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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 early evening, 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.
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, 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 the rest of the evening 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.
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.