Coast to Coast Bike Tour

  • Get to see the very best of Kerala – sandy beaches, meandering backwater canals, the lush green hills and thick wilderness
  • Get up close to the coastal and rural life of Tamil Nadu.
  • This trip acquaints you with the most famous Dravidian temples, dating back to centuries: Sree Meenakshi Temple and Thanjavur.
  • Experience a little bit of France in India at the seaside town of Pondicherry.

From coastal South to east of South India, starting from Kochi and ending in Chennai, this tour takes you through two contrasting; backwaters and hills of Kerala to rural & coastal sides of Tamil Nadu.

A trip into the heart of Tamil Nadu gives you a chance to peek into the 2500 years old Dravidian civilization. This cycling tour will certainly transport you into civilizations before. Along with a slice of history, expect to cycle down pristine coastlines, forested mountains and bucolic small villages where children run to greet you with a big smile.

The trip is planned as a mélange of food, culture, classical music, temples, history and a great cycling rural topography. 

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    14 days / 13 nights

  • Start

    Kochi | 13:00hrs

  • Finish

    Chennai

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

  • Average Distance Cycled

    70km or 42mi

  • Total Distance Cycled

    ~ 700km or 420mi

  • Bicycle

    Included

  • Support Vehicle

    Included

  • Group Size

    Min 2, Max 12

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceCasual InnsDuration~ Cycling Distance
1KochiFort House1
2AlleppeyPamba Heritage Villa175km / 47mi
3VagamonWinter wale163km / 39mi*
4ThekkadyWildernest160km / 37mi
5 – 6MaduraiJC residency
Madurai
275km / 47mi*
7ChettinadChettinad Mansion175km / 47mi*
8ThanjavurIdeal river view hotel190km / 56mi*
9KumbakonamIndeco Swamimalai172km / 45mi
10 – 11PuducherryAnantha Heritage285km / 53mi*
25km / 15mi
12MahabalipuramIdeal beach resort185km / 53mi*
13ChennaiGrand Chennai1
14Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Cochin (Kochi)

Meet your trip leader at the hotel, post lunch at 13:00hrs and head out to see Fort Kochi by foot.

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.

Later, in the evening, go to see the traditional dance form, Kathakali (you can also see the face painting before the show). After the show, we will have dinner at a seaside restaurant known for seafood and indian delicacies.

There is a lot to pack in this day, but be well rested for the night as we start early on next day.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Alleppey (Alappuzha)

A classic coastal ride along a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach on one side and unevenly spread serene backwaters on the other. See the birdlife in action with egrets, cormorants, herons, kites, kingfishers, ducks and many more. A short stop to see the art of making traditional boats, locally called as “Kettuvallom”. They make wooden boats both for backwaters and sea.

We may also see coconuts, cut into halves being dried under sun. The dried coconuts will be further pressed in the oil mills nearby to make the coconut oil. From curries to Ayurvedic oils, coconut and it’s oil is an essential part of daily life here.

Other common sights that you may see – People collecting clams by diving in and out of the backwaters, small village fish markets and auction centers, ladies walking door to door for selling fish, fishermen returning from sea and Christian churches almost every few kilometers.

We keep biking through small fishermen villages, lush coconut trees and plentiful fish farms.

The ride finishes at your hotel in Alleppey.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~75km / 47mi
Elevation Gain: 115m

Day 3: Vagamon

From below sea level village in Alleppey to the hill station of Vagamon, the lands transforms from rice fields & lakes to rubber plantations & valleys.

We take an hour vehicle transfer to cycling start point. A hilly ride, with both dips and steep climbs, but the shades of plantations helps you grapple with this challenging ride better. The last 15 km of cycling is an uphill ride all the way to hotel.

Vagamon is an enchanting hill station where you can either relax or indulge in the outdoor activities like easy hikes or explore nature trails.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~ 63km/39mi
Elevation Gain: 1616m

Day 4: Thekkady

This is going to be a beautiful ride – from the tea gardens of Vagamon to Cardamom Hills of Thekkady, with bit of coffee plantations in between. It’s the last day for hills and is yet another challenge.

The birdlife is plenty with mynas, parakeets, drongos making calls and flying from one tree to another.

Thekkady and surroundings is known for forests and spice plantations. The queen of spices, “Cardamom”, is native to these hills of Thekkady.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~ 60km/37mi
Elevation Gain: 1261m

Day 5: Madurai

We take in the spectacular views of western ghat mountains before descending to the neighboring state Tamil Nadu.

Cycling through many villages with banana plantations, vegetable farms, vineyards and windmills we reach the town of Theni. Post cycling we have around 2 hours of vehicle transfer to Madurai.

Madurai one of South India’s oldest cities and has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. This is where Mahatma Gandhi took the decision, in 1921, to wear nothing but khadi (homespun cloth). Khadi textiles and tailors’ shops are everywhere in town.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~ 75km/47mi*
Elevation Gain: 244m

Day 6: Madurai

It’s best to visit the main temple early in the morning when its relatively less busy. Meenakshi Amman (Sri Meenakshi) temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500-year-old city of Madurai. The temple complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Chettinad

After a short transfer from Madurai city, we ride to Chettinad, famous for its unique cuisine, architecture and temples.

Chettinad is home to Chettiar community, a wealthy merchant class family from Tamil Nadu. With palatial houses that used to host life celebrations, festivities, and rituals, the village has a story to tell of it’s glorious past.

The evening is at leisure and you can explore the village by walk.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 75km / 47mi*
Elevation Gain: 156m

Day 8: Thanjavur

After breakfast, we ride into the adjoining temple village, Thanjavur. The World Heritage–listed Brihadishwara Temple is the main highlight here with its large Maratha Palace complex. Thanjavur is dotted with beautiful living temples in the entire region.

The village is also known for Thanjavur dolls, Thanjavur paintings which can be bought as souvenirs.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 90km / 56mi*
Elevation Gain: 244m

Day 9: Kumbakonam

Today is a classic ride where we pass through small villages and see plenty of rice fields on one side and the river Kaveri flowing on the other.

Kumbakonam dates back to a historically significant period and were ruled by many distinguished dyanaties of India – the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 72km / 45mi
Elevation Gain: 194m

Day 10: Pondicherry

Today we are riding to Pondicherry, a former French colony, which still has its colonial ambience intact in cobble-stoned streets, bright cafes, and architecture style in most of the buildings.

Head out in the evening to explore the Pondicherry town. You can walk along the main Goubert Avenue where the whole town congregates in the evenings for walks as the breeze from the sea makes the weather ever pleasant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 85km / 53mi*
Elevation Gain: 108m

Day 11: Pondicherry

This morning, we ride around Auroville. A unique township, Auroville was constructed to include communities from all over the world, based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. It wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. It has ballooned to encompass more than 80 rural settlements spread over 20km, and about 1800 residents. If you’re really interested in the philosophy it’s worth the ride out to the visitors centre to find out how it all works and eat some great food at the café.

You can also try your hand at surfing in the mild waves of the Tamil Nadu coast or take a quick dip with scuba experts on this day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Cycling Distance: 25km / 15mi*

Day 12: Mahabalipuram

A ride through coastal villages takes us to Mahabalipuram. Famous for its ancient rock carvings, especially the Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram was once the second capital and seaport of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. Mahabalipuram is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries and remains a renowned centre for stone carving. As you enter into the village, you’ll see and hear the constant tapping of hammer and chisel as artisans chip away at exquisite sculptures.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 85km / 53mi*
Elevation Gain: 167m

Day 13: Chennai

After the morning exploration of Mahabalipuram age-old temples, we take a transfer to Chennai. Explore a bit of Chennai if you have the time. The hot sultry seaside city represents a wonderful cusp of traditions and contemporary lifestyle. Visit the busy Mylapore temple area to see pilgrims buzzing in and out of the famous temple and the streets drenched in a splash of colour.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Departure to Chennai Airport

Please make arrangements as per your onward travel.

Meals: Breakfast

*With shuttle – short transfers.

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REVIEWS

from our friends

Musings of a South India Coast to Coast Bike Tour
Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by Thang Nguyen on Musings of a South India Coast to Coast Bike Tour
South India Bike Tour from Kochi to Chennai

We had a great trip, biking from Kochi to Chennai. Our group of 3 made up of one avid young cyclist, and two elderly newbies. The avid biked ahead at twice the speed, so Ajesh, the van driver, followed/led her thru the daily course. Muthu - the guide- and the newbies followed later. Muthu helped shield the crazy Indian traffic from the newbies. We all had a good time. We rode early into sunrises over beautiful countryside, sampled exotic fruits and local cuisine, stayed in historic mansions or local boutique hotels, smelled different Indian spices, visited old majestic temples, and took photo with many warm wishers from villages. There were not many foreign tourists back roads, so we were quite noticeable and welcome. The traffic was just crazy and nerve-racking at times for us newbies coming from the US and riding on the right side of the road (not that it mattered), although Muthu did his best to shield us from the traffic, and re-route the route to less traveled rural roads. Experienced bikers might be more comfortable with traffic though. We would rate the trip higher otherwise. Guide Muthu and driver Ajesh were great: friendly, helpful, professional, timely. We enjoyed their company.

by Sheila Wong on Musings of a South India Coast to Coast Bike Tour
Immersive bike ride


The Kochi to Chennai ride is a true immersion in the sights, sounds, and smells of South India. It is suitable for adventurous riders. There’s some tough hills going through the Western Ghats (days 3 & 4), with rest of the ride through Tamil Nadu mostly flat. The guide and driver were friendly and attentive. The lodging and food are good. The historical sites visited, especially the ones in Mahabalipuram, are wonders.

by Lael Hinds on Musings of a South India Coast to Coast Bike Tour
Terrific Experience


We had a wonderful experience on our bike trip in Tamil Nadu. The two guides were exceptionally friendly and helpful, the driver was also wonderful. I would recommend riding with this tour company without reservation! Thank you for a wonderful time!