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Cycle Kerala

India

Cycle Kerala

Biking
·
Start: Trivandrum
·
End: Kochi

Ride through incredible countryside with the chance to swap bike for boat and enjoy a river cruise.

Activity
Biking
LocationIndia
Duration8 days
Start / EndTrivandrum / Kochi
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

India

Cycle Kerala

Biking·
8 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Trivandrum
·
End: Kochi

Description

Beyond the crowded sights of northern India lies another world, one where the rhythms of daily life are that bit slower and the surroundings that bit greener - a place that lends itself to leisurely exploration by bike. Take an 8 day cycling adventure in inspiring Kerala, on roads that are sandwiched between the lush forests of the Western Ghats and the golden sands of the Arabian Sea. Ride thr...

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Itinerary

Day 1Trivandrum
Welcome to Trivandrum, locally known as Thiruvananthapuram. Your Indian Kerala adventure begins with an important group meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. If you arrive in Trivandrum with free time to spare, perhaps wander around Kerala’s capital and admire its British colonial architecture, visit an art gallery, or stroll through the intricate Puthenmalika Palace, which was previously closed to the public for 150 years. In the evening, maybe head out for dinner with your fellow travellers. Cycling distance: none
Day 2Varkala
Say 'hello' to your bike support team this morning, then get suited up and fitted to a bike before starting your first ride in Kerala. Leaving from Trivandrum, head straight towards the beach on the flat road that takes you all the way up to the Varkala. The scenery is memorable, with Kerala on your right and nothing but long stretches of sand, palm trees and the Arabian Sea on your left (approximately 50 kilometres). Varkala sits on India's Keralan coast and is home to some of the whitest and most pristine beaches in the whole country. Even though this is a popular destination for Indian tourists, the beaches are quiet and laid-back. The town itself, a string of laid-back bars, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels, will be explored on an orientation walk. If you want to get active, there are plenty of water sports on offer. If you have time, perhaps take the bike and cycle through fishing villages to Varkala Lighthouse. Sitting on the sand and watching the sun dip below the horizon is the perfect way to end a day here. Cycling distance: approx. 51kms/32 miles, flat with approx. 240m/780ft of elevation gain.
Day 3Kerala Houseboat
By support vehicle (approximately 60 kilometres) and bike (approx. 30kms), ride to the backwaters of Kerala this morning and discover sleepy Alleppey. Once a significant trading port, the town is now famed for the long ‘snake boats’ races that take place in August every year. Here you will board a typical Keralan houseboat (Kettuvallam) to cruise through the complex system of beautiful lagoons and canals. These floating cottages have western toilets, private bedrooms, a dining area and sundeck for you to relax on. The backwaters are best explored by boat as life revolves around the water here – children often learn to swim before they can walk and they row boats before they ride a bike. Float down the waterways, try your hand at fishing, and just lay back and enjoy this unique landscape. Notes: The houseboats cruise through the backwaters the whole day. As per the local administration rules, at around 5:30pm the boats are supposed to be put aside for overnight stay. Air conditioning is available only from 6pm-6:30am. Fans are available throughout the day along with options to recharge your gadgets. Each houseboat will have 3-4 rooms so the group will be split between a few houseboats. Cycling distance: approx. 30kms / 19miles, flat with approx. 155m/500ft elevation gain
Day 4Periyar
Leave Alleppey and the houseboat behind and travel by support vehicle inland approx. 80 kilometres (3.5hrs) to Vagamon and start our first ride among the hills of Kerala.Today can be a tough but beautiful ride as the route undulates along winding roads and verdant green hills. Ride for approx. 45kms then avoid the really steep sections by climbing into the support vehicle and continuing all the way to the sleepy town of Periyar. In the evening why not soothe your aching muscles with a well-earned traditional malayalee massage. Cycling distance: approx. 45kms/28 miles, hilly with approx. 750m/2460ft of elevation gain.
Day 5Periyar
After a leisurely breakfast we enjoy an easier day in the saddle as we cycle through the Kerala high country and the many tea plantations that dot the hills. Enjoy a long downhill into the spice trade town of Kumily, on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and gateway town to Thekkady and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, before enjoying an evening walk in the nearby jungle. You also have the opportunity to witness firsthand the fascinating Indian martial art Kalaripayattu, considered to be one of the oldest surviving fighting styles in existence Cycling distance: approx. 33kms/20 miles - initial climb for 3kms, undulating for 20kms then downhill for 10kms - with approx. 550m/1850ft of elevation gain.
Day 6Kochi
Today is packed with adventure so we have a very early start. What goes up must come down and after an undulating 35kms you have the pleasure of a 20kms/12 mile winding downhill cycle that takes you from the cool hills above 1000m all the way down to sea level itself. The road then flattens out as we cycle the last section across the plains to the busy town of Ponkunnam before avoiding the busy traffic by driving to the beautiful beachside city of Kochi. We arrive in the mid-afternoon, heading to the Mattancherry part of Fort Kochi for a guided walking tour. Explore the Dutch Palace (Kochi Palace), which was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese and later claimed by the Dutch in 1663. Continue on to the Jewish quarter – the Jewish community here has roots going back as far as 1,000 AD, and you’ll see the Jewish synagogue in the city. The tour will take around 2-3 hours and with enough time to wash off the days effort before heading out to dinner and enjoying one of India's most revered classical dances, at a performance of the famed Kathakali. Cycling distance: approx. 75kms/46 miles - undulating for 35kms, downhill for 20kms, then flat for 20kms - with approx. 820m/2700ft of elevation gain.
Day 7Kochi
Today is our your last day cycling in the state of Kerala as we enjoy an early morning ride from Kochi to the popular Cherai Beach (approx 35kms), famed for its Chinese fishing nets, sandy shores and tranquil waters. After a relaxing dip we say goodbye to our bikes and continue on (by support vehicle) to Athirappally Waterfalls. Aptly nicknamed “The Niagara of India”, the nearby 24-metre (80 foot) Athirappilly Waterfalls is the largest waterfall in Kerala. Enjoy the view and a packed lunch nearby the falls before returning to Kochi in the late afternoon. The rest of the day will be free to do as you wish, before perhaps meeting for a final group dinner to recount the amazing experience you've enjoyed together over the last 7 days. Cycling distance: approx. 35kms/22 miles, mostly flat with approx. 180m/590ft of elevation gain.
Day 8Kochi
There are no activities planned for the final day. You’re able to depart the accommodation at any before midday. There is so much to see and do in Kochi - why not book and extra day or two. Perhaps indulge yourself in a hands-on cooking lesson in the ‘land of spices’ and learn how to cook classic Keralan cuisine with a local. Ask your guide for more information.

More info

Last modified (date)

27 Nov 2018

Trip title

Cycle Kerala

Trip code

HHXK

Validity

Validity: 14 Oct 2018 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Beyond the crowded sights of northern India lies another world, one where the rhythms of daily life are that bit slower and the surroundings that bit greener - a place that lends itself to leisurely exploration by bike. Take an 8 day cycling adventure in inspiring Kerala, on roads that are sandwiched between the lush forests of the Western Ghats and the golden sands of the Arabian Sea. Ride throug... Read more

Style

Original

Themes

Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Support vehicle,Boat

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

Fortune Hotel The South Park

Joining point description

The South Park is located in the heart of Trivandrum on M.G Road. Facilities at this hotel include a swimming pool, spa & massage centre, gym, restaurant and free wifi. Each room comes with a private bathroom and tea and coffee making facilities.

Joining point instructions

ARRIVAL TRANSFER: We are happy to arrange an arrival transfer for you at an additional charge. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met in the arrivals hall by your representative with an Intrepid sign board. Please contact our transfer represe... Read more

Finish point

Abad Pepper Route

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other g... Read more

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more

Visas

INDIA: An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the below website. https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html An E-Tourist Visa... Read more

Why we love it

Cycle to the idyllic backwaters of Kerala, where children often learn to row boats before they ride a bike. Experience a unique way of life on the water by spending time on a Keralan houseboat

Is this trip right for you

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. While the beachside areas of Kerala are flat and easy to cycle the inland section is hilly, and requires a reasonable level of cycling fitness. The hills are not usually long, but are often short and steep. We recommend working on your cardio in the months leading up to your trip to truly to enjoy... Read more

Health

All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themsel... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price.... Read more

Money matters

The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). It's symbol is ₹ The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via ATMs, which are readily available in most towns. Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATM's. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATM's to use for withdrawals. Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas. Foreign currency notes t... Read more

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to pur... Read more

Climate and seasonal

INDIA SEASONS: As a general rule have a look online to check the weather in India just before you are about to travel. This gives you a clearer understanding of what to pack. Here are some general ideas of seasons in India: December to March: Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights. December and January bring chilly nights in the north. Fog can delay trains travelling across the north of the ... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, transfer or accommodation issues, you can reach our local India Intrepid office on their 24 hour number: While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss t... Read more

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity an... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multisha... Read more

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of c... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes th... Read more

Accommodation

Hotels (6 nights),houseboat (1 night)
8days
€1,335per person
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Feb 23
Trivandrum
Mar 2
Kochi
€1,335
Seats left: 15
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Apr 27
Trivandrum
May 4
Kochi
€1,335
Seats left: 16
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Oct 26
Trivandrum
Nov 2
Kochi
€1,335
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Nov 16
Trivandrum
Nov 23
Kochi
€1,335
Seats left: 16
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