17 DAYS ●
This fascinating tour will entice even the most widely travelled individual. Southern India is very different from the north, providing stark contrasts between spices, food, cultures and climate.
Explore the colonial buildings of this wondrous city
Take a ride on the Ooty Toy Train
Discover South India’s extensive wildlife at the Periyar Wildlife Reserve
Take a cruise on the Kerala Backwaters on your private houseboat
Our Kerala & the Southern Highlights itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
Fly to Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal, for an overnight stay.
Journey to the 7th-century port city of Mamallapuram. Discover the rock-cut temples, including the Shore Temple, and see recently discovered archaeological excavations and artefacts. The Shore Temple stands elegantly overlooking the sea, illustrating the beauty of Pallava. It is small in size but has high quality carvings. Built in the 8th century, it’s the earliest significant free-standing stone temple in Tamil Nadu. Continue on to Pondicherry.
This morning visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1926 this vibrant Ashram has grown to a community of almost 1200 members. Discover the delights of the Pondicherry museum. Tonight take a rickshaw ride through Pondicherry for dinner.
Return to Chennai, once Madras, the city was developed as a British trading post and so is home to a number of colonial sights. A city tour begins at the 13 kilometre Marina Beach before a stop at Fort St. George, established by the East India Company, and the British built St. Mary’s Church. The final stop is the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, ‘the destroyer’.
Rise early this morning and catch the Shatabdi Express train to Bangalore, often referred to as south India’s ‘garden city’. Tour the city, including a visit to the Bull Temple and Vidhana Soudha (Legislature Building). The Bull Temple is dedicated to Nandi Bull, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The Nandi Bull is said to have been carved out of a single rock.
Travel south to Mysore, stopping en route at Srirangapatna Fort. Later, visit the Maharaja’s Palace and drive up to Chamundi Hill, where you will see the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and the Nandi Bull Statue. Tonight enjoy a traditional cooking demonstration hosted by a local family.
Head to the hills and drive to Coonoor. Located at an altitude of 1,850 metres above sea level, Coonoor is the second largest hillstation in the Nilgiri Hills. The evening is at your leisure to relax or take an optional walk around the hill station.
This morning take the Toy Train to the hillstation of Ooty where you will visit the botanical gardens. Ooty is affectionately known as the ‘Queen of the Hillstations’. It is picturesque, green and home to coffee and tea plantations. You may wish to take a walk to a nearby village to gain an insight into the lives of the local people before returning to Coonoor.
Descending from the highlands there are a plethora of spectacular panoramas to admire as you travel to Coimbatore. Spend the afternoon exploring this cosmopolitan city including an impressive Jain Temple, St. Michael Xavier Church and Athar Jamid, the city’s oldest mosque.
Travel to Munnar, a hill station enveloped by lush tea plantations. In the afternoon, visit a tea plantation and the Tata Tea Museum.
Explore Eravikulam National Park and search for wildlife. Continue your journey to Thekkady, home of Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Eravikulam National Park is closed Feb – Apr each year and alternative touring will be available. Ask reservations for details.
Set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to great scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. Take an early morning walk through the sanctuary where you might spot an elephant or an elusive tiger. Visit a local spice village and browse a local market. This evening watch a Kalaripayattu performance, a traditional form of martial arts.
Drive to Kumarakom to board your overnight houseboat. The houseboats are converted from traditional rice barges and are known as ‘kettuvallams’. Enjoy the enchanting waters and panoramic views of rural life along the banks, passing lush rice paddies, local villages, temples and coconut groves. Enjoy a dinner of traditional Keralan cuisine.
Disembark your houseboat in Pallathuruthy and drive to Kochi. Stop en route at a local market and coir factory. Later, visit Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village, built to highlight the fisher-folk way of life in the region.
Tour the sites of Kochi starting with a visit to St. Francis Church and the Santa Cruz Basilica. Visit the historic Jewish Synagogue, local markets and see the unique cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. This evening watch a traditional Kathakali dance performance.
Enjoy a free morning to spend at your leisure. After a late checkout, you will be transferred to Kochi airport to board your flight to Australia, arriving home the same or following day
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. Our tour prices are from prices based on per person, twin share and are subject to the availability of specific economy class fare levels. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or too unusual.
Breakfast at your hotel includes local and western dishes. A myth about India is that the food is of poor quality and always spicy. This is definitely not the case! In addition, a great deal of Indian cuisine is vegetarian.
Drinks are at your own expense. Beer is widely available. Bottled drinking water and soft drinks are widely available – you should only have ice, juices, or lassies from a trusted source that uses boiled or bottled water.
Shopping is a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests while on holiday, your tour includes a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. Included are visits to establishments that provide locally produced goods, unique to your destination. Witness the creation of these products, and see first-hand how their production supports the local economy. As most travellers like to take home souvenirs, we ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.
Tipping is not commonplace in Australia. In Asia however, it is anticipated that a tip be given to reward good service. With that in mind, we have a tipping system for our group tours. Each passenger ‘tips’ a set amount to the National Escort at the start of the tour or on arrival in each country. They then distribute this as appropriate.
Tipping is appreciated for Private and Tailor-Made travel. In your final documents, we include guidelines for tipping when travelling independently.
While travelling overseas, the Wendy Wu Tours contact number during business hours is +61 2 9224 8888.
Emergency Assistance (24-hours) is 0044 1888 288 288.
You will find mobile phone coverage to be quite high throughout Asia. We recommend contacting your mobile carrier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated call and data costs before you leave Australia. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi, which usually comes at a cost.
Most nationalities require a visa when travelling to India. Travellers should arrange visas well in advance of departure. Unlike many other tour operators, we include your visa in the price of your tour. We handle the entire application process – all you need to do is complete the paperwork and send your passport to us eight weeks prior to departure. We are always on hand to help you with any queries you may have while completing the application form.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and Australia's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th.
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