SOUTH INDIA COAST TO COAST: CHENNAI-KOCHI
Many people have asked us over the years if we could organize a cycle tour in India for those not from an off-road mountain biking background. The tour would have to be a challenge, take in the best of the sights and the scenery and allow time to soak up India’s delights.
For us at Mountain Bike Kerala one route sprung to mind that would provide all that and more; a cycle tour from the Bay of Bengal over the mighty mountains of the Western Ghats to the palm fringed beaches of the Arabian Sea. South India Coast to Coast.
Our South India coast to coast cycle tour takes in the tropical South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We pedal on idyllic back country roads, stopping overnight at places of special historical and scenic interest giving enough time to take in the temples, tea plantations, backwaters, historic cities and the best of the sights that make Mountain Bike Kerala’s Coast to Coast cycle ride so unique.
“Just to say thank you so much for a fabulous trip, lived certainly up to expectations… organisation, logistics, route and above all fun….a good challenge but with the correct element of a ‘holiday’
James Allan, U.K November 2017
Day 2: Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry. 110km. The cycle touring kicks of with a flat ride along the stunning scenic coastal road to the former French colonial colony of Pondicherry. Join the locals on the promenade for an evening stroll before dining in top Indo-French restaurant.
Day 3: Pondicherry-Chidambaram. 82km. More cruisy coastal riding as we continue our journey south to the temple town of Chidambaram. Endless palm fringed paddy fields will provide the backdrop. Take a step back through the ages as we visit the temple complex at sunset and join the pilgrims in an unforgettable ancient ritual.
Day 4: Chidambaram-Swamilmalai: 83KM: We leave the coast and head inland onto the vast lush Tamil plains. Stunning rural scenery reveals a Tamil heartland almost unchanged over centuries taking us to Swamlimalai and an overnight stay in our award-winning heritage hotel.
Day 5: Swamimalai-Thanjavur. 47KM: A relaxing morning then it’s a short ride to Thanjavur as we head further inland. Bullock carts and cycles are more common than any other vehicles as we ride to another South Indian gem; Thanjavur, and the World Heritage listed Brihadeshwara Temple.
Day 6: Thanjavur-Kannadukathan: 101KM: A simply super day on the bike as we ride deeper in to the heart of Tamil Nadu and the famous Chettinadu region abound with mansions and palaces, testimony to the success of the Chettiyars in years gone by. Sample the famed Chettanadu food and explore the now near deserted villages.
Day 7: Kannadukathan-Madurai: 105KM: The lush landscape becomes more arid with rocks and ridges becoming a common sight. Idyllic rural riding brings us to perhaps the most famous of all of Tamil Nadu’s towns, Madurai and the unforgettable riot of colour that are the gopurams of Sri Meenakshi temple. Evening guided stroll round the temple complex.
Day 8: Madurai-Thenni. 89km. Landscapes change, the first signs of an undulating road and the mighty mountains of the Western Ghats beckon on this delight of a ride as we make our way to rural backwater district headquarter capital of Thenni. Scenery simply outrageous.
Day 9: Thenni-Munnar. 85km. Its time to climb. A gentle warm up for 20km then climbing legs start to whirr as we embark upon the near 2000 meter ascent to Bhodimet and the Keralan border. Switch back after switch back give us the elevation to look back over the vast Tamil plain and see what we have ridden. Truly mesmerizing views. As we head into Kerala we ride through tropical jungles and tea estates on what must be one of the most stunning roads anywhere in the world. After the days riding its time perhaps to crack open a few more Kingfishers and revel in the cool night air and relax knowing that tomorrow is a well deserved rest day.
Day 10: Munnar-Kumily 105km. We ride the forest road through cardamom and pepper plantations and ancient rain forests on an undulating road to our jungle retreat at Kumily near the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Day 11: Kumily-Kuttikanam 50KM. Option of an early morning visit and boat ride on Periyar lake with a chance to spot elephants, Deer and perhaps even a Tiger in the wildlife reserve. Mid morning hilly ride through Tea-Estates and magical scenery onto our resort at serene Kuttikanam set amongst rolling hills.
Day 12: Kuttikanam-Vagamon. 30KM More relaxation and perhaps a trek to the the 1600m Peak of Kurrisamailai followed by a short but super sweet tea-country ride to our resort in the VagamonHills. Stroll out to the ancient Sufi Shrine of Tangalparra.
Day 13: Thaneermukam-Marwari Beach. 25km. A delightful short ride to one of Kerala’s hidden secrets; the near deserted tropical paradise beach of Marwari. Dive into the soothingly warm sea for a well deserved bathe. Overnight on Marwari beach or take in the option of a luxury houseboat and overnight cruise on Vembanad Lake.
Day 14: Fort Cochin. Breakfast on the beach or boat then it’s a short transfer or even better a superlative 45km gentle ride into historical Fort Cochin. Join us on an evening guided walk through the wealth of historical buildings and spice bazaars or take the chance to embark upon a bit of shopping.
Day 15: Transfer to Cochin airport and your flight home.
2018/19 (Chennai/Kochi(Cochin) 14 nights
2018 November 11th £1295/£1495
2019 January 13th £1295/£1495
2019 February 24th £1295/£1495
Itinerary is subject to change as we discover even more gems to explore. We also adapt the route to give us more downtime or to make it more challenging depending on who is on the trip. Contact us now for details of the latest itinerary for your date.
Are you are a party of 2 or more and are interested in dates outside those above? Looking for a tailor-made tour or options on or increasingly popular self-guided tours? Then please contact us.