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Total number of reviews: 2,720

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South India Explorer QDS

Visiting: India
Tour Duration 17 Days
Reviews for South India Explorer 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the South India Explorer tour available at present.

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4 Tom and Christine Aubrey, 31/03/15

Please Review Your Overall Experience And What Your Highlights Were

We really enjoyed the trip. Highlights were the bas-reliefs at Mammallapuram; Meenakshi Temple at Maduria; Homestay; Train to Ooty; Hampi and Shanti Guesthouse.



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Our Response

Thank you for your feedback.  Pema gets extremely good feedback, but as you say, it’s not so easy for leaders working so far from their own regions.  We would not do this from choice, but sometimes a leader does have to take over a trip with which they are less familiar at short notice, and there is work well underway to ensure that there are very full manuals for all Indian tours, so that good leaders can provide excellent service even on a tour they haven’t led before.  We are aware of our recent office service failings, but these have all been addressed and improved.  We acknowledge your point about the actual length of the holiday, but it is standard travel industry practice to give the duration in days according to when a flight leaves the UK, and returns there, even if it is not much before or past midnight in each case.  We are looking into the Ooty accommodation and may change this, and the whole issue of whether to include Goa at all is under review.

4 Robert Haining, 29/01/15

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The evening visit to the Meenakshi temple in Madurai - a quite extraordinary experience. I would also add the visit to Hampi.

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Our Response

Thank you for your feedback.  We were concerned by your comments on the Mayura Hotel, and we’re looking into this.  We’ll change it if this is an ongoing problem rather than a one-off. Our Product Manager will look again at alternatives in Ooty, but we are working to obtain the train tickets more easily than is currently the case.  This is one of our ‘Simply’ tours, where the ethos is to provide the logistics – tour leader, accommodation, transport – and leave customers free to make their own choices of visits and sites at each location.  It’s proving to be a popular format, but there might be one or two visits we could include where there are no alternatives to choose from.

5 Janet Howells, 04/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

I was expecting the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai to be stunning, and it was. I was expecting Kerala to be beautifully peaceful, and it was. I was expecting the Ooty train ride to be fun, and it was. I knew nothing about Mamallapuram which had a beautiful laid back atmosphere with intricate rock friezes and temples, or Mysore with it's stunningly gaudy Palace, or Hampi,with thatched bungalows, beautiful river, scenery and temples, quite magical.

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4.5 , 06/12/13


Sarah Tennant

Tour Name

South India Explorer

Tour Code


What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Visiting the Raghunatha Temple on a hilltop in Hampi and then sitting amongst the resident monkeys watching sunset. A very spiritual and moving experience.

Tour Leader Name


How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Superb, in every way. Highly intelligent, extremely knowledgable about India's history, culture and religion. Nothing was too much trouble. He's a real foodie, so we ate fantastic food during the whole tour. He had a great sense of humour too and paid great attention to making sure our trip went as smoothly as possible. He was well organised and efficient and really good company.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Take the usual precautions when visiting this part of the world in terms of eating sensibly, keeping hydrated and using lots of sun screen. Don't pack too much either as you will have to carry your bags on to several day and overnight trains.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

It was fantastic. I always enjoy Explore trips and this one was no exception. I came away feeling I'd been completely immersed in another culture and am enriched for it. Everything about it was so positive and enjoyable. The trip was well put together and captured the diversity of this great country - the people, the landscape, the Hindu religion and the food. Thank you for a wonderful experience.

5 Sam Burns, 25/02/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Climbing out to the end of a Chinese fishing net in Kochi to watch the sunset; drifting around the Martian landscape of Hampi; garam chai by the open door of the train from Hospet to Margao; the long haul up to Ooty on the Nilgiri railway.

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0 Gill Boyd, 19/12/11
This is a new trip and we were the second trip out. It was brilliant, thanks in no small part to the group and tour leader Ranjeet Singh. For me the highlight was exploring the ruins near Hampi - I had no idea they were there - absolutely fantastic and reminisent of Angkor Wat. Another highlight was visiting the Hope foundation school and the Ooty toytrain was great fun (although it would have been better to transport the luggage by truck!). The overnight trains were fine and great for interacting with locals, although maybe a bit daunting if your very first adventure trip. There was a good mixture of historical/religious sites along with relaxing days. Shopping is probably best at Kochi although Mysore has excellent silk shops. The food is largely vegetarian and good value - thali's and lassi's abound !!  There were two hotels we used which where basically stopovers in small towns, the hotels where OK but not great. I can honestly say I did not really notice a drop in hotel standard from other trips I've taken with Explore despite this being a "budget" trip. Some hotels where great and most close to the centre of actvity. I've done several trips with Explore (double figures no less!) and this rated along with the best. Don't let the "budget" tab concern you, it was a brilliant trip and I can't recommend it enough. (QDS - 13th November 2011)
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