Kerala and the Tropical South
India, Bike - Semi Slick, 14 days - from £1,445 (land only) - from €1,805 (land only) - from $2,530 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Mysore in the morning. A group transfer from Bangalore Airport is provided. KE Land Only package services begin with lunch at the hotel and then, in the afternoon, we have time to get our bikes set up and to visit the central bazaar and the magnificent Maharaja's Palace. Overnight at our Mysore hotel.
Day 2: After breakfast, we have a leisurely ride out northwards to Srirangapatnan, where we find the ruins of Tipu Sultan's capital (destroyed by the British in 1799).Our ride back to the hotel in Mysore loops around via the Chamundi Hills and the 5 metre-high carving of Shiva's bull, Nandi. Ride distance 40 km (25 miles).
Day 3: A longer ride today, as we head south on country roads, with India's colourful rural life on display. We stop off to see the temple at Nanjagud and for a traditional lunch. Reaching the forested foothills of the Western Ghats and our accommodation in Bandipur, we then enjoy a late afternoon game drive in the Bandipur National Park. Ride distance 80 km (50 miles).
Day 4: A leisurely start today and the chance of another (option) game walk or game drive in the early morning. We then ride south through the well forested park, with the chance to spot wildlife on the way. We overnight at a simple jungle lodge in the adjacent Mudumalai National Park and have time to explore and to visit a nearby orphanage. Ride distance 32 km (20 miles).
Day 5: High above us in the Nilgiri Hills is the hill-station of Ooty (2240m) and this is reached by a challenging ascent involving 36 hairpin bends, with great views at every turn. There is the option to take it easy and let the support vehicle carry you to our hotel accommodation in Ooty. Afternoon free to explore the town. Ride distance 25 km (16 miles).
Day 6: A great day's biking, taking a loop through the rolling Nilgiri Hills and generally descending to Gadalur, a typical Indian town. Continuing our descent through ever more luxuriant vegetation, we have lunch at a roadside restaurant, then transfer to Guruvayoor on the coast. Ride distance 80 km (50 miles).
Day 7: Exploring by bike, we see the colourful fishing boats on the beach and then ride on backroads through the district of Thrissur. With luck we should see some of the many ceremonial elephants that are associated with the Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor. In the evening we can attend a 'puja' at the temple. Ride distance 40 km (25 miles).
Day 8: Heading south along the coast road is great fun, riding amongst palm trees and through small settlements and even stopping for a swim. In the afternoon, we have to do some island-hopping by ferry to take us to our accommodation in Kochi. Ride distance 80 km (50 miles).
Day 9: A welcome day off the bikes and a chance to take it easy. There is lots to see and to do in the 500 year-old Portuguese city of Kochi, with its colourful market streets and harbour area, dominated by ancient and very picturesque 'Chinese' fishing contraptions. We spend a second night at our Kochi hotel.
Day 10: Still heading south, we bike along the coast, through fishing villages where many of the people are Christians. Beyond the church at Cherthala, we pass between the ocean and Vembanad Lake and reach our overnight accommodation in a typical Keralan house near the town of Alleppey. Ride distance 60 km (38 miles).
Day 11: We have time to bike around Alleppey or to explore on foot, before boarding our houseboat at around midday. Based on the design of a traditional cargo barge, the Keralan houseboats provide all the comforts of home and twin-berth accommodation. We cruise to a convenient place to moor up for the night.
Day 12: After breakfast on the boat and a short cruise, we disembark and begin our ride southwards to Valaazhikal, where we cross the river mouth on a local fishing boat. We stop off to visit a spiritual retreat or 'ashram', before completing the ride to our seaside hotel in Varkala. Ride distance 88 km (55 miles).
Day 13: We have a full day to chill out at this laid-back resort. A chance to swim and to stroll on the resort's 2 beaches and to watch the fishermen hauling their nets. Choose where to take lunch at one of the beach restaurants. We have a final celebratory dinner and a second night at our Varkala hotel.
Day 14: KE Land Only package services end with an early transfer to Trivandrum Airport.