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Kerala & The South Tours & Holidays

Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays

KERALA & THE SOUTH HOLIDAYS AND TOURS

The Indian South is a land of myths, mysteries and magnificent structures. It is a colourful delight of nature and culture, from the beaches and backwaters of the Keralan coast, to the temples of Tamil Nadu and the sandalwood forests of Karnataka. But most of all, with its exquisite hotels and delicious cuisine, it is a perfect place for a truly relaxing holiday.

The East India Company established a trading post at Chennai (Madras) in the 17th century and from here began their southern journey. But they weren’t the first to arrive from the West; the Dutch, the French and the Portuguese – Vasco da Gama died in Cochin in 1524 – were already established in the region as the Malabar Coast became a fundamental stepping stone in the race to bring spices to Europe.

And it is perhaps Kerala – the land of the coconut (as the name denotes) – that draws the traveller most. This tropical paradise – so different from the frenetic mayhem of the north – has been certified by the National Geographic as one of the 50 must-see destinations in a lifetime. And for good reason. The serene beaches, lush vegetation, mellow mountains, spice-perfumed air, exquisite hotels and an amiable culture that embraces Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism and Judaism gives Kerala its unique identity. To drift along the backwaters in an old rice barge is one of life’s highlights you will never forget.

Whether you wish to sample the long and varied history of the old Cochin Port or the ancient and intricate temples at Hassan and Madurai; the spice gardens and fish markets of the Malabar Coast or the magnificent palace at Mysore; the tranquil palm fringed canals of the famous backwaters; the history of the Raj, Colonel Wellesley and Tippu Sultan or the fascinating Kathakali dance and Kabalyam martial art; and the breathtaking scenery of the hills and tea plantations of Ooty and Munnar or the wildlife forests at Periyar and Mudumalai, South India encompasses scenic beauty, exquisite architecture, excellent cuisine, diverse arts and crafts, and a dense and magical culture.

Wild Frontiers runs wonderfully balanced group itineraries to South India and tailor-made holidays throughout the year. Speak to our experts to find out the best South Indian experiences and accommodations for you.

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Start your journey

Group tours

GROUP TOUR

South Indian Odyssey

Travel from Tamil Nadu to Kerala taking in Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Madurai, Nagarhole National Park, an overnight train and Kochi.
19 days from $5,495
GROUP TOUR

Heart of India: Mumbai, Hampi and Goa

Travel from Mumbai to Goa via the Ajanta and Ellora caves, Hyderabad and Hampi.
15 days from $4,613

TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAYS

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES

TAILOR-MADE

South India - Tamil Nadu & Karnataka Highlights

This classic journey will take you through the historic and cultural heartland of Southern India, famous for its architecture, artisans and crafts, cuisine, textiles, UNESCO Chola temples, rural landscapes and colourful markets.
15 days from $4,151
TAILOR-MADE

South India - Tamil Nadu and Kerala Highlights

Travelling from the east coast to the west, take in the very best of cultural highlights and landscapes of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
16 days from $4,809
TAILOR-MADE

Classic Kerala

A wonderful trip that will take you on a journey through Kerala. Offering the opportunity to experience the many cultural highlights and landscapes, stay on a houseboat, explore a tea plantation and relax by the beach
10 days from $2,772
TAILOR-MADE

South India In Style

This very special luxury journey takes in some of South India’s most exclusive experiences and properties. Go beyond the highlights and enjoy an array of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
17 days from $6,889
TAILOR-MADE

Wild South India

This extraordinary wildlife journey takes you into the jungles of Southern India. You will be taken on expert lead safaris that will allow you to spot numerous species, including the largest congregation of Asian elephants.
15 days from $5,054
TAILOR-MADE

South India Family Adventure

South India is an ideal destination for a family holiday, with an abundance of culture, wildlife and fun activities. You can enjoy walks, kayaking, cycling in the countryside, as well as some much-needed downtime.
16 days from $3,962
TAILOR-MADE

Central India - Ancient Kingdoms & UNESCO Treasures

This itinerary takes in the very best of Central India's heritage and history, with spectacular architecture and archeological treasures.
15 days from

HIGHLIGHTS OF KERALA & THE SOUTH

BEST EXPERIENCES

TOP PLACES TO VISIT

Bangalore

Nicknamed "the garden city" due to its ancient reputation for being green, liberal and forward looking, Bangalore is India's third largest city and is at the forefront of the high tech industry boom. It was the British who moved the administrative capital…

Chennai

The capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, was built by the British in 1639 as an important military centre and was previously known as Fort George. The city is also known for being a melting pot of music, art, culture and the main location for the Tamil film…

Chettinad

Famous for its mansions, temples and cuisine, Chettinad was once home to the Nattukottai Chettiars, southern Indian bankers who rose to prominence funding the expansion of the British Empire during the 18th and 19th century. Evidence of this vast wealth can…

Cochin

The port city of Cochin is located on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas. The older parts of the city are an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. Most of the historical…

Hyderabad

Located in the Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad is the capital city of the Indian state of Telangana and is known for its rich history, multiple religions and languages and perhaps most famously of all, its food culture. The city was once famous in the pearl industry,…

OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY

Brunton Boatyard, Cochin

Located in the centre of Fort Cochin, close to the Chinese fishing nets, this property is one of Cochin's premier hotels. Originally a shipyard, the property beautifully recaptures the city's nautical…

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Retrace the steps of Nizams and European royalty by walking the walk of Kings through this palace in the sky. 2000 feet above Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace's 60 beautifully refurbished and lovingly…

Visalam, Chettinad

Visalam is a real gem in the heart of Tamil Nadu where a warm and friendly staff will go out of their way to make your stay an unforgettable experience. This century old mansion, has been converted…

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WHEN TO GO

INSPIRATION

60 SECOND GUIDE - KERALA

Guide to the Kerala - Your 60-second guide to Kerala, including sunsoaked beaches, tea plantations, backwaters and the wonderful cuisine of the state.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Health and Vaccinations 

There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers India though you should be upto- date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. Malaria is present in some parts of India so we recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments. 

Currency 

In India the official unit of currency is the Indian Rupee (INR).  

To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com  

 Cultural Sensitivity 

On our tours we frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your guides will be able to advise you accordingly.   

In Southern India people are used to foreign visitors, but traditionally clothing is quite modest and so you should bear this in mind when packing for your trip. Vest-style tops should be avoided, and women may find a scarf or shawl useful on occasions to cover their chest and shoulders.  

Kashmiris and Buddhist Ladakhis are modest dressers and therefore while out of the privacy of the houseboats or guesthouses, both sexes should wear a reasonable amount of clothing, covering legs and shoulders. When in Kashmir, visiting the mosques, ladies should cover their heads with headscarves and men should wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts.   

Shoulders and legs should be covered when visiting temples and other important religious sites. Shoes must also be removed when visiting important places in India; it is therefore a good idea to carry a pair of socks with you as the floors can get very hot!  

Important: Please note, in the Tamil Nadu region, men and women must wear traditional Indian attire when visiting temples and religious sites. Your guide will be able to advise you on what is appropriate and where clothing can be purchased.  

Normal summer clothes are fine if visitors appreciate that India is a conservative country and respect local sensibilities. Long t-shirts and shorts are usually acceptable however it is worth noting that women especially can attract unwanted attention and therefore may feel more comfortable wearing longer less revealing attire. We would recommend investing in some light cotton trousers, shirts and lightweight jumpers.  

Language & Religion 

In India, the major language is Hindi, with 17 other official regional languages and English as a common language for all. Religion is mainly Hinduism alongside Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity.   

Time 

India is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT.  

A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com  

Food and drink 

One of the great myths about travelling in India is that the food is poor. We are delighted to inform you that on our trips this is definitely not the case. Indeed, many people find the delicious food to be one of the highlights of a visit to India. The food can be quite spicy, so it may be worth asking how hot the dishes are likely to be before purchasing them if you are not a fan of spicy food.   

For the more adventurous eater, India is a never-ending snack. An incredible array of delicious street food is available throughout the country with local delicacies to be found in each state. Ask your guide or driver for their recommendations. Conventional street food safety wisdom is to avoid any raw veg that hasn’t been peeled as it will have been washed in local tap water.  

India is the perfect place for vegetarians, and those with special dietary needs can also generally be catered for easily. Please let us know your requirements as soon as possible so we can make any arrangements to cater for your needs.  

Most alcohol is available but often hard to get hold of and the quality is sometimes questionable. For a decent shot of Scotch at sundown it’s probably best to buy it duty free.  Beer is available throughout most of the country from the restaurants and accommodation venues that we use. 

KERALA & THE SOUTH REVIEWS