• A Tea Plantation on the hill station of Munnar, in Kerala, India

Silk & Spices of South India

This South India itinerary allows you to truly soak in the scenic grandeur of India’s south. With rolling tea plantations, glittering paddy fields, soaring mountain ranges and tropical backwaters, South India spreads a dazzling array of natural wonders. Paired with the cool charisma of Bangalore and the royal heritage of Mysore, there’s something to tick everyone's box on our Silk and Spices tour

The South of India is a cultural and natural treasure trove, and our 14-day South India tour introduces you to breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities and fascinating ancient history. Dive into Nagarhole National Park on a safari to get up-close to some of the world’s most elusive wildlife. Find yourself mesmerised by the experience of cruising Alleppey’s palm-fringed backwaters on a houseboat. Discover fresh air and relaxing atmospheres in the mountainous hill stations of Munnar and Ooty. There is no shortage of adventures in store on this incredible South India trip.

As with everything Hayes & Jarvis, find thought and care in all the finer touches on this itinerary. Expect to stay at the most luxurious resorts, feast on the most sumptuous cuisine and enjoy easeful journeys throughout. Get in touch with a Destination Specialist for more information and inspiration.

Duration
15 days

Guide Price

 £2,899  pp
Best time to go
October to February
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
Traditional houseboat

Trip highlights

  • Enjoy a memorable stay aboard a houseboat cruising the maze of Alleppey’s backwaters
  • Discover the spectacular royal residence Mysore Palace in Mysore
  • Dive into the jungle to glimpse some of the world’s most elusive wildlife, the majestic tiger
  • Roam tea plantations and mountainous landscapes in India’s green hill stations

You’ll arrive in Bangalore and be met at the airport, where you will be taken to your hotel. While you’re in Bangalore, you’ll be staying at the Radisson Blu Atria - with plush suites, a beautiful outdoor pool and detail in all the finer touches. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you like - explore one of Bangalore’s many gourmet restaurants or simply relax at the hotel ahead of a day of adventure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Radisson Blu Atria

Bangalore is the capital of India’s Karnataka state, a developed and cosmopolitan city. This is a wonderful place to begin a South India tour, introducing you to culture and heritage in a city with a more relaxed pace than that of Delhi or Mumbai. After breakfast, you’ll explore Bangalore’s most beautiful landmarks and striking architecture. Highlights include the royal botanical gardens, Lal Bagh; the iconic Bull Temple; and the sprawling and magnificent Neo-Dravidian structure - Vidhana Soudha - the government secretariat.

The tour continues with a three-four hour drive to Mysore, where you’ll check in to your hotel - the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel - and have the rest of the evening to rest and recharge. Lounge in your elegant suite and soak in incredible views of Mysore’s rolling hills from your balcony.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

A hearty breakfast, and the exploration of Mysore begins. Known for its royal heritage and spectacular monuments, there is much to enjoy in this city.

First stop is Srirangapatna - an island town between the two branches of the Cauvery River. Once the capital of the Mysore Rajas - Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan some of its most famous denizens - it is a place of religious, cultural and historic importance. Explore the ruins of Tipu’s fort; the ornate and gilded summer palace; and the cream-coloured facades and black-marble pillars of Gumbaz, Tipu’s remarkable mausoleum.

During the afternoon, you’ll discover Mysore’s royal and oriental splendour. One of India’s grandest buildings, the tour takes you to Mysore Palace - the principal residence of the royal family. Peer up at great domes and gateways, weave through lavish interiors of vivid colour and stain-glass, and explore the collection of armoury and ancient artefacts. The day continues at Chamundi Hill, with its towering ancient temple and huge Nandi bull sculpture. Soak in incredible panoramas of the turreted cityscape and surrounding landscape.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

The day begins with a three-four hour drive to Nagarhole and the promise of jungle adventuring. Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve is home to some of the world’s most endangered and incredible species.

In Kabini, you’ll be staying at the Evolve Back Resort - a luxury resort nestled in the midst of the jungle and flanked on two sides by the Kabini River. Relax in your rustic villa, enjoy dinner with a breathtaking sunset view across the river and spend the night gazing at the star-dazzled sky.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Evolve Back Resort
Leopard in Hwange National Park

Today will be spent immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle on an epic Nagarhole National Park safari. The expanse of forest and grasslands, tropical Kabini river and scenic lake provide a lush habitat for wildlife. This ecosystem supports the highest density of herbivores anywhere in Asia - you’ll delve deep into the jungle to spot wild boars, majestic elephants and four-horned antelopes. Glimpse great carnivores like the tiger, leopard and wild dog through the leaves; colourful birds flitting through the canopy up high.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Evolve Back Resort

Leaving the jungle behind, the South India tour winds through the hills to the picturesque hill station of Ooty, in Tamil Nadu. After a four ½ hour drive, you’ll check in at your resort and have the rest of the day at leisure. The Fortune Sullivan Court Hotel is one of Ooty’s best, with scenic views, an on-site sauna and spa and beautifully landscaped gardens.

Suggested Accommodation

  • The Fortune Sullivan Court Hotel

Ooty is a charming and peaceful hill station in Southern India, situated in the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains) and set around a huge central lake. In the morning, you’ll board the iconic Toy Train from Ooty to Coonoor. Sit back on the train and watch as the landscape of sky-high mountains and stretching tea plantations unfolds all around you. Spend the afternoon in Ooty, wandering the beautiful botanical gardens, visiting the cultural Government Museum and historic Stephens Church and perhaps taking a pedalo across Ooty lake. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Fortune Sullivan Court Hotel

A travel day. After breakfast, you’ll be driven to the train station in Coimbatore (two ½ hour drive), where you’ll board a train to Cochin (Kochi), the next destination on your South India itinerary.

 

You’ll be met at the other end and taken to your Cochin hotel: the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Spacious rooms and excellent facilities - including a rooftop bar - provide every comfort for your time in Cochin. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Crowne Plaza Hotel

Cochin stretches along Kerala's southwest coast, a charming coastal town. A major port since 1341, there is a wealth of history to be discovered here. Notice the marks of colonialism in the historic Dutch Palace; ornate Jewish Synagogue; Portuguese St. Francis Church; and impressive Santa Cruz Basilica. Wander the coastline and watch the activity at the iconic bamboo Chinese Fishing Nets, still in use today. The tour ends in Fort Kochi, a crumbling amalgamation of British, Dutch and Portuguese architecture.

Excitement follows dusk as you watch a traditional South Indian Kathakali Dance performance. This is one of India’s most spectacular dance-drama art forms, with bright colours and costumes, local singers, musicians and fables.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Crowne Plaza Hotel
a small boat in a body of water

Leaving Cochin, your marvellous South India trip moves on to Alleppey and a houseboat stay (two hour drive). Cruise through the languid networks of Kerala’s tropical backwaters, taking in the serene natural beauty of this part of India and glimpsing local life as it is lived along the riverbanks. Your houseboat offers every luxury, with elegant lounging decks, air-conditioned rooms and sumptuous onboard meals. At some point in the afternoon, you will have the chance to disembark and stroll through small riverside villages and swaying coconut groves.

Suggested Accommodation

  • AC Houseboat
A Tea Plantation on the hill station of Munnar, in Kerala, India

A delicious breakfast floating on the water, and it’s time to wave goodbye to the backwaters and continue the journey on to Munnar - a four-five hour drive climbing through dense forest and emerald patchwork plantations into the reaches of the Western Ghat mountains. Munnar is India’s most significant tea-growing region, spreading an expanse of green plantations across Kerala’s high mountain ranges. Here, you’ll visit the Tea Museum and learn more about India’s flourishing tea industry and the different uses of the plant.

In Munnar, you’ll be staying at the lovely Fragrant Nature Hotel, surrounded by mist-cloaked mountains and sweeping hills.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Fragrant Nature Hotel
Tea Plantations Munnar

Next on your South India travel is Madurai, a five-six hour drive from Munnar. The cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is an ancient city nestled on the Vaigai River and littered with majestic temples and Hindu carvings. The rest of the day is yours for exploring or relaxing. Enjoy a slice of serenity at the luxury Heritage Madurai Hotel, where you can splash in the pool, enjoy a world-class dinner or indulge in a treatment at the spa.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Heritage Madurai Hotel

One of India’s oldest cities, your tour of Madurai transports you to bygone eras and ancient civilisations. Take in the sheer magnificence of the great Meenakshi Amman Temple, a vast complex covering 14 acres, with 14 vividly painted gopurams (gateway towers). More inspiration is found at the opulent Tirumala Nayak Palace, a decadent building in the Indo-Saracenic style. Dawn risers will visit the exuberant local flower market, bustling in the early morning hours. In the evening, you’ll return to the temple to observe a beautiful closing ceremony.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Heritage Madurai Hotel
Chennai Kapaleeswarar Hindu Temple

Today, you’ll be transferred to Madurai airport to board a flight to Chennai. Once you’ve arrived in Chennai, you’ll be taken to your hotel - Park Hyatt.

Once you’ve freshened up, take to the city streets to explore. Fort St. George was India’s first English fortress and now a museum demonstrating the city’s roots as a British military garrison. The National Art Gallery has exquisite bronze sculptures; the Government Museum artwork produced by Dravidian dynasties. Other highlights include the San Thomas Basilica, a soaring Roman Catholic cathedral, and the decoratively carved Kapaleeshwarar Temple.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Hyatt

The end of your incredible South India trip! Join your transfer to Chennai airport to board an onward flight home, or choose to continue the journey with one of our epic extensions - such as the three-day Mahabalipuram tour.

Included

  • Accommodation on a twin-sharing basis for 14 nights
  • Room with breakfast at all locations except for Kabini & Alleppey Houseboat which are full-board basis
  • Air-conditioned vehicle for all travel
  • 01 bottle of mineral water per person per day
  • Assistance & porterages: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports, railway station & hotels by le passage to India representatives
  • English-speaking local guide for all sightseeing
  • Train ticket from Coimbatore to Cochin in AC car class
  • Kathalaki dance at Cochin
  • Toy train ride at Ooty
  • 02 guided safari at Nagarhole National Park in shared vehicle
  • Tea Garden visit at Munnar
  • Govt. service taxes
  • International airfare

Not included

  • Personal expenses e.g. table drinks, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees
  • Tips to local guides, drivers and hotel staff
  • Visa costs