Peace and tranquillity await on this journey of a lifetime
Enjoy the views of lakes, reservoirs, forest and tea plantations
Replenish your electrolytes with fresh coconuts
Board a traditional houseboat and enjoy the backwater cruise
Challenge yourself with the ascents and be rewarded by fantastic views

Cycling Kerala's Backroads

14 days
Site savings
$3,201 USD

Cycling on paved country roads, this tour starts with a visit to the Thatekkad bird sanctuary, one of three wildlife reserves you'll explore on this tour. Then the climbing begins, heading up to the highlands and to Munnar, known for its tea plantations and spice estates. After taking the amazing views from Top Station, descend to Periyar and have a rest day to explore the park where you're likely to see a herd of elephants, but unlikely to spot one of the tigers in residence. The tour then heads towards Kumarakom, to spend a relaxing afternoon plying the backwaters on a houseboat. From here, a flat ride back to Kochi with time to explore this fascinating historic town. And always your fill of delicious food, seasoned with local spices.

  • Category
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    14 days
  • Culture Level
    Out There
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    4 - Challenging
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    333.7 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    33.6 miles
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SpiceRoads Cycling
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    14 days
  • Main Destination
  • Distance
    333.7 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    33.6 miles
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain

Route Map (click to view larger image)

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Arrive in Kochi

    Arrive at Kochi (formerly known as Cochin), a vibrant seaport town that is the perfect jumping off point for this exploration of Kerala. As the airport is more than an hour’s drive from the city center, you will stay near the airport, so you can ride straight from the hotel in the morning.

    • Hotel Airlink Castle
    • Dinner
  2. Day 2Kochi – Thatekkad

    From the hotel you'll ride into the countryside, passing a temple, crossing the Periyar River where, if you are lucky, you'll see elephants from a nearby camp bathing. You'll head towards the Thatekkad Bird Sanctuary home to rare birds like the crimson-throated barbet, black winged Kite and hornbill. 

    Tonight your accommodations will be in unique house tents that have peaceful views of the Periyar River.

    • 41 miles
    • 75.5 ft
      3,759.8 ft
      3,684.4 ft
    • Lemon Grass Eco Lodges, Camps and Resorts
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  3. Day 3Thatekkad – Munnar

    Bird watchers can rise early to see how many bird species they can see. Cycle from the hotel following the Periyar River as the tour heads to the Valara forest reserve, passing waterfalls, on the gradual climb towards a lunch stop a local restaurant. The afternoon is still up and you'll climb a total of 1,000 m (4,311 ft) today, into the hills, branching off onto an old estate road to your plantation bungalow nestled amongst the cardamom estates, the main crop at this elevation. Those with energy to burn can explore the rest of the valley and then virtually freewheel back to the bungalow.

    • 34.2 miles
    • 3,103.7 ft
      4,311 ft
      1,207.3 ft
    • Falling Waters
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  4. Day 4Munnar Hill Station

    A 31 km (19 mi) morning climb will take you up to Munnar hill station, at an altitude of 1600 meters (5248 feet) above sea level. Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. There are lakes, reservoirs, forests and several tea plantations carpeting the hillsides. In the afternoon you're free to explore the town and bazaar.

    • 12.4 miles
    • 1,338.6 ft
      2,191.6 ft
      853 ft
    • Tall Trees
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  5. Day 5Munnar Loop to Top Station

    Overlooking the town, Annamali peak at 1980 m (6,496 ft) is the highest mountain in Kerala and well worth the ride to Top Station (1,950 m / 6,398 ft) for the fine views over the town and neighboring Tamil Nadu. The 681 m (2,234 ft) ascent is gradual with little traffic. The views are worth the effort. After lunch in a restaurant at the summit, there’s the reward of the downhill back!

    • 52.2 miles
    • -65.6 ft
      5,876 ft
      5,941.6 ft
    • Tall Trees
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  6. Day 6Munnar – Periyar

    Today's ride is stunning, as the group rides out of Munnar on an undulating country road that takes you through small villages, with wonderful views of reservoirs and streams, to Kattapana town. After lunch it's just a short ride to your overnight stay at a tranquil resort set amidst a plantation of spices and have a guided walk around the grounds.

    • 53.4 miles
    • -984.3 ft
      6,269.7 ft
      7,253.9 ft
    • Carmelia Haven
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  7. Day 7Periyar – Thekkady

    It's an easy morning ride to Periyar National Park, one of the world's richest bio-diversity spots that is a sanctuary for more than 40 tigers and elephant herds. Today's ride is on small roads through deciduous forests to the resort set on the edge of the park.  For those who like to shop there are a few curio shops and art galleries in this hip little town.

    • 15.5 miles
    • -731.6 ft
      1,125.3 ft
      1,857 ft
    • Greenwoods Resort
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  8. Day 8Rest Day

    Free day to relax or go on one of the trekking and boat safaris to the nearby Periyar National Park. Centered around a man-made reservoir, it is possible to see wildlife all year round at the park, although the best time is during the dry season, March to May, when herds of elephants come to the lake to graze by the shore. This park is rated as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India for wildlife photography, bird and tiger watching.

    Please book this activity in advance with your guide.

    • Greenwoods Resort
    • Breakfast
  9. Day 9Thekkady – Mavady Estate

    Riding from the hotel, you'll descend on a scenic road through cardamom and tea estates, stopping to visit the Connemara Tea Factory en route to Kuttikanam if tickets are available. You can take a break from the saddle for a traditional lunch at Kuttikanam.

    After lunch, continue your undulating ride out of the tea growing area, with a couple of challenging hills, along one of the most scenic roads in Kerala.

    • 32.3 miles
    • 708.7 ft
      3,136.5 ft
      2,427.8 ft
    • Summer Sand Hotel
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  10. Day 10Mavady Estate – Kottayam

    Stunning views, combined with a 22 km (13.7 mi) descent probably makes this the best ride of the trip. You'll ride through rubber and spice plantations as you head towards Kottayam, known as the Syrian Christian heartland of Kerala. Here grand churches dot the landscape and the group will break for lunch at Palai to visit St Thomas Church. Relax at the luxury hotel set on the shore of India’s second largest lake and enjoy the surroundings.

    • 52.2 miles
    • -3,638.5 ft
      3,129.9 ft
      6,768.4 ft
    • Abad Whispering Palms Resort
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  11. Day 11Vembanad Lake Cruise

    A free morning before boarding the houseboat, a converted rice barge, for a stunning backwater cruise.  The houseboats come with a captain, cook and crew. You just need to sit back, sip long drinks and watch the world go by.

    • Houseboat
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  12. Day 12Alleppey – Fort Cochin

    Mid-morning the group disembarks at Alleppey which is nicknamed the "Venice of the East" for its intricate canal network. Ride along the old canal road past historic buildings. Taking the beach road north, your ride ends at Fort Cochin and tonight's boutique hotel.

    • 37.3 miles
    • -6.6 ft
      1,437 ft
      1,443.6 ft
    • Killians Hotel
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  13. Day 13Fort Cochin

    Optional morning cycle ride around the back streets of old Cochin, taking in all the major sights of Fort Cochin and Jew Town before ending at Chinese Fishing Nets, a stone's throw away from the hotel.

    The afternoon is free to relax at the hotel, poke around the antique and curio shops, or if you prefer museums, there’s the Museum of Kerala History, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hill Palace Museum and Chaithram Art Gallery. And of course
    there are an abundance of shopping and eating opportunities but save room for the farewell dinner.

    • 9.3 miles
    • Killians Hotel
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  14. Day 14Departure

    Onward travel or explore more of incredible India.

    • Breakfast