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ABTA and ATOL Protected
Escorted Tours

Wonders of South India


Route:
  • UK
  • Bangalore
  • Mysore
  • Kabini
  • Ooty
  • Madurai
  • Munnar
  • Alleppey
  • Cochin
  • UK
Tour Pace:

16 DAYS from £1839pp

Tour Highlights
  • City tours of Bangalore and Cochin
  • Jeep and boat safaris in Kabini
  • Meet people of the Todo Tribe
  • Ride the Nilgiri Mountain Railway
  • Wander through Meenakshi Amman Hindu Temple
  • Overnight cruise of Alleppey's backwaters

or call us on 0800 408 0506

Wonders of South India

The Hindu heartland of this fascinating subcontinent presents a dazzling array of experiences unique to the region; from colonial railways crossing bottomless gorges to priceless temple craftwork depicting spiritual legends, our in depth 16-day itinerary immerses you within this mystifying province. Cruise the palm-fringed backwaters of Alleppey, marvel at royal splendour in Mysore Palace and catch a glimpse of Kabini's allusive Bengal tiger.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Bangalore

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Bangalore, via Mumbai.

2
Bangalore

On arrival into Bangalore, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. After settling in, discover the cosmopolitan hub of India's booming IT industry peppered with Victoria-era architecture on your afternoon tour of the city. Visit the atmospheric Bull Temple, home to an enormous granite monolith of Nandi the celestial bull, wander through Lalbagh Botanical Gardens to admire the world's most diverse plant species and marvel at Vidhan Soudha's colossal Neo-Dravidian architectural splendour. In the evening, sample delicious local delights at your welcome meal.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
3
Bangalore to Mysore

Following breakfast, depart Bangalore for the 18th century fort town of Srirangapatnam, once the stronghold of ruler Tipu Sultan before his defeat by colonial forces. Cross the main bridge over the Cauvery River to discover intriguing monuments documenting South India's power struggles, including a striking marble church built by French missionaries. Later, proceed to your hotel in the ancient city of Mysore.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Mysore

Considered one of India's most flamboyant cities, Mysore boasts a glittering royal heritage, bustling marketplaces and a thriving centre for yoga expertise. Your full day tour takes you to the heart of the city and one of India's grandest royal abodes - the sprawling Mysore Palace. Discover the palace's painted glass ceiling with peacock motifs in the Marriage Pavilion, treasured royal paintings that line the Public Durbar Hall and a glistening Golden Howdah used to carry the Maharaja. Atop the nearby Chamundi hills, visit the Chamundi Temple famed for intricate carvings on its towering gopuram entrance and panoramic vistas over Mysore.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
5
Mysore to Kabini

This morning travel to Kabini - wild wetlands that surround the Kabini River. The riverbanks boast a rich variety of wildlife, particularly in summer as the receding water presents luscious meadows on either side. Upon arrival, enjoy the remainder of today at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Kabini

Spend this morning exploring the surrounding jungle on a jeep safari. From peculiar beaked Malabar Pied Hornbills perched upon mammoth Rosewood trees, to Indian bison meandering across the road and the prized Bengal tiger pacing amongst evergreen bamboo, your safari route gives you the best chance to observe South India's most intriguing natural inhabitants. In the afternoon, spot the largest congregation of Asiatic elephants, a plethora of majestic water birds and marsh crocodiles stalking shallow waters during your river safari.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
7
Kabini to Ooty

After breakfast journey to the hill station of Ooty, one of three that occupy the UNESCO recognised biome of Nilgiri Hill. For the next two nights, your elevated position offers stunning views across the southern plains and tea gardens that hug the sloping terrain.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8
Ooty

Completed in 1899 by British colonial forces, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway transports passengers through a series of gauges, across lofty bridges and around hillsides blanketed by tea plantations. Having completed this extraordinary sightseeing route, head to the nearby Toda tribe for a humbling insight into indigenous life; witness a village of barrel-shaped bamboo huts occupied by residents adorning cotton shawls and learn how water buffalos are central to this fascinating way of life.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
9
Ooty to Madurai

Depart Ooty for one of India's oldest cites, Madurai. As an important place of worship and commerce, it encapsulates the complex historical tapestry of South India. Later this evening, witness a night ceremony at Madurai's biggest temple; during this procession, behold the spectacle of Lord Shiva's bronze statue being carried to the Hindu God of Love's bedchamber, accompanied by religious prayer and atmospheric temple music.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
10
Madurai

This morning, visit one of India's grandest temples, Meenakshi Amman Temple. This complex presents 33,000 sculptures, illustrating vivid Hindu tales amongst 12 gargantuan gopuram towers engraved with gods, goddesses and demons - all in staggering detail. The pinnacle of your visit and testimony to the region's architectural finesse lies within the 'Hall of a Thousand Pillars', a masterpiece of lifelike sculptures clinging to towering pillars within a vast gallery.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
11
Madurai to Munnar

Following breakfast, cross into the Indian state of Kerala arriving in Munnar - a region famed for its rolling hillsides coated in emerald tea plantations. The rest of your day is at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Munnar

Today visit natural splendours of the region including the mirror-like waters of Mattupetty Lake, call out at Echo Point whilst listening patiently to the returning call from surrounding hills, discover the origins of your morning tea at a plantation and witness the unforgettable scene of the Jungle Honey Bee Nest - 25 hives occupying a single tree. Return to Munnar for a well-deserved rest.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
13
Munnar to Alleppey

In the morning, travel from Munnar to Alleppy - a hub of Kerala's vast waterway network. Here you will board a traditional houseboat which will be your transport and accommodation for the night. Enjoy a leisurely cruise through winding backwaters and meander through picturesque lagoons to admire stunning rural scenery whilst observing quaint surrounding villages.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
14
Alleppey to Cochin

Beckoning merchants and explorers for over 500 years, the port city of Cochin offers a dynamic cultural mixture of Portuguese houses, ancient mosques and crumbling remains of British colonialism, all overlooking the tropical Malabar Coast. Disembark this morning for a half-day sightseeing tour to visit the seemingly modest Mattancherry Palace, home to astonishing Hindu murals depicting Puranic legends. Continue to the edifice of St Francis Church, believed to be one of India's oldest churches and gaze at Cochin's promenade, lined with distinct spiderlike Chinese fishing nets. This evening, enjoy a farewell meal at your hotel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
15
Cochin

Enjoy a full day of leisure in Cochin.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
16
Cochin to UK

Depart your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight back to the UK.

  • Breakfast

Your Meals

Breakfast is always western style and served in the hotel each morning. Lunch and dinner will either be always taken at local restaurants or at your hotel. A variety of restaurants are visited giving you the chance to experience a range of dishes and flavours.

Important Information

Visas

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (ETV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £114 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30 day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flight Information

Your flight to Bangalore International Airport is with Jet Airways(9W), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Please note that all flight times and numbers listed are provided for guidance only and are subject to change. Final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure.
Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage, however weight restrictions will be finalised on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure. Checked baggage allowance may vary. Please refer to the bottom right of your E-ticket receipt for the correct baggage allowance. For example, if it shows '20k' this means your allowance is 20kg; or '1PC' means One Piece not exceeding 23kg. For handling purposes the maximum weight of any single piece of baggage must not exceed 32kgs. Hand Luggage: One piece of hand luggage with maximum total dimensions not exceeding a total of 115cm in size and 7kg in weight. Please refer to the Airline's website for further details and the most up-to-date information.

Health and Vaccinations

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

Currency Information

The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.
Tipping is not compulsory and is at your discretion. Should you wish to tip, this will be collected by your guide at the end of your tour for your convenience. It is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency, please do not give coins as these are difficult to exchange.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPrice
2018 Dates
18 Oct 201802 Nov 2018£1849
01 Nov 201816 Nov 2018£1919
09 Nov 201824 Nov 2018£1899
29 Nov 201814 Dec 2018£1949pp
£1799pp
2019 Dates
08 Jan 201923 Jan 2019£1969
22 Jan 201906 Feb 2019£1969
06 Feb 201921 Feb 2019£1969
19 Feb 201906 Mar 2019£1899
05 Mar 201920 Mar 2019£1869
12 Mar 201927 Mar 2019£1829
26 Mar 201910 Apr 2019£1819
23 Apr 201908 May 2019£1769
07 May 201922 May 2019£1749
21 May 201905 Jun 2019£1729
03 Sep 201918 Sep 2019£1599
17 Sep 201902 Oct 2019£1699
01 Oct 201916 Oct 2019£1829
15 Oct 201930 Oct 2019£1869
29 Oct 201913 Nov 2019£1929
12 Nov 201927 Nov 2019£1949
26 Nov 201911 Dec 2019£1949

Included in the Price

  • Fully escorted tour with local English speaking guides throughout
  • Scheduled flights from London Heathrow to India with Jet Airways. Other regional flights are available at a supplement.
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation
  • Accommodation, meals as specified and entry fees to all sights
Alcoholic drinks

Please note that Kerala has strict laws regarding the governance of the sale of alcohol in public places including hotels and restaurants. The sale and consumption of alcohol is therefore often restricted in hotels, varying from one establishment to another. However, you may bring your own alcohol with you for private consumption in your room.

2019 departures, please note:

Up to and including June 2019 departures, the swimming pool at Gem Park Hotel in Ooty will be closed.

What to expect

Fact File
Min/Max temperature

23 °C / 36 °C

What to pack
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat in summer
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Warm clothing and thermals in winter
  • Camera and charger/spare batteries
  • An electric plug converter
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Binoculars
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Personal toiletries and first aid kit
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Long sleeve shirt and long trousers
  • Swimwear
Customer Rating:
10/10
Gillian & Ian Lewis
3rd Jun 2018

Most of the Hotels were of a very good standard. The Gem Park at Ooty was in a spectacular position above the town, but the hotel it's self was a little care-worn. The bed sheets did not appear clean. Not sure if they were washing stains, or just stains. Room service were happy to come and change the sheets straight away at my request.
The Raddison Blue Hotel at Mysore was probably of the best standard. We also liked the Serai Resort as well.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Dennis Willison
28th Dec 2017

Houseboat disappointing, particularly the food at dinner.

Change of hotel in Kochi to the city centre hotel a mixed blessing. The location was handy and the food good but the hotel was tired and not 5*, as was the Hotel Casino advertised to be.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
P Mylon
25th Oct 2017

Brochure and good value for money.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Peter Goodman
7th Dec 2016

Excellent by Asian standards

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
David Ball
3rd Oct 2016

Your guides were excellent as were the hotels. All excellent.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Tour Map
Wonders of South India Route Map
Tour Dossiers
Extensions
  • India
    Marari Beach Stay

    3 nights from £298pp

    View
  • India
    Mumbai

    3 nights from £424pp

    View
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Hotels & Accommodation

Extensions

Marari Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Bangalore
  • Mysore
  • Kabini
  • Ooty
  • Madurai
  • Munnar
  • Alleppey
  • Cochin
  • Mararikulam
  • UK

Nestled beside the quaint fishing village of Mararikulam, discover the untouched sandy beaches of Marari on your three-night extension within a truly tropical retreat. Whether lounging by the beach soaking up the year-round sunshine, swimming within the Arabian Sea's glistening waters or enjoying a traditional Ayurvedic massage at your hotel, the Marari extension is the ideal way to conclude your tour.

3 nights
from £298pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension
Mumbai
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Bangalore
  • Mysore
  • Kabini
  • Ooty
  • Madurai
  • Munnar
  • Alleppey
  • Cochin
  • Mumbai
  • UK

Home to India's financial hubs, tropical forests, religious epicentres, a booming fashion industry and culinary hotspots shaped by the country's wild flavours, discover Mumbai's intriguing sights with a three-night extension in the city.

3 nights
from £424pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension

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