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Southern India Coast To Coast Ride

US$ 3,335
  • No booking or credit card fees
highlights
  • Cycle through two distinctively different Indian states
  • Sample regional dishes served on a banana leaf
  • Cruise on a traditional Keralan houseboat
The Southern India Coast to Coast Ride tour starts and ends in Chennai. The Southern India Coast to Coast Ride is a Bicycle Tour that takes 14 days taking you through Chennai, India and other destinations in India.

The two southernmost states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala perfectly depict the contrasting nature of India. Seeing them on two wheels gives us an excellent opportunity to soak up the rich culture and appreciate the different landscapes as we cycle by. Tamil Nadu sees far fewer visitors than other Indian states, but this is part of the attraction as we follow quiet backroads from the fertile coastal plains in the east to the remarkable hills of the Western Ghats, which form the border with Kerala. Our ride takes us past some of the most impressive sites of southern India, including the former French colony of Pondicherry and the magnificent Sri Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. After cycling through the cooler highlands and tea estates of the Western Ghats, we reach the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, where a relaxing houseboat cruise offers the chance to unwind and reflect on a memorable journey.
customer reviews
4.8 - Excellent Based on 16 reviews
India Coast to Coast
5 - Excellent
“India Coast to Coast on a bike is the way to go. The people in the countryside were so lovely, friendly and their big smiles really made my day. This is a great way to see a country and meet the people. The best food was always the little hole in the wall places along the bike route. We stayed at some incredible places, especially in the countryside.”
from the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Sea
5 - Excellent
“This was an amazing holiday and has completely converted me, before the holiday pretty much a non cyclist and very much a novice, to taking more cycling holidays. I love India and this was such a good way to get to see a lot of the real rural India. Cycling through villages, avoiding dogs, goats, cows, other cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the inevitable motorbikes, tuk tuks and buses and not a few potholes and speed bumps, was always fantastic, as the children all wave and shout hello, as do quite a lot of the adults. Its a complete joy.”
Incredible India Indeed – a wonderfully memorable holiday
5 - Excellent
“This was our first visit to India so we were excited yet apprehensive in equal measures. Our holiday could not have been better and we are already looking at a return trip.”
Fun and Enjoyable
5 - Excellent
“This was my fourth exodus cycling trip and the 'routine' was the same, across different countries. I'm impressed by the way Exodus find the excellent leaders and support staff. The bikes do the job, but don't expect perfection - even so I wouldn't contemplate bringing my own bike. The cycling is easyish for the fit and challenging (but doable) for others given the heat, especially. The main hill with all its bends I would equate to Alpe d'Huez. Some had to hop on the bus - but don't let that put you off. India and its traffic is unique and not for the nervous rider, but ride in a straight line and follow the cyclist in front and be aware and you will come to enjoy the manic experience. But there were lots of byways and some great views over the mountains at times. We had some excellent food,much better than on the Rajistahn (don't let me put you off) trip and in some 'interesting' local roadside eateries. Eat before inspecting the kitchens is my advice! I came to no harm.”
Those who are on the group flights will land in Chennai early in the morning. Those not on the group flights will need to be at the airport when the group land if they would like to join the group transfer. Once everyone has arrived we will then depart on the 3.5 hour drive to Pondicherry with a break at Mahabalipuram which is famous for its shore temples and rock carvings. Carving in stone is still a living art here and we will see stonemasons chipping away along the roadside, practicing skills that have flourished for centuries. On arrival in Pondicherry we assemble the bikes and explore this former French colony, a short 6km ride, before an evening briefing about our cycling adventure. *Comfortable Hotel*
Circular ride to Auroville, a new-age spiritual commune. Founded in 1968 by 'The Mother' and named after her Guru Sri Aurobindo, it offers a more balanced way of living. Revitalized by some earthly fruit juices, we ride the 15km back into town, seeing some fishing communities and cycling along the promenade, which still retains some of its Gallic charm. Depending on time, lunch may be at Auroville or back in Pondicherry, and the rest of the day is free to explore. *Comfortable Hotel*
Starting from our hotel, we ride out of Pondicherry and soon leave the bustle of the city for quiet backroads, experiencing rural life where simple mud huts contrast with the brightly coloured saris worn by the local women. This is the real India and in true Indian style we stop at a roadside restaurant for a tea break. Back on our bikes we cycle another 66km to Chidambaram. Staying in the grand mansion of the village we sleep in the extended family villa – with its own temple it’s almost like stepping back in time. *Standard Hotel*
Scenic morning ride following quiet roads and tracks along the banks of the Cauvery River to Thanjavur. Previously a capital between the 9th and 13th Centuries, it regained its status under the Nayaks in the 16th Century who rebuilt the Royal Palace, Durbar Hall and libraries. After lunch, we take a vehicle transfer to the Thanjavur Hotel. Late afternoon we visit the palace which houses one of the finest collections of bronze sculptures and stone carvings in southern India and the famous vegetable market at Tanjore followed by a visit to the huge Brihadishwara Temple, one of the largest in India and known locally as simply the 'Big Temple'. *Standard Hotel*
Leaving the city by the old road, we head out into the Tamil Nadu heartland, visiting the oldest clay horse temple en route, to an area renowned for its impressive mansions built by wealthy traders known as Chettiars. Some of these palatial houses have been converted to boutique hotels, offering a glimpse of the past. The grand interiors of Burmese teak and elaborate plaster work retain much of the traditional architecture of a bygone age. But it's from the kitchens tucked away at the rear of the house that the real flavour of India comes to life: Chettinad cuisine is as traditional as its buildings, the piquant curries are slow cooked in copper pots over a wood stove and are as memorable as the ride to get here. *Standard Hotel*
Today we have a scenic ride to Madurai. Another rocky outcrop is the sacred abode of Lord Murugan, the son of Shiva and also know as Skanda, the most revered god in Tamil Nadu. Staying at Madurai we avoid the worst of the busy traffic. *Comfortable Hotel*
Morning free to explore the old city and Sri Meenakshi Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in India and one of the highlights of Tamil Nadu. Thousands of huge stone pillars line the hallways, each adorned with different deities, are said to represent the 3,333,333 gods of the Hindu cosmos. A constant flow of worshipers, offering pujas, (rituals performed by the temple priests to the various deities) add to the heady atmosphere of incense and camphor smoke, and make this an unforgettable experience of Hindu culture. Blessed, we leave the heat of Madurai for the cool air of the Cardamom Hills. We transfer by vehicle to our lunch stop at Theni. After lunch we will be dropped off at Cambam, from where we ride to Kumily. Hidden behind the banana plantation are the vineyards of southern India's new venture into wine making. These give way to the forested slopes of the Western Ghats and a slow but beautiful ascent up through the rainforest to Thekkaday, a small town close to the entrance of Periyar National Park and our accommodation for the next two nights. *Standard Hotel*
Today is free to relax or go on one of the trekking and boat safaris to the nearby Periyar National Park. Centred around a man-made reservoir, it is possible to see wildlife all year round, although the best time is the dry season (March-May) when herds of elephant come to the lake to graze by the shore; if you are very lucky you may even see a leopard or tiger coming down to quench their thirst.*Standard Hotel*
Riding from the hotel we cycle through cardamom and tea estates, stopping mid-morning for tea and to visit the local tea factory, learning more about the tea making process. Refreshed, we continue along hilly tea plantation roads with a lunch break at a small roadside restaurant en route to Vagamon, an area of outstanding natural beauty and one of the most scenic roads in Kerala. We end the ride with a superb winding descent on a quiet road and stay at an old plantation bungalow. *Basic Hotel*
Today we ride through rubber and spice plantations en route to Kottayam, known as the Syrian Christian heartland of Kerala. Here grand churches dot the landscape and we break at Palai to visit St Thomas Church, its white washed facade and distinct gilded ceiling predates its Portuguese renovation. All roads converge into Kottayam City, and we avoid the city by following country roads and stop for a lunch break at Erttumanoor Town. Then entering a world in which the author Arundhati Roy set in her book 'The God of Small Things', close to the shore of Vembanad Lake. *Standard Hotel*
Free morning to relax and enjoy the lake view; or ride to the nearby Kumarakom bird sanctuary and then take a sightseeing ride along the shore of the lake. Midday we board our houseboats for a stunning backwater cruise. The houseboats, converted rice barges now come with a captain, cook and crew; we just sit back, sip long drinks and watch the world go by. 

*Houseboat*
In the middle of the morning we disembark at Muhamma. Riding along the backroad we cross over to the coastal road to the Arthingal Beach for our first view of the Arabian Sea, and finally know that we've cycled across India from coast to coast. We then ride on to Fort Cochin for lunch. *Comfortable Hotel*
A free day to explore the town of Cochin, its bazaars and old harbour area. Warehouses filled with the smell of tea and spices are limewashed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old bikes and handpainted trucks piled high with goods, fill the narrow streets and food stalls stand on every corner. Further along the road we come to Mattancherry and the Dutch Palace. Next to the Palace is the synagogue, built in 1568 for the Jewish members of Cochin's trading communities, adorned with hand-painted tiles from China and elegant Belgian chandeliers, all donations from wealthy merchants. The area around the synagogue is excellent for shopping. For food, 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*
If you are on the group flight you will have an early morning transfer to the airport for the flight back to London. Those not flying with the group will leave us at the hotel in Cochin.**
what’s included
Accommodation
  • 10 nights hotels, 1 night houseboat and 2 nights mansions , All accommodation
Meals
  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 8 dinners 
Transport
  • 10 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • Transfer for group flights
Others
  • Group normally 4 to 14, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16 yrs
  • Local bike hire
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Chennai are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Southern India Coast to Coast Ride tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 14 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 14 participants
Minimum Participants 4 people
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Chennai, India/ Chennai, India
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Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Southern India Coast to Coast Ride
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 334 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 56 days before departure. For any departures within 15 September 2018 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Southern India Coast to Coast Ride tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Southern India Coast to Coast Ride tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Southern India Coast to Coast Ride tour. You can cancel the tour up to 57 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 56 days of departure.
other information
Exodus Travels / Product Category: Bicycle tours
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