Kerala in Style – bike, hike & kayak

  • Bike in the God’s own scenic backroads
  • Walk through backwater fishing villages
  • Hike & camp in the captivating hill station of Munnar
  • Kayak in the mesmerising backwaters
  • 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

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 stretches of biking through God’s own country, hiking and overnight camping at the hill station and kayaking  in the 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 multi-sport 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 combination of bike, hike and kayak is bound to make this an unforgettable journey.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    14 days / 13 nights

  • Start / End

    Kochi / Kochi

  • Price

    From $2,795 pp dbl. occ.

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns

  • Riding Style

    Active Rider

  • Group Size

    Min 2, Max 12

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

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GROUP TRAVEL

Open your date as a Join-In tour:

ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceHotelDurationActivity~ Cycling DistanceNon-Activity Highlights
1KochiTower House1Walking0km / 0mi
Fort Kochi & Mattancherry Tuk Tuk Tour, Cultural Show
2ThattekadHornbill Camp1Biking, Kayaking35km / 21mi*Birdwatching
3 – 4MunnarKaivalyam Retreat2Biking65km / 40mi*
50km / 31mi*
Tea Museum & History of Tea
5MunnarBasic Tent Camp1Hiking0km / 0mi
Grasslands & forests in mountains, Camping in foothills of western ghats
6 – 7ThekkadyWildernest2Hiking, Biking, Walking50km / 31mi*Periyar National Park , Spice plantation visit & learn about spices from local farmer
8VagamonFalcon Crest1Biking50km / 30miOffbeat destination
9KumarakomAbad Whispering Palms Lake Resort1Biking30km/ 18miVembanad Lake
10 – 11AlleppeyPamba Heritage Villa2Biking, Kayaking30km / 18mi*Eternal Backwaters
12MararikulamFlamingo1Biking25km / 15miMeandering backwater canals with farms, bird life, paddy fields and mangroves
13EzhupunnaVilla de Parrai1Biking40km / 25miClassic heritage architecture
14Departure

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. 

Day 1: Cochin

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: Thattekad

This morning we start with a 2.5 hours shuttle bus to get out of traffic clogged roads. We start cycling along the canal route to Thattekad. This first tryst with Kerala on the wheels will enthrall you. A scenic route, this smooth road along a canal is perfect to see birdlife and the verdant environs of real Kerala. Our destination is the outdoors camping facility- The Hornbill Camp.

We check into our snug and comfortable Swiss tents and get ready for an activity packed day. Hornbill Camp offers Kayaking in the Periyar River, bird watching and plantation walk around the property. The stay gives you a taste of the wilderness of Kerala along with all the comforts. The camp is situated in the environs of a tropical forest where you have nothing but birdsong for company!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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/32mi*

Day 5: Munnar

A rest day for biking, but never really a rest day. We hike through tea plantations and rainforests. The hiking path is easy to walk through, with less variation in altitude. We reach our campsite located at 1600 m/ 5249 ft. Overnight in a simple tent camp. The camp area are is bordering the grassland and forests. The area is rich in birds and butterflies. With the best position to view the sunset, sunrise, night sky, you will be just lost in time. Oh never to miss is the beautiful and panoramic view of western ghat mountains ranges.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hiking: half day

Day 6: Thekkady

Wake up along with birds, watch the sunrise sipping hot cup of tea. Prepare for the hike to the high altitude forest and grass lands. The hiking ends at the Great escape gap.

If you still have power left in your legs, you can cycle a bit today along a winding country road, passing small hamlets and spice plantation villages to Thekkady.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hiking: half day
Biking: ~ 50km/31mi*

Day 7: Thekkady

This morning we take a nature walk in Periyar National Park in search of mongooses, elephants and learn about the flora and fauna in Periyar Tiger reserve. Later, we head to a garden of spices and learn about the spices from a local farmer.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8: Vagamon

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

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

Day 9: Kumarakom

A beautiful downhill ride today takes us near to spectacular Vembanad Lake. Enjoy stunning vistas in all directions.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Alleppey

Another beautiful day on a bike. Start with undulating terrain and end the ride with long downhill.

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

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

Day 11: Alleppey

Today step into a kayak. Soon you will be kayaking the backwaters, through inland canals, with people living very close to the water edges.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Mararikulam

See the village life in action and hear the stories from our local guide. Enjoy a simple lunch in a local village restaurant. Get the best picture imprinted to your memory on this last day of the backwaters adventure.

Enjoy walk to the white sandy Marari beach in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Distance cycled: ~ 25km/15mi

Day 13: 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 14: Cochin Airport

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

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

“Thank you for such a well planned, superbly led trip. We learned so much more about Kerala and it’s unique characteristics and beauty than we thought we would. This was our first trip to India and our first “organized tour group”. Both exceeded our expectations. We will surely return.”

Linda Smith and Robert GloverUS

“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