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Cycling Kerala's Backroads
Cycling on paved country roads, this tour starts with a visit to the Thatekkad bird sanctuary, one of three wildlife reserves you'll explore on this tour. Then the climbing begins, heading up to the highlands and to Munnar, known for its tea plantations and spice estates. After taking the amazing views from Top Station, descend to Periyar and have a rest day to explore the park where you're likely to see a herd of elephants, but unlikely to spot one of the tigers in residence. The tour then heads towards Kumarakom, to spend a relaxing afternoon plying the backwaters on a houseboat. From here, a flat ride back to Kochi with time to explore this fascinating historic town. And always your fill of delicious food, seasoned with local spices.
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration14 days
- Culture LevelOut There
- Skill Level3 - Intermediate
- Activity Level2 - Moderate
- Elevation2 - Moderate
- Distance333.7 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance33.6 miles
- Day 1Arrive in Kochi
Arrive at Kochi (formerly known as Cochin), a vibrant seaport town that is the perfect jumping off point for this exploration of Kerala.
- Day 2Kochi – Thatekkad
From the hotel you'll ride into the countryside, passing a temple, crossing the Periyar River where, if you are lucky, you'll see elephants from a nearby camp bathing. You'll head towards the Thatekkad Bird Sanctuary and overnight in unique deluxe house tents.
- 38.5 miles
- 144.4 ft
- Day 3Thatekkad – Munnar
Bird watchers can rise early to see how many bird species they can see. Cycle from the hotel following the Periyar River as the tour heads to the Valara forest reserve, passing waterfalls, on the gradual climb towards a lunch stop a local restaurant. The afternoon is still up and you'll climb a total of 1,000 m today, into the hills, branching off onto an old estate road to your plantation bungalow nestled amongst the cardamom estates, the main crop at this elevation. Those with energy to burn can explore the rest of the valley and then virtually freewheel back to the bungalow.
- 34.2 miles
- 3,169.3 ft
- Day 4Munnar Hill Station
A 20 km morning climb will take you up to Munnar hill station, at an altitude of 1600 meters (5248 feet) above sea level. There are lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea plantations carpeting the hillsides. In the afternoon you're free to explore the town and bazaar.
- 16.8 miles
- 1,591.2 ft
- Day 5Munnar Loop to Top Station
Ride to Top Station 1,950 m/ 6,397 ft for panoramic views over the town and neighbouring Tamil Nadu. You'll ascend 500 m in this gradual uphill but there'll be little traffic and the views will be worth the effort. After lunch in a restaurant at the summit there’s the reward of the downhill ride!
- 44.7 miles
- -55.8 ft
- Day 6Munnar – Periyar
Today's ride is stunning, as the group rides out of Munnar on an undulating country road that takes you through small villages, with wonderful views of reservoirs and streams, to Kattapana town. After lunch it's just a short ride to, your overnight stay at a tranquil resort set amidst a plantation of spices and have a guided walk around the grounds.
- 49.1 miles
- -1,187.7 ft
- Day 7Periyar – Thekkady
Easy morning ride to Periyar National Park, one of the world's richest bio-diversity spots that is a sanctuary for more than 40 tigers. Today's ride is on small roads through deciduous forests to the resort set on the edge of the park. For those who like to shop there are a few curio shops and art galleries in this hip little town.
- 16.2 miles
- -682.4 ft
- Day 8Rest Day
Free day to relax or go on one of the trekking and boat safaris to the nearby Periyar National Park. This park is rated as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India for wildlife photography, bird and tiger watching.
Please book this activity in advance with your guide.
- Day 9Thekkady – Mavady Estate
Riding from the hotel, you'll descend on a scenic road through cardamom and tea estates, stopping to visit the Connemara Tea Factory en route to Kuttikanam if tickets are available. You can take a break from the saddle for a traditional lunch at Kuttikanam. Tonight's lodgings are at an old plantation bungalow.
- 34.2 miles
- 889.1 ft
- Day 10Mavady Estate – Kottayam
Stunning views, combined with a 22 km (13.7 mi) descent makes this probably the best ride of the trip. You'll ride through rubber and spice plantations as you head towards Kottayam, known as the Syrian Christian heartland of Kerala. Here grand churches dot the landscape and the group will break for lunch at Palai to visit St Thomas Church. Relax at the luxury hotel set on the shore of India’s second largest lake and enjoy the surroundings.
- 53.4 miles
- -3,668 ft
- Day 11Vembanad Lake Cruise
A free morning before boarding the houseboat, a converted rice barge, for a stunning backwater cruise. The houseboats come with a captain, cook and crew. You just need to sit back, sip long drinks and watch the world go by.
- Day 12Alleppey – Fort Cochin
Mid-morning the group disembarks at Alleppey and rides along the old canal road, past historic buildings. After that, it's up the beach road north to Marari Beach for a seafood lunch and relaxing by the sea. The afternoon ride ends at Fort Cochin and tonight's boutique hotel.
- 37.3 miles
- 42.7 ft
- Day 13Fort Cochin
Optional morning cycle ride around the back streets of old Cochin, taking in all the major sights of Fort Cochin and Jew Town. The afternoon is free to relax at the hotel, poke around the antique and curio shops, or if you prefer museums, there’s the Museum of Kerala History, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hill Palace Museum and Chaithram Art Gallery. And of course
there are an abundance of shopping and eating opportunities but save room for the farewell dinner.
- Day 14Departure
Onward travel or explore more of incredible India.