Start in Mumbai and end in Kolkata (Calcutta)! With the overland truck tour Southern & Eastern Explorer, you have a 37 day tour package taking you through Mumbai, India and 20 other destinations in India. Southern & Eastern Explorer includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, transport and more.
Border Information: If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from?Mumbai?Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA code: BOM). There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from your tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai.? In Mumbai we will stay in a good quality hotel. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Mumbai?before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Mumbai.Optional activities:Take a guided tour of the backstreets, shops and schools of the Dhavari district, to experience a slice of the real Mumbai: INR 1200Take a Bollywood dance class in one of Mumbais premier dance studios: INR 500Discover the marvellous collection of historical objects and art at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, one of Indias premier museums: INR 500Explore the labyrinth of cave-temples on Elephanta Island near Mumbai, some of the most impressive rock carvings in all of India: INR 750
Today?will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city. Please note that the trains are often heavily booked in advance and it may not be possible to confirm tickets for all passengers. In the event that we cannot get a train ticket confirmed we will notify you to make alternative arrangements. This will generally mean you will travel by flight the next day and re meet the group in Goa.?Activities included:Experience a local overnight train from Mumbai to Goa
We will start our journey early by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for 2 nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the northern part of Goa. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna. In northern Goa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach. Estimated Journey Time (on train) - 11-12 hours.
After our 2 nights on the northern?beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern end of Goa. En route we will stop off?at the site of?Old Goa to?spend some?time independently exploring the areas colonial buildings. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours?(please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). We will stay for 2 nights?on either the stunning beach of Agonda or Palolem, these beaches are the?perfect places to sit back and watch?the fishing boats landing their catch or sample the delicious local cuisine.
Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a full day drive into the state of Karnataka and to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of?Vijayanagara, the former capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire.? Estimated Drive Time - 9-11?hours. On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot. In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.Activities included:Discover the lost kingdom of Vijayanagar in the magnificent ruined city of Hampi
In and around MysoreFrom Hampi we will have another full day drive to the city of?Mysore,?one of Indias most attractive towns. Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours. On the following day?we will have free time?in Mysore?to independently?explore the citys beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery. In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Today we travel up into the cool highlands and?head to?the hill-station of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations. Enroute we will have the opportunity to visit the Eddakkal caves. A steep hike up allows breathtaking views over the local area and an insight into the carvings thought to date back over 3,000 years.? Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. We will have a free day in Wayanad where we have many options available. From hiking up Chembra Peak, visiting local waterfalls and tea plantations, or the chance to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a guesthouse where they have set up rooms?for visitors in their homes.Activities included:Relax at the Community Guesthouse in the hills of WayanadSee the 7000-year-old Neolithic petroglyphs at the Edakkal caves en routeOptional activities:Take a strenuous day-hike up the 2100m Chembra Peak, the highest peak in the Wayanad area: INR 1500Take a walk through the scenic Wayanad countryside to visit the Meenmutty or Kanthanppara waterfalls: INR 600
Today we will continue our journey with a full day drive to the coastal city of Kochi. Estimated Drive Time - 7-10?hours. On the following day?we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the?Jewish Quarter, St Francis Church and the iconic Chinese fishing nets.?In the evening we will be able to see a performance from?the famous Kathakali dancers, Indias most spectacular dance drama. In Kochi?we will stay in a comfortable hotel.Activities included:Evening visit to watch the classical Indian dance drama of Kathakali
Leaving the bustle of Kochi behind, today we embark on our included overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Alleppey. We will often split into smaller groups to board our traditional Kettuvallom boats which will take us around the scenic rivers and spend the night aboard.
After our fantastic overnight cruise along the Keralan backwaters, we continue our journey with a short drive to the beach resort of Varkala. Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 7?hours. We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and there are also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiably-famous Keralan cuisine. In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.Optional activities:Head out for an evening performance of traditional Keralan Kathakali dancing: INR 300Get a traditional Ayurvedic massage in the Keralan town of Varkala: INR 1200
Today we will have a morning drive to Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India. Here we will have free time to independently?explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites. In Kanyakumari we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.Optional activities:Take the ferry over to Vivekananda Rock and explore the memorial to the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda: INR 150
This morning we have the option to get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip of India with thousands of locals, which can be an incredible experience! From Kanyakumari we then start heading back north again, and drive?to the holy city of Madurai. In the afternoon we will have an included?visit to the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.Activities included:Visit to the historical Hindu Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva
Today we head to the French-influenced town of?Pondicherry, and will have free time on arrival in the afternoon. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. We will have 2 nights here with plenty of time?to relax and soak up the atmosphere and?spend time exploring the town and its beautiful colonial architecture.? In Pondicherry we will stay in a local guesthouse. ?Optional activities:Sit down and relax with a coffee and a croissant at one of the many French Bakeries in town.?: INR 400Visit the spiritual community of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in the early 20th century by the famous Bengali freedom fighter and spiritual leader: INR
Today we have a short drive?to the ancient?city of Mahabalipuram, once the capital of the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th Century CE. On arrival we will have an included?visit to the incredible?Shore Temples and other monuments around the town ( time permitted ). In the afternoon we will finish the?short drive?to the bustling coastal city of?Chennai. In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 6?hours.Activities included:Visit the Chennai Government Museum, and its incredible selection of antiquities including Roman artefacts and coins from all eras of Indias pastVisit to the Shore Temples & Pagodas of MahabalipuramOptional activities:Visit the Fort St. George, the site of the East India Companys first trading station in 1640, and the first British fort in India: INR 100
Border Information:?If you are joining in Chennai, you will most likely enter India in Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA). Today is a free day?to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Chennai.?There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Chennai?before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Chennai. In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable modern hotel. *Important note* - if you are joining the trip in Chennai, please make sure that you send us a scan of your Indian visa as soon as you have obtained it. If you plan to take the e-visa option, please make sure you arrange this well in advance and send us a copy of your receipt as soon as possible.?If we do not receive this in advance, then we will?not have enough time to get your?permits for the Odisha Region?and you will not be able to visit this area.Optional activities:Visit the many historic temples, mosques, and churches of Chennai: INRVisit the Fort St. George, the site of the East India Companys first trading station in 1640, and the first British fort in India: INR 100Visit the Chennai Government Museum, and its incredible selection of antiquities including Roman artefacts and coins from all eras of Indias past: INR 250
Today we start our journey with a?drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. On the way we will have an included visit to the Sri Kalahasti temple.? In Tirupati we will stay in a friendly local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 6 hours?(please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).Activities included:Visit the Sri Kalahasti Temple, one of the most famous Shiva temples in South India
Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding?through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India.?This is real off-the-beaten-track overlanding, and we will arrive in the small city of Vijayawada this evening. In Vijayawada we will stay in a basic local hotel.? Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Today we continue our journey and drive through the back roads of Andra Pradesh.?Our final destination tonight is the costal town of Visakhapatnam. In Visakhapatnam we will stay in a local hotel on the sea front. Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.
Today we will begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below: On the first?day we will have an early start from Visakhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself. In Goudaguda we will?stay in a local guesthouse which has been styled on local tribal houses. Estimated Drive Time - 6- 7 hours. On the following day we will have a?guided walk in the morning through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mahali and Kondh tribal villages. We will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night.? On the next day we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We will then travel?through the hills to the village of Muniguda, our destination for tonight.? In Muniguda we will stay in basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6?hours. On the following day we will drive further through an Elephant Range. We will then walk into the Desia Kondh indigenous community. They are distinguished by the unique facial tattoos of the women. After a village visit and picnic lunch we will continue to Baliguda.? In Baliguda we will stay in a local basic hotel.? Estimated Drive Time - 6-8?hours. On the next day we will drive to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have a free afternoon to independently explore the town on arrival. In Gopalpur we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.Activities included:Visit the Monday market in the indigenous melting pot of Goudaguda, soaking up the incredible atmosphere as the locals barter and trade their produceHead out for a half day hike around the Goudaguda region, visiting nearby villages of the Kondha, Mahali and Paroja tribal peopleExplore the rarely-visited Wednesday Market in Chakitona, the main weekly market for the Desia and Dongria villagers from the areaLearn about the incredible work of the New Hope Community Centre in the rural village of MunigudaBathe in the natural hot springs with the local villagers at the small temple of Taptapani
Today our tour of the Odisha?tribal areas comes to an end and we drive on to the small town of Puri. Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India. On arrival we will explore?the old pilgrim route by cycle-rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple. Estimated Drive Time - 5 -7 hours. We will spend 3 nights in Puri. On the first full day here, we will take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake by boat and take a walk through some of the surrounding fishermans villages.? On the second full day, we will?begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO?World?Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple. In Puri we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.Activities included:3?nights to relax in the lovely coastal town of PuriExplore the religious sites of Puri by cycle-rickshaw, including the Jagannath Temple, one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in IndiaExplore the ruins of the 13th-century Sun Temple of Konark near to Puri, shaped like a colossal chariot with elaborately carved stone wheelsTake a cycle ride through the stunning back-roads and villages near Puri, to visit the artisan village of Raghurajpur and see the fantastic array of handicrafts traditionally manufactured thereOptional activities:Educational visit to the Usthi Foundation rural project for children either in Puri or Kolkata: USD 10
Today we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have free time today and tomorrow to independently?explore this remarkable city, or take an optional?photographic tour. In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel. Estimated Journey Time (by train) - 8 -9 hours.Activities included:Experience a local train ride from Puri to?Kolkata
Border Information:?If finishing your trip in Kolkata, you will most likely exit?India at?Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kolkata. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation?in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.Optional activities:Overland through West Bengal across the Gangetic plains: INRVisit the Eden Gardens, the most famous and iconic cricket stadium in India: INRSee the famous Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly River, thought to be the busiest bridge in the world with 150,000 pedestrians and 100,000 vehicles crossing every day: INRDiscover the incredible array of art and historical artefacts on display at the Indian Museum in Kolkata, the largest and oldest museum in India: INR 500Head out on a fantastic photographic tour of Kolkata, exploring the hidden gems, back streets, and photogenic spots of the city with a superb local guide: INR 2000Explore the vast fields and parks of the Maidan (the lungs of Kolkata) and observe daily life away from the chaos of the city: INRVisit and support the Usthi Foundations school and farm for impoverished children in Kolkata, and see the amazing work they do (if available): USD 10See the huge white marble Victoria Memorial, built in the early 20th century by the British Viceroy of India and a grandiose reminder of Kolkatas colonial past: INR 500Visit the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Centre, a museum illustrating the life and work of the famous and controversial missionary: INR