Southern India small group holiday
Optional single supplement from £380 - £450.
Minimum age 16.
Description of Southern India small group holiday
This two week Southern India small group holiday starts on the Kerala coast in Cochin, and then winds its way through some of regions most wonderful landscapes. From the coast, so famous for its ancient spice trades, historic fort and beaches. when you take a sunset cruise around the port area, you will soon settle in to Keralas wonderfully unique ambiance.
Then for a complete change of scene we head into the Western Ghat mountains to explore the historic hill stations such as Munnar, surrounded by elevated, tropical slopes and opening up a whole other side to Kerala of forests, grasslands and tea plantations.
Wildlife watching is also a feature of this carefully crafted itinerary, with one of the highlights being a day at Periyar National Park, also in the Western Ghats. It is home to a tiger reserve and also elephants, monkeys, wild pigs and an array of birdlife. A colourful array of a very different kind awaits in Tamil Nadu where, in the magnificent city of Madurai for example, the skyline is filled with fourteen massive towers of the Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Our trip draws to a close with a couple of days spent on Keralas famous backwaters, which we travel through on a traditional houseboat, sleeping on board as well, and learning about village life through this maze of waterways. From backwater to coastal water, we have a couple of days to enjoy Kerala beach life, fine seafood, and laid back vibe at Kovolam, with an optional trip out to Kanyakumari - the southernmost tip of India.
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5 Reviews of Southern India small group holiday
Reviewed on 02 Mar 2020 by jill shortman5 stars Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020 by Gillian SlaterIt was very good. The guide Sam Benjamin was excellent Read full review
Reviewed on 16 Mar 2019 by Diane WestonExcellent.... Read full review
Reviewed on 16 Mar 2019 by Mike PorterYou need to enjoy rice and more rice with every meal! Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Feb 2018 by Susan WheaverThe hike up mountain to have picnic with stunning views was the highlight. Also the early morning tour of the market before breakfast. Read full review
PlanetAccommodation & Meals
This trip sees you spend most nights in hotels and one night on a houseboat. You will notice that our hotels employ locally and use local produce from markets in the area wherever possible. The hotels are waste and energy conscious and have their own policies like asking guests to turn off the power when leaving a room in order to save electricity. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties. There will even be instances where clients can see the food being made themselves e.g. fresh seafood dishes in Cochin where people bring their own fish.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleLocal Craft & Culture
We are keen to encourage guests to engage with the culture of Southern India and to purchase local crafts and services where possible. Your local guide will be able to recommend the best of the areas colourful and vibrant markets and small businesses and through our commerce, tourist wealth is more evenly distributed. Cochin and Periyar are famous for the spice shops & antique items, Munnar for different kinds of tea and coffee and Madurai for silk and tailor made cloths. There are locally crafted gifts and souvenirs available by most of the landmarks we visit, and your guides will be able to advise you on which to buy and which to avoid. For example, some bangles and other decorative items on sale may claim to be made of ivory - we are against the popularisation of this kind of product and make a point of including a warning in the briefing.
For years we have been involved in campaigning for tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh. In late summer 2014 we teamed up with The Corbett Foundation, an Indian charity dedicated to conservation-oriented research. They have proved instrumental in enabling us to get the funds to where they are needed. Through this we have now completed the building of a community hall at Tala Village, solar pumps in the park for wildlife and staff in the dry season, bio gas plants and smart stoves for villagers and provided the salary for 2 full time teachers at the government school. Our work in India continues to be of great significance and most recently we have been able to purchase a 4 wheel drive medical vehicle and pay for outreach medical support.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.