BEST OF SOUTH INDIA

Cultural tour of India

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Journey through the vibrant culture, stunning scenery and mouthwatering cuisine of South India’s three most important states on this jaw-dropping 16-day adventure. Explore cosmopolitan Mumbai and get an insider’s look at the Bollywood industry before experiencing the tranquil backwaters and lush, green scenery of Kerala, God’s Own Country. Then, sample some of South India’s most stunning temples in the rich cultural centre of Tamil Nadu, including Madurai, Tanjore and Mahabalipuram. Our journey ends on the beautiful beaches of Chennai.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour
1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
2. Elephanta Caves
3 Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai
4. Great Living Chola Temples
5. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Tour Information
Tour Duration : 16 days
Min. Tour Size : 02 persons
Max. Tour Size : 14 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Arrive Mumbai
Day 02: Mumbai
(B, D)
Day 03: Mumbai/Kochi
(B, D)
Day 04: Kochi
(B, D)
Day 05: Kochi/Thekkady
(B, D)
Day 06: Thekkady
(B, D)
Day 07: Thekkady/Alleppey
(B, L, D)
Day 08: Alleppey/Kovalam
(B, D)
Day 09: Kovalam
(B, D)
Day 10: Kovalam/Kanyakumari/Madurai
(B, L, D)
Day 11: Madurai
(B, D)
Day 12: Madurai/Tanjore
(B, D)
Day 13: Tanjore/Pondicherry
(B, D)
Day 14: Pondicherry/Mahabalipuram/Chennai
(B, D)
Day 15: Chennai
(B, D)
Day 16: Depart Chennai
(B, D)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Mumbai

Namaste – Welcome to India! Upon arrival, we are greeted the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together. We are then transferred to our hotel and have the balance of the day free to relax or enjoy vibrant Mumbai, India’s largest city and commercial centre.

Overnight: Vivanta By Taj President / Trident Nariman Point , Mumbai (2 nights)

Day 02: Mumbai

We start our day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most famous monument. Here we embark on an excursion to the Elephanta Caves*, located on an island in the Sea of Oman. The caves contain a stunning collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva, with huge reliefs adorning the main cavern. We return to Mumbai by motor launch and explore the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai*, visiting the Prince of Wales Museum. Next we explore Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus*, an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. This building became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’, with its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan. Our next stop is Mani Bhawan museum, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during the Freedom Struggle. From here we enjoy the Hanging Gardens, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence and bustling Crawford Market. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry. (B, D)

Day 03: Mumbai/Kochi (Flight)

Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Kochi, formerly known as Cochin. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel, with the rest of the day free to sample the cultural delights of this bustling city.

Overnight: Trident Hotel, Kochi (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 04: Kochi

Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is Kerala’s commercial capital and is home to one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Today we explore this waterfront gem, starting with a visit to St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The remains of Vasco De Gama, the first European to find India by sea, were buried here before being taken back to Portugal. Next we visit the Roman Catholic Santa Cruz Cathedral, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. We continue to the Jewish Quarter with its Old Synagogue and the Dutch Palace, also built by the Portuguese. Later we take a boat cruise to visit Bolghatty Palace and observe one of the most photographed highlights of Kerala: the massive traditional Chinese fishing nets. In the evening, we enjoy a vibrant Kathakali dance performance. This dramatized presentation of a play usually based on the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas, is a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. (B, D)

Day 05: Kochi/Thekkady (Drive)

Journey on to Thekkady, where we check in to our hotel. The area is famous for its colourful and fragrant spice plantations. In the afternoon, we will visit the breathtaking fields where cardamom, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, all spice, and tea are grown. We will also see traditional Ayurvedic medicinal plants and have the unique opportunity to buy garden-fresh spices. In the evening, we return to our hotel for dinner.

Overnight: Poetree Sarovar Portico, Thekkady (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 06: Thekkady

Our day starts with a jungle walk at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the early morning. Home to India’s rare Bengal tigers, this sanctuary is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. After a jungle walk to spy elephants and unique lion-tailed macaques, we return to our hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon, we enjoy a boat ride on Lake Periyar, watching animals in their natural habitat by the water's edge. Boars, sambar deer, wild dogs, langur monkeys and elephants are all part of the amazing game viewing here. The sanctuary is also a haven for water birds and we can see plenty of darters, grey herons, egrets and kingfishers. Our evening is free to explore the local bazaar in Thekkady and purchase some of the famous spices grown in this area. (B, D)

Day 07: Thekkady/Alleppey (Drive)

We continue our exploration of South India as we drive to Alleppey. Here we board our traditional houseboat and embark on a journey through the picturesque backwaters of Kerala, relaxing in tranquility as we take in the stunning scenery. Along the way, we see verdant vegetation, glassy lakes, and locals going about their traditional way of life.

Overnight: Deluxe Air-Conditioned Houseboat (1 night) (B, L, D)

Day 08: Alleppey/Kovalam (Drive)

We enjoy breakfast on board, sail to Alleppey and disembark at the Puthenagady Jetty. A comfortable drive gets us to beautiful Kovalam Beach on the Malabar Coast near Trivandrum. The perfect opportunity to relax on the beach today and soak up Kovalam’s world-famous sun and sands. Sit back, relax and drink in the area’s endless white sands, calming blue waters and secluded coconut groves.

Overnight: Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort, Kovalam (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 09: Kovalam

A unique chance to relax as we enjoy a soothing one-hour rejuvenation massage. The rest of our day is free to sample Kovalam’s pristine sands and jewel-toned waters. (B, D)

Day 10: Kovalam/Kanyakumari/Madurai (Drive)

After breakfast, leave for Madurai. En route, visit Kanyakumari, the “Lands’ End" of India. Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of peninsular India, where the waters of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. We visit the Temple of Goddess Kumari, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in the sea where Swami Vivekananda meditated. After lunch, we continue our journey to Madurai. On arrival, we check in to our hotel.

Overnight: Heritage Madurai, Madurai (2 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 11: Madurai

Today we explore Madurai, the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. At the heart of this 2,500-year-old city is Meenakshi Amman Temple, a Dravidian-style complex that includes 14 gopurams (gateway towers) and two shining golden shrines. Each aspect of the temple is intricately carved, and the entire complex boasts an estimated 33,000 sculptures. The temple is a significant symbol of the Tamil people, and though the current reconstruction was built in the 1600s, references to the temple can be found in Tamil literature that is thousands of years old. In the evening, we take in the enchanting night closing ceremony of the temple. (B, D)

Day 12: Madurai/Tanjore (Drive)

After breakfast, we drive to Thanjavur and check in at our hotel. Thanjavur is popularly known as Tanjore.  In the afternoon, we explore the Brihadisvara Temple, one of the Great Living Chola Temples*. This stunning temple is more than 1000 years old and one of the largest in India. Set among its vibrant decorations are the names of dancers, musicians and poets, reminding us of the significant role the monument played in 11th century Indian art. We end our tour of Tanjore with a visit to the Tanjore Palace & Museum, which has an eclectic collection of regal memorabilia mostly dating from the early 19th century.

Overnight: Hotel Sangam, Tanjore (1 night) (B, D)

Day 13: Thanjavur/Pondicherry (Drive)

After breakfast, we drive to Pondicherry. This former French Colonial city in Tamil Nadu didn’t come under Indian rule until 1954. Its main attraction, the ashram at Auroville, is actually outside of town. This colony is an experiment in human unity and hosts people from more than 50 nationalities in its cash-free settlement. In Auroville’s International Town, we will visit the Matrimandir, a famous monument representing a lotus flower that took almost 40 years to build, only being completed in 2008. We will also explore the 400-year old Manakula Vinayagar Temple, which has several frescos telling the life story of a half human and half animal lord.

Overnight: The Promenade, Pondicherry (1 night) (B, D)

Day 14: Pondicherry/Mahabalipuram/Chennai (Drive)

An exciting visit today to Mahabalipuram*. Carved out of the coast in the 7th and 8th centuries, this group of ancient archaeological wonders is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known for its stunning rathas, temples in the form of chariots, and mandapas, intricately decorated cave sanctuaries. A highlight is Rivage temple, which contains thousands of sculptures celebrating Shiva.  After that, we continue our journey to Chennai. We check in to our hotel upon arrival with the rest of the day free.

Overnight: Hyatt Regency Chennai, Pondicherry (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 15: Chennai

We tour Chennai, visiting the National Art Gallery & Museum, which contains some of the best collections of bronzes in the country, including the famous icon of Natraja. We continue to India's oldest surviving British church, St. Mary's Church, built in 1680. Topping off our tour is a visit to People’s Park, the beautiful Marina Beach and the clock towers. (B, D)

Day 16: Depart Chennai

Today, enjoy the vibrant artistic and cultural traditions of Chennai. Sample some of the city’s top museums and temples, wander through the chaotic streets or savour authentic South Indian cuisine. Hotel check out time is 12:00 noon. In the evening, we enjoy our farewell dinner at a well-known local restaurant. After an incredible tour of the Best of South India, we are transferred to the international terminal for our flight home. We bid farewell to India after what will have been a memorable journey into history, culture, art and architecture, having made new friends and lots of memories. Or extend our adventure with tours to other regions of incredible India. (B, D)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates & Prices

We accept payments in US$, CA$ as well as in other convertible currencies like EUR, AUD and GBP. Tour prices have been costed in US$. CA$ price shown below is an indicative amount reached at by using the conversion rate at the time of web posting and will be applicable if there is no change in the conversion rate. Should the currency conversion rate change, the US$ pricing will prevail. Bestway Tours & Safaris offers a conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

2019 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Jan 21 & 28; Feb 4, 18 & 25; Mar 4, 18 & 25; Apr 1 & 22; May 13; Jun 17; Jul 16; Aug 20; Sep 17 & 24; Oct 14 & 28; Nov 7, 18 & 25; Dec 2, 16 & 23  
VALIDITY (Jan 21, 2019 to Mar 18, 2019) US$ 2828 US$ 985 US$ 950 US$ 1050
Mar 25 & Sep 24 US$ 2732 US$ 910 US$ 950 US$ 1050
VALIDITY (Apr 1, 2019 to Sep 17, 2019) US$ 2599 US$ 827 US$ 950 US$ 1050
VALIDITY (Oct 14, 2019 to Dec 2, 2019) US$ 2899 US$ 1015 US$ 950 US$ 1050
Dec 16 & 23, 2019 US$ 3120 US$ 1150 US$ 950 US$ 1050
2020 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Jan 20 & 27; Feb 10, 17 & 24; Mar 9, 16 & 23; Apr 6 & 20; May 18; Jun 15; Jul 21; Aug 18; Sep 15  
VALIDITY (Jan 20, 2020 to Mar 23, 2020) US$ 2899 US$ 1015 US$ 950 US$ 1050
VALIDITY (Apr 6, 2020 to Sep 15, 2020) US$ 2650 US$ 842 US$ 950 US$ 1050
2019 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Jan 21 & 28; Feb 4, 18 & 25; Mar 4, 18 & 25; Apr 1 & 22; May 13; Jun 17; Jul 16; Aug 20; Sep 17 & 24; Oct 14 & 28; Nov 7, 18 & 25; Dec 2, 16 & 23  
VALIDITY (Jan 21, 2019 to Mar 18, 2019) CA$ 3590 CA$ 1250 CA$ 1490 CA$ 1590
Mar 25 & Sep 24 CA$ 3470 CA$ 1150 CA$ 1490 CA$ 1590
VALIDITY (Apr 1, 2019 to Sep 17, 2019) CA$ 3299 CA$ 1050 CA$ 1490 CA$ 1590
VALIDITY (Oct 14, 2019 to Dec 2, 2019) CA$ 3686 CA$ 1290 CA$ 1490 CA$ 1590
Dec 16 & 23, 2019 CA$ 3957 CA$ 1460 CA$ 1350 CA$ 1450
2020 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Jan 20 & 27; Feb 10, 17 & 24; Mar 9, 16 & 23; Apr 6 & 20; May 18; Jun 15; Jul 21; Aug 18; Sep 15  
VALIDITY (Jan 20, 2020 to Mar 23, 2020) CA$ 3686 CA$ 1290 CA$ 1300 CA$ 1400
VALIDITY (Apr 6, 2020 to Sep 15, 2020) CA$ 3366 CA$ 1070 CA$ 1300 CA$ 1400


Notes

• Combine this tour with Best of North India to make a 27 Nights/28 Days tour covering the North and South India, called Discover India Tour. Please email or call us at 1.800.663.0844 for more details
• Baggage allowance in internal flights with in India is 15 Kg per person
• Unless specified, check-in at hotels in India is at 14:00 Hrs and check out is at 12:00 Hrs



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Domestic airfare: Mumbai/Cochin (based on current applicable fares)
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 32 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Harbor Cruise in Cochin
  • Kathakali Dance performance in Cochin
  • Spice Plantation tour in Thekkady
  • Boat Ride at Lake Periyar in Thekkady
  • Guided Jungle Walking Tour in Thekkady
  • 01 Rejuvenation Massage for 01 Hour at Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort in Kovalam
Not Included
  • International airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 14 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.