(EJ) Premium South India 1 Nov to 15 Nov 2025

15 Days

Swaying palm trees, rolling emerald hills and tranquil backwaters make up the lush surface of southern India, but dig a little deeper and discover a land of charismatic people, ancient religion, and cherished cuisine. This 14-day Premium adventure will take you into the home of a local family, down the French-inspired streets of Puducherry, through the maze of food stalls in Madurai, and into the wilderness of the Periyar National Park, all with the passionate guidance of a local leader.

  • South India
  • 15
  • 1 Nov to 15 Nov 2025
  • (EJ) Exclusive Journey

Overview

1 November to 15 November 2025

Price from $6880 pp Twin Share and from $8630 Solo inc all flights.

Start Kochi and Finish Chennai.

Conditions

  • Exclusive Travel with Me Journey
  • Tour operated by Intrepid Travel – Premium Level
  • Fully escorted from Perth, subject to minimum numbers
  • Based on departure 1 Nov 2025
  • Minimum 13 and Maximum of 16 guests
  • A deposit of $600 is required within 7 days of booking
  • Finals are due 15 Sept. 2025
  • Prices and Itinerary are subject to availability and subject to change without notice
  • Amendment and cancellation fees will apply both from the Supplier and Travel with Me
  • Cancellations prior to final payment will incur loss of deposit and after final payment, all monies are non refundable.
  • Please ask your Travel with Me, Consultant, for a competitive Travel Insurance quote as insurance is compulsory on all Travel with Me Exclusive and Private Journeys
  • Please ensure you have a current passport with a minimum of 6 months validity beyond the return date of your journey.
  • Visas are required and can be done as an E Visa prior to departure

Click here for the full trip notes for this itinerary.

Highlights

  • Find out what makes Indian cuisine so special during Exclusive Experiences, including an off-the-beaten-path food tour in Madurai, a home-cooked meal with a local family, a fragrant lunch at a spice plantation and an ayurvedic cooking demonstration in Kochi.
  • Enjoy a high-energy Exclusive Experience with a live performance of kalarippayattu in Thekkady – believed to be oldest surviving martial art in India, this will be a show to remember.
  • Witness a fusion of influences in the stunning former French colony of Puducherry, and see touches of a Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British past in the exuberantly multicultural Kochi.
  • An extra night in the seaside town of Puducherry "The French Riviera of the East"
  • Experience a thousand shades of green as you tour a scenic tea plantation in Munnar and track footprints in search of wild elephants in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Enjoy accommodation like no other – a beautiful converted houseboat on the Kerala backwaters is your Feature Stays for this adventure.

Itinerary

Meet your Travel with Me Escort at Perth Airport or on enroute if departing another city.

Welcome to India!

Arrive at Kochi International Airport and met with representative who will assist by transferring you to your hotel.

Kochi is a veritable melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. Rich in history and a trading
port since Roman times, Kochi is one of south India’s most interesting cities. Today, modern Kochi reflects the
eclecticism of Kerala. The city comprises of three parts, Fort Kochi, Willingdon Island and Ernakulam. Willingdon
Island, created after dredging the channel, is the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Indian Navy.

Arrival transfer
• Included on a group basis

Accommodation
Fragrant Nature or similar

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

This morning you will have a welcome where you will meet your tour leader and run through the coming weeks’ plans. After the meeting, head out to explore.
Visit the delightful Fort Kochi area and stop by the famous Chinese fishing nets – perhaps Kochi’s most photographed sight. Make a visit to the Mattancherry Palace, built in the 16th-century by the Portuguese and later claimed by the Dutch. Continue to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. In the early evening, you will meet with an ayurvedic doctor, a practitioner who uses ancient holistic techniques to promote a balance of body and mind, resulting in overall health and wellbeing.

Tonight you’ll have the special opportunity to watch a Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali is a classical Indian dance with roots in Kerala, combining symbolic storytelling with physical technique. It is one of the most vibrant and extraordinary theatre forms in the world and proficiency requires incredible commitment and rigorous training.
Unique to Kerala this dance spectacle is based on the stories of the three major Hindu Epics and is a breath-taking and visually exciting spectacle of gods and demons.

This performance will be followed by a welcome dinner.

Included activities
• Kochi – Welcome Meeting
• Kochi – Mattancherry Palace
• Kochi – Jewish Synagogue
• Kochi – Kathakali Dance
• Kochi – Welcome dinner

Accommodation
Fragrant Nature or similar

Breakfast, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Drive to the backwaters of Kerala this morning and discover Alleppey’s sleepy, palm-shaded waterways. Once a significant trading port, the town is now famed for the long ‘snake boat’ races that take place in August every year. Kerala’s backwaters were once busy with passing kettuvallams; large wooden boats used to transport rice and spices. Today these traditional vessels have been transformed into magnificent houseboats, offering guests the incredible opportunity to explore the lagoons in total comfort, as you will during your Feature Stay for the evening.
Conversions are made using traditional and natural materials – bamboo becomes roofing, coir mats are turned into flooring and beds are carefully crafted from the wood of coconut trees. These floating cottages share the comforts of a first-rate hotel, including western toilets, private bedrooms, a dining area and open deck where you can watch the world go by. Sit back for a truly unforgettable evening floating through the dreamy waters of rural Kerala.

Accommodation
Pickadly Houseboat or similar

Special information
Today’s total driving time is approximately 4 hours. Please note that Kerala is officially a dry state, with alcohol sales and consumption limited to bars in 5-star hotels.
The houseboats cruise through the backwaters the whole day. As per the local administration rules, at around 5:30pm the boats are supposed to be put aside for overnight stay. Air conditioning is available only from 6pm-6:30am. Fans are available throughout the day along with options to recharge your gadgets.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast

Enjoy a peaceful morning at the Kerala waters before driving to Munnar, an old British Hill Station cradled in a picturesque valley. At 1525 metres above sea level, there’s likely to be dramatic drop in temperature here, so have your jacket ready! Munnar is one of India’s most important hubs for tea trade, and the rolling emerald hills that surround the town are an unforgettable sight.

Take a tour of the tea plantation, where a resident expert will guide you through the steps of the tea making process. Follow narrow pathways and visit the workers picking the best tea leaves, learn how these leaves are transformed into the world’s most popular beverage, and sample some of the different varieties. There may be an opportunity to visit the tea museum, though opening hours are irregular so this cannot be guaranteed. This evening, relax at your mountain resort.

Included activities
• Munnar – Tea plantation
• Munnar – Tea Museum

Accommodation
Vibe Resort or similar

Breakfast

Meals included: Breakfast

This morning, take a guided walk around the lush hills of Munnar, often shrouded in ethereal clouds. Be sure to have your camera ready as the beautiful landscape unfolds in front of you. Learn how Munnar’s cool temperatures made the region a favourite summer retreat during the British Colonial era.

Later, journey out to the scenic Mattupetty Dam where you’ll find a beautiful man-made lake and spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. Here you’ll have the chance to take an optional motorboat ride around the lake. After some time to appreciate the stunning scenery, return to Munnar.

Included activities
• Munnar – Leader-led town walking tour
• Munnar – Mattupetty Dam

Accommodation
Vibe Resort or similar

Breakfast

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Make your way to the countryside town of Thekkady, driving past pineapple and rubber plantations on the way. Upon arrival, explore the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, perched lakeside in the ranges of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, which was formed as result of a dam that was built in 1895. It ambles through the contours of the wooded hills and is a permanent source of water for local wildlife.

This afternoon, stop off at a spice plantation where you’ll speak with a local expert and taste, smell and learn about the brilliant array of spices that colour and flavour India’s famed cuisine. Put your new knowledge to good use as you sit down to a flavoursome lunch made with spices from the plantation.

Included activities
• Thekkady – Spice plantation visit and lunch

Accommodation
The Elephant Court or similar

Breakfast, Lunch

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

This morning, take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Your expert guide will help you look for tiger tracks, spotted deer, Indian elephants and gaur – the world’s largest species of buffalo. You are most likely to encounter Bonnet macaques and the Malabar giant squirrel, a species native to India. After an exciting morning of wildlife spotting, the afternoon is yours to enjoy in Thekkady. Perhaps wander the shops selling fragrant spices and organic tea, or relax in the palm fringed pool at your resort.

In the evening, enjoy a show of the Indian martial arts form Kalaripayattu at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre. A martial art with a legacy of more than 3000 years, Kalaripayattu, the traditional martial art form of Kerala is regarded as the oldest and most scientific of all martial arts in the world.

Included activities
• Periyar – Guided nature walk
• Kalaripayattu show

Accommodation
The Elephant Court or similar

Breakfast, Lunch

Meals included: Breakfast

Today, continue to the city of Madurai.

According to Hindu legend, drops of nectar fell from Shiva’s locks on to the earth; the spot where it fell was named Madhuram or Madurai, the nectar city. Known as the city of festivals, Madurai’s history goes back to the 6th century. Famous for its writers and poets, the ancient city had trading links with the Greeks and Romans and was controlled at various times by the Pandiyas and the Cholas. In 1364 Hindu Vijayanagar kings captured the town.

Once you’ve got your bearings, join your leader on a trip for the taste buds – a tantalising tour of the city’s Tamil cuisine. Madurai is bursting with street food stalls, family-owned restaurants and plenty of regional delicacies – your leader will show you the dishes that aren’t on the tourist menus. Have a taste of mutton dosa or some fish gravy as your leader regales you with stories of centuries-old recipes and the passionate people who make them. Round off the night with some Jigarthanda; Madurai’s most celebrated dessert is a delicious and refreshing blend of condensed milk, almond gum, and ice cream.

Included activities
• Madurai – Leader-led street food tour

Accommodation
Heritage Madurai or similar

Breakfast

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Continue your walking exploration of Madurai today. Your leader will guide you through the Tailor’s Market, the local bazaars, and the Sri Meenakshi Temple. Still in use today, this ancient temple is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place. Next is the National Gandhi Museum, dedicated to the life and achievements of the ‘Father of the Nation’ and the leader of India’s fight for independence. Stop by the extravagant
Thirumalai Nayak Palace was built in the 17th century by King Tirumala Nayaka. This evening you’ll have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Tamil culture when you join a local family for a traditional home cooked dinner.

Chat with the family about their lives and try some more wonderful dishes such as Chettinad chicken, egg paratha, and vegetable korma.

Included activities
• Madurai – Sri Meenakshi 1000 Pillar
• Madurai – Sri Meenakshi Temple
• Madurai – Gandhi Museum
• Madurai – Leader-led walking tour
• Madurai – Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace
• Madurai – Local family visit and home-cooked Tamil dinner

Accommodation
Heritage Madurai or a similar

Breakfast, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast/Dinner

This morning continue to Puducherry(also spelt Pondicherry) A French colony until 1954, the old parts of town retain a distinctly European feel. Leafy boulevards are lined with colonial-style houses and trendy boutiques – this place has a certain je ne sais quoi. On arrival, the rest of your evening is free to explore. Puducherry has a varied food scene with traditional Indian and classic French influences. Be sure to ask your leader for some tips on where to grab a fabulous meal.

Accommodation
Residency Towers or similar

Breakfast, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast

Today you will visit the famous Auroville, an experimental township just outside Puducherry dedicated to the concept of human unity. With more than 80 rural settlements and home to over 1500 residents, half of the town’s population are foreign nationals. Auroville is also home to the world’s largest solid crystal, which you can examine, then make a visit to the spiritual community of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Return to Puducherry for a walking tour to see local temples and the charming French Quarter. Stroll past mustard coloured buildings draped with vibrant
bougainvillea as your leader shares stories of the revolutionaries, generals and kings who once walked these streets.

Stop by the pastel pink Church of Notre Dame, perhaps even more gorgeous than its Parisian counterpart. Evidence of the French colonial period is everywhere – the architecture, sprawling town squares and even in the police uniforms. The evening is free for further explorations.

Included activities
• Auroville – Experimental township
• Puducherry – Leader-led French Quarter walking tour
• Puducherry – Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Accommodation
Residency Towers or similar

Breakfast

Meals included: Breakfast/Dinner

Today you will have a free day to explore the city on your own.

Accommodation
Residency Towers or similar

Breakfast, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Today morning after breakfast, drive to the Chennai enroute stopping at Mahabalipuram.

Take a guided tour around the town’s laidback temples in Mahabalipuram, keeping an eye out for the sculptures and carvings dotted around the place. Visit the incredible 8th-century Shore Temple and its mandapams (carved pillars) to pay your respects to the deity Shiva. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are a must visit. The beautiful structure built from granite stone is an architectural marvel and depicts one of the finest art.

After the visit continue the drive to Chennai.

Chennai formerly Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal is the gateway city to South India. The city is home to Fort St. George, built in 1644 and now a museum showcasing the city’s roots as a British military garrison and East India Company trading outpost, when it was called Madras. At that time, the weaving of cotton fabrics was a local industry, and the English invited the weavers and native merchants to settle near the fort. The government of Tamil Nadu officially changed the name of the city to Chennai in 1996.

Upon arrival, check in at the hotel, and later in the evening head out for our group dinner tonight.

Optional Activity
• Mahabalipuram – Shore Temple

Accommodation
The Residency or similar

Breakfast, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast/Dinner

After breakfast, venture out for a half day city tour and visit to Government Chennai Museum also known as the Madras Museum is a museum of human history and culture located in the Government Museum Complex, this is the second oldest museum in India.

Santhome Cathedral Basilica is a Catholic Church, that dates back to 1523 AD. One of the most popular pilgrimage sightseeing places to visit in Chennai. ThisRoman Catholic Minor Basilica was built in honour of the Patron Saint of
India is also renowned for St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica of the International Shrine of Saint Thomas.

Later, head to Marina Beach, India’s longest beach and one of its most famous. Take a walk and consider trying out street foods and games. from the various beach stalls.

Free afternoon with plenty of time to freshen up for our farewell dinner tonight.

Optional Activity
• Chennai – Government Museum
• Chennai – Santhorne Cathedral Basilica
• Chennai – Marina Beach Walk

Accommodation
The Residency or similar

Breakfast, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast

Depart on group transfer this morning after breakfast.

Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions

  • International Flights with Singapore Airlines *Subject to confirmation when fares are released.
  • Accommodation: Hotel (12 nights); Houseboat (1 night)
  • Included Meals: Breakfast (14); Lunch (3); Dinner (7)
  • Transport: Air-conditioned private vehicle, houseboat, flight
  • Leader/Guide: English Speaking Leader throughout
  • Travel with Me Escort, subject to min numbers
  • Entrance/Admission Fees: Where applicable with included activities
  • Airport Transfers: Arrival and departure transfers are included on a group basis
  • Support: 24-hour support from our local office

Exclusions

  • Any visas required
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tips for Tour Guide and driver
  • Expenditure of personal nature
  • Personal Insurance
  • Optional activities

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

(EJ) Premium South India 1 Nov to 15 Nov 2025