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Classic Kerala

Guided Cycling Holiday




14 days

Prices from

£2,065 P.P.
This amazing cycling holiday explores the lush Southern Indian state of Kerala, an area of cool hilltop tea plantations, sprawling forests, lazy backwaters and white sandy beaches.
Our journey starts in Kochi, known as Cochin in colonial times, which serves as the gateway and perfect introduction to this beguiling region. Wandering around Kochi it is easy to see its colonial past in the white washed buildings and European churches as well as the area’s natural beauty in the surrounding lagoons.
Leaving Kochi the first half of the trip winds inland climbing gradually towards the hill towns of the region. The temperatures cool as we climb and the fresher air provides the perfect climate for the tea and spice plantations which carpet the hillsides and provide a backdrop of green. Leaving the hills behind our route drops down to the coastal backwaters for which Kerala is famed.
We then spend a lazy day on a converted rice barge taking in the sights and sounds as we cruise the network of narrow canals. After a challenging ride our final couple of days are spent unwinding on the idyllic beach at Marari where white sands meet the Indian Ocean and our journey ends.
Combine the abundance of beautiful scenery with a delicious cuisine, high standard of unique accommodation and the friendliness of local people and it is clear to see why this is a cycling holiday not to miss.

Holiday Highlights

  • Cycling through lush tea and spice plantations
  • Periyar wildlife reserve, home to elephants, bison and tigers
  • Climbing through cool air and pristine forests
  • Drifting on a rice barge through Kerala’s backwaters
  • Relaxing on white sands of Marari Beach
  • Enjoying the best of Southern Indian Cuisine

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Day 1
Departure for India

We leave for India from our chosen departure airport arriving into Cochin International Airport (COK) the next day.

Day 2
Arrival in Kochi

On arrival at the airport we’ll transfer the 2 hours to our hotel in Fort Kochi. The afternoon is spent discovering Fort Kochi on a walking tour that includes checking out the local fishermen who use ancient Chinese fishing nets to ply their trade. Early evening we’ve scheduled in a visit to a local theatre to watch a traditional Kathakali dance performance, followed by dinner and your first taste of Southern Indian cuisine.

Day 3
Kochi to Thattekad
34 Miles / 54 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 134 Metres Approx.

Avoiding the busy traffic around Kochi we take a transfer (around 1 hr) to the village of Ambalamugal from where we’ll start today’s ride. On quiet roads we edge our way along an undulating route which winds its way through lush countryside. Close to Periyar our route follows the canals that were built by the British to aid irrigation in the area. The road is narrow but it’s likely the only traffic we’ll see will be bicycles, motorbikes and the odd motor rickshaw. It’s a lovely route and along the way you’ll be able to see small rubber plantations and lots of mango, papaya, tamarind and pineapples growing beside the canals. Keep an eye out for Kingfishers and Egrets.

On leaving our canal-side ride it’s only around 7Kms to our accommodation. Situated on the banks of the River Periyar it occupies a superb position and is the perfect setting to end the first day’s ride. Here you’ll be staying in large static tents all of which have twin beds and bathrooms/showers.

Once everyone is suitably refreshed we will take a leisurely late lunch and in the afternoon do some gentle kayaking or to take a forest wildlife walk with our evening meal taken at the camp.

Day 4
Thattekad to Muthuvankudi
34 Miles / 54 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 947 Metres Approx.

Our first big day of gaining altitude and with this in mind we’ve an early start this morning.

Today’s route is full of contrasts and is superb throughout with the views getting better and better the higher we get. After leaving our riverside location we’ll be following the Periyar River as it winds its way through its lush sided valley. The initial riding (10kms) is undulating as we pass through rubber plantations and tiny settlements. At Neryamanagala we hit the main Munnar road (but only for a very short distance) before heading along a quiet side road.

Still following the river we start to head higher into the hills as we take on steeper sections that take us all the way to the Lower Periyar Dam. From here the route starts climbing more steeply to the small village of Kallarkutty at the foothills of the Western Ghats where we take a well-deserved break.

We’ll then continue on with our climb, by taking a quieter side road that winds its way through the lush hillsides, on our way to our home for the evening.

Day 5
Mudhuvankudi to Chinnakanal
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 558 Metres Approx.

Another day to test the legs! There will be some short descents but we will generally be climbing throughout the day and gaining around 600 metres. There are some beautiful sights along the way however, as we pass through a tribal village, cardamom plantations and the Mathikettan National Park.

Our accommodation for tonight is a hotel built in the colonial style close to the village of Chinnakanal, Anaerakal Dam and Reserve Forest Idukki. With beautifully manicured grounds and occupying an enviable position on the hillside it’s the perfect place to end today’s cycling.

Day 6
Chinnakanal to Vandenmedu
40 Miles / 63 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1191 Metres Approx.

Today is populated by a fair few climbs but we maintain our height throughout the day as we make our way to Vandanmedu. After initially cycling close to the picturesque Anaerangal Lake the scenery now from tea to spice plantations with the route shaded in parts.

The views and thick aroma of the spice gardens and the lush green forests will be the highlights of today’s ride through the Cardamom Hills. Tonight’s accommodation is a luxury resort hidden amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Day 7
Vandanmedu to Thekkady
15 Miles / 25 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 171 Metres Approx.

Although we maintain our height for most of today’s ride it can be a challenging day for some. Our cycling initially takes us around the beautiful Anaerangal Lake (‘the lake where elephants come down‘) before it continues to Periyar National Park.

Periyar is one of the best wildlife reserves in India and is famous for its elephants, bison, monkeys and majestic tigers. A short transfer takes us to our accommodation which is well situated to explore the park and access the various walks and day trips on offer tomorrow.

Day 8
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Periyar is South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary and encompasses 777 Sq km including a huge artificial lake created by the British in 1895. With this in mind we’ve scheduled in a free day here. Amongst the options are a visit to the nearby elephant centre where you’ll be able to take a short ride and even wash and take a shower with these giants, opt for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake or have a full day guided walk in the forest. They’ll also be time to explore the town and shop for spices and handicrafts there. Surrounded by forests, spice plantations and situated beside the water Thekkady is an idyllic spot however you spend your day.

Day 9
Thekkady to Kulamavu
37 Miles / 60 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1526 Metres Approx.

An absolutely stunning day’s cycling and for many the highlight of the trip. Our cycling route passes through spectacular scenery with the spice plantations interspersed with pristine forests. The day’s ride has its fair share of ups and downs, but also great views and the chance to see the famous Kulamavu Dam.

There will be plenty of snack stops and photo opportunities along the way and we finish the cycling at the small town of Cheruthoni. From here it’s around a 20kms (1 hour) vehicle transfer to our hotel. Set in the lush green hills its a great place to end the day.

Day 10
Kulamavu to Kumarakom
37 Miles / 60 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 138 Metres Approx.

Time to head to the plains and it’s pretty much downhill all the way! The initial 16 kms has some amazing views along the way and sees us taking a relatively steep section from Kulamavu to Muttom where the road levels out. As we lose altitude the weather warms considerably and after 50 Km we transfer to Ettumanoor for lunch. From here there is the option to transfer, or to cycle the last 23 Km alongside the waterways.

Our accommodation for the night is a stunning hotel nestled on the Kumarakom backwaters.

Day 11
Kumarakom - Houseboat
22 Miles / 35 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 20 Metres Approx.

After breakfast at our hotel, we enjoy a pleasant cycle along the palm tree lined backwaters to Alleppey. Around lunchtime we embark one of Kerala’s famous rice barges for an afternoon cruise, which after some busy days cycling is the perfect way to unwind and observe the way of life and people of this unique area. Lunch is taken aboard and just before sunset we moor our boat and settle in for the night, with dinner served aboard. Accommodation today is in simple cabins all of which have en suite facilities.

Day 12
Alleppey to Marari
19 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 20 Metres Approx.

Waking up with the sunrise we can fully appreciate morning life on the backwaters. Local fisherman paddle their dugout canoes, casting their nets in search of fish whilst water taxis collect school children and workers for the day ahead. Breakfast will be served on board before we set off directly from the barge and continue along the backwaters. Our lovely morning’s ride takes us through the bustling town of Alleppey and then onto Marari, where our cycling journey ends. Set in beautiful grounds our accommodation has its own private beach, swimming pool and offers Ayurveda massage and is the perfect place to conclude our cycling journey through Kerala.

Day 13
Marari Beach
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

With palm trees, white sands and the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Marari encompasses everything which comes to mind when think of your perfect dream beach. It also makes for a great place to relax, share a cold drink with friends and reminisce over your time together.

After a late breakfast we hop aboard the support vehicle and head into Alleppey. It’s a bustling place and perfect for picking up spices and doing some last minute souvenir shopping. Whilst here we will also visit a Hindu temple with its effigies of Krishna and take lunch before heading back to Marari in time to catch the sunset.

Day 14
  • Meals: Breakfast

This morning we make the 2hr-2.5hr transfer back to Cochin International Airport for onward connections.

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The Cycling


The first few days of the trip see us climbing gradually away from the coast and up into the hills, home to the area’s tea and spice plantations. Although the climbs can be quite long the gradients are never severe and should be comfortable for semi-regular cyclists.

The middle portion of the trip can also be undulating as we cycle through the hills, before a long descent back down to sea level to finish the tour.

For the majority of the tour we’ll be riding on well-surfaced tarmac roads. That said, approx. 15% of the route will see you riding in more remote areas where you can expect some of the surfaces to be a little muddier and rougher, with a few potholes. No sections however will require any off-road skills or experience to enjoy.


Cycling Adventures Grade

Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs

Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Dates & Prices


Late Availability

We want you to know which holidays are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 25/11/2023
Return Date
14 days
Start Date
Return Date
14 days
Start Date
Return Date
14 days

Whats Included Tick

A) 10 nights hotel accommodation

B) 1 night on a backwater Rice Barge

C) 1 night in a comfortable established camp

D) Meals as itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Evening meal)

E) Full tour service including guides, bike mechanic, back up vehicle(s) etc.

F) Unless stated at least one leader qualified in First Aid

G) Airport transfer Cochin International Airport (COK) (Day 2)

H) Airport transfer to Cochin International Airport (COK) (Day 14)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) All flights and any costs associated with travelling with a bike

C) Cost of Indian visa – US$100 / (£80 approx.)

D) Medical check up and inoculations

E) Tips for guides etc.

F) Travel insurance

G) Bar bills, hotel refreshments, laundry, souvenirs, etc.

H) Personal clothing and equipment

I) Meals not specified in the itinerary

J) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival and departure days

K) Cost of Rest Day excursions (Day 8)

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The Essentials

Travel Options

We ask that you fly into and back from Cochin International Airport (COK).

With most options from Europe an overnight flight, our itinerary is designed with a flight departing on day 1 to arrive on day 2. The most common route is via the Middle East with Emirates, Gulf Air or Etihad.

Group airport transfers are included in the holiday cost and both the arrival and return transfers will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule. We will provide you with details of suitable flight/arrival/departure schedules as flight timetables become available.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to ensure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to make sure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.


The accommodation on this trip is of a very high standard, in a variety of different styles. These include a gorgeous hotel by the backwaters, a comfortable permanent camp in the jungle (with en suite facilities), beautiful hilltop accommodation set amongst tea and spice plantations, a converted rice barge and a well appointed coastal resort.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to rent.

These bikes are typically Cannondale Trails, a mountain bike featuring front suspension, disc brakes and good quality components (or equivalent)

If you do decide to rent we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.

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