Bicycling Kerala (TourzPlus™)

  • Itinerary Summary

    Kerala, one of India's smaller states, lies to the south west of the sub continent, bordered by the Arabian Sea and the hills of the Western Ghats. Known as "God's own country", it is extremely fertile and people are very friendly. There is a huge range of crops and prolific birdlife, in addition to the occasional elephant, monkeys, deer and elusive tigers.

    Our adventure begins in Fort Cochin (Kochi) the site of the first European settlement in India. It is a blend of Portugese, Dutch, British and Chinese influences. We stay in a wonderfully serene part of town. From here we make our way to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, then climb to Munnar in the highlands, known for its tea plantations. We descend to Kumily and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary a three nights' stay gives time for a side trip into neighbouring Tamil Nadu and a trek in the park. We then head back to the coast via the backroads of Vagamon to the backwaters of Kumarakom, with an overnight on a house boat. From here it is a flat final day's ride back to Cochin and the end of a fabulous trip.

    ***Combine this tour with our Bicycling Rajasthan's Forts and Palaces***

    Learn more about our TourzPlus™ partner tours and how they differ from regular ExperiencePlus! bicycle tours.

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    1. Day 1: Arrive Fort Cochin

      Highlights: Fort Cochin

      Namaste! You will be welcomed in the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together and then transferred to your hotel in Fort Cochin, close to the harbor, markets and good cafes. After lunch we have a brief tour of the city; it has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Ancient mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this attractive island city, often referred to as the Venice of the East. We visit the oldest European Church in India "St. Francis Church". Where Vasco Da Gama was buried before his remains were taken back to Portugal. Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets are a unique feature and there is good shopping in neighboring Princess Street.

    2. Day 2: Cochin to Thatteked

      Highlights: Plantations, bird sanctuary

      We drive out of town for about two hours (with no Freeways, driving even on a highway is slow) then cycle on a very minor road to the bird Sanctuary of Thatteked. We will pass rubber, banana, coconut and pineapple plantations and have time for a visit to the bird sanctuary.

      Bicycling Distance: 47 km / 29 mi

    3. Day 3: Thatteked to Munnar

      Highlights: Munnar, jacaranda trees, tea and cardamom plantations

      Our bicycle route today swoops down through a forest to the Periyer River and the Kallerkutty dam. From here we start the challenging climb to Munnar and its world famous tea plantations. We will also see jacaranda trees and cardamom plantations. With the gain in altitude the temperature will decrease from c.32 / 90 F at the coast to c.25 / 77 at Munnar, with night time temperatures dropping to 10 C / 50F.

      Bicycling Option:

      69 km / 43 mi with a 1,395 m / 4,600 ft altitude gain.

    4. Day 4: Munnar to Kumily

      Highlights: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

      A rolling day on the bike as we ride to Kumily, known for its spices and proximity to Periyar Tiger Reserve. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary covers 777 sq km of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest. The greatest attraction of Periyar is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. The day is quite hilly but there is an overall loss in altitude as we descend to 800m / 2,640 ft. The day starts with a spectacular descent through forest and tea plantations, later passing rice fields, coffee and cardamom. There will be excellent views of the Western Ghats.

      Bicycling Option: 96 km / 60 mi

    5. Day 5: Kumily - Theni return

      Highlights: Rural India

      We take an excursion into neighbouring Tamil Nadu, a poorer state where you will see many bullock carts and perhaps a working elephant or two. We start with a fabulous descent into a wide fertile valley and continue gently descending till the town of Theni. Here we have lunch then return on the highway in the mini bus.

      Time to relax in the afternoon by the pool or do a little shopping.

      Bicycling Option: 70 km / 43 mi bicycling on backroads, return by mini bus.

    6. Day 6: Kumily

      Highlights: Rest Day

      Options include an early morning three hour gentle hike in the Park accompanied by a guide, who will indentify plants, birds and other wildlife. There will be a late breakfast on return. Then a visit to a tea plantation and

      factory and a late afternoon trip on Lake Periyer where you are likely to see wildlife, most likely deer, buffalo and elephants, by the lake side. Take binoculars.

    7. Day 7: Kumily to Kumarakom

      Highlights: Great bicycle ride, mangrove forests, bird sanctuary, and more

      We start the day with a climb as we make our way to the grasslands of Vagamon. We finish with a fabulous 24 km descent. On reaching the highway we board the mini bus to drive (1 and 3/4 hrs) to Kumarakom. A spectacular day's biking. Kumarakom is a paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary,on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.

      Bicycling Option: 88 km / 55 mi

    8. Day 8: Overnight on a House Boat

      Highlights: Rest Day

      After a late start we drive just 25 km to board our house boat, modeled on a traditional rice boat ("ketuvallam"), for lunch and a delightful lazy day cruising on the picturesque lake and canals.

    9. Day 9: Alleppey to Cochin

      Highlights: Coastline and Cochin

      After breakfast on the house boat we bike around 55 km on a flat road, parallel with the coast, back to Cochin; there will be time for some last minute shopping before our farewell dinner.

    10. Day 10: Depart

      Highlights: Safe Travels

      We wish you "bon voyage" and hope to see you again. An airport transfer is included.

    • Highlights

      Fort Cochin, overnight on a houseboat, spice markets, Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, tea, coffee, banana, cocunut, cardamom plantations, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
    • Includes

      Use of a 24 - 27 speed hybrid bicycling; 9 nights accommodation including one night on a houseboat; 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners; plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Fort Cochin Airport
    • Arrive/Depart

      Cochin Int'l Airport (COK)
    • Total Distance

      370 km / 228 miles
    • Daily Distance

      0 - 96 km / 0 - 60 mi
    • Rating

      201-301 Paved roads. We will drive out of Cochin and Kumarakom. On other days a reasonably fit cyclist will be able to bicycle the entire distance.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

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