I was actually in south India for 2 months but the first month was spent inside an ashram so I’ll sum up my south India itinerary as 1 month starting from when I left the Sivananda Ashram. I recommend my south India itinerary for any other solo female travelers, it worked out pretty well for me and I got to see some of what I consider to be south India’s hot spots!
In a nutshell; I went from Trivandrum to Varkala to Kochi to some random place to Mysore to Hampi to Gokarna to Goa to Mumbai over a 4 week time frame.
South India Itinerary 1st Stop: Sri Lanka to Trivandrum in Kerala
I started my south India trip by flying into Trivandrum, which is a city almost near the tip of India… way down south. I was coming from Sri Lanka (read about my Sri Lanka trip involving a large centipede and a dead body) which was only a 30 minute flight away from Trivandrum so if like me you like to squeeze every possible destination out of each trip then consider spending some time in Sri Lanka too. It’s so close by that if you have the time then go for it! Here’s the top 5 things to do in Sri Lanka.
If you don’t care about seeing Sri Lanka and don’t have a yoga course near Trivandrum like I did then you could also fly into Goa or Bangalore or even some smaller airports that are dotted around the south, there’s quite a few of them. It depends where you’re coming from though. I loved checking out Kovalam beach while in Trivandrum. Trivandrum was my first stop in India and my very first time in India. Inevitably the markets and cute little trinket shops here took a serious hammering (in a good way) and so did my budget (in a bad way). Put it this way… I now have a toe ring for every toe.
South India Itinerary 2nd Stop: Trivandrum to Varkala
After the yoga course I met loads of great people and kept bumping into loads of them everywhere I went (thank you Lonely Planet guide haha). After the rather rigid one month TTC schedule a lot of us escaped to Varkala Beach… a gorgeous beach overlooked by a gorgeous cliff (running out of adjectives already). I highly recommend going from Trivandrum to Varkala, it’s only about a 2 hour rickshaw ride and won’t cost much to get there from Trivandrum.
Varkala’s a great place to do some yoga so if you want to do yoga at some point while in south India read my Varkala Yoga Retreat guide. Don’t make the same mistake I did… unless you want to get totally smashed… stay away from the Bhang Lassi wink wink, nudge nudge. If you can’t stay away from the Bhang Lassi’s then please for heaven’s sake stay away from the Varkala cliff edge.
South India Itinerary 3rd Stop: Varkala to Kochi or Cochin (you can call it either)
I really loved Kochi and most people who visit this sweet little town do too. Spend at least 2 or 3 days here, check out the Chinese Fishing nets early in the morning and just enjoy the laid back vibe. If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen then buy some fresh fish for your dinner.
My south India itinerary went on a bit of a detour or off on a tangent shall we say because I met a hot dude with a motorbike here and went off on a road trip for a few days. Fortunately I lived to tell the tale. When you get to Kochi make sure you allow for a few days just in case, I don’t know… maybe something crazy might happen? Or you could do a river cruise on a houseboat which is one of the most popular and in my top 5 things to do in Kerala.
South India Itinerary 4th Stop: Somewhere in India to Mysore
I don’t know where my India road trip took me, it was over a mountain and to a small town in the middle of nowhere. All I remember was a lot of chai drinking, meeting my hot Indian dude’s 20 or so brothers and ending up with a very sore butt (from sitting on the motorbike for so long of course). After the great India road trip of about 3 days I got on a bus to Mysore which was my next stop.
Mysore’s a really great city and a must visit place in south India. I did happen to get swung around by my hair by a drunk local though and I then made a sharp exit on a night bus. I had planned to stay longer. If you read my How to NOT get beat up as a solo female traveler guide then I’m sure you’ll be just fine and you should stay a good 4-5 days here.
Onwards and upwards…
South India Itinerary 4th Stop: Mysore to Hampi
Ahhh Hampi… I love Hampi! I know this is what all the dirty backpackers say isn’t it, well I’m a dirty flashpacker and I’m saying it too. Lots of beautiful views of lush green landscapes and big boulders all over the place make Hampi such a dreamy destination. Whatever you do don’t go to this one cafe near the train station and eat a potato salad… I got severe Delhi Belly in Hampi and was staying in a hut with a shared outdoor toilet. All I’m saying is I wasn’t the only one that suffered that night.
Stay for a while in Hampi, maybe 4-5 days. You won’t get bored, here’s my top 5 things to do in Hampi. I promise they don’t involve getting beat up or getting sick… I don’t choose to do these things btw… Shit just happens to me... an avalanche of shit... like in that scene in Trainspotting with the bed sheets. Click To Tweet
South India Itinerary 5th Stop: Hampi to Gokarna
Do you like beaches? Gorgeous sandy beaches with cute hippie names like ‘Om’… if so stay a while in Gokarna but don’t lose track of time and wake up 20 years later realizing that maybe you liked Om Beach a little too much. This does happen you know! Gokarna is a great place to just chill out, eat, sleep, sunbath…. eat. Ehh look at cows.
South India Itinerary 6th Stop: Gokarna To Goa
Goa was the place on my south India itinerary I was most excited about. I got a motorbike ride for the 2 hour trip up the coast from Gokarna to Goa from the hot Indian dude I picked up in Kochi.
You should spend at least a week in Goa because there really is much more to do and see here than in the other smaller towns and cities on this south India itinerary. You could really spend a good 6 months here if you have the time/budget honestly. Read my amazing Top 10 Things To Do In Goa and also What You Should Know Before You Visit Goa. Or… don’t 😉
South India Itinerary: Goa To Mumbai
I ended my South India trip by getting a train from Goa to Mumbai and hanging out in Mumbai for a few days before getting an overnight train from Mumbai to Delhi. I didn’t like Mumbai or Delhi half as much as I liked the smaller cities and towns in south India but there’s still loads to do and see here and you should stay at least a few days. I think everyone on the planet (that’s planet Earth) should do the drive from or to the Mumbai airport or train station. The poverty, even after traveling around the south of India for a month, was a jaw-dropping shock.
I’ll be writing about my north India trip next. Please try to contain your excitement.
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If you’ve travelled around south India and have a different south India itinerary than this one feel free to share it in the comments section below…
If you’re traveling to south India then find out more about what itinerary to follow with one of these Travel Guides. I planned my south India itinerary using the Lonely Planet guide and it gave me a lot of confidence to travel India solo and it really was a life saver, ok a bit dramatic… it was a trip saver 😉