Cycle Kerala & Tropical India - Premium

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14 days
from
$4,175 AUD
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Trip code: 
MIKP
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–14

Cycle from the Western Ghats to the idyllic coastline of Kerala

Beautiful landscapes, fascinating towns, stunning beaches and superb food, southern India is an excellent place to explore by bike. From the cool heights of the Western Ghats, where the sanctuaries hide excellent wildlife, to the quiet backwaters of Kerala, where Hinduism has produced elaborately decorated temples, this trip offers the chance to cycle through colourful villages where rural life has remained little-changed for centuries. The final coastal ride to Varkala rewards us with time to relax on the beach and reflect on an unforgettable experience.

Highlights

  • Cycle through striking countryside with tea plantations 
  • Cruise the Keralan backwaters on a traditional houseboat
  • Discover Hindu temples and Christian churches

Key information

  • 11 nights hotels, 1 night lodge and 1 night houseboat, all en suite
  • 10 days cycling (including 1 short ride) with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 4 to 14, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 5 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

10

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 90% tarmac, 10% rough sections

Day by day breakdown
Day 237.0km/23.0miles
Day 342.0km/26.0miles
Day 420.0km/12.0miles
Day 527.0km/17.0miles
Day 686.0km/53.0miles
Day 762.0km/38.0miles
Day 842.0km/26.0miles
Day 1060.0km/37.0miles
Day 1110.0km/6.0miles
Day 1288.0km/55.0miles

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Mysore
to
Varkala
  • Day 1

    Start Mysore.

    Those on the group flight arrive in Bangalore and transfer by coach to Mysore, breaking the 3.5-hour journey for light refreshments. Those travelling independently should meet us in Mysore. After checking into our hotel there will be a short introductory briefing and time to relax (we may have to wait until around noon if rooms are not ready). We will meet at lunchtime and after lunch we have a short walk to the local market. In the late afternoon there will be a bike briefing and fitting in the hotel courtyard. In the evening there will be a full trip briefing before an optional group dinner.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Lunch
  • Day 2

    Ride to Srirangapatnam ruins; return to Mysore; afternoon explore the city including the Maharaja Palace.

    Leisurely morning ride to Srirangapatna, the ruins of Tippu Sultan's capital, destroyed by the British in 1799 during their final battle to secure control of southern India. The island fortress stands on an island in the middle of the Cauvery River, and once over the bridge we cycle around the old ramparts, enter Tippu Sultans Mosque and the Ranganathaswamy Temple before riding back to Mysore for lunch. Today for lunch you get your first taste of 'thali’ - the southern Indian meal of rice and multiple small portions of curries, or the typical south Indian ‘masala dosa’, a thin pancake made with fermented rice and lentil batter. In the afternoon we have a guided tour around Mysore Palace. Also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, it is the official residence of the Wodeyars - the former royal family of Mysore, which ruled the princely state of Mysore for over seven centuries. The Wodeyar kings first built a palace in Mysore in the 14th Century, it was demolished and constructed multiple times. The current palace construction was commissioned in 1897, and it was completed in 1912 and expanded later around 1940. The décor is simply stunning, if a little bit over the top, and the former maharaja is still in residence in his private quarters. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Cycle on the back roads of Mysore Plateau to Nanjangud; transfer to Bandipur N.P.

    We leave the hotel and cycle out of Mysore town up to Chamundi Hill to view the huge 5m rock carving of Nandi, Shiva's celestial Bull. There are also good views over the whole of Mysore. We then cycle back down the hill and continue along the quiet back roads, along with the children riding a bike or bus to school. We also share the road with herds of white oxen and women in colourful saris carrying water pots on their heads. We arrive at the important pilgrim centre of Nanjangud, with the beautiful 9th Century Srikanteshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva. We have a tea break here with chance to look around the temple whilst the bikes are loaded onto the bus. We then drive for an hour along a busy road leaving the plains for the forested foothills of the Western Ghats, once the hunting preserve of Mysore's Maharajas, staying close to Bandipur National Park. We should arrive at our hotel in the Bandipur National Park in time for lunch, if not we will have something en-route. In the late afternoon we have a jeep safari in the park. We will see lots of peacocks, spotted deer and monkeys. Look out for wild elephants, Indian Bison and of course the elusive tiger. These can be spotted at certain times of the year. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Ride to Mudumalai N.P; explore 'Wild Haven'.

    After breakfast we go for a short circular ride through the villages outside the forest area to whitness the local farming village life. This ride is followed with a tea break and a trasnfer to 'Wild Haven'. The afternoon is free to wander the grounds of 'Wild Haven'; a rustic planters bungalow with fantastic views of the Nilgiri mountains one side and Mudumalai jungle on the other. There is a spotting platform and it’s not unusual for elephants and deer (and occasionally a tiger) to wander right up to the lodge. There will also be the opportunity to go on a village walk on the outskirts of the forest and visit a local farmhouse. 
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Optional ascent to Ooty hill station (13km climb), former summer capital of the Raj; free afternoon to explore the town.

    For some today is the highlight of the trip, ascending 1251m to Ooty (Ootacamund), an Indian hill station and the former summer capital of the Raj. It’s a very steep ride up 36 hairpin bends with stunning vistas at every turn, and there's an immense sense of achievement at the summit. Although steep there are plenty of photographic opportunities that provide a resting spot. Enjoy a relaxed morning and journey up the hill in the support vehicle. After tea and cake at the top we have an undulating ride into Ooty. Set at an altitude of 2177m, the cool climate of the Nilgiri Hills gives us a break from the hotter plains below. Arriving late morning, we take lunch in our comfortable hotel. The afternoon is free to explore the town and to sample some of their famous cardamom tea. Ooty is called the ‘Queen of the hill stations’ and although now it is a busy little town there is lots to see and do. Originally occupied by the tribal Todas, the area came under the East India Company at the end of the 18th Century. The British introduced tea to the area and the hillsides around Ooty are covered in tea gardens. The Nilgiri Hills are called the ‘Blue Mountains’, the blue colour coming from the many eucalyptus forests surrounding the area. Both the Botanical Gardens and the Rose Gardens are a short walk from our hotel. In the town there are many shops selling locally grown tea and oils and homemade chocolate. If there is time and it is running there is sometimes the chance to go for a ride on the UNESCO listed Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a steam train built by the British (your leader will give you details at lunchtime if this is possible). 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Western Ghats descent through tea plantations; transfer to Guruvayoor in tropical Kerala.

    After breakfast we have a stunning ride across the rolling Nilgiri Hills, the backdrop for many Bollywood movies, before starting the dramatic descent, dropping 2000m through the hills and tea-covered slopes of the Western Ghats. The ride offers fantastic views over the hills below and there are some viewpoints that should not be missed. 54km later we reach Gadalur, a typical Indian town with one long high street selling everything, its shop-fronts covered with colourful adverts and cheap children's toys. Here we have a tea break before heading towards Kerala with the final 20km descent through tropical rain forest and bamboo covered slopes to our end point at a typical Keralan road side restaurant. The bikes are loaded whilst we enjoy lunch and then transfer to Guruvayoor (3.5 hours) to avoid busy roads. (Please note that although the road is not very busy the road surface today is probably the worst of the trip. There are many potholes and the road surface is not even. Please take care and concentrate whilst cycling). Arriving in Guruvayoor, we have time to relax before wandering into town and sample delicious Keralan street food and have an evening stroll outside the temple, which comes alive at night. It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus in Kerala and the fourth largest temple in India. The town is filled with devotees dressed in traditional Keralan costume, who come here in their thousands to offer rice, flowers and gold to Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The ritual starts with bathing in the temple pond, then lighting an oil lamp on th ehuge 7m-high pillar of light, just in front of the heavy temple doors. A truly beautiful spectacle. Only Hindus are allowed beyond this point.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Morning ride to Guruvayoor Temple and Palayoor Church; continue along country roads to our beachside hotel in Cherai.

    Today we cycle by the Shree Krishna Temple. A few kilometres further is another religious centre, Palayur Church, which is one of the oldest churches in India and founded by the apostle St Thomas, who landed in India in AD 52. From here we head towards the coast, cycling along country roads lined with mango and coconut trees. There are plenty of photo opportunities as we observe traditional life. Later, we board a ferry to Vypin Island, arriving at Cherai Beach early afternoon. The rest of the day is free to enjoy this stunning location and swim in the Indian Ocean. Cherai is known for its mouth watering fresh seafood. For dinner, try the Jhinga Kachcia Aam Kari, a speciality dish from Kerala, made with green mango and prawns simmered in coconut milk and spices. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Cycle along coastal roads lined with coconut palms; ferry to Fort Cochin.

    We set off from our beach location towards the coast to Cochin, cycling south and passing through small fishing communities with their colourful fishing boats hauled up along the sands. Turning inland, we see grand houses built with the remittance money from the Gulf States work force, as well as older houses built during the British colonial period. Please bear in mind that the traffic levels are high for the last 8km as we arrive at the main road to board the ferry to Fort Cochin (Kochi). This town has a unique place in Indian history, and to soak up the atmosphere we spend the next two nights in Fort Cochin. After check-in at the hotel, we wander down to one of the restaurants in the old harbour area of Kochi for lunch. Those wishing to visit the Indo Portuguese Museum should do this today as it is closed on Mondays. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Free day in Cochin to explore the bazaars and the old harbour.

    A free day to explore the town of Cochin (Kochi), its bazaars and old harbour area. Merchants began trading spices such as pepper and cardamom with the Chinese, Arabs and Portugese more than 600 years ago. The Portugese established a base here, followed by the Dutch, who were forced to hand it over to the British in 1841. A potpourri of Indian and international communities, it is now the bustling commercial capital of Kerala and consists of several islands connected by ferries. Most of the major sights are close by on Fort Kochi and Mattencharry. Warehouses filled with the smell of tea and spices are lime-washed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old bikes and hand-painted trucks piled high with goods fill the narrow streets and food stalls stand on every corner. St Francis Church is close to the hotel – built by the Portugese in 1503 it is the burial place of Vasco de Gama and his tomb is inside the church. Further along you come to Mattancherry and the Dutch Palace. Constructed by the Portugese in 1568, it was gifted to the Maharaja of Kochi before the Dutch took it over. Close to the palace is Jewtown and the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 for the Jewish members of Kochi’s trading communities, it is adorned with hand-painted tiles from China and elegant Belgian chandeliers, all donations from wealthy merchants. The area around the synagogue, called Jew Street, is a heritage zone with many antique and handicraft shops and is excellent for shopping. For a culinary experience you should try the fish market near the Chinese fishing nets, where you can buy the day's catch and have it cooked to your own taste. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities here.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Cycle past old Portuguese houses; continue to Vambanad Lake in Alleppey.

    Riding out from Fort Cochin we pass 500 year old Portuguese villas, a striking contrast to the tiny fisherman's huts dotted along the beach road with their long wooden boats pulled up under the palm trees and nets hung out to dry. Many of these fishing villages are Christian; at Arthungal the old stone church dominates its surroundings and is best viewed from the shade of a coconut tree whilst we have a tea break. Continuing along the coast road we head to Alleppey, famous as the start point for backwater trips. Here we stay in a comfortable hotel overlooking Vembanad Lake. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Explore Alleppey town before backwater boat trip; overnight on Keralan houseboat.

    After a lie-in you can enjoy an optional short 10km bike ride to explore the village. Alternatively you can relax for the morning. Around midday we board a fabulous backwater houseboat for an unforgettable trip to Trikunnapuzha. These converted rice barges have 2-berth cabins with en-suite bathrooms and come with their own cook. With our bikes stacked on the side of the boat you won't see the saddle for another 19 hours, just relax and watch the world go by. Vessels of all sizes use the lakes and canals that make up this fascinating network of waterways. The smaller boats ferry passengers and goods between tiny hamlets perched on narrow spits of land. On one side of the canal vast paddy fields of iridescent green stretch as far as the eye can see; on the other are fishing nets and coconut trees. As the sun begins to set, the boats are moored together and we gather on deck for sundowners. 
    Overnight Houseboat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Cliff-top ride to laid-back Varkala.

    We have breakfast on the houseboats as they move from their overnight mooring point to our disembarkation point. Here we meet the support vehicle and set off along a quiet coastal road to the Valaazhikal ferry crossing. We load the bikes on a local fishing boat to cross the river estuary; we pass by Amrithanadamayi Ashram, better known as the Hugging Mama Ashram, a spiritual retreat overlooking the backwaters. We then join the main road to Quillon and have lunch at a seaside guesthouse: the fish is bought fresh from the market and cooked in mild spice and served with Poratta, a favourite Keralan bread. After lunch we are back on quiet roads for the last 30km to Varkala, a small laid-back community with coffee bars and yoga schools perched along its cliff-top. We spend the next two nights here. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Free to relax on the beach and eat the wonderful seafood.

    Today is a full free day to relax and enjoy the beachside location. There are a number of beach shack restaurants for lunch which serve excellent seafood. Try some of the Tandoori dishes - the clay ovens give a more authentic taste to breads and curries. The last night's meal is generally at the hotel with a fusion of all your favourite Keralan dishes.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Varkala.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will be transferred to Trivandrum airport early in the morning, for the daytime flight back to London. Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 5 dinners are included.

You should allow approximately £10 (approx. US$16.00) per day for lunch and dinner when they are not included, £3 - £4 (approx. US$4.80 - US$6.40) for lunch, and £5 - £6 (approx. US$8 - US$9.60) for dinner without drinks. This amount may vary according to how much you drink. Generally you can eat out very cheaply in India. There is a good choice of restaurants and sometimes there is a choice between Indian and Western style food. If you are a vegetarian, South India is an ideal destination. Lunches on riding days are usually taken in local roadside cafes. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (approx. US$5), but alcohol is difficult to get hold of in Kerala. Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow. Water is provided in the support vehicle, where you can fill your bottle from the 20 litre containers.

Weather

The most important feature of the Indian climate is the monsoon. The main monsoon strikes the coast of Kerala in late May and sweeps its way northward over the next month or so. The ideal time to visit is during the dry season from October to March. Days will be hot and the nights warm, the average range of maximum daytime temperatures being between 21ºC and 35ºC and from 6ºC to 20ºC at night. However, in the hills temperatures can be considerably cooler and you can expect temperatures to drop to a few degrees above zero at night. We ask you to note that frequent rainstorms can be expected throughout the tour on November departures. However, the storms are usually of quite short duration and the sun normally comes out fairly quickly afterwards. Please note that swimming in the sea at Varkala is not always possible, depending on recent weather conditions, however the hotels we use will always have a pool.

Mysore, India

Cochin, India

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified 'Road'

Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging)

10 days cycling (including 1 very short ride), average 54km/day (33 miles), full vehicle support.

Terrain and route: mostly surfaced roads, a few rough sections. A good all round trip with plenty of flat riding, lots of downhill and a challenging climb. Routes follow mainly quiet back roads with low levels of traffic, but this does increase when approaching towns. Indian roads can be busy and clients must be confident cyclists who have cycled in traffic before, leaders will brief clients on the rules of the road and we ask that you please listen to them carefully and follow their instructions. We aim to cycle most of the route door-to-door, with only a few transfers needed due to distances and busier roads. Great for a first time bike trip or first visit to India, but lots of interest for those who have completed cycle trips with us previously and want to see a different part of India.

Indian roads can be rough in some places, with potholes. Please bear this in mind if you are bringing your own pedals and clip-in shoes.

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI's schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

DIWALI FESTIVAL

Some standard departures will be in India during the Diwali festival, this is marked on the website. This is a great festival to witness and some minor itinerary alterations may be made locally in order to make the most of this occasion.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Lodge, Houseboat

11 nights hotels, 1 night lodge, 1 night houseboat.

On Premium departures, we stay in a range of excellent hotels, ranging from comfortable modern properties to older properties bursting with character. Many have pools, and most have excellent facilities as well as restaurants serving tasty local specialities and international dishes. The air-conditioned houseboats we use on these departures are of a higher standard with extra space and a more varied menu. All rooms have toilet facilities and houseboats benefit from a communal/dining area.

Please note that due to limited accommodation options, we stay in the same bungalows as the standard departure at 'Wild Haven'. In Guruvayoor we stay in a 3-star hotel.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2015
    David Jones

    MIK Cycle Kerala and Tropical India Cycle Ride - Premium

    Overall an excellent trip, well organised and led, with excellent equipment. Hotels were all generally very good and food excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Observing a lone leopard in Bandipu National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - very organised and led his team very well. Safi always ensured our safety was paramount - both on the road and when it came to advising on what was safe to eat and drink. He was friendly, managed the group well, always on time and very dependable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We kept off all meat during the trip, the vegetarian dishes were great, and then at the coast fish dishes were excellent - and had no health issues at all (unlike some of the group). If you haven't been to India before the traffic is manic - but it felt safer on a bicycle at the side of the road rather than in a bus!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Couple of observations: 1. The very steep ride on day 5 is out of context compared with the rest of the trip - and added nothing to the ride other than alot of effort. 2. Day 4 ride out of the National Park was actually only 17k - which felt a bit of a waste of time. 3. A couple of early morning starts resulted in us being ready before hotel staff resulting in poor quality breakfasts. Only minor gripes - as the trip as a whole was fascinating.
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Anthony Anthony

    Cycle Kerala now

    I found the cycling in the heat to be very hard work, but it was worth it. The people are just so genuinely friendly, with both children and adults rushing to say hello as we cycled past. Each day is different, so there's always something to look forward to.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger at close quarters as it strolled past our vehicle in the Bandipur national park. It was just amazing. However, there were many other inspiring moments. The people may be poor, but they seemed to be amongst the happiest on the planet, which should be an inspiration to us all. Also, seeing the pilgrims sleeping outside the temple, so that they could make an early start the next day, when all I wanted to do was go to my soft hotel bed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi took us to a wide range of eating establishments without any real after effects. As the slowest cyclist, I also saw plenty of the Michael the driver and Sheebu the bike man as they crawled along in their vehicles behind me.!! They were all very supportive, as were the rest of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to train as much as possible outdoors. I thought I'd done enough gym work, but clearly not. Take the rehydration salts on offer. We took a vast range of medical stuff, but weren't really affected by insects, even on the house boat. Mind you, we did use a lot of deet. Only took imodium once, as a precaution. The sun cream was definitely needed. Every one seems to be a salesperson. We stopped for a drink of coffee and coke, which cost 100 rupees and got sold 2 paintings and changed money. Most of the others in the group stopped off for a couple of days in Dubai, either on the way out or the way back. We wish we'd done that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The area is changing rapidly, so don't delay. The roads seem to have been improved a lot, but you have to take care as there could be a serious pot-hole in the midst of good roads, plus a lot of speed humps. We took a tuk tuk from outside our hotel in Kochi and the driver took us on a 3 hour guided tour for 50 rupees an hour, taking in the laundry, the spice factory, stopping to show us various trees and bushes and some places of worship and the Chinese fishing nets. He mixed this in with some trips to shops, where he got petrol vouchers for bringing in punters. Needless-to-say, we felt obliged to give him more than 150 rupees. He dropped us off at Jew Street and we walked back.
  • Reviewed November 2014

    Cycle Kerala and Tropical India

    An ideal way of seeing as much of India in two weeks. Cycling is the perfect way to get about and experience the diversity of culture, scenery, wildlife, people and food that India has to offer. Every day was different and had something new to offer, memories to add to and new experiences to enjoy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the climb at Ooty even though I walked it from the fourth bend! For the ones that cycled the whole way up it was an even bigger achievement. Then the Western Ghats descent in the afternoon (after a well deserved refreshment), exhilarating, challenging because of the concentration needed to avoid all the potholes accompanied by the stunning scenery of the tea plantations and forests. An amazing day!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vishnu was an exceptional leader. Everything was meticulously organised. Nothing was too much trouble (for example sending one of the support vans back to our previous hotel when I realised I had forgotten my camera battery). He made himself available for everyone on the free days and during the evenings for the meals that weren't included. The other boys in the support group were just as good, Vippy (our front marker for the most), Shane, our driver, always on hand with bottles of water, energy boosting snacks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring an open mind - India, in places is mad, traffic is bonkers but the rewards far outweigh anything you may possibly be nervous about. The people, without exception, are genuinely interested in talking to you and are immensely proud that you have chosen to visit their country. The variety of food will amaze, the scenery will leave you speechless, the wildlife will make you laugh, in particular the cheeky monkeys, and the culture will fill you with awe and happiness. The cycling on the whole (with the exception of the Ooty climb) is fine for someone with an average level of fitness. You need to be super fit to get up Ooty (on a bike) but I walked most of it and still got up in just over 2 and a half hours, and enjoyed it immensely. There's always the support van too, a choice which carries no shame - the climb is a tough ask.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's well worth paying the extra and going on the premium date, especially if you are worried about hygiene standards. On that note, bring plenty of hand gel and use it religiously! There is plenty of bottled water available so no need to drink the tap water (avoid ice in drinks and washed salad). The hotels are of an excellent standard and a great way of pampering yourself after a long day cycling! Most have pools and Spa treatments. I can recommend the Ayurvedic full body massage. Finally, if you are hesitating about booking the trip, go for it, you will not regret it!

Dates & Prices

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