Southern India Sojourn – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka

  • Witness a vivid concoction, which represents the entire mood of South India
  • Diverse food of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will definitely enthrall your taste buds
  • A thrilling biking route with the lush Western Ghats combining three states of Southern India
  • Experience an abundant wildlife

This tour combines the three spectacular states of Southern India: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala. Be ready for some serious green therapy riding amidst the Western Ghats – the long stretch of mountains on the South Western edge of the country. Considered a notable hotspot for bio diversity, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Expect to be submerged in the lush environs of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests along with tea plantations of Nilgiris and backwaters of Kerala.

We have planned this cycling tour in a way that you are up against the challenge of the mighty mountains and get to soak in the comfort of estate homes as well. Local food, abundant wildlife and gorgeous views enthrals and keep you hooked through on this cycling trip.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    14 days / 13 nights

  • Start / End

    Bangalore / Kochi

  • Price

    From $2,895 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

    Active Rider 

    Road bike option available for this tour. Normally, we use hybrid bikes.

  • Group Size

    Min 2, Max 12

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

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GROUP TRAVEL

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ITINERARY

Brief Itinerary

* with shuttle
DayPlaceHotelDuration~ Cycling Distance
1BangaloreCasa Cottage1Nil
2 -3MysoreGreen Hotel250km / 30mi*
4MudumalaiWild Haven145km / 27mi*
5 – 6NilgirisMcIver240km / 24mi
7PollachiCoco Lagoon160km / 37mi*
8 – 9MunnarKaivalyam Retreat270km / 44mi*
10PeriyarWildernest170km / 44mi*
11AlleppeyPamba Heritage Villa150km / 30mi*
12KumarakomAbad Whispering Palms Lake Resort140km / 24mi
13KochiFort House140km / 24mi*
14Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Arrival note:

Bangalore or Bengaluru (BLR) has direct connecting flights via Middle East & few destinations in Southeast Asia. Domestic flights can be connected to Bangalore either from Delhi or Mumbai. Bangalore is mainly an arrival/meeting point and you can plan to arrive at Bangalore by afternoon or night.

Day 1: Bangalore

Arrive at Bengaluru Airport and get transferred to a boutique stay, Casa Cottage hotel, in the heart of the city. Your Art of Bicycle Trips (ABT) tour leader meets you at the Casa Cottage. After resting for a short while, hit the arterial high street of the city, M.G Road. Criss-crossed by narrow streets lined with bookshops, contemporary clothes, pubs, cafes and trinkets, the place are abuzz with shoppers in the evenings. Bangalore acquired itself the moniker of the ‘beer capital’ of India, with around 70 pubs in a radius of 2 kms in this area.

Get well rested tonight.

Day 2: Mysore – train journey, palace and market walk

We know you are eager to ride, but we get on a different set of wheels (a train), to omit the traffic and long transfer between the cities. Post-lunch (lunch is served on the train) is to take in the magnificent structures of Mysore.

We start with the palace, also known as Amba Vilas Palace is a 14th century enthralling structure, which is beautifully lit at night on special days. After the historic sight, we make way into the busy Devaraj market. The market is a concoction of sights, sounds and smells – a real visual treat. Walk around the stalls stacked with conical mounds of Kumkum, stacks of glittering bangles, blocks of jaggery, and huge mounds of fragrant marigolds, jasmine, asters and even antiques!

We convene tonight at the dinner to celebrate the start of a fabulous cycling journey.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Mysore – Kaveri trail

A short transfer of about 1hr brings us to Somnathpur Temple, a 13th century Vaishnava Hindu temple on the banks of River Kaveri at Somanathapura, Karnataka. The ornate temple is a classic illustration of the Hoysala architecture, built in soapstone. Enjoy the stunning temple with our local guide.

Bike from here along the idyllic river Kaveri past paddy fields, sugarcane, banana plantations towards Srirangapatna, enclosed by the river Kaveri to form a river island. Srirangapatna was a scene of the decisive battle fought between Tipu Sultan and British East India company, a turning point in Indian history. End the ride with a well deserved local meal.

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

Day 4: Masinagudi – agricultural trail

Break away from the cultural capital of Karnataka, as we wind our way through the Chamundi hills and later ride past agricultural farms and numerous villages, capturing the rural life to enter the state of Tamil Nadu.

Post-lunch shuttle to Masinagudi, a favourite haunt of wildlife buffs & professional wildlife photographers from around the world.

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

Day 5: Nilgiris – Segur switchbacks

Be rewarded with a breathtaking misty view of rolling hills carpeted with shola forest as we climb through 36 hairpin bents and reach Ooty, situated at level of above 2,000m and part of amazing Nilgiris biospehere. Admire the unmatched views in every direction while making your way to the top.

Later take a shuttle to your hotel.

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

Day 6: Nilgiris – day at leisure

Today you can plan your own day. Enjoy the day at leisure or explore the nearby areas by walk or just take a ride on the heritage toy train, weaving through the forest and valleys of Nilgiris!

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Pollachi – epic descent 

An amazing rolling downhill awaits you from Coonoor, with spectacular views of Mountains. Later, we transfer you to the countryside of Pollachi to spend a night, before heading to the tea clad mountains of  Munnar.

Immerse yourself in a countryside living as you stay in a rural village of Pollachi, an unexplored tract in the Indian tourism arena.

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

Day 8: Munnar – sandalwood trail

This morning after breakfast, ride through Marayoor sandalwood forest. The gradual rising trail winds its way through tea and sandalwood plantations.

We continue our gradual climb towards our lunch stop at a local restaurant. After lunch, bike amongst past tea plantations in the rugged Munnar hills to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 70km / 44mi*

Day 9 : Munnar – our favourite ride to Top Station

Explore the tea gardens of Munnar by walk or if your legs are up for biking, head out to Top Station, a viewpoint of great touristic eminence. The riding stretch to Top station is one of our favourite cycling route in Kerala. As we ride all the way up to Top Station, you will be stunned with  brilliant view of the stacked mountains and deep valleys below.

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

Day 10: Periyar – Tea trail 

Ride through the God’s Own Route today. It’s a stunning climb out of Munnar through the Lockhart Gap, 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 plantations to settle in the town of Thekkady.

If time permits, we head to a garden of spices and learn about the spices from a local farmer.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance cycled: ~ 70km / 44mi*

Day 11: Alleppey – undulating trail

This is going to be a beautiful ride – from the Cardamom Hills of Thekkady, through the tea gardens that lie lower. A hilly ride, with both dips and steep climbs, but the cool weather helps you grapple with this challenging ride better.

After biking, we transfer to Alleppey. Alleppey is the backwater destination of India, as it lies at the edge of the massive Vembanad Lake.

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

Day 12: Vembanad Lake

Ride through the narrow lanes and experience a fabulous bird life before arriving at Kumarakom, situated right at the edge of mesmerising Vembanad Lake.

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

Day 13: Kochi – coastal trail

On the last biking day, ride along the beach road and past fishing villages and numerous christian churches along the coast towards Fort Kochi, the historical port city in Kerala, once glorified for it’s spice trade.

The tour support staff will say goodbyes, as you reach Fort Kochi and check-in to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance cycled: ~ 40km / 24mi*

Day 14: Shuttle to Kochi Airport

Depending on your time in morning you can explore Fort Kochi and learn more about the history of this old port city.

Meals: Breakfast

* With shuttle – short transfers.

REGION

insightful details

Terrain

Stretched over fourteen days this trip takes you through the south western half of peninsular India. A fabulous journey which passes through thick jungles, tropical rain forests, verdant tea plantations, rice fields, terraced vegetable gardens and Eucalyptus trees. Bangalore to Cochin is a quintessential experience a must do for the avid nature lover and wildlife enthusiast. The ride starts with flat plains and rice fields and gradually moves to the hills of the Western Ghats.

The Western Ghats also known as the Great Escarpment of India is one of the top bio- diversity hot spots in the world and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna, some of which are still yet to be discovered. It runs parallel to the western coast all the way from Mumbai till the tip of the Peninsular.

As we ride through this fabulous landscape we are greeted with the regular chorus of the jungle!. Chirping birds and noisy crickets add a musical note different from the beep and honks of Crazy Indian Traffic. The route is full of ups and downs and at times the climbs can be challenging as we ascend to altitudes close to 2000 meters above sea level.


See

Birds such as – Pelicans, King fisher, hornbills, Indian roller, Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, Hawks, Eagles, Minivets, Bulbuls and Sun birds which are all endemic to this region.

Mammals such as – Indian Gaur, Elephants, Leopards, Tigers, Spotted Deer, wild boar, bears, Sambar, Giant Squirrels and monkeys.

Having said all that, it should be your lucky day to spot them!


Experience

• The Palace and Markets in Mysore
• Tea gardens, coffee plantations, pepper vines and cocoa plantations in the hill stations of the Western Ghats
• Terraced vegetable gardens and Eucalyptus trees on the hillsides of Ooty
• Colonial Bungalows and plantation lifestyles with traditional south Indian cuisines
• The wealth of flora and fauna found in Peninsular India

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 South India 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

“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