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from pp Twin Share

$3,399
Typically $5,643
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Single Traveller
$5,524 pp
RED HOT DEAL
Pay now & save!

from pp Twin Share

$3,399
Typically $5,643
-40%
Book Now Select

Single Traveller
$5,524 pp

14 Day Backwaters & Temples of Southern India Premium Small Group Tour

14 Day Backwaters & Temples of Southern India Premium Small Group Tour

This tour is fully escorted by a dedicated tour leader who will accompany you throughout the tour. If your trip includes multiple countries, you will be met by a new tour leader in each country and any internal flights included will be unescorted.

Escorted Type
Fully Escorted

This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.

Pace
Moderate Pace

These tours are our proudest creations. They have been crafted for Inspiring Vacations travellers exclusively, with personal and unique experiences in mind. Please see the Important Information on your selected tour for exact group size. Enjoy features such as hand-picked accommodation, a sampling of the region’s best culinary delights, and a range of optional activities to choose from to best suit your travel style.

Group Size
Small Group

Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period. 

Cooling Off Period
7 Days
Small Group Tour
996 people have travelled to this destination

Small group tour, with no more than 16 travellers
✓ Incredible sightseeing, including guided tours of Kochi and the famous Chinese fishing nets, village tours in Kumarakom, forest and spice plantation tours in Thekkady, and a special Kalaripayattu martial arts performance
✓ Tour the incredible UNESCO Temples of Madurai and Tanjore
✓ Enjoy a two night stay in the heart of the "French Quarter" in Pondicherry with a walking tour of the old town and an included lunch
✓ Experience the beautiful backwaters of Kerala on a deluxe overnight houseboat cruise
✓ 13 nights in 4 & 5-star hotels including one night aboard a deluxe houseboat in the backwaters 
✓ Breakfast daily, 3 lunches & 3 dinners 
✓ Arrival and departure transfer on the 1st and final day of the itinerary
✓ Fully escorted by professional, English-speaking guide 
✓ Dedicated, comfortable coach transportation

What we love about this tour

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.

Itinerary

Hotel
Fragrant Nature Kochi or Similar

Welcome to Kochi, also known as Cochin! Situated in the coastal state of Kerala in southwest India, Kochi has served as a prominent port since 1341, when its harbour was formed by a flood, attracting traders from Arab, Chinese, and European origins. The city boasts a rich tapestry of cultural influences, evident in landmarks such as Fort Kochi, characterised by colonial-style bungalows and various places of worship. One of the iconic features of Kochi is its cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, a traditional method of fishing that has endured for centuries.

Upon your arrival, a local representative will greet you and escort you to your hotel, conveniently situated in the heart of the city.

The remainder of the day is yours to relax and unwind in the comforts of your hotel or to venture out and explore the town at your leisure.

Arrival airport transfers are included as part of your package. You will be met upon arrival at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
If Inspiring Vacations has not provided your international airfares, please ensure you provide your flight details via your Traveller Hub portal no later than 90 days prior to travel so that your transfers can be confirmed.

Please note: if you are arriving early and have made your own arrangements prior to your tour commencing, airport transfers will not be included. However, if you are purchasing pre-nights accommodation as part of your Inspiring Vacations package, airport transfers will still be provided to the starting hotel.

Hotel
Fragrant Nature Kochi or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel this morning, we'll embark on a guided tour of Cochin. Our itinerary includes visits to the Portuguese-built Mattancherry Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue (please note it's closed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays), and the Fort Cochin area. Later, we'll explore St. Francis Church (closed on Sundays during mass), renowned for holding the palm-leafed title deed presented by the Raja to the Portuguese in 1503. Don't miss the chance to witness the mesmerising beauty of Cochin's iconic Chinese fishing nets, a hallmark of this region and a testament to its rich Oriental influences. You can even try your hand at helping the fishermen haul in the day's catch at the Chinese fishing net.

After our tour, we'll return to the hotel, where the remainder of the afternoon is yours to relax and unwind before we embark on a harbour cruise at sunset.

Note: visitors to the Jewish Synagogue are expected to dress modestly. Entry will be refused to men and women wearing short pants or shorts, as well as t-shirts or blouses. Additionally, bare shoulders and exposed midriffs are not permitted inside the synagogue.

Cruise
Deluxe Houseboat or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we will drive to Alleppey, arriving around mid-morning. Enjoy an Inspiring Stay as you board your deluxe houseboat for an overnight journey through the backwaters of the beautiful region. Enjoy a delicious lunch on board as you embark on a captivating journey through the enchanting backwaters. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to observe and immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the local villagers. Glide through the picturesque backwaters on traditional rice boats, soaking in the exotic scenery of Kerala. As the sun sets, the boat will anchor for the evening, where you can savour a freshly prepared dinner onboard before settling in for a tranquil night's rest.

Note: the houseboat will anchor at dusk in a wide waterway for the night as the backwaters close to boat traffic at this time due to local fishing nets being cast into the backwaters. Your deluxe houseboat offers private facilities and air conditioning in each cabin. Air conditioning is only operational from 9pm to 7am.

Hotel
Abad Whispering Palm or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Following breakfast overlooking the backwaters, we'll disembark the houseboat at Alleppey jetty and proceed with our journey by road to the breathtaking paradise of Kumarakom. Here, the Vembanad Lake reflects the azure sky, while the verdant countryside is adorned with stunning shades of green from mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields.

Upon arrival, check into your hotel situated on the banks of the pristine Vembanad Lake, where the remainder of the day is yours to unwind and relax at your leisure.

In the evening, take a leisurely stroll to explore the town or visit the local market to discover wonderful handicrafts.

Hotel
Cardamom County by Xandari or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before embarking to the green forests of Periyar in the Thekkady region. Thekkady -The heart of God's own country! Thekkady is located about 4 km from Kumily in Idukki district. The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations.

Later this afternoon witness a Kalaripayattu performance at a local theatre. It is believed to be perhaps the most ancient martial art forms & is derived from the words Kalari which means "place, threshing floor, or battlefield” and payattu which means to "exercise in arms, or practice. Following the performance we enjoy dinner of traditional Southern Indian cuisine  before retiring for the evening. 

Hotel
Cardamom County by Xandari or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

This morning enjoy green walk (subject to weather conditions.) with a forest guide exploring the flora and fauna of this region. With many species of birds spotted here, the region is also an ornithologist's favourite.

In the afternoon, immerse yourself in a walking tour of a local plantation, offering a firsthand experience of spice cultivation, growth, and processing. Gain insight into the region's significant role in the global spice market, and don't miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Kumily spice market in Thekkady.

Hotel
Heritage Madurai or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Today, bid farewell to those guests returning to Kochi as we continue our journey, arriving in Madurai late in the afternoon. Madurai, situated on the banks of the Vaigai River in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, exudes energy and boasts a rich history. Dominating its skyline are the 14 vibrant gopurams (gateway towers) of the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Adorned with intricate carvings of Hindu deities, this Dravidian-style temple stands as a prominent pilgrimage destination.

Upon our arrival, we settle into our luxurious five-star hotel, where we have ample time to unwind before embarking on an evening excursion to the remarkable Meenakshi Temple. The Meenakshi Temple complex is akin to a city within itself, recognized as one of India's largest and oldest. Over the centuries, it has expanded through the contributions of various dynasties and victorious monarchs, sprawling over an impressive 65,000 square metres.

Radiating its spiritual essence upon worshippers, the Meenakshi Temple holds the distinction of being Madurai's oldest shrine, with roots dating back over 2500 years. Situated on the southern bank of the River Vaigai, it is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, also known as Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva. Revered as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, legend has it that this sacred site is where Lord Shiva (Sundareswarar) and Goddess Parvati (Meenakshi) solemnised their divine union. 

Hotel
Heritage Madurai or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Following breakfast, embark on a local sightseeing excursion of Madurai. Known as a temple town and nestled along the banks of the River Vaigai, Madurai boasts a venerable history dating back to ancient times, even preceding the Christian era. Serving as the imperial capital of the Pandyan Empire during the 14th century AD, Madurai held prominence as a center of Tamil learning, hosting the final Tamil Sangam (Academy) nearly two millennia ago.

This tour encompasses visits to several notable landmarks, including the majestic Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, the enlightening Gandhi Museum, and the impressive Vaigai Dam.

Following our tour, return to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure. 

Hotel
Svatma or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch

Indulge in a delightful breakfast at your hotel before we resume our journey towards Tanjore, with a stopover in Chettinad along the way. Situated in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, Chettinad showcases the state's rich heritage, captivating artistry, and magnificent architecture. Renowned not only as a temple town but also for its iconic Chettinad Cuisine, it holds a special place in Tamil Nadu's cultural repertoire.

Your sightseeing adventure in Chettinad will include visits to the exquisite Chettinad Palace and the intriguing Chettinad Museum, followed by lunch at Visalam.

Afterward, we will continue our journey to Tanjore, where upon arrival, you will check into our luxurious five-star hotel, your home for the next two nights.

Hotel
Svatma or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Embark on a morning sightseeing excursion of Tanjore, a city steeped in history and cultural splendour. Once the imperial capital of the Chola dynasty, which held sway over South India, parts of Sri Lanka, and the Maldives Islands for four centuries (900 – 1300 AD), Tanjore bears testimony to a glorious past.

Under the patronage of the Chola emperors, who were renowned for their support of art, architecture, music, and literature, the city flourished. Throughout their reign, numerous magnificent temples adorned the kingdom, with Tanjore serving as the epicentre of their architectural marvels.

The highlight of Tanjore is the awe-inspiring Brihadeeswara Temple, commissioned by King Rajaraja Chola in A.D 1010, now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After a day of exploration, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure.

Hotel
Palais De Mahe or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Enjoy a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the hotel to start your day before we set out on a morning drive to Pondicherry. Along the way, we will make stops to visit the remarkable Darasuram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temples.

Darasuram is renowned for its exquisite Airavatesvara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures that offer a glimpse into its rich history. Join us as we explore this enchanting temple, immerse ourselves in the local culture, and uncover the hidden treasures of Darasuram.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple boasts the largest Shivlingam, the phallic form of Lord Shiva, in all of South India. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple features a four-metre-high lingam, encircled by two walls providing privacy for the Royal family during their prayers.

Upon arrival in Pondicherry late this afternoon, check in at the hotel for an Inspiring Stay unforgettable two-night stay in the heart of the "French Quarter".

Pondicherry, often referred to as 'The French Riviera of the East,' was once a French colony until its integration into India as a Union territory in 1954. The town continues to exude its distinctive French heritage through its colonial monuments, cuisine, language, customs, and traditions.

The remainder of the day is yours to explore at leisure, allowing you to stroll through the town and soak in its unique ambiance.

Hotel
Palais De Mahe or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch

Indulge in a delightful buffet breakfast at the hotel to fuel your day ahead.

Embark on a guided morning walking tour of Pondicherry, exploring its charming streets, colonial architecture, and vibrant culture. Wander through the French Quarter, admiring the well-preserved colonial buildings, colourful houses, and tree-lined boulevards. Visit landmarks like the French War Memorial, Aurobindo Ashram, and the seaside promenade, soaking in the town's unique blend of French and Indian influences. Following our visit we enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. 

After the tour, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure. Take the opportunity to further explore Pondicherry's bustling markets, relax on the beaches, or indulge in its eclectic culinary scene.

Hotel
Grand Chennai by GRT Hotels or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Begin your day with a delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel before we embark on a scenic drive to Chennai. 

En route, we'll visit the magnificent Shore Temples of Mahabalipuram. Situated on the Bay of Bengal shore, 58 kilometres south of Chennai, Mahabalipuram is renowned for its exquisite stone carvings. Once a bustling port city under the Pallava Empire, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts a plethora of rock-cut monuments dating back to the 7th to 9th centuries AD.

Continue your journey to Chennai, where upon arrival, you'll check in at the hotel and unwind after your day of exploration.

Meals
Breakfast

Today you will be transferred to the airport in time for your onward flight. 

Departure transfers are included as part of your package. You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport to meet your flight.

If Inspiring Vacations has not provided your international airfares, please ensure you provide your flight details via your Traveller Hub portal no later than 90 days prior to travel so that your transfers can be confirmed.

Inclusions

  • Small group tour, with no more than 16 travellers
  • 13 nights in 4 & 5-star hotels including one night aboard a deluxe houseboat and two nights in the heart of the old French town of Pondicherry 
  • Breakfast daily, 3 lunch & 3 dinners 
  • Airport transfers included on the first and last day of your tour
  • Fully escorted by professional, English-speaking guide 
  • All entrance fees to the sites listed (except optionals)
  • All activities listed in the itinerary unless a paid optional
  • Comfortable, dedicated private transportation throughout

  • Kochi – Enjoy a walk through the heritage area of Fort Kochi the legendary Chinese fishing nets
  • Alleppey – Experience the scenic beauty and magic of backwaters on an overnight deluxe houseboat 
  • Kumarakom – Enjoy an evening walking tour to explore the town and local markets to get your hands on some wonderful handicrafts
  • Thekkady – Experience a traditional Kalaripayattu performance considered among the oldest and most scientific martial arts in the world
  • Thekkady – Enjoy a guided forest walk exploring the flora and fauna of this region 
  • Thekkady – Visit a local spice plantation and gain insight into the region's significant role in the global spice market
  • Madurai – Visit the temple town of Madurai including the impressive Meenakshi Temple complex
  • ChettinadVisit the Chettinad Museum and Chettinad Palace showcasing the rich heritage and grand architecture of the state
  • TanjoreExplore the once the imperial capital of the Cholas,the magnificent temples including the imposing Brihadeeswara Temple built by king Rajaraja Chola in A.D 1010 – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Pondicherry – Known as ‘The French Riviera of the East’ spend two nights in the heart of the former French colony with a walking tour and included lunch

Fine Print

This product requires full payment upfront to secure your booking.
 
Once you have created your booking you will be directed to your invoice to choose your preferred payment method.

This is a land only package.

This package does not include international airfares. If you would like to add airfares to your booking our flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub. The flight portal will allow you to search for all available airfares to your destination. The function works like most general flight search engines allowing you to select your preferred airline, book different cabin classes (eg. Business class) and view flight durations and transit times to your destination. 

The flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub once the following criteria has been met:

  • Your booking is confirmed
  • Your departure date is within 11 months
  • You  have completed your passenger detail form

Visit our Flight Hub for more information on terms and conditions, amending your flights and information on luggage allowances.

Some of our packages will include airport transfers in either one or both directions when arriving or departing from your destination. To know if transfers are included please view the ‘inclusions’ section of your selected package. If airport transfers are stated, transfers will be included as advised.

If transfers are not included, we also offer the option to book your airport transfers using our online portal. Access to this portal is available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed. Transfers are readily available and do not need to be booked until your final hotel list has been confirmed. Once you have made a transfer booking, please refer to your confirmation email for all transfer details including a local contact number for the transfer company.

If you book pre and/or post-tour accommodation on your own arrangement, and the tour includes transfers, note that these will be forfeited. The transfers are only provided in line with the tour dates and pre and/or post-tour accommodation purchased through Inspiring Vacations when available.

It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return. Visas may be required for your destination. For further visa information, click here.

Fitness Requirements
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.

This particular tour is categorised as a ‘3’

3 – Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.

Tipping
A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. Tipping is not compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you feel that your guide and driver have done an impeccable job, you can choose to give a gratuity, but this is entirely your decision.

Accommodation
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however, any changes are beyond our control.

Single Supplement
Single supplement is $2,125.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price.

Triple Share
Not available.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is recommended to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.

We have partnered with nib to offer our customers competitive rates for their travel insurance. You can book Comprehensive or Essentials cover for your domestic, international or multi-trip journeys simply by clicking HERE.

Note that Inspiring Vacations cannot provide advice with regards to any insurance product.

Group Size
Minimum: 2
Maximum: 16

Children
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.

Tour Style
To meet the needs of various types of travelers, we choose to operate various types of tours, and depending on your selected package will mean different services are provided throughout your trip. The following descriptions of each tour style we hope will ensure that each traveller has appropriate expectations before they start their travels: 

  • Fully Escorted - This tour is fully escorted by an expert English-speaking guide who will accompany you throughout the tour.

All participants must be in good physical condition to fully engage in this journey. For the safety and welfare of yourself and fellow travellers, if you are feeling unwell prior to departure, we advise staying home and contacting us to arrange alternate plans.

Prior to selecting your trip, carefully review the itinerary to assess your ability to comfortably manage our travel style. Please be aware that if, based on evaluation by our leader or local representative, a participant is deemed unable to safely complete the itinerary, we retain the right to exclude them from all or part of the trip without reimbursement.

It is advisable to consult your physician for current medical travel advisories and any required vaccinations before embarking. We recommend carrying a first aid kit and any necessary medications in their original packaging, as they may not be readily available during travel. For those carrying medication, it's essential to check your government's foreign travel guidelines for local restrictions or regulations.

You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour. On this tour you can choose from the following options:

Pre Tour Accommodation

  • $319.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $319.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Post Tour Accommodation

  • $288.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $263.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Please select the number of extra nights required in the 'Additional Nights Accommodation' field when making your purchase. The additional cost for these arrangements will be added to your final payment invoice and are subject to availability.

  • International airfares
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Tipping
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

Click HERE for more information on weather in India.

Departure Dates for 14 Day Backwaters & Temples of Southern India Premium Small Group Tour

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