South India holiday, small group
Late availability on these dates: 15 Dec, 18 Dec, 19 Jan, 26 Jan, 16 Feb, 23 Feb
Description of South India holiday, small group
This comfortable, small group your introduces you to South India’s highlights as you travel from Chennai, on the west coast, to Kovalam Beach on the southern tip. Explore Puducherry’s (formerly Pondicherry) colonial past with a walking tour through the French Quarter with its distinctive architecture. Step considerably further back in time at Brihadeeswarar Hindu Temple, completed a thousand years ago in honour of Shiva.
As well as the grand sights, this South India holiday enables you to get up close to some of the region’s smaller details: markets and bazaars, spice plantations and performances of martial arts and Kathakali dance. Aside from the culture of this colourful region, there is plenty of nature to explore. In the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park shelters elephants, gaur and elusive tigers; nature walks here with expert guides may reveal fresh tracks. And a cruise along Kerala’s backwaters introduces you to local villagers working in the rice fields, as you meander between palm trees and islands. This is the perfect balance between key sights and roads less trodden, in India’s lush, tropical south.
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4 Reviews of South India holiday, small group
Reviewed on 04 Mar 2023 by Sally Knowles-JacksonIt was great. The tour guide was excellent, we had a great group and I enjoyed every moment. Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Feb 2019 by Stephanie MonkI loved the Kerala backwaters and the maharajah’s palace at Mysore... I loved South India and it’s people, such a beautiful and extraordinary place. Our guide Dinesh was excellent. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Dec 2018 by Rose SandhamA most enjoyable trip and our guide Justin Bruno was brilliant, knowledgeable, kind and fun to travel with and he had an excellent knowledge of the places we visited. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Jan 2015 by Rose OrtizI thought Kerala was beautiful. Read full review
PlanetThe very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world we are exploring; to travel responsibly is at the heart of our commitment as a global tour operator.
The comfortable hotels and heritage properties that we use throughout this trip are all reflective of the region through which we are travelling. The staff are all recruited from local communities and can give a great insight into the way of life in the region both past and present. We will travel on a combination of private vehicles and local transport, using trains for our longest trips between Pondicherry and Madurai, and between Alleppey and Trivandrum. In addition to be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint low, rail travel in India is a ‘must try’ experience and a marvellous way to see the country slip by.
India is one of the most exciting, colourful and inspirational countries on Earth, however some areas are not renowned for their cleanliness. We encourage all our travellers not to make this very real problem worse. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with the appropriate disposal of rubbish en route and we encourage all our travellers to use refillable water bottles with purification tablets rather than adding to the problem by purchasing a copious number of plastic bottles of water.
PeopleWe believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. You will see this in action during your visit to southern India, your group will support local industry and initiative and help provide employment opportunities for the locals whose services we utilise. Through our policy on employing professional, local leaders to guide our groups, you will also benefit from a greater personal understanding of the history, culture and traditions of India’s beautiful south.
During the course of the trip you will dine throughout in local, traditional restaurants, often eating where the locals eat. Food and supplies will be purchased en route and sourced locally, supporting local growers and farmers, you’ll be encouraged to purchase souvenirs from smaller handicraft markets, supporting local craftsmen, and you’ll also get the opportunity to take part in a traditional Kathakali dance performance and have a rejuvenating ayurvedic massage, encouraging the continued practice of age old cultural skills.
Our emphasis on tour is real life experiences from interacting with fellow travellers on the train journeys (with your guide on interpreter duty!), to dining with a local family in Periyar, to exploring the local temples and markets in Chennai. Opportunity for cultural interaction is a one of the reasons many choose this style of travel, and your group leader will be on hand throughout to gently guide the group with social interaction. Much of India is fairly conservative, particularly outside of the major cities and we encourage our travellers to dress modestly and respect the customs and traditions encountered. On this itinerary, we many temples including in Mamallapuram, Madurai and Pondicherry and it’s vital that our group travel with a responsible outlook on cultural interaction, and make use of their leader to guide the way.