Coastal & Rural Tamil Nadu – South India Bike Tour

  • 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 east to west of South India, starting from Chennai and ending in Coimbatore, this tour takes you through two contrasting; 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

    Chennai / Coimbatore

  • Price

    Casual Inns: From $2,495 pp dbl. occ.
    The price is indicative and may vary due to size of group, accommodation, time of year you travel

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Easy to Active Rider

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

Request a quote or further customize:

GROUP TRAVEL

Open your date as a Join-In tour:

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceCasual InnsDuration~ Cycling Distance
1ChennaiFootprint B&B1
2 – 3PondicherryGratitude Heritage Home250km / 30mi
4TharangambadiGate House160km / 36mi
5ThanjavurStar Regency160km / 36mi
6 – 7ChettinadChettinad Mansion280km / 50mi*
8MaduraiMeenakshi’s Sunshine Hotel160km / 36mi
9BatlagunduCrystal Inn145km / 27mi
10 – 11KodaikanalJC Residency240km / 24mi
12PalaniGanpat Grand160km / 36mi
13PollachiCoconut County Farm Stay160km / 36mi
14Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Chennai

Meet your Art of Bicycle Trips leader at Chennai Airport and transfer to the hotel. 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. We convene tonight at the local restaurant to celebrate our start of journey through Tamil Nadu.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Pondicherry

Today we shuttle 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. Along the way, visit 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.

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

Day 3: 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: 50km / 30mi

Day 4: Tharamganbadi

We leave Pondicherry early in a shuttle to avoid traffic and ride in the latter part of the journey to Tharamganbadi. Today is a classic coastal ride past typical rural hamlets.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi

Day 5: 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.

If time permits, visit Kumbakonam along the way. 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: 60km / 36mi

Day 6 & 7: Chettinad

We ride to Chettinad, famous for its cuisine, architecture and temples. The evening is at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi

Day 8: Madurai

It’s a long ride into Madurai; during which you might need to dodge some traffic. The large Sri Meenakshi Temple complex in Madurai is world famous for its size and the amount of pilgrims that come here each day. 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
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi

Day 9: Batlagundu

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.

Post-lunch, ride to Batlagundu through village roads past palm plantations and rural hamlets.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: 45km / 27mi

Day 10: Kodaikanal

This morning 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. As the hills of Kodaikanal start emerging, you will be simply amazed to see the neat hills and mountains.

Enjoy a goodnight’s rest here so you are ready to explore Kodaikanal town the next day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~ 40km / 24mi

Day 11: Kodaikanal

Today you can plan your own day. Enjoy a morning of Yoga if you please and head out to nearby viewpoints. 

Meals: Breakfast

Day 12: Palani

We bid adieu to Kodaikanal and head towards the Hindu pilgrimage town, Palani. We take in the spectacular views of western ghat mountains before descending to Palani. As you are riding, the 360 degrees view of the lush green forest will be forever etched in your minds.

At Palani, if you have the energy, head out to Palani Murugan Temple dedicated to Hindu war God Kartikeya, situated on a hill overlooking the town.

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

Day 13: Pollachi

This is going to be a beautiful undulating ride – from the Palani Hills to the rural setting of Pollachi. Pollachi is an enchanting town with opportunities to see typical rural life.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cycling Distance: ~ 60km / 42mi

Day 14: Departure to Coimbatore Airport

Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Coimbatore Airport.

*With shuttle – short transfers.

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.

INSPIRATION FROM THE ROAD