The Story

Best time to go: October - April
Best for: Longer Journeys, Adventure & Off-the-beaten track, Cultural & Immersive

A private tour to both Kerala and Tamil Nadu has many advantages; in many ways they go perfectly together. Kerala is more laid-back, with its tropical backwaters, beaches and laid-back feel, whilst Tamil Nadu is packed with culture, temples and things to see around every corner. It goes without saying that it is quite a journey, covering about 1000kms over two weeks, but on every journey you’ll see the many facets which make India such a colourful and fascinating destination. Begin in Chennai (once Madras) which was the initial main base for the British East India Company in the 17th century and an interesting city to explore.  Tamil Nadu is known for its colourful Hindu temples and superb shore temples at Mahabalipuram located just south of Madras. The town of Pondicherry was once to the French East India Company, and the architecture reflects the history. You even find baguette shops and glorious Franco-Indian cuisine in the many superb restaurants. Continue through the Tanjore and Trichy, the ancient Chola capital and containing exquisite temples. You might then be a little templed out by now, so dip into Tamil Nadu’s Tamil rural heartlands in the Chettinad Region. Next see the impressive Meenakshi Temple in Madurai before heading into the hills and a stay at Rajakkad Estate. You continue through the stunning tea plantations of Munnar before dropping down to Lake Vembenad the Kerala’s tropical backwaters before ending in Cochin.

Guide Pricing

Starting At

£2270
Price per person including all accommodation, private transfers, unique experiences and excluding international flights.

Highlights

  • A classic route taking you from Madras (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu on the Coromandel Coast to Cochin on the Malabar Coast in Kerala
  • See such an ecletic range of places, from dramatically colourful Hindu temples from the Chola era, to driving through the Western Ghats and ending on the backwaters
  • Have a superb vehicle and private driver, and expert personal guides in each of the stops
  • Stay in luxury, boutique hotels throughout

Suggested Hotels

Day 1-2

Vivanta by Taj – Connemara

$ $ $ $ $  

Chennai’s only luxury heritage hotel, the Vivanta by Taj Connemara offers superb dining, a spectacular swimming pool and a wide range of spa treatments.

View hotel
Day 1-2

Vivanta by Taj – Connemara

$ $ $ $ $  

Chennai’s only luxury heritage hotel, the Vivanta by Taj Connemara offers superb dining, a spectacular swimming pool and a wide range of spa treatments.

View hotel
Day 3-4

Palais De Mahe

$ $ $ $ $  

Superbly located in Pondicherry’s French Quarter, Palais de Mahe makes a charming boutique retreat with swimming pool, spa and great French-Indian cuisine.

View hotel
Day 3-4

Palais De Mahe

$ $ $ $ $  

Superbly located in Pondicherry’s French Quarter, Palais de Mahe makes a charming boutique retreat with swimming pool, spa and great French-Indian cuisine.

View hotel
Day 5-6

Svatma Tanjore

$ $ $ $ $  

Located in Tanjore, Svatma boutique hotel offers an exquisitely luxurious base for exploring ancient Tamil Nadu’s magnificent Chola heritage.

View hotel
Day 5-6

Svatma Tanjore

$ $ $ $ $  

Located in Tanjore, Svatma boutique hotel offers an exquisitely luxurious base for exploring ancient Tamil Nadu’s magnificent Chola heritage.

View hotel
Day 7
Heritage Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Heritage Madurai

$ $ $ $ $  

The Heritage, Madurai’s top hotel, is a peaceful colonial-style retreat ideally located for cultural adventures in Tamil Nadu’s most famous temple city.

View hotel
Day 7
Heritage Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Heritage Madurai

$ $ $ $ $  

The Heritage, Madurai’s top hotel, is a peaceful colonial-style retreat ideally located for cultural adventures in Tamil Nadu’s most famous temple city.

View hotel
Day 8-9
Rajakkad Estate Photo credit: Christophe Bosset/Rajakkad Estate

Rajakkad Estate

$ $ $ $ $  

A heavenly off-the-beaten-track escape in Tamil Nadu’s wooded Palani Hills, Rajakkad Estate offers a very civilised immersion into rural Tamil Nadu life.

View hotel
Day 8-9
Rajakkad Estate Photo credit: Christophe Bosset/Rajakkad Estate

Rajakkad Estate

$ $ $ $ $  

A heavenly off-the-beaten-track escape in Tamil Nadu’s wooded Palani Hills, Rajakkad Estate offers a very civilised immersion into rural Tamil Nadu life.

View hotel
Day 10-11

Talayar Valley Bungalow

$ $ $ $ $  

Set in Kerala’s hill country near Munnar, Talayar Bungalow is a charming plantation estate, offering peace, comfort and immersive tea country experiences.

View hotel
Day 10-11

Talayar Valley Bungalow

$ $ $ $ $  

Set in Kerala’s hill country near Munnar, Talayar Bungalow is a charming plantation estate, offering peace, comfort and immersive tea country experiences.

View hotel
Day 12-13

Purity

$ $ $ $ $  

Purity is a luxury boutique located on the banks of Lake Vembenad in Kerala, India featuring just 14 rooms.

View hotel
Day 12-13

Purity

$ $ $ $ $  

Purity is a luxury boutique located on the banks of Lake Vembenad in Kerala, India featuring just 14 rooms.

View hotel
Day 14-15

Brunton Boatyard

$ $ $ $ $  

Wonderfully located on the Fort Cochin waterfront, Brunton Boatyard is an atmospheric small luxury hotel, steeped in Kerala’s rich colonial heritage.

View hotel
Day 14-15

Brunton Boatyard

$ $ $ $ $  

Wonderfully located on the Fort Cochin waterfront, Brunton Boatyard is an atmospheric small luxury hotel, steeped in Kerala’s rich colonial heritage.

View hotel

Customise Your Itinerary

We can tweak and change any element of this itinerary and you can depart on any day you want, add nights here and there, and we can fully customise your day-to-day experiences depending on your interests. Here are just a few ideas of many that we can look at and discuss when we come to plan your tailor-made itinerary.

Idea 1

We will of course tailor the itinerary depending on your interest in Hindu temples, we could offer a few more!

Idea 2

One way of linking Madurai and the Backwaters is to go via Periyar instead of Munnar

Idea 3

You might like a stay on the beach at the end, and this can be done in Marari, just south of Cochin, or even the Maldives

Further Itinerary Suggestions

Classic Tamil Nadu

Chennai - Rajakkad - Madurai - Chettinad - Tanjore - Pondicherry - Covelong  

For hardened Indiaphiles, Tamil Nadu is somewhat of a holy grail. Lying off-the-beaten-track, you can explore stunning Hindu temples with a distinct Dravidian Culture awaiting you.

15 days from £2005 p. p.

A journey through Northern Kerala & Karnataka

Mysore - Wyanad - Nagarhole National Park - Coorg - Kasaragod - Bangalore  

Northern Kerala and southern Karnataka are fast becoming the destinations to visit, a blend of history, culture, coffee hills, wildlife and fantastic beaches.

13 days from £2470 p. p.

Classic Kerala

Cochin - Munnar - Periyar - Lake Vembenad - Backwaters - Marari Beach  

Kerala is exceptionally laid-back, and a leisurely private tour allows you to see the markets and history of Cochin, tea estates, wildlife, spice plantations, backwaters and end on the Indian Ocean.

13 days from £1595 p. p.

Slow Kerala

Cochin - Munnar - Dewalokam - Lake Vembenad - Marari Beach  

Take a leisurely private tour through Kerala, exploring the Cochin, the tea plantations and sleepy villages in the rural heartlands, Lake Vembenad and the backwaters before ending on the beach.

15 days from £1895 p. p.