South India on Tuk Tuks – 2 Weeks Kerala and Tamil Nadu Autorickshaw Tour

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Overview

Explore Kerala and Tamil Nadu in a distinctive circuit like never before. Fall in love with the stunning landscapes, rejuvenating nature, misty mountains, myriad backwaters and the pristine beach. Active experiences like wildlife safari, cultural walks and kayaking enable you to immerse deeper into the complexities of the region. You will be staying at plantation bungalows, Beach & Nature resorts, and traditional homestays. In addition, we visit the mesmerizing rainbow waterfall & prehistoric Edakkal caves in Wayanad, tea factory in Ooty, Meenakshi temple in Madurai and the interaction with local people complete your journey more innately. You will be riding across Kerala and Tamil Nadu on one of the favorite means of transport – the Tuk Tuks. The amusing yet immersive drive offers a panoramic view and takes us closer to the immediate surroundings. Also, the tailor-made local experiences will amaze your senses. Meanwhile, our team of mechanics and Tour leaders help you to run your adventure Tuk Tuks in the best condition throughout the tour. 

After a day of sightseeing and a Kathakali dance show in Kochi, we start our drive to the cultural hub of Trissur. En route, we will drive by the Guruvayoor Temple and the temple elephant fort. The next morning, we drive to the wild Wayanad to visit the scenic waterfall and hop on to the jeep in Muthanga for a wildlife safari the next day. Further, we drive through the scenic countryside and hilly Nilgiri biosphere to reach Ooty. Here we go on for tea factory and nature walks.  The next day, we drive to a plantation resort in the quaint agrarian village of Pollachi. Now, we drive to the historic and enchanting Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai and head to Thekkady for activities in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and martial arts show. It’s time to drive to the backwaters and kayak through its winding, narrow intrinsic canals penetrating deep into the paddy cultivating lands of Kuttanad. After elaborate walks and a visit to the backwater village, we head towards the cliffside beach of Varkala. The next morning, we drive to the scenic beach of Kovalam to spend 2 days for well-deserved leisure and rejuvenation.   

Program

Day 1: The colonial city of Fort Kochi

History tour of Fort Kochi and Cultural Show

Our guide will meet you at Fort Kochi with the Tuk Tuks near St Francis Church in the morning. After a brief introduction to the Kerala Tuk Tuk Tour and lessons on how to drive the Tuk Tuk, you will have your hands on the Autorickshaw for a familiarisation drive. You will be able to handle the tuk-tuks with a little interest and prior basic driving skills of a scooter with a gasoline-powered engine. Afternoon, we will go out for the History tour of Fort Kochi to know more about its colonial heritage. Once been a major port and trade center, it evolved as a settlement hotspot for numerous merchants from across the world. The gradual intermingling of their cultures for centuries has made Fort Kochi a unique heritage city to visit. We will walk through the Jew street, flea market, watch the creaking Chinese fishing nets and the sunset. Further, we will also witness the traditional dance performance – Kathakali. It will be nice to check out a local restaurant for dinner before winding up in a comfy homestay.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Fort BungalowBTransfer to hotel
Tuk Tuk familiarisation drive
Fort Kochi sightseeing
Kathakali dance performance
Drive from Airport to Fort Kochi – 42 km, 1.30 hours
Fort Kochi sightseeing – 2.00 hours
Tuk-tuk familiarisation drive – 1 hour

Day 2: Drive to Thrissur

Drive to the cultural town and visit the Tempe Elephant’s Fort

We will cross the Vembanad lake channel to Vypin Jetty on the RoRo Ferry. We will reach the quiet countryside to start the fine drive. The drive will progress through the fisherman village of Vypin and Cherai on the flat coastal roads. You will be riding past numerous wetlands and vast fish farms. We will pass by the excavated sites with traces of the 1st century port of Muziris, believed to be washed off during a deluge. This urban port was once the gateway to India for the Arabs, Chinese, Jews, Romans, Portuguese, and the Dutch. Further, we drive along the Kodungallur Sree Kurumba Bhagavati Temple. Goddess Bhadrakali – one of the fiercest forms of Goddess Shakti is worshipped here. We enter the Thrissur district, the cultural hub of Kerala. Thrissur is well known for the Pooram festival in the Vadakkunnathan Temple. It is one of the biggest temple festivals in Kerala and takes place during May every year. The festival showcases more than hundreds of decorated elephants with a huge gathering of people and visitors. En route, we will visit the Anakottai – Elephant fort (Punnathurkotta). Once was a palace of the local ruler, it is now being used to house and nurture temple elephants. This unique facility in 11 acres of land has around 50 – 60 elephants dedicated to the famous Guruvayur Mahavishnu Temple. We will settle down at a quaint resort and enjoy the evening close by the ocean. You can also book a soothing Ayurveda massage here at the resort.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
MeivedaB DDrive to Thrissur
Enroute visit to Anakootta (Elephant Fort)
Optional Ayurveda Treatment at Resort
Total Drive – 120 km, 4.30 hours Elephant fort visit – 1 hour

Day 3: Drive to Tusharagiri, Kozhikode

The offbeat countryside and trek to the scenic rainbow waterfalls

We start today’s drive from the coastal village, crossing the Bharatapuzha river and altering direction towards the midlands. We drive through the typical Kerala countryside with a view of settlements, temples, and mosques known for their grand festivals, shopping alleys, restaurants, and tea shops. We further cross the Kadalundi river to reach the Malappuram district. The place has been the headquarters of erstwhile Zamorin and also the epicenter for Mapilah revolts against the Imperial rule.  Malappuram is also famous for the teak plantations in Nilambur, the oldest of its kind in the world. Further, we cross the Chaliyar river and head towards the quaint village of Tusharagiri in Kozhikode (Calicut). This place is known for many mesmerizing waterfalls. Streams originating from Western Ghats unite here to form Chalippuzha River which further diverges into three waterfalls the splashing of the water makes a roaring sound and snowy foams. We will be visiting the Rainbow waterfall which is about an hour-long trek through the woods. We spend the night at a secluded place with a refreshing climate in the lap of nature.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Honey Rock VillasB DDrive to Thusharagiri
Afternoon Trek to Rainbow falls
Total Drive – 115 km, 4.30 hours Waterfall Trek – 2.30 hours

Day 4: Drive to Muthanga, Wayanad  

Visit the prehistoric Edakkal caves and wildlife safari in Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary

Morning, it’s time to set course to the wilderness destination – Muthanga, Wayanad. We ascend the Western Ghats, through a narrow mountain pass between the Chembra peak and Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary. We drive on the ancient trade route connecting the highlands of the Mysore Kingdom and the Malabar port. We traverse through the classic Keralan villages of Vythiri, Kalpetta, and Meenangadi. with the view of scenic landscapes, coffee, and spice plantations. The verdant forests and nearby villages also support numerous indigenous tribal populations and their ethnic living. We stopover at the historic Edakkal caves for a small hike to the top of the natural cave mountain. Here, we can witness the traces of human settlements dating back to the stone age and a panoramic view of the countryside. Further. We drive through the dense forest roads of Sultan Bathery and reach a nature resort in Muthanga. Here, we relax for a while before packing our day bag for the afternoon jeep safari in the nearby wildlife sanctuary. Elephants, various species of deer, monkeys, and birds are common sightings here.   

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Wild Tusker ResortB DDrive to Muthanga
Visit Edakal Caves enroute
Afternoon Jeep Safari in Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Total Drive – 85 km, 3.30 hours Edakkal caves visit – 1 hour
Jeep Safari – 2 hours

Day 5: Drive to Coonoor

Tea factory visit and nature walk to view the enchanting blue mountains – Nilgiris

Today, we change our course from the ancient trade route and drive towards the hill station of Ooty. Leaving Muthanga / Sultan Bathery, we enter the backcountry of Tamil Nadu. We drive through thick forest cover and wooded roads across scenic valleys via Gudalur town in the Nilgiri district. We ascend the ghat route perched by beautiful tea plantations of the colonial era. We drive along the Pykara lake and pine forests to reach the picturesque town of Ooty located 2000m above sea level. The town is also known for its English-styled cottages and cool climate. Here, we will visit the tea factory to know more about the history of tea cultivation and tea processing followed by and a short nature walk to the Lamb’s rock – a panoramic viewpoint. Further, we drive to the tranquil town of Coonoor and wind down today’s drive at a comfy heritage hotel.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Wallwood GardenB DDrive to Coonoor
Visit tea factory
  Visit Lamb’s rock – an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate your mind and a fantastic viewpoint
Total Drive – 115 km, 4.30 hours
Tea factory & viewpoint visit – 2 hours

Day 6: Drive to Pollachi

Explore the agrarian village of Pollachi, its backroads, and plantations

Morning, we board the heritage train for a remarkable monorail journey through spectacular vistas as we descend the popular hill station of Coonoor. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train journey through villages and pine forests offers a mesmerizing view of manicured tea plantations and scenic valleys. Alighting from the train, we drive through the backcountry roads to Mettupalayam and further to Pollachi – a small agrarian town located at the foothills of the Nilgiris known for its jaggery, vegetables, and cattle market. The terrain will be continuous downhill, undulating, then flat and winding towards the last stretch. We will settle down at a serene eco-resort amidst coconut groves in the quaint rural countryside.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Banyan TreeB DDrive to Pollachi
Evening drive through the coconut plantations and along the western ghats on sandy roads
Total Drive – 140 km, 5 hours
Evening drive – 1.30 hours

Day 7: Drive to Madurai

Drive through the countryside to Madurai and visit the Meenakshi Temple

Today, we will drive through the great plains of Tamil Nadu.  The region receives substantial wind due to its distinctive geography and is hence known for its sustainable windmill farm projects. We drive on the windy and flat backroads through villages of Udumalpettu, Palani, and Dindigul. We traverse along the Western Ghats – the Palani hills with a view of rustic villages, farmlands, and small temples. The road will become busier as we approach the city of Madurai. After the long Drive, we wind down at a cozy hotel in the city center. Afternoon, we set out to visit the epic Madurai Meenakshi Temple. The temple is dedicated to Goddesses Meenakshi – a form of Parvati and Sundareshwar – a form of Shiva. The narration of the temple dates back to the 6th Century CE. The temple complex covers an area of 14 Acres with its many grand pillars, sanctums, Mandapas, Gopuras, sculptures, and wall paintings. The 10 Day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam (Holy Marriage) Festival in April – May is the prime attraction here. Millions of pilgrims gather here to offer prayers during the occasion. After our temple visit, we will further visit the 17th Century Tirumala Naykar Palace, stroll through the local market with its fruits and flower shops and try out different varieties of Dosas at a famous local food stall.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
AstoriaB DDrive to Madurai
Visit Madurai temple
Day Tour
Total 200 km, 5.30 hours
Temple visit 2 hours

Day 8: Drive to Thekkady

Re-enter the Western Ghats of Kerala, cultural show and cooking class

Today, we will drive towards the wilderness destination of Thekkady. Initially, we traverse through the rustic countryside with a view of grape yards, coconut grooves, vegetable plantations, and small temples. Leaving the suburb of Theni and the small village of Cumbum in Tamil Nadu, we re-enter the state of Kerala.  The eastern frontier of the Western Ghats stands tall while we drive through ghat sections with many hairpin bends. We will reach the spice-growing hamlet of Thekkady and head for cultural performance, showcasing Kalaripayettu, the ancient martial art form of Kerala. Further, we will be heading for a cooking class and to have the local dinner cooked with our own hands.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Monsoon RetreatsB DDrive to Thekkady
Martial Arts Show, Cooking Demo
Total Drive – 150 km, 4.30 hours
Martial art show – 1 hour

Day 9: Free day at Thekkady

Forest Activities at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and visit to the spice plantations

The next day, we will visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a moderate trek in the rainforest followed by bamboo rafting in the Periyar river. We will be escorted by a local tracker belonging to one of the indigenous tribes and presently employed with the forest department to safeguard the reserve. The biodiverse reserve is abundant in flora and fauna with 35 species of Mammals including the majestic Bengal Tiger (spotted rarely) and the Asiatic elephant, more than 260 Bird species including the Great Indian Hornbill. This biodiversity hotspot is also home to many species of amphibians, reptiles, insects, fishes etc. After the forest activities, we then visit the spice plantation. Here, we will get to know more about the local spice growing, harvesting, processing, and how the favourable climate of the region aids local cultivation.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Monsoon RetreatsB DBamboo rafting & Nature Walk at Periyar tiger reserve
 Spice plantation walk
Half-day Bamboo rafting – 8.30 to 12.30
Plantation walk – 1 hour

Day 10: Drive to Alleppey

Drive to the backwater village and sunset kayaking through its meandering canals

Today, we drive the final stretch of Western Ghats during the tour. Again, the terrain will be a combination of inclined and undulating winding roads. You will be riding through the countryside along cardamom and tea plantations with the view of scenic hills and valleys with dancing meadows in the refreshing breeze. You will pass through small settlements and small hill towns of Vandiperiyar and Elapara and the scenic Vagamon with its verdant hilly meadows and picturesque pine forests. Further, we drive on continuous downhill roads towards the midlands through Pala and Erattupetta along valleys of rubber, spices, and pineapple plantations, small temples, and churches. We will reach our next destination, remotely located in the meandering water world. Here, you will be greeted by the friendly host at the heritage homestay situated right on the banks of Vembanad lake. Evening, we will go kayaking to explore the tranquil village watching the reels of the backwaters life slowly unfold before you and enjoy the sunset.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Ayana’s PampatheeramB DDrive to Champakulam
Kayaking in Backwaters
Total Drive – 130 km, 4 hours,
kayaking – 2 hours

Day 11: Free day at Alleppey

Witness the simple living along the lake and soak into the village experiences

The next day, we will set out to explore the scenic agrarian village of Champakulam and experience the simple life here. We walk along the lush green paddy fields, fish and duck farms, coconut lagoons, and winding canals, visit the local church, vegetable market, tea shop, and also interact with the delighted villagers. You will witness local toddy tappers climbing up the coconut trees, fishermen catching fish in the country canoes casting their nets, women washing clothes, and kids going to school. The remarkable wetland region is also home to a wide variety of water birds like the stork, herons, ibis, egrets, cormorants, darters, kingfishers, terns, swifts, whistling ducks, etc. A visit to the local toddy shop to taste the spicy kuttanadan non-veg meals with boiled tapioca, fresh catch of pearl spot fish, and duck roast is a never miss culinary experience or one can go for the elaborate vegetarian banana leaf sadhya (platter) with papad and payasam (local dessert).

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Ayana’s PampatheeramB (L) DBackwater Village Tour & Experiences
Local Lunch
Half-day

Day 12: Drive to Varkala

Drive through the coastal villages of Kerala and an evening walk at the cliffside beach

Leaving the Champakulam village, we will drive towards the Ashtamudi lake on the flat backroads through Harippad village – the land of temples and many festivals. You can visit the 18th-century Krishnapuram Palace exemplifying the traditional architecture of Kerala. You will also witness clusters of backwater islands, narrow intrinsic canals, vast paddy fields, and the serene countryside. Riding across the many branches of Ashtamudi Lake, now we will head towards Paravur lake. The mangroves of the wetland ecosystem here support a wide variety of birdlife. We will drive further on a narrow strip of coastal land with the view of lakes on one side and the sea on the other towards the offbeat Kappil and Odayam beaches with its fishermen villages. We will end today’s drive at the tranquil Varkala Beach encircled by cliffs and swatches of coconut palms. You can watch the picture-perfect sunset and the beach from the hilltop resort.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Cliff StoriesB DDrive to Varkala
Walkthrough the Varkala Cliff
Leisure at Beach
Total Drive – 105 km, 3 hours

Day 13: Drive to Kovalam

Drive through fishermen villages to the sun-kissed crescent beach of Kovalam

Morning, we will drive towards Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. We will drive through the flat coastal roads via fishermen settlements, small villages, towns, and the touristic Veli Beach. We will pass by Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple – one of the sacred and richest temples in South India and Attukal Bhagavathy Temple known for the Pongala festival – the largest congregation of Women for a festival in the world. We will end today’s drive at a scenic luxury resort by the famous Kovalam beach.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the dayApprox Distance & Duration
Neelakanta Beach ResortB DDrive to Kovalam
Leisure at Beach
Total Drive – 52 km, 1.30 hours

Day 14: Free day at Kovalam

Relax and rejuvenate at the serene beach

This day marks the end of the Tuk Tuk Tour of South India covering the highlight destinations of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. With the sheer joy of completing the adventure Drive on the tuk tuks, it’s time for you to relax or sunbathe at the scenic beach, a few steps closer to the resort. The calm and serene beach offers a good chance to go swimming as well and enjoy great seafood at the beachside shacks.

PropertyMeal PlanActivities for the day
Neelakanta Beach ResortBLeisure at Beach

Day 15: Tour ends at Kovalam

Departure day

With fond memories, invaluable experiences, and great friends made in a faraway land, it’s time to pack our bags. Transport will pick you up from the hotel and transfer you to the airport. Stay tuned and we meet you on the next adventure.

Services

  • Accompanying English Speaking Guide
  • Self Drive Rikshaw (2 to 3 people sharing) with fuel, tolls and parking fees
  • Tuk-Tuk mechanic
  • Accommodation in Twin Room
  • Meals as mentioned (B:Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner)
  • Activities as mentioned with entry fees
  • 4×4 Jeep for transfer to Base Camp and Support Boat while Kayaking
  • Government Taxes
  • Visa
  • International Flight
  • Tips (approx. 30 €)
  • Expense on Additional Services availed en-route and at Properties
  • Personal Expenses including Camera Fees
  • Travel Insurance & Medical Expenses
  • Driver for Tuk Tuk (can be booked on additional cost)
  • Spare parts and Repair cost if Tuk Tuk got damaged due to own fault
  • International Driving Licence

Highlights

Prices and Dates

2-3 participants: from 1700 € per person

from 4 participants: from 1600 € per person

From 8 participants: from 1500 € per person (with extra Guide)

Single room supplement: 260 € (room only)

Single Tuk Tuk Supplement: 450 €

Note:

15 December to 15 January Peak Season Supplement Surcharge

Accommodation depends on availability

Tour Info

Requirements

For this tour an international Driving Licence is compulsary. You can easily apply for it in your home country. Indian traffic can be challenging and unpredictable. also we will try to be mainly on smaller roads, some routes on bigger roads and through towns can’t be avoided. Please take special precautions and follow your guide. On the first day you will have a trainings session in handling the Tuk Tuk.

Stay

We stay in simple yet clean and nice budget accommodations, mainly homestays.

Arrival and Departure

The tour starts at Cochin Airport and ends at Trivandrum Airport.

Frequently asked Questions

Do I need an adapter in India?

Yes, an adapter is necessary, as in India most of the plugs are used. More information here.

What is the climate in Southern India?

The climate is subtropical. In July/August is monsoon season, which manifests itself in short showers. The best time to travel is October to March.

In the south of the country, the sun’s irradiation is particularly intense due to its proximity to the equator. In order to avoid unpleasant and long-term dangerous sunburns, care must be taken to ensure good sun protection and adequate fluid absorption.
Dangerous currents continue to lead to bathing accidents on the coasts. Warnings on the beaches are essential.

What language is spoken in India?

The official national languages are English and Hindi. In Kerala, however, Malayalam is spoken. In addition, there are numerous regional national languages, all of which differ in word and writing, and there are also over a hundred dialects.

Is there a time difference?

Yes, there are:  (CET) + 4.5 hours, during European daylight saving time it is + 3.5 hours.

Notes on money/currency:

The local currency rupee may not be entered or exported. Travellers wishing to import more than 5000 cash or traveller’s cheques must indicate this on the currency declaration form you receive upon your entry. We recommend taking euros with you. It is easily possible to exchange money in hotels or banks and bureaux de change, with the exchange rate being uniform. It is recommended to keep the receipt to ensure a return at the airport. International credit cards are accepted by most hotels in major cities and tourist centres.

Notes on additional costs and tipping:

For meals, drinks and snacks not included in the price of the trip, you should calculate approx. 15,- (Euro) per day.

Tips are a voluntary service, which everyone should decide for themselves. Please note, however, that tipping is common in many cultures and is an important part of income due to the relatively low wage level. As a rule of thumb, 5-10% of the invoice amount is appropriate. India is a travel country where a tip is expected for each service. Be it the luggage carrier, the service staff in the restaurant and hotel, for the toilet or the rickshaw ride.

Here is a detailed orientation. Menus often include a surcharge indicated as a service batch. However, the waiters usually see little of this. An additional tip of 5-10% is appropriate. Porters, drivers and guides also expect tipping. For racks 20-30 Rs per bag is attached, for maids 20-30 Rs per day. Your tour guide will be happy to advise you.

Tip: Talk to your fellow travellers. It has often been proven that one of the group gives a reasonable tip on behalf of the whole group (e.g. for the tour guide and driver). Experience has shown that each traveller will receive a tip of around 60 € for the entire trip. But: Tips are voluntary and please communicate with the group on site how you want to deal with it.

Notes on vaccination:

There are no vaccination regulations for direct entry from Germany. The Foreign Office recommends checking the standard vaccinations when travelling to India. These include vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, mumps, measles, rubella and influenza, as well as pneumococci.

Vaccinations against hepatitis A and typhoid, long-term stays or special hazards are also recommended for travel vaccinations against hepatitis B, rabies, meningococcal meningitis ACWY and Japanese encephalitis.

Please keep in mind that vaccination regulations may change in the short term. In addition to the family doctor, individual information is also provided by the health offices or tropical institutes.

What equipment you should think of?

  • Passport
  • Printing of the electronic tourist visa (e-TV)
  • Cash/EC card/credit card
  • Photocopies of the most important documents (keep separate from originals). Send a copy via PDF to your own email in advance.
  • Travel documents
  • Day backpack
  • comfortable shoes and clothes for smaller walks and activities
  • light sneakers or sandals (for aerating the feet)
  • Long trousers and sweater/jacket (for the evening and/or rooms with air conditioning)
  • Photo equipment
  • bathing suits, bath towel
  • Sun protection and headgear (cap, hat or headscarf, sunglasses, sunscreen)
  • Travel pharmacy, first aid kit, possibly personal medications, insect repellent
  • Due to different socket types, we recommend taking an international adapter set with you.

South India on Tuk Tuks – 2 Weeks Kerala and Tamil Nadu Autorickshaw Tour

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