Itinerary advice for 3 weeks in southern India.

#1 Feb 27th, 2010, 09:30
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  • tali is offline
#1
Hi there,

my partner and i are looking at traveling round southern India for about 3 weeks roughly between Dec 23rd and Jan 14th. I've been doing a bit of research, but having never properly been through India, i'm unsure how much i should be trying to pack in without finding ourselves constantly up and running about. We want to take time soaking up the vibe and not rushing through places without really taking anything in , but it'd be good to also get a nice bit of diversity into what i know will be too short a time either way.
We will probably be flying in and out of Chennai and so far i've kind of honed in on:
Hampi
Madurai
Mysore
Kochi
Alappuhza
(not in that order)

Is that too much? will we be rushing around? anything i could omit? anything i've missed that's really worth getting to?

I guess we're after diversity and not overly touristy. we're both well travelled and not chasing 'comforts', we just really want to get a good taste of India with future plans of coming back and seeing more.

I'm really open to hearing about other people's experiences and highlights, as well as advice.

Cheers.
#2 Feb 27th, 2010, 09:48
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  • bruce3404 is offline
#2
That sounds doable; try to travel on night trains in order to maximize your time on the ground. Any chance you can fly into Bangalore? Then you could overnight to Hampi, overnight back, hit Mysore, then trip on down to Alleppey and Kochi.
#3 Feb 27th, 2010, 09:56
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#3
...for some reason, flights are cheaper into chennai then they are bangalore, and we're on a pretty tight budget. is hampi too out of the way you think? what kind of time frames are we looking at for travel to all of these places. my concept of time and space in these areas is very abstract.
#4 Feb 27th, 2010, 10:54
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  • Leith is offline
#4
Where in Oz?

Tiger airlines have some good deals from Singapore to Bangalore.

Air Asia also have good deals from KL to Bangalore and Kochi.

I fly out of Perth so I can get cheap flights to both Singapore and KL.

If you fly into Bangalore and out of Kochi you will save a lot of backtracking.
#5 Feb 27th, 2010, 10:55
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#5
Your option is to take a train from Chennai to Bangalore, and then on to Hampi. This will add about 9 hours (RT) to your travel plans. I do think you should stick with your plans for Hampi. It is a bit out of the way and that's why I suggested traveling at night, since you'll (presumably) be sleeping during night hours anyways. The Bangalore-Hampi train departs at 22:30, so if you get into Chennai early enough, you might be able to wake up in Hospet/Hampi.
#6 Feb 27th, 2010, 11:02
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#6
How about flights into Hyderabad? Hampi is overnight from there.
#7 Feb 27th, 2010, 11:39
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  • dominoes is offline
#7
another route to Hampi is to take the train from Chennai to Guntakal( 7 hours), then switch to local trains or bus to Hospet (2 hours).

My recommendation is to miss out Hampi.

From Chennai go straight to Mamallapuram (ancient temples , dirty beach) it's a small place but ideal for breaking oneself into India.
From there take the bus to Chingleput to pick up the train to Madurai.
Travel from Madurai to Kerala, do the backwaters then go to Mysore via Ooty.
From Mysore there's plenty of transportation back to Chennai either direct or changing at Bangalore.

Going all the way to Hampi puts you out on a limb and it can be difficult getting back to your planned circuit.

Note that there are very few trains with a tourist quota on Southern Railways.
#8 Feb 27th, 2010, 13:29
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#8
Or Chennai to madurai, Madurai to Alleppey, Alleppey to Cochin, Cochin, then to Bangalore from where you to and fro to either Mysore or Hampi. Mahabalipura, Pondichery, and Ooty are other places which you may want to try if times permits for diversity sake.
#9 Feb 27th, 2010, 17:09
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominoes View Post
Going all the way to Hampi puts you out on a limb and it can be difficult getting back to your planned circuit.

.
I respectfully disagree. As long as you know your travel plans, you can make reservations up to 90 days in advance for sleeper cars from Bangalore to Hampi and do all your traveling at night.
As I mentioned the night train from Bangalore leaves at 22:30 (though the option above to travel via Guntakal is worth researching); the train from Hospet to Bangalore leaves at 20:10 and gets you into Bangalore at 6:10; from there, you can take one of numerous morning trains to Mysore and be there by 10AM.
Then you move on to Cochin and Aleppey; from Aleppey, see if there's a night train to Madurai. From Madurai, you might consider splurging and flying back to Chennai. Paramount Air has tickets for only 3129 rupees, if you buy them well in advance. Your other option would be an 8 hour train trip and yes, you can travel at night.
#10 Mar 2nd, 2010, 19:12
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  • tali is offline
#10
holy moley guys, thanks for all the tips!!! it's a lot to digest, so i'll get me head around it and get back to the forum soon. i'm flying out of melbourne, i might go chat to the travel agent this week, see what they say. all the prices i've seen so far have been on-line.
don't go anywhere, i'll have more questions soon!
thanks!!!
#11 Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:15
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#11
Hampi can be a pain to add to an Itinerary, but you'll struggle to find anyone who'll tell you it's not worth it, it really has to be seen to be believed, and you'll need a FULL 3 days minimum.
#12 Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:52
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  • vandy is offline
#12
Hi there, IF you are dead set on visiting Hampi, I would fly into Bangalore and exit India from Kochi or maybe vice a versa.

You can get an O'Night train from Bangalore to Kochi after Hampi

There is also the possibility of going to Madurai from Thekady
area and then returning into Kerala and head for backwaters.


vandy

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