|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||25 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Sundays: Jan 19, 26; Feb 9*, 16; Mar 2; Jun 22; Jul 20; Aug 10; Sep 7; Oct 19; Nov 2, 16; Dec 7, 21, 2014. Jan 18, Feb 8, Mar 1, 2015. *Guaranteed to depart!! NOTE: A custom private tour for families with kids, couples or group of friends can also be organized.|
|Start city:||Cochin, Kerala, India|
|End city:||Cochin, Kerala, India|
The narrow strip of land in the Southwest edge of India, straddling the sandy coastline and being thrashed by waves from the Arabian Sea, is hard to ignore. Bursting with a variety of experiences, it figures in top "travel to" destinations for its plethora of culture, verdant surroundings, unique food and a bite of India like none other. From pristine beaches, lush interiors, coffee and spice plantations, misty hills and the famous backwaters, Kerala is a marvel of exotic landscapes! Added to this, the access to its traditional art forms and culture makes it even more exquisite!
In this inland cycling trip in Kerala, we have spiced the challenge of riding in myriad landscapes, with plenty of "not to miss" experiences. You will be cycling through roads flanked by thick forests, breezy seashores, tea and coffee carpeted hills, and by a long canal.
Apart from the diverse topography, this cycling trip will be a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Keralan life – learn how to cook a few local dishes, watch captivating Kathakali performances and take a walk in the spice and tea plantations with experts. Be it the history soaked streets of Fort Kochi, a relaxing day in a houseboat or proximity to wildlife in thick forests, you will love the plethora of experiences Kerala throws at you. The amalgamation of comfort in luxurious atmospheric places, sweat and sinew on the road and fresh experiences will enthrall you.
Learn more about guided tours.
Day 1: Cochin
Arrive in Ernakulum, the commercial capital of Kerala and be transported to the satellite town of Fort Kochi, from where we will start the trip. Meet your trip leader and rest for a while, so you can head out again to explore the town.
One of the foremost trading hubs on the western coast of India, Fort Kochi drew colonial interest with its aromatic spices. Along with traders from China, Portugal, Arab and Holland, in became a cocktail of religions, cultural practices, and diverse food. Kerala owes it cosmopolitan vibe to the traders who braved the seas to come to this land. Fort Kochi is dotted with remnants of the past, which you can discover on foot and bike. Step out to see the Vasco Church, Basilica, Dutch Cemetery, Indo-Portuguese Museum and the famous Chinese fishing nets, which lie in a 1 mile/2 km radius. We will be eating dinner at Oceanos Restaurant, which is known for its brilliant seafood and great ambience.
In Fort Kochi, we stay in one of the most magnificently restored heritage properties, Brunton Boatyard. Decidedly indulgent and immersed in history, Brunton Boatyard is a great way to start the trip- it inducts you immediately into the heritage ambience of the state.
Overnight in Cochin.
Day 2: Cochin (12 miles/20 km)
Let this be a warm up day on your bikes! Siamese twin to Fort Kochi is the small area called Mattancherry (2 miles/4 km from Fort Kochi), which has an artistic vibe with its low hanging balconies, frayed homes turned into galleries, a sprawling antiques and spices market and some landmark monuments – the Pardesi Synagogue and Dutch Palace. The Pardesi Synagogue is the only synagogue operational amongst the Commonwealth countries.
You can roam the narrow streets, exploring small shops and cafes and visiting the monuments. After scouring the old town, we can catch lunch at the Ginger House Restaurant, which lies behind a large antique shop and overlooks the shipping yard.
This day is bound to be packed as you snake in and out of spice dying yards, hidden art galleries, atmospheric cafes (try Kashi Café and Tea Pot), boutiques and see traditional Kathakali (dance drama) and Kalaripayatu (martial arts) performances. Get your culture fix at Greenix Village, where you can see how artistes get ready by painting their faces over hours. The show is an abridged version of several dances and art forms put together and explained in English! Get well rested tonight as you start riding the next morning.
Overnight in Cochin.
Day 3: Cochin - Thattekad (25 miles/40 km)
This morning we start with a 90 minute shuttle bus to get out of traffic clogged roads. We start cycling along the canal route to Thattekad. This first tryst with Kerala on the wheels will enthrall you. A scenic route, this smooth road along a canal is perfect to see birdlife and the verdant environs of real Kerala. Our destination is the luxurious outdoors facility- The Hornbill Camp.
Settle into the comfy Swiss tents and be ready for kayaking in the Periyar River, bird watching and plantation walks, post lunch. The Hornbill Camp gives you a taste of the rich wilderness of Kerala with all the comforts. The eco-inclined camp sits in a tropical forest where you will be inundated with the sounds of the jungle!
Overnight in Thattekad.
Day 4: Thattekad - Munnar (37 miles/60 km)
Today, the first 7 miles/12 km are an easy ride on a smooth plain, followed by a long stretch of gradual climb, crossing two small waterfalls. As the hills of Munnar start emerging, you will be taken in with the contrast of the wild plantations of Thattekad and the neat hills carpeted with tea bushes. The last 15 miles/24 km are steep, so we can transfer you in a shuttle. For miles ahead, you can only see a ridiculous amount of green! Seeing this, you are sure to forget the weary legs.
We head straight to the British styled farm retreat, Windermere Estate. Stylish cottages with their plantation ambience intact are inviting after a hard day of cycling. Enjoy some tea, relax in the library, or if you are feeling energetic enough, head out for a plantation walk. Enjoy a good night’s rest here so you are ready to explore Munnar the next day.
Overnight in Munnar.
Day 5: Munnar (37 miles/60 km)
Munnar is a pleasant contrast to the beach-lined destinations or lagoon backwaters of Kerela. A hill station, which has been immortalized by movies, Munnar is great to cycle in. The routes are undulating and sometimes challenging, but you will find equal amount of downhill slopes to bring relief steep climbs.
Enjoy a morning of Yoga if you please and head out to Top Station, a viewpoint of great touristic eminence. You can use the shuttle if you find this too strenuous. The ride on this stretch is speckled with sight-seeing options like Mattupetty Dam, Echo point, and the Floriculture Centre, but more than that, it is absolutely beautiful. Ride all the way up to Top Station for a brilliant view of the stacked mountains and deep valleys below. After this ride, you would have certainly earned yourself a hot cup of tea.
Roll down the hills to visit the Tea Museum. This is a historic treasure and takes you through the journey of Munnar’s metamorphosis as a tea destination in late 1800s when A.H. Sharp planted the first sapling. You can also pick up handmade jam, tea leaves, and recycled paper products as souvenirs.
Overnight in Munnar.
Day 6: Munnar - Thekkady (37 miles/60 km)
We bid adieu to Munnar, towards cardamom country, Thekkady. The first 12 miles/20 km on this day is a gradual climb ride through the stunning Lockard Gap. As you are riding, the 360 degrees view of the lush plantations will be forever etched in your minds. The smell of cardamom draws you quickly from the tea-lined mountains to the unmanicured mish-mash of cardamom plantations, interjected by pepper vines clinging to silver oak trees. The last stretch is covered in the shuttle before we reach the wonderful award winning property of Spice Village.
Eco conscious nuances of Spice Village seamlessly bound with modern comforts is what makes Spice Village special. If you have the energy, head out for a short spice plantation walk or an elephant camp to see the mammoth pachyderm friends up close. You can also relax by the pool or get a drink at the historic library bar of the resort.
Overnight in Thekkady.
Day 7: Thekkady
You can explore the small town of Thekkady at your own pace today. We recommend that you try and spend as much time at the Periyar National Park. One of the best managed parks in India, the national park is known for its innovative sightseeing options, including a bamboo raft, jeep safari, boat safari and nature walks on foot. Guided tours with the forest authorities are possible to book ahead. The forest will take up a lot of your time today. We suggest you relax in the hotel to be ready for the cycle next day.
Overnight in Thekkady.
Day 8: Thekkady - Vembanad Lake or Kerala backwaters (37 miles/60 km)
From Thekkady to Kumarakom, we start with a gradual climb of 30km and then a great 20km downhill ride. Enjoy the hills terrain for the last time, as you hit the plains at Kumarakom (the last leg of 50km will be covered in shuttle as the traffic is bound to increase on plains). One of the finest backwater destinations, we waste no time here and check ourselves right into a houseboat. These floating wonders are luxuriously furbished, with all modern facilities.
After all the cycling, there is no better way to relax other than floating in the tranquil waters of the massive Vembanad Lake. The boat also takes you through hyacinth carpeted canals, which meander close to the villages; a great way to see the backwater countryside and habitat near the water. We spend until next morning here and then it’s off on the bikes again.
Overnight on Vembanad Lake.
Day 9: Vembanad Lake - Marari Beach (12 miles/20 km)
This is not a hectic day except for the humidity in the air, which may exhaust you a bit. Arrive at the Marari Beach Resort, one of the poshest addresses in this serene fishing village. Check in and immerse yourself in all the comforts of the world – massage by experts, delicious local food, even a dance performance in the hotel.
What you are going to love here most is the proximity to one of the quietest beaches on this stretch. This day, you can just relax by the pool or walk on the beach, watching the fishing boats coming in and the place bursting with activity as the catch is sorted.
Overnight in Marari Beach.
Day 10: Marari Beach - Cochin
For a leisurely final morning in Marari Beach, consider taking a stroll or ride around. Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Cochin International Airport.
Sundays: Jan 19, 26; Feb 9*, 16; Mar 2; Jun 22; Jul 20; Aug 10; Sep 7; Oct 19; Nov 2, 16; Dec 7, 21, 2014. Jan 18, Feb 8, Mar 1, 2015. *Guaranteed to depart!! NOTE: A custom private tour for families with kids, couples or group of friends can also be organized.
|Premium (4-star) hotels|
|Lodgings in casual inns (2 and 3-star hotels and lodgings)|
These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability.
Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin
Windermere Estate, Munnar
Spice Village, Thekkady
Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa
The tour company offers Scott hybrid bicycle rentals included with the cost of the tour.
This tour features relaxed cycling over rolling hills and distances of up to 35 miler per day.
A van follows the group of riders throughout the trip and carries all belongings. If at any point riding seems a little hard, the van takes you for as long or as little as you wish it to.
This tour is rated moderate and is for cyclists in good physical condition. It's suitable for children ages 12 and older and is an excellent trip for families.
Tour start and end
Nearest airport: International airports in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, and then connect to Cochin
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Art of Bicycle Trips offers simple and unique ways to experience the real India, exploring its rich culture, heritage and countryside - by bike.
The tour company has been in business for 2.5 years and is based out of Bangalore, India.
Experience India in an active way!
Art of Bicycle Trips offers simple and unique ways to experience the real India. We design unique biking, walking & hiking safaris exploring the culture, historic sites, architecture, ethnic diversity, scenic beauty, remote villages and realities of daily life of India. Each safari is unique, has a mix of adventure activities and highlights the diversity and most interesting facets of the region. With Art of Bicycle Trips you’ll bike or hike though beautiful landscapes at your own pace, engage with communities along the trip and indulge in unique regional cuisine.
Join us and celebrate the triumph of human potential, spirit and creativity; give a chance to the inner call for exploration, adventure and freedom and experience the rustic, mystic and chaotic India the Art of Bicycle Trips way.
Why cycle with us
Days prior to trip 45+ 0-45
Fee per person $300 100% of trip price
Due to circumstances beyond our control, Art of Bicycle Trips may have to make partial changes to the stated itinerary. Every effort is made to keep changes to a minimum, and our high quality is always maintained. We reserve the right to cancel any tour that does not reach the minimum level of participation. In the unlikely event that we cancel a tour, you will receive a full refund. Art of Bicycle Trips will not reimburse for any personal expenses due to changes in itineraries or tour cancellations, such as prepaid hotel expenses or airline tickets. Art of Bicycle Trips reserves the right to decline a reservation or to refuses service during a tour to anyone whose health or behavior could impede the welfare or enjoyment of fellow guests.
LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY
Art of Bicycle Trips is not liable for bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to): physical exertion for which a guest is not prepared; forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, boat, or other conveyance, or by bicycle, horseback, foot, or other form of active or adventure travel; consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided. Art of Bicycle Trips is also not liable for: expenses (e.g., meals, transportation, or hotel costs) that are not specified as included in the trip cost but may be required to get to or from a trip start or end. Art of Bicycle Trips reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary to improve the quality of a trip or to accommodate the comfort and well-being of guests. Guests grant Art of Bicycle Trips express permission to take photographs or film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, without remuneration.
In further consideration for participating in the trip, our guest agree that Art of Bicycle Trips, or their designate, may use any photographic or film records of the trips for promotional and/or commercial purposes, without any remuneration to the guest. The guest agrees to assign all right, title and interest they may have in or to any media in which their name or likeness might be used to Art of Bicycle Trips.