Important Please Note
For departures after 31 January 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
South India Unplugged
||Goa, Goa, India
Take a break from the horns, the traffic, the cows and all those people. Beaches, ayurvedic massages, curries and coconut groves await. Word of warning, beware the bhang lassi.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Chennai
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4pm on Day 1.
can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this
important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take
place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may
wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to
book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If
you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be
collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this
meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your
Chennai is an exciting mix
of modern commercialism and tropical languor - with plenty of museums,
art galleries, historical sites, shops and bazaars to keep you busy.
Head out to see San Thome Basilica and later take an evening stroll along Marina Beach to hang out with the locals.
Day 2: Mamallapuram
Mamallapuram became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, due to its large number of impressive sites. The town has also been a sculpture centre since the 5th century when, at its height during the Pallava Dynasty, many of the temples in the town were constructed. We enjoy some sightseeing today in this village of 12,000 people. The highlights include a visit to the fabulous rock-cut temples, the giant frieze and the Shore Temple, carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast and decorated with ornately carved figures. There are many man-made caves to explore and at the centre of the village are two massive rocks covered in bas-reliefs, known as Arjuna's Penance and the Krishna Mandapa. We have the afternoon at leisure to take in the seaside ambience and perhaps seek out some of the delicious seafood that this place is famous for.
Day 3-4: Madurai
Transfer from Mamallapuram to Chengalpattu railway station in private jeeps (approx 1 hr).
Board a local train to Madurai (approx 8 hrs).
full of bazaars, pilgrims, cycle-rickshaws, beggars and street markets,
Madurai showcases southern India at its colourful and lively best.
the Sri Meenakshi Temple, which lies at the heart of the city. This
ancient, still active temple is a labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors which
lead to shrines where some mysterious and interesting rituals are
Wander the bazaars and the tailors' market.
an overnight train further south to Varkala (approx 8-9 hrs). Our
sleeper train is clean and fan-cooled, a great way to travel long
distances and still get maximum time in each place. Please note you may
be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains
have a dining carriage where food/snacks/meals are available. Please
bring your own sleeping sheet. The train is not air-conditioned.
Day 5-6: Varkala
We spend a couple of days in Varkala - a beautiful beach town on the
Arabian Sea about an hour's drive from the capital of Kerala,
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). The main beach here is Papanasham
Beach, which is long and golden with a backdrop of red laterite cliffs
from which mineral water springs forth. It is a chill-out place and in
the mornings and evenings we can witness fishermen pulling up their nets
from the sea. Our tour guide is able to take us to various beaches in
the surrounding areas and advise us on various optional activities such
as witnessing an evening Kathakali or Kalaripayatt show. It is also a
town famous for Ayurvedic massage centres - ideal for rejuvenation!
Day 7: Kerala Backwaters Homestay
Take a local train along the Keralan Coast to reach Alleppey (approx 2.5 hrs).
Auto rickshaws take us from Alleppey train station to the boarding point for our boats.
sleepy, palm-shaded backwaters are Kerala's hidden treasure. Once an
important trading port and now famous for its August 'snake boat' races,
Alleppey is the starting point for most journeys into the backwaters
and also hosts a mid-December musical festival.
Crossing the backwaters, head to an island village to stay with local families (approx 1 hour).
the backwaters with a local guide to observe the different facets of
local life - this is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who
live here. Strolling under palm trees and weaving in between the rice
fields that cover the island, learn about their lifestyles.
Take a leisurely boat ride around the lake and enjoy the outstanding scenery.
is on a multishare basis and all the families live within a few hundred
metres of each other, with at least one person in the family speaking a
reasonable standard of English. Food is traditional Keralan home
Day 8-9: Kochi
Crossing the backwaters by private boat, head for Alleppey (approx 1.5 hrs).
Take a local bus to Kochi (approx 2 hrs).
Spread over several islands, Kochi is a fascinating place full of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences.
Some options for your free time here include:
out to explore the major sights of Fort Cochin and visit the spice
bazaars and antique shops. The best way to get around the islands is by
using the ferry network.
Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century.
It was taken over by the Dutch in 1663, who added some improvements
before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin.
part of a Kathakali dance performance. This classical dance is a highly
charged and powerful drama that combines devotion and physical
virtuosity with symbolic storytelling to produce one of the most
impressive and vibrant forms of theatre in the world. It requires
lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and
sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances
through facial expressions and hand gestures.
at Intrepid Kaliveedu. This is a special lodge offering very different
ambience with large landscaped gardens, air-conditioned rooms and a
central location close to most of the sights in Fort Cochin.
Board an overnight train to Bangalore - our gateway to Mysore (approx 13 hrs).
Day 10-11: Mysore
On arrival in Bangalore, take the
opportunity to get a taste of India's most modern city - there's some
time to hit the streets and grab breakfast.
Board a local bus to Mysore (approx 3 hrs).
Mysore is an easygoing town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot.
visit to Mysore isn't complete without a look around Mysore Palace. One
of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is a riot of colour,
mosaics and mirrors.
Visit the Keshava Temple in Somnathpur - a stunning example of Hoysala temple architecture (approx 1 hr from Mysore).
have plenty of time to explore the surrounding countryside, so head out
and climb Chamundi Hill - site of the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, which
is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
Catch the bus to Bangalore (approx 3 hrs).
Board an overnight train and head up to Hampi, via northern Karnataka (approx 10 hrs).
Day 12-13: Hampi
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Arrive in Hampi and cross the river to our guesthouse by canoe.
Hampi is a beautiful ancient temple town situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
Explore the Vittala Temple - the architectural highlight of Hampi's Vijayanagar ruins.
We drive to Hubli (approx 3 hours) and jump on an overnight train to Goa (approx 8-9 hours).
AMENDMENT TO PRINTED BROCHURE:
to a recent change in train timetables, instead of catching a day train
from Hampi to Goa on Day 14 (approx. 11 hours), we will instead drive
to Hubli (approx 3 hours) and catch an overnight train (approx 8-9
hours) on Day 13. This change begins from the 2nd Feb 2013. We apologise
for any inconvenience.
Day 14-15: Goa
Famous for the sandy beaches that line
its coast, Goa is a fascinating and distinctive region in India's
south-west. Brimming with Portuguese influences and bursting with fresh
food, this region has earned its idyllic badge.
are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart
our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel'
section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
What to know
This trip is run by our sister company, Intrepid.
Nuts and Bolts
Experienced regional tour guide and all transportation and accommodation as indicated in detailed Trip Notes. The following sightseeing trips are included: Chennai - Walking tour
Summary of accommodation, transport & meals
- Local bus
- Overnight train
- 2 nights Guesthouse
- 1 night Homestay
- 8 nights Hotel
- 3 nights Sleeper train
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, all other meals, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature, laundry and flights unless specified. Some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your city guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally.
- Kochi - Ferry Tour of Fort Cochin Islands
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
13 November 2013
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Geckos