Southern India

15 Days | Travel to the cultural and scenic highlights of southern India.

4.9 out of 5 based on 117 reviews submitted.
Explorer
Rail
From
USD $1,870
View dates and book

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.

Trip overview

Map of Southern India including India
Start
Kochi, India
Finish
Kochi, India
Theme
Explorer, Rail
Destinations
India
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Original
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
HHSS
This trip generates 57 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • 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.
  • Soak in India’s changing landscapes on a trip that uses rail travel. By choosing trains to get around, you’ll be giving yourself the best opportunity for local interaction, at a more relaxed pace.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Positive Change for Marine Life. Donations help them to nurture ocean health with community-led conservation initiatives that inspire coastal restoration, sustainable fishing practices and waste-managemen

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip is packed full of sights and experiences, including many main highlights of southern India along with plenty of insights into local life. There is an extensive amount of travel and a number of single-night stays to ensure you can fit as much as possible.
  • This adventure uses a variety of transport options, including train and bus travel for up to 8 hours. There is also an included overnight sleeper train from Mysore to Mamallapuram, so be sure to have a book, some podcasts, and your best travel games ready.
  • Sleeper trains a quintessential Indian experience and a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. With the experience can come some unpredictability – there are occasional delays or even cancellations. 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. See the Transport section of the Essential Trip Information for more detail about train travel in India or this guide for more about train travel around the world: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/overnight-train-travel-around-the-world/
  • Up in the Western Ghats, it can be surprisingly cool at night, especially in winter. Check weather reports before you go to help with your packing, and remember too to bring modest clothing (ie. pants or skirts that go below the knees and tops that cover your arms) for our visits to religious sites in particular.
  • Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. You’ll be visiting a few temples throughout your adventure, so please ensure that you’re dressed appropriately with legs and shoulders covered.

Itinerary

Map of Southern India including India

Inclusions

Meals

5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Boat, Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Ferry, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

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

Activities
  • Kochi - Leader-led Fort Kochi walking tour
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Kathakali performance
  • Ooty - Nilgiri Mountain Railway & Tea Plantation visit
  • Bandipur - National Park Safari
  • Mysore - Home cooked lunch & family visit
  • Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
  • Mysore - Leader-led walking tour
  • Mysore - Keshava Temple
  • Mysore - Chamundi Hill & Temple
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temples guided tour
  • Puducherry - Leader-led French Quarter walking tour
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
  • Periyar - Spice plantation visit
  • Periyar - Home cooked meal
  • Periyar - National Park
  • Periyar - Guided nature walk
  • Kerala Backwaters - Pole boat ride
  • Kerala Backwaters - Village walk
Add on activities
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue - INR5
  • Ooty - Botanical Gardens - INR50
  • Ooty - Boat ride - INR200
  • Mysore - Cinema - INR100
  • Mysore - Tipu Sultan's Mausoleum - INR500
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum - Free
  • Periyar - Boat trip - INR650

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Day 5 (Jungle Lodge), Day 7 (Sleeper Train) and Day 13 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

2. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport. Fees may apply for adding or amending details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 based on 117 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Nikki · Traveled April 2024
I loved all of this trip. It showed me a calm and relaxed side of India I never imagined I would find here. I loved the balance between ancient temples and modern adventures. Chandler was an outstanding guide and a wonderful person.
Review submitted 16 Apr 2024

D · Traveled April 2024
Southern India trip was great. Learnt so much and experienced a range of culture, lifestyles, food and transport.
Review submitted 17 Apr 2024

Wendy · Traveled April 2024
For first timers to India like myself this is an excellent tour , India is so much more than the crowds and squalor we sometimes expect . The mountains the national parks Kerala back waters , beautiful scenery and lovely people , I felt quiet safe as single female traveller . Also we saw tigers, elephants and leopard in the National park which was amazing . Our guide Chandra was very knowledgeable and easy to communicate with he made sure any requests we had were met.
Review submitted 17 Apr 2024

Laura · Traveled March 2024
The Southern India trip was amazing. So much to see, eat and experience in the 2 weeks. The variety of places we visited, from national parks, cities and the coast made each day so memorable. The variety of transportation was also so fun and nice not to be ferried by private minibus everywhere. Our tour leader Garima was wonderful. We were in very safe hands with her and she took any travel stress away. Southern India is definitely worth a visit and very different to the north.
Review submitted 06 Apr 2024

Tony · Traveled March 2024
Excellent itinerary in a fascinating place with by a company who care about the impact of tourism on the wider environment
Review submitted 26 Mar 2024
Southern India
From
USD $1,870