Road Trip - 21 Day India | Goa - Backwaters - Munnar - Sikkim

Experience the best of India from the beautiful beaches of Goa down through Mysore, the yoga capital of India then into the sleepy backwaters of Kerala staying on a houseboat then up through picturesque tea plantations of Munnar, ancient temples of Tamil Nadu and then fly and settle in Sikkim in North India in the Himalayas to teach in Buddhist monasteries!

 

21 Day India Road Trip | Goa – Backwaters – Munnar – Sikkim

Project Type

Road Trip | Group holiday, touring with volunteering

Duration

3 weeks

Start Dates

1st & 3rd Monday of every Month (Every Monday in July)

Location

Arrival Goa
Finish Sikkim

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Program Fees

Whats Included

  • Arrival  airport transfer
  • 3 Meals p/day weekdays, 2 meals p/day weekends
  • Accommodation (Volunteer Centers – shared dorm style rooms)
  • Daily ground transportation (to/from project)
  • Training & supervision as required
  • Use of necessary equipment incl program materials
  • 24/7 emergency assistance, volunteer support, local guiding and advice
  • Touring & excursions as per itinerary
  • Certificate of Completion 

Whats Not Included

  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Airfares & visa fees
  • Additional tours, souvenirs, spending money
  • Some daily local transport (depending on program eg. $2 p/day)

Overview

This volunteer travel tour takes you to Goa which boasts of pristine beaches and Indo-Portuguese culture and into the ancient temple kingdom of Hampi to marvel at its stone architecture and ancient cultures. From here we go down South to the backwaters of Kerala and hike in the tea plantations of the blue mountains as it is called. Travel to the Southwestern part of Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu to visit magnificent ancient Hindu Temples and also learn ancient form of dancing. Your tour then takes you to North of India to the foothills of Himalayas in Sikkim where you can help the local Himalayan communities by teaching at local schools.

Local food, Market visits, temple visits, nature experience and volunteering will be the norm for these 21 days.

Accommodation & Meals

All accommodation is included during your stay.  All accommodation is simple, yet clean and comfortable with running water/showers and adequate western style bathroom and toilet facilities.  You’ll be sharing a room with other volunteers of the same gender, normally a maximum of 4 per room.

The Goa & Sikkim Volunteer Centers consist of spacious houses normally with 2 levels ground and first floor, living areas, dining areas, kitchen and normally 4 bedrooms with attached toilets. Each room can accommodate up to 8 people.   Other amenities available at the centers include TV, DVD player, Wifi, computer, toaster, fridge

In Hampi, enjoy local village cottages in the local rice fields
In Alleppey, stay on a houseboat!
In Munnar, you’ll stay in a guesthouse with hill views
In Madurai, a temple view guesthouse

3 good Meals are also provided every day of the program. We provide Indian and western food in the center, mainly vegetarian food like rice, pulses, vegetables and rotis with some chicken dishes 2 times in a week.

Itinerary 

Sunday – Arrive at Dabolim Airport in Goa. Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up and transferred to the volunteer center to settle in (approx 45 min drive).

Day 1 – Goa

Orientation, meet and greet with volunteer staff and coordinators and fellow volunteers from all over the world.  Thje orientation session which will take you through Indian culture, do’s and don’ts as a traveler in India, and safety precautions during your travel.  Enjoy a few local excursions to interesting Goan markets and then check out the sunset over the beach.

Day 2 – Goa

An excursion to old Goa, previously a Portuguese colony will give you an appreciation for the history and culture of this popular destination. You’ll see some hidden gems off the beaten tourist track including mountainous spice plantations with picnic lunch.  Later in the evening, enjoy a Bollywood movie.

Day 3 – Goa

Today you will learn cooking Goan food and visit the beach or a few hours before taking an evening bus to Hampi on a journey back in time, ruins of an ancient Hindu kingdom and an world UNESCO heritage site.

Day 4 – Hampi

Check into a lovely guest house in the middle of rice fields.  Take part in a bicycle tour of the ancient kingdom with carved temples and incredible views of the kingdom.  At sunset, overlooking the mountains, enjoy a yoga class.

Day 5 – Hampi – Mysore

After some more Yoga and medication at sunrise check out the coracle ride in the river Tunga and witness this kingdom through a new perspective. This evening, we depart to the town of Mysore which was the capital of South India centuries ago and a well renowned for Yoga.  Check into the riverside guest house and visit the famous Mysore Palace and a temple situated on a hill overlooking the city.

Day 6 – Mysore

Visit a silk factory where you can witness the making of silk saree and learn wearing a saree the Indian way.  Enjoy some free time.

Day 7 – Mysore – Alleppey

Visit the famous Mysore Devaraj Urs market and taste a spread of south Indian food. This evening we take a bus to the backwaters of Kerala.

Day 8 – Alleppey Boat house

Arrive in the morning to check into a boathouse.  Here you will cruise the whole day in the backwaters to get an Ayurvedic massage and dinner on the boat and an overnight stay in the boathouse. You will also get a chance to visit markets along the backwaters.  This is a really unique experience and something you’ll never forget.

Day 9 – Alleppey – Munnar

Later in the morning, we depart to Munnar also called the blue hills of tea plantations, one of the biggest in south of India. Munnar is a hill station in the Western Ghats located in the state of Kerala. Munnar, a hill station and former resort for the British Raj elite, is set within rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the 19th century.   This is an incredible place!   Highly recommended.  Here we walk through a nature trail through the tea plantations and witness traditional art of kalari payathu and kathakali dance at Punarjani traditional village and stay overnight at a beautiful guest house situated in the mountains overlooking the plantations.

Day 10- Munnar – Madurai

As the third largest city of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is a city known for its historical and cultural significance.  An ancient city with a rich cultural and architectural heritage, the city is constructed in the form of a lotus around the Meenakshi Amman temple.  it is called the ‘Athens of the east’; but Madurai, arguably, has as much as history as Athens itself.   You’ll receive a City tour and overnight stay at Madurai

Day 11 – Madurai

Sightseeing in Madurai where you will visit 3 iconic temples, learn a bit of Carnatic music and take in a temple concert in this ancient city.  Enjoy some more free time

Day 12 – Madurai – Chennai – Bagdodra (Sikkim)

Today we depart to Chennai and take a flight to Bagdodra and by road to Gangtok the capital of Sikkim.

Sikkim is a small state in northwest India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Part of the Himalayas, the area has a dramatic landscape including India’s highest mountain, 8,586m Kanchenjunga. Sikkim is also home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s.

Day 13 – Sikkim

Free time

Day 14 – Sikkim

Free time

Day 16 – Sikkim

Volunteer at the Buddhist monastery of Sikkim, interacting with monks and sharing in intercultural learning. Volunteers are encouraged to take initiative in building and renovating the monasteries and public schools and community centers where sadly economic issues and local customs have resulted in dilapidated infrastructure and buildings.

Volunteer Projects needs are many in this very poor region and may include:

  • General cleaning of old paint, walls and scrapping, classrooms etc
  • Paining (including general building painting and artistic painting…  Your imagination is welcome!)
  • English teaching and teaching assistance
  • Gardening & rainwater harvesting projects for remote villages with poor access to infrastructure
  • Renovations (depending on skill levels incl carpentry, electrician, plumbing, building etc)
  • Clean drinking water tanks and basica public toilets in underprivileged communities
  • Solar panels for slum projects
  • Cooking stoves and kitchen facilities for slums, schools and community centers

Departure: Make sure to book your return tickets back home on Saturdays. Departures on Sundays or any extra stay will attract accommodation fees of US$55 p/night incl meals.

 

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