This was our second consecutive trip with Explore India. Our first trip with Explore India was in 2017 to the Rajasthan area. We loved our trip and really didn’t think any other part of India could be any better.
We were wrong. Southern India blew us away. We combined stops to both rural & urban sights in India. We started in Chennai and departed in Bangalore. In between we had an experience of a lifetime. Nazir had arranged a driver for our trip of 25 days as we did not want to travel by plane or train. Our driver for 25 days, Rajesh, anticipated our every need, from beverages to laundry. He was outstanding & so very patient as we were often late meeting him. He would also offer up information on the local flora & fauna. We always felt safe with Rajesh.
The accommodations booked by Nazir were outstanding.
-We loved the Ocean view room at Radisson Blu in Mahabalipuram. The beach & grounds were incredible. The gym was an extra bonus.
-The Maison Perumal in Pondicherry was wonderful. The hotel was in the heart of the city so we were able to walk everywhere. I loved the hotel cooking classes. Our room was a huge suite- we loved it.
-The Hotel Svatma in Tanjore was outstanding. My only complaint is that we didn’t stay another night. I would go back to Tanjore just to relax there again & enjoy the food.
-The Heritage Madurai was another outstanding hotel. The rooms were a little worn but the food & service were outstanding.
-Periyar, The Spice Village was so beautiful. Again I loved the cooking classes, the nature ( complete with monkeys & Guinea Hens roaming on the property) & that our driver took me to shops to purchase local spices & shawls at a fraction of what I would have paid elsewhere. The trip up the mountains was beautiful. We were truly staying in the jungle. Our ride on the elephant was wonderful, the shower my husband had from the elephant was amazing. After we were able to wash the elephant. It was an experience of a lifetime!
-Kumarakom Lake Resort was again amazing. We could’ve stayed there several weeks. It was so relaxing, the Lake serene. The service & food great. We also really appreciated the personal trainer at the gym.
-Alleppey – the houseboat was good but not outstanding, but I think that was our mistake. We should’ve booked a higher end boat. However, the scenery couldn’t get any better. It was a relaxing trip down the waterways. We loved it and felt safe the entire time.
-Mararikulam- Having travelled extensively I was surprised to see the beaches in Maraikulam match those of Hawaii, the Caribbean and South Pacific. The beach was unpolluted. There were a few fishermen & local dogs that were hanging out.
-Cochin- This was an amazing city. We loved the history & energy there. The hotel was great.
-Wayanad-Our stay at the Parison Tea Plantation was incredible. My husband & I got lost wandering in the tea plantation fields. We asked some locals to point us in the right direction. Our room at the Inn was amazing. The tour of the tea plantation & it’s history was great. we’re still enjoying the tea every morning back in Vancouver.
-Kabani- where do I begin. This resort blew us away. The accommodations were outstanding as was the food. The staff made us feel like rock stars. However, it was the abundance of wildlife that left us speechless. It was stunning. The elephants, deer, wild dogs, birds, river otters. We felt like we were on a National Geographic expedition. We loved the ease of going on either a boat or jeep to see the wildlife. Sadly we didn’t see a tiger or leopard but we knew they were in the area as other tourists showed us their stunning photos from the day before.
-Mysore- great city with many temples to see. The hotel Radisson Blu was lovely. I really liked the fact that leopards would hang out in the area we were staying!
-Bangalore- fantastic hotel. I loved the historical tour and seeing the resident turkeys. Our suite was amazing, complete with flower petal designs outside our door. We were treated like royalty.
Our only regret from our trip is that we will never have better food or service than what we had in India. So we’ll just have to book our 3rd trip with this outstanding company.