See another side of India while travelling from Mumbai to Chennai.

Tour India from Mumbai to Chennai. This trip is the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. For starters you've got Mumbai, India's most cosmopolitan city. Then travel overland through the Western Ghats for a stay on the stunning beaches of Goa and head into the hills for a homestay in the tea and coffee plantations of Wayanad. Back on the coast, explore the lush waterways of Kerala's backwaters by boat, rounding the southernmost tip of India en route to the magnificent temples of Madurai. Finally, travelling through Tamil Nadu, pass through a part of the country many travellers never get to see before ending our Indian adventure in the bustling city of Chennai.

Mumbai, India
Chennai, India
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 4 Max 22
Carbon offset
397kg pp per trip


  • Meet the locals over a chai in Kerala
  • Learn of the stories behind the Kathakali dances
  • Discover Gallic influences in Pondicherry
  • Look out over the Indian Ocean from the sub-continent's southernmost point
  • Kick back on Goa's beaches
  • Experience the bizarre and the beautiful in India
  • Imagine the royal life in the Maharaja's Palace
  • Take up the challenge of a fiery fish curry


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2012 to 06 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Border Information:
If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from you tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai. The following day will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city.

In Mumbai we stay in a good quality hotel.
Hotel for the night: Hotel Supreme

Hotel Supreme
4 Panday Road
Cuffe Parade, Colaba
Mumbai 400039
Tel - +91 222 218 5608

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour of the backstreets, shops and schools INR 1200
of the Dhavari district, to experience a slice of the real

Take a Bollywood dance class in one of Mumbai's premier INR 500
dance studios

Discover the marvellous collection of historical objects INR 300
and art at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
Sangrahalaya Museum, one of India's premier museums

Explore the labyrinth of cave-temples on Elephanta Island INR 250
near Mumbai, some of the most impressive rock carvings
in all of India

About Mumbai:
Mumbai is on the west coast of India and is probably the most cosmopolitan cityin the country. It's also home to the largest film industry in the world,Bollywood. So if you've never seen an Indian movie before, this is the place for it. Full of high-drama, romance, suspense, music and dancing, Bollywood films are all-singing, all-dancing extravaganzas. It's pure, straightforward andunadulterated entertainment and escapism, so even if you can't understand thelanguage, they still make an interesting spectacle. Combine India's version of LAwith a hefty dose of traffic, busy streets, lively bazaars, briefcase clutching businessmen cutting international deals in soaring skyscrapers and someimpressive colonial architecture, and there you have Mumbai. The city is a mad mixture of horrific poverty standing side-by-side with prolific consumerism; this is the financial capital of the sub-continent and it has the shopping centres,bars and restaurants to match - but more than half the inhabitants live in theslums.Mumbai can be a bit of a shock to the system and an assault on the senses. But once you get your head around it, you'll begin to appreciate all the city has tooffer. There's tons to do here, wander the streets and discover some of the beautiful old colonial architecture and Art Deco buildings, treat yourself to a meal in one of the country's best restaurants, and shop until you drop in the bazaars. In the evening, you can visit Chowpatty beach where colourful crowds of people mill about in the cooler evening air. Palmists, balloon sellers, magicians and acrobats all compete for your attention, vying to show you themagic of Mumbai.
We will start our journey by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for two nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the North. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna. We will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach. Journey time (on train) - 11 hours.

About Goa:
To many people, Goa is all about the beaches; and it's fair to say that the soft white sand and sparkling blue water of the Arabian Sea are definitely one of the main attractions here. But this is also an area rich in history and culture. The coastal state retains much of it's old Portuguese colonial architecture, traditions, religion, and lifestyle, particularly in the old capital of Old Goa, where there are several churches, a cathedral and lots of great local markets all well worth exploring. Relax under a palm tree on the beach, watch the dhows sailing out into the sunset and see the fishing boats landing their catch, or wander around the local spice plantations revelling in their heady scent, there's something here for all kinds of different travellers. The locals say that
time moves more slowly in Goa, so if nothing else it's a brilliant stop for a few days, a great chance to enjoy a bit of tranquility in an often frenetic country. Goa is also home to some fantastic cuisine, including many fish-based curries, classic Goan pork vindaloo and Feni, a local spirit made from coconut and cashew nuts.
After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern beaches, visiting the site of Old Goa en route.We will stay for 2 nights in beautiful beach huts on the stunning beach of Agonda, which is a perfect place to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch, sample the delicious local cuisine, or visit the nearby beach of Palolem with its many bars and restaurants. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours, depending on the length of your visit to Old Goa (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
About Old Goa:
Old Goa is a historical city in North Goa district in the Indian state of Goa. The city was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century, and served as capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century until its abandonment in the 18th century due to plague. The remains of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The population was roughly 200,000 by 1543. Malaria and cholera epidemics ravaged the city in the 17th century and it was largely abandoned; only having a remaining population of 1,500 in 1775. It was then that the viceroy moved to Panjim. It continued to be the de jure capital of Goa until 1843, when the capital was then shifted to Panjim. The abandoned city came to be known as "Velha Goa" (in Portuguese, 'Old Goa'), to distinguish it from the new capital Nova Goa (Panjim). Velha Goa was incorporated into the Republic of India in 1961, together with the rest of Goa. Old Goa contains various churches, including the Se Cathedral (the seat of the Archbishop of Goa), the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Church of St. Caetano, and notably, the Basilica of Bom Jesus which contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier.
Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a long 400km drive into the state of Karnataka to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours. On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot. In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.
About Hampi:
The city of Hampi bears exceptional testimony to the vanished civilization of the kingdom of Vijayanagar, which reached its apogee under the reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-30). The type of structure illustrates a significant historical situation: that of the kingdoms of South India which, menaced by the Muslims, were occasionally allied with the Portuguese of Goa. The grand site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries.Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned.
From Hampi we have another long drive of 480kms to Mysore, where we will stay for 2 nights. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours. On the following day we will have a free day in Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns, to explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery. In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the amazing and elaborate Mysore Palace Included in Kitty

Climb the 1000 steps to the summit of Chamundi Hill, to INR 100
visit the famous Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and take in
the views of the city below
About Mysore:

Mysore is one of India's most attractive towns. Unlike some of India's biggest cities it feels quite manageable in size, and it's beautiful buildings are packed full of history, and the Maharajah’s Palace, the Lalitha Mahal (Summer Palace) and Shri Chamarajendra art gallery are all definitely worth a visit. Historically the town was the capital of the mighty Maharaja kingdom of Mysore, ruled by the same family from 1399 until 1947. There was a brief period where the throne was usurped by one of the most colourful of Indian rulers, Hyder Ali and then by his famous son Tipu Sultan. Today the city is the state capital and one of the centres of the silk trade. It's well laid out with wide streets and many gardens, making it a pleasant place to wander around. It is also one of the major incense manufacturers in India - some call it "The Sandalwood City" and you will find yourself enveloped by the aromas of sandalwood, jasmine, rose and musk.
Today we travel 150kms up into the hills, heading for the hillstation of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours. Over the 2 days we have in Wayanad we will have the chance to hike up Chembra Peak, visit local waterfalls and tea plantations, visit the petroglyphs at the Edakkal Caves and to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a homestay, where they have set up accommodation for visitors in their homes.
Activity Approximate Cost

See the 7000-year-old Neolithic petroglyphs at the Included in Kitty
Edakkal caves en route

Enjoy genuine Indian hospitality at a community
homestay guesthouse amongst the hills of Wayanad Included in Kitty

Take a strenuous day-hike up the 2100m Chembra Peak, INR 1000
the highest peak in the Wayanad area

Take a walk through the scenic Wayanad countryside to INR 60
visit the Meenmutty or Kanthanppara waterfalls

Take a short jeep safari through the Muthanga Wildlife INR 800
Sanctuary near Wayanad

About Wayanad:

The lush hill station district of Wayanad is nestled at the foot of the Western Ghats. Rolling green hillsides, surrounded by misty-clad peaks and dotted with luxurious tea, coffee and spice plantations, the small communities here are the perfect place for a spot of rest and relaxation - the area is famous with locals for it's spectacular natural beauty. Part of the region is designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary in order to protect the many animals that live here and it's possible to trek through the forest reserves. This is one of the few places in India where you're almost guaranteed to see wild elephants, and if you're lucky you may also be able to spot deer, bison and langur monkeys.
Today we will continue our journey 260kms to Cochin. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.On the following day we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis. Church and the Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will watch the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama. In Cochin we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activity Approximate Cost

See an evening performance of the classical Indian Included in Kitty
dance-drama of Kathakali, a signature tradition of Kerala

About Cochin:
Cochin in Kerala is a town split between the mainland and a group of islands just off the coast, so a boat-trip is the best way to tour the main sights, which include the oldest church in India and Vasco de Gama's final resting place. Opposite Fort Cochin you can watch fishermen working their cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, typical to this region. Interestingly the town is also home to a dying Jewish community that has roots going back as far as 1000 AD and there is a synagogue here that was built in the sixteenth century. This is also the home of Kathakali dancing, India's most spectacular dance drama. The hundreds of different arrangements are based on stories from the Ramayan and Mahabharata - the two epic stories of Indian mythology.
Leaving the bustle of Cochin behind, today we embark on our overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Allepey.
Activity Approximate Cost

Travel through the serene Kerala Backwaters on an
overnight trip aboard a beautiful traditional 'kettuvallam' Included in Kitty

About Alleppey:

Alleppey is the gateway to the Keralan backwaters. The network of waterways here extends over hundreds of miles, not surprising then that Alleppey is sometimes described as "The Venice of the East". The backwaters are best explored by boat as life revolves around the water here, children often learn to swim before they can walk and they row boats before they ride a bike. Jump on board a typical Keralan houseboat and meander down the waterways, try your hand at fishing and just lay back and enjoy this unique landscape.
Leaving the backwaters behind us, we continue 120kms to the beach resort of Varkala.Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas andrelax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and thereare also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiablyfamous Keralan cuisine.

In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.
Activity Approximate Cost

Get a traditional Ayurvedic massage in the Keralan town INR 1200
of Varkala

Head out for an evening performance of traditional INR 300
Keralan Kathakali dancing

About Varkala:

Varkala sits on India's Keralan coast and is home to some of the whitest and most pristine beaches in the whole country. The sandy bay here is protected by soaring cliffs, the beach sits below the rock face, whilst the town itself sits prettily along the cliff edge abov, a string of laid-back bars, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels. It's a great place to just kick back and relax, but there are plenty of activities to involve yourself in, including yoga, boat rides, massages and cooking classes. Sitting on the sand and watching the sun dipbelow the horizon is the perfect way to end a day here.
Today we will have a 140km drive to Kanyakamuri (Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India, where we will have free time to explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites. In Kanyakamuri we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Take the ferry over to Vivekananda Rock and explore the INR 150
memorial to the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda

About Kanyakumari: Kanyakumari is a town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is also sometimes referred to asCape Comorin. Located at the southernmost tip of theIndianPeninsula, it is the geographical end of the Indian mainland.Kanyakumari takes its name from the Kumari Amman orKanyakumari Temple, situated in the town, on the sea-shore, the very confluence of the three water- bodies – the Arabian Sea, theBay of Bengaland theIndian Ocean
This morning we can get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip with thousands of locals! From Kanyakamuri we start heading back north with a morning drive of 240kms to Madurai. In the afternoon we visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.

In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the historical Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of the Included in Kitty
most impressive and colourful Hindu temples in all of

About Madurai:

Madurai is Tamil Nadu's second largest town and ancient capital. Madurai is recognised as the centres of Dravidian culture with its main attraction the famous Shree Meenakshi Temple in the heart of the old town. Its many gopurams are covered with profusions of multicoloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The city is a huge non-stop bazaar full of shops, street markets, temples and small industries. It is one of southern India’s liveliest cities, yet small enough not to be overwhelming. The views from one of the temple towers are breathtaking.
Today we head 320kms to the French-influenced Pondicherry, and will have a free afternoon to explore the town. In Pondicherry we will stay in guest-house accommodation.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Take a class in Indian cooking, Ayurvedic massage, Bollywood dancing or Tajavur painting - just some of thepossibilities at the SITA Cultural Centre INR 500
About Pondicherry:

The united territories of Pondicherry are unmistakeably and charmingly French, complete with a Hotel de Ville, French consulate and police who wear red "kepis" hats and belts. Pondicherry is also the home of the famous Sri Aurobind Ashram and its offshoot Auroville. The Ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926, is one of the most popular in India amongst Westerners, and also one of the most affluent. The town enjoys duty free status and is known for its leather goods and hand-made paper products. With its French influence, many of the shops have a distinctly European feel. Today we have a short drive of 100kms to Mahabalipuram. Here we will make a visit to the unusual shore temples and pagodas. In Mahabalipuram we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible 8th-century Shore Temples and Included in Kitty
Pagodas of Mahabalipuram, built from huge granite
blocks on a promontory in the Bay of Bengal

Explore the fascinating cave temples of Mahabalipuram, INR 100
chiselled into the rock over 1300 years ago

Visit the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust near INR 90
Mahabalipuram, a conservation and research project for
crocodiles, snakes and turtles

See the curious '7-D cinema' show of the Chronicles of INR 300
India, and learn all about the history of the Pallava
Kingdom while experiencing an array of sounds, smells
and sensations!

About Mahabalipuram:
Mahabalipuram is the second capital and seaport of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram. It is famous for its shore temple and the ‘Descent of Ganges’, a relief carved on a vast rock surface. Mahabalipuram is a small, but very pleasant and easy-going village, consisting mainly of two main streets. It stands at the foot of a low lying, boulder-strewn hill where most of the temples and rock carvings are located. Stone carving is still very much a living craft in Mahabalipuram and the school of sculpture would be an interesting place to visit.
Today we have a short drive of 55kms to Chennai, the fourth largest city in India, stopping at a crocodile farm en-route.In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Fort St. George, the site of the East India INR 100
Company's first trading station in 1640, and the first
British fort in India

Visit the Chennai Government Museum, and its incredible INR 250
selection of antiquities including Roman artefacts and
coins from all eras of India's past
About Chennai:

Chennai (previously known as Madras) was the site of the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639, and is now the fourth largest city in India. The town grew up around the Fort St George and along Mount Road and some interesting historic buildings can be seen here. It's true that it is busy, noisy and often extremely hot, but in many ways it is a surprisingly efficient and orderly place by Indian standards. The Government Museum is worth a visit if you're interested in the history of the city, and for Motorcycle enthusiasts the Enfield Factory tour is a must - though it only runs on certain days of the week, so check days and times before you make the journey. You might prefer to just wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere, exploring the many temples and bustling local markets.
Border Information:
If you are leaving the trip in Chennai, you will most likely exit India from Chennai International Airport. Today is a free day to explore Chennai. Please note that if you are leaving the trip in Chennai, there is no accommodation included tonight.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Overland vehicle, Train
Guesthouse (6 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (15 nights), Houseboat (1 night)


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Important notes

1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
2. For trips in Southern India that occur over Christmas and New Year please allow approximately $130USD extra on the kitty for seasonal increases in accommodation costs.
3. Local Partner: Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

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Our Mumbai to Chennai trips score an average of 3.6 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

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