Find your ideal cycling holiday
India - Kerala & Tamil Nadu (London Flight)
7th February 2019 - 24th February 2019 (18 days)
This popular moving-on tour, with full vehicle support, uses mid-range and good hotels. It takes in the highlights of Kerala: Kovalam Beach, Cape Cormoran, hill stations and tea plantations in the Western Ghats, the Cardamom Hills, the inland waterways and Cochin on the Malabar Coast. In Tamil Nadu you see the famous temple in Madurai, a World Heritage site, and the pilgrim town of Palani. On most cycling days, much of the day will be spent riding, but there are some days with little or no cycling and lots of interesting sightseeing.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Sheila Simpson
- Grade Moderate
- Booking Status Fully Booked
- Accommodation Hotel & Guesthouse
- Board Basis Half Board
- Travel Arrangements Air
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 01872
Thursday 7th February
Depart London Heathrow at 1340 on Emirates flight EK002 to Dubai, arriving at 0040 the following morning.
Friday 8th February
Onward flight to Trivandrum at 0255 on Emirates flight EK520 arriving 0830. Transfer to guesthouse. Assemble bikes, short local ride then short vehicle transfer to/from Kovalam Beach. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 9th February
Cycle through pepper and rubber plantations to Chittar Lake at the foot of the Western Ghats. Afternoon free to explore or enjoy the infinity pool. 41km. Stay 1 night.
Sunday 10th February
Cycle to Kanyakumari (Cape Cormoran) via west coast fishing villages. Explore the Cape sea front, holy meeting of three oceans, and view sunset over the Arabian Sea. 70km. Stay 1 night.
Monday 11th February
Short early morning vehicle transfer to Nagarcoil for the train to Madurai. Afternoon visit to the magnificent Meenakshi Temple and local markets on foot. Stay 1 night
Tuesday 12th February
Vehicle transfer to Batalagundu. Cycle through jungle and tribal villages to Thandikudi (1,200m) in the Western Ghats. 39km. Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 13th February
Cycle from Thandikudi to Kodaikanal (2,000m); steady climbs with views. 41km. Stay 2 nights.
Thursday 14th February
Free day at leisure to explore Kodaikanal: the lake, botanical gardens, Coaker's walk.
Friday 15th February
Cycle lots of downhill to Palani, a pilgrim town. Optional guided temple tour. 60km. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 16th February
Cycle to Munnar with a vehicle transfer through Indira Gandhi Tiger Reserve (30km), then cycle through a sandalwood forest, coffee and tea plantations, cycling total 84km. Stay 2 nights
Sunday 17th February
Free day to explore Munnar and visit the tea museum, or cycle out and back to Top Station, 72km.
Monday 18th February
Cycle to Kumily in the Periyar National Park via the Ponmudi Dam and the Cardamom Hills. 84km. Stay 2 nights.
Tuesday 19th February
Rest day. Guided tour of the spice gardens and walk to the elephant camp. Afternoon at leisure to explore or enjoy optional Ayurvedic massage.
Wednesday 20th February
Cycle through tea plantations with a long descent from the Western Ghats and vehicle transfer to the Backwaters. 72km. Stay 2 nights.
Thursday 21st February
Cycle to/from Alappuzha for a leisurely houseboat cruise of the beautiful inland waterways, one of Kerala’s highlights. 50km.
Friday 22nd February
Cycle to Fort Cochin, on the Malabar Coast, through shady coconut palms and sleepy fishing villages, prawn farms and rice paddies, with an opportunity for a dip in the Arabian Sea. 60km. Stay 2 nights.
Saturday 23rd February
Free day to explore Cochin: the Dutch Palace, spice warehouses, antique shops. Afternoon to prepare bikes for return journey.
Sunday 24th February
Early morning transfer to Cochin airport for the 0930 Emirates flight EK531 to Dubai, connecting with Emirates flight EK003 to London, departing Dubai at 1430 arriving at London Heathrow at 1820.
Accommodation & Meals
Rooms will be in mid-range/good hotels and guesthouses, equivalent to 2- and 3-star, with air conditioning or ceiling fans and en-suite facilities. All rooms are based on two people sharing. Breakfasts and evening meals (vegetarian and fish options usually available) will be taken at the guesthouse/hotels. On moving-on days the support crew will provide light lunches and mineral water to be paid for from a kitty.
Luggage will be transferred, and there will be sufficient space to assist riders if necessary.
Passports, Visa & Health
EU citizens must hold a passport with at least six months validity remaining at the end of the tour. A Visa is required and you are responsible for completing your own visa application.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for foreign visitors although it is strongly recommended that you be vaccinated against Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A and B. You should contact your doctor at least 3 months prior to travel to obtain these vaccinations and the latest advice to travellers.
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £2,850 is based on a minimum number of 10 people taking part in the holiday and is calculated at a rate of 87.6 Rupees to £1 sterling based on exchange rates published in the national press on 30 October 2017; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3. If there are insufficient bookings by 29th November 2018, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- Outbound flights from London Heathrow to Trivandrum
- Inbound flights from Cochin to London Heathrow
- All transfers in India to/from airports
- Vehicle support and luggage transfer
- 3 nights guesthouse accommodation, half-board basis, sharing rooms
- 13 nights hotel accommodation, half-board basis, sharing rooms
- Services of an English speaking guide throughout the tour
- Porterage and assistance with baggage and cycles
- All visits/trips as per the itinerary
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to/from London Heathrow airport
- Drinks, including mineral water, other than those supplied with meals
- Lunches & refreshments during the day (although these will be provided by the support crew on moving-on days, to be paid locally - budget £120)
- Visa costs (e-visa approx. £65 in 2018)
- Gratuities (these are at the discretion of of tour participants, allow £60)
- Optional visits as per the itinerary
- Single occupancy supplement (£500, subject to availability)
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
A deposit of £800 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £2,050 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 29th November 2018.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 29th November 2018
From 29th November 2018 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
Kerala is India’s most southerly state and the country’s most developed region, and as such is an ideal introduction to Asia. Standards of literacy, education, health and hygiene are high compared to the rest of India. English is widely spoken and the tourist infrastructure is well established. However, road surfaces are sometimes poorly maintained. It is diverse in flora, fauna and physical geography, due mainly to the considerable changes in elevation, from the narrow coastal plain at sea level with its unique network of tropical lagoons and canals, to the cooler high country in the north where conditions are ideal for the cultivation of coffee, tea and exotic spices.
Rides & Rest Days
This tour is suitable for experienced cyclists capable of distances up to 84 kilometres and cycling on consecutive days. There are, however, rest days and half days, and support vehicles will be with us for the duration of the tour. The terrain is hilly in the Western Ghats, but the climbs are well graded. It is not practical, or enjoyable, to ride together as one group. The navigation is straightforward, so you may cycle at your own pace and stop for photographs etc. The drivers will indicate if you need to accept vehicle transfers to reach designated refreshment stops or destinations. In theory, traffic drives on the left, though in practice, in built up areas it is chaotic. In busy areas, cycle single file and well-spaced, allowing room to manoeuvre.
Organised sightseeing to places of interest is included in the cost of the tour, and there are extra options on some days. You are, though, free to do your own thing if you wish.
Accommodation & Meals
The accommodation is in good/mid-range hotels and a guesthouse. All have en-suite facilities and a ceiling fan or air conditioning. South Indian food is mainly vegetarian and spicy but not hot curry. There is an abundance of fresh fruit and fish. Mineral water is widely available and will be carried on the support vehicle to be paid for from the kitty.
The maximum group size will be 17 excluding the Tour Manager(s).
Weather & Clothing
It will be hot and dry, with daytime temperatures up to 32 degrees centigrade. Sun cream is very strongly recommended. Head and eye protection are also essential. A light windproof/fleece might be needed in the evenings when visiting hill stations and for early morning descents. Modesty is expected in towns and temples. Ladies should cover their legs and shoulders when not cycling (a beach wrap is ideal for this; knee-length shorts are also useful).
Cycles & Equipment
Most roads in Kerala are in reasonable condition. A lightweight mountain or touring bike will be suitable so long as you are able to carry a daypack or rackpack. Equipment must be in good condition as spare parts will not be readily available, so ensure your bike is in good order, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. Use good quality touring tyres, at least 28mm. Each participant will be expected to carry sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs. An accurately calibrated cycle computer, or a GPS device, is advisable (.gpx tracks of the routes are available). All luggage will be transferred by vehicle, and assistance will be available if necessary.
Maps & Guides
Maps of Kerala are available from all good map shops. Some of the minor roads we use will not be shown. You will be provided with gpx, route sheets and/or sketch maps and guided by the drivers.
Travel Insurance & Advice
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or on 0845 850 2829.