The South India Cycling Tour is a mountain biking holiday through the highest regions of the Western Ghats. The Southern part of India differs from the Northern part in terrain, culture, people, languages, cuisine and much more. Starting from historic Mysore, this tour traverses through many of the well-known and picturesque towns in this region. You get to cycle through this highly mountainous terrain, exploring the wildlife at Mudumalai National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve and enjoying the ride through the tea gardens of Ooty & Munnar. You will also get to cruise through the backwaters of Kerala on houseboats. This tour ends with a ride to the historical Fort Kochi.
Day 1: Mysore
Your Western Ghats mountain biking tour starts from Mysore, the third largest city in Karnataka. After checking out your cycles, you will get a chance to visit the famed Mysore Palace, known for its ornate durbar hall, a ceremonial meeting place for the royal court. Another major attraction is the beautiful golden royal elephant throne, encrusted with precious stones and jewels, and the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. If time permits, you might also get to go to the Chamundi Hills nearby, to see the ancient temple before retiring for the night.
Day 2: Mudumalai
You will start cycling a short distance away from the city to avoid traffic, to one of the best wildlife reserves in south India, Mudumalai National Park. The park is nestled away in the foothills of the Nilgiris (The Blue Mountains) and is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Here, you can take a jeep safari deep into the midst of this dry deciduous forest, to observe herds of wild Asiatic Elephants, Leopards, Bison, Tigers, the elusive Sloth Bear and primates like the Langur, Bonnet Macaque and Slender Loris, all in their natural habitats. This reserve has achieved many a milestone in conservation efforts, which is evident from the growing number of tigers.
Day 3: Ooty
Today, you will cycle through the winding mountain roads of the Nilgiris, toward the hill station known as Ooty. On your cycling route, you will get to see the forests that abound, the bluish haze of the mountains in the far horizon and sundry wildlife and birds, many of them endemic. Your destination, Ooty, is a picturesque and popular hill station, with a large number of historical places of attraction such as the Ooty Mountain Railway. Ooty still preserves the old world charm of the colonial times. The excellent botanical garden here, which is over 160 years old, is home to not only a great variety of exotic flora, but also many endemic birds.
Day 4: Pollachi
Today you have a chance to board the heritage train down to the town of Coonoor. Thereafter, you will cycle mostly downhill all the way to Mettupalayam, a small town at the foothills. You will leave this busy town behind, and travel on our vehicle to Pollachi, near the city of Coimbatore. At Pollachi, you will spend the night at a beautiful resort set amidst a coconut grove.
Day 5: Munnar
On this day, you will hop on to your cycles to make your way to Munnar, a quaint and popular hill station in Kerala, known for its tea estates. En-route you will come across the dry scrub land forests of Chinnar and the sandalwood forests of Marayur, before the climb begins to Munnar, which is at 1500 metres high in the mountains. The air permeates with the flavour of tea and spices, and the roads weave upwards towards Munnar. You can travel by vehicle if required or ride the whole distance, whilst enjoying a ringside view of the spectacular Western Ghats mountain range.
Day 6: Vandanmedu
Start your mountain biking expedition after early breakfast. You will circle around the picturesque Anaerangal Lake, through the tea estates, to Vandanmedu. On this route, you will be able to set your sights on the cardamom estates that gave these hills their name. The thick aroma of the spice gardens and the beautiful forests will be the highlight of today's ride through the Cardamom Hills. You will spend your night in a magnificent resort at Vandanmedu, set amidst cardamom and tea estates.
Day 7: Periyar
The Cardamom Hills are famed all over the globe over millennia as the centre of spices of the world. Today, you will cycle through the shadow of these hills, which also boast of pepper, cardamom and tea plantations. These hills are a source of the best spices you can get anywhere and have many plantations lining the forests and roads. Cycling in the Cardamom Hills involves wonderful mountain roads infused with the rich aroma of spices. You will reach Periyar by the evening.
Day 9: Vagamon
On this day of the biking tour, you will take the winding roads down to edge of the Western Ghats at Vagamon. The route is consists of a perfect mountain biking country with a great scenic view that consists of small spice growing hamlets dotting the landscape and undulating roads through tea estates and forests. Your destination is a resort set amidst the tea estates and a quiet retreat after a hard day of cycling.
Day 10: Kumarakom
Today, you will be taking a downhill ride through the mountain passes to the plains and from there through the rubber country of Palai to Kumarakom, the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Here, you will settle into a beautiful resort on the banks of the Kumarakom lagoon.
Day 11: Alleppey- Houseboat
You will cycle through the roads towards the small villages set against the water world that makes up the backwaters. Here, you will clamber on to one of Kerala’s most luxurious forms of accommodation and transport, the houseboat. Reclining on cushions and drifting through quiet canals, you will pass through paddy fields grazed by ducks, floating markets, local toddy shops, temples and churches.
Day 12: Alleppey
At Alleppey, you will disembark and make your way to a heritage villa along the backwaters. Cycling through this route gives you a close look at the life of the people living along the backwaters. Upon arrival, you would know that this is the perfect spot to unwind. Whether it is reading in a hammock, dangling your toes in the water, getting an ayurvedic massage or trying out the local tea shop, you can shake off the exhaustion of your journey with great options presented to you in this villa. You can also visit the fruit and vegetable market, the ancient temple or the local pottery factory. A more adventurous choice would be to go cycling through the necklace of the villages of Kuttanadu, walking through the countryside or learning to cook in the family kitchens.
Day 13: Marari
Pedal towards our next destination after breakfast. The route passes through country roads and small villages where we will see coconut husk being processed and made into coir ropes and mats. We will hit the beach road that will take us to our destination for the day, a beautiful beach villa. Today's ride will take us along the fishing villages and coconut plantations on one side and the sea on the other. We will reach in time for lunch at the villa. Wind down by spending the afternoon on the beach.
Day 14: Historic Fort Kochi
You will ride to Fort Kochi, via a fabulous beach and countryside ride. After a chance to unwind, you will have lunch, and then spend the rest of the afternoon discovering a little of this amazing and historically significant city. Fort Kochi is known for its pretty cobbled streets, multi-coloured houses, Jew Street and a synagogue, beautiful churches, and the Chinese fishing nets that have been a fixture thanks to the flourishing trade in these parts. In the evening, you can enjoy the performances of traditional dance forms of Kerala like the Kathakali and Mohiniyattam.
Day 15: Depart
Your Western Ghats mountain biking tour comes to an end on this day. You will be transferred to the airport for your journey home.
Accommodation, Most Meals, Transportation by AC vehicle with carriers, multi-geared bicycles, Accompanying Biking guide, Bottled water & Refreshments during cycling, All applicable taxes.
Exclusions: Tips, personal expenses, beverages.
Visitors to India must obtain a Visa before departure. You can consult the nearest Indian Embassy/ High Commission/ Consular Office for the same.
Our guides have been adequately trained in first aid and always carry a comprehensive first-aid kit. In case of any medical emergency we have facilities to transfer you to the nearest hospital immediately.
Airport or departure taxes are not applicable if you depart from Kochi.
You will be put up in Heritage Hotels, Villas, eco-lodges & camps.
The weather is tropical and warm. Monsoons months are June to September.
Transportation (sometimes including airport transfers) are included in the cost. The vehicle with roof top carriers will accompany throughout. We provide qualified cycling guide for the tour.
Food is a very important part of these journeys and we have ensured that the local Cuisine is a part of this adventure. Refreshments and bottled water are provided on all cycling days. Any special food requirements can be met if sufficient notice is given.
During the cycling there will be opportunities to do some shopping and money spent along the way goes directly into the hands of the local communities.
What to bring
Warm Clothes (Fleece, Jackets, Gloves, Caps)
Binocs & Camera (optional)
Bike type: Cannondale/ Trek / MERIDA
Number of gears: 21-24
frame range: 16 - 21
Bike bag provided: Yes
Water bottle holder provided: Yes
Water bottle provided: No
Adjustable handlebars: No
Female saddles provided: No
Gel saddles provided: No
Option to fit own saddle: Yes
Option to fit own pedal: Yes
Bar ends : Yes (on request)