2018 TOUR IS FULLY BOOKED. Click here for 2019 departure.
Maximum Group Size: 10
Tour Length 23 days / 22 nights
Starts in Goa on Tuesday 6th February 2018
Finishes in Mahabalipuram (50km south of Chennai) on Wednesday 28th February 2018
Entrance Fees Included for all sites visited as part of the itinerary
Fully Escorted by Deb Kindness, who has been travelling and leading tours through the Subcontinent since 1993.
Cost USD3990 per person twin share (USD5045 including Optional Single Supplement)
“This was the most amazing tour! From day one in Goa til the end in Mahabalipuram, I enjoyed every minute. In fact, I stayed a few extra days once the tour was over. Debbie Kindness has so much experience with traveling India, she understands every little nuance. The truly immersive nature of her tours gives you the feeling that you’ve seen the real India, with awe-inspiring memories to last a lifetime. There were so many highlights, such as swimming in the Indian ocean off the Malabar Coast and also across the country in the Bay of Bengal, magnificent houseboat tour in the backwaters of Kerala, the absolute “Frenchness” of Pondicherry, but my ultimate favorite was seeing wild elephants in Periyar National Park. South India is completely different to the North. It seems much more laid back, and there’s a rhythm to this tour that makes it quite relaxing. There is so much more, it’s impossible to write it all down in a review! This was my second trip with Incredible Indian tours. The first one was Essence of India – Women’s Tour. I will definitely join them on other tours they offer.”
Angie, Canada – South Indian Odyssey, January 2017
IN THEIR OWN WORDS – Some testimonials from our past guests
|1 night guesthouse||Airport Transfers||22 Breakfasts|
|18 nights hotels||Train||4 Lunches|
|1 night home stay||Private minibus||9 Dinners|
|1 night houseboat||Taxis|
|1 night overnight train||Auto Rickshaw|
Beginning our journey in lovely Panjim, the quaint and charming capital of Goa, with its fascinating Portuguese heritage, we travel east to explore the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire in Hampi. Heading south, we spend time in Mysore the old capital of the Wodeyar Dynasty where we witness the spectacular Mysore Palace lights and the colourful Devaraja markets before heading into Kerala – God’s Own Country. This extraordinarily beautiful part of India offers extreme diversity. Enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful Backwaters, beaches, tea, coffee and spice plantations and wildlife reserves. Watch fishermen in Cochin pull in the Chinese Fishing nets as they have done for centuries. Experience life along the tranquil islands of the backwaters, staying on both a luxury houseboat and a homestay. Trek through a wildlife park and maybe catch a glimpse of wild elephants, deer, giant squirrels or wild boar, and if you're really lucky, a tiger. Moving on to Tamil Nadu, with its heritage of traditional Hindu culture, we visit ancient monuments and temple towns before finishing our tour in Mahabalipuram resplendent with World Heritage rock cut temples and charming beach resorts.
Experience the fantastic South India on this Small Group India Tour, fully escorted in country by a western tour leader with the service of local guides for various activities and sightseeing.
Day 1 Goa
Arrival Day. We have a group meeting at 6pm to discuss the tour before heading out for dinner.
Hotel: Panjim Inn
Day 2 Goa
A morning walking tour of Panjim, the quaint and fascinating capital of Goa, is followed by a visit to Old Goa, home to the Basilica of Bom Jesus where the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier are housed between ‘viewings’ that take place every 10 years. A sunset cruise along the Mandovi river introduces us to the Indian side of Goa as a holiday destination.
Hotel: Panjim Inn
Days 3-5 Hampi
A morning train up into the Western Ghats through spectacular gorges and rainforest brings us to Hampi where we get to explore the myriad sights and temples that make up the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire’s 15th century capital. On the evening of day 5, we take an overnight train to Mysore.
Hotel: Uramma Heritage Homes or similar
Days 6-7 Mysore
An early arrival into Mysore where we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at our hotel. We wander the vast halls of the splendid Mysore Palace and visit the amazing temples at Somnathpur, a drive that takes us by some lovely parts of rural India. We also visit Chaumundi temple and the colourful Devaraja Market. Don’t miss the incredible evening illuminations at Mysore Palace which is lit up by more than 90,000 light bulbs. Mysore is famous for yoga, being the home of the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, so why not take a yoga class while we're here.
Hotel: Pai Vista or similar
Day 8 Kannur (Cannanore)
We take a 4 hour drive back to the coast to Kannur on the north coast of Kerala. Here we stay in small houses near the beautiful, secluded beach. During our stay here we hope to enjoy the traditional Theyyam ritual which is performed most nights of the year somewhere around Kannur.
Hotel: Costa Malabari or similar
Days 9-11 Cochin
We take a train 6 hours today south to Cochin. We spend time visiting Jew Town and Mattancherry Palace, the St Francis Church and Chinese Fishing nets and soaking up the ambience in this wonderfully laid back town. Kerala is famous for Kathakali, an intricate and stylised form of dance. We watch a short performance as well as witness the intricate makeup application beforehand.
Hotel: Hotel Arches or similar
Day 12 Alleppey
A short 2 hour journey brings us to Alleppey where our traditional Kettuvallam (rice barge) houseboat awaits us. We spend the next day slowly drifting past idyllic tropical rural scenes in the lush palm fringed backwaters, on the way visiting villages to see local industries such as coir-making, toddy-tapping and boat building.
Hotel: Spice Routes Houseboats or similar
Day 13 Chennamkary
Our houseboat drops us off after breakfast at our Keralan Family Homestay. Our welcoming hosts will show us around the village which is situated on an vehicle-free island within the backwaters. We have the opportunity to ride cycles to neighbouring villages, row canoes around the island or just chill in a hammock.
Hotel: Green Palm Homes or similar
Days 14-15 Munnar
This morning we drive up the ghats through rubber, tea, coffee and pineapple plantations on a beautiful 4 hour journey to Munnar. On day 16 we have a full day trek around the rolling verdant hills of manicured tea plantations and estates dotted amongst picturesque hamlets. A chance to enjoy the crisp fresh air and stunning scenery surrounding some the worlds largest and highest tea estates. The hills of Munnar were featured in the recent Oscar winning movie 'Life of Pi' and you'll understand why this is a favourite filming location.
Hotel: Clouds Valley or similar
Days 16-17 Periyar Tiger Reserve
A spectacular 4 hour drive today through the Cardamom hills—lined with tea, cocoa, tapioca, bamboo, coconut, banana and spice plantations takes us to Kumily, our destination for the next 2 nights. We visit a spice plantation in the afternoon followed by an early morning guided walk through the jungle on day 17 which is the best way to experience the park and hopefully see Elephants, Deer, Monkeys and more up close. A free afternoon to relax or shop or perhaps have an ayurvedic massage.
Hotel: Rangerwood Nature Castle or similar
Day 18 Madurai
We have a 4 hour journey this morning to Madurai. Home of the spectacular Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai is the quintessential Tamil Nadu temple town. We visit the Gandhi Ashram before enjoying an afternoon by the pool at the resort. Perhaps we might get to experience a cultural show at our ethnic resort hotel.
Hotel: Kadambavanam Ethnic Resort or similar
Days 19-20 Pondicherry
After a morning visit to the Sri Meenakshi temple, we have a 6 hour train ride and a short drive to reach Pondicherry where we can enjoy a fabulous French inspired dinner. A morning walking tour will help you experience the wonderful charms of this erstwhile French Colony. If you wish, visit the Aurobindo Ashram or head out to Auroville to visit the Matrimandir. If shopping is more your thing, you won’t be disappointed by the boutiques and Auroville outlets in Pondicherry town
Hotel: De L'Orient or similar
Days 21-22 Mahabalipuram
After a short drive north to Mahabalipuram and checking into our beachside resort hotel, we visit to the ‘5 Rathas’ – a world heritage site as well as the ancient shore temple and rock-cut temples in Mahabalipuram. Dinner tonight is included to celebrate the completion of our incredible adventure.
Hotel: Ideal Beach Resort or similar
Day 23 Departure Day
There are no organised activities for today. You may leave at any time.
Register your place by paying your USD500 deposit now.
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