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The Best of Exotic South India

Group Tour | Solo travellers 11 Days & 9 Nights Lead-in price: £2695 Current prices from: £2695

Complimentary champagne afternoon tea for two.*

Journey from the vibrant markets of Hyderabad to Madurai to witness the spectacle of the evening ceremony at the astonishing Meenakshi temple. Continue into the scenic beauty of the Western Ghats, replete with tea plantations and elephants, before crossing over into Kerala to experience its colourful artistic culture and tranquil backwaters.

*Book this Solo Travellers tour on or before 17 October and receive a Platinum Champagne Afternoon Tea for two gift voucher at your choice of Handpicked Hotels' country house and spa hotels.

The Cox & Kings signature experiences

  • Blend your own perfume in Hyderabad
  • Evening ceremony at Meenakshi temple
  • Tour a private tea plantation
  • Witness Kerala’s performing arts
  • Full-day cruise on the backwaters with lunch
  • Stay in 4- & 5-star accommodation
  • Small group size - average 12 people (maximum 18)
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Superior Group Tour in brief

Day 1: Fly to Hyderabad

Fly from London to Hyderabad with Emirates via Dubai. (N)

Day 1: Fly to Hyderabad

Fly from London to Hyderabad with Emirates via Dubai. (N)

Day 2: Hyderabad

Early morning arrival and early check-in at Park Hyatt for 2 nights. Settle into your hotel before an afternoon sightseeing in Charminar, home to one of India’s largest mosques, the Mecca Masjid, built in 1598. Visit the magnificent Chowmahalla palace, inspired by the Shah of Iran’s Palace in Tehran. A maze of bazaars surrounds the Charminar arch, the best known and oldest being Lad bazaar. Here you can buy almost anything, from colourful bangles and rosewater to silverwork, antiques, fabrics and elegant pearls. Tucked away in the labyrinthine streets are a handful of perfume shops paying homage to the Mughal legacy of ittar, an essential oil. Learn more about the blending of these oils and blend your own unique perfume. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant in Old Charminar. (D)

Day 3: Hyderabad

This morning visit the impressive Golconda fort, once a centre of Muslim power for 400 years. This afternoon explore the timeless and luxurious Taj Falaknuma Palace with high tea. (B)

Day 4: Fly to Madurai

This morning you will be driven to the airport for the midday flight to Madurai. Spend the afternoon at leisure before visiting one of India’s liveliest and most colourful temples, Meenakshi, for its spectacular evening ceremony, which involves a procession filled with music, rituals and colour. To reach the temple you will travel by tuk tuk through vibrant markets and winding streets. Overnight at Heritage Madurai (or similar). (B)

Day 5: Pollachi

Today you leave Madurai for the misty mountains and stunning scenery of the Western Ghats, heading towards the small scenic town of Pollachi. En route observe how the landscape changes to verdant hills, quiet villages and rolling tea estates. Check in to the Coco Lagoon which is surrounded by coconut groves and tropical gardens for a 2-night stay. This afternoon visit Appachi Cotton, a social enterprise where you can learn firsthand about cotton cultivation in India from true artisans of the craft. (B, D)

Day 6: Pollachi

Full-day visit to Valparai, set in the Anaimalai hills of the Western Ghats and surrounded by lush tea plantations and forest. The hill station is also home to herds of wild elephants, lion-tailed macaques and vivid flora and fauna. Take a tour of a private tea plantation and factory, followed by lunch and a walk through a tea estate where you are likely to see local workers clipping tea bushes. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Thrissur • Keralan backwaters

Head to Thrissur, in Kerala’s cultural heartland, to witness a Tholpavakoothu performance of traditional shadow puppetry based on stories and characters from the religious epics. Enjoy lunch with a family whose mastery of this craft dates back generations. Later board a train to Ernakulam before travelling by road to the Keralan backwaters for 2 nights at the Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Keralan backwaters

Explore the picturesque waterways that make up the Keralan backwaters on a traditional houseboat. You will pass many boats carrying loads of coir, copra and cashews and, along the water’s edge, numerous churches and marketplaces. The network of canals, lakes and estuaries that make up the backwaters is formed by the 40-odd rivers that flow down to the Arabian Sea from the Cardamom Hills. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Kochi

Leave the backwaters and travel to Kochi for an afternoon’s sightseeing of this enchanting port. View the cantilevered fishing nets, explore the 16th-century Portuguese-built Mattancherry Palace, the church of St Francis and the world’s oldest active Jewish synagogue. Wander through the local spice market and visit the vibrant Dhobi Ghats. Spend 2 nights at Forte Kochi. (B)

Day 10: Kochi

Optional morning visit to Neema’s Kitchen for a taste of traditional Indian cooking and to learn the techniques and spices behind authentic home cooking*. Alternatively visit Kumbhalanghi village,* a small model village that aims to preserve and promote the culture of Kerala by showcasing several crafts. (B, D)

Day 11: Fly to London via Dubai

Take the morning flight to London, via Dubai, with Emirates. (B)

Meal basis:

As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals

Important information

Head to Thrissur, in Kerala’s cultural heartland, to witness a Tholpavakoothu performance of traditional shadow puppetry based on stories and characters from the religious epics. Enjoy lunch with a family whose mastery of this craft dates back generations. Later board a train to Ernakulam before travelling by road to the Keralan backwaters for 2 nights at the Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere. (B, L, D)

*Optional activities:

These activities can be pre-booked or booked locally and incur an additional charge.

Superior tour

This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.

Solo Travellers group tours:

These small group tours have been specially created for solo travellers. Benefits include single occupancy of double / twin rooms as standard and at sensible prices, plus the company of like-minded travellers. View the complete collection here.

Private & tailor-made travel

This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.

Superior group tour accommodation

  • Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere
    Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere

    Located on the serene backwaters of Vayalar near Kumarakom, Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere features modern rooms with stunning lake views. The hotel offers an idyllic location for relaxation either by the infinity pool or in the spa. For the more energetic, a range of activities are available, from cycle rides to water sports. The Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere does not serve alcohol.

  • Park Hyatt Hyderabad
    Park Hyatt Hyderabad

    Set between the residential districts of Jubilee Hills and Banjara Hills, the Park Hyatt Hyderabad is a large luxury property with striking architecture, a grand atrium and carefully curated artwork. The four restaurants offer an array of fine-dining options and the living room lounge is a great place to enjoy afternoon tea or an evening night cap. Features: 185 rooms, 4 restaurants, spa & fitness centre, swimming pool, Wi-Fi. Room amenities: Television, air conditioning, tea & coffee facilities, safe, minibar.

  • Heritage Madurai
    Heritage Madurai

    Heritage Madurai (previously Heritance Madurai) is a seamless blend of traditional elegance and modern comfort set among lush gardens. The original Madurai Coats Club from the time of the British Raj, this property has not lost its British flavour. After extensive refurbishment it was completely restored in keeping with the traditional architecture of the town. The rooms are spacious, tastefully furnished and designed to meet the demands of discerning travellers. The 18th-century columns and antique doors from the Chettinad district give the hotel a distinctive character. Features: 70 rooms, 2 restaurants, bar, swimming pool, spa, Wi-Fi. Room amenities: Ceiling fan, television, minibar, safe, tea & coffee facilities.

  • Forte Kochi
    Forte Kochi

    Forte Kochi hotel is in the heart of the historic area, just a 5-minute walk from the iconic Chinese fishing nets. Formerly a spice trader's mansion, it offers 27 elegant rooms. The architecture is a perfect medley of Portuguese, Dutch and British influences, reflecting the city's former occupation and eventful history. The central courtyard features a swimming pool and a bar, and is flanked by two buildings that house the rooms and the restaurant.

Superior group tour extensions

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Dates & prices

XBS2020

Main Costs
 

Flexible Prices & Itineraries
For a quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 7873 5000 or send an email enquiry

Additional Information

Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.

Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication, may be subject to change, particularly as a result of variable flight costs. You will be informed of any such changes prior to booking.

 
  • • 4- to 5-star accommodation
    • Twin / double room for single use
    • Flexible - extensions, room & flight upgrades available
    • Maximum group size - 18 people
    • International flights with Emirates
    • Internal flights as specified
    • Transfers in air-conditioned vehicles
    • Experienced local tour manager
    • 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
    • Welcome & farewell group dinners
    • Guided sightseeing & entrance fees
    • Porterage at airports & stations
    • Time at leisure

Destinations on this tour

  • Hyderabad

    In 1590 Quli Qutub Shah started to plan ‘a replica of Paradise itself’ and Hyderabad, th...

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  • Madurai

    Madurai, formerly the seat of power for the Pandya dynasty, is one of the oldest cities...

    Read more >
  • Kochi (Cochin)

    Kochi (Cochin), overlooking the Arabian Sea and once a strategic port on the spice route, is an enchanting blend of east meets west...

    Read more >
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