Southern India

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. 2- Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
15 days
From: $ 1,746 $ 116 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Discover the waterfalls, tea plantations and spice markets of South India’s Western Ghats, a jungle-clad mountain range older than the Himalaya and one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
  • Known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, Kochi is a fascinating blend of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences, and is best explored by ferry.
  • Step back in time among the iridescent hills of the very British ‘Snooty Ooty’ – home of snooker and the charming Nilgiri toy train.
  • Search for elusive wildlife, including elephants, sloths, and birds on safari around one of the best places in India to observe nature up close – Periyar National Park.
  • Experience a unique way of life with a family homestay and home-cooked meals in the idyllic backwaters of Kerala.

Short Description

Lush and tropical, southern India is inspiring and delightful. Beneath the green shade of a coastal paradise, meet with locals in their fishing villages and tribal homes. Join them in the bazaars, on buses and boats, or even on pilgrimage in Madurai. From cultural sights like the Maharaja's Palace in Mysore to French-influenced Puducherry and the vast landscape of Periyar, southern India's spirituality, friendly people, and wild animal sanctuaries make it a fascinating part of the country to explore.

Style Small group tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Kochi
End City Kochi

Destinations

India

Attractions & Cities Visited

Chennai Kerala Kochi Periyar

Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement

15-99

No single supplement
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Itinerary

Day 1 Kochi

Your Indian adventure starts today in Kochi with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive in Kochi early, there are plenty of things to see and do. Once an important spice-trading centre, Kochi has been under Portuguese, Dutch and British rule at various times throughout history. Explore with one of our Urban Adventures or wander down to the shore and seek out the huge Chinese fishing nets dotted along the coast of Fort Cochin.

Day 2 Kochi

This morning, take on Kochi with a leader-led orientation tour. Board a local ferry to Mattancherry and drop by the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century before it was renovated and presented to the Rajas of Cochin by the Dutch. Pay an optional visit to Paradesi Synagogue – the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth and home to many rare antiques. Then amble around the spice bazaars and antique stores of Fort Cochin. In the evening, experience a Kathakali performance. This Keralan dance is an ornately costumed display of storytelling, requiring complete control of the body.

Day 3 Ootacamund – Conoor

Buckle up, because most of today is spent travelling. Catch a 3.5-hour train to Coimbatore, before travelling by private vehicle to Ootacamund (approximately 4 hours). Often referred to as ‘Snooty Ooty’, it was here that the game of snooker was named and arguably invented. Stretch your legs exploring the town’s Hindu temples or stroll through what almost feels like the English countryside. Ooty is pleasantly mild in the summer but can get cold in winter, so make sure you come prepared with adequate clothing. You’ll stay in the nearby Conoor, where dinner is included at your accommodation tonight.

Day 4 Ootacamund – Conoor

Today, board Ooty’s renowned toy train for a ride along the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Be sure to get a window seat for great views over the lush countryside. In nearby Conoor, visit a tea plantation to learn about the history of tea production. Spend the rest of the day exploring Ooty’s Botanical Gardens, which are home to over 650 species of plants and trees. Alternatively, get a little bit romantic with a boat ride on the lake.

Day 5 Mudumalai National Park – Masinagudi

Take a private vehicle for the short drive to Masinagudi today. Set against the backdrop of the Nilgiri Hills, Mudumalai National Park was once the Mysore Maharaja's private hunting ground. In 1974 it was brought under Project Tiger and is now one of the best sanctuaries in India to observe wildlife in close proximity. Embark on a short safari in search of tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, sambars, spotted deer, and much more. There's also an amazing variety of birdlife in the park. Tonight’s family-run accommodation in Masinagudi is a mixed-gender dormitory style with a common bathroom. This dorm room is only open to your group.

Day 6 Mysore

Travel by private vehicle across the scenic Karnataka plains to Mysore, stopping to share a biryani lunch with local host Raju and his family. Mysore is an easy-going town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot. Your leader will provide an orientation walk for you to get your bearings. A visit to Mysore is incomplete without a look around Mysore Palace. One of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is full of colour, mosaics, and mirrors.

Day 7 Mysore – Overnight train

This morning, head out of Mysore and climb Chamundi Hill to the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga. Continue on to the Keshava Temple in the small town of Somnathpur – an excellent example of Hoysala architecture. You’ll also have some time to pay an optional visit to Tipu Sultan’s mausoleum in Srirangapatna, or instead, return to Mysore for a palm reading or to catch a film at the local cinema. Tonight, board an 11-hour overnight sleeper train to Chennai.

Day 8 Mamallapuram

After arriving in Chennai, take a private vehicle along the scenic East Coast Road to Mamallapuram. Explore this ancient seaport town by bicycle, paying a visit to the seventh-century Shore Temple and the enormous bas-relief rock carving, known as Arjuna's Penance. There will also be time to inspect the town’s numerous mandapams (pillared temple pavilions), watch local stonemasons at work, or just to kick back and relax at a beachside restaurant.

Day 9 Puducherry

Travel by private vehicle for 5 hours through palm trees and rice paddies to Puducherry (Pondicherry). On arrival, head out with your group and leader on a walking tour to see local temples, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and the French Quarter. Once a French colony, you’ll see evidence of French influence in Puducherry's architecture, its wide town squares, and even in the uniforms of the police.

Day 10 Madurai

Transfer by taxi to the railway station at Villupuram and board a train to the temple city of Madurai (approximately 6 hours). Madurai’s Tamil roots stretch back 2500 years, making it one of the oldest cities in India. Wander the lamp-lit labyrinth of the Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Meenakshi. Visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum, which displays a detailed account of India’s struggle for independence along with the bloodstained dhoti the famous leader wore when he was assassinated.

Day 11 Periyar

This morning, travel by private vehicle along a winding road to the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. High in the ranges of the Western Ghats, the park is set among stunning scenery and is the most popular wildlife sanctuary in Southern India. Both today and tomorrow, you’ll get to explore the national park on foot and will understand why Periyar is a popular wilderness sanctuary because of its lush surroundings. In the evening, enjoy a tour of a local spice plantation. And then join our hosts at a local family and try some authentic home-cooked flavors in Southern India.

Day 12 Periyar

Venture back into the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary today for a guided nature walk. Encounters with animals in the wild are never guaranteed, and this is more of a jungle walk than an animal spotting tour, but do look out for tiger tracks, spotted deer, Indian elephants, or gaur – the world's largest species of buffalo. In the afternoon, unwind with an optional ayurvedic massage at your accommodation, or just relax in this scenic setting with a drink in hand.

Day 13 Kerala Backwaters

Travelling by private vehicle, pass through the rubber, tea, and coffee plantations on the way to the backwaters of Kerala. Board a boat to cross to the island village where you’ll stay with a local family tonight. In the late afternoon, explore the island with a local English-speaking guide, and sometimes your homestay host! This is a great chance to meet locals and learn more about their unique way of life. Take a leisurely punt boat ride around the waterways and enjoy the scenery. In the evening, share stories and a traditional home-cooked Keralan meal with your host family.

Day 14 Kochi

Wake early, before crossing the backwaters by private boat to Alleppey. From here, take a 2-hour local bus back to Kochi. The rest of the day is free for you to choose your own adventure. Perhaps you’d like to stroll down Princess Street for a spot of shopping, or book yourself into a southern Indian cooking class – your group leader will have some other recommendations, so be sure to ask them. Tonight, why not gather together with your group and have a night out at a local restaurant. Whatever you do, be sure to snack on a pazham pori (fried fritter of banana or plantain) while you explore the city.

Day 15 Kochi

With no activities planned for today, you are able to leave the accommodation at any time.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,746
Price Per Day: $ 116 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceAvailability 
Feb-07-2023Feb-21-2023$ 2,055Sold Out Reserve
Feb-10-2023Feb-24-2023$ 2,075Sold Out Reserve
Feb-12-2023Feb-26-2023$ 1,8144 spots left Reserve
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Feb-20-2023Mar-06-2023$ 2,115Sold Out Reserve
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Apr-12-2024Apr-26-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Apr-16-2024Apr-30-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Apr-21-2024May-05-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Sep-03-2024Sep-17-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Sep-20-2024Oct-04-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
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Oct-13-2024Oct-27-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Oct-18-2024Nov-01-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Oct-25-2024Nov-08-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Nov-01-2024Nov-15-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Nov-08-2024Nov-22-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Nov-12-2024Nov-26-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Nov-15-2024Nov-29-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Nov-22-2024Dec-06-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Nov-29-2024Dec-13-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Dec-06-2024Dec-20-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Dec-13-2024Dec-27-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Dec-15-2024Dec-29-2024$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Dec-20-2024Jan-03-2025$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Dec-22-2024Jan-05-2025$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
Dec-27-2024Jan-10-2025$ 1,88512 spots left Reserve
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4,186 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

94%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,164
Great 667
Average 132
Disappointing 66
Terrible 157
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Southern India

Wonderful leader, great itinerary

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Wonderful leader, great itinerary

Excellent coverage and interest levels - feel

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Excellent coverage and interest levels - feel we know South India in some detaqil

The opportunity to see aspects of real

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The opportunity to see aspects of real life and not just the tourist sights.

All down to the tour guide Charles

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
All down to the tour guide Charles who turned a good tour into an excellent tour.

The trip was very well planned and

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The trip was very well planned and ran to schedule, we were always informed about what was to come, the food was amazing throughout and our tour leader Charles was very knowledgeable, responsive to our needs and a pleasure to travel with. I would definitely recommend to others as I found that the trip lived up to Intrepid's philosophies and overall, it was a really enjoyable experience!
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Very full trip, great inclusions, great leader

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Very full trip, great inclusions, great leader

Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Auto rickshaw,Boat,Bus,Cycle rickshaw,Ferry,Overnight sleeper train,Private vehicle,Train

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accommodations

Homestay (1 night),Hotel (11 nights),Jungle lodge (1 nights),Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Abad Fort Hotel
  • Moulana Azad Rd, Near Reliance Super Market, Panayappilly, Chullickal, Kochi, Kerala
  • Kochi
  • INDIA
  • Phone: +91 4844148888

Trip ID#:

intrepid-HHSS

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"Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone."
Wendell Berry
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