Classic South India

13 Days | Embrace the slow life from coast to backwaters

4.9 out of 5 based on 42 reviews submitted.
USD $2,551
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Discover a thousand shades of green, indulge in some of the continent’s freshest food, and share moments of connection with locals on this 13-day tour. Travel down the scenic East Coast Road into the countryside and across to the west coast before finishing in India’s deep south. Experience the cultures, religions, and histories of this region through its small rural towns, fishing villages, and the scented spice plantations set in the picturesque Western Ghats mountains. This revelatory trip introduces you to an area less travelled from the comfort of a private vehicle.

Trip overview

Map of Classic South India including India
Chennai, India
Kovalam, 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
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
This trip generates 62 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
  • Take a nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, looking out for tiger tracks with your local village guides.
  • Explore Puducherry and discover its colonial French Quarter and colourful multi-tiered temples, and cruise along the dreamy palm-lined waterways of the Kerala backwaters.
  • See behind the scenes of local cuisine during a home-cooked meal in Periyar, an insightful ayurvedic cooking demonstration in Kochi and lovingly made Keralan favourites at a restaurant that provides training and employment to local women.
  • Discover the diversity and incredible history of Kochi through a tour of its buildings, like India’s oldest functioning synagogue and a mixture of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial architecture.
  • Witness the dramatic beauty of Kathakali, a captivating storytelling dance that artists must study for over a decade before performing.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about 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-management. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Is this trip right for you?
  • We’ll be visiting multiple temples during the trip and during these visits, you must wear clothing that covers the arms, legs, and shoulders.
  • Southern India can get very hot during the summer so remember to drink lots of water and use sun protection. Wearing light, loose layers is one of the best ways to tackle the heat.
  • As we'll be walking through varying terrain in national parks and villages, a basic level of fitness and comfortable walking shoes are essential. Leech socks will be provided for the Periyar nature walk.


Map of Classic South India including India



12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners


Private vehicle, Ferry


Hotel (10 nights), Resort (2 nights)

  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temples guided tour
  • Puducherry - Leader-led French Quarter walking tour
  • Karaikudi - Havelis
  • Karaikudi - Leader-led village walk
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple guided tour
  • Madurai - Leader-led walking tour
  • Periyar - Spice plantation visit
  • Periyar - Guided nature walk
  • Periyar - Home-cooked meal
  • Kochi - Leader-led Fort Kochi walking tour
  • Kochi - Kathakali performance
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Ferry to Mattancherry
  • Kochi - Ayurvedic cooking demonstration with lunch
  • Kumarakom - Backwaters boating excursion
  • Kovalam - Leader-led walking tour
Add on activities
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum - Free
  • Periyar NP - Ayurvedic Massage - INR700
  • Kovalam - Anchuthengu Fort - INR50
  • Kovalam - Koyikkal Palace - INR50

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 applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

3. 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


4.9 out of 5 based on 42 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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Shirley · Traveled March 2024
We did the Classic South India trip the last 2 weeks of March. Very hot and humid so would have been more comfortable going a few months earlier. A great variety of included activities and I particularly loved the visits to the Intrepid sponsored programs including the women’s run restaurant. The river cruise and houseboat cruise on Kerala Backwaters was excellent and I also loved the Martial Arts show. We had a great bunch of fellow travellers. Our tour leader, Afshar was just awesome. He went above and beyond. The driver, Vinot and his assistant Barty were great and always helped us and greeted us with smiles every day. Hitels overall were good. I would absolutely recommend Intrepid for a well organised and worry free holiday.
Review submitted 28 Mar 2024

Chris · Traveled March 2024
Afshar is an excellent your leader who ensured that all of the group had an awesome experience !
Review submitted 27 Mar 2024

Elizabeth · Traveled March 2024
The Classic South India tour was an excellent trip but very hot in March. The humidity was extreme. Dec/Feb would be a much better choice. Only 11 on our trip, mostly Aussies and 2 English ladies and all were great company. Our tour leader Afshar was brilliant and there was a great variety of activities including a nature walk (no elephant or tiger sightings) and Kerala backwater cruise which was an extra cost of 3500 INR. Hotels at the comfort level were very nice overall and great service from all staff. Our driver Vinot and his assistant Barty were lovely and always looked out for us and greeted us with the biggest smiles. Overall a fantastic 2 weeks was had by all. I can't recommend Intrepid enough for a worry free trip.
Review submitted 28 Mar 2024

Arup · Traveled February 2024
A great introduction to the Southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Many highlights including temples, cultural performances and of course the food!
Review submitted 11 Mar 2024

Ron · Traveled February 2024
Well organised tour hitting region's key sights. Especially enjoyed cooking demonstrations. Glad I could do the house boat cruise.
Review submitted 06 Mar 2024
Classic South India
USD $2,551