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Southern Explorer, India...

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Tour summary
Itinerary
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How to book

Tour Summary...
Group Tour (15 days) - also available as a Private Tour
Departs Mid-November to mid-April, end July to mid-Sep can also be considered when rainfall is minimal

London - Chennai - (Mahabalipuram) - Hassan - Mysore - Coorg - Calicut - Cochin - (Riceboat) - Kumarakom - (Cochin) - London

Group Size: No more than 12
Meal Plan: Bed and Breakfast; full board on riceboat

Holiday Highlights...

10th century shore temple and rock carvings at Mahabalipuram
Off the beaten track Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid near Hassan
Mysore with its renowned palace and colourful markets
Coffee plantations and scenic views at Coorg
Chinese fishing nets and spice markets in Cochin
Cruise Kerala's beautiful backwaters on a riceboat

A relaxed tour of the south taking in its tropical beauty and rolling hills, it includes some outstanding monuments and passes through remote and interesting places little known to most tourists.

The hotels used are a delightful mix of comfort and charm and add to the quality of the tour. A day on a riceboat, cruising along Kerala's fascinating palm fringed backwaters, is included.

The internal travel is by coach or car with air-conditioning where required. The international flights are on a scheduled indirect airline.

You travel with a small group, accompanied by one of our excellent hand-picked tour escorts.

Shore Temple, MahabalipuramItinerary...

Day 1 London
Depart Heathrow for Chennai by an indirect flight.

Day 2 Chennai
Arrive in the morning and transfer to the Residency Towers or Quality Inn Sabari for 2 nights. Enjoy a sightseeing of Chennai city in the afternoon.

Day 3 Chennai
In the morning enjoy an excursion to Mahabalipuram, noted for its rock carvings and the shore temple. The afternoon is at leisure.

Day 4 Hassan
Transfer to Chennai Central Station for a train ride to Bangalore. Drive through the city for an orientation tour before proceeding to Hassan for 2 nights at the Hoysala Village.

Day 5 Hassan
A morning visit is arranged to the imposing statue of Gomateshvara at Sravanabelagola. In the afternoon we visit the intricately carved Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid.

Kerala BackwatersDay 6 Mysore
Drive to Mysore in the morning and transfer to the Southern Star or Metropole for two nights. This afternoon we visit the Mysore Palace and enjoy a drive up Chamundi Hill to see the temple and the statue of Nandi Bull. Later we visit the colourful Devaraja fruit and vegetable market.

Day 7 Mysore
This morning we visit Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace at Srirangapattanam and the Ranganathittoo Bird Sanctuary. In the afternoon we drive to Somnathpur to see the beautifully carved Hoysala temple.

Day 8 Coorg
We drive to Coorg today visiting the Tibetan settlement at Bylguppe en-route. On arrival we check into the delightful Orange County Resort, in the midst of a coffee plantation, for 2 nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 9 Coorg
A walk through the plantations is arranged for today with a picnic lunch beside the Cauvery River. There is the option for a spot of angling.

Day 10 Calicut
An interesting drive across the Western Ghats brings us to Calicut where we stay the night at Kadavu, a traditional resort on the banks of Feroke River. On the way we visit Beypore where sea-faring vessels called "Uru" or "dhows" are hand-made.

Day 11 Cochin
Today we drive to the port city of Cochin visiting the elephant stables at Guruvayoor en route. We stay for 2 nights at the Malabar House Residency or Brunton Boat Yard. In the evening we enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise on the backwaters to see Chinese fishing nets.

Day 12 Cochin
The morning sightseeing tour includes the Dutch Palace, a walk through the spice trading centres at Mattancherry to visit the Jewish Synagogue, and St Francis' Church. In the evening we witness Kathakali, the ancient dance-drama of Kerala.

Day 13 Riceboat
We take a short drive to Alleppey to board a riceboat for the night. The afternoon is spent cruising along the backwaters, observing village life along the banks. The accommodation is simple but comfortable, with modern en suite facilities.

Day 14 Kumarakom
Disembark at Kumarakom after breakfast for a night at the Coconut Lagoon or Kumarakom Lake Resort, overlooking the backwaters. The day is free to relax by the pool, take an Ayurvedic massage or explore the nearby bird sanctuary.

Day 15 London
Fly back from Cochin in the morning, arriving the same afternoon.

Suggested Tour Extensions

Kumarakom (3 days) - Stay on for an extra three nights in Kumarakom. Fly out of Cochin on day 18. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

Marari Beach (3 days) - On day 15 transfer to Mararikulam and check in at the Marari Beach Resort for 3 nights. On day 18 fly back from Cochin airport. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

Bangaram (6 days) - On day 15 transfer to Cochin airport and fly to Agatti. Transfer by boat to the Bangaram Island Resort for 5 nights. Fly back to Cochin on day 20 and stay the night at Brunton or Le Meridian. Fly back on day 21. Meal Plan: Full board in Bangaram, room only in Cochin

Periyar (3 days) - On day 15 drive up the hills to Periyar for 2 nights at the Spice Village. Visit the sanctuary and return for a night at Le Meridian Hotel, Cochin. Fly back on day 18.Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

Temples Option (7 days) - On day 15 drive to the southern tip of India at Kaniakumari (Cape Comorin), the confluence of the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, visiting en route the wooden palace at Padmanabhapuram. Stay at the simple Hotel Sea View for the night. Enjoy watching sunset and sunrise on the horizon of the sea from the same spot. Also visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial before driving to Madurai for 1 night at the Madura Park Inn (or Taj Garden Retreat - suppl.). Visit Meenakshi Temple and the busy bazaars of Madurai. Drive to rural Chettinadu for 2 nights at the delightful Chettinadu Mansion. Visit the local sights and observe village life. Drive on to Tanjore via Trichy on day 19 for 1 night at the Ideal River View. Visit the Srirangam & Rockfort temples in Trichy and the famous Brihadeeshwara Temple in Tanjore. Drive to Pondicherry on day 20 via Gangaikondaicholapuram and stay the night at Villa Helena. Explore Pondicherry and drive on to Chennai for a night at Residency Towers before the flight back on day 22. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

See below for price information for this tour

For information on what the tour price includes, please read what is included in your booking and what is not included in your booking

How to book...

To check availability and make a booking please call us on 0845 003 2211 or 01543 258631.  

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