Explore the best bits of the south on a jam-packed Indian adventure.

Get deep into the heart of India on a 13-day exploration of some of its hidden gems. Explore the real sides to Hyderabad, Madurai and Mysore, and understand the local way of living in the south. Discover the unusual and expansive Ramoji Film City, get exploring around the carved temples of Mamallapuram, visit a tea plantation in the highlands of Coonoor, and finish off seaside in the important port city of Kochi. Oh, and did we mention the biryani and chai you’ll devour? Experience authentic India with a knowledgeable local leader and a comprehensive itinerary to suit.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.


Start
Hyderabad, India
Finish
Kochi, India
Destination
India
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
HHYH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Spend a day exploring the world of Bollywood in Ramoji Film City: an expansive park full of filming locations. You’ll feel like you’re on the set of a blockbuster!

  • Gaze in awe at the Pancha Rathas – five Hindu temples in Mamallapuram that are each carved from a single piece of rock.

  • Go in search for elephants and tigers, as well as macaque, civet, giant flying squirrel, striped hyena and leopard on an included safari in the lush Bandipur National Park.

  • Tingle your taste buds with the perfect cuppa on a visit to one of Coonoor’s tea plantations. Learn about how tea leaves go from plant to cup.

  • Get a taste of southern Indian cuisine, indulging in sweet chutneys, seafood curries, stuffed dosa and more. Witness the ancient art of a chai wallah, preparing a cup of goodness in front of your eyes in Madurai.

Is this trip right for you?

  • As this is a Basix trip, there is plenty of free time built into the itinerary for you to enjoy as you wish in each destination. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk in each destination to get your bearings and give you plenty of suggestions - then what comes next is up to you! Please take into account spending money for optional sightseeing (including local transport to and from sights) that isn't included in the trip cost when budgeting for your journey.

  • We are covering a lot of distance in a vast country, so this trip involves some very long bus and train rides. These can at times be a bit gruelling but offer a quintessential and authentic Indian experience.

  • Sleeper trains are 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. More information can be found in the Transport section of these notes. Read about what it's like travelling on overnight trains in India, and around the world, here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/overnight-train-travel-around-...

  • This trip runs all year round, so it’s important to be aware of just how hot it can get in India in the summer months and choose the season that best suits you.

  • If you'd prefer a similar itinerary in southern India for all ages, look for trip code HHRS on our website. If you are looking for a trip in the south with with more inclusions, higher standard of accommodation or less overnight trains, check out our HHSS (Original) or HHKS (Comfort) trips.

Itinerary

Namaste! Welcome to southern India. Hyderabad is the capital of southern India's Telangana state. There will be an important group meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll get to meet your group leader and fellow travellers. If you happen to arrive early, good for you! There’s much to see in this busy tech-focused city. Check out the Golconda Fort and its well-manicured gardens, head to Hussain Sagar – a heart-shaped lake with a large standing Buddha statue, and pick up a delicious biryani on your travels. Once you’ve had your important meeting, get the gang together and tuck into some local food! Your group leader will know a great place to go.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, take a walking tour of Hyderabad with your leader to get your bearings and learn a little bit more about this southern Indian city. You’ll also get the chance during the day to discover the weird and wonderful world of Bollywood with a visit Ramoji Film City. This 2000 acres of land is the largest integrated film city and the largest studio complex in the world. It can accommodate up to 20 film units at one time, with various shooting locations such as a London street, Japanese gardens, an airport, a hospital, and even a laboratory.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hyderabad - Ramoji Film City
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, take a visit with your group to Charminar, also known as the Four Minarets. Constructed in 1591, this monument and mosque has become an icon of Hyderabad, and provides an area where locals Islamic communities come together in the surrounding markets to celebrate events and festivals. The afternoon is free for you to explore, and a perfect opportunity to take up one of the optional activities on offer, like a visit to the Golcanda Fort and the Salar Jung museum. This evening, be ready to take an overnight train to Chennai.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hyderabad - Charminar
  • Hyderabad - Orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in the morning to Chennai, and then take a private vehicle to Puducherry (also known as Pondicherry) via Mamallapuram. You’ll have time to see the sights of Mamallapuram, including the striking granite structure of the Shore Temple overlooking the Bay of Bengal, the ancient carvings of Arjuna’s Penance and the Pancha Rathas (Five Rathas). These five Hindu temples clustered in the southern end of the city are extraordinary examples of structures carved from single large rocks in the 7th century, fully hidden in the sand until they were excavated by the British around 200 years ago. Afterwards, arrive in coastal Puducherry and perhaps relax with a coconut curry. The total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple - INR600
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The city of Puducherry (Pondicherry) has a strong French influence, seeing it was a French colonial settlement in India until 1954. Explore this cultural mix on a sightseeing walk with your group leader and visiting the French quarter, as well as Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Ganesh Temple. During your free time take a walk along the Beach Promenade.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Puducherry - Walking tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, take a local bus from Puducherry to Villupuram (approximately 2 hours), and then a 6-hour train journey to Madurai. Once arrived and checked-in, take a leader-led orientation walk around Madurai city, where you’ll spend the rest of tomorrow exploring. This evening your leader can take you on an optional walk through Madurai market, where you can try crispy dosas, flaky parotta (flatbread) and jigarthanda (Madurai’s answer to a lassi). You might even witness the art of a chai walla (chai street vendor) seamlessly pouring between the jug and cup, and putting on a bit of a show while preparing your drink.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Madurai - Orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Wake up in Madurai and go check out the historic Meenakshi Temple, located on the banks of the Vaigai River. It’s colourful and ornate structures are definitely worth a photo. Otherwise, there is the option to visit the National Gandhi Museum, housing important artefacts of Gandhi, as the city of Madurai played an important part of his journey. Make sure you take some time to relax today, as you will board an overnight train bound for Mysore (approximately 14 hours).
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Mysore in the morning (approximately 10 am), and head directly to the ornate Mysore Palace. This is the official royal residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and is the seat of the Kingdom of Mysore. It dominates the skyline of the city and is a clear example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Afterwards, head by private transport to Bandipur (approximately 1.5 hours). On the way, stop by your local driver’s home for a biryani lunch. Delicious!
Accommodation
  • Jungle resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
  • Mysore - Home cooked lunch & family visit
Meals Included
  • Lunch
This morning, head out and take up an included safari in the Bandipur National Park. The park covers 874 square kilometres and has many endangered animal and plant species in its boundaries. The park is well-known for spotting elephants and tigers, as well as macaque, civet, giant flying squirrel, striped hyena and leopard, to name a few. After your park safari has come to an end, travel by private vehicle for around 2 hours to the highland district of Coonoor.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bandipur - National Park Safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Coonoor is in the heart of India’s tea plantations and one of the three Nilgiri hill stations, along with Ooty and Kotagiri. The actual township of Coonoor is a colourful and bustling place perched on the hillside. Today, enjoy a ride on the famous toy train ride on the mountain railway line, passing through the other Nilgiri hill stations, and enjoying the mountainous scenery along the way. Also included today is a visit to one of the surrounding tea plantations, where you’ll get to walk through the estate and learn more about the process of tea making and have a taste, of course.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ooty - Nilgiri Mountain Railway & Tea Plantation visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning say goodbye to Coonoor before taking a private vehicle to Coimbatore (approximately 2.5 hours). Around mid-day, we embark on an five hour train journey to Kochi – a major port city on India’s southwest coast.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we explore Kochi on a leader-led sightseeing tour of Kochi, where you’ll pass the Dutch Palace, the Jewish synagogue and the unique sight of shore operated lift nets, more commonly known as Chinese fishing nets. There is also the opportunity to book into an optional cooking class or to learn the art of Kathakali dance. Ask your group leader for more information if this interests you.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
Optional Activities
  • Urban Adventures Kaliveedu Cooking Class - Kochi - INR2500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With no activities planned for the final day, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean that your adventure has to end! There is a selection of Urban Adventures tours that may interest you, including Aromas of Kochi – a sightseeing experience around the Fort Kochi area, visiting a pappadum factory, among other highlights. Visit urbanadventures.com/destination/Kochi-tours for more information.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 lunch

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Overnight sleeper train, Taxi, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights), Jungle resort (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Hyderabad - Ramoji Film City
  • Hyderabad - Charminar
  • Hyderabad - Orientation walk
  • Puducherry - Walking tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Madurai - Orientation walk
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
  • Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
  • Mysore - Home cooked lunch & family visit
  • Bandipur - National Park Safari
  • Ooty - Nilgiri Mountain Railway & Tea Plantation visit
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available for purchase excluding overnight sleeper trains.

Essential trip information

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