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Cycling Kerala - 11 Nights

From $9460pp

Discover the land of spices,tea and waterbodies in an active expedition with plenty of action. Kayak, cycling, and hiking in some of the most interesting and picturesque points of the area. This tour is categorized as challenging as includes 5-7 hours of sustained physicall activity and requieres good fitness level of the participants.  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival Kochi

Land at Kochi International Airport where a representative awaits you just outside the exit gate of the arrivals terminal, holding a placard for your convenience. After a meet and greet, transfer to your hotel for your first overnight stay Depending on your arrival time, head out to explore the surrounding area on the first cycling trip of the tour and discover the locals’ way of life. Believed to be the finest natural harbour in the world, Kochi has earned the nickname ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Cruise around man-made islands, with lawns sloping down to the water’s edge, and enjoy the oldest European settlement in India. Many generations of settlers came, saw and put down roots here – Chinese, Arab, Jewish, British, French, Portuguese –, all adding to the city’s cultural charm. Meals included: Dinner Overnight in Kochi

Day 2 - Kochi

After breakfast, proceed on a half-day sightseeing tour of Kochi. Visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, and see many Dutch and Portuguese buildings. As we drive along the coastline, at the mouth of the harbour, marvel at the famous Chinese fishing nets, unique to Kochi and still very much in use. In the afternoon, join Nimmi and Paul at their residence. Your two hosts will give you a cooking demonstration with details on Indian spices and recipes. Feel free to get your hands dirty and help them in the kitchen. A typical Kerala lunch is served, and you can discuss Kochi’s local life and culture with the hosts during the meal. In the evening, witness a Kathakali dance drama. During the first 40 minutes, participants get ready for the performance, applying heavy and colourful make-up, while the guide provides details on the Kathakali tradition. Then, enjoy the entrancing dance performance. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 3 hrs sightseeing / 2 hrs cooking demonstration with lunch / 1.5 hrs Kathakali performance Overnight in Kochi

Day 3 - Kochi - Thattekkad
(65km- 5 hrs cycling)

Eat up your breakfast and jump on your bicycle to make the most of the cool early morning temperatures as we head towards the foothills of the Western Ghats, specifically towards the lowland forests of Thattekkad. Our route begins outside the city limits to avoid the morning traffic and arrive early to the quiet countryside, where the roads are mostly level. Ride through scenic farmlands dotted with temples, spice gardens, paddy fields and rubber plantations. After a leisurely lunch en route, continue to the beautiful eco-lodge on the banks of the Periyar River. Check in to your cottage tent amidst the coconut groves. Each cottage has an en suite bathroom with private balconies overlooking the river and forest on the opposite bank. Meals will consist of ethnic Keralan cuisine prepared with home-grown spices. Dinner and overnight at the camp. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 65km- 5 hrs cycling on paved roads through countryside farmland Overnight in Thattekkad

Day 4 - Thattekkad

Start a day full of activities with a morning kayak outing on the river. Paddle upstream to a nearby village to get a first glimpse of life in a typical spice-growing village of Kerala. After lunch, walk towards interior villages, passing through rubber estates, spice plantations and paddy farms. Along the walk, you can interact with the local villagers and farmers and learn about their daily activities and the farming process. The day comes to an end with a picturesque sunset kayak on the way back to camp. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 2 hrs kayak / 3 hrs village & plantation walk / 1 hr sunset kayak Overnight in Thattekkad

Day 5 - Thattekkad - Munnar
(69km – 6 hrs cycling)

Today’s ride passes through the narrow, winding country roads along the banks of the Periyar and through the dense low-altitude forests of Neriamangalam. This is an excellent opportunity to see rubber and cardamom estates, tea and pepper plantations, and how the crops change as the altitude gradually rises from 200 to 1,200 metres. We make a stop at an appropriate location to enjoy a packed lunch before continuing to Munnar, where you will check in to your hotel. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 69 km– 6 hrs cycling through the paved country roads with gradual elevation gain of 1 m Overnight in Munnar

Day 6 - Munnar - Hike, Tea Plantations
(3km-20 mins Transfer)

Munnar is a known hill station with majestic views and tea plantations all around. After breakfast, drive about 3km towards Kochi until reaching the starting point of the Letchmi Hills trail. The hike begins at an altitude of 1,420 metres, walking through tea plantations for about 30 to 40 minutes. After reaching the top of the hill, take a rest and enjoy the stunning views. Today’s hike follows a ridge, traversing grasslands with a rocky mountain slope on the one side and tea plantations and patches of shola forest on the other. We stop at a suitable location to enjoy a tasty picnic lunch. Continue for another hour through tea plantations to finish the trek. The highest point of this trek reaches about 1,950 metres. Our vehicle awaits us at the finish point to take us back to Munnar. In the afternoon, back in Munnar, visit a tea factory to learn more about tea-making – you can even enjoy the flavours of a freshly brewed tea here! Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 5 hrs trek / 1 hr tea factory visit Overnight in Munnar

Day 7 - Munnar – Periyar
(1hr driving , 60km – 5 hrs cycling)

Wake up to the sounds and scents of Munnar and enjoy today’s breakfast. Then hop on your bike and cycle through lush tea plantations all the way to Periyar National Park. Enjoy the wind on your face as you soar down a long and pleasant downhill ride for the first hour, which is then followed by some flat terrain. Cycle for about 60 km until reaching a nice spot in which to have a break and our picnic lunch. After lunch, you will be transferred by vehicle to your hotel (1hr). Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 60km– 5 hrs cycling on a paved road through the plantations and forest Overnight in Periyar

Day 8 - Periyar

In the morning, go on a guided nature walk into the surrounding forest area. During the tour, set eyes upon the wide variety of flora and fauna characteristic of this region. The two-hour walk provides an excellent opportunity to birdwatch, observe butterflies and other forms of wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and wet deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands. After lunch, go on to visit a spice plantation. Marvel at the different varieties of spices – cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, clove, vanilla, ginger, tea and coffee – growing in their natural environment. In the evening, join a cooking demonstration by the hotel’s master chef and learn the secrets of traditional Kerala seafood cooking. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 2 hrs nature walk / 2 hrs plantation visit / 1 hr cooking demonstration Overnight in Periyar

Day 9 - Periyar – Vagamon
(41 Km– 5 hrs cycling through the forest )

Take to the road on your bike once more and head down to the foothills, where you’ll find a homestay tucked away in the deep interiors of Kerala, on the banks of the Kannadipuzha River. After a relaxing picnic lunch en route, you’ll arrive at Vagamon. Take a walk around the spice garden, growing nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper vines; wander through the herbal gardens; visit the rubber plantation; walk through the forest across the river; and visit the local village. The Thomas Falls is just a few kilometres upstream and is an ideal spot to take a picnic basket. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 41km – 5 hrs cycling through the forest / 1 hr plantation walk Overnight in Vagamon

Day 10 - Vagamon – Kumarakom
(81 km, 7 hrs cycling)

After breakfast, cycle for an exhilarating 81km to reach Kumarakom, a quaint little town on the backwaters of Kerala. It lies on the eastern shore of the Lake Vembanad, which is a bird sanctuary and the largest lake in Kerala. Waterfowl, cuckoos and wild ducks can be spotted in abundance here. In winter, large flocks of migratory wild ducks from Siberia come to this location to roost. A picnic lunch will be served en route before heading on to Kumarakom, the village that won the National Award for Best Rural Responsible Tourism in India. Check in to your hotel and hop aboard a boat for a one-hour sunset cruise on Lake Vembanadu. . Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 81 km, 7 hrs cycling on paved roads with gradual elevation lost Overnight in Kumarakom

Day 11 - Kumarakom - Farm experience

Experience the simple pleasures of rustic life. Kumarakom is acclaimed for its stunning backwaters, delicious cuisine, and gorgeous surroundings. A country boat will take you through the narrow canals that lie between local homes. Float past relishing the fresh air of the lush paddy fields, then enjoy some refreshing, sweet coconut water and bite into some tender coconut meat in a nearby grove. Witness how to climb a coconut palm to pluck coconuts, and how to tap toddy - sap - from coconut trees. Then visit a home where the lady of the house will demonstrate the art of weaving coconut leaves. Later, in another house, see how coir is made from coconut husks and fibres to be used for rope and matting. Lastly, learn fishing tips from a fisherman who will show you how to fish the traditional way, using a bow and arrow. From here, a short tuk-tuk ride takes you to a local ethnic food court for lunch, run by Kudumbshree, a social project leading the empowerment of women through co-op societies. In the evening, return to your hotel for a cultural dance performance followed by dinner. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner Activity: 6 hrs of day activity full of local interaction and participation Overnight in Kumarakom

Day 11 - Kumarakom - Depart Kochi (73km-1.5 hrs )

Spend the morning at your leisure until it is time for pick-up from the hotel to transfer you to the airport, where you will hop onto your international flight back home or on to your next destination. Breakfast included