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South India Explored

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South India Explored - Exodus Travels
South India Explored - Exodus Travels
Good
34 reviews
Starts
Kochi (Cochin)
+17 Destinations
Southern India
Ends
Kovalam
Map

Highlights

  • Journey through tea and coffee plantations
  • Explore the palaces of Mysore
  • Relax in a seaside resort
  • Cruise the backwaters of Kerala
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Accommodation
Hotel
Max Group Size
16
Transportation
Coach / Bus
Start in Kochi (Cochin) and end in Kovalam! With the discovery tour South India Explored, you have a 20 day tour package taking you from Kochi (Cochin) to Kovalam and through Kochi (Cochin), India and 18 other destinations in India. South India Explored is a small group tour that includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

34 Reviews

Write a review
  • South India Explored reviewer 1
    Written on March 16, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This tour is a very good and comprehensive introduction to the people, cultures and civilisations of South India.  It was well organised and everything went very smoothly with no problems.   Our hotels were all very comfortable and our coach was modern , comfortable and reassuringly equipped with seat belts - an important feature when you're travelling nearly 3000 miles on Indian roads!  We also had a good and careful driver who kept us all safe.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Highlights of the trip were travelling on a rice boat through the backwaters of Kerala; visiting the extraordinary temple of Madurai - like a small town inside, bustling with shops and worshippers; visiting Anokhi in Fort Cochin and buying some lovely clothes for a fraction of their price in the UK; walking through the spice plantation and seeing spices growing; the beautiful terraces of tea plantations around Ooty; the ride on the toy train from Ooty; visiting a primary school; the fishing nets in Fort Cochin; the stone carving on the Tamil Nadu temples.What did you think of your group leader?Surya Monish was an excellent tour leader, knowledgeable and helpful throughout.  His knowledge was very wide ranging and really helped my understanding  of the culture.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you are British make sure, when you visit St Stephen's church in Ooty that you visit the road opposite, where the last surviving British colonial buildings can still be seen, if you are interested in seeing what Ooty used to look like when the British were there, as this is the only part of Ooty that gives you a flavour of what it was like in its heyday.  I would recommend reading "The Smile of Murugan" by Michael Wood, before you go, or better still take it with you to read, as this book is very enlightening about understanding the temple culture of Tamil Nadu.  Is there anything else you would like to add?This is a busy but hugely interesting and enjoyable trip.  Although there are some long days travelling on the coach, the journeys were broken up with a variety of interesting stops and watching Indian life through the window is always fascinating.  I would recommend it!

  • South India Explored reviewer 2
    Written on March 16, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This tour is a very good and comprehensive introduction to the people, cultures and civilisations of South India.  It was well organised and everything went very smoothly with no problems.   Our hotels were all very comfortable and our coach was modern , comfortable and reassuringly equipped with seat belts - an important feature when you're travelling nearly 3000 miles on Indian roads!  We also had a good and careful driver who kept us all safe.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Highlights of the trip were travelling on a rice boat through the backwaters of Kerala; visiting the extraordinary temple of Madurai - like a small town inside, bustling with shops and worshippers; visiting Anokhi in Fort Cochin and buying some lovely clothes for a fraction of their price in the UK; walking through the spice plantation and seeing spices growing; the beautiful terraces of tea plantations around Ooty; the ride on the toy train from Ooty; visiting a primary school; the fishing nets in Fort Cochin; the stone carving on the Tamil Nadu temples.What did you think of your group leader?Surya Monish was an excellent tour leader, knowledgeable and helpful throughout.  His knowledge was very wide ranging and really helped my understanding  of the culture.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you are British make sure, when you visit St Stephen's church in Ooty that you visit the road opposite, where the last surviving British colonial buildings can still be seen, if you are interested in seeing what Ooty used to look like when the British were there, as this is the only part of Ooty that gives you a flavour of what it was like in its heyday.  I would recommend reading "The Smile of Murugan" by Michael Wood, before you go, or better still take it with you to read, as this book is very enlightening about understanding the temple culture of Tamil Nadu.  Is there anything else you would like to add?This is a busy but hugely interesting and enjoyable trip.  Although there are some long days travelling on the coach, the journeys were broken up with a variety of interesting stops and watching Indian life through the window is always fascinating.  I would recommend it!

  • South India Explored reviewer 3
    Written on December 10, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    A fabulous but very busy tour which had many interesting things to see and do every day. Suresh Moni stopped whenever he saw something of interest so that we watched a wedding a procession (the bride's) and a couple of days later actually attending a wedding ceremony (where we were made most welcome, we will be in the wedding album!). Delee and Sadjee (driver and assistant) were also excellent and Delee is a very careful driver.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?So many; Belur and Halebid temples, the rock temples at Mahabalipurum and the evening meal there at the restaurant on the beach, the Jain temple at Sravanabelagola, the meal at the home of Christian family in Periyar, the spice walk and the jungle walk in Periyar and the houseboat on the backwaters (very relaxing). The scenery in the Ghats and the "Carpet Hills" and in the hills leading up to Ooty. Driving on the village roads and watching people going about their daily lives was always a source of great interest.What did you think of your group leader?The best I have ever had. Suresh Moni is conscientious, thoughtful (always checking that we were happy with his suggestions) and has a great sense of humour. He made the holiday for me. He gave us a lot of interesting information and told us many lovely stories about the Hindu gods. As I said before, he stopped when he saw something of interest but also had lots of planned surprises along the way not mentioned in the trip notes. We saw salt being worked, carrots being cleaned after harvest, charcoal being made, brick making, tile making, walked through a flower market and watched garlands being made for use in the temples and more. As a measure of what I think of him, I've nominated him for tour guide of the year - hope he's successful.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared for some long days, some busy towns (especially Chennai which took us ages to get out of), lots of power cuts (mostly very short), very busy roads, make sure you have an adequate supply of mosquito repellant, remember to take a small bag for the train as there is only a 'parcel shelf' for storage of baggage.Is there anything else you would like to add?My second trip to India and I fell in love with it all over again. India is chaotic, there's litter everywhere, there are lots of power cuts but people everywhere are friendly and genuinely interested in talking to you. This trip was just fabulous, so much to see and do - never a dull moment.

  • South India Explored reviewer 4
    Written on December 10, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    A fabulous but very busy tour which had many interesting things to see and do every day. Suresh Moni stopped whenever he saw something of interest so that we watched a wedding a procession (the bride's) and a couple of days later actually attending a wedding ceremony (where we were made most welcome, we will be in the wedding album!). Delee and Sadjee (driver and assistant) were also excellent and Delee is a very careful driver.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?So many; Belur and Halebid temples, the rock temples at Mahabalipurum and the evening meal there at the restaurant on the beach, the Jain temple at Sravanabelagola, the meal at the home of Christian family in Periyar, the spice walk and the jungle walk in Periyar and the houseboat on the backwaters (very relaxing). The scenery in the Ghats and the "Carpet Hills" and in the hills leading up to Ooty. Driving on the village roads and watching people going about their daily lives was always a source of great interest.What did you think of your group leader?The best I have ever had. Suresh Moni is conscientious, thoughtful (always checking that we were happy with his suggestions) and has a great sense of humour. He made the holiday for me. He gave us a lot of interesting information and told us many lovely stories about the Hindu gods. As I said before, he stopped when he saw something of interest but also had lots of planned surprises along the way not mentioned in the trip notes. We saw salt being worked, carrots being cleaned after harvest, charcoal being made, brick making, tile making, walked through a flower market and watched garlands being made for use in the temples and more. As a measure of what I think of him, I've nominated him for tour guide of the year - hope he's successful.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared for some long days, some busy towns (especially Chennai which took us ages to get out of), lots of power cuts (mostly very short), very busy roads, make sure you have an adequate supply of mosquito repellant, remember to take a small bag for the train as there is only a 'parcel shelf' for storage of baggage.Is there anything else you would like to add?My second trip to India and I fell in love with it all over again. India is chaotic, there's litter everywhere, there are lots of power cuts but people everywhere are friendly and genuinely interested in talking to you. This trip was just fabulous, so much to see and do - never a dull moment.

  • South India Explored reviewer 5
    Written on February 13, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    The best trip ever.  From begining to end it was interesting, fun, and varied.  Our guide was fantastic and did everything possible to enable us to experience his country, its people and its culture.  We engaged with local people and their daily activities, visited world heritage sites, banana markets, temples, goat markets, conservation parks, we watched dancers and even danced, swam in the indian ocean; saw a variety of animals and birds, watched elephants getting scrubbed in the river; and much much more; we travelled on boats, trains coaches, ate  amazing food in all sorts of places and as a  bonus didn't get sick at all!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?We were inspired afresh every single day.  It really was a totally amazing experience.What did you think of your group leader?The best ever.  His knowledge and enthusiasm left nothing to be desired.  He willingly shared it all and was great fun to travel with.  He engaged with local people at every level and enabled us to also. We feel we have experienced the reality of India and loved it.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?A really intersting and varied itinary.  we can only highly recommend it. Look out for Suresh Moni as a guide, you're guaranteed a great holiday.Is there anything else you would like to add?I wish I was back there!

  • South India Explored reviewer 6
    Written on February 13, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    The best trip ever.  From begining to end it was interesting, fun, and varied.  Our guide was fantastic and did everything possible to enable us to experience his country, its people and its culture.  We engaged with local people and their daily activities, visited world heritage sites, banana markets, temples, goat markets, conservation parks, we watched dancers and even danced, swam in the indian ocean; saw a variety of animals and birds, watched elephants getting scrubbed in the river; and much much more; we travelled on boats, trains coaches, ate  amazing food in all sorts of places and as a  bonus didn't get sick at all!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?We were inspired afresh every single day.  It really was a totally amazing experience.What did you think of your group leader?The best ever.  His knowledge and enthusiasm left nothing to be desired.  He willingly shared it all and was great fun to travel with.  He engaged with local people at every level and enabled us to also. We feel we have experienced the reality of India and loved it.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?A really intersting and varied itinary.  we can only highly recommend it. Look out for Suresh Moni as a guide, you're guaranteed a great holiday.Is there anything else you would like to add?I wish I was back there!

  • South India Explored reviewer 7
    Written on February 6, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    It was an extremely interesting trip and we learnt a lot about South India and our excellent guide Suresh Muni made it a trully memorable experience. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?We loved the tea plantations, driving along coconut palm trees, enjoyed watching the elephants` bath in the river, have seen exceptional temples, palaces and churches, loved seeing all the various animals along the Periyar lake, endulged in an ayurvedic massage, were surprised by the spice gardens, were excited riding elephants, loved the Kovalam beach and its fishing village, enjoyed the stay at the Coir village (only not the all night temple announcements), loved the boat ride through the back waters. All in all an enjoyable experience which will stay with us forever.What did you think of your group leader?Suresh Muni was excellent and showed and told us so much about the country, its people, its customs, beautiful nature and made the trip enjoyable and memorable. He always had a few surprises along the way wich made some long drives so much more interesting. He is very knowledgeable and has managed the trip really good. He was very patient and tried to accommodate what the group required.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It is a great trip but be prepared for a lot of bus travel. In relation to tummy problems - we almost had none by sticking to vegetarian food (and fish) which in those parts is really great, and drank coke or beer, and we were careful with water. The food is great so there is a lot to look forward to.Is there anything else you would like to add?The bus we travelled with had green tinted window glass so a huge amount of photographs taken through the windows are greenish, therefore,  really no good. So in future it would be better if the bus windows did not have cloured window glass.The trip includes a lot of travelling by bus and short stays in some places where it would have been great to spend some more time - like in Periyar, Kovalam, Coir village and backwaters.

  • South India Explored reviewer 8
    Written on February 6, 2012
    4.0 - Good

    It was an extremely interesting trip and we learnt a lot about South India and our excellent guide Suresh Muni made it a trully memorable experience. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?We loved the tea plantations, driving along coconut palm trees, enjoyed watching the elephants` bath in the river, have seen exceptional temples, palaces and churches, loved seeing all the various animals along the Periyar lake, endulged in an ayurvedic massage, were surprised by the spice gardens, were excited riding elephants, loved the Kovalam beach and its fishing village, enjoyed the stay at the Coir village (only not the all night temple announcements), loved the boat ride through the back waters. All in all an enjoyable experience which will stay with us forever.What did you think of your group leader?Suresh Muni was excellent and showed and told us so much about the country, its people, its customs, beautiful nature and made the trip enjoyable and memorable. He always had a few surprises along the way wich made some long drives so much more interesting. He is very knowledgeable and has managed the trip really good. He was very patient and tried to accommodate what the group required.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It is a great trip but be prepared for a lot of bus travel. In relation to tummy problems - we almost had none by sticking to vegetarian food (and fish) which in those parts is really great, and drank coke or beer, and we were careful with water. The food is great so there is a lot to look forward to.Is there anything else you would like to add?The bus we travelled with had green tinted window glass so a huge amount of photographs taken through the windows are greenish, therefore,  really no good. So in future it would be better if the bus windows did not have cloured window glass.The trip includes a lot of travelling by bus and short stays in some places where it would have been great to spend some more time - like in Periyar, Kovalam, Coir village and backwaters.

  • South India Explored reviewer 9
    Written on February 5, 2012
    2.0 - Rather poor

    A good overview of South India, but the trip spent a lot of time in busy cities and on the road. Some more time in the countryside and relaxing by the coast would have been appreciated. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Jain temple complex at Sravanabelagola is amaxing and the temple at Madurai has to be seen to be believed. The food was also a highlight, especially the optional cooking evening at Periyar which is highly recommended.What did you think of your group leader?Santosh Kumar was one of the best, if not the best Exodus leader I have had over the past 10 years. First class in all areas, especially local knowledge, communication skills and sociability with the group.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared for lots of 5+ hour days on the coach. Unfortunately the majority of roads were poor quality so it takes a long time to travel a reasonably short distance. Do try all of the local food and don't worry about it being too spicy. If anything the food was not spicy enough for my taste.Is there anything else you would like to add?Don't forget a travel sink plug and strong insect repellent as the insects were ferocious!

  • South India Explored reviewer 10
    Written on February 5, 2012
    2.0 - Rather poor

    A good overview of South India, but the trip spent a lot of time in busy cities and on the road. Some more time in the countryside and relaxing by the coast would have been appreciated. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Jain temple complex at Sravanabelagola is amaxing and the temple at Madurai has to be seen to be believed. The food was also a highlight, especially the optional cooking evening at Periyar which is highly recommended.What did you think of your group leader?Santosh Kumar was one of the best, if not the best Exodus leader I have had over the past 10 years. First class in all areas, especially local knowledge, communication skills and sociability with the group.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared for lots of 5+ hour days on the coach. Unfortunately the majority of roads were poor quality so it takes a long time to travel a reasonably short distance. Do try all of the local food and don't worry about it being too spicy. If anything the food was not spicy enough for my taste.Is there anything else you would like to add?Don't forget a travel sink plug and strong insect repellent as the insects were ferocious!

Itinerary

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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Cochin.
  2. Day 2: Explore historic spice port.
  3. Day 3: Climb through Nilgiri Hills to Ooty.
  4. Day 4: Relax, walk, ride or try the miniature steam railway.
  5. Day 5: To Mysore through Mudmalai and Bandipur N.P.
  6. Day 6: Explore palaces and temples of Mysore.
  7. Day 7: To Hassan via Halebid, Belur and Sravanabelagola temples.
  8. Day 8: Drive to Bangalore; explore the city before catching an overnight train to Chennai.
  9. Day 9: Arrive Chennai; visit St Thomas Church before transferring to Mahabalipuram.
  10. Day 10: Morning sightseeing; explore rock-cut caves; afternoon free.
  11. Day 11: To Pondicherry via Vedantangal Bird Sanctuary.
  12. Day 12: To Thanjavur through fertile Kaveri Delta.
  13. Day 13: Explore Thanjavur; to Madurai.
  14. Day 14: Visit Meenakshi Temple; free time.
  15. Day 15: Westward to Kerala and Periyar National Park.
  16. Day 16: Explore Periyar National Park; morning nature walk; optional afternoon boat trip.
  17. Day 17: To Alleppey; board houseboat for backwater cruise.
  18. Day 18: Leave houseboat and drive to Kovalam; afternoon free.
  19. Day 19: Optional visit to Kanyakumari - the southernmost tip of India - or relax on the beach.
  20. Day 20: End Kovalam.

What's included

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  • Accommodation

  • Guide

  • Meals

  • Transport

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

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  • Sunday
    Dec 17, 2017
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Jan 5, 2018
    to Kovalam
    0 seats left
    $64
    USD $2,491
  • Sunday
    Jan 7, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Jan 26, 2018
    to Kovalam
    Only 1 seat left
    $208
    $2,475
    -8%
    USD $2,267
  • Sunday
    Jan 14, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Feb 2, 2018
    to Kovalam
    0 seats left
    $62
    USD $2,413
  • Sunday
    Jan 21, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Feb 9, 2018
    to Kovalam
    Only 1 seat left
    $208
    $2,475
    -8%
    USD $2,267
  • Sunday
    Jan 28, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Feb 16, 2018
    to Kovalam
    0 seats left
    $60
    USD $2,345
  • Sunday
    Feb 4, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Feb 23, 2018
    to Kovalam
    8 seats left
    $58
    USD $2,267
  • Sunday
    Feb 11, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Mar 2, 2018
    to Kovalam
    0 seats left
    $62
    USD $2,413
  • Sunday
    Feb 18, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Mar 9, 2018
    to Kovalam
    0 seats left
    $62
    USD $2,413
  • Sunday
    Mar 11, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Mar 30, 2018
    to Kovalam
    Only 1 seat left
    $208
    $2,475
    -8%
    USD $2,267
  • Sunday
    Mar 25, 2018
    from Kochi (Cochin)
    20 Days
    Friday
    Apr 13, 2018
    to Kovalam
    Only 3 seats left
    $207
    $2,435
    -9%
    USD $2,228
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About the countries

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Visa

Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.

Vaccinations

These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
Typhoid
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Hepatitis A
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Cholera
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Tuberculosis
Recommended for India. Ideally 3 months before travel.
Hepatitis B
Recommended for India. Ideally 2 months before travel.
Yellow fever
Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for India. Ideally 10 days before travel.
Japanese B encephalitis
Recommended for India. Ideally 1 month before travel.

Policies

Location
Kochi (Cochin) is the starting point and Kovalam is the endpoint.
Hold my space
TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
Deposit
TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 10 February 2018 the full payment of $2,199 is necessary.
Cancellation policy
No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $2199 for South India Explored, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
Credit Cards
The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express

Destinations

Covering a total distance of approx 1,784 km.
  • Kochi (Cochin) (India)
  • 142 km
  • Coimbatore (India)
  • 41 km
  • Coonoor (India)
  • 13 km
  • Ootacamund (India)
  • 24 km
  • Mudumalai National Park (India)
  • 26 km
  • Bandipur National Park (India)
  • 63 km
  • Mysore (India)
  • 65 km
  • Sravanabelagola (India)
  • 44 km
  • Hassan (India)
  • 162 km
  • Bangalore (India)
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