Southern India

A$5,621
NEW
A$5,621
NEW

Trip highlights:

  • Explore the French Quarter of Pondicherry, once the largest French colony in India
  • Walk around the amazing market at Meenakshi temple.
  • Experience the incredible evening ‘Bedtime of the God’ ceremony at the Meenakshi temple.
  • Easy trekking tour at a Munnar Tea plantation.
  • Afternoon boat safari in the Periyar National park.
  • Spice Plantation visit in Periyar.
  • Heritage walks along with lunch at a local family’s home in Allapuzha (Alleppey).
  • Walk in Fort Cochin.
  • Kathakkali dance in Cochin in a public theatre.
  • Cruise the tranquil Backwaters of Kerala, and stay overnight on a Kettuvallam (traditional houseboat).
  • Sample many Southern Indian delicacies.
  • Immerse yourself in the culture of Incredible India!

Will you join us?

Day 1 – Sunday 20th August 2023

ARRIVE AT CHENNAI (D)

On arrival, you will be met by your tour host and transferred to your hotel. Formerly called Madras, Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. This metropolis is often called the cultural capital of India for its deep-rooted traditions and long standing heritage. The city is popular for its numerous tourist destinations including beaches, temples, forts and palaces along with many colourful festivals that attract visitors each year. The city presents a culture that is totally different from North India and represents a lifestyle that is a perfect blend of traditional and modern India. Spend your afternoon at leisure, or possibly visit the St George Fort and Museum or the Kapaleeswara Temple an ancient Shiva temple, and the biggest temple in Chennai.

Accommodation: Your own Superior Room at the ‘Crown Plaza Chennai Adyar Park’ or similar


Day 2 – Monday 21st August 2023

CHENNAI- MAHABALIPURAM- PONDICHERRY (B, D)

After breakfast we drive to Marina Beach, one of the most magnificent beaches in India covered with glittering golden sand and a clear strip of blue sea. Watching the sun rise and set here is both captivating and breathtaking. Next we drive to Mahabalipuram, a 7th century coastal town located about 60 km from Chennai. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the area has various historical monuments dating back to the period between the 7th to 9th centuries. We will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Mahaalipuram. Arjuna penance remains one of the most beautifully carved structures with over 100 figures of gods and semi divine creatures, birds and beasts, man and saint. The Five Rathas, also known as Panch Rathas, is a set of rock temples where the frothy waves form a striking backdrop, protected by rows of rock-carved bulls. The most unique feature of the temple is that it houses shrines to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Later we drive on to Pondicherry. Located on the Coromandel shoreline, it was ruled by the French for more than 3 Centuries, and there is still a strong influence of French culture; especially in the architecture.

Accommodation: Your own lakeview room at ‘Le Pondy Resort’ or similar


Day 3 – Tuesday 22nd August 2023

PONDICHERRY (B, D)

After breakfast we visit Auroville, which is described as ‘the City of Tomorrow’. It is recognised as the first endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs could live in peace and harmony. This afternoon we enjoy a guided walk around the French quarters of Pondicherry. Once the largest French colony in India, Pondicherry has a long and interesting history of trade and war and the Town is divided by a canal into French Town and Tamil Town.

We will explore either side of the canal, starting with French Town. Here, the French legacy of Pondicherry is still preserved in its French Quarters, with tree-lined streets, blue-enameled signposts bearing French names, colonial villas and heritage buildings that have been artfully converted into boutique hotels. A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal and passes several statues, including a 4m-high Gandhi Memorial.

We will walk around the town passing by colonial buildings with lush green gardens and Bougainvillea flowers which add to the beauty of the streets. We will end our walk with the visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Founded by Sri Aurobindo way back in November 1926, the Ashram initially comprised of only 24 disciples. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry has come a long way from its initial days of inception. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

Accommodation: Your own lakeview room at ‘Le Pondy Resort’ or similar


Day 4 – Wednesday 23rd August 2023

PONDICHERRY- MADURAI (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Madurai. It is a scenic 8 hour journey and we will have many stops along the way. Madurai is also called the Athens of the East. It is a place of great historical and cultural importance. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu and lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is famous for its temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders. Upon arrival in to Madurai we transfer to our hotel, where we enjoy this evening’s meal.

Accommodation: Your own Standard Room at the‘Fortune Pandiyan Hotel’ or similar


Day 5 – Thursday 24th August 2023

MADURAI (B,D)

Today, we walk through the Alleys of Madurai very early in the morning to discover the local life of the oldest city of South India. During our walk, we will see how people start their day with a variety of activities. Housewives drawing Koalam in front of their homes to bring prosperity, milking of cows, street vendors selling their vegetables, herbs and food is a treat to watch. Wholesale markets, where fruit and vegetables from different parts of South India are bought and sold will be experienced during the walk. We will also pass through some sandal wood shops and climb up to one of the tallest buildings in the vicinity to get a panoramic view of Madurai. During the walk you will also get to taste some local food (tea/snacks etc) and finally the walk will end with a traditional South Indian breakfast. After breakfast enjoy some touring of Madurai, including Meenakshi Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Mahal. This evening we take part in the ceremony ‘Bedtime of the Gods’ at the Meenakshi Temple. This is a colourful procession in which the image of Shiva is carried and accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests from his shrine. This ceremony is worth witnessing!

Accommodation: Your own Standard Room at the‘Fortune Pandiyan Hotel’ or similar


Day 6 – Friday 25th August 2023

MADURAI- MUNNAR (B, D)

After breakfast we will take the breathtakingly beautiful scenic drive to Munnar. This is the queen of hill stations and is located at the confluence of three mountain streams. The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,450-2,695 meters above sea level. Munnar has the highest peak in South India. In 1870, the Poonjar Chief leased out 588 sq. kms. to J D Munro, a Scottish tea planter. Munnar soon became the favored Summer resort of the British rulers in the colonial days. Today Munnar has an unending expanse of tea plantations – pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests, along with the aroma of spices in the cool air. On arrival in Munnar, transfer to your hotel and relax for the evening at your mountain resort.

Accommodation: Your own Green Tea room at ‘Fragrant Nature Resort’ or similar


Day 7 – Saturday 26th August 2023

MUNNAR (B, D)

Today we enjoy a walking tour through the expansive tea gardens. Delight in the stunning beauty of the tea estates, a staple of the region. Next we visit the Tea Museum. It is the first of its kind in India.The aim of this museum is to showcase the growth of tea plantations and anyone visiting will get a clear picture of how laborious tea processing really is!

Accommodation: Your own Green Tea room at ‘Fragrant Nature Resort’ or similar


Day 8 – Sunday 27th August 2023

MUNNAR – KUMARAKOM (B,D)

After breakfast drive to Kumarakom. A backwater hamlet bestowed with a wealth of natural beauty, Kumarakom in the South Indian state of Kerala is situated on soil reclaimed from the Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom, a combination of two words, Kumaran, the name of a venerated local deity, and Akam meaning “domicile”, which translates as “the residence of Lord Kumaran”. With lush paddy fields, coconut groves, water lilies, and mangrove forests till where the eye can see, Kumarakom’s verdant vistas are truly mesmerizing. On arrival in Kumarakom, transfer to your hotel. Late afternoon at leisure in the beautiful surroundings.

Accommodation: Your own Heritage Bungalow room at ‘The Coconut Lagoon Resort’ or similar


Day 9 – Monday 28th August 2023

KUMARAKOM – KERALA BACKWATERS (B, L, D)

After a leisurely morning breakfast, drive to the backwaters Jetty to board the houseboat – later enjoy cruising in the backwaters. Kumarakom and Alappuzha (Alleppey) are the top backwater destinations for anyone looking for houseboat cruises in Kerala. The backwaters here are very calm and inviting and the journey through the Vembanad Lake, the biggest of the lakes in Kerala, is indeed a magical experience. The cruises include food being served in the houseboat itself which includes special Indian Kerala dishes, Kerala recipes, and Kerala cuisines..

Accommodation: Your own cabin on board the houseboat


Day 10 – Tuesday 29th August 2023

KERALA BACKWATERS/ALLEPPY – MARARIKULAM (B, L, D)

This morning we enjoy breakfast on board the Houseboat, while cruising the gorgeous backwaters. Mid-morning we will disembark, drive to Alleppey town and take a guided heritage walk. We will pass by some churches, temples and a mosque and will finally end the walk with a delicious feast at a local family’s home. After lunch we will drive to Mararikulam and check in to our beach resort. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the beach and surrounds at leisure.

Accommodation: Your own Garden Villa at the ‘Marari Beach Resort’ or similar


Day 11 – Wednesday 30th August 2023

MARARIKULAM (B, D)

After breakfast, the day will be entirely yours to enjoy the stunning sea-side village at leisure. Set on 30 acres of gardens, with coconut groves, lily ponds, fruit trees, a butterfly garden and a large organic farm, you are welcome to wander around and explore as you wish. There is also a swimming pool, daily yoga sessions on the beach, a cooking school and Aryvedic Spa. Tonight the group will come together for dinner.

Accommodation: Your own Garden Villa at the ‘Marari Beach Resort’ or similar


Day 12 – Thursday 31st August 2023

MARARIKULAM – COCHIN (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Cochin and explore the Fort Cochin area. This walking tour gives you a glimpse into Cochin’s rich history and heritage, showcasing the mixed Dutch, Portuguese, British and Jewish influences that make the city unique. During the tour, we will visit the old quarter of Fort Kochi, exploring the quaint streets of this city on foot. We’ll also visit Fort Kochi’s seaside promenade, and get a glimpse of daily life in Kochi. There’s also the chance to see the huge fishing nets (Cheenavala) that are distinctly unique to Cochin and China. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets. We also visit the Dutch Palace and Jewish Synagogue before this evening’s Kathakali dance. Witness the strength and vigor of the Kathakali dance drama, as the all-male dancers enact episodes from great Indian epics. Their extremely stylized gestures, elaborate make- up, masks and the splendid costumes recreate an incomparable sense of pageantry. Afterwards we all gather for our farewell dinner in Southern India.

Accommodation: Your own deluxe room at Le Meridian Hotel, Cochin or similar


Day 13 – Friday 1st September 2023

COCHIN DEPARTURE (B)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Cochin International Airport in time for your flight home, or continue your Indian adventure if you are joining the Two’s a Crowd Royal Rajasthan tour commencing later in the day in Delhi.

TOUR PRICING: A$5,621

TOUR DATES: 20TH AUGUST – 1ST SEPTEMBER 2023

Crown Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

Set in Chennai’s upscale Alwarpet neighbourhood, this high-end hotel in an imposing modern building with a pillared portico is 2.4 km from Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple and 5 km from Marina Beach. Refined rooms and suites have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars. Upgraded rooms add rainfall showerheads, while club rooms offer access to a private lounge with free breakfast and an airport shuttle. Suites add living rooms, massage chairs and/or butlers. Room service is available. There are 3 restaurants, a 24-hour eatery and a wood-panelled bar/lounge, as well as an outdoor pool and a fitness room. Parking is complimentary.

Le Pondy Resort

In thatched-roof buildings spread across 6 hectares of gardens, this luxe beachfront resort is 12 km from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Conception Cathedral, and 13 km from Pondicherry Museum. Bright rooms have minibars, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffeemaking facilities, plus balconies or terraces; some have sea views. Villas feature private pools. Room service is offered. Breakfast is free. There’s an airy restaurant, a beachfront bar, and an outdoor pool with a bar. Other amenities include a gym, a spa and an Ayurvedic centre, plus a playground, a lounge and a game room. A pond and a private beach are on-site.

Fortune Pandiyan Hotel

This classic hotel on landscaped grounds is 3.5 km from Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal and 4.4 km from Meenakshi Amman Temple. The relaxed, airy rooms feature warm decor, free Wi-Fi (limits may apply) and flat-screen TVs, plus sitting areas. The suites include separate living rooms, microwaves and dining tables. Breakfast and parking are included. There are 2 restaurants, a bar, a cafe and a library. Other amenities include a spa, a fitness centre and an outdoor pool.

Fragrant Nature Resort

The 4-star Fragrant Nature Hotel houses a state-of-the-art spa, an outdoor pool, fitness center and free Wi-Fi in all areas. Views of the lake can be enjoyed from the privacy of guests’ rooms. They are tastefully decorated with luxury linens and warm lighting. All rooms come with private bathroom facilities and a flat-screen cable TV. Select rooms have a private garden, a pool and a sun deck. The hotel also features The Ayurveda Wellness Center, and a rooftop restaurant, ideal for a pleasant meal outdoors with views.

The Coconut Lagoon Resort

Nestled amid canals, rice paddies and lush vegetation along the shores of Vembanad Lake, this serene resort is 1 km from the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and 3 km from the Bay Island Driftwood
Museum. Airy rooms feature free Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee making equipment (no TVs). Room service is provided. Breakfast is complimentary. A seafood eatery has terrace dining. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, a gym and a library, plus a yoga and meditation centre. Birdwatching, cooking classes and martial arts instruction can be arranged.

Marari Beach Resort

Set on a sprawling property with lotus ponds and coconut groves, this serene beachfront resort is 2.8 km from Mararikulam train station and 12 km from Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum. The airy, tropical-themed cottages feature tiled floors, custom furnishings, and tea and coffeemaking facilities, plus minibars, sitting areas and terraces. Roofless showers are located in the courtyards. There are no TVs. Amenities include a restaurant serving regional fare and seafood, plus an outdoor pool, a sundeck, an outdoor bar and a tennis court. Bike rentals are available.

Holiday Inn, Cochin

Set amid palm-lined grounds on the Kerala backwaters, this upscale hotel occupies a grand, modern building with an annexe. It’s 7 km from the Hill Palace Museum. Elegant rooms and suites feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, DVD players and minibars. Room service is offered 24/7. There are 2 restaurants, as well as a cafe, a patisserie and a bar. Other amenities include an outdoor pool and a gym, plus yoga and an Ayurvedic spa. Local houseboats are also available.

 

Weather
While the official monsoon season is July to September, the rains typically reduce from mid-September. Average temperatures also fall from monsoon peaks of up to 35 degrees to a more pleasant 30 degrees.

Money
The National Currency of India is the Indian rupee, which is available in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1000. There are coins for Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10.

Banking in India has become quite easy now. ATMs are found in many cities in India except for the very small towns. Major international credit cards are widely accepted in the cities.

Changing money in India especially in bigger metros is quite simple as there are many accredited money changers and most banks too change money. Moneychangers are open 24 hours at the airports and in hotels.

Electricity
230v 50hz  AC. Sockets are similar to those common in Europe (type C).

Visas
All visitors are required to carry a passport valid at least for 6 months after the date of arrival back to your country of residence and at least two blank pages.

Australia and New Zealand passport holders may apply online for an Indian visa at a cost of around US$35.

Two’s a Crowd can advise on the process.

Tour Inclusions:

  • All guiding and experiences as per detailed itinerary
  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host accompanies group throughout.
  • Accommodation at listed hotels (or similar) in your own room with daily breakfasts.
  • All transport as mentioned by comfortable, air- conditioned vehicle.
  • All airport transfers with English speaking guide.
  • Meals as per itinerary (B=breakfasts, L= lunches and D=dinners).
  • All entrance fees as detailed in itinerary.
  • English speaking guide throughout.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Maximum group size of 14 (plus guide and Two’s a Crowd Tour Host)

Tour Exclusions:

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance, (we can assist)
  • International flights and taxes, (Two’s a Crowd can book these for you)
  • Personal expenses.
  • Visas (Indian visa required. Two’s a Crowd can advise on the process)
  • Services and meals if not mentioned in itinerary.
  • All drinks, including water, soft drink and alcohol on all included or optional excursions.
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature.

Trip highlights:

  • Explore the French Quarter of Pondicherry, once the largest French colony in India
  • Walk around the amazing market at Meenakshi temple.
  • Experience the incredible evening ‘Bedtime of the God’ ceremony at the Meenakshi temple.
  • Easy trekking tour at a Munnar Tea plantation.
  • Afternoon boat safari in the Periyar National park.
  • Spice Plantation visit in Periyar.
  • Heritage walks along with lunch at a local family’s home in Allapuzha (Alleppey).
  • Walk in Fort Cochin.
  • Kathakkali dance in Cochin in a public theatre.
  • Cruise the tranquil Backwaters of Kerala, and stay overnight on a Kettuvallam (traditional houseboat).
  • Sample many Southern Indian delicacies.
  • Immerse yourself in the culture of Incredible India!

Will you join us?

Day 1 – Sunday 20th August 2023

ARRIVE AT CHENNAI (D)

On arrival, you will be met by your tour host and transferred to your hotel. Formerly called Madras, Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. This metropolis is often called the cultural capital of India for its deep-rooted traditions and long standing heritage. The city is popular for its numerous tourist destinations including beaches, temples, forts and palaces along with many colourful festivals that attract visitors each year. The city presents a culture that is totally different from North India and represents a lifestyle that is a perfect blend of traditional and modern India. Spend your afternoon at leisure, or possibly visit the St George Fort and Museum or the Kapaleeswara Temple an ancient Shiva temple, and the biggest temple in Chennai.

Accommodation: Your own Superior Room at the ‘Crown Plaza Chennai Adyar Park’ or similar


Day 2 – Monday 21st August 2023

CHENNAI- MAHABALIPURAM- PONDICHERRY (B, D)

After breakfast we drive to Marina Beach, one of the most magnificent beaches in India covered with glittering golden sand and a clear strip of blue sea. Watching the sun rise and set here is both captivating and breathtaking. Next we drive to Mahabalipuram, a 7th century coastal town located about 60 km from Chennai. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the area has various historical monuments dating back to the period between the 7th to 9th centuries. We will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Mahaalipuram. Arjuna penance remains one of the most beautifully carved structures with over 100 figures of gods and semi divine creatures, birds and beasts, man and saint. The Five Rathas, also known as Panch Rathas, is a set of rock temples where the frothy waves form a striking backdrop, protected by rows of rock-carved bulls. The most unique feature of the temple is that it houses shrines to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Later we drive on to Pondicherry. Located on the Coromandel shoreline, it was ruled by the French for more than 3 Centuries, and there is still a strong influence of French culture; especially in the architecture.

Accommodation: Your own lakeview room at ‘Le Pondy Resort’ or similar


Day 3 – Tuesday 22nd August 2023

PONDICHERRY (B, D)

After breakfast we visit Auroville, which is described as ‘the City of Tomorrow’. It is recognised as the first endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs could live in peace and harmony. This afternoon we enjoy a guided walk around the French quarters of Pondicherry. Once the largest French colony in India, Pondicherry has a long and interesting history of trade and war and the Town is divided by a canal into French Town and Tamil Town.

We will explore either side of the canal, starting with French Town. Here, the French legacy of Pondicherry is still preserved in its French Quarters, with tree-lined streets, blue-enameled signposts bearing French names, colonial villas and heritage buildings that have been artfully converted into boutique hotels. A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal and passes several statues, including a 4m-high Gandhi Memorial.

We will walk around the town passing by colonial buildings with lush green gardens and Bougainvillea flowers which add to the beauty of the streets. We will end our walk with the visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Founded by Sri Aurobindo way back in November 1926, the Ashram initially comprised of only 24 disciples. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry has come a long way from its initial days of inception. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

Accommodation: Your own lakeview room at ‘Le Pondy Resort’ or similar


Day 4 – Wednesday 23rd August 2023

PONDICHERRY- MADURAI (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Madurai. It is a scenic 8 hour journey and we will have many stops along the way. Madurai is also called the Athens of the East. It is a place of great historical and cultural importance. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu and lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is famous for its temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders. Upon arrival in to Madurai we transfer to our hotel, where we enjoy this evening’s meal.

Accommodation: Your own Standard Room at the‘Fortune Pandiyan Hotel’ or similar


Day 5 – Thursday 24th August 2023

MADURAI (B,D)

Today, we walk through the Alleys of Madurai very early in the morning to discover the local life of the oldest city of South India. During our walk, we will see how people start their day with a variety of activities. Housewives drawing Koalam in front of their homes to bring prosperity, milking of cows, street vendors selling their vegetables, herbs and food is a treat to watch. Wholesale markets, where fruit and vegetables from different parts of South India are bought and sold will be experienced during the walk. We will also pass through some sandal wood shops and climb up to one of the tallest buildings in the vicinity to get a panoramic view of Madurai. During the walk you will also get to taste some local food (tea/snacks etc) and finally the walk will end with a traditional South Indian breakfast. After breakfast enjoy some touring of Madurai, including Meenakshi Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Mahal. This evening we take part in the ceremony ‘Bedtime of the Gods’ at the Meenakshi Temple. This is a colourful procession in which the image of Shiva is carried and accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests from his shrine. This ceremony is worth witnessing!

Accommodation: Your own Standard Room at the‘Fortune Pandiyan Hotel’ or similar


Day 6 – Friday 25th August 2023

MADURAI- MUNNAR (B, D)

After breakfast we will take the breathtakingly beautiful scenic drive to Munnar. This is the queen of hill stations and is located at the confluence of three mountain streams. The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,450-2,695 meters above sea level. Munnar has the highest peak in South India. In 1870, the Poonjar Chief leased out 588 sq. kms. to J D Munro, a Scottish tea planter. Munnar soon became the favored Summer resort of the British rulers in the colonial days. Today Munnar has an unending expanse of tea plantations – pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests, along with the aroma of spices in the cool air. On arrival in Munnar, transfer to your hotel and relax for the evening at your mountain resort.

Accommodation: Your own Green Tea room at ‘Fragrant Nature Resort’ or similar


Day 7 – Saturday 26th August 2023

MUNNAR (B, D)

Today we enjoy a walking tour through the expansive tea gardens. Delight in the stunning beauty of the tea estates, a staple of the region. Next we visit the Tea Museum. It is the first of its kind in India.The aim of this museum is to showcase the growth of tea plantations and anyone visiting will get a clear picture of how laborious tea processing really is!

Accommodation: Your own Green Tea room at ‘Fragrant Nature Resort’ or similar


Day 8 – Sunday 27th August 2023

MUNNAR – KUMARAKOM (B,D)

After breakfast drive to Kumarakom. A backwater hamlet bestowed with a wealth of natural beauty, Kumarakom in the South Indian state of Kerala is situated on soil reclaimed from the Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom, a combination of two words, Kumaran, the name of a venerated local deity, and Akam meaning “domicile”, which translates as “the residence of Lord Kumaran”. With lush paddy fields, coconut groves, water lilies, and mangrove forests till where the eye can see, Kumarakom’s verdant vistas are truly mesmerizing. On arrival in Kumarakom, transfer to your hotel. Late afternoon at leisure in the beautiful surroundings.

Accommodation: Your own Heritage Bungalow room at ‘The Coconut Lagoon Resort’ or similar


Day 9 – Monday 28th August 2023

KUMARAKOM – KERALA BACKWATERS (B, L, D)

After a leisurely morning breakfast, drive to the backwaters Jetty to board the houseboat – later enjoy cruising in the backwaters. Kumarakom and Alappuzha (Alleppey) are the top backwater destinations for anyone looking for houseboat cruises in Kerala. The backwaters here are very calm and inviting and the journey through the Vembanad Lake, the biggest of the lakes in Kerala, is indeed a magical experience. The cruises include food being served in the houseboat itself which includes special Indian Kerala dishes, Kerala recipes, and Kerala cuisines..

Accommodation: Your own cabin on board the houseboat


Day 10 – Tuesday 29th August 2023

KERALA BACKWATERS/ALLEPPY – MARARIKULAM (B, L, D)

This morning we enjoy breakfast on board the Houseboat, while cruising the gorgeous backwaters. Mid-morning we will disembark, drive to Alleppey town and take a guided heritage walk. We will pass by some churches, temples and a mosque and will finally end the walk with a delicious feast at a local family’s home. After lunch we will drive to Mararikulam and check in to our beach resort. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the beach and surrounds at leisure.

Accommodation: Your own Garden Villa at the ‘Marari Beach Resort’ or similar


Day 11 – Wednesday 30th August 2023

MARARIKULAM (B, D)

After breakfast, the day will be entirely yours to enjoy the stunning sea-side village at leisure. Set on 30 acres of gardens, with coconut groves, lily ponds, fruit trees, a butterfly garden and a large organic farm, you are welcome to wander around and explore as you wish. There is also a swimming pool, daily yoga sessions on the beach, a cooking school and Aryvedic Spa. Tonight the group will come together for dinner.

Accommodation: Your own Garden Villa at the ‘Marari Beach Resort’ or similar


Day 12 – Thursday 31st August 2023

MARARIKULAM – COCHIN (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Cochin and explore the Fort Cochin area. This walking tour gives you a glimpse into Cochin’s rich history and heritage, showcasing the mixed Dutch, Portuguese, British and Jewish influences that make the city unique. During the tour, we will visit the old quarter of Fort Kochi, exploring the quaint streets of this city on foot. We’ll also visit Fort Kochi’s seaside promenade, and get a glimpse of daily life in Kochi. There’s also the chance to see the huge fishing nets (Cheenavala) that are distinctly unique to Cochin and China. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets. We also visit the Dutch Palace and Jewish Synagogue before this evening’s Kathakali dance. Witness the strength and vigor of the Kathakali dance drama, as the all-male dancers enact episodes from great Indian epics. Their extremely stylized gestures, elaborate make- up, masks and the splendid costumes recreate an incomparable sense of pageantry. Afterwards we all gather for our farewell dinner in Southern India.

Accommodation: Your own deluxe room at Le Meridian Hotel, Cochin or similar


Day 13 – Friday 1st September 2023

COCHIN DEPARTURE (B)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Cochin International Airport in time for your flight home, or continue your Indian adventure if you are joining the Two’s a Crowd Royal Rajasthan tour commencing later in the day in Delhi.

TOUR PRICING: A$5,621

TOUR DATES: 20TH AUGUST – 1ST SEPTEMBER 2023

Crown Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

Set in Chennai’s upscale Alwarpet neighbourhood, this high-end hotel in an imposing modern building with a pillared portico is 2.4 km from Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple and 5 km from Marina Beach. Refined rooms and suites have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars. Upgraded rooms add rainfall showerheads, while club rooms offer access to a private lounge with free breakfast and an airport shuttle. Suites add living rooms, massage chairs and/or butlers. Room service is available. There are 3 restaurants, a 24-hour eatery and a wood-panelled bar/lounge, as well as an outdoor pool and a fitness room. Parking is complimentary.

Le Pondy Resort

In thatched-roof buildings spread across 6 hectares of gardens, this luxe beachfront resort is 12 km from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Conception Cathedral, and 13 km from Pondicherry Museum. Bright rooms have minibars, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffeemaking facilities, plus balconies or terraces; some have sea views. Villas feature private pools. Room service is offered. Breakfast is free. There’s an airy restaurant, a beachfront bar, and an outdoor pool with a bar. Other amenities include a gym, a spa and an Ayurvedic centre, plus a playground, a lounge and a game room. A pond and a private beach are on-site.

Fortune Pandiyan Hotel

This classic hotel on landscaped grounds is 3.5 km from Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal and 4.4 km from Meenakshi Amman Temple. The relaxed, airy rooms feature warm decor, free Wi-Fi (limits may apply) and flat-screen TVs, plus sitting areas. The suites include separate living rooms, microwaves and dining tables. Breakfast and parking are included. There are 2 restaurants, a bar, a cafe and a library. Other amenities include a spa, a fitness centre and an outdoor pool.

Fragrant Nature Resort

The 4-star Fragrant Nature Hotel houses a state-of-the-art spa, an outdoor pool, fitness center and free Wi-Fi in all areas. Views of the lake can be enjoyed from the privacy of guests’ rooms. They are tastefully decorated with luxury linens and warm lighting. All rooms come with private bathroom facilities and a flat-screen cable TV. Select rooms have a private garden, a pool and a sun deck. The hotel also features The Ayurveda Wellness Center, and a rooftop restaurant, ideal for a pleasant meal outdoors with views.

The Coconut Lagoon Resort

Nestled amid canals, rice paddies and lush vegetation along the shores of Vembanad Lake, this serene resort is 1 km from the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and 3 km from the Bay Island Driftwood
Museum. Airy rooms feature free Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee making equipment (no TVs). Room service is provided. Breakfast is complimentary. A seafood eatery has terrace dining. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, a gym and a library, plus a yoga and meditation centre. Birdwatching, cooking classes and martial arts instruction can be arranged.

Marari Beach Resort

Set on a sprawling property with lotus ponds and coconut groves, this serene beachfront resort is 2.8 km from Mararikulam train station and 12 km from Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum. The airy, tropical-themed cottages feature tiled floors, custom furnishings, and tea and coffeemaking facilities, plus minibars, sitting areas and terraces. Roofless showers are located in the courtyards. There are no TVs. Amenities include a restaurant serving regional fare and seafood, plus an outdoor pool, a sundeck, an outdoor bar and a tennis court. Bike rentals are available.

Holiday Inn, Cochin

Set amid palm-lined grounds on the Kerala backwaters, this upscale hotel occupies a grand, modern building with an annexe. It’s 7 km from the Hill Palace Museum. Elegant rooms and suites feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, DVD players and minibars. Room service is offered 24/7. There are 2 restaurants, as well as a cafe, a patisserie and a bar. Other amenities include an outdoor pool and a gym, plus yoga and an Ayurvedic spa. Local houseboats are also available.

 

Weather
While the official monsoon season is July to September, the rains typically reduce from mid-September. Average temperatures also fall from monsoon peaks of up to 35 degrees to a more pleasant 30 degrees.

Money
The National Currency of India is the Indian rupee, which is available in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1000. There are coins for Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10.

Banking in India has become quite easy now. ATMs are found in many cities in India except for the very small towns. Major international credit cards are widely accepted in the cities.

Changing money in India especially in bigger metros is quite simple as there are many accredited money changers and most banks too change money. Moneychangers are open 24 hours at the airports and in hotels.

Electricity
230v 50hz  AC. Sockets are similar to those common in Europe (type C).

Visas
All visitors are required to carry a passport valid at least for 6 months after the date of arrival back to your country of residence and at least two blank pages.

Australia and New Zealand passport holders may apply online for an Indian visa at a cost of around US$35.

Two’s a Crowd can advise on the process.

Tour Inclusions:

  • All guiding and experiences as per detailed itinerary
  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host accompanies group throughout.
  • Accommodation at listed hotels (or similar) in your own room with daily breakfasts.
  • All transport as mentioned by comfortable, air- conditioned vehicle.
  • All airport transfers with English speaking guide.
  • Meals as per itinerary (B=breakfasts, L= lunches and D=dinners).
  • All entrance fees as detailed in itinerary.
  • English speaking guide throughout.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Maximum group size of 14 (plus guide and Two’s a Crowd Tour Host)

Tour Exclusions:

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance, (we can assist)
  • International flights and taxes, (Two’s a Crowd can book these for you)
  • Personal expenses.
  • Visas (Indian visa required. Two’s a Crowd can advise on the process)
  • Services and meals if not mentioned in itinerary.
  • All drinks, including water, soft drink and alcohol on all included or optional excursions.
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature.
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What Our Clients Say

20 out of 10!

The trip was just great - I can't really think of any negatives. Diane will back me up when I say I usually give 10/10s - I gave her 20/10. Trish, Canada/Alaska

Excellent trip

I found the overall trip excellent. I believe Diane's professionalism, inclusive personality and ability to relate to all contributed to this. She worked to ensure the group was cohesive without individuals impinging on the personal space of others etc. a good skill to have and one she applied effectively. Kate, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic value for money

Fantastic value for money paid. Russell our guide is an asset to your company... he was fantastic! Overall the trip was magical from start to finish. Well done Two's a Crowd ... the best trip ever. Barbara, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic first solo trip

I had a fantastic trip. Absolutely loved Canada and Alaska. It's the first time I have travelled solo and was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of people that all got on so well. Diane our host was great. She did a good job of getting us altogether for meals, excursions, shopping trips etc. I liked that she quietly got things done without being loud or "in-your-face". She was good at being one of us as well as our leader. Wendy, Canada/Alaska

Good balance of activities and spare time

Had a great time. Good mixture of organised activities and spare time. Diane was an excellent tour host. Russell the tour guide was great, very knowledgeable and personable with his insights into growing up and living in Canada. Sharon, Canada/Alaska

Well organised trip with an excellent host

The trip was well organised, with a good mix of activity and free time. The scenery was spectacular and fellow travellers were a great bunch. Diane is a excellent host - helpful, courteous and above all a pleasure to know. I found her bubbly personality a bonus and can only speak highly of her. Gary, Canada/Alaska

I had a fabulous time

I had a fabulous time. Lake Louise and the hotel were magnificent. The cruise was excellent. Diane made sure that she was available for group meals and sightseeing, and was alway in good humour and great fun. I would recommend your company to everyone and am very interested in the Scandinavia  tour at the end of 2017.

Cathy, Adelaide - Canada/Alaska May 2016

Great holiday

What a great trip! I experienced so much and participated in all that was offered. I had read and reviewed as much as time allowed me but was not prepared for what the trip gave me and that is a better understanding of the beautiful people of both countries. - Lesley on Vietnam/Cambodia

In good company

I thought the suggestions for optional things to do, in the "free" time were very good. So good, we really ended up with very little free time. So much to do! - Mary on Vietnam

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together. - Anonymous on Vietnam/Cambodia

Fantastic first experience!

Extremely well organised with fabulous guides throughout - especially in Vietnam! First holiday with your company and certainly not the last. - Glenys on Vietnam

Great group to travel with

Having a small group meant that the days were more relaxed and flexible and I really felt spoilt and looked after. Melinda on Borneo

Thoroughly enjoyed Uganda

Thoroughly enjoyed my trip especially Uganda. There was so much variety of things to do on this trip. Jaros & Julius were great. Thought in Kenya the Maasai Mara were beautiful people, so easy to get along with. Judy

Can’t stop talking about my experience

I just feel so privileged to have shared with the Maasai the most awe-inspiring majestic sights and sounds of Africa. The fantastic memories will be with me forever. Maureen

Absolutely enjoyable

Gillian was a fantastic host. She was there for us from the moment we reached Hotel Troy. Heather on Africa

Best holiday I’ve been on!

One of the best holidays that I have been on - really well organised. I would never have travelled to Vietnam or Cambodia on my own. Bronwyn

Well organised

Fun, well organised and a really great group. Barbara on Vietnam/Cambodia

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together.

Great value

Well done. No complaints. Very pleased with this trip. Great value for my hard earned dollars! Really enjoyed the [Vietnam/Cambodia] tour. 

Fabulous rapport filled with much humour!

A great bunch of people & I can't believe how we all had such a fabulous rapport filled with much humour!!!

I couldn’t fault anything.

The (Uniworld River) cruise was great, I met up with some wonderful people who treated me like part of the family !
The ship & crew were fantastic & the excursions were very good, I couldn't fault anything. I'd recommend this cruise to anyone.  Peter

Informative and educational

The entire trip was one of the most enjoyable and exciting. Also so informative and educational. I was so pleased to make the trip. Wish I was over there in that magical place.  Marjorie

Delighted

I’ve just returned from the wonderful Kimberley trip.  It was my first experience with Two’s a Crowd and I was delighted.  Kay

Opportunity to experience

I have had the opportunity to experience things I would never had done by myself.  Solo travellers is a fantastic concept and use of social media has been a great way to share and keep in touch with friends and family. Judi

I need not have worried

Being my first tour and a senior member, I admit I was apprehensive but I need not have worried. It was great and I was very well looked after.  Can’t wait to go to Kenya with Two’s a Crowd.  Maureen

Smooth and seamless

A memorable trip of a lifetime, a wish fulfilled.  A fascinating cultural country steeped in history which I found totally enthralling.  Two’s a Crowd service was smooth and seamless.  Pam

A wonderful experience

It was a wonderful experience visiting Cambodia and Vietnam and gave me a better understanding of these countries. I had a great time with new friends, we had a good bunch and Leonie was the perfect host. Eric

Value for money

Value for money and outstanding co-operation from your staff and tour operators. Joan

Safe and secure and totally looked after

An awesome adventure for my first time overseas alone.  Leonie was excellent and both guides were also fantastic.  At all times I felt safe and secure and totally looked after.  Melinda

Well done Two’s a Crowd.

Leonie was an excellent host, the ideal person. I never felt any pressure to  be involved in every activity so I could explore alone during free time. Having 2 or 3 nights in most places was great – you could rest up or party. Well done Two’s a Crowd. Jenny

A completely different experience

It was a nice surprise holiday, a completely different experience from all my other holidays. Thanks. Piroska

I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.

In my travelling life, I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.  Two’s a Crowd is the first one where I haven’t had to correct anything in my travel documents.   Piroska

I’m so excited to have found you Two’s a Crowd.

“Finally. A travel company is recognising the needs of people like me”

This is perfect for me.

“I’ve been to Burma but can you please send me some information about other destinations. This is perfect for me.”

I really wanted to meet the people behind it

“I saw your ad in the local paper and could have phoned but I wanted to come in and congratulate you on starting this great business. I really wanted to meet the people behind it.”

Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be!

I’m really enthusiastic about the niche you are determined to cover in the market, and have the feeling stumbling on Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be.

I find them inspirational

Thanks for sending these emails as I find them inspirational and will sit dreaming for the next hour or so.

Thank you for providing a service for people like me

“I am very excited to read about your area of speciality, and look forward to devouring all information that might come my way. Thank you for providing a service for people like me.”

Excellent throughout.

The entire 14 days ran so smoothly from Two's a Crowd booking my flights to  airport transfers and then the 12 days camping in the Kimberley. Excellent throughout. Congratulations. Marjorie

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