Jewels of the South
- Duration12 Nights
- StylePrivate Tour
- When to GoSep - May
- Price GuideFrom $5,626 Per Person
At a Glance
- Fast-track arrival and private transfer to your hotel
- Free time to explore Bangalore at your leisure
- Fly up to Hampi; three night stay in luxurious palace hotel
- Guided tour of Hampi’s historical treasures
- Guided tour of Hampi’s village life and countryside
- Fly back down to Bangalore and short road transfer to Mysore
- Evening Mysore markets walking tour
- Guided tour of Mysore, including Mysore Palace and Chamundi Hill
- Road transfer to Kabini; two-night stay in luxury jungle resort
- 2x jeep safaris in Nagarahole National Park
- Morning bird walk around the property
- Road transfer down to the Kasaragod Backwaters
- Two nights on board deluxe houseboat
- Immersive access to hidden villages, temples, and shrines way off the typical Kerala circuit
- Disembark and short road transfer to boutique beach resort
- Final 1.5 days at leisure (can be extended) to enjoy the magnificent beach
- Private transfer to Mangalore, Kannur, or Cochin Airport for your onward flight
Meet Our Expert
My travels have taken me far and wide across the diverse landscapes of Asia. From trekking in Nepal to island-hopping in the Maldives, navigating the slow waters of the Mekong, to exploring the cultural gems of India and experiencing the high-speed bullet trains of China and Japan.
- 10 nights in 5-star hotel accommodation
- Daily breakfast included in Bangalore, Mysore, and Neeleshwar
- Breakfast and dinner included in Hampi and Kabini
- 2 nights on-board deluxe Keralan houseboat including full-board meals
- Private road transport throughout in air-conditioned minivan
- Shared safari jeep drives in Kabini
- Private English-speaking guides for all other mentioned tours and activities
- Entrance fees for any mentioned sightseeing, permits, local taxes, etc
- Domestic flights as described in economy class
- Comprehensive final itinerary and travel app
- 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
- Flexible, personalized itinerary based on your interests
What's not Included
- E-visa for India costing $25 per person; can be obtained online before departure
- International flights from your country of origin
- Tips or gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel staff
- Any meals, tours, or activities other than those specifically mentioned in the itinerary
- Incidental local expenses - souvenirs, laundry, taxis, etc
- Travel insurance - we strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip.
Day by Day Itinerary
- Day 1
Bangalore: Fast-track arrival service and private transfer to your hotel
Welcome to South India! You’ll be met immediately off the plane and escorted through fast-track immigration, baggage, and customs formalities, ensuring your arrival in India is as seamless as possible. Then meet your private driver and an Unforgettable Travel local representative and be transferred to your elegant hotel in Bangalore’s former colonial quarter.
The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax and recuperate at your fine hotel.
Taj West EndRead More
- Day 2
Hampi: City tour of Bangalore, then fly to Hampi
This morning you will be met by your guide who will take you for a quick city tour of Bangalore which may include the impressive Bengaluru Palace, leafy Lalbagh Gardens, or the imposing Nandi ‘Bull’ Temple.
You will then be transferred back to Bangalore Airport for your afternoon flight up to Vijaynagar Airport, in the heart of rural Karnataka, and the closest airstrip to Hampi. On arrival you’ll be met by a private driver and transferred to your outstanding palace hotel on the edge of the Hampi historical zone.
- Day 3
Hampi: Guided tour of Hampi’s historic treasures
After breakfast, you will meet your guide and then embark on a full-day heritage tour of Hampi. This former capital of the Vijaynagar Empire in its heyday, had the almost unimaginable wealth, and its stories verge on the unbelievable.
The ruins are spread over an area covering over 42 square kilometers and contain the remains of temple complexes, fortifications, royal baths, the basement of palaces, ceremonial structures, royal pavilions, treasury buildings, and more. Return to the hotel in the evening for dinner and a leisurely evening.
- Day 4
Hampi: Guided tour of Hampi’s village life and countryside
Today you’ll set out to explore Hampi beyond the historical sites. This region of central Karnataka has an otherworldly landscape of oversized boulders, rocky scrub, swaying palms, verdant rice fields, and twinkling rivers.
Make an early for the short hike to Sunrise Point which truly illustrates the astonishing scenery. Then explore a different side of Hampi, north of the river, with its beautiful countryside and villages. Stroll down through the old temple and market complex; take a coracle ride across the river; encounter locals in untouched villages; and indulge in a home-cooked lunch with a local host.
Head back to your hotel early afternoon for some well-earned rest, or ask your driver to organize further sightseeing if you feel there was anything missed yesterday (which is possible – truly exploring Hampi could take a week or more).
- Day 5
Mysore: Fly back to Bangalore and transfer to Mysore; evening market tour
After a leisurely morning to enjoy the hotel, your driver will transfer you back to Vijnayagar Airport for the short flight back to Bangalore. On arrival back in Bangalore you will be met by your new private driver – who will now be accompanying you for the remainder of the journey – and will set off by road south to the beautiful city of Mysore, a drive of around 90 minutes.
Check into the hotel and have some time to relax. Later in the evening, you will venture back out to explore the vibrant, busy, and colorful markets of Mysore. The city is famous for sandalwood and rosewood artifacts, stone sculptures, incense sticks, inlay work, and exquisite silk sarees.
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- Day 6
Mysore: Guided tour of Mysore Palace and Chamundi Hill
Head out this morning with a private guide to explore the vast and exuberant Mysore Palace: the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty, who ruled this kingdom from 1399 to 1950.
The Palace is beautifully preserved, and features two large durbar halls, four main entrances, and twelve interior temples; all told it is easy to see how Mysore is considered one of the largest and most impressive palaces of India. The key pieces to look out for are the wooden elephant howdah decorated with 84 kgs of gold, and the jewel-encrusted golden throne which originally belonged to the Vijayanagar Kings of Hampi.
Later drive up into the Chamundi Hills, which provide excellent views of the city, and at the summit are home to a huge monolithic stone Nandi Bull (the powerful black Bull considered to be the divine vehicle and attendant of Lord Shiva – particularly auspicious in this part of South India).
Return to the hotel and rest of the day at leisure to relax and enjoy the hotel.
- Day 7
Kabini: Mysore to Kabini; afternoon safari drive
After breakfast, you will leave Mysore and transfer by road to Kabini. Kabini is the river that cuts between the Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks of southern Karnataka. A base in Kabini is center-stage in this tropical region of lush forests and rich birdlife, populated by elephants, leopards, and tigers, amongst a wide range of fauna.
After some time to rest and get acquainted with your lodge, you will be taken out for a late afternoon game drive, which involves crossing the lake by boat and then transferring into a shared jeep (with expert naturalists provided by your lodge) for the safari drive in the park. The drive will last approximately 2-3 hours, after which you’ll return to the hotel for a sumptuous dinner.
Evolve Back KabiniRead More
- Day 8
Kabini: Morning bird walk and further afternoon safari
Make an early start today for an early morning nature and bird walk in the fields immediately surrounding the property, accompanied by one of the hotels’ excellent naturalists.
Return for a late breakfast, then spend the rest of the morning enjoying the hotel facilities. Later in the afternoon, you will be taken back out for a second game drive in Nagarahole National Park in search of tigers and other wildlife.
- Day 9
Kasaragod: Road transfer to northern Kerala; begin Backwaters houseboat cruise
After breakfast, you will be collected by your private car and driver for a slightly longer drive up to Kasaragod. Despite a drive time of 5-6 hours, it is well worth the journey: taking you away from the very overcrowded houseboat experience in Southern Kerala for this exclusive, unique experience in Northern Kerala’s palm-fringed tropical backwaters.
Arriving mid-afternoon you’ll board the Lotus Houseboat: without doubt the most refined houseboat in all of Kerala, running an almost exclusive itinerary through these unspoiled northern backwaters. The Lotus provides the ultimate in comfort, space, and elegance with wonderful service, food, and unspoiled views.
Lotus HouseboatRead More
- Day 10
Kasaragod: Cruising the northern Backwaters
Today you have a full day on board the Lotus Houseboat. Moving gently through the languid backwaters of Northern Kerala, stops can be made to visit tiny waterside villages, temples, shrines, and markets – a million miles off the usual tourist trail. Staying on board, enjoy the finest Keralan hospitality while kicking back on the spacious sundeck or in your roomy cabin.
- Day 11
Neeleshwar: Disembark and short road transfer to Neeleshwar
Disembark the houseboat after breakfast and transfer on the very short drive over to Neeleshwar.
This is a wonderful, unspoiled beach destination with swathes of palm-fringed beaches, areas where fishermen in colorful wooden boats still ply the waters and if you’re lucky, dolphins play in the waves. You can walk for miles and barely see a soul. It’s quiet, offbeat, and the perfect place for a few days of relaxation. However, if you feel like venturing out, well away from the well-trodden path, there’s plenty to keep you interested, charming rural villages, farming communities, and small, local yet ancient temples.
Neeleshwar HermitageRead More
- Day 12
Neeleshwar: Day at leisure on the beach
Today is at leisure to relax at your boutique beach bolthole, reflect on your adventures, and enjoy paradise on earth. Partake in Ayurveda, meditation, or yoga through the onsite spa, swim a few laps in the pool, enjoy fine dining on the beach, or walk up and down the shore observing fishing life and beach cricket. Bikes can be hired if you’d like to explore the nearby villages.
- Day 13
Neeleshwar: Private departure transfer
Sadly, your adventures in South India have come to an end. At the appropriate time, you will be collected from the beach hotel for your private transfer to Mangalore, Kannur, or Cochin Airports in time for your onward flight.
Transferring out of this remote corner of South India can be tricky and usually involves an overnight in Mumbai or Delhi to connect with onward international flights. Please speak to your consultant to make the necessary arrangements.
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