A wonderfully laid back trip; the beaches of Northern and Southern Goa combine with those of Vagator further south to allow us time to chill, away from the hustle and bustle of life on the road. Add to this a home stay in the cool mountain air and tea plantations of Wayanad and boating through the backwaters of Kerala, and you get a vision of the nature of this trip.
The route takes in some of India’s most spectacular temples and sites of antiquity, including the vast 7th Century Virupaksha Temple at Hampi and the 8th Century Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram.
No visit to India is complete without visiting its great cities and centres, and this trip has three of the pearls; the frenetic pace and modernity of Mumbai, the smells, spices and gardens of Mysore and the history and heat of Kochi. But to top it all off, you will get the chance to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean, on the southernmost point of India, Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin).
Border Information: If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA code: BOM).
There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from your tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai.
In Mumbai we will stay in a good quality hotel.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Mumbai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Mumbai.
Today will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city.
We will meet in the evening to head to the train station and board our overnight train to Goa - accommodation tonight will be on the train, where there are basic bunk beds with sheets provided.
Please note that the trains are often heavily booked in advance and it may not be possible to confirm tickets for all passengers. In the event that we cannot get a train ticket confirmed we will notify you to make alternative arrangements. This will generally mean you will travel by flight the next day and re meet the group in Goa.
We will start our journey by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for 2 nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the northern part of Goa. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna.
In northern Goa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach.
Estimated Journey Time (on train) - 11-12 hours.
After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern end of Goa. En route we will stop off at the site of Old Goa to spend some time independently exploring the area's colonial buildings.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
We will stay for 2 nights on either the stunning beach of Agonda or Palolem, these beaches are the perfect places to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch or sample the delicious local cuisine.
Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a full day drive into the state of Karnataka and to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.
On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot.
In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.
From Hampi we will have another full day drive to the city of Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns.
Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours.
On the following day we will have free time in Mysore to independently explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery.
In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Today we travel up into the cool highlands and head to the hill-station of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations. Enroute we will have the opportunity to visit the Eddakkal caves. A steep hike up allows breathtaking views over the local area and an insight into the carvings thought to date back over 3,000 years.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
We will have a free day in Wayanad where we have many options available. From hiking up Chembra Peak, visiting local waterfalls and tea plantations, or the chance to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.
Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a guesthouse where they have set up rooms for visitors in their homes.
Today we will continue our journey with a full day drive to the coastal city of Kochi.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-10 hours.
On the following day we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis Church and the iconic Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will be able to see a performance from the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama.
In Kochi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Leaving the bustle of Kochi behind, today we embark on our included overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Alleppey. We will often split into smaller groups to board our traditional 'Kettuvallom' boats which will take us around the scenic rivers and spend the night aboard.
After our fantastic overnight cruise along the Keralan backwaters, we continue our journey with a short drive to the beach resort of Varkala.
Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 7 hours.
We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and there are also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiably-famous Keralan cuisine.
In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.
Today we will have a morning drive to Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India. Here we will have free time to independently explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites.
In Kanyakumari we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
This morning we have the option to get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip of India with thousands of locals, which can be an incredible experience! From Kanyakumari we then start heading back north again, and drive to the holy city of Madurai. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.
In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Today we head to the French-influenced town of Pondicherry, and will have free time on arrival in the afternoon.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
We will have 2 nights here with plenty of time to relax and soak up the atmosphere and spend time exploring the town and its beautiful colonial architecture.
In Pondicherry we will stay in a local guesthouse.
Today we have a short drive to the ancient city of Mahabalipuram, once the capital of the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th Century CE. On arrival we will have an included visit to the incredible Shore Temples and other monuments around the town ( time permitted ).
In the afternoon we will finish the short drive to the bustling coastal city of Chennai.
In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 6 hours.
Border Information: If you are leaving the trip in Chennai, you will most likely exit India from Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Chennai. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
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Trip Name: Goa & the Deep South
Duration: 24 Days
From Price: $1,457
Supplier Tour ID: SMC1/157971
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