South India Explorer
Bespoke Holiday Itinerary / Experience Tour

Info : South India Explorer

This holiday winds its way through some of the most spectacular sights that Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala have to offer and is designed for travellers who really want to immerse themselves in one region, taking the time to do it properly.

There's a pleasing balance to this itinerary: take in some culture, in places like Tanjore and Chennai; enjoy wildlife in Nagarhole; slow things right down on a stunning, remote backwaters cruise in northern Kerala; relax on a beach in rarely visited Neeleshwar and experience rural homestays in Kolukkumalai and Sethumadai.  Travel is mostly by train and with your private chauffeur.

Highlights include:

  • Rocking around on a scenic train ride from Chennai into Kumbakonam; one of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu
  • Whizzing around in a tuk-tuk through the back streets of eclectic Cochin with its culturally diverse mix of architecture, cuisine and history
  • Exploring the beautiful region of northern Kerala by jeep; home to some of India's most endangered birdlife
  • Watching incredible sunsets and relaxing in a lovely quiet beach hotel in Neeleshwar

As with all of our suggested itineraries, we can tailor-make your holiday to suit your budget, style and expectations. Find out about our exclusive ‘Journey Planner’ here.  

Pricing & Inclusions

An indicative price for this holiday is £3,840 per person inclusive of flights from the UK. Prices will be less in low season and may be higher in peak season. Child discounts apply.

Please call our India experts on 020 7924 7133 for an inclusive, personalised quotation for your preferred dates

As every holiday is unique - Call our experts on 1-888-577-8452 for an inclusive, personalised quotation for your preferred dates or use the quote request form below...

Inclusions

Your personalised quotation with Experience Travel Group will include:

  • International Flights (which can be omitted from your quotation if you prefer)
  • Accommodation as described
  • Privately guided tours and transfers
  • Original Experience Travel Group "Signature" experiences
  • Full financial protection (full ABTA and ATOL bonding)
  • Meals as described
  • 24 hour in-country backup whilst away
  • Your own dedicated travel expert in the UK

For more on our pricing policy read here

Day-to-Day Itinerary : South India Explorer

DAY 1 DEPART THE UK

Depart the UK on your flights to Chennai.

 DAYS 2 & 3 Chennai  Discover the southern capital

Over the next few days you will explore the southern capital of Chennai (formerly known as Madras). India’s fourth largest city is known for its booming population, auto rickshaws, buses and cars, all scrambling for space on the city roads. Tamil culture and tradition are indigenous to Chennai, making it unique among India's cities. Its classical sights include Fort St George, the Indo-Saracenic High Court building, the 16th-century Kapaleeswarar Temple to Shiva and, outside town, the Cholamandal Artists' Village which you will have a chance to explore with your private guide.

DAY 4 & 5 Kumbakonam explore the town and nearby Tanjore

This morning your car will take you to Chennai Train Station to step aboard the Bhubaneswar Rameswaram Express and begin the six-hour journey to Kumbakonam, one of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu. Here you’ll be staying in a central location, convenient for exploring this 7th century capital of the Chola dynasty by the two rivers of Cauvery and Arasalar.

Early the next day, you’ll take a morning sightseeing tour of Tanjore with a private local guide.  This is also a fascinating city, with its spectacular central temple of Brihadeeswara.

DAY 6 & 7 Madauri city exploration

A relatively short drive today will bring you to the third largest city in Tamil Nadu: Madauri. It's famous for upholding Tamil traditions and is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy at leisure.

The next day you’ll have a private guided tour of the city, taking in the key sites such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple and the 17th century Thirumalai Nayak Palace. In the evening you have a chance to experience the famous puja at the Sri Meenakshi temple, joining hundreds of pilgrims as an image of the god Shiva is carried from his shrine by temple priests and taken in a chariot procession to the shrine of his wife.

DAY 8 – 10 Kolukkumalai Guesthouse relaxtion

This morning you will drive through the hills to Suryanellu. Here you can either choose to take a one hour journey in a jeep up to the estate, or a lovely three hour walk. Over the next three days, you have time to relax and enjoy the spectacular surroundings. You can do various types of walking or trekking, including scaling the impressive Meeshapulimalai peak at 2,640 m. Make sure you visit one of the local tea plantations too.

DAY 11 & 12 Sethumadai Experience Rural Life

A long, but scenic transfer awaits, taking you through the remote plains of Tamil Nadu towards the temple village of Sethumadai which is on the edge of the Western Ghats. Here you’ll be able to relax at a peaceful, working farm and experience rural life in the local villages. Sit back and read a book or take part in one of the many activities on offer such as a visit to Topslip bird sanctuary or a cooking class at the farm with the owners.

DAY 13 Ooty Former Hill Station

Today you will journey north into the Nilgiri hills, arriving in Ooty after about five hours - a former colonial hill station with Hindu temple, attractive parks and gardens. You’ll spend one night in a simple and historic hotel.

DAY 14 & 15 Nagarhole Karnataka Wildlife

The trip to Nagarhole National Park takes four to five hours but it is well worth the journey. The park was declared a tiger reserve in 1999 and is a key part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Tigers are still incredibly elusive, but the elephants are relatively plentiful and this lovely park is home to much more wildlife besides. 

Over the next few days you’ll have a chance to enjoy a boat ride on the reservoir as well as both a morning and a late afternoon game drive in an open-top jeep. You’ll see the park from lots of different perspectives and there will be plenty of time to relax in the gorgeous lodge.

DAY 16 - 18 Neeleshwaram Remote beaches

Today you will drive around six hours to the beautiful remote, little-visited town of Neeleshwaram with its peaceful long stretches of sand. You’ll spend the next three days taking some time out at a peaceful haven right on the beach.

DAY 19 & 20 Backwaters Cruising remote areas

 A road journey a few hours upstate will take you to your houseboat which you'll board for a three day/two night exploration of the Northern Keralan backwaters (which are a lot less touristy than the well trodden backwaters further south in Alleppey). Your boat is designed in the traditional style, with comfortable bedrooms and a wicker canopy to protect you from the sun. Spend your time stopping to explore ashore and meet local villagers, discovering picturesque churches or simply lounging on the boat reading your favourite novel while you watch the world go by.

DAY 21 & 22 Cochin Bustiling seaside city

You’ll be taken to the local train station to board the eight hour train journey to Cochin (Kochi). On arrival, check into your charming boutique hotel and, if time permits, take a sunset cruise around the Cochin harbour area.

The following day will be spent explore this intriguing city. As the oldest European settlement in India, Cochin features a fascinating blend of architectural styles. There are Portuguese churches, colourful Hindu temples and even a synagogue, built in the 1560s in the old Jewish Quarter. Most sights of interest are found in Fort Kochi, including the Dutch-built Mattancherry Palace, spice markets and dilapidated colonial buildings.

There's time to take a tuk-tuk around the backstreets of Fort Cochin, exploring a side not often seen by tourists. You can also take a local ferry across the harbour to Ernakulam which is the business hub of modern day Cochin. Finally, sample a traditional banana leaf meal for lunch at a local restaurant.

DAY 23 Fly home (Or stay!)

Today you'll travel to Cochin airport for your flight home, or perhaps you’d like go to the beach. All of our tours are tailor-made, which means it’s easy to change them to suit your requirements. Please do call one of our India specialists on 0207 924 7133 to discuss your ideas. 

South India Explorer Hotels

You can book this holiday tour on its own, with flights or it can be tailored for you.

Here are the hotels and villas within this holiday as standard...


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