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Book your place on this tour departing from September 2024 by 1st July 2024 and save up to £200 per person. Request a brochure

Highlights of Southern India – Exclusively Solos

Home Icon 16-day Highlights of Southern India from £3,245 £3,095pp

Embark on a captivating journey through the heart of Southern India’s natural wonders and cultural marvels. Our Highlights of Southern India tour promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that seamlessly weaves the splendour of India’s southern landscapes with its rich history and vibrant traditions.

This 16-day solo tour is complete with experienced guides, carefully selected hotels and a well-crafted itinerary to create memories that will last a lifetime. And as always, so many unforgettable experiences are included throughout the trip.

Southern India offers diverse landscapes, vibrant cultures, ancient traditions and irresistible charm. Lush green hills adorned with tea plantations give way to pristine backwaters, where traditional houseboats glide through a labyrinth of canals. Storied temples and intricately carved architecture stand as a testament to the region’s rich history, while bustling spice markets and aromatic cuisine are certain to delight the senses.

Get ready to explore the vibrant port city of Cochin, adventure through the mesmerising Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, marvel at the tea plantations of Munnar, and board a traditional houseboat in Alleppey as we get acquainted with Kerala’s labyrinth of canals and coconut groves.

We’ll also pay a visit to Puducherry and explore the magnificent French Quarter, witness a ‘Going to Bed’ ceremony at Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, and stand in awe of the 7th century Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram, among many other tour highlights.

SAVE up to £200 per person! Book this tour departing from September 2024 and save up to £200 per person. Offer ends 1st July 2024.

Day 1

Depart UK

Depart with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow. Manchester flights are also available, but may involve a longer connection. Please call for details. Flights will operate via Abu Dhabi.

Included meals:

In-flight meals and drinks

Day 2

Cochin, 2 nights

Upon arrival in Cochin, our private transfer awaits to take us to the four-star Casino Hotel, for our first two nights in India. Our time is at leisure until we meet for an impressive evening sunset cruise around Cochin Harbour, prior to dinner.

Included meals:

In-flight meals, drinks and dinner

Day 3


After breakfast, we begin our day exploring Cochin’s captivating attractions. Cochin is a vibrant port city that boasts a rich and fascinating history that’s just waiting to be explored. Enjoy a trip to the renowned Mattancherry Palace, also known as the ‘Dutch Palace,’ celebrated for its splendid murals. This afternoon, a trip to Fort Cochin awaits, with its iconic Chinese fishing nets and charming colonial lanes. As the day comes to a close, we’ll have the opportunity to witness a 2,000-year-old Kathakali dance performance.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 4

Alleppey, Overnight

Tour Highlight
Following breakfast at the hotel, we take an unmissable trip to Paradesi Synagogue, an ancient Jewish Synagogue in Cochin’s Old Town. Afterwards, we transfer to Alleppey Jetty, where we’ll step onto a traditional ‘kettuvallam’ houseboat. As we cruise through a labyrinth of canals, coconut groves, rice fields, and hidden temples, relish the tranquility of the distinctively beautiful Keralan backwaters. We spend the night aboard the houseboat, immersing ourselves in the soothing sights that unfold, creating a truly unique experience etched in our memories for years to come.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5

Thekkady, 2 nights

Our day begins with a short drive to Periyar, stopping along the way at a plantation home for a traditional lunch with a local family. Get ready to immerse yourself in the local family’s hospitality during this culinary experience. Upon arrival in Periyar, settle into the comfort of the impressive Elephant Court Hotel. The afternoon is ours to spend at our leisure. This evening, we meet to enjoy a traditional Indian martial art performance. The Kalaripayattu performance takes place at a small venue with stadium-style seating and is certainly a trip highlight.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6


For those that so wish, perhaps take an optional early morning adventure prior to breakfast along Periyar Natural Trek – a sandal trekking programme that provides an opportunity to witness local wildlife, birds, and butterflies in their natural surroundings. The trek spans approximately 4-5 km and lasts around 2.5 hours. Following breakfast, we embark on a journey into the world of spices with a visit to a spice plantation. Uncover the intriguing history of India’s tea and spice industry. Later, experience serenity during a cruise on Periyar Lake (subject to water levels) within the scenic Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. As we navigate along the sanctuary, observe the vibrant bird and wildlife populations that thrive within the local forests, including elephants and sambar deer.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 7

Munnar, 2 nights

After a morning at leisure, get ready to embark on a breathtaking drive through the lofty Western Ghats mountain range. Transitioning within India’s Kerala state, our next stop is the charming town of Munnar, 5,200ft above sea level and renowned for hosting South India’s largest tea-growing region. Our home for the next two nights is the distinctive Tall Trees Hotel, nestled beneath 600 towering trees within a sprawling 66-acre shola forest untouched by human intervention. Later in the day, we take a unique plantation walk within the resort’s grounds, culminating in a tea tasting session.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 8


Our day begins with a morning excursion to a tea plantation and factory, delving into the fascinating process of tea production, where we shall witness traditional segregation, drying and threshing. We shall also explore the Tata Tea Museum, which houses machinery and photographs that narrate the pivotal role the tea industry has held in this beautiful region. The remainder of the day is ours to spend as we please. Perhaps just relaxing at the hotel, enjoying the peaceful surroundings as we reflect on our travels so far.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 9

Madurai, Overnight

Tour Highlight
Leaving the Tall Trees and Munnar behind, we journey to the vibrant and historic city of Madurai, nestled in the heart of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Your afternoon is free to unwind, ahead of an evening filled with exploration and enchantment. As the sun sets, embrace the lively streets and vibrant markets aboard a cycle-rickshaw, immersing ourselves in the local energy. And that’s not all – in the evening, we’ll also get the chance to witness a ‘Going to Bed’ ceremony at the renowned Meenakshi Temple. Overnight at the Heritage Madurai.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 10

Chettinad, 2 nights

Today’s morning of sightseeing begins in the Old City of Madurai, where our route includes an extended visit to the iconic Meenakshi Temple. See the elaborate façade, and towering gateways, and observe the traditional ceremonies, devout practices, and bustling markets within its premises. Afterwards, we continue to the grandeur of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, a stunning 17th-century palace constructed in 1636 AD. As you bid farewell to Madurai, your journey across Southern India continues towards Chettinad, and your next two nights will be spent at the delightful Chidambara Vilas. This evening, enjoy an enriching experience as we discover the culinary artistry behind Chettinad cuisine, guided by a skilled chef.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 11


A morning at leisure, enjoying the peaceful surroundings of Chidambara Vilas. This afternoon, a visit to the heritage village awaits, and an opportunity to explore a local Athangudi tile factory.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 12

Puducherry, Overnight

A morning drive takes us to Puducherry, stopping by the famous Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur along the way. We’ll also enjoy lunch at an authentic, local restaurant. Later, we arrive at the Residency Tower Hotel and enjoy an evening walk along Promenade Beach to witness Puducherry’s mesmerising sunset.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 13

Mahabalipuram, 2 nights

After breakfast, enjoy a morning of cultural exploration, commencing with a visit to Puducherry Museum, where we delve into the region’s rich heritage. Traverse the charming French Quarter, a testament to Puducherry’s colonial past, and take in the spiritual aura of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a global beacon for communal living. Afterwards, our journey continues towards Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival, the impressive Welcomhotel by ITC, Kences Palm Beach awaits, which is home for our next two nights.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 14


This morning, we visit the historical wonders of Mahabalipuram. We tour the remarkable Shore Temple, a stunning creation from the 7th century that reflects the exquisite taste of the Pallava dynasty. Delve further into Mahabalipuram’s past with a visit to the intricate stone carvings depicting Arjuna’s Penance and The Five Rathas. Also witness the grandeur of Krishna Mandapam, the largest cave-cut Hindu temple crafted in the 7th century. Our afternoon and evening are at leisure to spend as we please.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner

Day 15

Depart Mahabalipuram

As our journey across Southern India comes to a close, this morning is ours to spend at leisure as we reflect on our incredible adventures of the last two weeks. Before our flight this evening, there is one last opportunity to visit the Dakshinachitra Museum, a cross-cultural living museum of art, architecture and lifestyle, before we depart for the airport.

Included meals:

Breakfast, in-flight meals and drinks

Day 16

Arrive UK

Our flights to London Heathrow and Manchester operate via Abu Dhabi, landing in the UK in the morning and bringing to an end our amazing tour of Southern India.

Included meals:

In-flight meals and drinks

See more of India

Why not extend your stay in Mahabalipuram? If you wish to spend a little longer relaxing at the Welcomhotel by ITC, Kences Palm Beach, please speak with one of our travel experts.


Departure dates & prices

SAVE up to £200 per person! Book this tour departing from September 2024 and save up to £200 per person. Offer ends 1st July 2024.

At Distant Journeys we believe in delivering exceptional value for money, and a smaller group with a maximum of 19 guests will help you to really engage with this fascinating country.

 Departure date Price (pp) Availability Offer
 26 September £3,495 £3,345AVAILABLESAVE £150 per person
 17 October £3,495 £3,345AVAILABLESAVE £150 per person
 05 November £3,495 £3,345AVAILABLESAVE £150 per person
 23 January £3,495 £3,345AVAILABLESAVE £150 per person
 20 February £3,495 £3,345AVAILABLESAVE £150 per person
 03 April £3,245 £3,095AVAILABLESAVE £150 per person
 25 September £3,595 £3,395JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person
 13 November £3,595 £3,395JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person

Prices are per person based on one person in a twin or double room. No single occupancy supplements apply.

£500 per person if travelling Economy Class, £1,000 per person if travelling Premium Economy and £1,500 per person for Business Class.

Flight upgrades
Etihad Airways upgrade to Business Class from £2,895 per person return.

Visa information
A Tourist visa is required for travel to India. For more information on applying for your visa and the associated costs, please refer to our FAQ’s page.

Important information
Our holiday prices are subject to fuel surcharges and the availability of flights in the lowest fare booking class. The correct price will always be confirmed to you before you book, and once you have booked, our Price Promise will guarantee there will be no further increases. For full terms and conditions see our terms and conditions page.

Please note, alternative airlines may be considered or further supplements may apply in certain periods when international flight prices are higher.

So much included

Our escorted holidays to India are designed to offer superb value for money and our Highlights of Southern India tour is no exception. So much of what you will do and see is already included in the price.

Small group touring

  • Maximum only 19 passengers

Flights with leading scheduled airlines

  • Return economy class flights
  • Fly with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow or Manchester
  • All airport charges, security charges and any applicable fuel surcharges
  • UK Air Passenger Duty

Carefully selected hotels

  • First class and deluxe hotels in great locations
  • All hotel porterage
  • Applicable hotel taxes

Many meals worth £484 per person

  • Daily breakfasts
  • Three lunches
  • Dinner each evening

Unforgettable experiences

  • Sightseeing tours in Cochin, Madurai, Chettinad, Puducherry and Mahabalipuram
  • Sunset cruise on Cochin Harbour
  • Cruise the Keralan backwaters on a traditional thatch-roofed ‘kettuvallam’ houseboat
  • Discover the natural beauty of Periyar National Park
  • Explore a tea plantation in Munnar
  • Madurai’s famous Meenakshi Temple, including the ‘Going to Bed’ ceremony
  • Introduction to Chettinad cuisine
  • Visit Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
  • View the 7th century Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

On the ground

  • Services of an experienced local Tour Manager
  • All overseas transfers
  • Modern, air-conditioned coaches throughout

100% confidence

  • Your holiday is covered by our Price Promise
  • Your holiday is fully ATOL protected

Casino Hotel, Cochin

Built in the 1950s, the Casino Hotel on Kochi’s historic Willingdon Island is CGHEarth’s flagship property. It reflects the vision of the CGH Earth brand and takes guests on a journey through old and new Kochi through its interiors, surroundings… Find out more >
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Houseboat, Alleppey

A kettuvallam is a traditional houseboat widely used throughout Kerala. With their distinctive thatched roofs and wooden hulls, these houseboats are a familiar sight on the rustic Keralan backwaters, a network of tranquil canals and lagoons. While the houseboats are… Find out more >

The Elephant Court, Thekkady

Set amongst four acres of lush, green landscaped hills, the Elephant Court is a tranquil travellers’ hideaway. Guests can revel in the untainted wilderness and serenity of Thekkady, surrounded by swaying trees, exotic wildlife and the fresh breeze of the… Find out more >
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The Tall Trees, Munnar

A hill station and former resort for the British Raj elite, Munnar is surrounded by rolling hills dotted with tea plantations amid the sweeping valleys and misty mountains of the Western Ghats. The Tall Trees is a haven of tranquillity… Find out more >
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Heritage Madurai, Madurai

Steeped in the history of the 2,500-year-old city of Madurai, Heritage Madurai exudes a captivating charm that resonates throughout its architecture and interiors. Beautifully designed accommodation with modern amenities and facilities along with private plunge pools are accompanied by the… Find out more >
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Chidambara Vilas, Chettinad

Situated in the historic city of Pudukkottai in Chettinad, the Chidambara Vilas resort exudes an alluring charm that takes guests back in time. Every corner of this heritage hotel reflects the rich cultural history of the region. The property itself… Find out more >
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Residency Towers, Puducherry

The Residency Towers in Puducherry offers an unforgettable stay in the heart of the French Quarter. The hotel combines comfort and sophistication and is situated close to the popular landmark of White Town, well-known for its cafes, restaurants, and beaches.… Find out more >
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Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Mahabalipuram

Welcomhotel by ITC, Kences Palm Beach in Mahabalipuram is a refreshing, verdant beach oasis overlooking the Bay of Bengal. The hotel provides easy access to the Shore Temple and other ancient monuments of the Mahabalipuram UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sandy… Find out more >
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periyar natural trek

Thekkady: Periyar Natural Trek

In small groups you will venture into Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary with your forest guide to begin your trek through the jungle. During this time you may be fortunate enough to spot various species of birds, sambar deer, macaques. The trek will be approximately 4-5km long giving you the chance to capture some picturesque moments!

From £25 Read More >

Holiday Extensions

To make the most of your time in India, why not extend your stay after your Highlights of Southern India tour, with our relaxing Mahabalipuram extension?

Customer reviews  feefo logo

This is a new tour with the inaugural departure in 2024. This page will be updated with reviews as soon as our returning customers are contacted by the independent reviews company Feefo. In the meantime, please feel free to look at the reviews for some of our other tours to India – we’re sure you will be impressed with the service our guests receive and the great reviews they kindly give us!

Highlights of Southern India – Exclusively Solos Highlights of Southern India 2024-25 map

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From start to finish a great tour of the golden triangle with knowledgeable local guides. Nothing was too much trouble for them introducing us to the Indian sights and culture.

Mr & Mrs C (Staffordshire), Golden Triangle and Ranthambore


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Distant Journeys has won 18 awards over the last seven years, at the British Travel Awards, and we have been awarded Feefo’s highest Platinum Trusted Rating for customer satisfaction.

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Know you are paying the best price for your holiday with our Price Promise. We never offer last minute discounts and we guarantee the earlier you book the better the offer you’ll receive.

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Book in the confidence your money is 100% safe. All Distant Journeys holidays are fully bonded by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 10913) or ABTOT (number 5427).


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