Coast to Coast Premiere Bike Tour

kerala bike tour 22

Overview

From coastal South to east of South India, starting from Kochi and ending in Chennai, this tour takes you through two contrasting; backwaters and hills of Kerala to rural & coastal sides of Tamil Nadu.

This trip entails traveling back in time to 2500 years ago to the heart of the Dravidian civilization. Besides the easy-paced coastal cycling stretch, you can look forward to historical monuments, and carved temples from the significant dynasties that ruled Southern India. Fresh seafood, scenic fishing villages, and a variety of social and topographical landscapes await you on this cycling tour. Enjoy India’s architectural grandeur at the rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram, mammoth Gopurams of the Meenakshi temple, and the large complex of the Thanjavur temple. Besides the temple trail, enjoy the short rendezvous with the ex-French colony, Pondicherry, home to the international community village of Auroville. Along with a slice of culture and history, expect to cycle down pristine coastlines, forested mountains, and rural villages where children run to greet you with a big smile.

Start

Kochi | 13:00hrs

Finish

Chennai

Lodging

premiere

Level

easy to moderate

Avg. dist. cycled

55km or 33mi

Suitable for

Age: 16+

Highlights

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Kerala

Get to see the very best of Kerala – sandy beaches, meandering backwater canals, the lush green hills, and thick wilderness

Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

DayPlaceHotelMealsDistanceActivity
DAY 1CochinOld Harbour HotelD
DAY 2KumarakomCoconut LagoonB,L,D50km / 30micycling
DAY 3KumarakomCoconut LagoonB,L,D30km/18micycling
DAY 4ThekkadySpice VillageB,L,D50km/30micycling
DAY 5MaduraiHeritage MaduraiB,L,D60km/42micycling
DAY 6ChettinadChettinad Visalam HotelB,L,D50km / 30micycling
DAY 7ChettinadChettinad Visalam HotelB,L,D
DAY 8ThanjavurSvatmaB,L,D60km / 30micycling
DAY 9KumbakonamMantra KoodamB,L,D70km / 42micycling
DAY 10PondicherryMaison PerumalB,L,D70km / 42micycling
DAY 11PondicherryMaison PerumalB,L30km / 18micycling
DAY 12MahabalipuramTaj Fisherman’s Cove Resort & SpaB,L70km / 42micycling
DAY 13ChennaiB

Accommodation - Premiere Inns

Premiere accommodations include some of the most prestigious hotels. These hotels have won accolades and awards or are acclaimed as ‘the best by credible publications such as Condé Nast Traveler and Travel+Leisure. Heritage properties, art décor contemporary places, or chic boutique stays that are a notch above the rest are a part of this list.

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Old Harbour Hotel

At the heart of ancient Fort Cochin, Kerala, a place that exudes history and culture, is the 'Old Harbour Hotel'. A 300-year-old building that has long been a heritage monument of this town.

Detailed Itinerary

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Day 1: Cochin

Meet your trip leader at the hotel and head out to see Fort Kochi on 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 came a cocktail of religions, cultural practices, and diverse food. Kerala owes its 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 the next day.

Meals: D
Accommodation: Old Harbour Hotel
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Day 2: Kumarakom

A classic coastal ride along a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach on one side and unevenly spread serene backwaters on the other. See the birdlife in action with egrets, cormorants, herons, kites, kingfishers, ducks, and many more. A short stop to see the art of making traditional boats, locally called “Kettuvallom”. They make wooden boats both for backwaters and the sea.

We may also see coconuts cut into halves and drying under the sun. The dried coconuts will be further pressed in the oil mills nearby to make the coconut oil. From curries to Ayurvedic oils, coconut and its oil is an essential part of daily life here.

Other common sights that you may see – people collecting clams by diving in and out of the backwaters, small village fish markets and auction centers, ladies walking door to door for the sale of fish, fisherman returning from sea, and Christian churches almost every few kilometers.

We keep biking through small fisherman's villages, lush coconut trees, and plenty of fish farms. Kochi-Kumarakom.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 50km / 30mi
Accommodation: Coconut Lagoon
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Day 3: Kumarakom

A beautiful ride today takes us near spectacular backwaters. Enjoy stunning vistas in all directions. Small canals, country canoes, fisherman throwing nets into the water, a coconut climber climbing up the coconut tree, and women working in the rice fields; all come into the scene one after the other.

Also, ride through the narrow lanes and experience a fabulous birdlife before looping back to Kumarakom, situated right at the edge of mesmerizing Vembanad Lake. Allepey Loop.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 30km/18mi
Accommodation: Coconut Lagoon
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Day 4: Thekkady

From below sea level village in Kumarakom to the hill station of Vagamon, the lands transform from rice fields & lakes to rubber plantations & valleys. We take a shuttle to Vagamon and start cycling from here to Cardamom Hills of Thekkady, with few coffee plantations in between.

The birdlife is plenty with mynas, parakeets, and drongos making calls, and flying from one tree to another.

Thekkady and surroundings are known for forests and spice plantations. The queen of spices, “Cardamom”, is native to these hills of Thekkady.

This one is going to be a beautiful ride – from the backwaters to the midlands of Kerala and that too, through the rubber plantations. Kumarakom-Thekkady.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 50km/30mi
Accommodation: Spice Village
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Day 5: Madurai

We take in the spectacular views of the western ghat mountains before descending to the neighboring state Tamil Nadu.

Cycling through many villages with banana plantations, vegetable farms, vineyards, and windmills, we reach the town of Theni. Post cycling, we have around 2 hours of vehicle transfer to Madurai.

Madurai one of South India’s oldest cities and has been a center 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. Thekkady-Madurai.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km/42mi
Accommodation: Heritage Madurai
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Day 6: Chettinad

It’s best to visit the main temple early in the morning when it’s 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.

We ride to Chettinad, famous for its cuisine, architecture, and temples. Today look forward to your stay at Visalam, the palatial home of Kanadukathan village. Visalam is a heritage house of rare distinction. It is an endearing symbol of paternal love that equally captures the soul of Chettinad, a region renowned for its palatial homes, fiery cuisine and colourful culture. Madurai-Chettinadu.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 50km / 30mi
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Day 7: Chettinad

Today the day is at leisure and you can plan your own day. Chettinad is the home to the Chettiars, a prosperous mercantile community. This place is well known for its fiery cuisine and architecture. Most of the palatial 18th century mansions that one will get to see here were built using materials imported from east Asian countries and Europe about 100 years ago.

The celebrated Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. The fresh ground masalas give it the distinctive integrity in taste. The cuisine that is pre dominantly non-vegetarian stretches out into interesting snacks and delectable vegetarian dishes too. At Visalam, one can learn to cook Chettinad cuisine with the Aachi(elderly lady) from the village.

Aathangudy, a village situated about 10 Kms from Visalam is a place famous for its hand made tiles. There are over one hundred small scale tile factories in this village where the entire tile making process is carried out by human hands.

The famed Chettinad's Cotton sarees and textiles are woven on in small handloom home units across Chettinad. A couple minutes walk away from Visalam is one such handloom unit making the most vibrant Indian textile.

Meals: B,L,D
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Day 8: 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. Chettinadu-Thanjavur.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 30mi
Accommodation: Svatma
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Day 9: Kumbakonam

Today is a classic ride where we pass through small villages and see plenty of rice fields on one side and the river Kaveri flowing on the other.

Kumbakonam dates back to a historically significant period and was ruled by many distinguished dynasties 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. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent centre of European education and Hindu culture; an apt moniker, “Cambridge of South India” was attributed to the city. Kumbakonam is known for its temples and religious groups, called ‘maths’. There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there are several thousand temples around the town thereby giving it another apt sobriquet, the ‘City of temples’. Thanjavur-Kumbakonam.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 70km / 42mi
Accommodation: Mantra Koodam
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Day 10: Pondicherry

The ride to Pondicherry is slightly long but not difficult. It’s easy to pace up given that there are no major climbs. You will find fishing villages and salt plains, as you ride along the breezy sea. A former French colony, Pondicherry is a quaint seaside town with cobble-stoned boulevards, bright cafes, buildings remnant of French architecture, and the famous Aurobindo Ashram. The town was distinctly divided into the Black (local) and White (for Europeans) towns and has a vast amount of history and architectural interest.

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. Kumbakonam-Pondicherry.PNG

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 70km / 42mi
Accommodation: Maison Perumal
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Day 11: 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 center 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. Auroville Loop.PNG

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 30km / 18mi
Accommodation: Maison Perumal
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Day 12: Mahabalipuram

After breakfast, enjoy a gorgeous ride to Mahabalipuram through the coastal route; the East Canal Road (highway) stretches along the coast, and you can detour anytime into the untouched beaches for a quick dip. Cycling is easy as there are no ascents – you will only have to hydrate yourself a lot due to the clammy weather. 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 center for stone carving. As you enter the village, you’ll see and hear the constant tapping of hammers and chisels as artisans chip away at exquisite sculptures.

Mahabalipuram is a small town, most of which you can cover on foot. It wakes up to the sound of sculptors’ chisels on granite, creating impressive sculptors, which make for great souvenirs. You can browse hassle-free and buy from the fixed-price Poompuhar Handicrafts Emporium or from the craft shops that line the main roads. Explore the lighthouse and take a guided trip to the temples of Mahabalipuram. Pondicherry-Mahabalipuram.PNG

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 70km / 42mi
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Day 13: Chennai

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 color.

We recommend extending at Taj Fisherman hotel, a beach resort that is built on the ramparts of an old Dutch Fort, and enjoy the beach for more days.

Meals: B
Accommodation:

Map

Dates and Prices

NOTE:

Our base pricing is in USD. However, we can also quote in AUD, GBP, CAD, and EUR, and you can pay in the same. Please write us.



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We offer private departures on almost all our itineraries, and for groups of four or more, they cost the same as our standard trips!


Essential Info

Inclusions

LODGING

All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).

trip leader

Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.

bike

Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.

shuttle

A Van support that follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.

meals

Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.

refreshments

Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.

entrance

Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.

E-bikes

E-bikes are available on this trip at a surcharge. Please send a note to your tour consultant to book one.

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. Our fleet majorly consist of the below bikes as a part of this tour. However, sometimes due to height or availability constraints, we may provide a different but similar quality bike.

Bike Image

Scott Sportster

hybrid

Included in your trip price

Bike Image

Specialized Diverge

gravel

Available at a surcharge

Bike Image

Scott E-Bike

ebike

Available at a surcharge

Exclusions

Airport pickup and drop

We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.

meals

Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.

Beverages

Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.

Reviews from our friends

Tom Trottier from CA

5.0

Great tour operator with personalized service

Great tour operator with personalized service. The routes were excellent and the food was great. Wonderful accommodations. The tour leader and driver made us feel very welcome and comfortable...professional, attentive, personable, flexible.

Gina from CA

5.0

great adventure

I feel great! It was a dream vacation for me. I would do it again (but don’t feel like I need to be pampered quite so much!). I didn’t hold any expectations going into it, just curiosity, but had I held any expectations the trip surely would have surpassed them. I am a little afraid that future tours I may take may not be as delightful, challenging and balanced.

End of reviews