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Classic South India

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Classic South India

Was From $ 2,830 AUD
Now From $ 2,264 AUD
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Description

Discover a thousand shades of green, indulge in some of the continent’s freshest food and share moments of connection with locals on this 13-day tour. Travel down the scenic East Coast Road into the countryside and across to the west coast before finishing in India’s deep south. Experience the cultures, religions and histories of this region through its small rural towns, fishing villages and the scented spice plantations set in the picturesque Western Ghats mountains. This revelatory trip introduces you to an area less travelled from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Trip Name
Classic South India
Last Updated
2021-12-02
Days
13
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Explore idyllic Pondicherry on a walking tour and discover the colonial French Quarter, colourful multi-tiered temples and the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
  • Take a nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, looking out for tiger tracks with your local village guides.
  • Discover the diversity and incredible history of Kochi through a tour of its buildings, like India’s oldest functioning synagogue and a mixture of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial architecture
  • Witness the dramatic beauty of Kathakali, a captivating storytelling dance that artists must study for over a decade before performing.
  • Cruise into the dreamy backwaters of Kerala and take a guided walk through a village to learn about life for the locals who live along these palm-lined canals.

Itinerary

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 is 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, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. 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 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 leader know you are interested in the Group 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 leaders 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 - Chennai
Welcome to Chennai, India. On arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with an important group meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive in Chennai with free time to spare, perhaps take a walk along Marina Beach or check out the Santhome Cathedral.
Day 2 - Mamallapuram – Puducherry
From Chennai, drive along the scenic East Coast Road to the fishing village of Mamallapuram. Take a guided tour around the town’s laidback beaches and temples, keeping an eye out for the sculptures and carvings dotted around the place. Visit the incredible 8th-century Shore Temple and its mandapams (carved pillars) to pay your respects to the deity Shiva. Continue onto Puducherry (Pondicherry) in the late afternoon where your evening is then free. Today's drive should take around three hours in total.
Day 3 - Puducherry
Explore Puducherry, which was under French rule until 1954, and the European style of the town extends from beautiful colonial architecture right down to the uniforms of the police. Enjoy a walking tour to see local temples, the French Quarter and the spiritual community of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The rest of the day and evening is free.
Day 4 - Karaikudi
Drive to Karaikudi today (approximately 6 hours). Take a walk around the village after checking in and get a taste of village life. Visit some havelis (mansions), whose grandiose architecture will no doubt impress. Be sure to sample some spicy Chettinad cuisine while you're here.
Day 5 - Madurai
Continue on to Madurai (approximately 2 hours). Here you will wander through the colourful markets and bazaars, then visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple in the city’s centre. Still in use today, this ancient temple is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place. You might also like to explore the National Gandhi Museum (optional), dedicated to the life and achievements of the 'Father of the Nation' and the leader of India's fight for independence. Your evening is then free to spend as you please.
Day 6 - Madurai
Enjoy a day of free time in Madurai. Perhaps visit the Art Museum to see a superb collection of carvings, check out the Tirumalai Nayak Palace or simply relax over endless cups of chai. 
Day 7 - Periyar
Drive through rubber and pineapple plantations to Thekkady and explore the Periyar National Park, perched lakeside in the ranges of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, which was formed as result of a dam that was built in 1895. It ambles through the contours of the wooded hills, and is a permanent source of water for local wildlife. This afternoon, take a tour of a local spice plantation. If you have time, perhaps attend a demonstration of Indian martial arts (kalaripayattu) at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre.
Day 8 - Periyar
In the morning, take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (approximately 3 hours). Encounters with animals in the wild are never guaranteed, and this is more of a jungle walk than an animal spotting tour, but look out for tiger tracks, spotted deer, or gaur – the world's largest species of buffalo. In the afternoon, unwind with an optional ayurvedic massage or just relax in this scenic setting.
Day 9 - Kochi
In the morning, drive to Kochi, aka Cochin (approximately 7-8 hours). This place is a veritable melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. Use your free time to get out on the water by local ferry, or wander down the beach at sunset.
Day 10 - Kochi
Visit the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), which was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese before the Dutch renovated it. Then check out the oldest functioning Jewish synagogue in India, the Paradesi Synagogue. In the evening witness a classic Kathakali performance, a dramatic dance that combines storytelling with physical technique.
Day 11 - Kerala Backwaters – Kumarakom
Discover sleepy Kumarakom in the backwaters of Kerala. Drive from Kochi to Kumarkon to our resort along the riverside. Take a short backwaters cruise before heading out on a village walk. This is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who live in the backwaters, stroll under palm trees and weave in between the rice fields in this tranquil landscape.
Day 12 - Kovalam
In the morning, drive to Kovalam (approximately 4 hours) via Kerala’s capital, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). Kovalam was once a quiet coastal village known for its export of fresh fish and coconuts, but is now one of India’s more popular beach resorts. Visit the ancient temple of Attukal Bhagavathy in the afternoon. If you have free time, explore the old signalling station of Anchuthengu Fort or the 16th-century Koyikkal Palace. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out with the group for a farewell meal together tonight.
Day 13 - Kovalam
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast and you’re free to leave the accommodation at any time.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
07-03-202219-03-2022AUD $ 2,264-
18-03-202230-03-2022AUD $ 2,264-
16-09-202228-09-2022AUD $ 2,264-
30-09-202212-10-2022AUD $ 2,264-
14-10-202226-10-2022AUD $ 2,264-
28-10-202209-11-2022AUD $ 2,264-
04-11-202216-11-2022AUD $ 2,352-
11-11-202223-11-2022AUD $ 2,352-
18-11-202230-11-2022AUD $ 2,352-
24-11-202206-12-2022AUD $ 2,352-
16-12-202228-12-2022AUD $ 3,055-
19-12-202231-12-2022AUD $ 3,055-
26-12-202207-01-2023AUD $ 3,055-
17-02-202301-03-2023AUD $ 2,830-
06-03-202318-03-2023AUD $ 2,830-
17-03-202329-03-2023AUD $ 2,830-
15-09-202327-09-2023AUD $ 2,830-
29-09-202311-10-2023AUD $ 2,830-
13-10-202325-10-2023AUD $ 2,830-
27-10-202308-11-2023AUD $ 2,830-
03-11-202315-11-2023AUD $ 2,830-
10-11-202322-11-2023AUD $ 2,830-
17-11-202329-11-2023AUD $ 2,830-
23-11-202305-12-2023AUD $ 2,830-
15-12-202327-12-2023AUD $ 2,830-
18-12-202330-12-2023AUD $ 2,830-
25-12-202306-01-2024AUD $ 2,830-

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights),Resort (2 nights)

Transport

Private vehicle,Ferry

Map