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Best of Southern India

Best of Southern India


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Overview

Dates & Prices

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Fri, Sep 04, 2020
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Sun, Jan 09, 2022
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Itinerary

Countries Visited

India

Tour Itinerary

Relax in the peaceful backwaters of Kerala, spot wildlife in beautiful parks, uncover ancient temples, explore tea and spice plantations, take a rickshaw ride through the streets of Madurai

From calm Kerala backwaters and spice plantations to incredible temples and searching for tigers in the wild, have your camera ready as you experience the highlights of Southern India. This two-week adventure offers a great balance of guided excursions and free time to explore on your own. Travelling by train, bus, rickshaw, and country boats will bring you closer to the locals and is a fascinating way to gain insight into the peaceful backwaters of Kerala and stunning temples of Tamilnadu.

Day 1: Kochi
Arrive at any time.
Activity: Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.
Accommodation: Hotel White Rose (or similar)

Day 2: Kochi
Enjoy a morning orientation walk of Fort Kochi. After, take some free time to explore before an evening performance of kathakali, a form of traditional dancing from Kerala.
Activity: Get to know the delightful city of Cochin through this guided walk. Visit the Dutch Palace and Jewish Quarter, with its 400-year-old synagogue. Explore St Francis Church, the oldest church in India.
Activity: Considered one of the oldest dance forms in India, Kathakali is a combination of drama, dance, music, and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. This dance drama is famous for amazing costumes, extensive makeup, and explosive body movements, and is performed exclusively by men.
Accommodation: Hotel White Rose (or similar)

Day 3: Kochi/Kalpetta
Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Villa Wayanad (or similar)

Day 4: Kalpetta
Walk the nature trails through the forested areas in Wayanad. Also take a wildlife drive in search of elephants and bison.
Activity: Enjoy a nature walk in beautiful Wayanad, which is home to many endangered species and has an amazing range of flora and fauna. The area boasts a long and influential history, with numerous ancient relics like the Edakkal Caves, which depict a Stone Age civilization. Get a taste of the region's culture as we visit a local tribal village.
Activity: Enjoy a wildlife drive in the Wayland sanctuary. Keep your eyes peeled: you can sometimes see herds of endangered Indian elephants, vulnerable gaur (Indian bison), and chital (spotted deer). if the weather is bad, the sanctuary might be closed to visitors.
Accommodation: Villa Wayanad (or similar)

Day 5: Kalpetta/Mysore
Settle in for the drive to the ancient city of Mysore.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Akshaya Mahal (or similar)

Day 6: Mysore
Explore the vibrant city of Mysore including visits to Chamundi Temple and Mysore Palace. After enjoy free time and opt to visit the Devaraja market or join a yoga class.
Activity: Visit the gorgeous Chamundeshwari Temple, located on top of Chamundi Hills just outside Mysore. Enjoy its intricate architecture.
Activity: This stunning palace was the home of the Maharajas of Mysore, the former royal family, which ruled from 1399 to 1950. Learn about the rich history of Indian royalty and soak in the splendor of an era long gone.
Free Time: Explore on your own, opt to walk through the bustling markets.
Accommodation: Akshaya Mahal (or similar)

Day 7: Mysore/Māmallapuram
Enjoy a full day of train travel to Chennai before a short bus ride to Mamallapuram. Visit the Shore Temple.
Transport: Enjoy a scenic ride to the east coast aboard Indian's vast rail system. Play cards, meet your fellow passengers or let the landscapes soak in.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Explore this impressive group of monuments that were sculpted during the 7th and 8th century, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of these, the Shore Temple stands out for its a marvelous view of the Bay of Bengal's shore. Made of granite, it's actually a twin-temple dedicated both to the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Shiva.
Accommodation: Hotel Mamalla Inn (or similar)

Day 8: Māmallapuram
Free time to explore Mamallapuram.
Free Time: Use some free time to explore all this city has to offer. Opt for a swim in the ocean or a jog along the beach, explore the monuments by bicycle or on foot, and take this opportunity to suss out all the shopping Mamallapuram is known for.
Accommodation: Hotel Mamalla Inn (or similar)

Day 9: Māmallapuram/Puducherry
Continue to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) and learn about Sri Aurobindo Ghose at the ashram.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.
Accommodation: Abirami Residency (or similar)

Day 10: Puducherry/Madurai
Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Rio Grande Hotel Madurai (or similar)

Day 11: Madurai
Hope on a cycle rickshaw for a tour of the city before visiting the famous Meenakshi Temple.
Activity: Sit back and relax during this eco-friendly tour -- you'll be pulled along by a bicyclist! See the sights at a slower pace and form street level. Check out the fruit and vegetable market, watch the pressing of oil by bullocks, and the famous Gandhi museum and palace.
Activity: Visit the gorgeous Meenakshi Temple, considered to be the finest in South Indian religious architecture. This enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Parvati, or Meenakshi. Even before you pass through the massive stone walls of the temple, the nine striking gopurams (monumental gateways covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals, and monsters all painted in vivid colours) loom high above.
Accommodation: Rio Grande Hotel Madurai (or similar)

Day 12: Madurai/Periyār Sanctuary
Drive to Thekkady. Take a guided tour of spice plantations in the Cardamom Hills.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Enjoy a guided tour of the plantation and tea factory and learn more about spice and tea production and of this region. You might even get to enjoy a sample or two!
Accommodation: Michael's Inn (or similar)
Meal(s): Dinner

Day 13: Periyār Sanctuary/Kerala Backwaters
Travel to Alleppey for a local homestay. Experience local life and a guided walk along the lagoon.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Transport: Climb aboard and get your float on.
Activity: Enjoy strolling under the palm trees, weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, and learn more about the lifestyles of the locals. Watch the sunset on the winding backwaters with locals in a small country boat. There may even be time to kick back and enjoy a local toddy (alcoholic drink made from coconut).
Accommodation: Alasr Heritage Home (or similar)
Meal(s): Lunch (Enjoy traditional Keralan homecooking at the homestay.) Dinner (Enjoy traditional Keralan homecooking at the homestay.)

Day 14: Kerala Backwaters/Kochi
Spend the morning enjoying last moments with your host family. Learn to cook some local food, watch the toddy tappers at work, or wander around the village exploring more of life on the backwaters. Travel to a Planeterra project for lunch before returning to Kochi in the early afternoon, where the trip ends.
Transport: Climb aboard and get your float on.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with any onward travel arrangements you require.
Activity: Enjoy a traditional Kerala lunch prepared by women of the Planeterra Theruvarom Empowerment Project, which provides women from rural areas an alternative source of income by honing their hospitality and culinary skills. Learn about the local cuisine and socio-economic fabric of the region as you get to know the women. All while taking in live entertainment!
Meal(s): Breakfast (Enjoy traditional Keralan homecooking.) Lunch (Local cuisine prepared by the Planeterra Theruvarom Women Empowerment Project.)

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Inclusions

Meals Included
1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport
Train, private vehicle, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, ferry.

Inclusions
Your G for Good Moment: Lunch at Theuvoram Women Empowerment Project, Alleppey Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Local Living Moment: Kerala Backwaters Homestay, Alleppey. Fort Kochi orientation walk. Kathakali dance show. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary walk and safari. Chaumundi Temple and Mysore Palace visit. Mamallapuram Shore Temple visit. Pondicherry orientation walk. Madurai cycle-rickshaw ride and Sri Meenakshi Temple visit. Cardamom Hills spice plantation tour. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Hygiene and Safety Protocols for G Adventures Tours

Travel with Confidence

Your safety, as well as the safety of employees and partners, has always been G Adventures top priority, which is why new physical distancing and cleaning measures have been put in place on all of the tours. New Travel with Confidence policy features new health and safety procedures from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, without taking away from having the time of your life. The policy will evolve as time goes on and as G Adventures continues to monitor local public health recommendations, but what won't change is the commitment to keeping you safe as you explore big, beautiful world.


Before you join us

Global Connection Officers

GCOs (the people who answer when you call us) are available 24/7 to help with any questions you have prior to your trip, so you can feel confident and safe before leaving. No matter what time of day, they're there to respond to you — even at 3AM. They'll be up to date on local regulations and restrictions and can guide you through your travel process as smoothly as possible. And if you don't feel well before travelling, there's the Book with Confidence policy that helps you reschedule your trip for when you do, which they can help you with too (terms & conditions apply). If you book flights with us and there are any changes, rest assured that the team will support you by making new arrangements on your behalf.

Smaller groups

Groups have always been small. This offers security, access, camaraderie, and a connection with your destination you won't get by travelling on bus tours or on your own. The average group size is 12, ensuring travellers can engage with each other without being squeezed together like sardines — and that was before physical distancing became a reality. Plus, if you have 8 or more friends you'd like to adventure with, you can reserve the entire trip!

My own room

If you're joining one of the small group tours on your own, good on ya! If you are a solo traveller sharing a room with someone, G Adventures will do their best to ensure they will be your roommate for the entire journey to support distancing efforts. G Adventures has 'My Own Rooms' available as an extra option for tours (pending availability), and they'll be offering more of these at more affordable prices to make it even easier to have a bit more space.


When you arrive

Chief Experience Officers

CEOs are responsible for ensuring you have the time of your life while keeping you as safe as possible. Here's how they're ready to do that:

  • They're trained in First Aid, CPR, and other safety protocols
  • They're supported 24/7 by the field staff in offices around the world who are well-equipped to handle emergencies
  • They can help you find local clinics if you're feeling sick
  • They'll receive new training to ensure they are up to date on all health and safety policies during these evolving times
  • They have extensive local knowledge to proactively help you navigate wherever you're travelling
  • Their local knowledge allows for greater flexibility when it comes to knowing the best time to visit certain highlights to avoid crowds whenever possible and suggesting the restaurants with the strictest hygiene practices or those where you can reserve your own table or room in advance
  • They'll wear face masks when necessary based on local guidelines and recommendations

You & your fellow travellers

Travellers' safety and wellbeing is G Adventures biggest concern. If you're not feeling well before your departure, G Adventures has a Book with Confidence policy that provides you with flexibility and freedom to delay leaving until you're back to 100% healthy (terms & conditions apply). If you have a fever or any other symptoms on tour, you may be required to have a doctor clear you before rejoining us. All travellers are requested to bring face coverings, whether they're buffs, face masks or bandanas (extra style points encouraged). G Adventures makes every effort to have hand sanitizer available, but recommend bringing your own.


While on tour

Planes, trains, automobiles and more

Small private transport vehicles

  • Every surface in G Adventures well-kept fleet of private vehicles will get at least one daily deep cleaning
  • Each traveller will have a daily assigned seat
  • Hand-sanitizer will be required every time you board the vehicle
  • Facial coverings will be recommended while on-board
Boats
  • Every surface will get at least one daily deep cleaning
  • High-traffic areas will receive more frequent cleaning
  • Hand-sanitizer or hand washing will be required every time you board the boat, as well as before and after meals
  • To support physical distancing, meals may have assigned seating and there will be assigned slots for activities and rooming
  • Facial coverings will be recommended and welcomed on-board
  • Your crew is trained in health and safety measures (including food handling) and all cooking staff will follow up-to-date advice from health authorities
Local transportation
  • Use of local transportation will be limited wherever possible. Please reference the Trip Details for each individual tour for specifics
  • If local transportation is used, precautions will be followed in adherence to local health and safety regulations to keep travellers safe and sound.

Where you'll be staying safe

G Adventures has always carefully selected accommodation partners for high standards and local roots. Travelling in small groups means that the stay is in smaller hotels too, with fewer guests — which means less daily contact with others outside your group in public spaces. Now G Adventures is working with accommodation partners to optimize their health, safety and cleanliness procedures, as well as creating additional measures for physical distancing. Here are some of the things G Adventures is working on to help keep you safe:

  • Daily deep cleaning and disinfecting of all surface areas inside your room with extra cleaning on light switches, door handles, TV remotes, and thermostats
  • No hotel staff will enter your room after it has been cleaned
  • Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of all public restrooms and all surfaces in public areas. This might include the closure of public spaces such as gyms, bars, restaurants, and meeting rooms for periods throughout the day
  • Wherever possible, groups will stay on the lower floors to limit elevator use
  • Hotels will implement social distancing protocols in line with local regulations
This is just the beginning of commitments to keeping you sleeping safe and sound. G Adventures will continue to evolve and roll-out these and additional policies as needed.

A good & safe place to eat

G Adventures has always carefully selected food service partners and worked closely with them to ensure they are meeting health, safety, and cleanliness standards with their facilities, staff training, and food preparation and delivery. Wherever possible, G Adventures will reserve separate tables or private rooms at the restaurants visited on the trip, opt for more "al fresco" opportunities when it is possible (gotta love that fresh air!), and ensure breakfasts can be "grab and go" boxes, while avoiding family style or self-serve buffets for meals. G Adventures wants you to feel comfortable and safe as you savour every last bite.

Activities

You've always had freedom and flexibility to do your own thing on tours with optional activities and experiences. Now, you'll still have those options with added measures to keep you healthy and safe. All equipment for activities on tour, including hiking poles, camping supplies, life jackets, snorkels, etc., will be cleaned thoroughly at least once a day and disinfected between use. When travellers are responsible for putting up their own tents on camping itineraries, you will be given the supplies required to disinfect your gear. G Adventures will also do their best to make activities and highlights stops happen during non-peak hours, so you can have fun and feel safe no matter what you're doing.


Before you leave

A healthy goodbye

If you're not feeling well at the end of your tour for any reason, let your CEO know and they can help get you access to medical care and support. Because we want you to head home after a life-changing experience feeling just as good (let's be honest, way better) than when you left.

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Accommodations

Hotels (12 nts), homestay (1 nt, multi-share).

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

G Adventures Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.1
Professional Staff
4.3
Repeat with Operator
4
Value for Money
3.9

Ratings based off 450 reviews about G Adventures Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

This was my 8th tour with this operator and I have a 9th scheduled. Obviously I am happy with this operator.

It was a great tour and are guides were very knowledgeable.

A Gadventures tour is a great affordable way to see the country and get the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people

It was a dream vacation.Thank you.

The G-Adventures travel guides were excellent

All 100% perfect, nothing to be done better

The G Adventures tour was fantastic.

Very satisfied with tour, enjoyed it very much.

I liked the variety of activities and the chance to opt out without undue pressure. I met some really fun people on this tour.

Everyone connected with the tour went above and beyond. The tour was more than I ever dreamt!

Our CEO Solofo for this trip is fantastic. He is patient and very nice. He went extra ways to help me and other members. I really enjoy this trip because of him! He is an excellent CEO. I definitely will recommend to other friends about him. Pls let him know that we really enjoy his introduction. He is also very informative and knowledgeable. In a word, he is excellent!

Great trip at a reasonable price.

Awesome trip in a great country. Our CEO was professional and fun!!!

G adventures offers hands down some of the best tour packages out there!

The Japan vacation was better than I expected!!!! It was an active "moving" trip, which I truly enjoyed. I've done "coach tours" where you sit on the bus and they take you -- this experience was "hands on" riding the buses, trains and running through the streets -- it was amazing !!!!! We got the full feel of Japan and the people. This trip is not for the weak or slow pace crowd - you drag your luggage through the streets, up and down stairs --- it was truly exciting and exhilarating. G adventures has a fan for life. The instructions and assistance was outstanding -- Great job - Steve (AffordableTours.com) was outstanding !


AffordableTours.com® does not itself offer, service or administer the Travel Packages, and the ultimate terms and conditions of any Travel Package made available via the Site Offerings (including the prices quoted in connection with same) will be determined by the applicable Third-Party Travel Service Provider. AffordableTours.com® does not represent or warrant that the Price Quotes are accurate, up-to-date or free of error, or that same will be honored by the applicable Third-Party Travel Service Providers. All Price Quotes, Travel Package availability, Travel Package details/itinerary and other Content are subject to change without notice. All travel details published by and through the Site Offerings should be confirmed directly with the applicable Third-Party Travel Service Provider prior to making any travel plans. Reliance on any information made available to you by and through the Site Offerings is solely at your own risk.

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