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Classic South India - Premium

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This tour is operated by
Classic South India - Premium - Exodus Travels
Classic South India - Premium - Exodus Travels
Excellent
10 reviews
Starts
Chennai (Madras)
+9 Destinations
Southern India
Ends
Varkala
Map

Highlights

Start in Chennai (Madras) and end in Varkala! With the discovery tour Classic South India - Premium, you have a 14 day tour package taking you through Chennai (Madras), India and 9 other destinations in India. Classic South India - Premium is a small group tour that includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Accommodation
Hotel
Max Group Size
16
Transportation
Coach / Bus

10 Reviews

Write a review
  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 1
    Written on March 14, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    My wife and I chose this premium trip because we thought it would be a gentle introduction to India.  We were not disappointed.  The hotels were very comfortable; the food was good; the travelling was not too hard; and the towns, while busy, were manageable.  Although most people remain poor, there was little "in your face" extreme poverty.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?There were a lot of good sights (my own favourite being the Pallava temples and rock carvings at Mahabalipuram) and memorable moments (including the bustle of Chennai station in the morning, the elephant encounter that Michael Canham has mentioned, and sunset on the beach at Varkala).  But for me the most inspirational moment was on the houseboat in the evening, listening to beautiful singing/chanting from the nearby village.  I found out the next day that this was a prayer service for a lady who had recently died.What did you think of your group leader?Santosh was an excellent leader, with lots of local knowledge and contacts, and good at reconciling the disparate tastes of our group.  He regularly went the excellent mile in organising extra little things to do, and found us some truly excellent restaurants in Kerala.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You will eat best if you stick to Indian food.  While most of our meals were very good, we had a couple of disappointing lunches when we were taken to places catering for more "western" tastes.Is there anything else you would like to add?We, and most of our group, were disappointed by the backwater cruise.  The standards of food, service and general housekeeping were poor.  Also, the houseboats were newer and bigger than advertised (4-5 bedrooms), and too big to go into any side channels.  So we just went up and down the main channel, with a lot of time spent moored up.  Having said that, the cruise does get you closer to village life, especially if you take the opportunity to go for a walk whenever the boat is moored, and I got a lot of good pictures (plus the inspirational moment noted above).

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 2
    Written on March 14, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    My wife and I chose this premium trip because we thought it would be a gentle introduction to India.  We were not disappointed.  The hotels were very comfortable; the food was good; the travelling was not too hard; and the towns, while busy, were manageable.  Although most people remain poor, there was little "in your face" extreme poverty.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?There were a lot of good sights (my own favourite being the Pallava temples and rock carvings at Mahabalipuram) and memorable moments (including the bustle of Chennai station in the morning, the elephant encounter that Michael Canham has mentioned, and sunset on the beach at Varkala).  But for me the most inspirational moment was on the houseboat in the evening, listening to beautiful singing/chanting from the nearby village.  I found out the next day that this was a prayer service for a lady who had recently died.What did you think of your group leader?Santosh was an excellent leader, with lots of local knowledge and contacts, and good at reconciling the disparate tastes of our group.  He regularly went the excellent mile in organising extra little things to do, and found us some truly excellent restaurants in Kerala.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You will eat best if you stick to Indian food.  While most of our meals were very good, we had a couple of disappointing lunches when we were taken to places catering for more "western" tastes.Is there anything else you would like to add?We, and most of our group, were disappointed by the backwater cruise.  The standards of food, service and general housekeeping were poor.  Also, the houseboats were newer and bigger than advertised (4-5 bedrooms), and too big to go into any side channels.  So we just went up and down the main channel, with a lot of time spent moored up.  Having said that, the cruise does get you closer to village life, especially if you take the opportunity to go for a walk whenever the boat is moored, and I got a lot of good pictures (plus the inspirational moment noted above).

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 3
    Written on February 26, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    4th trip to India, bit of a different world in the South, probably go back North next time.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?A Tiger, some happy!!! elephants, a remarkable encounter with a very sad!!! female elephant. A rarely seen event, a privilege, probably the wrong word just about everyone was in tears by the end. Waterbottles in the bed. What did you think of your group leader?The usual very high standard for an Exodus group leader, just the same as for the other 16 trips.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you are new to this form of travel trust the leader he will only take you to places where the food is safe and the beer is cold.Is there anything else you would like to add?The last 2 nights, make sure you eat at a beach side restaurant afer 6pm, big fish maybe the best you'll ever get.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 4
    Written on February 26, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    4th trip to India, bit of a different world in the South, probably go back North next time.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?A Tiger, some happy!!! elephants, a remarkable encounter with a very sad!!! female elephant. A rarely seen event, a privilege, probably the wrong word just about everyone was in tears by the end. Waterbottles in the bed. What did you think of your group leader?The usual very high standard for an Exodus group leader, just the same as for the other 16 trips.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you are new to this form of travel trust the leader he will only take you to places where the food is safe and the beer is cold.Is there anything else you would like to add?The last 2 nights, make sure you eat at a beach side restaurant afer 6pm, big fish maybe the best you'll ever get.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 5
    Written on November 24, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This trip offers a broad variety of experiences and a good introduction to the country for India virgins, without being too in your face or overwhelming.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The experiences were so varied it's hard to pick out one, so here's a selection: seeing a tiger in the wild, drifting along the Kerela backwaters in a houseboat, sampling the food, the friendliness of the people (we never felt threatened or hassled), the train journey, the hill stations ....What did you think of your group leader?Suresh is considerate, hugely knowledgeable and quietly effective.  His clear confidence and comptence allowed us to relax into a hectic environment and just enjoy the holiday.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Relax into the trip.  Practically every day is different, so it takes some energy to get the best out of it, but it's worth it.  Although this is a premium offering (and the accommodation is very good), we were exhausted at the end, but in a good way.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you are new to India but are a bit worried about the crowds, noise and dirt, then this is the trip for you. Sure, there are lots of people, but never in an overwhelming way.  Sure, you will see poverty and beggars, but not all the time.  The food is basically vegtarian and sticking to veggie dishes will probably reduce the chances of contracting Delhi Belly - but you must, you really must, enjoy curry to enjoy this holiday.  You will come away with a good taste of India and probably tempted, having broken your duck, to return some day and maybe sample the more hectic north.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 6
    Written on November 24, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This trip offers a broad variety of experiences and a good introduction to the country for India virgins, without being too in your face or overwhelming.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The experiences were so varied it's hard to pick out one, so here's a selection: seeing a tiger in the wild, drifting along the Kerela backwaters in a houseboat, sampling the food, the friendliness of the people (we never felt threatened or hassled), the train journey, the hill stations ....What did you think of your group leader?Suresh is considerate, hugely knowledgeable and quietly effective.  His clear confidence and comptence allowed us to relax into a hectic environment and just enjoy the holiday.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Relax into the trip.  Practically every day is different, so it takes some energy to get the best out of it, but it's worth it.  Although this is a premium offering (and the accommodation is very good), we were exhausted at the end, but in a good way.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you are new to India but are a bit worried about the crowds, noise and dirt, then this is the trip for you. Sure, there are lots of people, but never in an overwhelming way.  Sure, you will see poverty and beggars, but not all the time.  The food is basically vegtarian and sticking to veggie dishes will probably reduce the chances of contracting Delhi Belly - but you must, you really must, enjoy curry to enjoy this holiday.  You will come away with a good taste of India and probably tempted, having broken your duck, to return some day and maybe sample the more hectic north.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 7
    Written on November 7, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    We chose this trip because the itinerary was interesting and varied and it more than lived up to our expectations in every respect. We have been on lots of Exodus holidays and this was our first "Premium" holiday. It ranks as one of the best we've done.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?It's really hard to pick the best from this fantastic trip. Southern India is wonderfully fertile and we loved seeing everyday activities in the countryside - tea picking, the rice harvest, carrots being washed (yes really!), sugar cane converted to sugar. Our guide Lukose often just stopped our minibus to pick up on activities as we passed by on the road. We were a small group of six and the group dynamics worked well, always a bonus.  Accommodation was excellent throughout. Cruising along the backwaters in a houseboat is a very special experience too. I should mention that at "Ooty" we found ourselves involved in a celebration of 140 years of the railway and were the VIP guests being interviewed for the newspapers and TV - we have press cuttings of our moment of fame!!What did you think of your group leader?Lukose Thomas is a  really professional leader who takes his job and responsibilities seriously. He is clearly a leader of many years experience and not fazed by any difficulties - for example when we found I'd left my credit card in the machine at the previous hotel! He worked hard at following our interests and was keen to research any areas where he didn't know the answer. This doesn't mean he lacked a sense of humour either - we all really enjoyed his company for our two weeks and felt privileged to have such a great leader.Do you have any advice for potential travellers? The climate is REALLY humid and you have to get used to being permanently damp. Because you stay in some hotels for two nights it's possible to get laundry done and we all found that necessary - it's returned beautifully pressed, and on one occasion in a lined basket with flowers on top! It was quite cold and very wet up in the hill station so a waterproof and/or umbrella is essential. Some of the hotels have good swimming pools and there was time on this trip to take advantage of them.There is a lot of curry - it's possible to eat it 3 times a day, but if you're not keen on spicy food it is possible to find alternatives.  Is there anything else you would like to add?It was our second visit to India, the first with Exodus and it was good to be back with our favourite travel company! Travelling with Exodus you get a real feel for the people and the way of life as well as the country itself.  There is a fair amount of driving on this trip and Lukose had some ideas for improving the one very long day's drive which are worth following up. We were just six in a nine seater minivan, not counting driver and guide so were comfortable - with nine it would have been a bit cosy. Train travel  in India is just a brilliant experience, not to be missed.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 8
    Written on November 7, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    We chose this trip because the itinerary was interesting and varied and it more than lived up to our expectations in every respect. We have been on lots of Exodus holidays and this was our first "Premium" holiday. It ranks as one of the best we've done.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?It's really hard to pick the best from this fantastic trip. Southern India is wonderfully fertile and we loved seeing everyday activities in the countryside - tea picking, the rice harvest, carrots being washed (yes really!), sugar cane converted to sugar. Our guide Lukose often just stopped our minibus to pick up on activities as we passed by on the road. We were a small group of six and the group dynamics worked well, always a bonus.  Accommodation was excellent throughout. Cruising along the backwaters in a houseboat is a very special experience too. I should mention that at "Ooty" we found ourselves involved in a celebration of 140 years of the railway and were the VIP guests being interviewed for the newspapers and TV - we have press cuttings of our moment of fame!!What did you think of your group leader?Lukose Thomas is a  really professional leader who takes his job and responsibilities seriously. He is clearly a leader of many years experience and not fazed by any difficulties - for example when we found I'd left my credit card in the machine at the previous hotel! He worked hard at following our interests and was keen to research any areas where he didn't know the answer. This doesn't mean he lacked a sense of humour either - we all really enjoyed his company for our two weeks and felt privileged to have such a great leader.Do you have any advice for potential travellers? The climate is REALLY humid and you have to get used to being permanently damp. Because you stay in some hotels for two nights it's possible to get laundry done and we all found that necessary - it's returned beautifully pressed, and on one occasion in a lined basket with flowers on top! It was quite cold and very wet up in the hill station so a waterproof and/or umbrella is essential. Some of the hotels have good swimming pools and there was time on this trip to take advantage of them.There is a lot of curry - it's possible to eat it 3 times a day, but if you're not keen on spicy food it is possible to find alternatives.  Is there anything else you would like to add?It was our second visit to India, the first with Exodus and it was good to be back with our favourite travel company! Travelling with Exodus you get a real feel for the people and the way of life as well as the country itself.  There is a fair amount of driving on this trip and Lukose had some ideas for improving the one very long day's drive which are worth following up. We were just six in a nine seater minivan, not counting driver and guide so were comfortable - with nine it would have been a bit cosy. Train travel  in India is just a brilliant experience, not to be missed.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 9
    Written on November 5, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    An amazing trip giving you a wonderful taste of South India at a leasurly space but managing to pack in a wealth of experiences.   The hotels were of very good standard and the choice of food available would cater for every palate.  Simply an excellent trip with a wealth of experiences.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Toy Train of the Niligri Hills was wonderful with  breathtaking scenery.  The houseboat on the backwaters was just inspirational and gave you a wonderful glimpse of village life and wildlife.  Where else but India can you drive along and see oxon being shod, fish being dried or carrots being washed and bagged on the road side.What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader Lucose Thomas was great.  Extremely knowledgeable, nothing was too much trouble for him.  He had a lovely sense of humor and he kept the group together and interested the whole time.  A number one guide.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Travel light, plenty of opportunites to have laundry done very cheap and you can then fill your case with wonderful spices, silks and crafts.  The best silks were in Couchin.Is there anything else you would like to add?If it would be possible to cut the overnight stay in Coonoor and the last day at Trivandrum so you could visit a spice factory and the temples at Trivandrum would make the trip perfect.

  • Classic South India - Premium reviewer 10
    Written on November 5, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    An amazing trip giving you a wonderful taste of South India at a leasurly space but managing to pack in a wealth of experiences.   The hotels were of very good standard and the choice of food available would cater for every palate.  Simply an excellent trip with a wealth of experiences.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Toy Train of the Niligri Hills was wonderful with  breathtaking scenery.  The houseboat on the backwaters was just inspirational and gave you a wonderful glimpse of village life and wildlife.  Where else but India can you drive along and see oxon being shod, fish being dried or carrots being washed and bagged on the road side.What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader Lucose Thomas was great.  Extremely knowledgeable, nothing was too much trouble for him.  He had a lovely sense of humor and he kept the group together and interested the whole time.  A number one guide.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Travel light, plenty of opportunites to have laundry done very cheap and you can then fill your case with wonderful spices, silks and crafts.  The best silks were in Couchin.Is there anything else you would like to add?If it would be possible to cut the overnight stay in Coonoor and the last day at Trivandrum so you could visit a spice factory and the temples at Trivandrum would make the trip perfect.

Itinerary

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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Chennai; transfer to beachside town of Mahabalipuram.
  2. Day 2: Visit ancient Dravidian sites, including Shore Temple.
  3. Day 3: Return to Chennai via the temples at Kanchipuram.
  4. Day 4: Express train to Mysore; transfer to hotel.
  5. Day 5: Sightseeing including Mysore Palace and Srirangapatna.
  6. Day 6: Drive to Bandipur N.P.; afternoon jungle safari.
  7. Day 7: Drive to Coonoor via botanical gardens of Ooty.
  8. Day 8: Explore Coonoor; optional walk through tea plantations or 'Toy Train' ride.
  9. Day 9: Transfer from Coonoor to Cochin.
  10. Day 10: Boat tour of Cochin harbour; explore historic spice port.
  11. Day 11: Drive to Alleppey and board houseboat for backwater cruise.
  12. Day 12: Transfer to Varkala; free time to relax on beach.
  13. Day 13: Free day.
  14. Day 14: End Varkala.

What's included

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  • Accommodation

  • Guide

  • Meals

  • Transport

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

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Questions & Answers

Here we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions about this tour.

  • February 1, 2017

    Is it fine to combine this tour with another tour?

    Yes it would be possible to combine this trip with another tour, as long as you can get a flight or transport between Trivandrum and Cochin in time to join the second trip.

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    About the countries

    Useful things to know before you go

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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
    Chennai (Madras) is the starting point and Varkala 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 13 February 2018 the full payment of $2,725 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 $2725 for Classic South India - Premium, 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 983 km.
    • Chennai (Madras) (India)
    • 65 km
    • Kanchipuram (India)
    • 65 km
    • Chennai (Madras) (India)
    • 289 km
    • Bangalore (India)
    • 128 km
    • Mysore (India)
    • 63 km
    • Bandipur National Park (India)
    • 49 km
    • Ootacamund (India)
    • 13 km
    • Coonoor (India)
    • 168 km
    • Kochi (Cochin) (India)
    • 49 km
    • Alleppey (India)
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