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India: Southern Explorer

Small Group Tour to see the finest sights of the Southern states of India


Group Tour

13 days from £1585 per person

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Special Offer

10% Discount on all departures till end April 2018

  Places Visited: Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Madurai, Periyar, Kumarakom, Cochin

Covering some of the finest sights of the southern-most states of India, our Southern Explorer tour commences with the atmospheric temple towns of Tamil Nadu. In seafront Mahabalipuram, see the stunning bas-relief and the UNESCO heritage Shore Temple. After an overnight stop in the uniquely French town of Pondicherry, drive to Tanjore to see another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Brihadeeshwara temple.

Continue southwest to visit the vibrant and bustling Meenakshi temple at Madurai before crossing over into the Western Ghats at Periyar in Kerala. Take a boat ride on tranquil Lake Periyar and spend a night under the stars, in a rice boat, on the picturesque backwaters. Colonial Fort Kochi is the final stop before heading home.

Holiday Types

Group Tours Cultural Holidays


Travel Arrangements

  • Group Size 4-16 people
  • Internal Travel Air-conditioned vehicles
  • Accompanying Guide English-speaking accompanying guide throughout
  • Accommodation 12 nights
  • Meal Plan Breakfast daily, lunch on days 3, 4, 5 & 10, dinner on days 1 & 10


Itinerary for India: Southern Explorer

Day 1
Chennai, Mahabalipuram

Greeted on arrival in Chennai and transfer to the Ideal Beach Resort at Mahabalipuram or similar for two nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax on the beach. A welcome dinner is arranged at a local restaurant.

Day 2

Morning sightseeing of Mahabalipuram includes a visit to the ancient Shore Temple and the impressive rock carvings and reliefs from the mythological Indian epic known as the Mahabharata. The afternoon is at leisure with the option of a city tour of Chennai, which can be arranged at a supplement.

Day 3
Mahabalipuram, Puducherry

Drive South on the pretty East Coast Highway to the former French colony of Puducherry (3 hours). Explore the colonial buildings, statues and churches on foot. Spend the night at the Windflower Resort or similar on the outskirts of the city.

Accommodation Options

Day 4
Puducherry, Thanjavur

A day’s drive inland to Thanjavur (6 hours), via Darasuram, home of the UNESCO World Heritage Airavetisvara Temple. Stay at the Ideal River View resort, set in pretty gardens, for two nights.

Accommodation Options

Day 5

Today is a full day of sightseeing in Thanjavur, including a visit the Brihadeeshwara Temple complex: its 62m high tower is the tallest of its kind in India. Also enjoy a traditional Tamil thali lunch.

Day 6
Thanjavur, Madurai

Drive to the town of Madurai (4-5 hours), to visit the stunning Meenakshi Temple complex with its vast colourfully carved gopuram (towers) and bustling bazaars. Stay overnight at the GRT Regency hotel or similar.

Accommodation Options

Day 7
Madurai, Periyar National Park

In the morning, take a leisurely drive, across state borders, into ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala. Arrive in the village of Kumily (4-5 hours), a base to visit Periyar National Park, by early afternoon, for two nights’ at the Cardamom County resort or similar.

Accommodation Options

Day 8
Periyar National Park

This morning take a walk in Periyar Nature Reserve with tribal trackers, in search of wildlife. Afternoon visit a spice plantation which offers an interesting insight into how various spices such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are grown, cultivated and processed.

Day 9
Periyar National Park, Kumarakom

Descending from the Western Ghats, we drive to Kumarakom (4 hours), a sleepy village on the shores of Lake Vembanad, for an overnight stay at the Zuri Kumarakom resort or similar.The afternoon is at leisure.

Accommodation Options

Day 10
Kumarakom, Riceboat

Late morning, board a rice boat for an overnight cruise on Lake Vembanad and the backwaters:- a region that, not only shelters some unique animal and bird life, but also lush paddy fields which are referred to as the ‘Rice Bowl of Kerala’. This is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.

Day 11

Depart after breakfast for Cochin (2 hours). Check-in to the Casino Hotel or similar for two nights. In the evening, take a sunset cruise on the harbour, a signature Cochin experience for views of the landmark Chinese fishing nets.

Day 12

Spend the morning taking in the sights of historic Fort Cochin. Explore the colonial streets, the Dutch Palace, with its murals of the Ramayana, the Jewish Synagogue and St Francis, the oldest church in India. In the evening, attend a Kathakali performance, a traditional dance drama in which the dancers wear elaborate costumes and make up.

Day 13

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

13 days from £1585 per person

What's included

✓   12 nights accommodation
✓   All internal transportation and transfers
✓   English-speaking accompanying guide throughout
✓   Breakfast daily, lunch on days 3, 4, 5 & 10, dinner on days 1 & 10
✓   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary

Holiday Extensions for this tour

India: Southern Explorer - Kovalam

4 days, 3 nights from £295 per person

Single supplement £ 150 per person
view itinerary
Day 13
Cochin, Kovalam

Take a day time train journey south towards Kovalam. Spend three nights at the Travancore Heritage Hotel.

Day 14, 15

At leisure.

Day 16
Kovalam, Trivandrum

Transfer to Trivandrum airport for your onward flight.

India: Southern Explorer - Ooty & Mysore

6 days, 5 nights from £735 per person

Single supplement £ 365 per person
view itinerary
Day 13
Cochin, Hillgrove

A long drive (6-7 hours) from the coast, through paddy fields and up to Hillgrove for a two night stay at the Kurumba Village Resort.

Day 14

A day to relax in your pretty surroundings.

Day 15
Hillgrove, Mysore

In the morning, take the Nilgiri Mountain railway to Ooty, through scenic villages and beautiful mountain landscapes. Journey onward, by car, to Mysore (4-5 hours) and spend two nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Day 16

A full day of sightseeing in Mysore commences with a visit to Srirangapatnam to see Tipu Sultan’s Palace. Drive up into the Chamundi hills for stunning views of the surrounding area and a visit to the monolithic Nandi Bull. Spend time at the grand Mysore Palace and visit the colourful Devaraja market.

Day 17
Mysore, Bangalore

A morning drive (4-5 hours) to Bangalore, a city that is popularly known as the IT hub of India. The afternoon is at leisure. Stay at the Fortune hotel for one night.

Day 18

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

2018/2019 tour prices for India: Southern Explorer

Sun 05 Aug 2018 £1585 £645 Good
Sun 16 Sep 2018 £1585 £645 Good
Sun 14 Oct 2018 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 04 Nov 2018 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 09 Dec 2018 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 13 Jan 2019 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 27 Jan 2019 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 24 Feb 2019 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 10 Mar 2019 £1799 £849 Good
Sun 31 Mar 2019 £1659 £695 Good
Fri 19 Apr 2019 £1659 £695 Good

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