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South India 'on a Shoestring'

The spicy sensation! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 799,-
GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 16 DAYS

South India 'on a Shoestring'

Here you can find the day-to-day description for South India 'on a Shoestring'


There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Bangalore is famous for its gardens. Visit Lal Bagh Gardens, one of the most beautiful parks of Bangalore. |India



A visit of Mysore Palace is a must! The breath-taking building is a fantastic example of the overwhelming splendour the former rulers surrounded themselves with. |India



Wayanad is surrounded by coffee, tea- and herb plantations. A fantastic place to enjoy the simplicity after all the pomp and splendour! |India



One of Kochi's attractions are the famous Chinese fishing nets. You can't leave Kochi without having tried one of the delicious fish dishes! |India



Take a boat tour through the Backwaters, an amazing area full of canals, lakes and rivers. |India

Periyar (Nationaal Park)



Visit the Thirumali Nayak Palace. This building from the 17 th century was erected in the Indo-Moorish style. |India




Pondicherry is a charming coastal village that has a French past that is still visible in the architecture. |India



Visit the delicate coastal temple in Mamallapuram. The entrance to the temple is a courtyard scarred by the wind and the sea. It holds artificially made figures of mystical creatures that are supposed to protect the temple. |India

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Bangalore Bangalore
2 Bangalore - Mysore Mysore
3 Mysore Mysore
4 Bus Mysore - Wayanad Wayanad
5 Bus, Train Wayanad - Kozhikode - Kochi Kochi
6 Kochi Kochi
7 Boat, Bus Kochi - Alleppey via motorboat cruise Alleppey
8 Bus Alleppey - Periyar National Park Periyar National Park
9 Periyar National Park Periyar National Park
10 Bus Periyar National Park - Madurai Madurai
11 Madurai Madurai
12 Bus Madurai - Trichy - Thanjavur Thanjavur
13 Bus Thanjavur - Pondicherry Pondicherry
14 Bus Pondicherry - Mamallapuram Mamallapuram
15 Mamallapuram Mamallapuram
16 Mamallapuram End of tour


Day 1: Bangalore

Welcome to South India!

Your tour starts in Bangalore, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Your travel companions will arrive later today or early tomorrow morning, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport in Bangalore to meet the group and travel onwards to Mysore, together with the tour leader (collection time will be advised).

Day 2: Bangalore - Mysore

After having transferred to the airport to meet your group, you will travel together to Mysore. Mysore is situated 145 km (3 hour drive) from the international airport of Bangalore. 

Mysore is situated in the state of Karnataka and is famous for its extremely high quality silk, incense and sandalwood. The Devaraja fruit and vegetable market is one of the most colourful in India. From Chamundi hill you can get a great view of Mysore and the surrounding area and pilgrims climb the steps daily to get to the Sri Chamundeswari Temple. If you feel your karma is good enough already, you'll be pleased to know that you can also get up there by public transport.

Day 3: Mysore

An essential highlight of any visit to Mysore is the palace of the Maharaja. The breathtaking building is an excellent example of the overwhelming splendor in which the former princes lived. Huge wooden doors lead into rooms with giant columns and mosaic floors. The bright colours and many frills make the whole place appear even more extravagant. On Sunday the palace is lit with thousands of lights, a spectacular sight that you really can not miss! Mysore Zoo is known for its large size and good conditions in which many exotic animals live. If you have time over then visit Mysore city to enjoy a wonderful stroll around and great shopping.

Karigari Project

The Literacy India Foundation, an organisation dedicated to fighting illiteracy, started the 'Karigari Project', which we support in collaboration with our local agent in India. 'Karigari' helps women to be self-sufficient through offering courses in sewing, embroidery, driving, learning to use the computer and learning to read.

Read More

Day 4: Mysore - Wayanad

Your tour through South India leads you to the 'hill station' of Wayanad, nestled among the coffee, tea and spice plantations in the Western Ghats. The fertile soil and cool climate here makes it ideal for spices like cardamom and pepper. However, the main crop is coffee.

Wayanad is a nice place to go walking along the rice fields. This is a good way to experience the life of the locals in this lush, wooded area.

Day 5: Wayanad - Kozhikode - Kochi

In the morning you have more time to spend in Wayanad. In the afternoon you drive to Kozhikode and will travel by train to Kochi, on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent.

Kochi, formerly known as Cochin is a major port city of India and is located on a series of islands and narrow peninsulas. While in Kochi you may take part in an optional boat trip through the famous ‘backwaters’. The trip lasts for around three hours and takes you through the many canals, lakes and creeks. You can sunbathe on deck or enjoy the wonderful views from the saloon. The boat trip takes us through a stunning area full of palm trees, rice fields and floating sea plants which surround the boat like mini-islands.

Day 6: Kochi

A free day in Kochi offers up more opportunity to explore. We recommend a visit to the ‘Dutch Palace’ where you can admire its attractive wall paintings portraying episodes from Hindu mythology or the 16th century Jewish synagogue in the only Jewish community in India. The Bolgatty Palace on the island of the same name is a stately home where the former Dutch colonial governor of Kochi lived, and is also a great place to enjoy your lunch under the tall tropical trees around the lagoon.

How green can you go? TIP

You can also attend a Kathakali dance performance. Here you will see dancers in colourful costumes and painted faces. You too can have your face painted! It is also possible to see a traditional Kerala Martial Arts performance.

Day 7: Kochi - Alleppey via motorboat cruise

After breakfast travel to the busy market place of Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey). After lunch we board the ferry for a 3 to 4 hour journey through the famous 'backwaters', a beautiful territory full of channels, lakes and coves. You can sunbathe on the deck or watch the landscape go by from the shelter of the boat.

Life on the waters edge is wide and varied, the locals row, fish, swim and bathe there, the waters is the centre of their lives and its not unusual to see people talking for an hour, while standing in the water up to their neck. Some people make a living transporting loads, and there is public transport over the water, while countless birds await their chance to catch a small fish.

What can I do?

Sustainable travel means taking into account the people, nature and culture so that travel remains possible in the future. The negative effects of tourism are increasingly palpable. 'So what can I do?', you may ask. Shoestring gives you 10 tips. Read More

Day 8: Alleppey - Periyar National Park

How green can you go? TIP

Today we journey through a lower-lying part of the mountain range into the Periyar National Park. Just before arriving, we’ll pass a genuine border with barriers: the border into Kerala. Here you will notice that the tropical rainforest still remains relatively unscathed.

Day 9: Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park is a large and mountainous area home to a wide variety of animals, including many endangered species. The parks inhabitants include herds of elephants, bison and groups of wild boar who can be seen wandering through the forest, appearing on the edge of the lake at sunset and sunrise. There are various species of monkey who tend to come up close to the hotel. Other animals in Periyar include fishing cats, otters and porcupines and you can spot turtles sunbathing on stumps of wood on the waters edge.

Another way to explore this magnificent green region is to join a ‘spice tour’ and visit a number of plantations in the rural surroundings of Thekkady by Jeep, stopping at a few small villages on the way. Your tour leader can tell you more.

Day 10: Periyar National Park - Madurai

Today we travel to Madurai, the oldest city in Tamil Nadu. The Meenakshi temple here is one of the largest of its kind in India and attracts thousands of pilgrims. The priests perform rituals and you can get blessed by an elephant and astrologers will offer to read your palm. There is also the opportunity to take a rickshaw ride through the city where a local guide will point out other points of interest.

Day 11: Madurai

Today is a free day. For museum lovers a visit to the Ghandi Memorial Museum makes the afternoon interesting. If you want to escape the bustle of Madurai you can join an optional excursion to Tirupparankunram. Here you will find a beautiful temple, which is an important stop for pilgrims.

Madurai is also a great place to look around for bronze statues, carpets and other souvenirs. You can stroll through the market and perhaps purchase some religious trinkets.

Day 12: Madurai - Trichy - Thanjavur

After an early start we travel from Madurai to Trichy. On the north side of this chaotic city, on an island in the Cauvery River is India’s largest temple complex, Srirangam. The main gate is more than ninety metres high and twenty thousand people live and work in this labyrinth and every day numerous pilgrims arrive. Around the main temple, there are seven temple walls and within the walls you will find lots of small shops, as well as the houses of Brahmins and other temple folk. Only inside the fourth wall, does the temple begin to look like a temple and the holiest of the holy temples has an amazing gold roof. In the temple and along the riverside, festivals are celebrated almost continuously.

Later in the day you continue your trip to Thanjavur (also known as Tanjore). The city and the estates around it lie in the fertile basin of the sacred Cauvery River. In the 10th century, Emperor Rajaraja I built the great Shiva temple here and it is considered today, one of the most beautiful buildings of the world.

Sustainable travel

As a responsible company our mission is to increase and improve sustainability in our business. Find out more about the measures that we currently take as well as our further plans to ensure we achieve our green ambitions. Read More

Day 13: Thanjavur - Pondicherry

Today you will arrive in Pondicherry where the French settled in the 18th century and you can still sense their presence as you walk by the colonial villas. You will find a number of streets with French names and premises with louvered doors. Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Shri Manakula Vinyagar Hindu temple and the Sacred Heart Catholic Church (with Gothic architecture and stained-glass windows).

The Pondicherry Museum is a good place to find sculptures, archaeological findings and memorabilia of the French settlers. The local market is well worth a visit too. Here you can buy many items including fish, fruit and vegetables. You can also look around the flower market where you will find flower garlands and wreaths.

Day 14: Pondicherry - Mamallapuram

Situated on the Bay of Bengal, this is a lovely place to end this holiday. You can marvel at the temples and stone reliefs from the 7th century and enjoy the beach, lapped by warm seawater. There are many beautiful monuments to be seen in the vicinity. Mamallapuram is the major producer of stone temple statues in India and everywhere you will find sculptors under shelters trying to hack their blocks of stone into shape.

Day 15: Mamallapuram

Today is a free day. Hiring out bicycles is a good idea and a great way to enjoy Indian country life. You will have time to explore the famous Shore temple which is the second most photographed monument in India after the Taj Mahal. In the evening you can enjoy a delicious meal. Naturally, the beach is the best location for wonderful seafood dishes

Please be advised that your group will normally be departing very late this evening/early tomorrow morning.

Day 16: Mamallapuram

You can use your hotel room in Mamallapuram until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). Mamallapuram is situated only 55 km (1 to 1½ hour drive) from the international airport of Chennai. We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of South India.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 16) is not included.


On departure date 28 September 2017 visit the DUSSHERA FESTIVAL in Mysore.
On departure date 17 October 2018 visit the DUSSHERA FESTIVAL in Mysore.

Please be aware that festival trip itineraries are subject to change - please check our news section for any updates.
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