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Review: Splendours of the South

Escorted Tour - Coach

Spices, Coconuts and Smiling Faces

  • By SilverTraveller Ruth-from-Norwich

    10 reviews

    Ribbon

  • Dec 2012
  • Husband

12 people found this review helpful

We spent a delightful two weeks plus starting in Bangalore and ending in Kovalam, South India. It was advertised as a group or private tour "Splendours of the South" but for the dates we wanted over Christmas and New Year only the latter was on offer. This proved great in many ways as with a driver and guides along the way, we could stop when we wanted and have a much more individual experience. S India is described as green and pleasant, less chaotic than its northern neighbours and "God's Own Country". We can't really disagree. We saw a variety of cultural and wildlife sights – including elephant – climbed 600 plus steps to see the tallest stone carving in the world, watched tribal dancing as well as traditional and saw smiling faces wherever we went. The people have a natural beauty, grace and charm but what we were not prepared for was the fascination of all the schoolchildren who wanted photos taken with us and even our autographs. They are justifiably proud of their high standard of service. Hotel and restaurant staff couldn't do enough to help and people everywhere were welcoming – mostly delighted to have their photos taken. We stayed in 5 -star hotels with amazing facilities but on reflection we could have stayed in smaller ones and included some home-stays. Our driver was able to tell us all about what we saw along the way – the crops, people, and we had fascinating discussions comparing families and life in general. He could take us to or point out places to eat local food etc. I have to say the food as well as the people was a glorious revelation. Many natural, home-grown ingredients go into the cooking of Keralan food for vegetarians and non-veggies alike and the variety of dishes on offer is mind-blowing. I have problems with my "system" in UK but everything worked a treat in S. India much to my surprise! We were shown a huge range of spices on our trip round a farm and all my questions were answered. Did you know nutmegs come from a greenish fruit hanging low in a bush? TransIndus specialises in India so they really know their stuff and couldn't have been more helpful during the planning and booking stages. They respond quickly to requests and can build into your trip any special interests – cooking, wildlife, school visits etc. It was without doubt one of our best trips ever and we will hold in our minds and hearts scenes of coconut-palm-fringed beaches, rolling surf, delicious food and beautiful, colourful dignified people. A word of warning – sadly not really suitable for people with physical disabilities as access to many monuments and hotels involves gradients and steps.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: TransIndus - Indian Subcontinent & Central Asia

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