18 DAYS ●
Southern India offers an intensely tropical and laid-back experience compared to the north. Travel from its stunning hill stations to the tranquil backwaters on this in-depth journey.
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. Your National Escort or Local Guide from Wendy Wu Tours will meet you at the in the Arrivals Hall. Together with other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer to your hotel in Chennai.
This morning, transfer to the coastal city of Mamallapuram. Take a tour of the fascinating 7th and 8th-century rock carvings including the magnificent Shore Temple and the impressive Varaha Cave.
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 colourful Shiva Kapaleeswarar Temple.
Rise early to catch the Shatabdi Express to the garden city of Bangalore. Take an afternoon city tour to see the Bull Temple, Tipu Sultan’s Palace and Vidhana Soudha.
Head to Mysore, stopping at Srirangapatna Fort en route. Visit the magnificent Maharaja’s
Palace and drive up to Chamundi Hill to admire the 12th-century Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and Nandi Bull. Tonight, enjoy a traditional cooking demonstration hosted by a local family.
Journey up into the cool climes of the Western Ghats to the beautiful hill station of Coonoor.
Relax and appreciate the peace and natural splendour of this quaint town.
All aboard the miniature, narrow gauge ‘Toy Train’ to Ooty, nicknamed the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’. Upon arrival you’ll visit the botanical gardens and walk up to a small village where you’ll be able to gain insight into the lives of the local people, as well as getting incredible views back over Ooty.
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.
Today explore Eravikulam National Park where you will have the opportunity to spot the local
wildlife (closed Feb-Apr, an alternative light trek will be available). Continue your journey to Thekkady, home of Periyar National Park and its wildlife sanctuary.
Though designated a Tiger Reserve in 1978, the Periyar Wildlife Reserve is best known for its elephants. Take a walk through the reserve, keeping an eye out for its resident elephant population, as well as wild dogs, barking deer, mouse deer and the elusive Bengal Tiger. Visit a spice village and browse a local market before enjoying a traditional Kalaripayattu (martial art) show this evening.
Travel to the coastal town of Kochi. This evening enjoy an exuberant Kathakali dance performance.
Take a full day tour of Kochi. Start at St Francis Church, the first European church built in India, before a visit to Santa Cruz Basilica, where you can get excellent views of Chinese fishing nets. Finish by admiring the synagogue in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and a stroll around the nearby markets.
Travel to Kumarakom, stopping en route at Kumbalangi, a village created to highlight the
lifestyle of fisher-folk in the area. Later board your houseboat a converted rice barge, known
as a Kettuvallam. Sit back and watch life on the water and the surrounding, untouched
wilderness as you cruise unhurriedly along the canals. A delicious dinner of traditional cuisine will be served on board and you’ll spend a comfortable night on the water.
Take breakfast on your boat before disembarking and heading for the beach town of Kovalam. Stop on the way in Kerala's capital Trivandrum to discover the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Observatory and Sri Chitra Art Gallery.
This morning take a walking tour of the town and visit the lighthouse. The rest of the day is
yours to relax, or head to the beach, until a farewell dinner this evening.
Fly 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.
Wendy Wu Tours inspects all hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service, which we require for our guests. We pick the right hotel for the specific destination, meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family-run guesthouse in a smaller town. Hotels are also chosen for ease of navigation around tourist sights. View Hotels Here
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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