Believe it or not (and we didn’t until yesterday), but there’s a whole other side of India beyond its over-populated bustling cities that’s culturally rich and adventurous while also being incredibly relaxing and spiritually uplifting.

Outside of the popular Mumbai and New Delhi, youth operator, Contiki, has discovered a quieter region that it believes will ‘spice’ up interest among millennials in 2018.

We know it’s hard to shake the image of India’s energetic north, but travel down south and there’s house boats slowly cruising down scenic rivers, tranquil natural parks, wildlife sanctuaries and French pastries.

Yes, French pastries because while the English had colonised most of India, there were parts down south that belonged to the French and in turn have French influence.

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Didn’t know that? Well, it’s just one of the many aspects of the south Contiki believes people will fall in love with when touring on its new ‘Southern Spices’ itinerary.

The trip was added to the operator’s 2018/19 Asia & India program (out now) and takes guests on an 11-day journey through Madurai, Periyar, Kerala Backwaters and Cochin.

Along the way, travellers will visit a spice plantation and enjoy a cooking demonstration by a local family, spot elephants and tigers during a wildlife boat safari, stay in a houseboat while drifting past rice fields and palm trees, as well as watching sunsets behind Chinese fishing nets.

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Contiki’s Managing Director, Katrina Barry, said the new southern tour compliments the operator’s north India itinerary, which launched and sold out last year.

She continued, saying Contiki will be one of the few to offer tours in the south and the only one to include overnight accommodation in a six-passenger houseboat – although expects it won’t be too long for competitors to follow their lead, saying “imitation is the best form of flattery”.

“People don’t understand that it’s such a different experience in the south. It’s about tea, temples and tigers.”

Katrina Barry, Contiki Managing Director

“It’s about tranquillity and it is an amazing experience.”

Contiki

Contiki is currently celebrating the release of its new itinerary with “the world’s most relaxing Escape Room” in Sydney.

As part of the activation, some 300 millennials have signed up to get a taste of the tour through virtual reality, coffee tasting, cooking opportunities and blissful massages.

Click here for more information.

READ: Did Contiki just create the world’s most blissed out Escape Room?

READ: Contiki announces Rock Around the World 2018 destination

Have you travelled to southern India?