Southern India Uncovered

Southern India Uncovered

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13 Days From

$2180

$2082

Southern India Uncovered

13 Days Starting in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India and ending in Kochi, Kerala, India

Visiting: Chennai, Puducherry, Mohanam Cultural, Educational and Environmental Trust, Thanjavur, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Kerala, Kochi

Tour operator:

Encounters Travel

Tour code:

639

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

All Ages / Not applicable

Age range:

8-95

Special diets catered:

Request dietary needs

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$2180
$2082 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$98

NB: Prices correct on 27-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Start your adventure in vibrant Chennai with a warm welcome and briefing. An optional city tour introduces you to its highlights. Afterward, embark on a scenic coastal drive south, stopping at the UNESCO-listed Mahabalipuram to marvel at the Shore Temple and other ancient rock carvings. Arrive in charming Pondicherry for free time to explore. Experience Pondicherry's unique blend of French and Tamil influences. Stroll the French Quarter, find tranquility at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and admire the vibrant Manakula Vinayagar Temple. Conclude your day with a relaxing walk along Promenade Beach. Next, immerse yourself in Tamil Nadu's rural culture at the Mohanam Cultural Center. Witness traditional arts, create Kolam artwork, and enjoy a Tamil-style lunch while supporting the community's heritage preservation. Continue to the historical city of Tanjore. In Tanjore, admire the architectural marvel of the Brihadeeswarar Temple, a testament to the Chola dynasty's power. Journey south to the ancient city of Madurai. Feel the vibrant spiritual energy, explore bustling bazaars, and revel in the grandeur of the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Reflect on your Indian adventure during a scenic train ride back to Chennai before your departure flight the following day. Next we head to Kerala! Travel to the picturesque hill station of Munnar, passing plantations of many varieties along the way. Let Munnar's tea-covered hills, crisp air, and swirling mists enchant you. Explore a spice-scented market, tour a tea plantation, observe tea pickers, and savor a tea tasting. Venture onward to Thekkady for wildlife viewing. Take a scenic boat ride through Periyar National Park, with the chance to spot elephants, water birds, and maybe even a tiger. Our next stop is Kumarakom, a tranquil backwater paradise. Glide through palm-fringed waterways aboard a traditional Shikara boat, and immerse yourself in the heart of a local village, witnessing the age-old craft of coir making. Your backwater adventure reaches its peak with a luxurious overnight stay on a traditional houseboat, complete with modern comforts. Surrender to the gentle rhythms of the water, savor local delicacies, and witness a breathtaking sunset. Say farewell to Kerala in vibrant Kochi, exploring its rich history and culture. Perhaps even catch a captivating Kathakali dance performance, leaving you with cherished memories before your journey home.

Highlights

  • Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry French Quarter

  • Tanjore Brihadeshvara Temple, Ancient Madurai, Kochi, Tea Platations of Munnar

  • Town of Thekkady, Periyar NP, Kumarakom Backwaters, Houseboat stay

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Welcome To Chennai. Transfer To Your Hotel.

Location: Chennai

Accommodation: Hotel, Chennai hotel

Meals Included: No Meals

Welcome to Tamil Nadu and the city of Chennai. You'll be met by a member of our local team, who will transfer you to your hotel. Once you're settled in, we'll run through the tour itinerary for the next few days, brief you on the local area and arrange a time to collect you and your fellow group members tomorrow.

If you have a morning arrival, why not join our optional half day Chennai City Tour which starts at around 12 midday.

Day 2 : Travel To Pondicherry Via The Unesco Listed Mahabalipuram Temples

Location: Puducherry

Accommodation: Hotel, Pondicherry hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

From Chennai we'll take the coastal road south towards Pondicherry, stopping along the way to visit the incredible shore temple at Mahabalipuram.

The Mahabalipuram temples stand as a testament to the artistry and devotion of the ancient Pallava dynasty. These magnificent structures, carved directly into the rock face, boast intricate sculptures and reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooks the Bay of Bengal, while other temples like Arjuna's Penance and the Five Rathas showcase a range of architectural styles. Mahabalipuram invites you to explore a world where history and spirituality collide, revealing the remarkable craftsmanship and vision of those who came before.

As we continue along the coast we'll arrive in Pondicherry where you'll have some free time in the evening to begin exploring.

Day 3 : Exploring Picturesque Pondicherry

Location: Puducherry

Accommodation: Hotel, Pondicherry hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is all about Pondicherry. We'll begin our exploration in the heart of Pondicherry's French Quarter (White Town). Stroll along tree-lined avenues admiring the elegant villas, quaint cafes, and restored colonial buildings. Next, it's time to seek tranquility at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual community founded by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Learn about their philosophy and visit the peaceful courtyard which is used for meditation. We'll experience the vibrant Tamil culture at the Manakula Vinayagar temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Witness traditional rituals and admire the ornate architecture on show here. We'll end the day by heading to the iconic Promenade Beach for a refreshing sea breeze. Take a leisurely stroll, admire the Gandhi Statue, and soak in the coastal energy.

Consider revisiting the French Quarter this evening where you'll be spoilt for dinner options!

Day 4 : Learn About Local Culture And Arts At The Mohanam Cultural Centre. Drive To Tanjore

Location: Mohanam Cultural, Educational and Environmental Trust

Accommodation: Hotel, Tanjore hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

The Mohanam Cultural Centre, established in 2001, serves a rural village within the Kaluveli/Auroville region of coastal Tamil Nadu. Facing the challenges of globalization, the centre strives to preserve local culture by providing extracurricular activities that help young people connect with their heritage. Housed in a traditional village home, Mohanam offers creative arts classes, a creche/kindergarten, and evening tuition. Its mission is to document and revive endangered elements of the region's intangible heritage, including performing and martial arts, festival customs, and crafts. By identifying living practitioners and offering workshops and classes focused on Kummi, Kollattam, Tapattam, Silambam, and Koothu, the centre raises awareness and passes skills to the next generation. This vital work draws government and international attention, particularly through the Tamil Heritage Festival. Mohanam's programs celebrate the richness of Tamil culture while embracing contemporary influences. In addition to these vibrant arts initiatives, the centre fosters education with its innovative kindergarten program, empowers women through skills training and its Mohanam Malargal House, and actively contributes to community development projects focused on environmental safety, health, and hygiene.

After receiving a traditional welcome to the cultural centre, our visit will include an introductory tour of the village, a visit to their bamboo farm and lesson in Kolam making, a traditional dance and musical performance and a tamil style lunch which is typically served on banana leaves.

Your Mohanam experience will leave you with a deep appreciation for the local culture, knowing your visit directly supports those the center helps. This afternoon, we head to Tanjore!

Day 5 : Visit The Brihadeeswarar Temple In Tanjore. Afternoon Drive To Madurai

Location: Thanjavur

Accommodation: Hotel, Madurai hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Tanjore, nestled in the heart of Tamil Nadu, is a city steeped in history and artistic brilliance. Renowned as the cradle of Chola art and architecture, Tanjore's crown jewel is the magnificent Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this will be the focus of our sightseeing this morning. This temple stands as a testament to the Chola dynasty's architectural prowess. With its towering vimana, intricate carvings, and the massive Nandi statue, it leaves visitors awestruck.

In the afternoon we'll continue south to the city of Madurai.

Day 6 : Visiting The Old City Of Madurai, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace And Spiritual Aarti Ceremony

Location: Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace

Accommodation: Hotel, Madurai hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Madurai, an ancient city in Tamil Nadu, pulses with a unique blend of history, spirituality, and vibrant culture. Renowned as the "Athens of the East," Madurai was once the seat of the Tamil Sangams, promoting a rich literary tradition. The city's heart beats around the magnificent Meenakshi Amman Temple, an architectural masterpiece with towering gopurams, intricate carvings, and sacred rituals that draw pilgrims from across India. Madurai's streets, filled with the sweet fragrance of jasmine, lead to bustling bazaars where you can find colorful textiles, delicious street food, and echoes of the city's lively spirit. Madurai offers a window into India's rich heritage and a glimpse of a city steeped in tradition yet brimming with modern energy.

Our sightseeing in Madurai today will include the Old Town - where you can lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets lined with traditional homes, shops selling fragrant jasmine garlands, and small eateries serving up Madurai's famous street food, The Grand Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace and the centre piece of Madurai, the Meenakshi Amman Temple where we'll have time to explore and partake in the aarti ceremony this evening.

Day 7 : Head In To Kerala State And The Tea Growing Region Of Munnar

Location: Munnar

Accommodation: Hotel, Munnar hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast today, we leave Tamil Nadu and head in to Kerala state where we'll end our journey in Munnar. Imagine rolling green hills covered in a perfect blanket of tea plants, crisp mountain air with a hint of spice, and mist swirling around the peaks – well that's Munnar. Munnar's cooler climate and scenic beauty have long made it a popular escape from the tropical heat of the lower regions.

Day 8 : Exploring The Markets And Tea Plantations Of Munnar

Location: Munnar

Accommodation: Hotel, Munnar hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is all about Munnar! We start exploring with a visit to the local market, located in the heart of town. As you enter the market you'll be greeted by a delightful mix of colors, aromas, and sounds. The air is thick with the scent of spices, fresh produce, and stalls selling vibrant fabrics. Your guide will give you a brief overview of the market and give you some free time to begin exploring at leisure. The market is known as being a treasure trove of fresh spices, but you'll also find stalls selling handicrafts, fruit/vegetables and even homemade chocolate - a Munnar speciality!

Next we'll visit one of the many tea-plantations which surround Munnar. You'll see vibrant green tea bushes, neatly trimmed into precise rows hugging the hillsides. You'll also likely see tea-pickers hard at work, moving swiftly between the tea-bushes, using their expert hands to pick the freshest of tea leaves. Next we'll learn about the processes involved in how these freshly picked leaves become the tea you're familiar with back at home. You'll see the trays on which the withering process takes places, before watching the rolling machines release the natural juices which aid the oxidation process which takes place next. Finally, you'll see the drying and packing where the leaves are sorted into different grades ready for sale. Our plantation visit ends with some tea tasting.

Day 9 : Continue To Thekkady And Take A Boat Ride In Periyar Np

Location: Thekkady

Accommodation: Hotel, Thekkady hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Leaving the green hills of Munnar, we'll drive to Periyar today. The route will take us through small towns and villages, past agricultural areas and of course, through the natural beauty which Kerala is famous for.

The town of Thekkady is known as the gateway to Periyar National Park which we'll see this afternoon as we take a boat ride on Lake Periyar, located in the heart of the national park. As the boat leaves the jetty area, you'll be rewarded with beautiful views of the immense lake, surrounded by lush green hillsides. The main reason for coming to Lake Periyar is for the wildlife which is in abundance in this area. An whilst we can't guarantee you'll see any specific animals, it's not uncommon to see Elephants along the lake shore, coming down for a drink or bathing in the water. Keep your binoculars on hand for sightings of water birds such as Herons, Egrets and Cormorants. Other mammals that can be found in the national park include Indian Bison, Deer, Wild Boar, Langurs and whilst it's rare, tigers have also been spotted on the lake shores. You have the remainder of the day free to explore the town of Thekkady.

Day 10 : Craft And Backwaters Of Kumarakom

Location: Kumarakom

Accommodation: Hotel, Kumarakom hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning we'll leave Periyar and head to the town of Kumarakom, synonymous with lush backwaters, a labyrinth of canals, lagoons, and lakes fringed by palm trees. This intricate, serene network of waterways is the heart of Kumarakom.

Once we reach Kumarakom we'll travel on the backwaters for around an hour, on board a Shikara. Shikaras are smaller, more traditional wooden boats, hand-paddled by skilled boatmen. With open sides and often a canopy for shade, they offer a closer, more intimate connection with the surrounding nature, before we board our larger houseboat tomorrow. We'll also explore the local village where we'll learn about some of the local crafts and industries which take place here, these include Coir Making (coir is the natural fibre extracted from coconut husks), Mat Weaving (often from the natural coir we've just learned about). We'll also learn about Toddy Tapping (this is process of extracting sap from specific types of palm trees to produce a mildly alcoholic drink called "toddy"), we'll also sample the cocounut water which is often sold by the road. The remainder of the day is free, why not try a local Ayurvedic treatment which this region is famous for.

Day 11 : Board A Houseboat And Explore The Keralan Backwaters.

Location: Kerala

Accommodation: Deluxe AC Houseboat

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

A real highlight of any visit to Kerala is an overnight stay onboard one of the beautiful houseboats which this part of India has become known for. Kerala houseboats, known as Kettuvallams, are an incredible blend of tradition and modern comfort. Kettuvallams originally served as cargo boats, transporting rice and spices through the waterways. They were masterfully constructed without using a single nail, with planks of wood tied together using coir rope and coated with a protective resin made from cashew nut shells. Today's luxurious houseboats retain the traditional charm but incorporate modern amenities, transforming them into floating retreats.

Whilst the exact route the houseboat takes will be determined by local conditions at the time of your visit, a typical day onboard a houseboat is all about slow, peaceful rhythms and quiet immersion in nature. The captain will navigate the boat through the narrow waterways of the backwaters, keep your eyes peeled for vibrant kingfishers, graceful egrets, and water lilies blooming on the waters edge. We may make a stop at a local village which you can explore or you can try your hand at fishing with the rods which are available to hire onboard. As dusk approaches, the backwaters transform themselves into a painting of gold and orange. Find a perfect spot to witness the sun dip below the horizon, a truly unforgettable sight. You'll spend the night in your private en-suite cabin, lulled by the gentle symphony of crickets outside.

Day 12 : Disembark And Enjoy The Keralan Beaches

Location: Kerala

Accommodation: Hotel, Kochi beach hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a magical night on your houseboat, we'll enjoy breakfast onboard before returning to Kochi, where our Keralan adventure will come to an end tomorrow. We'll spend our final evening at a beach resort where you'll have time to relax after spending two exploring the best of India.

Day 13 : Bon Voyage! Transfer To Kochi Airport For Departure.

Location: Kochi

Meals Included: Breakfast

You have some free time to buy any gifts for your loved ones back home before we transfer you to the airport to catch your flight back home.

What's Included

  • All accommodation in mid-range hotels and heritage properties

  • All transport and transfers in AC vehicles

  • 24-hour airport arrival and departure transfer service

  • Sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary

  • The incredible Mahabalipuram shore temple

  • Pondicherry French Quarter, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Manakula Vinayagar Temple and Pondicherry beach

  • Learn about the culture and arts of the region at the Mohanam Cultural Center

  • Tanjore's awe-inspiring Brihadeeswarar Temple

  • Ancient Madurai, Old Town tour, Meenakshi Amman Temple, Aarti Ceremony

  • Explore the markets and tea plantastions of Munnar

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What's Not Included

  • International flights (available on request)

  • Visa fees

  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)

  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary

  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)

  • Tips for driver and/or tour guide

  • Any other items not mentioned above

Mode of Transport

A/C minivan/minibus
houseboat

Accommodation

3 to 5-star hotels
Deluxe AC houseboat

Check out our Q&As

  • Are vaccinations required for this tour?

    You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation. Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are: India: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Yellow fever rules for India are quite complicated and lengthy. Please read the WHO guidance. Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the north eastern regions of India including Assam and Orissa are considered high risk,while the rest of India is generally considered low enough risk that anti-malarial tablets are not necessary for most travellers doing relatively short tours. Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view this US CDC information about where the virus is present and follow the links to further information detailing which countries need you to have a Yellow Fever vaccination as part of their entry requirements. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary. Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.

  • What is the tipping policy?

    Haggling is a traditional necessity, so its wise not to pay too much regard to initial prices. Instead fix an items value in your mind then negotiate towards it unhurriedly and don't be afraid to simply walk away if the price isn't right. Once you have offered a price though, you should be prepared to pay it as you may cause offence if you then back out. While an accepted part of the culture and customs in India, tipping is always optional, and the amounts paid should reflect excellent service. We are often asked for advice on common amounts, and for assistance with tipping. Some suggested guidelines are given below. Restaurants and taxis: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour guide. We suggest USD 5-10 per person per day for local guides. Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, for example if you don't have an extra accompanying guide. However USD 3-6 per person per day is generally appropriate. Tour Guides: To answer your next question. . . as a guideline for tour guides who accompany you on the entire tour, we suggest you allow around USD 5-10 per person per day, but ultimately, as with all the tipping descrbed above, its up to your satisfaction with their service and your personal budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount.

  • What currencies are required for this tour?

    Rupee (INR; symbol Rs) = 100 paise. Notes are in denominations of Rs 2,000, 1000, 500, 200, 50, 20, 10 and 1 Coins are in denominations of Rs 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50 paise (Rs 0.5). Note: The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Sometimes smaller vendors will not take bills larger than Rs 500. It is best to carry a range of rupee notes if you are shopping at bazaars and local markets. Note: You must present your passport whenever you change currency or travellers cheques. Commission for foreign exchange is becoming increasingly rare; if it is charged, the fee is nominal. Credit cards: In major cities, the full cadre of banks cards are generally accepted including debit cards, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. However, in smaller towns and villages, choice is generally narrowed to cash or MasterCard and Visa. ATM: 24 hour ATM machines can be found in all the major cities and most large towns. Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus are amongst the most commonly accepted cards. Travellers cheques: These are gradually getting less accepted but may still be changed at larger banks and some larger hotels. The most widely accepted currencies include US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. Some banks may refuse to change certain brands of traveller's cheques whilst others may exchange quite happily.

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    Most nationalities (including UK, USA, European, Australian, Canadian) will need to arrange their Indian tourist visa in advance. A new online e-visa system is available which makes the process more straightforward than before. You can make your application online at indiavisaonline. Visa requirements for India can and do change regularly and we suggest that you arrange your Indian visa early and re-check your specific visa requirements prior to travel for any changes.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    In India we provide a fully trained, local English-speaking tour leader/driver to accompany our groups. On this tour they will accompany you throughout the whole loop from Kochi/Munnar/Thekkady/Kumarakom/Kochi. On groups of 4 or more, a guide will accompany you for the duration of the tour, for groups of 2 to 3, you will have a driver and local guides in each city. At Encounters Travel we have a policy of aiming to use only local Indian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

  • Is travel insurance compulsory?

    Yes! Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event).

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    You are always able to change your travel date. However, some charges may apply depending on how long before your departure you make the change. Our flexible booking conditions and reduced charges will apply if you are changing date because of a Covid-19 reason or because your government is advising against travel to your destination. Please check our detailed booking conditions for full details.

  • When is my balance payment due?

    60 days prior to departure

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    On most of our group tours, solo travellers may choose to form a temporary 'tour bubble' and share a room with another traveller of the same sex in the group. If a room share is not available then a single room supplement may be payable, with the costs for these kept as low as possible. We have also removed compulsory single supplements from many of our tours, and are reducing the cost by 50% on s

  • Can I transfer my booking to someone else?

    Customers may transfer their booking or any Credit on File to another person who satisfies all the relevant conditions to the tour, provided that we are notified not less than 7 days before departure, and the transferee agrees to these booking conditions and all other terms of the contract between us. The Client and new booker are jointly and severally responsible for any outstanding payments and a transfer administration fee of GBP50 / USD75 / CAD100 / AUD100 / NZD100 / EUR75 / ZAR1000 / INR5000 or GBP100 / USD150 / CAD200 / AUD200 / NZD200 / EUR150 / ZAR2000 / INR10,000 if the transfer is made less than 60 days before departure. Important Note: Certain arrangements may not be amended or transferred after they have been confirmed (for example flight tickets, Gorilla Permits) and any alteration could incur a cancellation and rebooking charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Standfordspearl  

India Tour

May 2016

Our trip to India was an amazing experience. I think Encounters Travel did an excellent job! Everything was not perfect, but I also did not expect perfection! When you travel to a third world country, you always have to be ready for unexpected changes and try to be flexible. All in all I loved this tour. Our first stop was Delhi and we had an excellent guide, Jimmy, very knowledgeable and also funny. Very much enjoyed his company and time together. Second stop was Agra, where we spent one night. The hotel was a bit nicer than the one in Delhi, but both were really ok. Third stop was Jaipur, which is my favorite city on this tour, really amazing with the City Palace, the Amber Fort and the Jantar Mantar, a collection of astronomical instruments, built in 1738 and the largest sun dial of the world. We stayed in the fabulous Shahpura House, an old Heritage House, converted into Hotel. It was really great, with rooftop restaurant, Indian music and dance show at night and very nice swimming pool in the backyard. Next trip took us to the Shekhawati Region. Its a bit of a long trip, and it was hot. This region is famous for its Havelis, traditional, ornately decorated residences, with enclosed court yards. These residences are famous for its frescos, they belonged to the business men from the time when the silk road was striving and a lot of commerce was conducted between Asia and Europe. However, the Havelis that we saw were very run down and hardly livable, with once house occupied by a care taker family. When we entered, we saw the man of the house peeing in the corner of the court yard, and that was not what we had expected, but when you travel in India, you get used to seeing men pee everywhere! Not really what you want to see, but India has this duality, modern and primitive! Our taxi had wifi, but the stench of the polluted air, the garbage everywhere and the dirt and lack of sanitary conditions accompanied us everywhere! The air in Delhi was terrible, smelled like a mix of fire and garbage and I woke up every day with my eyes very swollen, but, again, that's India. India's cities are the most polluted in the world today! The poverty and all the begging children is also very disturbing and heart breaking, but we were prepared that this is common in India and part of the experience. All in all this was an amazing trip and I would highly recommend it!

Hector C  

Incredible India!

March 2022

Just finished up the Incredible India tour, what an amazing experience! If you’re expecting every modern comfort and can’t be in the heat too long, this might not be for you. However, you would miss out on the experience to taste the most flavorful, colorful, and energetic culture that exists in this world. I would describe this tour as a Golden Triangle+ (it goes to a couple more towns/villages) On most stops a local tour guide would join your group and give you a thorough explanation and interesting facts of the monuments, palaces, forts, etc. They were all fantastic. Not only they taught you the history but also made sure you visited markets, small villages, and mingled with the locals that were going about their daily lives. For this trip, we made sure we picked a date that included Holi festival. This was very special as we celebrated Holi in a very small village (Tordi). We got to play with the colors in a small village full of wonderful kids and people that were just as curious of us as we were of them. We had a blast with the colors. Our driver, Mr. Singh will always be a friend. In typical Sikh manner he was always there to save the day whenever anything went wrong. He did it always with a huge smile and would throw in a joke or two. The accommodations were very well selected. As the tour description states, the heritage hotels were the absolute best. The hospitality was in the true Indian way. Both the Khandela Haveli and the Tordi Garh were great. I wish all hotels were in that style. Booking this trip had its major challenges caused by India entry restrictions related to COVID-19. Encounters Travel did an excellent job recognizing these challenges and modifying their policies. I feel like they were more than fair in recognizing the uncertainties of traveling during a pandemic. Ant Horrobin took us by the hand throughout the entire process and kept us up to date with all the changes. Thanks to him we decided to go on with the trip and we could not be any happier! Highly recommend.

TipsyTracy  

Travelled to India with Encounters Travel

May 2015

My first time visit to India was with Encounters Travel. What a super awesome experience! Not to exaggerate but the way the people welcomed me at the airport even made up for the sudden heat. Very well maintained cars, very nice hotels and I very much appreciated how the driver kept offering me perfectly chilled water every day. The various guides I had in the different cities were equally excellent. It was a small group, which made it even better because we got to see a bit more than we would have if we were a larger group. We got to spend a bit more time at sights too due to this reason. I was sad to leave India because the way things were organized definitely made me feel taken care of. Thank you Encounters Travel!

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  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Encounters Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform encounters travel, 60 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Encounters Travel requires a minimum deposit of 150 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of encounters travel charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 35% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

Why book with tourhub?

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100% Guaranteed Refunds if your trip is cancelled.


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Guaranteed Best Value

Industry leading discounts, we won't be beaten on price.


No cancellation or amendment fees from tourhub.

(Operator terms may apply)

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