Jean-Philipe, a Canadian expat living in Tamil Nadu, offers
personalized introductory tours of south India during the season October
through February. The dates and itineraries shown are suggestions, and
can be adjusted and customized as desired.
India can be
overwhelming for the first-time visitor, so travelling in a small group
(usually maximum of five participants) with an experienced guide to look
after all the logistics and minutiae allows you to enjoy the experience
of India with no worries. Jean-Philipe will look after the details of
where to go, how to get there, where to stay, how to get around, what to
see, and what to avoid.
Jean-Philipe has been travelling
and living in India for more than three decades, especially exploring
the south extensively by motorcycle, car, train and bus. In his travels
he has developed a network of friendships and valuable contacts, all to
the advantage of the visitors he escorts each year.
tours (except the November northern tour) begin at Chennai airport,
where Jean-Philipe and his driver greet you and whisk you to our first
(also called Mahabalipuram), a laid-back beach area and stone-carving
centre and former port city of the Pallava Dynasty a millennium ago.
We stay three nights at Hotel Mahabs Resort
an oasis of tranquillity in the centre of the town, to catch up on
jet-lag and acclimatise to India. All rooms overlook the garden and
swimming pool. Enjoy a breakfast buffet with both Indian and Western
items, and poolside service from the restaurant and bar.
On day 3 we do a walking tour of Mamallapuram's main archaeological sites, including Arjuna's Penance
, Krishna's Butterball, the Lighthouse, the Five Rathas, and the Shore Temple
day 4 we leave Mamallapuram at noon, and on our way to Chennai Central
railway station by taxi we stop for an hour or so each at:
- Madras Crocodile Bank
, one of the largest herpetology centres in the world.
, a cross cultural living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of south India.
- San Thome Basilica
with the tomb of St Thomas, one of only three places in the world which
is the burial site of one of Jesus' apostles (the others are St. Peter
in the Vatican and St James in Santiago de Compostela in Spain).
- Amir Mahal
, home of the Prince of Arcot
and his extended family. Depending on their schedules, the Prince
, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, or his Dewan (heir), Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali, may be free to greet us.
take an overnight train to Mettupalayam, and transfer to the UNESCO
World Heritage Nilgiri Mountain Railway "Toy Train" up to Ooty, Queen of
the Hill Stations. Our driver and van meet us at Ooty railway station,
and will be our transportation for the next ten days.
On day 6 we explore Ooty, including the Botanical Gardens and Doddabetta Peak.
On day 7 we drive from Ooty to Mysore
, city of palaces.
During our three-day stay in Mysore, we sample several of the main attractions of this fascinating city. We visit Mysore Palace
, one of the most visited monuments in India; Lalith Mahal Palace
, now a 4-star hotel; see the Chamundeshwari Temple
on Chamundi Hill
, and its great stone sacred bull
; explore the nearby historic walled town of Srirangapatnam
, capital of Tipu Sultan
; and stroll through Brindavan Gardens
We also include a tour of the city market with our local travel partner goMowgli.
From Mysore, we have two different itineraries available.
October 2016 tour - Off the Beaten Track
from Vancouver on Saturday October 8th, fly on Air Canada/ Lufthansa
via Frankfurt to Chennai. Return on Sunday October 30th.
Mamallapuram -->Ooty --> Mysore --> Kodagu --> Bellur &
Halebidu --> Chikmagalur --> Shimoga --> Jog Falls -->
Sirsi --> Yana --> Dandeli --> Hubli --> Chennai
From Mysore we explore the interior of Karnataka. We start with Kodagu (Coorg),
meeting friendly heffalumps at the Dubare Elephant Camp
, and visiting the glorious Tibetan Golden Temple
We visit the archeological centres of the Hoysala Empire, Bellur
; stay at a coffee plantation in Chikmagalur
; hike (optional) to the foot of magnificent Jog Falls
; marvel at the bizarre rock formations at Yana
; and go white-water rafting (optional) near Dandeli
We bid adieu to our driver at Hubli Railway Station
, one of the most modern in India, and take a train back to Chennai, with an overnight stop in Bengaluru.
tour can optionally be extended by one week, allowing us to visit the
coast of Karnataka including Gokarna, Murudeshwar and Udupi. Our van
drops us at Bengaluru airport, where you can either get a flight back to
Canada via Frankfurt, or via Chennai and Frankfurt.
November 2016 tour - Deserts and Palaces
year for the first time we are offering a northern India tour including
Delhi, Agra, and Rajasthan. However, it is already fully booked.
January and February 2017 tours - Beaches and Heritage
from Vancouver on Saturday January 7th, fly on Air Canada/ Lufthansa
via Frankfurt to Chennai, return on Sunday January 29th.
Or, leave from Vancouver on Saturday February 4th, return on Sunday February 26th.
Itinerary: Mamallapuram --> Ooty --> Mysore --> Hampi --> Goa --> Fort Kochi --> Varkala --> Chennai
From Mysore we drive to Hospet, our base for visiting Hampi
, UNESCO World Heritage Site and former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire
Then through the Western Ghats to Goa
, former Portuguese enclave taken back by India in 1961, where we relax for a couple of days of beach time, with a day visit to Old Goa
and lunch in Goa's capital Panjim. We say goodbye to our driver, who will now return to Mysore.
An overnight train takes us to Kerala
's main city of Ernakulam, where we stay in historical Fort Kochi
, enjoying seaside walks, local ferries, and heritage museums.
A day train takes us to our last stop, Varkala
, with its beautiful beach and clifftop, catering to Western and Indian visitors alike.
We take a final taxi to Trivandrum airport, and a domestic flight back to Chennai.
All prices are in Canadian dollars.
Flights and tours can be booked through our travel partners:
- Lloyd's Travel & Cruises, Attention Lucas Sripathy. 342 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver BC. 604-872-3660 or 800-800-7252.
- Maritime Travel, Attention Frank Bolla or Hana Talimalo. 505 Bute St at Pender, Vancouver. 604-681-6212.
on the recommended connection, Air Canada/ Lufthansa via Frankfurt, is
about $1500 to $2000. Lower airfares may be available with other
Pacific route via Hong Kong or China is also possible.
Airport code for Chennai is MAA.
e-Tourist Visa (eTV) (valid for 30 days)
India Tourist Visa (valid for 6 months)
Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Consult with a travel clinic
for advice on vaccinations and other health issues.
Tour costs are $150 per day, twin-share basis, total $3,150 per person for a three-week tour. Single room supplement is $750.
Tour price includes:
- All ground transportation and transfers (train, taxi, van, autorickshaw)
- Semi-deluxe accommodation, twin-share basis (single room option at extra cost)
- All breakfasts and lunches; most dinners (allow $50 for additional meal costs)
- Guide fees and admission fees
- Tips and gratuities
- Domestic airfare Trivandrum to Chennai (on the January and February tours)
- International airfare
- Travel and health insurance
- Personal expenses (e.g. alcohol, laundry, shopping)
- 2 dinners
Grand total including everything is about $5,500.
Check out my blog: indiajp.blogspot.in
and search for #myindiatour
Please contact Jean-Philipe via email at email@example.com for further information.
Here are some testimonials from people I have escorted, both individually and in small groups.
time I spent in south India with Jean-Philipe as my guide was one of
the best experiences of my life. He handled everything so competently,
hotel reservations, train travel, money exchange, and so on. This was
very important to me because I was in my 81st year. I was always
positive that whatever emergency arose, he could handle it. Thank you JP
for wonderful memories!"
Mary B, Kemptville ON
will organize your trip to the last detail and you will not need to
worry about transportation, accommodation or anything else. Just relax
and enjoy your ride. However, make sure to discuss in detail your travel
preferences (i.e. visit beaches or temples, travel by train or
Jan K, Vancouver
"Please accept my
confirmation and approval of Jean-Philipe as an excellent tour
guide. During my six-weeks in southern India I found him to be very
knowledgeable, well organized and efficient – just what you need when
travelling in India. I highly recommend Jean-Philipe as an experienced,
pleasant and intelligent tour guide!"
Sheila F, Vancouver
traveled with JP in India in 2010 for a month. He made my India
experience completely seamless so that all I had to do was enjoy getting
to know some of the many new things and experiences India has to offer.
His local knowledge is extensive and his wide acquaintance of people in
the travel industry in India made his help really valuable. Please
consider this my warmest recommendation to take advantage of his
personable and thorough approach to travel planning."
Alex G, Burnaby BC
you JP for a lovely tour. It was way more than I expected. I look
forward to travelling with you or your assistant at another time."
Amelia C, Surrey BC
See also this great article:
10 Best Places to Go in India