Classic South India

Trip Code: HHKS

Why we love it

Take a nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, looking out for tiger tracks with your local village guides., Explore Puducherry and discover its colonial French Quarter and colourful multi-tiered temples, and cruise along the dreamy palm-lined waterways of the Kerala backwaters., See behind the scenes of local cuisine during a home-cooked meal in Periyar, an insightful ayurvedic cooking demonstration in Kochi and lovingly made Keralan favourites at a restaurant that provides training and employment to local women., Discover the diversity and incredible history of Kochi through a tour of its buildings, like India’s oldest functioning synagogue and a mixture of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial architecture., Witness the dramatic beauty of Kathakali, a captivating storytelling dance that artists must study for over a decade before performing., By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Positive Change for Marine Life. Donations help them to nurture ocean health with community-led conservation initiatives that inspire coastal restoration, sustainable fishing practices and waste-management.

Is this trip right for me?

We’ll be visiting multiple temples during the trip and during these visits, you must wear clothing that covers the arms, legs, and shoulders.

Southern India can get very hot during the summer so remember to drink lots of water and use sun protection. Wearing light, loose layers is one of the best ways to tackle the heat.

As we'll be walking through varying terrain in national parks and villages, a basic level of fitness and comfortable walking shoes are essential. Leech socks will be provided for the Periyar nature walk.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

3. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport. Fees may apply for adding or amending details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, swimming suit, waterproof pouch/bag for phone, hiking shoes and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your group leader or local representative will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination and if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day. If you are walking or trekking as part of your trip you will need to carry at least 2L of water with you.

Physical rating

 
2

Joining your group

Zone By The Park Hotel, 430, Viduthalai Nagar, S.Kolathur. Chennai, Chennai, 600117, INDIA

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 30 days prior to your departure.

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer you will be met on arrival by an Intrepid representative. The Intrepid representative will be waiting for you as you get out of the customs hall and will be holding an Intrepid sign bearing your name. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment. ‪ If you cannot find your pre-booked transfer, or you have any concerns about your transfer, please call the representative directly on + 91 - 9746479660.

Taxi's from the airport to our starting point hotel take approximately 1.5 hours (depending on traffic conditions) and costs between INR 800 – 1000.

IMPORTANT: Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.

Finishing your trip

Abad Harmonia Hotel, Chowara, PO, Kovalam, Kerala, Kovalam, 695501, INDIA

Alternate Finish Point


Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 12

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 5

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

FOOD IN INDIA:
Food is a way of life in India. You can snack for a bargain or dine in the finest Indian restaurants. Generally, you can eat very cheaply in India. There is a huge choice of restaurants and street stalls serving traditional and local Indian food. In bigger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists, there is a choice between Indian, Chinese and Western-style food. Here are some ideas of what to try: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/best-food-in-india/
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/foodies-guide-south-india/

Please note that service in restaurants (especially with a group) can be quite slow so patience is a must.

India caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg and pure veg section of the menu. If in doubt please check with your group leader or local representative. See our guide to eating vegan in India here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-vegan-food-guide/

Your group leader or local representative will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly. For some more advice on avoiding "Delhi belly", see our article here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/how-to-avoid-delhi-belly-in-india/

Climate & seasonal information

WEATHER IN INDIA
Due to India's size and topography, there's a huge amount of variation in its climate. We recommend you consider both the season and the part of India you intend to visit, so that you can best pack for your adventure.

One of the most beneficial times to visit India is from September to March when temperatures are at their best, with warm days and cool nights.

During winter (December to January), temperatures can get quite cold in Delhi and the north, especially at night. Hotels in some regions may not have adequate heating. In these months you may like to bring thermals for sleeping and a warm jacket for mornings and evenings. Fog can delay trains travelling throughout this region.

Monsoon is from May to October and offers hot and humid conditions. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed, and for activities in towns near rivers and lakes (ie Varanasi) to require amendment at this time of year. Your group leader or local representative will be able to advise you locally on any changes.

FESTIVALS & HOLIDAYS
As a country of many cultures and religions, India has many festivals and public holidays. Here are some of the key dates and events:

HOLI (Festival of Colours)
2023 7-8 March
2024 24-25 March

DIWALI (Festival of Light)
2023 12 November
2024 01 November

RAMADAN (Muslim Holy Month)
2023 22 March – 20 April
2024 10 March – 8 April

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

Available for phone call or WhatsApp call on +91 999 900 5019

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

ACCOMMODATION
The hotel accommodation on this trip is in air-conditioned rooms. Some areas of India experience daily load shedding. This is where the power may be turned off at certain times of the day and usually occurs for a few hours in the early afternoon. Most hotel properties have a restaurant or cafe serving local meals. Many restaurants and hotels do not serve alcohol for religious reasons or due to local laws. 

SHOWERS:
Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times, you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.

WIFI:
Generally, WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. Sometimes it's free in the room, other times only available in reception or public areas. A general rule of thumb is the more expensive the hotel, the higher charge for WiFi access. Your group leader or local representative can assist locally in accessing the internet.

ISSUES:
If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your group leader or local representativer right away rather than your travel agent so that the problem can be addressed without delay.

Transportation

TRANSPORT IN INDIA
Main roads in India are usually very busy with an assortment of vehicles from the biggest trucks (who always have right of way) down to bikes (and animals!). Overtaking on blind corners at speed is common as is the total use of the horn as a form of communication. Our leaders have complete authority to remove groups from local transport if the driver is not driving safely. Drivers of our private vehicles are experienced and well trained. If you are uncomfortable with your driver, please always let your tour leader know immediately. Please ensure you wear your seat belt at all times.

TRAVEL TIMES
Distances in India do not reflect the driving time and to cover 100km may take much longer than you would expect at home, even if much of the route is on a highway.

TRAINS:
India has a massive network of trains and millions of people travel by rail every day. Trains often travel the length of the country over several days. Trains are a great way to see the countryside and get you away from the busy road system. Delays and cancellations are common on trains. Your tour leader will check the train status to see if there are delays and will do their best to keep you informed of any changes.

From December to February, delays are more common, especially in the north of the country due to fog. It’s not uncommon for trains to be delayed for up to 12 hours. On occasion, your trip may need to be rerouted to allow for these delays. Your tour leader in conjunction with our local office will advise any changes to the itinerary.

FLIGHTS
Airlines in India are of excellent quality. Airports are becoming more modern (especially in the major and tourist cities). To enter the airport, you must have a copy of your flight ticket and passport. Schedule changes and delays do occur, especially when weather conditions make visibility poor.

AUTO RICKSHAWS
On this trip we may travel in a local style of transport called an auto-rickshaw. These small, motorised three-wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport in India and do not have seatbelts.