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Beautiful tropical landscapes, colourful Keralan market towns, fine beaches, delicious southern food – this is an exotic and unique part of India experienced perfectly by bike.
Destinations > India > Backroads of Kerala
10 nights hotel and two nights homestay accommodation, meals as indicated, transportation and activities as specified and services of an Explore tour leader/cycle guide and support vehicle.
On this cycling trip in southern India we travel into Kerala's rural backwaters. We ride inland through a landscape of spice, tea and rubber plantations. We also travel along the waterways, walk through Periyar National Park in search of wildlife and relax on Indian Ocean beaches. Staying in family houses on some nights, we also enjoy warm Keralan hospitality.
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Kerala’s beautiful tropical coastline, seen from two wheels
Homestay accommodation with families experiencing traditional hospitality
Boat trip on the Backwaters
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Arrive and relax before the cycling adventure
This morning we take a forest walk in Periyar in search of wildlife such as the star tortoise, porcupine, elephants, Indian Bison and flying squirrel. (B)
We try out our bikes with a short introductory ride through some of the local fisherman’s villages around Kovalam.
In the afternoon you may like to explore the area at leisure. (B)
After breakfast we transfer by bus to Veli, from where we cycle 20 kilometres to the estuary. We visit the fishing village of Anjuthengu and Anjengo Fort, built by the British East India Company in the 17th century. We carry on towards Varkala, a temple town renowned for the millions of Hindus who come here to worship at the ancient Janardhana Swamy Temple. On arrival there should be time to relax on the beaches of the Arabian coast. (B)
This morning’s ride is alongside palm fringed shores and beautiful blue lagoons with the chance to spend a little time on Kollam Beach. Situated on the edge of the Ashtamundi Lake, Kollam is surrounded by coconut palms and cashew tree plantations, with old wooden houses typical of the Keralan style. (B)
Our ride continues for about 22 kilometres to the Manarasala Snake Temple. We then spend the afternoon on a relaxing exploration through the backwaters by motor launch. We stay tonight at traditional rural village homes set in lush countryside. (B)(D)
Today we spend the morning exploring our immediate surroundings. Cycling through the villages of these myriad backwaters we get plenty of opportunity to interact with the locals, visit churches and temples, before returning to take a sunset or moonlit cruise by canoe. (B)(L)(D)
Leaving the beautiful backwaters behind we use engine and pedal power to reach today’s destination; Erattupetta. This area is famous for its rubber plantations which date back to the early 19th century. We stay with a local family, at their homestay. Watch our host to cook up a traditional curry, walk through the gardens or take a swim in natural rock pools. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we take a stroll through a local plantation and learn about the numerous fruits and medicinal plants. Depending on the season, we may bathe in rock pools before an optional visit to see Poonjar Palace, a 900 year old residency of the Maharajah and his family which is now mostly abandoned and can only be viewed from the outside. (B)(L)(D)
Taking the meandering roads through the high ranges, we will drive some of the steeper sections, before transferring to two wheels to continue our journey to Thekkady. Thekkady is the spice hub of Kerala. The beautiful aroma in the air lets you know why this region is called the ‘cardamom hills’. Today we will also visit the Connemara Tea Factory. (B)
This morning we have a very beautiful route to cycle, down the winding roads of Kuttikanam where you can enjoy a freewheel ride of nearly 20 kilometres. We continue our journey by bus (three hours) to the bustling port of Kochi, with its beautiful natural harbour which earned it the title ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. (B)
Today we cycle through the old town of Fort Cochin. Kochi was founded on trade, originally with the arrival of the Chinese, Arabs and Phoenicians. Links to Europe strengthened in the 16th century, with the arrival of the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and the English. You can find both the oldest European church and the oldest synagogue in India and elsewhere Chinese fishing nets vie for space alongside Portuguese houses and Dutch palaces. Later take a sunset cruise around the surrounding islands. (B)
Your tour ends with breakfast today. (B)
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