Unwind Worldwide
For expert advice and unbelievable prices call us on 0844 875 4010
Login Register

Backroads Of Kerala

User Rating:
GD Star Rating
Backroads Of Kerala

1-Join Tour Kovalam
Check-in to our hotel to join tour. We take this opportunity before starting our cycling adventure to try out our bikes and make any necessary adjustments.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

2-Morning cycle ride, free afternoon
In the morning there will be the opportunity to take a short and relaxing introductory ride through some of the local fisherman’s villages around Kovalam. In the afternoon you may like to explore this area at leisure; to walk along the sandy beaches, take on the pounding surf of the Arabian Sea. In the evening you can sit in a beachside cafe, enjoying the vista of local fishermen sailing out for their evening catch with a backdrop of the setting sun. Kerala is particularly renowned for its herbal care, and you may choose to try out an Ayurvedic massage, the science of rejuvenation and purification through natural remedies, that uses a range of oils and herbs to treat a number of ailments. (Approx. 8km cycling).
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

3-Drive to Veli Lagoon; visit Anjengo Fort and cycle to Varkala
After breakfast this morning we transfer by bus to Veli, from where we cycle the 20 kms to the estuary. The lagoon is a large lake separated from the ocean by the narrowest of sandbar spits, where fisherman can be seen working on their boats and nets, or poling across the lake with sand-filled barges. We visit the fishing village of Anjuthengu, where we stop to visit Anjengo fort, built by the British East India Company in the 17th century and the first British trading post on the Malabar coast. After our visit we carry on towards Varkala, a temple town renowned throughout the region as a pilgrimage centre for the millions of Hindus who come here to worship at the ancient Janardhana Swamy Temple. On arrival in Varkala there should be time to relax and enjoy the beaches of the Arabian coast, wander amongst the palms and perhaps enjoy a stunning sunset before enjoying a well-earned dinner in one of the local restaurants. (Approx 40km cycling).
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

4-Cycle to Kollam
This morning’s ride gives us the chance for some interaction with the local people of the area. Travelling through villages we see some traditional coir-making skills (the fibres from the outer husk of the coconut, which is used to make rope and mats), as well as fishing. We will do a short canoe trip to cross on of the waterways. Situated on the edge of the Ashtamundi Lake, Kollam is surrounded by coconut palms and cashew tree plantations, indeed the town is the centre of the cashew industry here. Its old wooden houses are typical of the Keralan style and its situation at the southern end of the backwaters makes it an ideal spot from which to explore this fascinating network of canals and lagoons. (Approx. 36km cycling).
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

5-Boat trip along Backwaters; cycle through villages to Mancombu
Transferring to Kollam jetty we catch a motor launch to travel through the backwaters to Kayamkulam. This is the ideal way to explore these waterways, which cover an area of some 1900km. The boats – their bows often carved in the shape of a dragon – are the lifeline for the villages, acting as taxis, mail delivery, even the harvest is carried in boats. You may see great pyramids of coconuts or even the odd buffalo being carried along in this time honoured fashion. Stopping at Ayiramthengucoir village for lunch en route, we eventually reach our destination of Kayamkulam. From Kayamkulam we cycle for about 15km until we pick up a boat to take us over to Cochin. From here we take a bus to the manarasala snake temple, close to the settlement of Thottapally. After visiting the temple we transfer to our accommodation, in the district of the ancient trading town of Alleppey. (Approx 14km cycling).
Overnight: Simple Homestay

6-Full days cycling through Backwaters’ villages; afternoon canoe trip
Today we spend a full day exploring our immediate surroundings. Cycling through the villages of these myriad backwaters we get plenty of opportunity to interact with the locals, visiting churches and temples, before returning to take a moonlit cruise by canoe. Crafted out of Anjili wood, we take to the waters whilst locals sing traditional songs as they row. Paddling along at our own pace we can leave the main channel to explore the smaller waterways. The industrious villagers survive on narrow spits of land, keeping cows, pigs, chickens and cultivating vegetable gardens. Even the shells from the fresh water mussels are burnt to make building lime, and coir is used for just about everything it seems. The gardens are generally well tended often with brightly coloured flowers, such as hibiscus, that contrast sharply with the tropical greenery. (Approx. 45km cycling).
Overnight: Simple Homestay

7-Drive and cycle to Wagamon; Vanilla County Homestay
Leaving the beautiful backwaters behind we use a combination of engine and pedal power to reach today’s destination; Wagamon. Situated at 1200m above sea level the area is a series of hillocks, valleys and beautiful waterfalls. The cooler climate is a welcome change from the lower levels. We stay with a local family, Baby Matthew and his wife Rani, at their homestay. We can take the chance to cook up a traditional curry, walk through the gardens or take a swim in natural rock pools to cool down. (Approx. 31km cycling).
Overnight: Simple Homestay

8-Cycling around Wagamon
This morning we stroll among the seemingly numerous fruits and medicinal plants of a local plantation. Depending on the season, we may bathe in rock pools before an optional visit to Poonjar Palace, a 900 year old residency of the Maharajah and his family. After lunch, we may have a chance to track elephants at work among the surrounding forests of teak and sandalwood. (Approx 10km cycling)
Overnight: Simple Homestay

9-Drive and cycle to Thekkady; visit plantations and tea factory
Taking the meandering roads through the high ranges today we will drive some of the steeper sections of road, before transferring to two wheels to continue our journey to Thekkady, situated close to the border with Tamil Nadu. Our route to the Periyar wildlife sanctuary takes us past many rubber plantations, and through the varied spice gardens of this part of India which we plan to visit with a local botanist. Further on, we may have the opportunity to meet local tea pickers at a factory and get something of a feel for how people live in this beautiful region before arriving at our hotel. Periyar is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India, with about 40 tigers living in the 777 sq km park, but as they are solitary creatures, the chances of seeing them are very slim. Today we will make a visit to the Connemara Tea Factory. (Approx 26km cycling).
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

10-In and around Thekkady
This morning we go for a walk in the forest in search of other wildlife such as the star tortoise, porcupine and the flying squirrel. The park itself is made up of a variety of habitats, open grasslands, deciduous, semievergreen and tropical forest – all of which have different animal species. The ecosystem of the tropical evergreen jungle is very interesting – the trees grow up to 40m, and the dense canopy above only allows in limited sunlight. Therefore at ground level, there are abundant ferns, orchids and airplants – plants that need little light to survive.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

11-Drive to Kuuttikkanam, cycle to Malayattoor and drive to Kochi
We start the day with a drive to Kuuttikkanam. We continue by bus to the bustling port of Kochi, with its beautiful natural harbour that earned it the title of, Queen of the Arabian Sea. As well as being the oldest European settlement in India, with its mix of English, Dutch and Portuguese influences, Kochi is also home to the famous Kathakali dancers. Its origins came from traditional temple rituals and from an art form known as Koodiyattam. The dancers can take up to three hours painting their faces – the features are heavily emphasised as it is the facial expressions and co-ordinated eye movements which are important in the dance. The dances usually portray events from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, great Indian epics. (Approx. 25km cycling).
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

12-Tour of Kochi by cycle; evening boat cruise
As you might expect Kochi was founded on trade, originally with the arrival of the Chinese, Arabs and Phoenicians in the second millennium BC. Its links to Europe strengthened in the 16th century, with the arrival of the Portuguese, closely followed by the Dutch and the English. This has produced an eclectic mix of styles and influences. You can find both the oldest European church and the oldest synagogue in India amongst its winding streets and elsewhere Chinese fishing nets vie for space alongside Portuguese houses and Dutch palaces. After spending the day touring the town we take a sunset cruise around the surrounding islands. (Approx 7km cycling).
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

13-Tour ends Kochi
The tour ends in Kochi this morning. Breakfast may be available at the hotel depending on your time of departure

Tour includes:

12 Breakfast
3 Lunch
4 Dinner
Bicycle, Bus, Train, Boat
8 nights Standard Hotel
4 nights Simple Homestay
Tour Staff:
Driver(s), Boat Crew, Bike Mechanic, Explore Tour Leader / Cycle guide, Assistant Cycle Guide
Cycling Information:
On this tour we cycle 197 km over eight days (an average of 25 km per day) with a further optional 55 km available. We avoid main roads where possible and cycle mainly on tarmac back roads (90%) and some gravel paths (10%). A support vehicle accompanies the rides throughout the tour. We have graded the route as easy.
Group Size:
Generally 10 – 16

Leave a Review

You must be logged in to post a review of Backroads Of Kerala...

To leave a review please either Login or Register for an account. It only takes a few seconds and you will also gain access to our tour community and member forums.

explore holidaysExplore have been running small group adventure holidays throughout the world since 1981 and have a vast array of experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all the countries in which they operate, which makes them stand out as one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in the UK.

They are passionate about what they do, and above all, simply love nothing more than to travel. The founder directors ran overland trips through Asia, Africa and the Americas in the 1960s and 70s prior to setting up the company, and were determined that the spirit of adventure that was such an important part of those early pioneering days, should continue to play key role as part of the driving ethos of Explore.

Our Opinion
It is little wonder that over 60% of all Explore customers who travel each year have travelled with them previously, Explore are clearly committed to the “travel experience” and their itineraries are always offer that slight “Explore Twist” which makes them even more appealing.

More tours to choose from...

All tours are ABTA and ATOL bondedAll content is copyright of Unwind Worldwide - © Unwind Worldwide 2012. All rights reserved. Sitemap
Unwind Worldwide is a limited company (Registered in England & Wales, number 06924728).
We accept Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Maestro, Switch and American Express cards