Arrive in Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala from where we will start the trip. Meet your trip leader and rest for a while, so you can head out again to explore the town.
Kerala owes it cosmopolitan vibe to the traders who braved the seas to come to this land.
Fort Kochi is dotted with remnants of the past, which you can discover on foot/ bike. The various tourist spots Vasco Church, Basilica, Dutch Cemetery, Indo-Portuguese Museum and the famous Chinese fishing nets, lie in a 2km radius.
Mattancherry (4km from Fort Kochi), has an artistic vibe with its low hanging balconies, frayed homes turned into galleries, a sprawling antiques & spices market and some landmark monuments – the Pardesi Synagogue and Dutch Palace. In the evening, head to see the well organised cultural show of Kathakali (you can also see the face painting before the show) and Kalaripayatu.
Caught between the backwaters and Arabian Sea, this is simply the best rural biking trail combined with village life experiences around Fort Kochi. It’s a day-cycle ride that lets you feel the charm of simple Keralan backwater villages. We ride through vast paddy fields, fish farms, coconut tree canopies to reach one of the backwater edges. Savour the local homemade cuisine in this God’s Own serene island. Later, you can take a canoe to another backwater village and connect yourself to the traditional ways of villagers. Learn about fish farming, toddy tapping and other local traditions.
We start cycling along a canal route to Thattekad. This first tryst with Kerala on the wheels will enthrall you. A scenic route, this smooth road with short stretches of a canal is perfect to see birdlife and the verdant environs of real Kerala. Settle into your rooms and be ready for Kayaking in the Periyar River, post lunch. The Camp gives you a taste of the rich wilderness of Kerala with all the comforts.
Today, the first 10km are an easy ride on smooth plain next to rubber and pineapple plantations, followed by a long stretch of gradual climb. As the hills of Munnar start emerging, you will be taken in with the contrast of the wild plantations of Thattekad and the neat hills carpeted with tea bushes. The last 24km are steep, so we can transfer you in a shuttle. For miles ahead, you can only see a ridiculous amount of green! We head straight to the resort. Stylish cottages with their plantation ambience intact are inviting after a hard day of cycling. Enjoy the copious cups of tea, relax in the library or if you are feeling energetic enough, head out for a plantation walk. Enjoy a goodnight’s rest so that you are ready to explore the place the next day with full vigour!
Munnar is a pleasant contrast to the beach lined destinations or lagoon backwaters of Kerala. A hill station, which has been immortalized by movies, Munnar is great to cycle in. The routes are undulating and sometimes challenging, but you will find equal amount of downhill slopes to bring relief steep climbs.
Enjoy a morning of Yoga if you please and head out to Top Station, a viewpoint of great touristic eminence. You can use the shuttle if you find this too strenuous. The ride on this stretch is speckled with sightseeing options like Mattupetty Dam, Echo point and the Floriculture Centre but more than that, it is absolutely beautiful. Ride all the way up to Top Station for a brilliant view of the stacked mountains and deep valleys below. After this ride, you would have certainly earned yourself a hot crisp cup of tea.
Roll down the hills to then visit the Tea Museum – this is a historic treasure and takes you through the journey of Munnar’s metamorphosis as a tea destination in late 1800s when A.H. Sharp planted the first sapling. You can also pick up handmade jam, tea leaves and recycled paper products as souvenirs.
We say goodbye to Munnar, towards the resort in Thekkady. The first 20km on this day is a gradual climb ride through the stunning Lockard Gap. As you are riding, the 360 degrees view of the lush plantations will be forever etched in your minds. The smell of cardamom draws you quickly from the tea-lined mountains to the unmanicured mish-mash of cardamom plantations, interjected by pepper vines clinging to silver oak trees. The last stretch is covered in the shuttle before we reach the resort.
If you have the energy, head out for a short spice plantation walk or an elephant camp to see the mammoth pachyderm friends up close. Overnight at the resort.
You can explore the small town of Thekkady at your own pace today. We recommend that you try and spend as much time at the Periyar National Park. One of the best managed in India, the national park is known for its innovative sightseeing options. We recommend a short Nature Walk through Periyar National Park, which gives you a glimpse of the wildlife in the area. Later, we visit a garden of spices.
From Thekkady to Kumarakom, we start with a gradual climb of 30km and then a great 20km downhill ride. Enjoy the hills terrain for the last time, as you hit the plains at Kumarakom (the last leg of 50km will be covered in shuttle as the traffic is bound to increase on plains). One of the finest backwater destinations, we waste no time here and check ourselves right into a houseboat. These floating wonders are luxuriously furbished, with all modern facilities. After all the cycling, there is no better way to relax other than floating in the tranquil waters of the massive Vembanad Lake. We spend until next morning here and then it’s off on the bikes again.
Arrive at the BEACH RESORT. Check in and immerse yourself in all the comforts of the world – massage by experts, delicious local food, even a dance performance in the hotel. What you are going to love here most is the proximity to one of the loneliest beaches on this stretch.
Check out from the resort & head to the airport in the appointed vehicle to board your flight to your onward destination.
Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe
Anatole FranceNov. 9, 2015
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover
Mark TwainNov. 9, 2015
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing
Helen KellerNov. 4, 2015
A traveler without observation is a bird without wings
Moslih Eddin SaadiNov. 9, 2015
Moslih Eddin Saadi
Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen