Travel to the cultural and scenic highlights of southern India
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 iconic cultural sights like the Maharaja's Palace in Mysore to French-infused Pondicherry 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.
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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 tigers, elephants, sloths and birds on safari around two of the best places in India to observe wildlife up close - Mudumalai National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve
Feel energy radiate from the world’s largest solid crystal in the experimental city of Auroville
Experience a unique way of life with a family homestay in the idyllic backwaters of Kerala
This trip involves some long stints of travel, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential Indian experience. On the third day of the trip you’ll be travelling for 7-8 hours by train and private vehicle. On the seventh night you’ll take an eleven-hour overnight sleeper train from Mysore to Mamallapuram.
Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender.
The hill station of Ooty can be cold at night, especially in winter, so come prepared with warm clothing. You’ll also need warm and waterproof clothing for your visits to Mudumalai and Periyar National Parks.
We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
Long distance and overnight trains can often be delayed and occasionally cancelled. Please see the transport section of the essential trip information.
This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Southern India trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
A single supplement is available for this trip and is applicable for all nights on tour with the exception of nights 5 in Mudumalai National Park and the overnight train on night 7.
Our Southern India trips score an average of 4.77 out of 5 based on 184 reviews in the last year.
I enjoyed this tour. This was my 10th and as usual I found that some of my best experiences were exploring on my own when not with the group. My fav part was Sri Meenakshi Temple in Maduri. The scene there in the evening in fascinating and I suggest exploring the area more after the tour. I also returned there in the morning and also explored another cool Dravidian temple. The markets in Mysore and Pondicherry are super interesting but not included so you'll have to go there yourself. The hotel at Periyar is frequented by troops of monkeys (2 types) and I spent a couple of gleeful hours watching and photographing them. If you don't see them at the hotel wander a bit and you'll probably find them. I also enjoyed exploring the beaches after the temple tour and in the morning at Mamallapuram. Our excellent guide Aathi took us to the Ganesh temple in Pondicherry (not included) and it was awesome. You should beg your leader to take you there or go yourself. The 3rd class overnight train ride was unpleasant as the bed jiggled all night. The night safari at Masinagudi NP was not great. I had some tummy issues from contaminated food. Stay away from restaurants that are not busy, try to eat only cooked food, and go veg. Too much time in Kochi, not enough in Madurai.
Review submitted 17 Dec 2017
Excellent value for the money. Trips have a good mixture of free time and inclusions. Hotels were located in areas that we could easily get around on foot. Exciting itinerary.
Review submitted 16 Dec 2017