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
  • 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.
  • Get upclose to the coastal and rural life of Tamil Nadu.

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 / End

    Kochi / Chennai

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

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GROUP TRAVEL

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ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceCasual InnsDuration~ Cycling Distance
1KochiFort House1
2AlleppeyPamba Heritage Villa175km / 47mi
3VagamonWinter wale170km / 45mi*
4ThekkadyWildernest170km / 45mi
5 – 6MaduraiJC residency
Madurai
275km / 47mi*
7ChettinadChettinad Mansion175km / 47mi*
8ThanjavurIdeal river view hotel190km / 56mi*
9KumbakonamIndeco Swamimalai175km / 47mi
10 – 11PuducherryAnantha Heritage285km / 53mi*
12MahabalipuramIdeal beach resort185km / 53mi*
13ChennaiGrand Chennai1
14Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Cochin (Kochi)

Meet your trip leader at the hotel 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 (Alapuzha)

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. 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 single kilometer are some common sights.

We keep biking through small fishermen villages, lush coconut trees and plentiful fish farms and later enjoy a picnic lunch at the beach.

The ride finishes at your hotel in Alleppey.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~75km / 47mi

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.  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 you can either relax or indulge in the outdoor activities like paragliding, easy hikes or explore nature trails.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~ 70km/45mi

Day 4: Thekkady

This is going to be a beautiful ride – from the tea gardens of Vagamon to Cardamom Hills of Thekkady.

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: ~ 70km/45mi

Day 5: Madurai

We take in the spectacular views of western ghat mountains before descending to Madurai. As you are riding, the 360 degrees view of the lush green forest will be forever etched in your minds.

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*

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

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.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 75km / 47mi*

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 and we head out with a guide to see the important ones. The village is also known for its bronze paintings that can be bought as souvenirs.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 90km / 56mi*

Day 9: Kumbakonam

Today is a classic ride past typical rural hamlets.

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: 75km / 47mi

Day 10: Pondicherry

Today we ride 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*

Day 11: Pondicherry

This morning, we ride to 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: 30km / 18mi

Day 12: Mahabalipuram

A coastal ride 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*

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.

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

Mary K.