Kerala & the Southern Highlights

Overview

Kerala & the Southern Highlights

Contrasting vastly from the north, southern India is an intensely tropical and wonderfully laid back region to explore. The emerald jewel in India’s crown, Kerala boasts a rich heritage and mystical backwaters, flanked by rice paddies and coconut groves, and plied by rustic kettuvallam.

Tour Highlights

  • Tour Highlights
  • Explore the colonial buildings of Chennai
  • Visit Shravanabelahola, one of India’s most revered Jain pilgrimage sites
  • Cool off in the Western Ghats at Coonoor Hill Station
  • Take a ride on the Ooty Toy Train
  • Discover South India’s extensive wildlife at the Periyar Wildlife Reserve
  • Take a cruise on the Kerala Backwaters on your private houseboat

What’s Included

  • All meals
  • International flights
  • Domestic transport
  • Accommodation
  • Tour guides
  • Entrance fees
  • Visa fees

Full Itinerary

Days 1-2: Fly to Chennai

Today you will fly from the UK to Chennai

Day 3: Chennai

You can enjoy a city tour of Chennai today, starting with a visit to Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world.

You will also visit Fort St. George, St Mary’s Church and the Shiva Kapaleeswarar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Day 4: Mahabalipuram

Today, you will journey to Kanchipuram to sightsee at the many temples Shreenivas Silk House. You’ll then continue to Mahabalipuram to see the stunning 7th century rock carvings and Shore Temple before you can return to Chennai.

Day 5: Train to Bangalore

You will travel by Shatabdi express to the Garden City of Bangalore and visit the Bull Temple, Tipu Sultans Palace and Vidhana Soudha Legisltive Building.

Day 6: Travel to Hassan

Travel to Hassan and visit Shravanabelagola, which is one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage sites in India and home to the world's tallest free-standing statue.

Later you'll also visit the 12th Century temples of Belur and Halebid, a part of Karnatakas rich cultural heritage.

Day 7: Mysore

Continue to Mysore via Srirangapatna Fort. You can visit the Maharajas Palace and drive up to Chamundi Hill to see the 12th century Sri Chamundeshwari Temple. Later you will visit the Nandi Bull statue.

This evening, you will see a traditional cooking demonstration hosted by a local family.

Day 8: Coonoor Hill Station

You will head to the hills and enjoy a scenic drive to the beautiful hill station of Coonoor. You can enjoy a walk around this quaint town in the evening.

Day 9: Ooty Narrow Gauge Railway

Today, you will take the narrow gauge toy train to Ooty, also known as the Queen of the Blue Mountain. Upon arrival you'll visit the Botanical Gardens and walk to a small village, to gain an insight into the lives of the local people. You will be able to see the amazing view over Ooty and the surrounding mountains before returning to Coonoor.

Day 10: Munnar

You will continue your descent from the highlands with a full day of driving through the spectacular Western Ghats to Munnar.

Day 11: Munnar

Travel to Mattupetty Dam this morning and stroll along the scenic lakeside at an easy pace. Continue on to Eravikulam National Park to explore the local wildlife. Later in the afternoon visit a tea plantation and the Tata Tea Museum.

Day 12: Tea Plantation & Periyar

Today, you will travel to Thekkady, which is renowned for its spice shops and located next to Periyar Wildlife Reserve.

In the afternoon you will visit a local spice plantation and a local market.

Day 13: Periyar Wildlife Reserve

Walk through the reserve in search of wilflife such as elephants, wild dogs, barking dear, mouse deer and elusive Bengal Tiger. You can also visit a local spice village and market.

This evening you can enjoy a traditional martial arts Kalaripayattu show.

Day 14: Kerala Backwater Cruise

This morning, you will leave Thekkady and drive to Pallathururuthy. Here, you will board your houseboat (kettuvallam) and cruise through the Kerala Backwaters.

This evening, you will dine on your houseboat.

Day 15: Kumarakom

You will disembark from your cruise boat at Pallathuruthy and drive to Kochi. En route you will stop at a local market and a coir factory.

Later, you will visit Kumbalangi, a village which highlights the lifestyle of the local fisher-folk.

Day 16: Kochi

Sightseeing today includes a St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi and the Jewish Synagogue. You will also see the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets and stroll through the nearby markets.

This evening, you can watch a traditional Kathakali dance performance.

Day 17: Fly Kochi – UK

Today you will transfer to Kochi airport and fly to the UK.

Hand Picked By

Tracey Murray

Experience a real insight into these countries. Using local restaurants to enjoy the fabulous cuisine, staying in central hotels to explore local area easily and all entrance fees and visas included, I would definitely recommend visiting this beautiful part of Asia.

Tracey Murray

Additional Information

  • Date: Various departure dates
  • Board Basis: All inclusive
  • Duration: 16 nights
  • Departure Airport: London Heathrow
  • Guide Price: From £2,790pp
  • Saving £200 per couple
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