DESTINATION - NORTH INDIA CLASSIC GAY GROUP TOUR
Trip Notes: South India Classic
Something about our tours
Our Group tours are classic Irregular adventures. Cruise along Kerala’s beautiful backwaters, wander through spice fields, explore tropical forests, visit ancient temples of Trichy and relax on a serene beache for a blissful gay group holiday.
DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY FOR SOUTH INDIA TOUR
Day 1 Saturday - Chennai
Arrive Chennai International Airport. Meet and greet. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2 Sunday - Mahaballipuram
Breakfast at hotel. Late departure for city sightseeing by coach. Lunch. Then drive along the coastal road to Mahaballipuram. Check into hotel. Welcome drinks and dinner at restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 3 - Monday - Mahaballipuram
Breakfast at hotel. Walking tour to the ancient monuments. Lunch at restaurant. Afternoon free time for individual sightseeing, relaxing, swimming, massage etc. Dinner at hotel.
(B, L, D)
Day 4 - Tuesday- Pondicherry
Breakfast at hotel. Late morning departure for short drive to Pondicherry. Check into hotel. Lunch at restaurant. Afternoon sightseeing. Dinner at hotel.
(B, L, D)
Day 5 - Wednesday -Pondicherry
Breakfast at hotel. Morning sightseeing including visit to Auroville Ashram. Lunch at restaurant. Afternoon free time for individual sightseeing, relaxing, swimming, massage etc. Dinner at restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 6 - Thursday - Trichy
Breakfast at hotel. Morning departure for coach trip to Trichy, stopping at the Nataraja Dancing Shiva Temple at Chindabaram. Lunch. Arrive Trichy and check into hotel. Dinner at restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 7 - Friday - Trichy
Breakfast at hotel. Morning tour of Trichy city including Rock Fort Temple and to the largest temple in India at Sri Ramgan. Lunch at restaurant. Afternoon tour to Tanjore to see the great Brihadishwara Temple and Grand Anicut barrage on the Cauvery River. Return to Trichy for dinner.
(B, L, D)
Day 8 - Saturday - Periyar
Breakfast at hotel. Morning departure for coach trip to Periyar. Lunch en route. Arrive Periyar and check into hotel. Dinner at hotel.
(B, L, D)
Day 9 - Sunday - Periyar
Breakfast at hotel. Morning tour to Tiger Reserve including boat trip. Lunch. Afternoon visit to spice garden and free time. Dinner at hotel.
(B, L, D)
Day 10 - Monday - Alleppey
Breakfast at hotel. Morning departure for coach trip to Alappuzha (Alleppy). Check onto luxury houseboat for overnight cruise on backwaters. Lunch and dinner on board.
(B, L, D)
Day 11 - Tuesday - Mararikulum
Breakfast on houseboat. Return to coach and drive short distance to Mararikulum beach. Check into resort. Lunch. Afternoon free time for individual sightseeing, relaxing, swimming, massage etc. Dinner at resort.
(B, L, D)
Day 12 - Wednesday - Mararikulum
Breakfast at resort. Full day free time for individual sightseeing, relaxing, swimming, massage etc. Lunch and dinner at resort.
(B, L, D)
Day 13 - Thursday - Cochin
Breakfast at resort. Late morning departure for short drive to Kochi. Check into hotel. Lunch at restaurant. Afternoon sightseeing of Fort Cochin area.
(B, L, D)
Day 14 - Friday - Cochin
Breakfast at hotel. Morning tour of city including harbor cruise. Lunch at restaurant. Afternoon free time for shopping and individual sightseeing.
(B, L, D)
Day 15 - Saturday - Departure
Breakfast at hotel. Morning free time for shopping etc. Transfer to Kochi International Airport. Departure.End of service.
(B, L, D)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
* Excursion to Mumbai, Aurangabad Caves tour or North India. Please ask the sales assistant to help you with it.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Selections of optional activities are available and tour leader will brief you on it, these activities can be taken at your personal expense and shall be paid directly. Please do not hesitate to ask the tour leader for it.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.
Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.
While traveller's cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. The use of credit cards is also an option, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. We recommend that all tips are given to the intended recipient by a group leader, from the Tip Kitty.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
HOT/ COLD WEATHER:
Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.
For instant weather updates please check this http://in.weather.com/
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
This trip is operated by Irregular tours – New Delhi, India Office.
Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation however, we have single supplement options. We will try our level best to adjust you with any other solo traveler, but if not please be prepared to pay single supplement.
Travelers opting for single supplement will be provided Single room at all places.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will take you to restaurants to try during your trip. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company.
Please Note: The brochure prices for the tour include all the meals as per itinerary.
All meals as per itinerary
Private Bus, Deluxe Houseboat.
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Irregular Tours endeavors to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Irregular tours we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
3, Gandhi-Irwin Road, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600008, Gandhi Irwin Rd, Ansari Estate, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600008, Ph: 044 3024 2424
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
C V Iyer Rd, Willingdon Island, Cochin, Kerala,682 003, Kochi, Kerala 682003, Ph:0484 266 8221
and also note that your transfer to international airport are included in the cost.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
There is NO visa on arrival in India. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
Please Note: If you wish to add Nepal Excursion to this program please make sure while obtaining Indian Visa you apply for Multiple entry and let the Indian Visa officials know that you will visiting Nepal in the same tour. Please keep 2 passport size photo’s handy and exact change if USD 25 handy.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavor to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 15kgs.
During the wildlife drives in open jeeps/canter (especially from October to mid March) it can be rather chilly so please pack warm clothing. It may also be a good idea to take a smart casual outfit for an evening out. South India in general has moderate climate, thus cotton is the best bet, however, carry couple of pullovers just in case.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 liter plastic bottle takes 2 liters of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Irregular tours reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safekeeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Irregular tours itinerary, and Irregular tours makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you be covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also cover personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and your leader has seen the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.
Relax at Mahabalipuram and Mararikulam beach.
Visit French colony of Pondicherry.
Beautiful and colorful temples of Trichy.
Spice plantation tour at Periyar, and forest tour with service of a naturalist.
Overnight in your private deluxe houseboat crusing back waters of Kerala.
Evening traditional dance performance at Cochin.
4. All this is included
Sightseeing and local guides.
All meals as per the itinerary.
Hotels used are 3 and 4 star cetegory mixture of botique and heritage hotels.
Transportation by coach & Houseboat
Service of a Gay tour manager at all times.
All the entrance fee to the monuments.