Backwaters, Ghats & Terraces

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

Highlights
  • Explore chaotic and fascinating Mumbai
  • Relax on a fascinating train ride to the coast of Goa
  • Discover the lost kingdom of Vijayanagar in the magnificent ruined city of Hampi
  • Explore the amazing Maharaja's Palace of Mysore
  • Relax at the community guesthouse in the hills of Wayanad
  • Explore Kochi including a local boat trip to Fort Cochin
  • Overnight by local boat through the backwaters and villages of Kerala
  • Visit the southern tip of India at Cape Comorin - Kanyakumari
  • Stay in the French influenced enclave of Pondicherry
  • Visit to the Shore Temples & Pagodas of Mahabalipuram
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Train, Boat, Jeep, Canoe, Overnight Boat
Destinations
  • Asia
  • India
  • Nepal
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • Overland
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Cultural
  • Attraction-Based Hikes
  • Bicycle
  • Active
  • Bird Watching
  • Wildlife
  • Eco
  • GAP Year
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Jeep & 4WD
  • Kayak & Canoe
  • Local Guide
  • Local Living
  • Mountain Hikes
  • Overland truck
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking Tour
  • White water rafting
Day 1

Border Information: If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA code: BOM).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from your tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai. 

In Mumbai we will stay in a good quality hotel.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Mumbai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Mumbai.


Day 2

Today will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city.

Please note that the trains are often heavily booked in advance and it may not be possible to confirm tickets for all passengers. In the event that we cannot get a train ticket confirmed we will notify you to make alternative arrangements. This will generally mean you will travel by flight the next day and re meet the group in Goa. 


Day 3

We will start our journey early by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for 2 nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the northern part of Goa. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna.

In northern Goa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach.

Estimated Journey Time (on train) - 11-12 hours.


Day 5

After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern end of Goa. En route we will stop off at the site of Old Goa to spend some time independently exploring the area's colonial buildings.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

We will stay for 2 nights on either the stunning beach of Agonda or Palolem, these beaches are the perfect places to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch or sample the delicious local cuisine.


Day 7

Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a full day drive into the state of Karnataka and to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire. 

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot.

In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.


Day 9

From Hampi we will have another full day drive to the city of Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours.

On the following day we will have free time in Mysore to independently explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery.

In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.


Day 11

Today we travel up into the cool highlands and head to the hill-station of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations. Enroute we will have the opportunity to visit the Eddakkal caves. A steep hike up allows breathtaking views over the local area and an insight into the carvings thought to date back over 3,000 years. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

We will have a free day in Wayanad where we have many options available. From hiking up Chembra Peak, visiting local waterfalls and tea plantations, or the chance to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.

Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a guesthouse where they have set up rooms for visitors in their homes.


Day 13

Today we will continue our journey with a full day drive to the coastal city of Kochi.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-10 hours.

On the following day we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis Church and the iconic Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will be able to see a performance from the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama.

In Kochi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.


Day 15

Leaving the bustle of Kochi behind, today we embark on our included overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Alleppey. We will often split into smaller groups to board our traditional 'Kettuvallom' boats which will take us around the scenic rivers and spend the night aboard. 


Day 16

After our fantastic overnight cruise along the Keralan backwaters, we continue our journey with a short drive to the beach resort of Varkala.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 7 hours.

We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and there are also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiably-famous Keralan cuisine.

In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.


Day 19

Today we will have a morning drive to Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India. Here we will have free time to independently explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites.

In Kanyakumari we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.


Day 20

This morning we have the option to get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip of India with thousands of locals, which can be an incredible experience! From Kanyakumari we then start heading back north again, and drive to the holy city of Madurai. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.

In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.


Day 21

Today we head to the French-influenced town of Pondicherry, and will have free time on arrival in the afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have 2 nights here with plenty of time to relax and soak up the atmosphere and spend time exploring the town and its beautiful colonial architecture. 

In Pondicherry we will stay in a local guesthouse.

 


Day 23

Today we have a short drive to the ancient city of Mahabalipuram, once the capital of the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th Century CE. On arrival we will have an included visit to the incredible Shore Temples and other monuments around the town ( time permitted ).

In the afternoon we will finish the short drive to the bustling coastal city of Chennai.

In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 6 hours.


Day 24

Border Information: If you are joining in Chennai, you will most likely enter India in Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA).

Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Chennai. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Chennai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Chennai.

In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable modern hotel.

*Important note* - if you are joining the trip in Chennai, please make sure that you send us a scan of your Indian visa as soon as you have obtained it. If you plan to take the e-visa option, please make sure you arrange this well in advance and send us a copy of your receipt as soon as possible. If we do not receive this in advance, then we will not have enough time to get your permits for the Odisha Region and you will not be able to visit this area.


Day 25

Today we start our journey with a drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. On the way we will have an included visit to the Sri Kalahasti temple. 

In Tirupati we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).


Day 26

Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India. This is real off-the-beaten-track overlanding, and we will arrive in the small city of Vijayawada this evening.

In Vijayawada we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.


Day 27

Today we continue our journey and drive through the back roads of Andra Pradesh. Our final destination tonight is the costal town of Visakhapatnam.

In Visakhapatnam we will stay in a local hotel on the sea front.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.


Day 28

Today we will begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below:

On the first day we will have an early start from Visakhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself.

In Goudaguda we will stay in a local guesthouse which has been styled on local tribal houses.

Estimated Drive Time - 6- 7 hours.

On the following day we will have a guided walk in the morning through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mahali and Kondh tribal villages. We will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night. 

On the next day we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We will then travel through the hills to the village of Muniguda, our destination for tonight. 

In Muniguda we will stay in basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will drive further through an Elephant Range. We will then walk into the Desia Kondh indigenous community. They are distinguished by the unique facial tattoos of the women. After a village visit and picnic lunch we will continue to Baliguda. 

In Baliguda we will stay in a local basic hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

On the next day we will drive to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have a free afternoon to independently explore the town on arrival.

In Gopalpur we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.


Day 33

Today our tour of the Odisha tribal areas comes to an end and we drive on to the small town of Puri.

Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India. On arrival we will explore the old pilgrim route by cycle-rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 -7 hours.

We will spend 3 nights in Puri. On the first full day here, we will take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake by boat and take a walk through some of the surrounding fisherman's villages. 

On the second full day, we will begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple.

In Puri we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.


Day 36

Today we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have free time today and tomorrow to independently explore this remarkable city, or take an optional photographic tour.

In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Journey Time (by train) - 8 -9 hours.


Day 37

Border Information: If you are joining the trip in Kolkata, you will most likely enter India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU).

Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of the incredible city of Kolkata. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kolkata before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kolkata.

In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel.


Day 38

During the day we will have free time to independently explore Kolkata, and we have the opportunity to take an optional photographical tour of the city.

Whilst in Kolkata, your leader will assist you in arranging you Sikkim permit (you will need to bring passport photos and a photocopy of your passport photo page).

We will meet in the evening to head to the train station and board our overnight train to Siliguri - accommodation tonight will be on the train, where there are basic bunk beds with sheets provided.


Day 39

We will arrive into Siliguri at around 9:00am this morning, meeting our jeeps and drivers at the station for our onward journey through the narrow winding roads to Darjeeling. The town of Darjeeling is really more a collection of villages situated on a high ridge, linked by a series of steps and winding lanes and surrounded by rice and tea terraces.

Jeeps are used in this region rather than our overland truck as they are perfect for the narrow, steep and winding roads of the area. We will continue with the jeeps all the way until the trip returns to Siliguri (after Gangtok).

Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

We will spend 3 nights in Darjeeling, giving us plenty of time to relax, enjoy the surrounding area and take part in some optional activities.

In Darjeeling we will stay in a local hotel.


Day 42

Today we will leave in our jeeps for Karmi Farm, a beautiful estate located in a remote rural area nearby.

Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours.

We will stay at Karmi Farm for 3 nights, which gives us lots of free time to enjoy some fantastic hikes around the region, visit the Karmi Farm Clinic charitable project, go bird watching and to relax and take in the stunning views from the lodge.

In Karmi Farm we will stay in a guest lodge.


Day 45

After breakfast we will leave Karmi Farm in our jeeps and continue to Gangtok, the hilltop capital of Sikkim.

Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 5-7 hours.

On the following day we will have an included visit of the nearby Rumtek Dharma Monastery in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for you to independently explore Gangtok.

In Gangtok we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.


Day 47

Border Information: Exit India at Panitanki, enter Nepal at Kakarbhitta.

Today we travel in our jeeps back to Siliguri, where we will finally join our overland truck! We will then drive over the border into Nepal and continue onto Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours in the jeeps, 4-6 hours on the truck.

We will spend 2 nights in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve birdwatching and enjoying the local wildlife. Here we will stay in comfortable safari tents


Day 49

Today we will leave the plains of the Terrai behind and head towards Chitwan National Park. 

Estimated Drive Time 7 -9 hours.

In Chitwan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. 

 


Day 50

This morning there will be time to do a safari around the national park and after lunch we will journey to Khatauti Khola, home to the Royal Beach Camp eco-adventure camp in the Nepalese mountains. 

There are several optional activities on offer here such as kayaking, rafting and hiking or simply relax in the quiet surroundings. 

In Khatauti Khola we will camp at the Royal Beach Camp. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3 -4 hours.


Day 51

This morning we will spend some free time at the Royal Beach Camp to give us more time to take part in the optional adventure activities there, then after lunch we will drive the last stretch up to Kathmandu, the evocative capital of Nepal. 

In Kathmandu we stay in a comfortable local hotel. 

Estimate drive time - 4 - 5 hours


Day 52

Border Information: If you are finishing your trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely exit Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA code: KTM).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kathmandu. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.



Philip V

Ny second experience in 2 years - 2 great trips, good leaders, great memories, able to recommend positively to others.




Zoe-Louise B

I enjoyed everything about my trip and I loved every minute of it.



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Dates Price Single Availability
10-Nov-2020 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
01-Dec-2020 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
26-Jan-2021 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
02-Mar-2021 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
19-Oct-2021 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
09-Nov-2021 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
30-Nov-2021 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
25-Jan-2022 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website
01-Mar-2022 for 51 Nights On Request Visit website

Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

51 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Visit website Enquire 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Group Size:0 - 22
Suitable For: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 7 nights. Overnight Train 2 nights. Basic Hotel 23 nights. Guesthouse 13 nights. Overnight Boat 1 night. Camping 3 nights
Difficulty:Low
Meals:Breakfasts x 50, Lunches x 22, Dinners x 26
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