SOUTHERN SPICES OF INDIA
Cultural tour of India

Sample the diverse heritage, cultures and sites of southern India as we travel from Chennai to Kovalam on this exciting 16-day journey. Along the way, we explore the beautiful backwaters of God’s own country, Kerala, relax on the endless white beaches of the Arabian Sea and visit the magnificent temple cities and heritage sites of Tamil Nadu. Breathtaking views of verdant tea plantations, an unforgettable journey on a luxury houseboat, and unique opportunities to interact with and learn from locals are just some of the highlights on this captivating small group cultural tour.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour
1. Great Living Chola Temples
2. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
3. Western Ghats

Click to enlarge
Tour Information
Tour Duration : 16 days
Min. Tour Size : 02 persons
Max. Tour Size : 15 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Arrive Chennai
Day 02: Chennai
(B)
Day 03: Chennai/Mahabalipuram/Pondicherry (Drive)
(B)
Day 04: Pondicherry/Tanjore (Drive)
(B)
Day 05: Tanjore/Trichy/Madurai (Drive)
(B)
Day 06: Madurai
(B)
Day 07: Madurai/Thekkady (Drive)
(B)
Day 08: Thekkady/Munnar (Drive)
(B)
Day 09: Munnar
(B)
Day 10: Munnar/Kochi (Drive)
(B)
Day 11: Kochi
(B)
Day 12: Kochi/Alleppey (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 13: Alleppey/Kovalam (Drive)
(B)
Day 14: Kovalam
(B)
Day 15: Kovalam
(B)
Day 16: Kovalam/Depart Trivandrum
(B)
Better still, why not join our Srilanka-Jewel of the Indian Ocean cultural tour!
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Chennai

Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hotel in Chennai (2 nights)

Day 02: Chennai

After breakfast, we start our adventure with a city tour of Chennai. We visit 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. The remainder of the day is free to 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. (B)

Day 03: Chennai/Mahabalipuram/Pondicherry (Drive)

Today we drive to Pondicherry, visiting Mahabalipuram* en route. 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.
Upon arrival in Pondicherry, we check in to our hotel. 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: Hotel in Pondicherry (1 night) (B)

Day 04: Pondicherry/Tanjore (Drive)

We continue our journey today, driving to Thanjavur, popularly known as Tanjore, to check in to our hotel. 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 in Tanjore (1 night) (B)

Day 05: Tanjore/Trichy/Madurai (Drive)

After breakfast, we drive to Madurai. On the way, we stop to sample Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), a town deeply immersed in Hindu religion and home to some outstanding Dravidian temple architecture. Our tour begins with a visit to the Rock Fort Temple, the maze of the Mathurubhuteshwar Shrine and other vibrant local temples, followed by a visit to local villages to immerse ourselves in the rural life of Southern India. On arrival in Madurai, we are met by our local host and then check in to the hotel.
Overnight: Hotel in Madurai (2 nights) (B)

Day 06: Madurai

Following breakfast, we drive to 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. (B)

Day 07: Madurai/Thekkady (Drive)

After breakfast, we drive to Thekkady and check in to our hotel. The area is famous for its colourful and fragrant spice plantations and 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.
Later 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.
Overnight: Hotel in Thekkady (1 night) (B)

Day 08: Thekkady/Munnar (Drive)

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. After breakfast, we check out from our hotel and drive to Munnar, scenically situated at the confluence of three mountain streams. Once a summer resort and hill station for the British Government of South India, Munnar’s sprawling green tea plantations, picture-book towns and winding lanes make it a popular getaway.
Overnight: Hotel in Munnar (2 nights) (B)

Day 09: Munnar

An exciting day ahead as we explore South India’s largest tea growing region, driving through a sea of emerald fields to visit a tea museum, Mattupetty Lake, Echo Point and Top Station, which provides an astonishing view as the highest point in Munnar. We continue on to Rajamala (Eravikulam National Park), the perfect place to soak in breathtaking scenery and spot mountain goats among the hills, then finish our tour at Attukad Waterfalls and Pothamedu View Point. (B)

Day 10: Munnar/Kochi (Drive)

After breakfast, we journey on to Kochi. On arrival, we check in to our hotel. 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.
Overnight: Hotel in Kochi (2 nights) (B)

Day 11: 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 net. (B)

Day 12: Kochi/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 13: Alleppey/Kovalam (Drive)

After breakfast, 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: Resort in Kovalam (3 nights) (B)

Day 14: Kovalam

Today we journey to the “Land’s 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. This point is also one of the top spots in the region to see spectacular sunrises and technicolour sunsets. Following the tour, we return to our hotel. (B)

Day 15: Kovalam

We have the day free to enjoy Kovalam’s pristine sands and jewel-toned waters. (B)

Day 16: Kovalam/Depart Trivandrum

Our journey through the highlights of South India comes to an end as we are transferred to Trivandrum International Airport for our departure flight. A great opportunity here to extend our journey to other fascinating and diverse areas of India. (B)

Better still, why not join our Srilanka-Jewel of the Indian Ocean cultural tour!

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2017

Every Saturday

2018

Every Saturday

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers 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

Hotel Category Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
Prices based on seasonality. Tours must be completed before the end date of the season
VALIDITY (Nov 01, 2017 to Apr 15, 2018 except between Dec 20 to Jan 05)
Option 1 US$ 2690 / CA$ 3605 US$ 1100 / CA$1475
Option 2 US$ 3310 / CA$ 4440 US$ 1645 / CA$ 2200
VALIDITY (Apr 16, 2018 to Sep 30, 2018)
Option 1 US$ 1704 / CA$ 2284 US$ 771 / CA$ 1033
Option 2 US$ 1966 / CA$ 2635 US$ 1027 / CA$ 1377

Hotels below or similar for Option 1 & Option 2

City Option 1 Option 2
Chennai
(2 Nights)
Hyatt Regency (5 Star)
Hyatt Guest Room
Taj Coromandel (5 Star Deluxe)
Luxury Room
Pondicherry
(1 Night)
Le Dupleix (Boutique Hotel)
Deluxe Room
Maison Perumal (Boutique Hotel)
Standard Room
Tanjore
(1 Night)
Sangam Hotel (4 Star)
Standard Room
Sangam Hotel (4 Star)
Standard Room
Madurai
(2 Nights)
The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai (5 Star)
Superior Room
The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai (5 Star)
Superior Room
Thekkady
(1 Night)
Cardamom County (4 Star)
Periyar Cottage
Spice Village (Boutique Hotel)
Standard Villa
Munnar
(2 Nights)
Mountain Club Resort (4 Star)
Cottage
Windermere Estate (Boutique Hotel)
Garden Room
Kochi
(2 Nights)
Trident Hotel (5 Star)
Superior Room
Eighth Bastion (Boutique Hotel)
Standard Room
Alleppey
(1 Night)
Deluxe A.C. Houseboat
A.C. Bed Room
Deluxe A.C. Houseboat
A.C. Bed Room
Kovalam
(3 Nights)
Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort (Ayurveda Resort)
Standard Cottage
Vivanta by Taj Green Cove Kovalam (5 Star)
Superior Charm Garden Room

Notes

N/A



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 17 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by Private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides cum drivers
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Spice Plantation Tour at Periyar
  • Jungle walking tour at Thekkady
  • Boat ride at Lake Periyar in Thekkady
  • Harbor cruise at Kochi
  • Kathakali dance performance at Kochi
Not Included
  • International airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
US$ 1600

USA(West Coast)
US$ 1400

CANADA(East Coast)
US$ 1200

USA(East Coast)
US$ 1000

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 15 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.