South India Coast To Coast
Our South India coast to coast cycle tour takes in the tropical South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We pedal on idyllic back country roads, stopping overnight at places of special historical and scenic interest giving enough time to take in the temples, tea plantations, backwaters, historic cities and the best of the sights that make Mountain Bike Kerala’s Coast to Coast cycle ride so unique
“Just to say thank you so much for a fabulous trip, lived certainly up to expectations… organisation, logistics, route and above all fun….a good challenge but with the correct element of a ‘holiday’
James Allan, U.K November 2017
Take on India’s ultimate cycling challenge
Take in the best of south India’s boutique Hotels, resorts and homestays
1000km off stunning back road cycling
Sublime South Indian food, get ready for a marvellous Masala Dosa
Group Size 4-12
15 Day/14 Night Fully Supported
Flights Into Chennai/Departures Kochi
1000KM/13 Days Riding
Tour Bolt-Ons Available
SOUTH INDIA COAST TO COAST: CHENNAI-KOCHI
Many people have asked us over the years if we could organize a cycle tour in India for those not from an off-road mountain biking background. The tour would have to be a challenge, take in the best of the sights and the scenery and allow time to soak up India’s delights.
For us at Mountain Bike Kerala one route sprung to mind that would provide all that and more; a cycle tour from the Bay of Bengal over the mighty mountains of the Western Ghats to the palm fringed beaches of the Arabian Sea. South India Coast to Coast.
Your cycle ride takes in the tropical South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala pedalling on idyllic back country roads, taking time to explore places of special historical and scenic interest on route with the region having a wealth of temples, tea plantations, backwaters, historic cities and some hidden gems on route that only we know.
We start in Mahabilapuram with its wealth of history and UNESCO listed stone carved monuments that provide a fascinating and stunning starting point for the challenge ahead. From here its cruisy riding to French colonial Pondicherry that feels a world apart from the rest of south India. We move inland to Chidambaram with its paddy and palm fringed temple complex which is home to one of the most extraordinary sunset ceremonies in India. Landscapes change as we make our way into the Tamil heartlands and the ancient cultures and monuments of Tamilian heritage and the other-worldly temples of Thanjavur and Madurai. From here we move into the rock strewn landscape of Thenni district with the mighty mountains of the Western Ghats making up the next few days riding as we ride into Kerala and the lush green landscapes of Munnar and Kuttikanam with a rest day to give us time to take it all in. From Kuttikanam we roll down through the spice mountains to the coast and the tropical paradise beach of Marwari which is our ride journeys end. Now its time to relax on the houseboat and explore historical Fort Cochin and take in its unique atmosphere.
Day 1: Arrive Chennai. Transfer to Mahabalipuram and the poolside restaurant at our hotel. Unwind, relax then join us on a short walk around Mahabalipuram’s world famous rock carved temples.
Day 2: Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry. 110km. The cycle touring kicks of with a flat ride along the stunning scenic coastal road to the former French colonial colony of Pondicherry visiting new age Auroville on route. Join the locals on the promenade for an evening stroll before a fantastic evening meal.
Day 3: Pondicherry-Chidambaram. 82km. More cruisy coastal riding as we continue our journey south to the temple town of Chidambaram. Endless palm fringed paddy fields will provide the backdrop. Take a step back through the ages as we visit the temple complex at sunset and join the pilgrims in an unforgettable ancient ritual.
Day 4: Chidambaram-Swamilmalai: 83km: We leave the coast and head inland onto the vast lush Tamil plains. Stunning rural scenery reveals a Tamil heartland almost unchanged over centuries taking us to Swamlimalai and an overnight stay in our award-winning heritage hotel.
Day 5: Swamimalai-Thanjavur. 47km: A relaxing morning then it’s a short ride to Thanjavur as we head further inland. Bullock carts and cycles are more common than any other vehicles as we ride to another South Indian gem; Thanjavur, and the World Heritage listed Brihadeshwara Temple.
Day 6: Thanjavur-Kannadukathan: 101km: A simply super day on the bike as we ride deeper into the heart of Tamil Nadu and the famous Chettinadu region abound with mansions and palaces, testimony to the success of the Chettiyars in years gone by. Sample the famed Chettanadu food and explore the now near deserted villages.
Day 7: Kannadukathan-Madurai: 105km: The lush landscape becomes more arid with rocks and ridges becoming a common sight. Idyllic rural riding brings us to perhaps the most famous of all of Tamil Nadu’s towns, Madurai and the unforgettable riot of colour that are the gopurams of Sri Meenakshi temple. Evening guided stroll round the temple complex.
Day 8: Madurai-Thenni. 89km. Landscapes change, the first signs of an undulating road and the mighty mountains of the Western Ghats beckon on this delight of a ride as we make our way to rural backwater district headquarter capital of Thenni. Scenery simply outrageous.
Day 9: Thenni-Munnar. 85km. Its time to climb. A gentle warm up for 20km then climbing legs start to whirr as we embark upon the near 1500 meter ascent to Bhodimet and the Keralan border. Switch back after switch back give us the elevation to look back over the vast Tamil plain and see what we have ridden. Truly mesmerizing views. As we head into Kerala we ride through tropical jungles and tea estates on what must be one of the most stunning roads anywhere in the world.
Day 10: Munnar-Kumily 105km. We ride the forest road through cardamom and pepper plantations and ancient rain forests on an undulating road to our jungle retreat at Kumily near the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Day 11: Kumily-Kuttikanam 50km. Option of an early morning visit to Periyar Tiger Reserve with a chance to spot elephants and deer. Mid morning hilly ride through Tea-Estates and magical scenery onto our resort at Kuttikanam, set amongst rolling hills.
Day 12: Kuttikanam-Thaneermukkom. 110km. A beautiful day in the saddle as we traverse through the cardamom hills before descending through rubber and pepper plantations to the Kerala lowlands and on to the stunning backwaters.
Day 13: Thaneermukam-Marwari Beach. 25km. A delightful short ride to one of Kerala’s hidden secrets; the near deserted tropical paradise beach of Marwari. Dive into the soothingly warm sea for a well deserved bathe. Overnight on Marwari beach or take in the option of a luxury houseboat and overnight cruise on Vembanad Lake.
Day 14: Marwari Beach- Fort Cochin 45km Breakfast on the beach or boat then it’s a short transfer or even better a superlative 45km gentle ride into historical Fort Cochin. Join us on an evening guided walk through the wealth of historical buildings and spice bazaars or take the chance to embark upon a bit of shopping.
Day 15: Transfer to Cochin airport and your flight home.
2020/21 South India Coast To Coast (Chennai/Kochi) 14 Nights
2020 September 6th £1395/£1595*Available
2020 November 15th £1395/£1595*Available
2021 January 31st £1445/£1595* Available
2021 February 21st £1445/£1595*Available
Itinerary is subject to change as we discover even more gems to explore. We also adapt the route to give us more downtime or to make it more challenging depending on who is on the trip. Contact us now for details of the latest itinerary for your date.
Are you are a party of 2 or more and are interested in dates outside those above? Looking for a tailor-made tour or options on our increasingly popular self-guided tours? Then please contact us.