - Ranthambhore National Park
Start the day with a visit to one of the finest looking forts in India – the magnificent Agra Fort. Learn how a fortress and prison was built out of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565, then conversions and additions by Shah Jahan transformed the fort into a palace. Explore elegant courtyards and a labyrinth of buildings while you try to take in the grand scale of this remarkable structure. After your visit, depart Agra and make your way to Ranthambore, arriving in the late afternoon. On arrival, you may like to take a stroll around town, put your feet up and relax beside the pool, or enjoy a meal at the onsite restaurant.
Day 4 - Ranthambhore National Park
Rise early for a morning safari. Ranthambore National Park is one of the original Project Tiger reserves – a place where nature has reclaimed ancient fortresses and temples and is teeming with wildlife. In 4WD safari vehicles, take game drives to search for animals, including the majestic tiger which stalks through the jungle. Even if they are too stealthy to see, the park is filled with other animals like gazelle, hyenas, sloth bears, crocodiles, jackals, three types of antelope (nilgai, sambar and chital) and leopards to watch out for. Enjoy some downtime at the resort in the afternoon, then venture back out for an evening safari through the park – another chance to spot some of this region’s resident tiger population. You may also have the opportunity to explore the 1000-year-old Ranthambore Fort, where two pavilions that have survived the ravages of war and time, Badal Mahal and Hammirs Court, give an idea of its old grandeur.
Day 5 - Jaipur
Today you will travel to Jaipur, the capital of the Rajasthan region. Arrive at your Feature Stay accommodation, the fabulous Hotel Narain Niwas Palace. This beautiful heritage hotel has been run by the same family since its opening in 1928 and retains the warm feel of a traditional family home, while opulent touches emanate from every corner – look out for delectable chandeliers, stained glass windows and peacocks roaming the grounds. Surrounded by a glittering swimming pool and lush gardens, you’ll enjoy a magical escape from the rush and racket of the outside world. Take some time to settle in, then join your leader on a walking tour through the crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Hear stories of the city’s culture and history as you explore crowded bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local speciality of semi-precious stones. Dinner this evening is something a little bit special – head to the home of a local Brahmin family for a wonderful homecooked dinner. Chat to your friendly hosts about their way of life and learn their culinary secrets – Brahmin dishes exclude onion and garlic, but you’ll discover their food is still bursting with flavour.
Day 6 - Jaipur
Begin the day with a visit to the extravagant Amber Fort – the jewel of Jaipur. It is quite a sight, with its soft shades of red, sandstone and white marble with elaborate Hindu-style flourishes. Your leader will share the stories of a fallen empire as you explore ornate rooms, lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. Afterwards, stop at one of India's most photographed buildings, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds', to capture your own photo. Then pay a visit to the striking City Palace, a marvellous blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Tour the grounds and learn about its construction by the founder of Jaipur. Later in the afternoon, hop on a rickshaw and travel to a royal haveli. Haveli’s are old mansions which were ornately decorated as a display of wealth, many of which remain across the city today. Here you will meet the owner of the haveli who will give you a tour of the property and share fascinating photographs and stories of his ancestors who once ruled the nearby provinces. Head to the rooftop for drinks and take in sweeping views of Jaipur’s old walled city.
Day 7 - Varanasi
Depart your feature stay accommodation then board a flight bound for Varanasi. On arrival, make a stop off at Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Continue on to the city of Varanasi. Awash with shrines and temples, it is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience the city’s spirituality. Varanasi may not be known for its cleanliness, but there’s no denying it is one of India’s most inspiring places.
Day 8 - Varanasi
Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges. Your leader will explain the significance of India’s most sacred river as pass by the many ghats and temples along its banks. Then, join your leader for a walking tour of the Old City and uncover its secrets as you walk through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, burning ghats, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. In the evening, return to the Ganges to see it from another perspective during a sunset cruise. You will be joined by local musicians on board and watch a beautiful flower and candle ceremony take place – an experience that is sure to be etched on your memory long after your time in India is over. Witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as the sun sets over this sacred city.
Day 9 - Delhi
Depart Varanasi and catch a morning flight to Delhi. In the afternoon, get a real taste of the city during a tour with your leader. Navigate the city’s metro system and arrive in Old Delhi where you’ll wind through its lanes and markets. It’s not the real Delhi without a traffic jam so hop aboard a traditional rickshaw and weave your way around the streets surrounding the Chandni Chowk marketplace. Stop by India’s oldest and largest mosque, the Jama Masjid, then head into the Sikh temple of Sheeshganj Gurudwara for a moment of peace and to observe the spiritual side of this bustling metropolis. The rest of the afternoon is free for further explorations, then come back together in the evening for a final dinner as a group. This last meal will take place in a beautiful haveli dating back to 1887. Enjoy a feast of Mughlai cuisine, street food dishes and kebabs in a stunning historical setting – a perfect finale to your Indian adventure.
Day 10 - Chennai
Welcome to India! Your adventure begins in Chennai, India’s cultural heart and fourth largest city. You will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Meet your fellow travellers and experienced group leader for an important 6pm welcome meeting. If you arrive in Chennai with time to spare, you may like to pay a visit to the colourful market stalls of the Georgetown Bazaar. After your meeting, join your leader and group for a welcome dinner at Chennai’s first chain restaurant, serving up an iconic array of south Indian vegetarian dishes like idly, dosa and poori. It’s never hard to find something fantastic to eat in south India, the only challenge is deciding what to order. Luckily your leader is on hand to help you navigate the flavour-filled menu.
Day 11 - Puducherry (Pondicherry)
This morning you will leave the city behind and drive along the scenic East Coast Road to the fishing town of Mamallapuram, home to sprawling, relaxed beaches. Visit the 8th-century Shore Temple and its mandapams (carved pillars) and watch locals pay their respects to the deity Shiva. Later in the afternoon continue the drive to Puducherry. A French colony until 1954, the old parts of town retain a distinctly European feel. Leafy boulevards are lined with colonial-style houses and trendy boutiques – this place has a certain je ne sais quoi. On arrival, the rest of your evening is free to explore. Puducherry has a varied food scene with traditional Indian and classic French influences. Be sure to ask your leader for some tips on where to grab a fabulous meal.
Day 12 - Puducherry (Pondicherry)
This morning is free to enjoy at your leisure before meeting back up with your Leader for a walking tour to see local temples and the elegant French Quarter. Stroll past mustard-coloured buildings draped with vibrant bougainvillea as your leader shares stories of the revolutionaries, generals and kings who once walked these streets. Stop by the pastel pink Church of Notre Dame, perhaps even more gorgeous than its Parisian counterpart. Evidence of the French colonial period is everywhere – the architecture, sprawling town squares and even in the police uniforms. Along the way we will stop at a charming café in White Town to sample some tasty local snacks. The evening is free for further exploration.
Day 13 - Madurai
Today, continue to the city of Madurai, with plenty of chai stops along the way. Arrive in the late afternoon and head out on a short orientation walk to get acquainted with one of India’s oldest cities. Once you’ve got your bearings, join your leader on a trip for the taste buds – a tantalising tour of the city’s Tamil cuisine. Madurai is bursting with street food stalls, family-owned restaurants and plenty of regional delicacies – your leader will show you the dishes that aren’t on the tourist menus. Have a taste of mutton dosa or some fish gravy as your leader regales you with stories of centuries-old recipes and the passionate people who make them. Round off the night with some Jigarthanda; Madurai’s most celebrated dessert is a delicious and refreshing blend of condensed milk, almond gum and ice cream.
Day 14 - Madurai
Continue your walking exploration of Madurai today. Your leader will guide you through the Tailor's Market, the local bazaars and the Sri Meenakshi Temple. Still in use today, this ancient temple is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place. Next is the National Gandhi Museum, dedicated to the life and achievements of the 'Father of the Nation' and the leader of India's fight for independence. Stop by the extravagant Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in the 17th-century by King Tirumala Nayaka. This evening you’ll have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Tamil culture when you join a local family for a traditional home cooked dinner. Chat with the family about their lives and try some more wonderful dishes such as chettinad chicken, egg paratha and vegetable korma.
Day 15 - Thekkady
Make your way to the countryside town of Thekkady, driving past pineapple and rubber plantations on the way. Thekkady is the gateway to Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, perched high in the ranges of the Western Ghats. Stop off at a spice plantation where you’ll speak with a local expert and taste, smell and learn about the brilliant array of spices that colour and flavour India’s famed cuisine. Put your new knowledge to good use as you sit down to a flavoursome lunch made with spices from the plantation. The evening is yours to enjoy in Thekkady. Perhaps wander the shops selling fragrant spices and organic tea, or relax in the palm fringed pool at your resort.
Day 16 - Thekkady - Periyar National Park
This morning, take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Your expert guide will help you look for tiger tracks, spotted deer, Indian elephants and gaur – the world's largest species of buffalo. You are most likely to encounter Bonnet macaques and the Malabar giant squirrel, a species native to India. After an exciting morning of wildlife spotting, the rest of your afternoon is free. You may want to unwind with an optional ayurvedic massage. In the evening, attend an exciting demonstration of kalarippayattu at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre. Originating in Kerala, kalarippayattu is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India. Watching high-energy fighters leap several feet into the air is a truly thrilling sight.
Day 17 - Munnar
This morning drive north to Munnar, an old British Hill Station cradled in a picturesque valley. At 1525 metres above sea level, there’s likely to be dramatic drop in temperature here, so have your jacket ready! Munnar is one of India’s most important hubs for tea trade, and the rolling emerald hills that surround the town are an unforgettable sight. On arrival, take a tour of the tea plantation, where a resident expert will guide you through the steps of the tea making process. Follow narrow pathways and visit the workers picking the best tea leaves, learn how these leaves are transformed into the world’s most popular beverage, and sample some of the different varieties. There may be an opportunity to visit the tea museum, though opening hours are irregular so this cannot be guaranteed. This evening, relax at your mountain resort.
Day 18 - Munnar
This morning, take a guided walk around the lush hills of Munnar, often shrouded in ethereal clouds. Be sure to have your camera ready as the beautiful landscape unfolds in front of you. Learn how Munnar’s cool temperatures made the region a favourite summer retreat during the British Colonial era. In the afternoon, journey out to the scenic Mattupetty Dam where you’ll find a beautiful man-made lake and spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. Here you’ll have the chance to take an optional motorboat ride around the lake. After some time to appreciate the stunning scenery, return to Munnar for an evening at leisure.
Day 19 - Kerala Backwaters
Drive to the backwaters of Kerala this morning and discover Alleppey’s sleepy, palm-shaded waterways. Once a significant trading port, the town is now famed for the long ‘snake boat’ races that take place in August every year. Kerala’s backwaters were once busy with passing kettuvallams; large wooden boats used to transport rice and spices. Today these traditional vessels have been transformed into magnificent houseboats, offering guests the incredible opportunity to explore the lagoons in total comfort, as you will during your Feature Stay for the evening. Conversions are made using traditional and natural materials – bamboo becomes roofing, coir mats are turned into flooring and beds are carefully crafted from the wood of coconut trees. These floating cottages share the comforts of a first-rate hotel, including western toilets, private bedrooms, a dining area and open deck where you can watch the world go by. Sit back for a truly unforgettable evening floating through the dreamy waters of rural Kerala.
Day 20 - Kochi
Enjoy a peaceful morning at the Kerala waters before driving to Kochi in the afternoon. Cochin, as it was formerly known, is spread over several islands and is a melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. Join your leader on an orientation walk to learn how these influences manifest in the city’s architecture, restaurants and daily life. In the afternoon, take some time out to enjoy the city – perhaps head to lively Princess street and kick back with a cup of coffee. Tonight you’ll have the special opportunity to watch a Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali is a classical Indian dance with roots in Kerala, combining symbolic storytelling with physical technique. It is one of the most vibrant and extraordinary theatre forms in the world and proficiency requires incredible commitment and rigorous training.
Day 21 - Kochi
Today you will explore the antique shops and spice bazaars of Kochi – your leader will show you how to haggle with the best of them. Visit the delightful Fort Kochi area and stop by the famous Chinese fishing nets – perhaps Kochi’s most photographed sight. Make a visit to the Mattancherry Palace, built in the 16th-century by the Portuguese and later claimed by the Dutch. Continue to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. In the early evening you will meet with an ayurvedic doctor, a practitioner who uses ancient holistic techniques to promote a balance of body and mind, resulting in overall health and wellbeing. Learn all about Satvik Bhojan, the ayurvedic diet, and take part in a cooking demonstration followed by dinner using the methods and recipes discussed.
Day 22 - Kochi
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Additional nights in Kochi and an airport transfer to Cochin International airport can be booked in advance.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
13-09-202404-10-2024AUD $ 9,252-
20-09-202411-10-2024AUD $ 8,991-
27-09-202418-10-2024AUD $ 9,252-
04-10-202425-10-2024AUD $ 9,256-
11-10-202401-11-2024AUD $ 9,256-
18-10-202408-11-2024AUD $ 9,518-
25-10-202415-11-2024AUD $ 10,467-
28-10-202418-11-2024AUD $ 9,994-
01-11-202422-11-2024AUD $ 9,994-
08-11-202429-11-2024AUD $ 9,994-
15-11-202406-12-2024AUD $ 10,080-
19-11-202410-12-2024AUD $ 9,351-
22-11-202413-12-2024AUD $ 9,256-
06-12-202427-12-2024AUD $ 9,256-
20-12-202410-01-2025AUD $ 10,680-
27-12-202417-01-2025AUD $ 10,575-
03-01-202524-01-2025AUD $ 10,670-
10-01-202531-01-2025AUD $ 10,770-
17-01-202507-02-2025AUD $ 9,603-
24-01-202514-02-2025AUD $ 9,603-
31-01-202521-02-2025AUD $ 9,603-
04-02-202525-02-2025AUD $ 9,603-
07-02-202528-02-2025AUD $ 9,603-
14-02-202507-03-2025AUD $ 10,260-
21-02-202514-03-2025AUD $ 9,986-
28-02-202521-03-2025AUD $ 9,986-
07-03-202528-03-2025AUD $ 9,986-
21-03-202511-04-2025AUD $ 9,986-
28-03-202518-04-2025AUD $ 9,986-
04-04-202525-04-2025AUD $ 10,670-
05-09-202526-09-2025AUD $ 10,670-
19-09-202510-10-2025AUD $ 10,670-
26-09-202517-10-2025AUD $ 10,670-
03-10-202524-10-2025AUD $ 11,095-
10-10-202531-10-2025AUD $ 11,095-
14-10-202504-11-2025AUD $ 11,095-
17-10-202507-11-2025AUD $ 11,525-
21-10-202511-11-2025AUD $ 11,525-
24-10-202514-11-2025AUD $ 11,525-
28-10-202518-11-2025AUD $ 11,525-
04-11-202525-11-2025AUD $ 11,525-
07-11-202528-11-2025AUD $ 11,525-
11-11-202502-12-2025AUD $ 11,525-
14-11-202505-12-2025AUD $ 11,525-
18-11-202509-12-2025AUD $ 11,525-
21-11-202512-12-2025AUD $ 11,525-
28-11-202519-12-2025AUD $ 11,525-
12-12-202502-01-2026AUD $ 11,095-
19-12-202509-01-2026AUD $ 11,095-
02-01-202623-01-2026AUD $ 10,230-
09-01-202630-01-2026AUD $ 10,230-
16-01-202606-02-2026AUD $ 10,230-
23-01-202613-02-2026AUD $ 10,230-
30-01-202620-02-2026AUD $ 10,230-
03-02-202624-02-2026AUD $ 10,230-
06-02-202627-02-2026AUD $ 10,230-
13-02-202606-03-2026AUD $ 10,230-
20-02-202613-03-2026AUD $ 10,230-
27-02-202620-03-2026AUD $ 10,230-
06-03-202627-03-2026AUD $ 10,230-
20-03-202610-04-2026AUD $ 10,230-
27-03-202617-04-2026AUD $ 10,230-
03-04-202624-04-2026AUD $ 10,230-
04-09-202625-09-2026AUD $ 10,230-
18-09-202609-10-2026AUD $ 10,230-
25-09-202616-10-2026AUD $ 10,230-
02-10-202623-10-2026AUD $ 10,230-
09-10-202630-10-2026AUD $ 10,230-
13-10-202603-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
16-10-202606-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
20-10-202610-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
23-10-202613-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
27-10-202617-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
03-11-202624-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
06-11-202627-11-2026AUD $ 10,230-
10-11-202601-12-2026AUD $ 10,230-
13-11-202604-12-2026AUD $ 10,230-
17-11-202608-12-2026AUD $ 10,230-
20-11-202611-12-2026AUD $ 10,230-
27-11-202618-12-2026AUD $ 10,230-
11-12-202601-01-2027AUD $ 10,230-
18-12-202608-01-2027AUD $ 10,230-


Hotel (16 nights),Jaipur Feature Stay (2 nights),Houseboat Feature Stay (1 night),Kochi Feature Stay (2 nights)


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