After flying into Bangalore the tour starts in Mysore, the former capital of the princely state before heading into the jungle of Nagarhole National Park. Your journey through the hills of the Western Ghats includes some relaxation time on a coffee plantation and a ride on the Blue Mountain Railway. A stay in Palakkad to experience the delights of rural life breaks the journey to historic Cochin and its colonial architecture. There's a night on board a converted ricebarge before a final couple of days on the beach on the Malabar Coast.
Nagarhole National Park
DAY 1 - MYSORE On arriving in Bangalore this morning your driver will meet you and drive you straight to Mysore. Afternoon at leisure. Energy permitting you might like to take a taxi to Lalitha Mahal Palace for afternoon tea in the hotel's elaborately decorated dining room.
DAY 2 - MYSORE Morning excursion to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. Located on the Cauvery River it hosts an impressive variety of birds all year round. Nearby, lies Sriringapatnam and Tipu Sultan's summer palace, its walls covered in wonderful paintings. During your afternoon guided city tour you will visit the striking city palace and hill top temple.
DAY 3 - NAGARHOLE NATIONAL PARK This morning you will head south to Nagarhole National Park which is home to elephant, tiger, chittal deer and a huge variety of birds. You will make your first game drive by boat in the afternoon when you can expect to see animals at the water edge and plenty of water fowl.
DAY 4 - NAGARHOLE NATIONAL PARK Rise early to make a further game drive around dawn, this time exploring by jeep. Afternoon at leisure to relax at your lodge.
DAY 5 - SULTAN`S BATTERY After breakfast you will drive to Sultan`s Battery where you will stay on a coffee plantation. Your hosts can recommend a number of walks from gentle strolls to longer hikes around the estate. There is also a lovely pool and terrace perfect for relaxing, or you may prefer to hike to the ancient Edakal Caves.
DAY 6 - OOTY Drive to Ooty across rolling hills of tea plantations. You will have some free time to explore this colonial tea town before boarding the train and journeying along the Blue Mountain Railway to Mettupalayam.
DAY 7 - PALAKKAD Today you will cross the border into Kerala where you will stay in a heritage homestay. After lunch you might like to explore the village by bicycle or catch up on some reading in a shady corner of the garden.
DAY 8 - PALAKKAD You host will accompany you today on a tour of the surrounding area to discover the potters' colony and basket weavers at work. Depending on when you visit you may even be able to attend a festival at a local temple.
DAY 9 - COCHIN You will head west today to Cochin on the Malabar Coast. You will have time this afternoon to explore colonial Fort Cochin or perhaps do a spot of shopping in the narrow streets of 'Jew Town'. Later you might like to watch a traditional Kathakali dance-drama performance, an interesting art form that involves facial expressions and elaborate make-up.
DAY 10 - COCHIN This morning, you will have a guided tour of Cochin including the Mattancherry Palace built by the Dutch, the first European church in India and the synagogue. You will also have the chance to see the huge Chinese fishing nets worked by teams of men along the sea shore.
A short road transfer will bring you to Kerala's unique Backwaters where you will board your converted ricebarge in time for lunch. As you cruise the waterways you will catch glimpses of life along the riverbanks and fishermen at work.
DAY 12 - MARARIKULAM Your final couple of days are spent on the beach at Marari where you can slumber in the shade of a palm tree and reflect on your journey through south India.
DAY 13 - MARARIKULAM Full day at leisure.
Rise early for your flight from Cochin to arriving home the same day.