South India Unplugged Tightarse Trip
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 1 - ChennaiNamaste! Welcome to India.Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4pm on Day 1.You 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 leader.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 - MamallapuramMamallapuram 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 - MaduraiTransfer from Mamallapuram to Chengalpattu railway station in private jeeps (approx 1 hr).Board a local train to Madurai (approx 8 hrs).Crammed full of bazaars, pilgrims, cycle-rickshaws, beggars and street markets, Madurai showcases southern India at its colourful and lively best.Visit 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 performed.Wander the bazaars and the tailors' market.Take 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 - VarkalaWe 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 HomestayTake 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.Alleppey's 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).Explore 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.Accommodation 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 cooking.
Day 8-9 - KochiCrossing 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:Head 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.Visit the 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.Be 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.Stay 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 - MysoreOn 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.A 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).You 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 - HampiArrive 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:
Due 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.Breakfast
Day 14-15 - GoaFamous 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.There 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
Experienced regional tour guide and all transportation and accommodation as indicated in detailed Trip Notes. The following sightseeing trips are included: Chennai - Walking tour
- 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.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 13 Jul 2013 - 27 Jul 2013 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 10 Aug 2013 - 24 Aug 2013 0 Request US $1,120 Contact Us 24 Aug 2013 - 07 Sep 2013 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 07 Sep 2013 - 21 Sep 2013 7 Available US $1,085 Book Now 21 Sep 2013 - 05 Oct 2013 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 05 Oct 2013 - 19 Oct 2013 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 12 Oct 2013 - 26 Oct 2013 0 Request US $1,085 Contact Us 19 Oct 2013 - 02 Nov 2013 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 26 Oct 2013 - 09 Nov 2013 0 Request US $1,085 Contact Us 02 Nov 2013 - 16 Nov 2013 7+ Available US $1,140 Book Now 09 Nov 2013 - 23 Nov 2013 7+ Available US $1,140 Book Now 23 Nov 2013 - 07 Dec 2013 4 Available US $1,140 Book Now 30 Nov 2013 - 14 Dec 2013 7+ Available US $1,140 Book Now 07 Dec 2013 - 21 Dec 2013 7+ Available US $1,140 Book Now 14 Dec 2013 - 28 Dec 2013 7+ Available US $1,140 Book Now 21 Dec 2013 - 04 Jan 2014 2 Available US $1,195 Book Now 28 Dec 2013 - 11 Jan 2014 7+ Available US $1,195 Book Now 04 Jan 2014 - 18 Jan 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 11 Jan 2014 - 25 Jan 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 18 Jan 2014 - 01 Feb 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 25 Jan 2014 - 08 Feb 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 01 Feb 2014 - 15 Feb 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 08 Feb 2014 - 22 Feb 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 15 Feb 2014 - 01 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 22 Feb 2014 - 08 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 01 Mar 2014 - 15 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 08 Mar 2014 - 22 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 15 Mar 2014 - 29 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 22 Mar 2014 - 05 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 29 Mar 2014 - 12 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 05 Apr 2014 - 19 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 12 Apr 2014 - 26 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 19 Apr 2014 - 03 May 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now 26 Apr 2014 - 10 May 2014 7+ Available US $1,085 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
There’s no feedback available on this trip yet. If you’ve been on this trip and would like to contribute a review, rating or simply make a comment then please get in touch.
What to know
This trip is run by our sister company, Intrepid.