Highlights of Southern India

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • COVID-19protected
  • Wildlife safaris and game drives
  • Cruise
  • Cultural, religious and historic sites
  • Farm and plantation visits
See Itinerary
  • duration 15 days
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 14+ yrs
  • max group size 17
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Chennai, India
  • Ends Mamallapuram, India
Tour with Flexible Booking Policy
  • Change dates It is free to change your tour start date within 30 days of departure.
  • Choose a different tour Select a new tour run by the same tour operator within 30 days of departure.
HIGHLIGHTS Download trip notes
  • Mysore Visit the Maharajah's Palace, one of the largest palaces in India
  • Ooty Enjoy the cool climate of this hill station town
  • Madurai Wind your way through 1000 ornately carved pillars in the Meenakshi Temple
  • Kochi Explore the Portuguese influenced city by boat
The "Highlights Of Southern India" trip starts in Chennai and ends in Mamallapuram. It is a cruise trip that takes 15 days taking you through Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Thekkady and 9 other destinations in India. "Highlights Of Southern India" is a guided small group trip that includes accommodation, transport, meals and others.

This two-week journey is the perfect introduction to India's varied south. As we wind our way around the region we discover intricately carved temple complexes, ornate palaces and lush scenery in the tropical south-west. From January 2020 we have changed the itinerary- as well as reversing the route, we are now including Pondicherry and two nights in Bandipur National Park. Please click on the date you want, to choose the correct itinerary. Palaces and temples - Visit the ornate Maharajah's Palace in Mysore and discover the colourful Meenakshi Temple in Madurai Bandipur National Park - Search for endemic wildlife including elephant, chital and bison Kochi and surrounds - Explore the Portuguese influenced city including the Chinese fishing nets and cruise the nearby backwaters
5 - Excellent
Based on 295 reviews
  • Tony
  • On Aug 10 2020
4 - Very Good
Tony's review for another Explore tour
“A most enjoyable trip. There were 7 in the group plus Fabio which was the perfect group size. Very sociable and good fun. ”
  • Heather
  • On Feb 29 2020
5 - Excellent
Heather's review for another Explore tour
“We thoroughly enjoyed this trip with both the cultural and wildlife aspects, all enhanced by an excellent tour leader. We felt it was an advantage going to the smaller tiger reserves and we had nine tiger sightings”
  • Karen
  • On Nov 11 2020
5 - Excellent
Karen's review for another Explore tour
“Explore did really well with health & safety measures as I went during Covid. Hotels had good procedures re social distancing and wearing of masks. Explore had good procedures also”
  • Day 1 : Join trip in Chennai (Madras)
  • Day 2 : Drive to Pondicherry via Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and discover the town's French Quarters
  • Day 3 : Visit the Srirangam river island temples en route to Madurai
  • Day 4 : Explore the colourful Meenakshi Temple and Thirumalai Nayak Palace in Madurai
  • Day 5 : Drive to Thekkady and learn all about Indian spices with a tour of a spice garden
  • Day 6 : Board a houseboat and sail through the tranquil Kerala backwaters
  • Day 7 : Travel to the fort city of Kochi. Afternoon optional Kathakali performance or a local cookery class
  • Day 8 : Walk around fort Kochi and take a sunset cruise around the harbour
  • Day 9 : Explore the well preserved 18th century Palakkad Fort en route to Coimbatore
  • Day 10 : Ride the toy train to 'Snooty Ooty' and drive to Bandipur National Park
  • Day 11 : Search for wildlife on two game drives in Bandipur National Park
  • Day 12 : Early morning optional safari and drive to Mysore for a sound and light show at Mysuru Palace
  • Day 13 : Explore Mysuru's colourful market and the impressive Mysuru Palace before taking an overnight train to Chennai
  • Day 14 : Travel to the coastal town of Mamallapuram, home to the fascinating shore temples
  • Day 15 : Trip ends in Mamallapuram
  • The Pride Hotel (1 night)
  • Hotel Atithi (1 night)
  • Hotel Fortune Pandiyan (2 nights)
  • Abad Green Forest (1 night)
  • Kerala Houseboat (1 night)
  • Hotel Abad Pepper Route (2 nights)
  • Hotel Zibe Coimbatore by GRT (1 night)
  • Windflower Tusker Trails (2 nights)
  • Hotel Sandesh The Prince (1 night)
  • Overnight train from Mysore to Chennai (1 night)
  • Hotel Mamalla Heritage (1 night)
  • 14 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
  • Driver(s)
  • Bus
  • 4WD
  • Boat
  • Train
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Boat Crew
  • Local Guide(s)
  • Any international flights to Chennai and from Mamallapuram are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Highlights of Southern India tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
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GOOD TO KNOW Download trip notes

No additional cancellation fees apply for this Highlights of Southern India tour. You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 59 days of departure.


For any tour departures within 15 December 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 15 December 2021, a deposit of 10% is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 59 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

Highlights of Southern India tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this Highlights of Southern India tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

For Solo Travelers

A twin share room may not always be available for solo travelers as it depends on the final number of people on the tour. If you have picked twin share room while booking, and that option is not available, we will get back to you after booking. A single room might then be available against an additional fee.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • The average size of this tour is just 12 people.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing has been implemented on this tour. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected. Hygiene safety measures and distancing will furthermore be followed in transportation, accommodation and meal venues.
  • Various COVID-19 distancing measures have been implemented on this trip to ensure the safety of each traveller.
  • This tour has implemented COVID-19 protocols that are guided by the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation), the European Commission and local government regulations. It amongst others take into account personal protection, extensive disinfecting and social distancing measures.
If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
days13 From US$ 2,320
days15 From US$ 3,570
days15 From US$ 1,534
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