Southern India Coast to Coast Ride

14 days
from
2 535 €
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 24 reviews >
Trip code: 
MIT
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–14

Cycle through two distinctively different Indian states

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.

Highlights

  • Cycle through two distinctively different Indian states
  • Sample regional dishes served on a banana leaf
  • Cruise on a traditional Keralan houseboat

Key information

  • 10 nights hotels, 1 night houseboat and 2 nights mansions
  • 10 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 4 to 14, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 8 dinners 
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
020 420 22 20
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.

10

Pace:

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

Terrain:

Low altitude, 100% tarmac

Day by day breakdown
Day 16.0km/4.0miles
Day 232.0km/20.0miles
Day 3101.0km/63.0miles
Day 468.0km/42.0miles
Day 5102.0km/63.0miles
Day 699.0km/61.0miles
Day 742.0km/26.0miles
Day 971.0km/44.0miles
Day 1082.0km/51.0miles
Day 1135.0km/22.0miles
Day 1257.0km/35.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Chennai
to
Cochin
  • Day 1

    Start Chennai; transfer to Pondicherry via the shore temples of Mahabalipuram.

    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

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 2

    Circular ride passing the spiritual commune of Auroville. After lunch in the old quarter the afternoon is free.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Pleasant ride along village roads to experience the rural life of Southern India. Our afternoon ride heads to Chidambaram, famed for its bronze deity casting.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Riverside ride to the 16th Century Nayak's capital of Thanjavur; afternoon free to visit the town and Royal Palace.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Long ride through the Tamil Nadu heartland to Chettinad, renowned for palatial mansions.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Scenic ride to Madurai, a highlight of any trip to India.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Free morning to visit this magnificent temple city. Transfer to lunch then ride past Indian vineyards before a final ascent into the Western Ghats and our night stop at Thekkady.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Free day to relax and stroll around this hill station or visit the nearby Periyar N.P.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    A hilly ride through the tea estates with a refreshing stop at a tea factory; after lunch ride one of the most scenic roads in Kerala to Vagamon.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Cycle through rubber and spice plantations to Kottayam, the Syrian Christian heartland of Kerala.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Free morning to explore or relax by the lake before boarding a houseboat for a stunning backwater cruise.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Final ride along the coast road to Fort Cochin.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Free day in Fort Cochin with its Chinese fishing nets.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 14

    End Cochin.

    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.

    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

Visas

Vaccinations

India

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, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

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, 11 lunches and 8 dinners included.

You should allow approx. £10 (approx. US$16) per day for lunch and dinner when they are not included. £3-4 (approx. US$4.80-6.40) for lunch, and £5-6 (approx. US$8-9.60) for dinner without drinks. This amount may vary according to how much you drink. Generally you can eat out very cheaply in India. 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 approx. £1-3 (approx. US$5). Please note that service in Indian restaurants can be quite slow. Mineral water is carried in the support vehicle and you can refill you water bottle from these large containers. 

Weather

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, but monsoons have been known to be late and it can rain as late as November. 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.

Chennai, India

Cochin, India

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified 'Road'
Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging)
Average daily distance: 65km (40 miles)
No.of days cycling: 10
Full vehicle support
Terrain and route: almost entirely surfaced roads including plenty of quiet backroads with low levels of traffic, but this does increase when approaching towns. Road surfaces mostly good. There is one sustained climb en route, and some undulating sections with short climbs, but the support vehicle is available if required. Longer days at the beginning of the trip are mostly flat, but always interesting. Most rides are door-to-door, allowing plenty of time in the saddle.

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) are 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.

Call us on
020 420 22 20
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.

Accommodation

Hotels, houseboat and mansions

Most of the hotels are comfortable tourist-class and all have en suite rooms. 2 nights will be spent in Indian grand homes; one of these is a palatial wedding mansion built by the Chettis and the other is a 19th Century plantation owner's family home. The night near Kottayam (Day 9) will usually be spent in a local homestay. The accommodation here is spread out so some of the group will stay in the main house and others in permanent Swiss Cottage tents. These each have a raised bed and mattress, an attached veranda and toilet.

Single accommodation available on request from GBP580. Please note that the single supplement does not include the night at Vanilla County Plantation on Day 9 and cannot be guaranteed on the houseboat either due to limited rooms.

Houseboats are comfortable, the majority of cabins on board are on a twin share basis, and all cabins have toilet facilities. The houseboats have a communal dining area and are air-conditioned at night between 8pm and 6am.

Call us on
020 420 22 20
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.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
020 420 22 20
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

Forget feeling lethargic on your travels – cycling is one of the easiest ways to blend cultural and active expl

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Mandy Boak

    Truly amazing

    This was our first time in India and the first cycling trip we've ever done. We were a group of 12, plus Shakur our leader, Kurian our driver, Franklin our back-up man and Anil, driver, water-supplier and all-round cool guy. The group were of mixed ability which worked fine - we had loads of coffee stops, happy bushes breaks and although there were about 5 long days of cycling on the trip, from 8 till 4.30, it was all quite manageable. The route of this trip is superb. Using mainly backroads, then the odd venture onto main roads and into the busier towns, we saw such a diversity of scenery and got a great insight into the daily lives of the local people. All of it was so enjoyable, so fascinating. Weaving your way through full-on Indian traffic is exhilarating and hilarious but somehow or other it all works and we all got through the experience unscathed. The backroads do have quite bad potholes in places and can get a bit bone-shaking but they're worth it, honestly. The accommodation is all of a really good standard I felt. I got the impression from more seasoned travellers in our group that this is one of the better trips in that respect. And the food! Oh my god! Fantastic & in abundance - only regret was I couldn't eat all of it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights it's difficult to choose. From the first morning when we did a circular route to Auroville, we were hooked. What a way to see a country and what a country! We were like wide-eyed kids with the biggest grins on our faces all through the journey - the sights, sounds and smells, the colours, the smiling friendly people, the beautiful children, the dogs, goats, cows - there was something amazing down every street, round every corner. It was a morning we will honestly never forget, just wonderful. And the people all smiling and waving, so friendly, cheering us on our way. And the food!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shakur and his team did a great job and looked after us so well on this trip. You could see that the more we enjoyed ourselves the happier they were. There were a couple of occasions when the route had to be changed or certain excursions cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, ie a strike on the day we were supposed to visit the tea plantation factory! But Shakur would get on his phone and next thing it was all organised and we still managed to visit the factory although it wasn't up and running. We left an ipad in one of the hotels - they rang Shakur, got on a motorbike and met us en route about 40k down the line. Every time we stopped Kurian or Anil would fill our water bottles, make sure we all got our coffees and teas just how we liked them. They didn't rest until they were sure we had everything we needed. Franklin cycled at the back all week, taking care of the slower members of the group and helping anyone with bike problems. We couldn't fault these guys, they were just great and helped make the holiday such an enjoyable experience. Thanks guys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bib shorts aren't practical for these trips - best would be a couple of pairs of thin liner shorts with some fast-drying over shorts. We had a couple of serious downpours en route and I wished I'd taken a second pair of shoes to cycle in - some people cycled in sandals. Gel seat - cheap one off Amazon - proved v useful. We did need to wash clothes now and again - take a decent travel wash or use the hotel laundry - quite cheap. American Express travel card was only accepted once, best off with Visa or Mastercard. Money exchange in airport offered us a much lower rate than anywhere else. ATM's sometimes run out of money so taking some pound notes out with you is quite handy, there are loads of "foreign exchange" places. Practice your camera face - many Indians we met wanted to have a photo taken with us - funny but true?! Our group ranged in age from 46 to 73, everyone coped well with the cycling, although there are so many photo opportunities that go whizzing by, a Go-Pro would have been quite handy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This will certainly not be our last trip to India, or our last cycling trip. We absolutely loved it. It was very well organised, the route was really well planned and we got to sample all the highlights that Tamil Nadu & Kerala have to offer from the tea plantations, to cookery lessons, houseboat trips, temples, palaces - you name it. Loved it.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Anne King

    Southern India coast to coast ride.

    This was a lovely trip, taking in a lot of the sights and sounds of rural India which we could not have discovered for ourselves. We also visited many of southern India,s foremost sights. The cycling was as billed and very enjoyable, mostly on quiet back roads, although the chaotic traffic in the cities should not be underestimated.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the hill at Thekkady!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader didn't communicate plans very clearly and didn't always do what he said we would do. For example he promised a stop near a lake in three kilometres which I looked forward to as I'm a keen bird watcher, we didn't stop. He described a morning ride as undulating, it was a 12 kilometre climb. The deputy, Abi, was absolutely excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy! Take plenty of money, the costs add up, tipping kitty is a substantial sum.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes need to be clearer. As it transpired that the tips kitty wasn't for tipping the support team I find it very hard to know what the money, over £50 per head, was spent on. That's an awful lot of snacks and cups of tea at Indian prices!
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Barbara Groves

    Cycle India coast to coast

    An excellent trip with good leaders, brilliant cycling, excellent food, amazing sights and a really friendly group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the local people who were incredibly friendly and welcoming Scary cycling in some towns/villages Cooking our own meal under guidance! Staying in a plantation owner's family house Exploring vegetable, flower and spice markets Cycling from door to door with only 1 transfer

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Seaker was a really good, knowledgeable leader who adapted the schedule to allow for the particular interests of the group. He was able to give confidence to those of us slightly worried about the amount of traffic in a few of the places we cycled through although we were mainly on very quiet roads. He found us brilliant places to stop for tea breaks and lunches at small local restaurants and made us feel that we were truly seeing the "real" India

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Respect local traditions, pack light, go with the flow, make sure you get your visa sorted and join the right queue at the airport in India!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have been on 3 cycling trips over the last 2 years (2 with Exodus) and this was by far the best.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Teri Bennett

    India Coast to Coast

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people! The people waving at me with a big smile, there is nothing like that!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All of the staff were great! We had a leader in the front and another guide at the back of the bike riders and then two vans..one in the front, one in the back and they were there for us every step of the way making sure that we were having a good time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most days were 60 miles or 80 K, so be in shape for it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't skip the cooking class, it was really fun. Bring a gel seat for the bike.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    olwen dutton

    from the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Sea

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Realising that I can actually cycle the distances and get up those darned hills! Its difficult to single anything out. Cycling down hill for about 13 kilometres nonstop was entertaining, and the homestay at the end of that was absolutely spectacular. The hotels we stayed in were generally very good. Every day brought new things to enjoy. We also had a brilliant group, we all got on well and encouraged each other. The food, by the way was outstanding, mostly vegetarian. I think that no one was ill with the usual tummy problems, and we ate some amazing meals, especially lunches on banana leaves in little places we would never have found by ourselves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Seeka ( I think my spelling is wrong, apologies) was excellent, very helpful and anxious to make the most of the trip for us all. As a result everything went very smoothly. He was very entertaining and knowledgeable which was great and had endless patience. The three other guides were also great, although I must admit that I had a soft spot for the wonderful Abi, who cycled at the back of the group ( my usual place) and gave me a helping hand when I needed it!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The March trip did get very hot , about 40 degrees on a few days, which is very hot to cycle in! It was also very very humid. The trip starts of on mostly flat roads, which is good to get used to before you get to the hills, which are challenging. I took my own comfortable saddle, which I was very glad to have, as the bikes were ok, but quite heavy. Clothes that are made of modern sports fabrics that dry quickly are best, as though the hotels will do laundry there often isn't much time as most days you move on. Take plenty of pens to donate to passing children, as the "Pen, Pen" cry is often heard and it will make you very popular.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would completely recommend this trip. As i say above, I was a very novice cyclist before hand, and the furthest i had cycled was about 7 miles. I wasn't very fit, but had been going to the gym a few times a week, and whilst the fitter and more used to cycling you are the better, probably, I coped with most of the days, so i think that any reasonably fit person could do it. I did fall off a few times though, but no great harm done.
  • Reviewed January 2016
    Pamela Lammiman

    Incredible India Indeed – a wonderfully memorable holiday

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the children, immaculately turned out in their school uniforms, waving and saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ as we cycled by. The crazy, noisy, chaotic traffic in the bustling towns. The constantly changing scenery, through small towns and villages, initially passing by rice paddy fields, endless banana and coconut trees then through tea and rubber plantations. Dipping our back wheels in The Bay of Bengal and ten days later our front wheels in the Arabian Sea thus marking the start and end of our coast to coast adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shaker, the leader, was smiley, knowledgable and well organised. He navigated the group safely across India organising great lunchtime stops along the way and introducing us to many culinary delights.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hot hilly days were fairy tough but nothing that the whole group couldn't handle. Our taste of Southern India has left us wanting to experience more of this incredible country and I don't hesitate in recommending this trip to any moderately fit cyclist.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus for a very well structured cycling holiday. Also big thanks to our cycling group – especially ‘The Kingfisher Girls’.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Darrell Stocks

    Fun and Enjoyable

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    India (and Sri Lanka) is/are so different to the West and I can't believe that people wouldn't be inspired by this amazing country. Most of the people don't have what we have, yet they are charming, excited, genuinely pleased to see you. It is embarrassing to appear to have so much when compared to their simpler lives (I hope I'm not being patronising). Being able to cycle from coast to coast is amazing and to experience the contrast between east and west India. A real highlight was the overnight trip/stay on a boat in the Backwaters. A time to chill.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As always the guides, leader, assistants, mechanics, water bottle fillers and driver etc were magnificent (all 4 of them). How they cope with us daft europeans only they can say!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Things don't always runs smoothly. Chill out. Go with the flow. Enjoy. Previous reports had said you couldn't always get a beer at the end of the day dues to laws/culture. Our leader had it all sorted and clearly we had a few 'alcoholics' on this trip judging by all the bottles loaded on the bus. This trip could have been named the 'Kingfisher' tour due to the numbers of these birds we saw in kerela and the number of bottles of this wonderful Indian lager that were used to rehydrate!
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Olive Patchett

    An amazing cycling adventure coast to coast through the soul of India

    You do need to be both a confident and competent cyclist not only to cope with the wonderful mayhem that is Indian town traffic but also the distances in the heat, however the rewards of this is getting to see and visit areas of India that most do not. The sights,sounds and smells as you ride along are a delight and a photographers dream. The accommodation was wide ranging from modern hotels, home-stays and magical old Indian hotels. All the food through out the journey exceeded our expectations with wonderful Tamil and Keralan cuisine. We really had a great adventure - a highly recommended trip. Thank you Exodus!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It seemed at times we were passing through the very soul of India with its very colourful local ceremonies and all the many school children high fiving us as we cycled through their life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shaker and his support team were excellent throughout with their mindfulness of our needs both on the mechanical side and perhaps more importantly on the relaxation and refreshment front! To get us all safely across India on a bike was no easy task!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You do need to be both a very competent and confident cyclist with stamina more important than speed to enjoy this trip to the full. Take a small pocket camera with a big memory card! Tamil food has taste attitude! Enjoy!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The bikes were of high quality and great to ride although a little large for some of the ladies who had difficulty with them. Not good in the challenge of the Indian traffic system!
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Robiah Goehtz

    Ruby Goehtz

    If you are a keen cyclist than this trip is for you as its one of the most challenging ride in India. The distance covered most days are long and the terrain itself is formidable. The rating for this trip should be C/D because of the many stretches of the uphills !! Also the road and traffic conditions can be a nightmare but its doable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trip in Kerala is my highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole team we had was excellent. Shaker our leader is efficient, he is innovative,always cheerful and has very good knowledge of the region. He has proven himself to be a true gem for the company and because of his leadership, most of us have many happy memories to take home with us. Aby, his deputy is a young man with plenty of potential. He has been a great help to us all,always the encourager when we are about to give up. He works well with Shaker and they both work well togather. Franklin, our driver is a gem. He is very caring and never have to be told what to do. Always ahead in providing water, bananas and energy biscuits etc to make sure we have the energy to go on!!! His initiative is his plus point.Also he works quietly behind the scene everyday to provide us with enough to hydrate us in the hot weather. All in all a perfect team that works well togather.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the tough ride.
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Andrew Swift

    Southern India Coast to Coast Ride Booking reference: 4571361

    Great trip - opened my eyes to the changes in India

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The agriculturs in TamilNadu and Kerala

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do as the leader says

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Emirates flights were excellent

Dates & Prices

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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