Much more than just a cycling trip, the Plains, Hills and Backwater Cycling tour is an opportunity to experience Kerala’s culture, food and traditions. As you cycle quietly on the back roads of this green state, you will get a chance to wander off the usual tourist trails through the rugged beauty of its mountains of Munnar, the wildlife-rich rain forests of Periyar, the fascinating backwaters near the ancient port of Alleppey, the spice gardens in the lowlands and the historic city of Fort Kochi. Food is an essential component of this cycling holiday in Kerala. You will be amazed at the different types of cuisines in such a small geographic area, each characterized by the local spices and herbs of the micro-region through which you will be passing, like the kuttanadan duck of the backwaters, the mappas curry of the lowlands or the rice appams along this route and let’s not forget the scented tea at Munnar. We stay in very comfortable heritage hotels, luxury camps, organic spice farm villas, and Homestay and rice boats during this amazing trip through the Green magic of Kerala
Day 1: Kochi
On arrival, you will check into a heritage hotel at Fort Kochi. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon and evening can be used to discover this amazing city of Kochi. Kochi (Cochin as it was known in colonial times) is a major port on the west coast of India, set on a cluster of islands surrounded by sparkling blue lagoons and backwaters. Its historic links can be seen in the Colonial bungalows, an old Synagogue, Chinese fishing nets, the oldest European church in India and a medieval Portuguese palace.
Day 2: Thattekkad
After breakfast you will start off on your cycles making the most of the pleasant temperature early in the morning, heading towards the foothills of the Western Ghats towards the lowland forests of Thattekkad. You will start a little off the city limits to avoid the morning city traffic and reach a quiet countryside where the roads are mostly level. You will pass through a scenic countryside of temples, spice gardens, paddy fields and rubber plantations. After a leisurely lunch en-route, you will reach the spectacular eco-lodge on the banks of the River Periyar.
Day 3: Munnar Muthuvaankudi
Today, after breakfast, you will set off again, along the Periyar riverbank, through the dense low altitude forests of Neriyamanagalam. These are the forests where reed is extracted for manufacture of traditional household items like baskets and mats. The view is filled with forests, redwood trees and mountain peaks, making it an ideal holiday destination. Towards the end, it’s the time to challenge yourself as the roads get much more steeper. Cycle through different settlement to reach your stay at Muthuvaankudi, in a well appointed Eco boutique resort, and it will bring you some well deserved rest after the day’s uphill cycling. Explore more; this village has many stories to unfold. Go for a guided walk in the village to know about the culture, tradition and the spices they are cultivating. You can spot many varieties of birds and fruit trees. Use your opportunity to learn tips from the local people while they prepare food in their traditional methods.
Day 4: Munnar Pothamedu
Pedal towards your next destination after breakfast. Start your journey through the small village roads, then the scenery slowly changes to small farms of spices like pepper and cardamom, tea estates and finally towards the main road heading towards Munnar. “Welcome to the land of Neelakurinji ‘the flower which showers the hills once in twelve years’ and the Endangered Neelaghiri Thar, where you will be welcomed by hills carpeted in lush green tea plantations”. Pedal all the way up to an altitude of 1600-1800Mts above sea level. Visit Tea museum afternoon, to learn some interesting facts about tea plantations and tea production in Munnar. Return back to hotel to retire to your bed on the lap of nature.
Day 5: Suryanelli
Today, you will cycle through the Grahams land Tea Estate and the daunting mountain pass at the “Lockhart Gap”, a testimony to the perseverance of the early planters. We will arrive at the Anaerangal Camp, Suryanelli, where we will stay in cottage tents.
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 Tiger Reserve
Your next destination is the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is a famed protected area that is home to large herds of Asiatic Elephants, the Indian Bison, and the Tigers that India is renowned for. Periyar cycling involves roads surrounded by spice gardens and tea plantations. The ride is quite comfortably short and you will reach the reserve in time for lunch. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you can take a walk with the local guides into the rain forest. The reserve is a treat for wildlife enthusiasts and ornithologists, with its rich fauna, which apart from the elephants, tigers and bison’s, also includes has over 300 species of birds like the Malabar Grey Hornbill, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Blue-winged Parakeet, and the Crimson-backed Sunbird.
Day 8: Periyar Tiger Reserve
The Mannans are among the oldest indigenous group of people to inhabit the Periyar Tiger Reserve. As late as the 1940s, they lived in the remotest areas of the Tiger Reserve. Their lifestyles were simple, and they made their living by fishing and cultivating a few crops. Today, they are the main conservators of the forest. You will get to walk and talk with them, as they will help you discover the tropical rain forests and wildlife. You will also gain some insight into their interesting way of life.
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: Depart
This day marks the end of the Bike, Hike and Kayak in Kerala tour and you will be transported to the airport, with fond memories of your exciting activity holiday in India.
Accommodation, Most Meals, Transportation by AC car as per itinerary, Multi-geared bicycles, Accompanying Biking guide, Mineral water & Refreshments during cycling, All applicable taxes.
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)