Cycle Kerala & Tropical India

14 days
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Group size:

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.


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

Key information

  • 9 nights hotels and 3 nights lodges, 1 night houseboat
  • 10 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 4 to 14, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16 yrs
  • Premium departures available
  • Countries visited: India

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 4 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:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
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.


Days of Cycling

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


Low altitude; 90% tarmac, 10% rough sections

Day by day breakdown
Day 237.0km/22.0miles
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 1052.0km/32.0miles
Day 1122.0km/14.0miles
Day 1288.0km/55.0miles

Responsible Travel

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • The hotels we stay in are dedicated to hiring local staff, this helps to benefit the surrounding community by providing employment opportunities and income alternatives where they may be otherwise hard to come by.
  • Our local partners share a commitment to projects which benefit their communities.  
  • This tour encourages guests to visit local cafes and restaurants and use markets to purchase traditional crafts.


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • On this trip we visit national heritage sites and the entrance fees included generates income which is used for the upkeep and development of these important monuments and nature parks.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • Where possible on this trip paper bags are used as an alternative to single-use plastics.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • In some restaurants there is the option to have plant-based meals.
  • This trip favours locally-owned and run accommodation.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Best to ask before photographing people, ceremonies, or sacred sites.
    • It's polite to use only your right hand when eating something without cutlery and when handing money and small objects to someone else.
    • Before entering a holy place remove your shoes and give them to the shoe minder. When you collect your shoes again give the minder a few rupees. You’re permitted to wear socks in most places of worship.
    • Religious etiquette advises against touching the heads of locals even children, or directing the soles of your feet at a person, shrine,  or an image of a deity. You should not touch a carving of a deity.
    • When visiting religious sites dress and behave respectfully, don’t wear shorts and sleeveless tops – this applies to both men and women. Head cover for women and sometimes men is required in some places of worship. 
    • Generally it is best to dress modestly throughout your time in India as a sign of respect.
    • Making the effort to fit in is invariably appreciated so being aware of these aspects of cultural respect will assist you during your travels in India.



Expand all
  • 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. If travelling independently, you 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 will have a short walk around the local markets. 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.
    Hotel Pai Vista or similar (Mysore)

    Meals included: Lunch
  • Day 2

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

    We start with a leisurely morning ride to Srirangapatna, the ruins of Tippu Sultan's capital which were destroyed by the British in 1799 during their final battle to secure control of southern India. The 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 on a plate, 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, 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. 

    Hotel Pai Vista or similar (Mysore)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Cycle on the backroads 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 backroads, 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, home to the beautiful 9th Century Srikanteshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva. We have a tea break here with the 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, but if not we will have something en-route. In the late afternoon we take a jeep safari in the park. We will see lots of peacocks, spotted deer and monkeys, with the chance to see wild elephants, Indian Bison and of course the elusive tiger. These can be spotted at certain times of the year. 
    The Wildflower Resort & Spa or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Ride to Mudumalai N.P; free time

    After breakfast we go for a short circular ride along the villages outside the forest areas to witness the local farming village life. This ride is followed by a tea break before we transfer by jeep to our resort. The afternoon is free to  relax at our resort.  Later in the afternoon, there will also be the opportunity to go on a village walk on the outskirts of the forest and visit a local farmhouse, where you could join a local family for Tea.
    Jungle Mount or similar


    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. Alternatively, 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 it is now 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). 
    Fortune Resort Sullivan Court or similar

    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 roadside 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 to 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 the huge 7m-high pillar of light, just in front of the heavy temple doors – a truly beautiful spectacle. Only Hindus are allowed beyond this point.
    Sopanam Heritage or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Ride past Guruvayoor Temple; continue to Cherai beach

    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, so for dinner, you could try the Jhinga Kachcia Aam Kari, a speciality dish from Kerala made with green mango and prawns simmered in coconut milk and spices. 
    Sea Lagoon Health Resort or similar

    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 boats hauled up along the sands. Turning inland, we see grand houses built with the remittance money from the Gulf States workforce, as well as older houses constructed 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 so today as it is closed on Mondays. 
    The Dutch Bungalow or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

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

    Today is a free day to explore the town of Cochin (Kochi) with its bazaars and old harbour area. Merchants began trading spices such as pepper and cardamom with the Chinese, Arabs and Portuguese more than 600 years ago. The Portuguese 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 Mattancherry. 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 Portuguese 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 Portuguese 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, 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.
    The Dutch Bungalow or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Cycle past old Portuguese houses; continue to Vambanad Lake and Muhamma.

    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 Muhamma, famous as the start point for backwater trips. We spend the night in a backwater resort overlooking the lake. The tranquil gardens are as relaxing as the Ayurvedic massage and treatements on offer to its guests. In the afternoon and early evening, relax on the veranda as backwater life unfurls before you. 

    Deshadan Backwater Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

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

    After a lie-in you can enjoy an optional 22km bike ride to explore the village, or 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, so 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 and 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. 
    Deshadan Cliff & Beach Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Free to relax on the beach and try delicious 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.
    Deshadan Cliff & Beach Resort or similar

    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



All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Currently e-visas for India are not available for many nationalities, including UK passport holders. Visa application is via the Indian Embassy, and it can take several weeks . We recommend you use the services of the visa agency CIBT. Please check their portal on our Travel Hub (scroll to the bottom of the page), with clear instructions on what is needed and prices:


We hope that this situation will change soon and will update our website as soon as it does.




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, therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. 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, 10 lunches and 4 dinners included.

 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. 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.


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 optional ride), average 48km/day (30 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) is 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.


Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
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.


Hotels, Lodges & Houseboat

9 nights hotels, 3 nights lodges and 1 night houseboat, all have ensuite rooms. Most hotels are of a comfortable standard with 4-star facilities. The resort in Mudumalai is more basic.  

Hotels in India usually do not have heating as there are really only a couple of months in the year when the weather can get cooler  You can however request more blankets or the hotel may be able to provide a standing heater for your room.  Please talk to your tour leader if you need help in this matter.  

Houseboats are comfortable and all cabins have ensuite facilities, the majority of cabins on board are on a twin share basis. The houseboats are air-conditioned (between 8pm and 6am) and also benefit from a communal/dining area. Please note that single rooms can be limited.

Customers should be aware that the gas water heaters used on all houseboats are open-flued systems, as used in many parts of India. While this complies with Indian law, it does not meet UK standards and therefore we must inform travellers that there is a risk (while minimal) of carbon monoxide emissions. We have asked our leaders to install a Carbon Monoxide alarm, and to brief your group about keeping their rooms ventilated at night (i.e. window open) to ensure sufficient air circulation. 


Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
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.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
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 February 2020
    Eddie Irlam

    A trip for your bucket list.

    I have done many cycling trips with Exodus and without doubt, this is the best of the lot. If you want a good mix of cycling with plenty of time for afternoons by the poolside, this is the trip for you. The climb to Ooty is exactly as described on the tin and it’s tough. The rest of the tour is all within the average cyclists capabilities. Only one 4 hour bus transfer during the trip, the rest pretty much involved finishing the days ride at your destination hotel. The whole trip ran like clockwork and that’s no accident all thanks to our first class tour guide Joseph, Maneesh and Kam, our excellent bike team. We were a mixed group of 13 like minded people and it worked perfectly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, cycling through the villages in Karnataka where sometimes time seems to simply stand still and the rice barge trip on the backwaters of Kerala.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There is simply no better guide than Joseph. Absolutely faultless and a truly nice bloke.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you only ever do one cycling tour in Asia, do this one.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Will Hamilton

    Wonderful experience

    This was a fantastic couple of weeks. Joseph and his team are absolutely first class. The cycling is easy apart from that climb up to Ooty! Lots of magical memories.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the temple at Guruvayoor. Farm walk and chai at the farmhouse. Seeing elephants in the wild. Home stay lunch. Houseboat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lynda Branch

    Simply sensational

    My husband and I had an amazing time on this cycling trip. From the start in Mysorevisiting stunning temples and cycling through manic traffic to the backwaters of Kerala and the tranquil pace to the national parks and tiger and elephant sightings it was a wonderful experience. Safi and his team were first class guides - there to help in every way they could and to enhance each experience and always with a smile on their faces. Nothing was too much trouble and the added extra of being impromptu guests at an Indian wedding was an experience we’ll never forget. The cycling was accessible to us as occasional cyclists and sometimes challenging. Climbing the hill to Ooty was certainly physically demanding but we had plenty of time and support on route and the midway tea point provided some much needed respite. The roads are, as described in the trip notes, mostly good but with some rough patches but taking our time we all navigated these without too much difficulty. It’s hard to pick out the top highlights because there were so many varied and different experiences but for us the night on the houseboat (where we all dressed in traditional outfits) and seeing a tiger at close range were two. The food was also exquisite. However, it’ll be the smiles of everybody we met and the hospitality of people who couldn’t do enough for us that we’ll remember. We can’t recommend this trip highly enough,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lunch in a family home where we tasted a huge range of local delicacies all served by every member of a lovely family. We loved it so much that we went back for a cookery class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was incredible. From start to finish nothing was too much trouble - he anticipated our needs even before they were apparent to us. His local knowledge added hugely to the trip and he knew every local place to stop at, the best places to eat, where to shop, local craftsmen who demonstrated their skills. If anybody needed anything - e g medication, insect cream - he took care of it all. He gently guided us on the cycles - always around if we needed him but happy for us to go at our own pace as well. A big shout out should also go to this two assistants - Vypin and Santhosh - who were also fantastic. As a team of three they couldn’t have been better and added hugely to our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that there’s some cycling in traffic so practice this before going. Pretty much everybody had a bit of a funny tummy - not enough to stop us cycling - so hand gel essential and supplies of Imodium.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    David Wilford


    This really was a holiday of heightened senses: the most brilliant colours, the noisiest roads, the most intense flavours, the brightest smiles, the biggest views – and everything experienced in the thick of it, either from a bike or on foot. Vehicle transfers are few and far between, meaning there’s nothing between you and your environment (including a tiger, if you’re lucky enough to see one – which sadly we weren’t). The great thing about Exodus at their best is that they can organise things we could never do on our own: not just carefully picked hotels and restaurants, but also temple and palace tours, a safari, a houseboat trip, a bespoke lunch in a bay of the Indian Ocean – and much more. That not only makes this trip great value – it also makes a lifetime memory. And then, of course, there are the guides. The unfailing cheerfulness and knowledge of Joseph and our support driver Maneesh were a constant bonus that contributed to this being not only our best Exodus trip to date (it was our fourth) but one of the best holidays of our lives. Cycling aside, in fact, a highlight was a lesson in Bollywood dancing from Joseph – who is incredible at it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One of two: getting up Ooti hill without passing out, and Joseph's Bollywood lesson - see above!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph and Maneesh were both fantastic - anybody who gets this team in future is very lucky.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it...
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Keri L

    Wonderful cycle trip through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala

    This was my first trip to India and it was a fabulous experience. I loved the cycling, which was mainly moderate with a few tough days, and we packed in so much that it felt like an amazing introduction to the country. We had wonderful guides, our group got on famously and the food was delicious. It was a very memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    That's genuinely hard to narrow down, as there was so much to be inspired by. Getting to the top of Ooty ( sooo hard) watching the sun rise from the houseboat, Mysore palace illuminations, the temple at Guruvayor, the beach at Varkala - there were so many lovely moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shibu, Shegar and Sandosh (apologies for spelling) were a great team that looked after us so well. There's no way we would have packed so much into our limited time without their guidance, and we certainly never went hungry or thirsty. One of our group was celebrating a big birthday and they made it a very special experience for us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Really I'd just say go for it. There are challenging days on the bike so be as prepared as possible, but with some training, you can do it. I'd been worried about stomach upsets and mosquito bites and wasn't troubled by either. In fact as a vegetarian I've never eaten so well in my life - the food was glorious, and plentiful - we all worried whether we'd squeeze into our Lycra by the end of the holiday. I honestly don't have any notes of caution. One of our group did the whole trip on a Brompton, so anything is possible!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just to thank our guides, and the rest of our group, for one of the best holidays I've been on. It was a total blast and I wish I was there now!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Sharon Reuben

    A Perfect Balance!

    My first time using Exodus for long-haul...I've traveled independently all over the tropics so was reluctant about this, wondering if it would be worth the money, but compared to the European trips I actually think it's great value & I loved this trip It's a perfect balance of cycling & sight-seeing with the best food I've EVER eaten in India, which I put down to our guide Safi. As a vegetarian, you can't eat better than Southern India :-) Lots to do, heaps to see, great variety of landscape, architecture and more...people are warm and friendly towards cyclists here...use your bell in the busy areas and enjoy the glorious peace of the quiet out-of-town rides. The backwater trip was lovely & peaceful, most hotels very good & a few excellent. I'm an experienced distance cyclist so wasn't daunted by the itinerary...most days are leisurely, a few more challenging which keeps it interesting -without question, the climb to Ooty is a serious challenge so be prepared. That said, a few folks used the support vehicle, that's what it's there for so don't be proud! * Would definitely recommend *

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger in Chamundi was unexpected and magical...Seeing the sign for the last hairpin bend up to Ooty was a different kind of magical!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was great - very good company, didn't push the group too hard but also kept to time and delivered a great trip with lots of variety, heaps of local interest, incredible food etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You don't need many clothes - bring light thin layers as it gets v hot as you head south, but the few days around Ooty including the long descent after it are properly chilly, particularly flying back down to sea level out of the sun! The bikes are good...bring a little saddlebag or similar to hold a few items (phone etc) There's nothing you can't buy locally but ideally bring mossie spray / sun cream from home.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Sue Jones

    An unforgettable experience

    The cycling was challenging at times due to ascent and temperature but the local guides were realistic and supportive. The trip through three Indian states showcased the amazing friendliness of the local Indian people. The trip demonstrated the wildlife of Indian, the heritage of the area, history and heritage of the locals and the cycling challenges. Recommended as a great way to see the real India. Please don't see each day as a race and get into the Indian time zone and slow down and enjoy the time cycling rather than try and finish first.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing tigers and elephants in the wild.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph is a Kerala local who cares deeply about his clients and has great local knowledge.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Sue Jones

    An unforgettable experience

    The cycling was challenging at times due to ascent and temperature but the local guides were realistic and supportive. The trip through three Indian states showcased the amazing friendliness of the local Indian people. The trip demonstrated the wildlife of Indian, the heritage of the area, history and heritage of the locals and the cycling challenges. Recommended as a great way to see the real India. Please don't see each day as a race and get into the Indian time zone and slow down and enjoy the time cycling rather than try and finish first.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing tigers and elephants in the wild.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph is a Kerala local who cares deeply about his clients and has great local knowledge.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    David Netherwood

    Tough in places, but a great holiday

    This is a really good holiday with chance to see some very different bits of India, from the illuminated palace of Mysore to the tigger reserve (we saw a tigger), to the 36 hairpin bends on the mountainous road to Ooty (1200m accent), the glorious tea plantations (that actually smell of tea), then Kerala itself, with its palm trees, beaches and backwaters. If you are worried about the recent flood (2018), don't be everything is open, schools, roads, hotels, pools, etc. In fact there is no trace of it at all and we stayed in places that had flooded. You do need to be prepared, some parts (especially Mysore) are dirty, smelly and noisy. The driving in India is downright scary - you will find vehicles coming round bends on the wrong side of the road, but it all somehow works,and speeds are lower that the UK. The food (I'm vegetarian) with very few exceptions was outstanding. Worth booking for the food alone. The bikes were perhaps not maintained as well as I would have liked, and were a little heavy, but were mostly up to the job. Some sections of the cycling are tough! We had rain in the mountains were it got quite cold, but left it behind as we descended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the top of Ooty hill, at last. Spotting a tiger on the jeep safari The hindu temple at night, with dancing, fire and elephant. Swimming in the brakes of the Arabian sea The food! The glorious tea plantations, they are so pretty

    What did you think of your group leader?


    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Put in a bit of training. Pack warm clothing too. Bring a pen! Book it.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Gerry Roberts

    Fabulous experience

    India remains much as I saw it almost forty years ago; more traffic though! The people are lovely and the food is fantastic Kerala itself is well over the recent floods, so don’t let this hold you back. It’s truly beautiful. Our guide, Joseph, was lovely; calm, confident and informative at all times. Thoroughly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Descent from Ooty Quite stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thoroughly good man Knew just how to keep the group together and safe. Reliable and calm

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t worry about the recent floods The food is fabulous and safe!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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