Taste of 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

Bursting with a variety of experiences, Kerala throws up myriad experiences; deep rooted culture, verdant surroundings, unique food and a slice of India like none other. Experience long stretches of clean beaches, thickly green interiors with tea and spice plantations and the snaking backwaters! The diverse landscape apart, Kerala’s cultural hook is also what intrigues visitors. You can see Kathakali closely or stay in hundreds of years old houses – Kerala throws a cultural surprise at you at every corner.

In this cycling trip in Kerala, we have covered as many experiences for you! Be it the history immersed narrow streets of Fort Kochi, floating in the backwaters in a houseboat or a wildlife trip into the thick forests. The blend of exquisite heritage places to stay or experience and the cycling challenge on the road is bound to make this an unforgettable journey on wheels.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    10 days / 9 nights

  • Start / End

    Kochi / Kochi

  • Price

    From $1,795 pp dbl. occ.

    + $425 for sgl. occ.

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

Contact Us to open your date as a group tour date

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

Make it a private tour or further customize if you already have a group or the dates shown above do not coincide with your travel plans.

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceHotelDuration~ Cycling DistanceNon-Cycling Highlights
1 – 2KochiFort House235km / 21mi* – 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 – 4MunnarKaivalyam Retreat265km / 40mi* &
50km / 30mi*
– Mighty & green Western ghat mountains covered with Tea plantations
– Visit to Tea museum and learn about history of tea in Kerala
5 – 6ThekkadyWildernest270km / 42mi*– Morning nature walk in Periyar National Park
– Visits a Spice plantation and learn about spices from local farmer
7AlleppeyEmarald Isle145km / 27mi*– Backwaters of Kerala and it’s way of life
8Vembanadu LakeHouseboat1rest day– Overnight in a houseboat floating on backwaters
9EzhupunnaVilla de Parrai140km / 25mi*– Explore the fishing harbour nearby and see the sun setting into the Arabian sea.
10Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Arrival note:

Cochin (Kochi) 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

Arrive in Ernakulam and transfer directly to the small island of Fort Kochi, which is more atmospheric and tourist oriented than the commercial city. Meet your trip leader at the hotel and get briefed about the place. At Fort Kochi, you will be staying at Fort House, a boutique hotel with a chic yet earthy ambience; a central garden, seaside restaurant and bright white rooms will immediately put you in a good mood. The rest of the day can be used to explore the town.

At night, try eating at the brightly lit row of small shack like restaurants near the Princess Street, where you can bring in your own catch and ask them to cook it for you. The place has a fun local vibe to it and you will find plenty of other travellers here. There is a lot to pack in this day, but be well rested for the night as we start early on next day.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Cochin

Let this be a warm up day on your bikes! Caught between the backwaters and Arabian sea, this is simply the best rural biking trail combined with village life experiences around Fort 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: ~ 35km/21mi*

Day 3: Munnar

Today we ride into the countryside and follow the Periyar River. The gradual rising trail winds its way through rubber and pineapple plantations to the Idukki forest reserve. We continue our gradual climb towards our lunch stop at a local restaurant. After lunch, bike amongst enormous grass plants, eucalyptus trees and past alpine tea plantations in the rugged Munnar hills to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 65km/40mi*

Day 4: Munnar

After sipping hot tea in your bed, get ready to bike into the wilderness. Overlooking the town, Annamali peak at 2695 m is the highest mountain in Kerala and well worth the ride to Top Station 1,950 m/ 6,397 ft for the fine views over the town and neighbouring Tamil Nadu. You’ll ascend 500 m in this gradual uphill climb.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 50km/30mi*

Day 5: Thekkady

It’s a stunning downhill out of Chinnakanal with spectacular views of tea gardens and lakes along the way before we gradually descend along a winding country road, passing small hamlets and spice plantation villages to Thekkady.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 70km/43mi*

Day 6: Thekkady

This morning we take a nature walk in Periyar National Park and learn about the flora and fauna of this Tiger reserve. You will be accompanied by the guides who are the native tribes of Periyar. Later, we head to a garden of spices and learn about the spices from a local farmer.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Alleppey

This is going to be a beautiful ride – from the Cardamom Hills of Thekkady to the tea gardens of Vagamon, and that too, through the rubber plantations. 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.

After biking, we transfer you to the backwater country, the venice of the east in Kerala, Alleppey.

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

Day 8: Houseboat

Spend the night on backwaters aboard your own private houseboat. The houseboats, converted rice barges, come with a captain, cook and crew; we just sit back and relax under the blanket of stars.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Ezhupunna
On the last biking day, we ride along the beach road and the journey will be refreshing and easy. We ride past fishing villages and numerous christian churches along the coast will to a small village named Ezhupunna

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 40km/25mi*

Day 10: Cochin Airport

On the last day, take a walk to the white sandy Marari beach in the morning. Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Cochin International Airport.

Meals: Breakfast

*with shuttle – short transfers

Casual Inns

Fort House: Cochin (2 nights)

Situated at the edge of Fort Kochi, with a brilliant few of massive vessels coming to dock at the opposite island, Fort House is a good mix of comfort, typical Kerala nuances, a large shady garden in the centre, Ayurvedic massages and great sea food.

Kaivalyam Retreat: Munnar (2 nights)

A holistic retreat with a focus on Yoga, Kaivalyam is perched on the corner of a hill with spectacular view of rolling hills, draped in tea plantations. The soothing ambience is perfect for relaxing or doing some yoga in the company of the misty mountains.

Wildernest: Thekkady (2 nights)

Frankly, there’s not too much fuss at The Wildernest. Comfortable beds, clean sheets and a king sized breakfast each morning. The rest of the experience is, naturally, Periyar itself.

emerald-isle-alleppey

Alleppey: Emerald Isle (1 night)

A boutique Stay on an Island in the centre of Backwaters, Emerald Isle an ancestral home for the last 150 year, standing alongside a beautiful river and vast paddy fields.

India-Kerala-Houseboat

Houseboat: Alappuzha (1 night)

Houseboats in Kerala traditionally made from local Angili or jackfruit wood. Stitched together by coconut rope and protected from elements by cashew oil, no nails are used in their construction.

Ezhupunna: Villa de Parrai (1 night)

Owned by the Syrian Christian family , the ‘home’ is bulit in the late 80’s and is blend of Portuge​​se , Roman and Kerala architecture.Take an evening and visit the family owned prawn farms adjacent to house or feel the nature at your arms by walking through the plantations around the house or a walk around the village.

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 Casual Inn tour, experience the best of small boutique 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 only in cases where you want to opt for a room alone. In other cases, we will try to club you with another person, preferably of same sex. In the cases, where we don’t find a room partner, we’ll bear the extra room charges.

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

“The ‘Taste of Kerala’ bike tour is one of the best vacations I have ever taken, if not the best of them all! It was my first multi-day bike tour, and Art of Bicycle Trips made the entire trip a truly unique and wonderful experience! The biking itself was fantastic, but all other aspects of the tour were just as delightful. From start to finish, including initial correspondence prior to arrival, Dibin responded promptly to my inquiries, answered all my questions, and later was very helpful in extending my stay in Cochin at the end of the trip to include a beach side stay with some kayaking along the backwaters. And best of all, he is an AWESOME bike tour guide!! I cannot say enough about how great and truly amazing it was to be a rider on his bike tour. And the driver Shajee (sp?) was also very supportive and equally great in his job bringing up the rear via the support van. I felt very safe, was well looked after, and in good hands through the entire journey. I appreciate the fact that Art of Bicycle Trips was also able to outfit me with an XL bike frame, which made the ride much more comfortable for someone of my height. Dibin is also a good teacher – though I do exercise extensively, I do not bike ride regularly, and Dibin taught me a lot about biking technique and methods all along the rides. The bike rides were a perfect mix of city, country, mountain, and coastal riding through the many beautiful parts of Kerala. I especially enjoyed the rides through the tea plantations and the ride up and over the border with Tamil Nadu to Top Station. As I requested, Dibin kept the pace just challenging enough to keep me at my best riding form. I loved every kilometer of this 500km bike tour, even the up hill rides, and anxiously looked forward to each new day of riding and the adventures it would bring. The accommodations were unique, charming, and always pleasant. The overnight stay on the house boat and cruise through the backwaters was one of the many ways you made the trip special. All the meals were delicious, as I found the many foods of Kerala to be highly agreeable with me. The non-biking activities provided alternate and enjoyable breaks after riding – tea museum tour, spice garden visit, etc., but I especially liked the hike through the nature preserve via a guide — it was good way to get some non-biking outdoor activity on a rest day. And everyone in Kerala is super friendly too, which further enhanced my love of the place and its people. Thank you so much Art of Bicycle Trips, and Dibin, for all you did to make this an amazing tour!! I will have many lasting memories of my Kerala biking adventure as a result of your tour and the fine work you all do! I look forward to doing another bike tour with Art of Bicycle Trips again on a future trip to Asia.”

Michael SzilagyiUSA

“Jacky and I would like to thank you and all your staff , in particular Rakesh and Dipu, for a terrific cycle ride in Kerala. As experienced organisers of cycle tours in South Africa ourselves and participants in many other tours in Asia, Australia and Europe, we really can appreciate the superb attention to detail that you brought to this remarkable tour and cannot fault it in any way. It ranks amongst the very best we have experienced over many years. The cycling was challenging in parts for us over seventy year olds but always enjoyable. The other activities were also great. We saw many birds, giant squirrels and an elephant on our walk in the Tiger Reserve.Kayaking on the Periyar in the evening at Hornbill Camp was a birding highlight too and who would not enjoy the overnight stay on the backwaters in a luxury houseboat. Each place we stayed at was well chosen and different, giving us a real feel for this beautiful region with its rubber, tea and cardamom plantations. Rakesh and Dipu took exceptional care of us and pampered us throughout shielding us from traffic and making sure we had everything possible to add to our enjoyment as well as being knowledgeable about each area. They were superb. What you promised on your website was more than delivered and we feel that we have made new friends as well. The local food everywhere was very good and the cooking lessons that you arranged for us super fun as well as being delicious. Our friends in Cape Town, where we are now, can look forward to some amazing curry meals when we try out our new recipes in the coming weeks before we head home to Australia. Please post this in your testimonial column and anywhere else where it may do you some good. You thoroughly deserve every success. We would be happy to respond directly by phone or email to any prospective clients who might like personal reassurance of your quality. Our best wishes and good luck in your cycling future.”

Jeremy MartinAustralia

“My husband and I took th 12-day Taste of Kerala Bicycle tour. Having taken many other multi day bike tours this one rates at the top of my list. You ride through beautiful tea and spice plantations. The views are vivid green and spectacular. I loved every minute of it. The ride itself is comfortable. The guides take you via back roads so while you are riding with India traffics it is much reduced, the vehicles tend to drive slowly and it was comfortable. Kerala has hills bit as medium level riders we were comfortable. The support was outstanding. Ebin was our guide and was both experienced and personable. We had fun riding and talking to him. He gave realistic expectations of the route and made sure we felt safe. Thanks Ebin for your superb guiding! The accomodations and food was good and the side trips off our bike were worthwhile. We loved the houseboat night. I highly recommend this tour to anyone. I think it is an undiscovered biking area. Enjoy it before it gets discovered.”

Michelle KobrinUS

“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

“Do not hesitate to trust the team at Art of the Bicycle with your holiday…we have just returned from 10 spectacular days touring the backwaters, the tea gardens, spice plantations and the beaches of this incredible place. Luckily we decided to tour around on a bike and therefore have indulged in platefuls of the most tremendous food without noticeable weight gain. The team at Art of the Bicycle are great company, good fun and certainly go out of their way to make sure you have a holiday to remember. Go for it!”

Alice & AdamUK

“The more I think about this trip, the more beautiful it becomes. You guys are the best – the whole operation and trip appeared very smooth. Thank you so much for giving one of the best times of my life!!”

Brenda MurrayUS

“We were a little hesitant to take the trip as we had a 8 year old, but it was a very good experience for all of us. Our crew was fabulous and made the trip very easy. The organizers of the trip were fantastic and very patient with us while we planned the trip. They have accomdated all our requests. The places we stayed at very unique and hidden treasures to discovers. Our kids enjoyed the trip thoroughly.”

AshaIndia

“The transport vehicle was fantasic. The driver was always near to us while bicycling and always had water and snacks for us. He did a great job. The food was great. The sag food was good. The bicycles were good for the roads we were on. All the accomodations were fantastic. The non-cycling activities were great. I especially liked the kayaking on the Periyar River and the hiking in the Periyar Sanctuary. The afternoon and night on the houseboat on the backwaters was excellent. That was the best way to see the tropical vegetation. Overall I thought the trip was excellent. Pranav was an excellent guide. The driver of the support vechile was always there for us and also very pleasant.”

KarenUS

INSPIRATION FROM THE ROAD