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Western Ghats Walking and Cycling  in Kerala
Western Ghats Walking & Cycling Holiday in Kerala
Western Ghats Walking and Cycling in Kerala (KM - 02)
Region : South India
8
Days

Activity

Comfort

Cost per Person

US$ 1150

Based on a minimum of 2 people travelling

Tour Overview

Hike & bike through picturesque landscapes of the Western Ghats wildlife reserves on this exciting multi activity holiday in Kerala! Starting from Fort Kochi, you will visit the bio-diversity rich highlands of the Western Ghats mountains and the thick forests of Periyar Tiger Reserve . You will get to hike and cycle through the mountains combining the most fun activities and destinations, all rolled together into one exciting trip.



Western Ghats Walking and Cycling in Kerala

Day 1: Munnar
Transfer to the mountain tea town of Munnar. On arrival, check into the small privately owned resort set amidst cardamom forests. Munnar is a high ranges tea town with altitudes varying from 1400 m to 2680 m. The eco-system is primarily shola-grassland type. (Sholas are high altitude montane forests & typical to the Western Ghats and a hub of endemism, enabling these areas to be included as one of the 36 bio-diversity hot spots of the world.) The indigenous people - the Muduvans and the Malapulayas - inhabit the higher reaches of mountains. The wildlife includes the endangered and endemic Nilgiri Tahrs (Hemitragus hylocrius) , Asiatic elephants, gaurs (Gaur Bosus), leopards, tigers and bears besides sambar and wild dogs. It is not uncommon to sight wildlife during the walks through the wilderness. Evening, take an acclimatisation walk, visit the Tea Museum and Tea Bazaar.
Day 2: Sholas and grasslands
You will be transferred to the start point, about 20 kms from Munnar. The trek from an altitude of 1500 m gradually goes to over 2600m, passing through cloud forests and grasslands which are typical to the higher areas of the Western Ghats. The area also has abundant wildlife – notably elephants, sambar deer, sloth bear and the Nilgiri tahr - the latter being endemic and endangered. Your trail passes over the undulating mountain grasslands and ascend Meesapulimala - the second highest peak in the Western Ghats. The panoramic views below is breathtaking - the world’s highest tea estate Kolukkumalai nestled amidst the hills and the great plains of Tamilnadu below. Descend and continue trekking through grasslands and high altitude rain forests to a resort set amidst the high altitude forests at Pothamedu.
Day 3: Mathikettan National Park Trek
Today you will be trekking through the Mathikettan Shola National Park. This is a high altitude rain forest saved from ‘development’ and preserved through a campaign by environmental activists here in Kerala. Within the park, endemism thrives – birds, butterflies and variety of plants found nowhere else. Your destination is Santhanpara, set amidst luxuriant vegetation and spice growing hamlets, passing large cardamom forests where cardamom, pepper & coffee are grown within the canopy of the forests. Elephants are common here. You will reach Santhanpara by evening.
Day 4: Cardamom Hills Cycling
After an early breakfast start the cycling towards Vandanmedu the cardamom capital of the world. The trail passes through the tea estates, dense forests where spices are grown and small spice growing villages. The path is winding and the sceneries are breathtaking as you cycle through the world famed Cardamom Hills. Stay will be at a spice plantation theme resort.
Day 5: Periyar Tiger Reserve
Today’s cycling will take you around the Ramakalmedu area where the Western Ghats hovers over the Tamilandu plains. This is Kerala’s spices heartland with small family holdings contribute to making Kerala the spices capital of the world. The route is undulating and through remote villages. Your destination is Periyar Tiger Reserve as we pass through forests, tea gardens and spice plantations.    
Day 6: Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the best managed Wildlife Reserves in the country, with verdant forests extending over an area of 777 sq. km. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience wilderness and abundant wildlife first hand. The uniqueness of this sanctuary is the Periyar lake, an artificial lake, which was created by damming the Periyar River a century ago. The open grasslands and varied topography supports a magnificent variety of animals - elephants, Gaur (Indian bison), Sambar deer, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri langur, Bonnet macaque, Lion-tailed macaque, leopards, Jungle cats, Wild dogs and most importantly the tiger. An estimated 40 tigers inhabit the Reserve. You will be going on a day long hike through these rain forests. This is a conservation-based hike conducted by a team of former poachers & local community members who have turned protectors of the forests. The proceeds of this programme largely goes to sustaining their livelihood in return for joint participatory management of the forest in which they play a positive part. The tiger is the main predator in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Return by nightfall to your resort in town.  
Day 7: Kumarakom
On the last day of your adventure in Kerala, you will be  cycling from Periyar towards the backwaters at Kumarakom. You will be going through the winding hill roads through forests, tea estates, spice gardens and numerous village and small towns. One of Asia’s major arch dams – Idukki – comes en-route. After lunch here, transfer the rest of the way to the backwater town of Kumarakom. Check into a resort at  Kumarakom  set against the backdrop of the magnificent Kumarakom Lagoon.
Day 8: Departure
Depart for Kochi. Tour ends.

Inclusions

  • Accommodation for 7 nights on twin share room basis
  • All surface transfers from Munnar to Kochi. Car will accompany during cycling
  • All activities as mentioned
  • Cycling and trekking guides
  • Permits & permissions to enter forest areas

Holiday Feedback

I recently completed a 6-day 5-night tour in Kerala with Kalypso (started in Kochi and ended in Periyar). While I consider myself a very demanding client – I was extremely satisfied! First of all, Anna was very patient and flexible in setting up my tour with very short notice, coming up with an itinerary that was very responsive to my interests and abilities. Although they had no other clients interested in hiking and biking in the Western Ghats at that time, they agreed to offer the tour to me as a SOLO traveler. This meant Joji (expert driver and very skilled naturalist/birder) and Vineeth (excellent guide for hiking, biking, and everything else including wildlife) were assigned to look after only me for six days! They performed this task with a high level of professionalism and attention to detail at all times, ensuring that this 58 year-old woman was well fed, well accommodated, well watered, well equipped (with good bike and helmet) and otherwise ready to enjoy all activities (and down time) to the maximum. At times, it was like they were reading my mind, as they seemed to know what I was feeling or wanting even before I said anything! Certainly if I expressed a need or desire at any time, even casually in conversation, they undertook to satisfy that need – whether or not it was related to the tour activities. In addition to planned activities, they added a side trip to Eravikulam National Park near Munnar for birdwatching and other wildlife. As well, they managed to procure a jackfruit for a cooking demonstration at my hotel after I happened to mention that I loved jackfruit. When I mentioned that I was looking for a pharmacy, they immediately were concerned about my health and what medications I might need. Those are just a few examples among many of how Vineeth and Joji went above and beyond the call of duty to provide me with a safe and enjoyable adventure in Kerala. As a hiking/biking guide, Vineet showed just the right amount of attention to my level of fitness and tiredness. Not overly coddling, but always alert to signs that I might benefit from a rest or a snack break, or perhaps an easier route. As well, Joji was perfect in the support vehicle while we biked, always near at hand in case we needed something, yet not hovering on my back wheel either (I hate that!). As someone who normally organizes my own travel and does not often use the services of guides, I greatly appreciated the balance they struck between steadfast support and excess attentiveness. In addition, I was impressed with how Joji and Vineeth respectfully interacted with those whom we encountered along the way, from waiters to neighbors of Kalypso Camp. They already knew some of these people from past tours (both have worked with Kalypso for years), but especially Vineeth showed an interest in everyone we met and impressive people skills – which were evident even when I could not understand the conversation. Finally, and perhaps most importantly (especially for a solo traveler) – we just had fun together, whether grinding up a steep hill, racing down the other side, admiring a gorgeous view, snacking on tree tomatoes and passionfruit, watching tea being harvested, eating delicious Kerala specialties, sharing a big bottle of Kingfisher at the end of a grueling day, spotting birds and giant squirrels in the forest, or whatever. I am happy to highly recommend Kalypso and their highly professional and personable team.Melanie 2024-04-25

Route Maps

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