Classic Kerala Bike Tour

  • Ride through the God’s own scenic backroads
  • Get to see the very best of Kerala – sandy beaches, meandering backwater canals, the lush green hills and thick wilderness
  • Local food is an integral part of this trip and you will get plenty of this
  • Get acquainted with the remnants of a historically rich period of Kerala in Fort Kochi, specially the colonial trading history and performing arts like Kathakali

The narrow strip of land in the South West 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 & 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 & 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.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    10 days / 9 nights

  • Start / End

    Kochi / Kochi

  • Price

    Casual Inns: From $1,795 pp dbl. occ.
    Premiere Inns: From $3,495 pp dbl. occ.
    The price is indicative and may vary due to size of group, accommodation, time of year you travel

  • Hotels

    Premiere or Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Easy to Active Rider

Contact Us to open your date as a group tour date

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

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ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlacePremiere InnsCasual InnsDuration~ Cycling DistanceNon-Cycling Highlights
1 – 2KochiOld harbour hotel,
Brunton Boatyard, Malabar House
Fort House hotel,
Tower House
228km / 17mi*Tuk Tuk tour of 500+ years old historical port city, Fort Kochi & old city Mattancherry

Cultural dance performance.

Ride in a Keralan country canoe through a scenic backwater with people homes, fishing nets and bird life.

3 – 4MunnarWindermere Estate,
Tall Trees,
Chandy’s
Windy woods
Kaivalyam Retreat,
Aranyaka resort, Devonshire greens
250km / 31mi*
40km / 24mi*
Mighty & green Western ghat mountains covered with Tea plantations.

Visit to Tea museum and learn about history of tea in Kerala

5 – 6ThekkadySpice VillageWildernest,
Hotel Treetop
260km / 37mi*Morning nature walk in Periyar National Park.

Visits a Spice plantation and learn about spices from local farmer.

7Kumarakom / AlleppeyCoconut Lagoon,
Kumarakom Lake resort, Purity
Emerald Isle, Pamba Heritage145km / 27mi*Backwaters of Kerala and it’s way of life.
8Vembanadu LakeHouseboatHouseboat1rest dayOvernight in a houseboat floating on backwaters
9Mararikulam / EzhupunnaMarari Beach Resort,
Carnoustie
Flamingo,
Villa de Parrai,
Turtle beach
130km / 18mi*Explore the white sandy beaches and see the sun setting into the Arabian sea.

Watch the local fishermen go by with their daily life

10Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Arrival note:

Cochin (Kochi, COK) has direct connecting flights via Middle East & few destinations in Southeast Asia. Domestic flights can be connected to Cochin either from Mumbai or Bangalore. Upon Arrival, meet our representative at Cochin airport for a transfer (1 hour 30 min) to your hotel.

Day 1: Cochin (Kochi)

Arrive in Ernakulam, 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 came 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/ bike. Step out to see the Vasco Church, Basilica, Dutch Cemetery and the famous Chinese fishing nets, which lie in a 2km radius. In the evening, head to Greenix Village to see the well organised traditional dance show, Kathakali (you can also see the face painting before the show).

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Cochin (Kochi)

Morning, we move to the Old city called Mattancherry (couple of kilometers away from Fort Kochi), which has an artistic vibe with its low hanging balconies, frayed homes turned into galleries, a sprawling antiques & spices market and some landmark monuments – the Pardesi Synagogue and Dutch Palace. Infact, the Pardesi Synagogue is the only synagogue operational amongst the Commonwealth countries.

Afternoon, we get on to the bikes! Caught between the backwaters and Arabian sea, this is simply the best rural biking trail combined with village life experiences around Kochi. It’s a day-cycle ride that lets you feel the charm of simple Keralan backwater villages. We ride through vast paddy fields, fish farms, coconut tree canopies to reach one of the backwater edges. Later, take a canoe through a backwater village and connect yourself to the traditional ways of villagers. Learn about fish farming, traditional boat making and other local traditions. What you take back from this beautiful ride is a true village experience spiced up with few untold local stories.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 28km / 17mi*

Day 3: Munnar

This morning we start with a 2hours shuttle to get out of traffic clogged roads. Today, the initial 25km is an easy ride, on smooth plain next to rubber and pineapple plantations, also with a stretch along an irrigation canal. Post lunch, we will be greeted by a long stretch of gradual climb. For miles ahead, you can only see a ridiculous amount of green! Seeing this, you are sure to forget the weary legs. We stop cycling as the climbs start to challenge us and take transfer to Munnar.As the hills of Munnar start emerging, you will be simply amazed to see the neat hills and mountains carpeted with tea bushes.

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 the copious cups of tea, relax in the library or if you are feeling energetic enough, head out for a plantation walk. Enjoy a goodnight’s rest here so you are ready to explore Munnar the next day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 50km / 31mi*

Day 4: Munnar

Munnar is a pleasant contrast to the beach lined destinations or lagoon backwaters of Kerala. 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. The riding stretch to Top station is one of our favourite cycling route in Kerala. As we ride all the way upto Top Station, you will be stunned with  brilliant view of the stacked mountains and deep valleys below. After this ride, you would have certainly earned yourself a hot crisp cup of tea.

Roll down the hills to then 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.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 40km / 24mi*

Day 5: Thekkady

We bid adieu to Munnar and head towards the cardamom hills of Kerala, a small town of Kumily. We take in the spectacular views of tea clad western ghat mountains, near Lockhart Gap. As you are riding, the 360 degrees view of the lush tea 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. Else, you can relax by the pool or get a drink at the historic library bar of the resort.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 60km / 37mi*

Day 6: Thekkady

You can explore the small town of Kumily at your own pace today. We recommend that you try and spend as much time at the Periyar National Park in Thekkady. One of the best managed in India, the national park is known for its innovative sightseeing options.We recommend a short Nature Walk through Periyar National Park, which gives you a glimpse of the wildlife in the area. Later, we head to a garden of spices and learn about the spices from a local farmer.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Kumarakom / Alleppey

This is going to be a beautiful ride – from the Cardamom Hills to the tea gardens of Vagamon. A hilly ride, with both dips and steep climbs, but the cool weather helps you grapple with this challenging ride better. Vagamon is an enchanting hill station where we will stop by for lunch.

From Vagamon, we take a van transfer to Kumarakom. Kumarakom is one of the finest backwater destinations of India, as it lies at the edge of the massive Vembanad Lake.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 45km / 27mi*

Day 8: Vembanad Lake or Kerala backwaters

We check-in into a houseboat today. 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.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Rest Day

Day 9: Marari Beach / Ezhupunna

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 on 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 loneliest 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.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 30km / 18mi

Day 10: Cochin (Kochi)

For a leisurely final morning in Marari Beach, consider taking a stroll along the beach and see the sights of the fishing village near by. Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Cochin International Airport.

Meals: Breakfast

*With shuttle – short transfers.

REGION

insightful details

Terrain

The tour covers mainly two landscapes of central Kerala, the lowlands and highlands. The lowlands stretches are flat and are very close to the coastal line and backwaters. Highlands includes hills and mountain with moderate to challenging climbs for a beginner, followed by refreshing downhills.

Altitude range: From below sea level in backwaters to 2000m in western ghats

Overall ride distribution:
25% through low land areas with 0% slope gradient
50% through hills with 1-4% slope gradient
25% through the mountains with 5-8% slope gradient


See

Fauna:
Egrets(little, moderate, large), Cattle Egrets, Cormorants, Brahminy kites, Pond Heron, Kingfisher, Mynah, Ducks, House crow, Goats, Cows, Water buffaloes, Bonet macaque(common monkey), Wild boar, Asian Elephant and a Great Hornbill(if lucky!)

Flora:
Plantations – Coconut, Banana, Rubber, Pineapple, Tea, Eucalyptus, Cardamom

Forests – Bamboo, Figs, Lantana, Trumpet, Flame tree Farms – Paddy farms, Fish farms, Spice farms(pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric)


Experience

Food: Keralan spicy fish curry along with boiled tapioca sauteed with little turmeric and mustard Kerala vegetarian meal on banana leaf, variety of spiced-up local side dishes and curries prepared with beef, chicken, mutton, clams or prawns

Drink: Chaaya(milk tea), Sulaimani (a black tea), toddy(naturally fermented sap brewed from coconut flower bud)

Art: Cultural show with traditional dance forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Ottanthullal and Kalaripayattu, Kerala’s own martial art

Culture: Hinduism, Fort Kochi with its fusion of 7+ communities, profuse influence of Christianity along the coast, backwater village life, tea plantation culture.


Recommended Reading List

  • “Nine Lives: In search of the sacred in modern India” by William Dalrymple – explores the lives of 9 people in India and their religious paths.
  • “Portrait Kerala” by Aruna Nambiar – presents Kerala, it’s land, people, faith, rituals, art forms through more than 200 photographs
  • “God of small things” by Arundhati Roy – a story set in backwater village of Kerala, capturing aspects on communism, Kerala Syrian christian way of life and caste system
  • Kerala – land of palms” by I.H. Hacker, a peek into life in Kerala during early 1900

INCLUSIONS & MORE

we go the extra mile

Beautiful Hotels

On this Premiere Inn tour, experience the best of luxury hotels at each destination. They are chosen carefully so that you are well rested, get a drift of the local character or an enthralling view from your verandah! Under circumstances of non-availability of hotel, we will put in equivalent or a better hotel. Any extras at hotel are at your expense.

Quality Bikes

When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Most of our tours in Kerala run on some of the best hybrid bikes in the cycling tour industry. Upright position, good traction and optimal balance between performance and comfort are some of the characteristics.

Outstanding Food & Refreshments

Local food plays an integral part in experiencing the culture of region and we make sure that you get plenty of this. The inclusion of daily meals is highlighted in detailed itinerary. Drinking water and soft drinks such as juice, tea/coffee is included while riding. Refreshments such as fresh fruits, dry fruits, biscuits, cakes, salted chips is provided.

Charming Guides

Our most visible and perhaps most important role is played by a Trip Leader, the folks who make a trip exciting, comfortable, knowledgeable and who are able to steer you towards the real experience! In most of the trips, we have two guides riding with you. One is leading the group of riders and other is closing at the back.

Comfortable Support Van

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. It also provides you refreshments along the way and sometimes a chilled beer.

Guaranteed to Depart Tours

We run most of our tours with minimum 2 people traveling and sometimes even with 1 person, without any extra fee. Rest assured, your trip is always guaranteed to depart. If for some reasons you don’t wish to join a tour then you can always transfer to another trip or we’ll give you a credit which you can settle against any future trip.

Entrance Fees & Transportation

Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, temples & other exclusive events and transportation from rendezvous to final drop-off is always included in your tour price. Our tour designers give as much focus on non-cycling activity as on cycling.

Deep Local Knowledge & Presence

Presence of operations in Kerala, local associations and ad-hoc field network allows us to leverage local know-how and deliver on what is promised to you without any culture and communications barrier.

Singles Friendly

It is applicable in cases where you want to opt for a room alone or we don’t find a room partner. In other cases, we will try to club you with another person, preferably of same sex.

YOUR BIKE

Scott, Marin, Giant, Trek

When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. All our bike tours in Kerala run on some of the best hybrid bikes in the cycling tour industry (and we maintain them meticulously). Upright position, good traction and optimal balance between performance and comfort are some of the characteristics.

MEET THE LOCAL SPECIALIST

Dibin Devassy

Dibin Devassy

From Art of Bicycle Trips

After six years, Dibin was happy to leave Dubai’s clinically clean environs and come home to exploring the wonderfully unkempt and thickly green landscape of good old Kerala on his cycle. Amongst the diverse Kerala experiences, Dibin loves the traditional cuisines and organic farming methods the most! If he’s not scouring through the Kerala trails, you will find him hooked to movies with an intellectual tug; Into the Wild is his favourite! He is a native of Thrissur, Kerala.

REVIEWS

from our friends

“This Classic Kerala cycling tour provided a fabulous introduction to India and avoided most of the negatives associated with this country. The whole family enjoyed the trip with its wide variety of activities to suit everyone – quite a challenge given the range of ages (6, 13, 15 and 17) of our four children. The route selected for riding made cycling on Indian roads an enjoyable experience – we felt safe allowing our six-year old to ride much of it, and went through some stunning scenery. We bought our six-year old’s Islabike with us and the bikes that were provided were excellent – all worked well and came equipped with optional handlebar bags and mini LED lights. We had some great food and the accommodation selected was delightful with Fort House, Kaivalyam Retreat, the Houseboat and Marari Flamingo deserving special mention. The limited TV and internet meant we spent lots of quality time together as a family playing cards and board games in the evening – a real bonus. The support team was excellent – friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, spoke good English and drove safely. Thank you Dibin for making this tour so enjoyable and I highly recommend this tour to others.”

Penny, Simon and familyHK

“Classic Kerala was a great adventure!!!!!!!! The sights, smells and scenery were all unforgettable. The trip description promised “a ridiculous amount of green” and we were not disappointed. We enjoyed the variety of bicycling experiences through many different terrains. Dibin was impressive as a superb guide. He and the driver, Dipu, were both very knowledgeable, helpful and shared their culture freely. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TRIP!!!!!!!”

Nancy & RichardUS

Stan’s group and GinaUS

“I feel great! It was a dream vacation for me. I would do it again (but don’t feel like I need to be pampered quite so much!). I didn’t hold any expectations going into it, just curiosity, but had I held any expectations the trip surely would have surpassed them. I am a little afraid that future tours I may take may not be as delightful, challenging and balanced.”

GinaUS

” It was a glorious trip, with miles of beautiful scenery, fabulous bright colours, exotic aromas and lots of music. The Art of Bicycle crew looked after all our creature comforts, made sure our bikes were in good nick and made every effort to make sure we had a great trip. We certainly saw a lot more than we would have been able to from a coach and we built up good appetites for the splendid food.”

Penny HammarUS

“I really enjoyed it. Fantastic time and experience and very good staff.”

David SmithUS

“It was a great experience and a wonderful family cycling holiday for us – cycling in Kerala enabled us to feel so much more part of the place than seeing it through the car window! Some of the route was quite challenging in the heat but also rewarding. It was especially great when we arrived at or departed from the overnight stays on bike. I would certainly recommend this to others.”

Suzanne and familyUK

“I would thoroughly recommend this trip – it was simply magical! We were a little worried that this was a local company of whom we knew nothing and we have been used to the large global operators in this field. We need not have worried at all. The itinerary was perfect and, with the interludes of visiting tea, rubber and cardomom plantations and spice gardens, we had a perfect mixture of cycling and interesting things to do. The bikes were great and the hotels were a very good choice. The terrain was challenging, as its quite mountainous, but we did not need to get off and push at all, as all the climbs were just steady, slow hills, not steep at all. We got up to over 7,000 feet at one time and the views were simply breathtaking! Our guide, Thomas, was wonderful, with his perfect English, he was both charming and interesting as well as caring and thoughtful. Selvam was much more than just a driver as he was at all times looking after us and keeping his eye on how we were doing, stopping at just the right time to give us rest, fresh water and food, exactly when we needed it. If we tired, and we did sometimes, then he was more than ready and willing to pack up the bikes and take us into the cool interior of the car for a while. All in all it was a really good week and the very best cycling tour we have done anywhere in the world, and that is saying a lot….. as we have done cycling holidays in England, France, Italy, Cuba and Croatia. This one beat them all hands down!”

VivienneUK

“All in all we feel that we had a fantastic trip – cycling is a superiour way to expereience Kerala! Our guides as well as our driver were terrific – very accommodating and informative. There were several highlights but outstanding for us was the kerala backwaters on day 2 and the houseboat on day 8. Well Done!!”

Shelley & JoeCanada

“Great tour, all round. Very good mix of cycling and sightseeing/activities. Excellent driver. Guide – Very good knowledge + explanation. Leader – Great all round.”

BruceAustralia

“Dibin is an excellent guide thoughtful assessed how we rode and ammended the program to suit. We like the mix of cycling and sight seeing, riding 55K then relaxing on a boat. A great trip all round.”

LindseyAustralia

INSPIRATION FROM THE ROAD