India Southern Escapade

Discover the South Of Amazing India



Immerse yourself in the rich, vibrant and diverse culture of India with our 14-day South India Escapade. With this 14 day Xtreme Gap Year India trip you’ll see all of the country’s greatest southern features. Explore India’s glorious Goan beaches, the World Heritage ancient ruins of Hampi, the tranquil Kerala backwaters, and of course, treat your taste buds to an abundance of delicious food. From bustling cities to rural villages, our Adventure Leaders take you to the highlights and off-the-beaten-track as you explore all that South India has to offer.


India Southern Escapade: Trip Highlights


JOIN US ON OUR UNFORGETTABLE INDIA TOURS, PACKED WITH ALL YOUR INDIA BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCES!

  • Discover the beautiful South Starting off in Mumbai
  • Accommodation is safe, clean and hygienic and each hostel has their own unique charm
  • English speaking guides
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage ancient ruins of Hampi
  • Take an expectation-shattering tour of the Dharavi slum
  • Travel through Kerala backwater, stunning lagoons and lakes, on an Indian houseboat

India Southern Escapade Photos





Itinerary


Day 1: Mumbai

Arrival day in Mumbai.  You arrive in the bustling city, where you’ll head straight to the hostel.
In the late afternoon, head to the rooftop of your hostel to take in the view of the city before heading out to a group dinner.
Want to explore this bustling city at night? Why not immerse yourself in Indian night life and end the day with a pub crawl. (600 INR)

Day 2: Mumbai

Today you can experience the city of Mumbai as you tour around all its famous heritage sites. Visit the city’s most iconic structure, the Gate of Mumbai, which looks out over the Arabian Sea. The gate was built during the British Raj to welcome the arrival of King George and Queen Mary in 1911. Just next door, you can gaze in awe at the  amazing Taj Mahal Palace hotel, which boasts a guest list from The Beatles to Barack Obama!
If you fancy an after-lunch activity, pay a visit to the Dhobi Ghat laundromat, the world’s largest open-air  laundry!
Want to learn more about life in India? Finish off your day with a tour of the Dharavi slum (500 INR). Here, you can learn about the incredible industries inaction  within the community, including textiles, leather and recycling. This tour is guaranteed to shatter your expectations of the Indian slum lifestyle!

Day 3 Flight to Gao: Mumbai & Goa

Start the day at your own ease with a free morning to relax. At 11am, you’ll transfer to Mumbai airport where you will catch an afternoon flight to Goa. If you’re lucky enough to grab the window seat, you can enjoy the views of the beautiful west Indian coastline from the air!
In the evening, you’ll arrive at your hostel, where you can spend the rest of the day as you please. Ask your guide for the best bars and restaurants nearby
or take a sunset stroll along the beach. Only a short walk from the hostel you can find the charming Vagator beach, which boasts some of the best sunset views in Goa.

Day 4: Goa

Today you have a free day! Treat yourself to a day of ultimate relaxation with a visit to Goa’s beautiful beaches. Close to the hostel you can find both the Ozran and Chapora beaches. Both are quaint arches  of sand, with Chapora fort ruins located high on the cliff just beside the beach! If you don’t mind travelling to your beach destination, why not embark on the 30-minute journey to the
beautiful, long stretch of sand at Mandrem beach.
This is one of the under-explored beaches of Goa, so a perfect spot for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.
Need more adventure in your day? Take a taxi to
the Old Town to explore the streets lined with old  Portuguese colonial buildings. Learn about Old Goa’s history as the capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century, until its abandonment in the 18th century.
End the day with a night on the town in India’s party  state! (at your own expense). Your guide can take you to a nearby bar where your fun will begin.

Day 5: Goa

Enjoy some more free time and make the most of your last day in Goa by hitting up the beaches left on your list or fitting in some last-minute visits to the
abundance of heritage sites. Fancy some more adventure? Head out for a morning of adventure and go kayaking through Goa’s rivers and backwaters, where you can appreciate up close the scenic jungles and mangroves as you paddle by! (2833 INR)

Day 6: Hampi

Start the day early as you make your way to the train station, ready for your 8am train. Hop on board as you travel to Hospet, where you will arrive in the early afternoon. Head straight to the hostel in Hampi  and enjoy some downtime after your busy day of travelling!  In the evening, walk through the city ruins to the nearby Sunset Point. Here you can catch the  unmissable  sunset over Hampi’s beautiful rock-
strewn landscape and sit atop the giant boulders.

A climb to the top will give you the best panoramic views of the entire area.

Day 7: Hampi

Get close to nature this morning, as you have the opportunity to help give the local temple’s elephant its daily bath in the Tungabhadra River! (Dependent on availability.) After returning to the hostel, set off on a day tour of Hampi. Take a tuk tuk to the northern side of the river where you will ride through the local  fields and learn about the rice cultivation. Travel into the heritage village of Anegundi where you can get to know the local people and visit a local non-profit economic development organisation.
Enjoy a picnic-style lunch on the banks of the river, before taking a boat ride across to the southern side.
Pay a visit to two of Hampi’s most famous heritage sites. First, stop by Vijaya Vittala Temple,  best-known for it incredible architecture and unmatched craftsmanship. Then, take a walk along the riverbank to Virupaksha Temple, the central site for the  pilgrimage to Hampi.
By the afternoon you will return to the hostel and have the evening free to spend as you please.

Day 8: Hampi

Enjoy a free day; use it as a chance to explore the rest of the old city or try out the local cuisine at one of the nearby restaurants. Just ask your guide for recommendations  of things to do and they’ll be happy to offer their insight!
Make your way back to the hostel in the evening as you will be catching the 9pm overnight train to  Bangalore.

Day 9: Bangalore

Arrive in Bangalore early in the morning and be taken directly to the hostel, where you can drop your bags off and relax. At 9am, embark on a day tour of local Bangalore as you trace the journey of Indian silk from cocoons to sarees. Catch the action at Mulberry Silk Cocoon Market before visiting the villages where silkworms grow. Make a stop at the workplace of a traditional weaver of silk sarees to see how the final product is  made.
Continue your Bangalore day tour as you make your way to the Folklore Museum in the afternoon to learn
about tribal art forms. Visit a toy-making factory before watching the local traditional toymakers in the
villages that use simple hand techniques.
Return back to the hostel in the evening and get a good night’s sleep as you prepare to travel to your next destination tomorrow morning.

Day 10: Munnar

At approximately 8am, you will head to the airport where you will catch your flight to Kochi. Hop on a
transfer to Munnar, south India’s largest tea-growing region. (Don’t worry, you’ll be returning in 2 days to
explore the city of Kochi!) The bus will make some stops along the way for you to appreciate and  photograph the amazing surroundings, including tea fields and waterfalls.
At around 5pm, you’ll arrive at your accommodation for the  next two nights – an Indian campsite set  against a large shola forest. Settle into your cottage tents before enjoying dinner around a campfire with your fellow travellers.

Day 11: Munnar

Wake up early for a spectacular sunrise over the Papathy Shola (Butterfly Forest). Escape the hustle
and bustle of city life as you explore the beautiful surroundings. Embark on a cycling loop through the forest, as well as a Shola Mountain Trek!
Relax after an action-packed day as you watch the sunset over the nearby Anaerangal Lake. Get to know the locals who run the campsite as they whip up your final home-cooked meal. Enjoy your food as you sit around the campfire before heading to bed, ready for an early start tomorrow.

Day 12: Kochi

At 9am, you’ll head back to nearby Kochi, one of the  most important Indian port cities during the 14th- century spice trade.

After lunch, head to the water’s edge to view the stretch Chinese fishing boats. These unique
contraptions were introduced  to the city by Chinese explorers in the 14th century. Some fishermen will even let you try them out if you ask nicely!
Continue on with your walking tour to the quaint Jewish quarter. Be sure to observe its interesting architecture as you wander.
Make a stop at Paradesi Synagogue, the last of the seven synagogues in Kochi to still be used. Next, head to the nearby Mattancherry Palace, where you can learn about the history of the Rajas of Kochi in.
Finish your tour of the city with a visit to Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica.
End the day by watching a Kathakali show, one of
the major forms of classical Indian dance, filled with elaborately colourful makeup,  costumes and  masks (350 INR). As an extra treat, head to the theatre an hour early and watch the actors paint their faces behind the scenes!

Day 13: Kochi

Today you’re venturing on a tour of the region’s
backwaters. Depart from the hostel at 8:30am and head to one of the villages outside the city. Take a tour of the village before climbing aboard a boat, as you explore the serene backwaters. Enjoy the local
delicacies at a nearby restaurant before heading back to the hostel. For the final piece of evening entertainment on your
trip watch a Kalaripayattu show and prepare to be amazed by the demonstration  of this local martial arts form (350 INR).
Why not make the most of the time you have left with your new travelling friends over a delicious spread of food! (500-1000 INR)

day 14, Last day: Kochi

Say goodbye to your fellow travellers and reminisce  about the wonderful memories you have of your Indian adventure, as you embark on your journey home!


Accommodation


Accommodation in hostels which meet our high standards. All hostels have their own unique Indian charm, and at the same time are safe, clean, and hygienic.

What is the standard of accommodation?

All of the hostels are clean, air-conditioned or have fans, are safe, have good showers, internet, washing machines and most importantly, have real Indian character. It is easy to make friends and fun to hang out in the lounge areas. If you would like to stay in a private room though, that is absolutely possible as well as we have room upgrades available at the time of purchase. However, most will opt for the standard hostel accommodation!

Do the hostels have WIFI?  Will I be able to keep in touch with friends and family while in Asia?

There is Wi-Fi and computers available for use in all hostels you stay in during your trip. You can also purchase an Indian SIM card very cheaply to stay in touch and your Adventure Leader can help you with this. Alternatively, the Indian Government has introduced a system for people to rent pre-paid phones with data, calls, Google Maps and helpful apps pre-installed.

Do I need a sleeping bag or is linen supplied in the hostels?

All bedding – including sleeping equipment for the Camel Safari desert camping – is provided.

Price

14 Days - 

USD 1279




What's Included?


  • Pre departure pack before travelling
  • Documentation for applying for a visa
  • English-speaking Adventure Leaders
  • Accommodation in hostels which meet our high standards. All hostels have their own unique Indian charm, and at the same time are safe, clean, and hygienic.
  • All train and bus tickets
  • Entry, transport and Adventures Leaders to some of India’s unmissable attractions, such as the Taj Mahal, a Camel Safari in the Thar Desert, and camping next to a shola forest (a full list of all unmissable activities is available).
  • All taxes and charges

What's Excluded?


  • Flights to and from India
  • Airport pick up: Upon request, airport pick-ups can be arranged. The price is 2250 INR
  • Aside from the many free unmissable activities, we also offer some extra activities which are great value for money, safe and fun.
  • Food and Drink – food and drinks are incredibly cheap in India, but even so, the tour guides still give you access to great discounts on food and drinks in the liveliest bars in town.
  • Any train/bus tickets for journeys made after the trip
  • Any hostels for after your trip has ended – if you require accommodation before or after your trip, we can help you book that! Just contact us at [email protected] Payments for these will need to be made along with your final trip payment.

Frequently Asked Questions



  • A visa is required for entering India. Check your local Indian Embassy. Note: You are responsible for the correct visa. Xtreme Gap Year cannot be held responsible for this.

    Once you’ve made your booking with us, we will send you detailed instructions on applying for your visa, a visa invitation letter and a detailed itinerary, and a number of other items in your booking packet.

    You will need at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India and at least two blank pages for stamping in your passport to get your visa. If this means getting a new passport then we will need to have a copy of your most recent passport as well as the one you booked with. You will also need proof of a return or onward journey ticket to be eligible for the e-Visa.

    The Indian government now offers 60-days e-Visas which you can apply for and pay for online and receive confirmation via email. Although the application is quick and easy, you should apply for your visa within three months of your travel start date to avoid any issues. For a full list of countries, more details and to apply, click here.

    How do I get a VISA if I’m away (abroad) from home?

    So long as you have access to the internet, and the required documentation, you can apply for an e-Visa online as usual.


    • We take you to see the absolute best of India. All-encompassing, packed itineraries give you access to the top must-see sites you’ve read about, as well as all the hidden, off-the-beaten-track destinations you haven’t.
    • Experience travelling with an amazing group of like-minded people – not just those travelling with you, but our expert, fun-loving guides too! They’ll show you their part of India their way.
    • Give something back by volunteering in the local community.
    • We have an excellent commitment to safety – we do the hard work keeping you safe, so you can enjoy yourself to the full.
    • Environmentally friendly and sustainable travel – we want these stunning places to exist for future generations.
    • We like to think of ourselves as open-minded people, and our tours are for open-minded people too. We welcome travellers of any age, nationality, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender and sexual orientation.
    • You will feel safe travelling with us, whatever your way of life – that means no judging and no harassing!

  • Each trip is different, but our travellers come from all over the world and from every background. Usually, for this trip, travellers are aged anywhere between 18 to 30 something, but we do get older customers joining. We fully embrace the backpacker attitude that everyone is very welcome. A typical trip would include solo travellers or friends who have just finished high school, couples on career breaks, students on university holidays, and solo travellers from all walks of life. The group normally speaks English but come from all over the world including the UK, Netherlands, North America, Australia and New Zealand, Mainland Europe, Israel and Brazil.


  • We require all our customers to have backpackers travel insurance when coming on the trip.

    Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number.


  • First of all, you are responsible for the correct vaccinations. Xtreme Gap Year cannot be held responsible. At the time we published this programme the below was advised.

    the trip aims to enter no areas with tropical diseases. However, as with any backpacking trip, we urge you to seek advice from a travel nurse before departing your home country.

    • All travellers should be up to date with a full course of vaccination and boosters recommended by their governments. For UK regulations, click here.
    • Yellow Fever: The only vaccine required by international health regulations is Yellow Fever. Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is only required if you have visited a country in the yellow-fever zone within the six days prior to entering India.
    • Diphtheria: All travellers are strongly advised to be vaccinated
    • Hep A: All travellers to India should be vaccinated.
    • Typhoid: All travellers spending more than a week in India should be vaccinated.
    • Tetanus: All travellers are strongly advised to be vaccinated
    • Hep B: Sexually transmitted. All travellers to India should be vaccinated.
    • Japanese Encephalitis: Vaccination is recommended if you’re in rural areas for more than a month during summer months. As a company, we must urge you to take all precautions deemed necessary including the highest level of immunizations for safety reasons.
    • Malaria: Generally, malaria is a high risk only in the very eastern areas of India that and we do not go to these places, so it should not be a primary concern for you. However, as we mentioned above, we must advise you to err on the side of safety.
    • Rabies: Don’t need pre-vaccination per se.
    • Cholera: Only individuals who are considered ‘high risk’ are advised vaccines. Cholera is spread through consumption of contaminated water and food. It would be unusual for ‘non-high risk’ travellers to contract cholera if they take basic precautions with food and water and maintain a good standard of hygiene.

  • At its heart, the trip is an adventure tour of India, but you can make your trip as physically active (or inactive) as you want. Instead of hiking up around the Shola Forest, you could ask your Adventure Leader for a more relaxing activity!


  • Generally yes, but please do inform us of your specific requirements at the point of booking.


  • All of our Adventure Leaders have a fully equipped first aid kit with them at all times, but of course, there is no harm in bringing your own small one along. We also advise that you bring your own antihistamine, anti-diarrhoea, and painkillers if you think you’ll need them. These are available in all of the cities.


  • All Indian cities have hospitals and clinics in case of emergencies. With that being said, medical treatment is certainly more developed in the bigger cities, but regardless of where you are in India, medical treatment is available, and your Adventure Leader will always be on hand to help take you to a hospital if worse comes to worst.


  • The bags will be stored at the hostels where they are tagged and recorded. We have never had a case of anyone losing their luggage or having their luggage stolen so you can focus on having fun.


  • Yes! If you’d like to upgrade to a private room the prices are listed below. Just email us before your final payment is due to let us know you’d like to upgrade. The upgrade fee is for the room, not per person- i.e. if you are a couple upgrading, then you split this price between the two of you. Room upgrades include single, double and twin rooms.


  • You will be travelling in the sleeping carriages with beds on the overnight trains. We try to get all our travellers in the same compartment as well so that you can have fun getting to know each other better, playing some games, and even sharing a few drinks.


  • Upon request, airport pick-ups can be arranged. The price is 2250 INR. This service is available from and to the following airport locations: Delhi, Mumbai.

    For your safety, we highly recommend spending some extra money on an airport transfer service in Delhi, as taxi scams are common.


  • Each group will be accompanied by English speaking Adventure Leaders. All our adventure leaders have the passion and knowledge to ensure that they can help you have a great time in each destination.

    How experienced are they?  And will they be travelling with us?

    Each of our Adventure Leaders is an expert in their area – so actually you will have a different Adventure Leader in each location. At the end of the trip for each location they will either travel with you just on the train or see you off onto your train and another Adventure Leader will pick you right back up as soon as you get off your train.


  • Do I need to bring power converters?

    Yes! Indian electrical outlets are very unique so unless you are from Sri Lanka, you will need to bring an adaptor. India uses 230 Volts and the plug sockets are Type D, featuring three round pins. In some places across India, you can find the round, two pinned sockets, in which case a European plug will work. However, as it is not guaranteed your accommodation will have these, we would advise buying the three pinned adaptors to be sure.

    What should I pack for my trip?

    We strongly recommend packing very light. India has everything under the sun, so don’t fret too much if you left something behind, almost anything you’d conceivably need is available throughout India. You really need very little as you can wash clothes regularly in the hostels. As India is a relatively conservative country, you will have to dress a little differently to what you are used to at home.

    You will receive more info about that in our pre  departure information after you are all booked up

    Suitcase or backpack?

    A suitcase is OK, but a backpack/hold-all is much, much more convenient.

    Packing suggestions:

    We advise a rucksack of 50 – 70L but a suitcase is also fine. If necessary absolutely, arrangements can also be made to send things domestically, for an extra fee.

    • Flipflops
    • Sensible walking shoes
    • T-shirts
    • Shorts/skirts
    • Swimming costume
    • Lightweight waterproof
    • Towel
    • Washbag
    • Passport with India Visa
    • Indian rupee or credit/debit card
    • Student card if you have one, although it is not guaranteed to be accepted
    • Travel insurance policy
    • Photocopies of insurance policy, bank cards, passport photo page, visa
    • Books and other entertainments for the night trains
    • Mosquito repellent, sun-screen and after-sun
    • Camera and charger – India is a photographer’s dream!
    • Small first aid kit with medicine for diarrhoea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc.
    • A big bag and a small rucksack. We sometimes get separated from our big bags, so you’ll need to keep your valuables with you in a small bag.

    Bring electronic products at your own risk. Some customers choose to travel with iPhone, tablets and laptops, but although theft is extremely rare, there is petty crime in some areas we visit.


  • The Indian rupee is a heavily regulated currency, meaning you cannot exchange money before entering the country. It is recommended to arrive in India with a supply of cash in your own currency and exchanging it at a bureau de change at the airport. As India is a very cash-orientated country, we recommend only carrying a day’s worth of money on you when you’re out and about and hiding the rest in multiple safe places within your belongings at your accommodation. You will be able to withdraw more money at ATMs in each city, and your Adventure Leader will tell you when the next stop on the trip where you will be able to withdraw more cash is. However, it has been reported card including HSBC and Halifax, do not work at some ATM machines. We advise that you notify your bank that you will be travelling before you depart.


  • Food in India is very cheap. We advise you to budget 500-1000 INR per day for food in great local restaurants your Adventure Leader will take you to which we know are safe and tasty. If you want to eat cheaper than this, you can by eating simpler with a traditional Thali dish – a round platter of food, normally buffet style or all you can eat – which come in at around 100 INR.

    As an example of prices of everyday items: Tea – 5-10 INR, Coca-Cola – 20-30 INR, Samosas – 15-20 INR, Thali – 80-100 INR, Imported beer – 200 INR, Short taxi ride – 45-75 INR (Taxis are dependent on city. It can be cheaper and faster to take a tuk-tuk however you will need to haggle for a reasonable price).


  • Your Adventure Leader will always offer to take you for a group meal, where we go to a local restaurant, which we know is hygienic and has cheap and delicious food. These meals usually work out at 500 INR (£5/$5.90) per person, but if you do want to eat cheaper, you can always grab a traditional Thali meal for around 100 INR (£1/$1.30). If you are craving Western food, then there are lots of great options!


  • One of the best parts of travelling in India is definitely the food! With its diverse mix of different cuisines, food throughout the country can be vastly different but fear not- with literally thousands of options, India has something for everyone, even the pickiest or most adventurous of eaters.

    I’m vegetarian/have allergies – will I be able to get the right food?

    Yes! With so many food choices, India can meet the needs of individuals with special dietary needs or requests. Just tell your Adventure Leader and they can help you find something suitable. You will probably discover a new dish that you love!


  • Typically, the answer is yes, as long as your cell phone has been unlocked for international usage. However, the Indian government has tightened laws on issuing SIM cards to foreigners. For travellers wishing to use their own cell phone while in India, you can bring a handset that’s unlocked and then purchase an inexpensive prepaid SIM card from one of the airport kiosks. Or you can purchase one from one of India’s top three mobile phone providers (Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance) directly from their retail outlets. However, this process will require you to bring a lot of documentation, including your passport, 2 colour passport photos, a copy of your Indian visa, proof of address and proof of accommodation in India. SIM cards can also be recharged at most convenient stores. Typically purchased SIM cards can be used for domestic calls, texting and 3G/4G data.

    A much simpler option would be to use a new system introduced by the Indian Government called Trabug. This provides you with a rented phone, with data, calls, Google Maps and helpful apps pre-installed on the phone. All information and data is whipped once the phone is returned.


India Southern Escapade Trip Dates


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