Arrival in Bangalore
Meet the modern face of India in Bangalore, the trendy gateway to the south. Packed with leafy parks, coffee shops and progressive technology, it’s an urban taste of the future. Bangalore is a business hub with a heart. Known as India’s ‘Garden City’, it’s peppered with green parks filled with hipster young professionals. Here, tradition nudges up against the New World, as hi-tech companies jostle with wandering cows and street stalls set up outside boutique restaurants.
Through Emerald Valleys to Kerala
Explore mystical temples, wander through tea plantations and spot wild elephant on safari en route to tropical Kerala. Stay in traditional accommodation, breathe in heady spices and go on a jeep safari in Tholpetty and also in Kabini. It’s a brilliant taste of the sizzling south. Beginning in booming Bangalore, you’ll travel to the dazzling city of Mysore, peppered with gorgeous palaces, spice markets and silk traders.
From there, you’ll head into the forest to search for elephants, wild boar, giant squirrels and monkeys. After that, you’ll set off through the lush, green tea hills to Ooty, a charming little hill station. From here you’ll board the toy train and take a scenic journey through the Nilgiri Hills to Coonoor. You’ll try your hand at tea-picking in the green hills before crossing into atmospheric Fort Cochin.
Classical Dance in Cochin
You’ll stay in the colonial home of a local family in the historic Fort Cochin district (we can arrange a hotel instead if you’d prefer). The next day, your driver will take you around the sights of Cochin. You can visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue in the heart of the Jewish district, and the Saint Francis Church (the oldest European church in India). In the afternoon, we’ve arranged a Kathakali dance class for you.
Backwaters and Wildlife
Sleep aboard a wooden houseboat as you drift through tropical backwaters and spot wild elephant in the untamed jungle of exotic Kerala. Trek into the forest to scout for sambar deer, wild boar and maybe even a mongoose or two. Kerala is India’s exotic, emerald heart, packed with lush scenery and a tangle over overgrown backwaters. During this trip, you’ll travel from Fort Cochin into Periyar National Park, where you’ll set off on a walking safari through the jungle. Next, you’ll spend a night aboard a classic Kerala houseboat, drifting through the tiny canals under starry skies.
Chai in the Sky
A small town nestled in emerald tea plantations, stop in the hill station of Munnar to unwind for a couple of days. The magnificent views of this region and the cool mountain air are two of the many reasons to add in a stay here. You can easily while away time exploring the forests, valleys and the jade green tea estates. You’ll also learn about the history of tea-growing in this area, and then get to sample the different brews on offer.
Mystical Temples of the South
Travel from rainbow temples to traditional french bakeries and windswept mystical beaches in Tamil Nadu. Soak up the spiritual atmosphere of India’s sizzling south, where the locals are friendly and the food is fiery. Watch sunset prayer ceremonies, visit authentic ashrams and dodge holy cows. Tamil Nadu is a sacred, steamy state. Drenched in devotion and peppered with pastel-coloured temples, it is rich in ancient culture. The cuisine is hotter than the weather, so prepare your tastebuds for a blast. Over seven days, you’ll travel from Madurai to Chennai, stopping in several eye-opening places along the way and getting into the spirit of the south.
A peek at your accommodation
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Upgrade this itinerary
If you choose to travel In Style, you’ll be upgraded at all of the destinations throughout this itinerary. You’ll start your trip in Bangalore in a charming colonial villa with 8 guestrooms, each with its own character and style. Next stop is Mysore, where you’ll stay in a grand colonial hotel and in Cochin you’ll check into a colonial boutique hotel. In Periyar you’ll stay in a quiet resort with a relaxing garden and a refreshing pool, before embarking onto your houseboat. Your upgraded houseboat has A/C, a bathroom with a shower and toilet and even a small kitchen at the back. We’ll also upgrade you in Coonoor, Madurai, Tanjore, Pondicherry and Mamallapuram too!
Prices from: £ 2,815 - per person - In Style option