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Cox & Kings Treasures of Southern India
from £2395 pp

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This journey travels through hill stations, tropical backwaters and temple-laden towns while staying in some of the region’s very best hotels.

What’s Included
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4- & 5-star accommodation
Flexible - extensions, room & flight upgrades available
Small group size - average 18 people (max 26)
International flights with British Airways
Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicles
13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners
Guided sightseeing & entrance fees
Porterage at airports & stations

Signature Experiences
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Stay in the heart of the French quarter in Puducherry (Pondicherry)
Visit Meenakshi temple for the night ceremony
Spend 2 nights relaxing in the Keralan backwaters at the sublime Kumarakom Lake Resort
Guided tour of hidden Kochi
Small group size - average 14 people (max 26)
Stay in 4- & 5-star accommodation

Tour Itinerary
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Day 1: Fly to Chennai

Direct flight from London (regional connections available) to Chennai (Madras) with British Airways. (N)

Day 2: Chennai

On arrival transfer to the Hyatt Regency (or similar) for 1 night (early check in available). Time at leisure before an afternoon tour of the city followed by free time at Marina beach. (B)

Day 3: Mahabalipuram • Puducherry

Morning walking tour of Mylapore, a town that predates Chennai by 2,000 years. Continue to Puducherry (Pondicherry), visiting the world heritage listed shore temples at Mahabalipuram en route. Stay 2 nights at the Palais de Mahe (or similar) located in the heart of the French quarter. (B)

Day 4: Puducherry

This morning visit a local rural village, organised by Mohanam Cultural Centre. Watch the villagers involved in traditional crafts such as stone carving, ceramics and terracotta work. Afternoon guided walk through Puducherry, the location for the award-winning film Life of Pi. (B)

Day 5: Thanjavur

Drive through scenic countryside to Thanjavur (Tanjore) for 2 nights at the magical Svatma. Lunch at Kumbakonam and visit the handloom weavers’ houses in Darasuram en route. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Thanjavur

Morning visit to the Brihadeeswarar temple and its beautiful frescoes. Later, visit the art gallery and fascinating Saraswathi Mahal library at Tanjore Palace. Evening introduction to the art of Thanjavur paintings at your hotel followed by dinner. (B, D)

Day 7: Chettinad

Travel to Chettinad. Visit to a village market and evening culinary experience followed by a traditional dinner. Overnight stay at Chidambara Villas (or similar). (B, D)

Day 8: Madurai

Travel to Madurai. Evening visit to the illuminated Meenakshi temple and Hall of a Thousand Pillars for the night ceremony. Overnight stay at the Heritage Madurai. (B)

Day 9: Munnar

Travel to the hill country around Munnar for an overnight stay at Blackberry Hills Resort (or similar). (B, D)

Day 10: Kumarakom

Morning guided walk through a working tea plantation at Kannan Devan Tea Museum. Travel to Kumarakom for 2 nights at the Kumarakom Lake Resort, set within gardens and with panoramic views of Lake Vembanad. (B, D)

Day 11: Kumarakom

Day at leisure to enjoy the beautiful surrounds. (B, D)

Day 12: Kochi

This morning, cruise aboard a shikara (wooden boat) through the backwaters before driving to Kochi (Cochin). Evening traditional Kathakali dance performance. Stay 2 nights at Eighth Bastion (or similar). (B)

Day 13: Kochi

Morning sightseeing tour of Kochi’s highlights including Mattancherry Palace, the Chinese fishing nets and the 16th-century St Francis Church. Then explore hidden Kochi including Jew Town, which showcases a number of dying arts such as exquisite French lace embroidery. Continue to dhobi wallah, a wash-house where a sea of white hotel sheets and clothing are slathered on the washing stones. Finish with a stop at Kochi’s foremost art gallery-cum-cafe, Kashi. Afternoon at leisure to further explore the labyrinthine streets and their array of local markets. (B)

Day 14: Fly to London via Mumbai

Fly to London via Mumbai (Bombay) with British Airways. (B)

Tour Highlights
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Stay in 4- and 5-star accommodation
6 dinners included
Stay in the heart of the French quarter in Puducherry (Pondicherry)
Visit some of Tamil Nadu’s most exquisite temples
Stay at the idyllic Svatma in Thanjavur
Explore the hill country and tea plantations
Cruise the backwaters
Small group size – maximum 26 people

Accommodation
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Blackberry Hills Retreat & Spa, Munnar
Set against the backdrop of western ghats, Blackberry Hills Retreat & Spa is a simple mountain resort. Each of the 18 rooms and cottages is furnished in ethnic style and offers superb views of the surrounding mountain range, tropical forests and tea plantations. Facilities at this resort include a multi-cuisine restaurant and a spa.

Chidambara Vilas, Karaikudi
Originally built during the late 19th century by the Chettiyars of the Karaikudi region, Chidambara Vilas is a mansion that has been converted into a hotel. Sympathetically restored over a period of 3 years, the hotel retains many of its original features including the period furniture, pillared columns exquisitely carved out of Burma teak and the Belgian Chandeliers. Each of the 25 spacious rooms is comfortably furnished and carefully combines old-world charm with the essential requirements of modern-day traveller. The rooms are decorated individually and no two are the same size. The hotel's facilities include a main dining area that serves traditional Chettinad cuisine. The interactive kitchen set next to this dining area offers guests the opportunity to learn about traditional Chettinad cuisine.

Eighth Bastion, Kochi (Cochin)
Set in the heart of Fort Kochi, Eighth Bastion is a small chic property that effortlessly combines contemporary and colonial styles. The hotel is built around a small courtyard, and features rooms that are elegantly decorated in minimalist style with many overlooking the Arabian Sea. No two rooms are of the same size with some featuring shower cubicles and others sunken bath tubs. None of the rooms feature a television. The Eighth Bastion hotel currently does not have a licence to serve alcoholic drinks. Features: 19 rooms, restaurant serving Indian and continental cuisine, outdoor pool and garden.

Heritage Madurai, Madurai
Heritance Madurai is a seamless blend of old-world charm and modern comforts. Set among 17 acres of lush green gardens, Heritance Madurai has 35 villas. The original Madurai Coats Cub, which had its origins during the times of the British Raj, has not lost its British flavour, and with all the refurbishment has now been completely restored in keeping with the traditional architecture of this historic town. The rooms are spacious, tastefully furnished and designed to meet the demands of discerning travellers. All the 35 villas come with plunge pools and resemble traditional village houses. The 18th century columns and antique doors from the Chettinad district give the hotel a distinctive character.

Hyatt Regency Chennai, Chennai (Madras)
Centrally located in Chennai, the Hyatt Regency is a modern, luxurious hotel with large rooms and an array of fine-dining options to choose from. Rooms are fitted with every modern convenience required for a comfortable stay and many offer a wonderful view over the city of Chennai. Enjoy traditional Indian or international cuisine at the wonderful Spice Haat restaurant or try one of the Italian, Chinese or Japanese speciality restaurants.

 

Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kumarakom
Looking out to a panoramic view of Lake Vembanad and set in 10 acres of gardens, the Kumarakom Lake Resort is a haven of peace and tranquillity. The resort comprises of 52 double-bedded air-conditioned traditional cottages. Each cottage, painstakingly relocated and restored ‘Illums' (Keralan homesteads), provide a relaxed and informal Keralan atmosphere.

Palais de Mahé, Puducherry (Pondicherry)
A quaint hotel in the heart of Puducherry's old French quarter, Palais du Mahé is only minutes away from the area's famous promenade, historic temples, famous cathedrals and colourful boutiques. With high ceilings, deep verandas, bright tangerine pillars and ochre colonnades, this heritage-style mansion features 18 spacious rooms that elegantly echo the distinctive Indo-French architecture, decorated with simple, period-style furniture sourced either locally or crafted by artisans from the region. While traditionally these mansions feature a large courtyard, this has been replaced with an inviting pool. Facilities at this delightful hotel include a floor dedicated to Ayurvedic massages and treatments and a rooftop restaurant serving Indian and Continental cuisine.

Svatma, Thanjavur (Tanjore)
Built as an elite family residence over 100 years ago, Svatma has been lovingly restored to provide 38 rooms all with their own individual charm. This is a truly magical hotel lying in landscaped gardens in close proximity to Thanjuvur's most iconic sights, including the Brihadeeshwarar temple. Svatma offers unique experiences, from culinary classes and chamber concerts to Thanjavur painting lessons and lectures on local dance styles - a true homage to Tamil art and culture. Features: 38 rooms, 3 restaurants serving local cuisine, luxury spa, gym, yoga centre.

Tour Extensions
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Coonoor + Mysore
4 Nights from £645
Travel to Ooty to explore the erstwhile British summer capital and to ride the scenic Blue Mountain Railway. Charming Mysore is home to India’s largest palace and a base from which to explore the island citadel of Srirangapatna.

Day 14: Coonoor
This morning drive to Coonoor. Stay 2 nights at the Gateway Hotel Coonoor (or similar). (B)
Day 15: Ooty
Enjoy the scenic narrow gauge train trip to Ooty aboard the Blue Mountain Railway as it glides past tea plantations and charming villages. Afternoon tour of Ooty’s botanical gardens. (B)
Day 16: Mysore
Travel to Mysore and visit the impressive Nandi Bull and the magnificent maharajah’s palace. Overnight at the Radisson Mysore (or similar). (B)
Day 17: Srirangapatna • Bengaluru
Travel by road to Bengaluru (Bangalore) visiting Srirangapatna en route. Overnight at the LaLiT Ashok Bangalore (or similar). (B)
Day 18: Fly to London (B)
Direct flight to London with British Airways. (B)

Indian Roller, Nagarhole National Park
Mysore + Nagarhole
4 Nights from £1045
Enjoy a wildlife safari in Nagarhole tiger reserve, noted for its population of birds, elephants, langurs and predators such as tigers, leopards and wild dogs. In the Kabini area a black panther has been regularly sighted along with two tigresses and their cubs.

Days 14-15: Fly to Bengaluru • Nagarhole
Fly to Bengaluru (Bangalore) and transfer by road to Kabini for 2 nights at the Orange County Kabini. Full-day wildlife viewing the following day. (B, L, D)
Day 16: Mysore
Morning wildlife viewing. Travel to Mysore and take a guided tour of the city’s artisan quarter and stunning maharajah’s palace. Overnight at the Radisson Mysore. (B)
Day 17: Srirangapatna • Bengaluru
Travel by road to Bengaluru visiting the island citadel of Srirangapatna en route. Overnight at the LaLiT Ashok Bangalore (or similar). (B)
Day 18: Fly to London (B)
Direct flight to London with British Airways. (B)


Marari Beach Resort
3 Nights from £335
Extend your stay in tropical Kerala by spending 3 nights at Mararikulam, a beautiful stretch of beach located between Kochi (Cochin) and Alleppey. One of the picturesque fishing villages that dot the coastline, the main attractions are the local culture, the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and the extensive sandy beaches. Stay at Marari Beach Resort, a homely haven with thatched cottages set amid gardens by the sea.

Day 14: Marari
This morning drive to Mararikulam for 3 nights at the Marari Beach Resort, a village-style hotel that provides comfortable accommodation in 62 individual cottages and Deluxe pool villas. (B)
Days 15-16: Marari
Days at leisure to enjoy the resort’s facilities, which include daily yoga sessions and a large swimming pool. The resort is also able to offer culinary experiences, village walks and cycling excursions. (B)
Day 17: Fly to London via Mumbai
Fly to London via Mumbai (Bombay) with British Airways. (B)

Important Tour Information
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Group tour manager

Fully escorted throughout by a local tour manager from arrival in Chennai.

Superior tour

This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.

Single Supplement Available
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Single Supplement is available from £1095.

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