Join us on a spice, temple and dosa-filled journey into the soul of South India.

From the palm-lined beaches of Goa to the sleepy backwaters of Kerala and the temple-strewn Hampi, South India is packed with cultural and culinary adventures. While iconic landmarks like Maharaja's Palace and Sri Meenakshi Temple are bound to wow you, the real magic for us lies in sharing a biriyani with a local family, learning about Ayurveda as you sniff your way around a herb garden or tracking tiger footprints with a village guide. If you want to discover India beyond the Golden Triangle's big-ticket attractions, a South India trip could be on the cards.

Our South India trips

15 Days From 1505

Explore the tropical and spiritual southern India. Ride the toy train in Ooty, relax in...

13 Days From 2984

Join Intrepid on a Premium adventure to explore the beaches, bazaars and backwaters of...

16 Days From 960

See the landscapes of South India on a 16-day adventure from Varkala to Goa via Kerala...

22 Days From 5891

Join Intrepid on a Premium adventure to explore opulent places, holy Ganges, dense...

13 Days From 1736

Explore the backroads of India’s south on this 13-day tour. Travel from Chennai to...

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

37 Days From 1947

Discover the colours and cultures of India on this trip visiting Delhi, Rajasthan's...

29 Days From 3030

This 29-day tour traverses India from south to north, winding from Kochi to Delhi and...

22 Days From 3975

Get a cultural insight into India’s north and south, travelling through Delhi, Agra,...

Highlights of South India

A houseboat cruising through the backwaters in Kerala, India

Cruise the Kerala backwaters

Hop on a traditional wooden houseboat for an unforgettable journey through the winding, palm-shaded backwaters of Kerala. Settle into the slow pace of life here as you watch locals going about their day and enjoy home-cooked Keralan food on the deck. There'll also be plenty of opportunities to hop off to visit nearby villages and learn about life along these emerald-green waterways.

Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India

Marvel at Sri Meenakshi Temple

The whole ‘land of colour’ thing has become a bit of a cliché, but one glimpse at Sri Meenakshi Temple will show you why it’s one of the best ways to describe India. Located in the heart of Madurai city, this ancient temple – dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi – is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place, including the remarkable Hall of a Thousand Pillars.

Virupaksha Temple in Hampi, India

Go temple hopping in Hampi

Steeped in history with thousands of stunning temple ruins dotted across the landscape, there are countless stories and mysteries to uncover in Hampi. After exploring the architectural masterpiece of Vittala Temple, kick back with a chai in a riverside café, climb up Matanga Hill to watch a magical sunset or enjoy a river ride in a coracle (a traditional rounded bamboo boat).

Varkala Beach in Kerala, India

Chill out in Varkala

Welcome to one of Kerala’s most beautiful beach towns. Soaring cliffs protect Varkala’s sandy shores and dolphins can be spotted from high up on the rocks depending on the time of year. Dig into seafood curries at one of the many restaurants, enjoy a yoga or meditation workshop and watch a spellbinding Kathakali dance performance at the Cultural Centre.

Travellers doing a cooking class in Goa, India

Cook an Ayurvedic feast

Uncovering the melting pot of culture and history in Kochi is hungry work, so what better way to fill your belly than a mouthwatering South Indian feast. The best part? It'll be cooked by you! During this hands-on cooking class, you’ll learn the basics of one of the world’s oldest holistic health systems while cooking a delicious three-course meal with ingredients that maintain good health.

Travellers sitting in a train carriage in India

Take an overnight sleeper train

From navigating busy stations and chatting with locals in your carriage to gazing out the window as you chug through ever-changing scenery, travelling on an overnight train is a rite of passage for travellers in India. With padded berths kitted out with a sheet, pillow and blanket and vendors who climb aboard selling everything from samosas to biryani, you won’t be forgetting this journey in a hurry!

South India tour reviews

South India FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

Yes, all foreigners (except those from a visa-exempt country) must apply for a visa before travelling to India. This can be done online (e-visa) or by post at your nearest Indian embassy. Eligibility for an e-visa depends on your nationality, trip duration, and how you plan to enter the country.

Learn more about India visas

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their tour. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

Learn more about travel insurance.

Get ready to take your tastebuds on a mouthwatering adventure. South Indian cuisine includes a combination of food from each state: Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana. Dishes are largely vegetarian but seafood is also popular, particularly in Kerala. Many dishes are made with coconut oil and cream and a combination of spices including curry leaves, mustard seeds, tamarind, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds and chillies.

Some of the most popular foods to try include:

  • Idli: A savoury rice cake typically eaten for breakfast. It's made by steaming a batter made with fermented black lentils and rice.
  • Dosa: A savoury pancake/crepe made from rice and lentil flour batter. They can be eaten by ripping off a piece and dipping it in sambar or stuffed with veggies, potato or paneer.
  • Sambar: A lentil and vegetable stew flavoured with spices and chillies. It's a staple in South Indian cuisine and is served alongside most dishes.
  • Rasam: A deliciously hot and sour lentil soup made with tamarind and kokum (a mangosteen fruit).

Squat toilets are the most common toilets in India. Always carry your own toilet paper and soap or hand sanitiser, as they're usually not provided. Flushable, Western-style toilets can be found in up-market restaurants, some higher-end hotels and in some tourist areas.

India is notorious among travellers for sickness. We don't recommend ever drinking tap water, and travellers should avoid drinks with ice and foods that haven’t been cooked or peeled. This means salad is also off the menu, but with so many delicious South Indian dishes on offer this shouldn't be an issue!

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries. 

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

Read more about India