Southern India small group holiday

“A leisurely 15 day trip through Kerala and Tamil Nadu, travelling in small group, mostly staying in hotels.”

Highlights

Cochin | Western Ghat Mountains | Munnar hillstation | Madurai | Meenakshi Amman Temple | Periyar National Park | Houseboat on Kerala backwaters | Alleppey | Kovalam

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 region’s 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 Kerala’s 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 Kerala’s 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.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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18 Aug 2018
£ 1939
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06 Oct 2018
£ 1799
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20 Oct 2018
£ 1899
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03 Nov 2018
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17 Nov 2018
£ 1899
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15 Dec 2018
£ 2379
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29 Dec 2018
£ 2269
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05 Jan 2019
£ 1959
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12 Jan 2019
£ 1959
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26 Jan 2019
£ 1959
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09 Feb 2019
£ 2029
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23 Feb 2019
£ 1959
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02 Mar 2019
£ 1959
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17 Aug 2019
£ 2029
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05 Oct 2019
£ 1999
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19 Oct 2019
£ 1999
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02 Nov 2019
£ 1999
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16 Nov 2019
£ 1999
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14 Dec 2019
£ 2499
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28 Dec 2019
£ 2379
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Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Southern India small group holiday

Environment

Accommodation & 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.

UK Office:
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.

Community

Local 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 area’s 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.

Charity
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.

Group Size:
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.

1 Reviews of Southern India small group holiday

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 08 Feb 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The hike up mountain to have picnic with stunning views was the highlight. Also the early morning tour of the market before breakfast.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you are worried about the way they drive in India. Ask your guide to speak to your driver, who will drive completely differently if requested by the group. You then feel less anxious that you will have a head on crash!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. I hope so.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent experience of the real India. It was eye opening and informative. The people, colours, sounds, wildlife and all round welcome we recieved from such a well mannered, beautifully dressed, polite and courteous nation will stay with me forever. My only concerns were that the bus was not very comfortable, which made the long days of travelling difficult.

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