The Kerala Mountains and Beaches motorcycle tour offers a dramatic contrast to our other Indian tours, and a great winter touring option.
Kerala lies at the southern tip of India and offers some very dramatic riding with its truly un-spoilt beaches, spectacular mountain rides and wildlife. Unlike the mass tourism of Goa, Kerala offers empty roads, glorious scenery, highly rated hotels and a friendly welcome everywhere.
Just to say that I had a fantastic time in Kerala. Everything was brilliant – hotels, locations, route – and all topped off by Daniel himself, ever ready to help and entertain – great guide, great guy. Wonderful holiday.
Mel Fawcett, UK, 2010
Danny and his crew were absolutely great in all respects during the fourteen days we were with them. I can’t express what a fantastic time I had. Please accept my thanks, and total recommends to anyone thinking of using Danny and his team in the future.
Tim Porter, UK, 2010
After many weeks of travelling in India, this is paradise
Rick Stein, chef, 2013
Witness the captivating Munnar tea plantations – as far as the eye can see • Visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary • Enjoy riding along mountain switchbacks and soaking in the beautiful surroundings • Search for tigers in the jungles of Masinagudi
Day 1 Cochin/Alleppey
On arrival in Cochin you will be transferred to your hotel by the beach in Alleppey. Here you can unwind and enjoy some R&R by the pool. Then you have an introductory meeting to get to know the other riders and your bike, hopefully with time for a short ride Finish off the day with a welcome dinner and some beers.
Day 2 Alleppey (free day)
A leisurely breakfast sets the scene for a relaxing day. You can go for an exploratory ride along the coast, past mission churches, unspoilt fishing villages, backwaters, lighthouses and beaches shrouded by endless palm trees. After this you should be starting to adjust to the pace of life here. And if you haven’t quite chilled out enough, book a massage, go to a yoga or cookery class or just order a refreshing beer, grab a hammock and relax!
Day 3 Alleppey – Kumily (200 km)
An early start today for a long day’s ride through some truly spectacular scenery. Traverse the backwaters and rice paddies before starting the ascent through the rubber and tea plantations of the Cardamom Hills and Southern Ghats. Climb on largely empty, well-surfaced roads until you reach the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Here the views become more sensational as the road gets worse! This route is largely untrodden – whereas tourists usually see the area by taking the boat on Lake Periyar, you pass through 100 km of the 770 sq. km sanctuary on our bikes. There is an abundance of wildlife, from flora, birds and insects up to bears, leopards, elephants and even tigers, although they keep themselves well-hidden usually. And no traffic. There is an easier route available too, and if there is any risk of animal attacks we will use this route. After riding to over 2000 m, you finally meet up with the good road again and re-join the highway for the final short run into Kumily.
Day 4 Kumily (free day)
Today is a free day, so you can decide what you want to do. If you would like, there is an early 6 am start to take the Periyar Lake boat trip to see the wild elephants, or you can get up a little later and just stroll around the town, take in the sights, do some spice shopping and enjoy the atmosphere.
Day 5 Kumily – Kodaikanal (150 km)
Drop down to the plains again on some very good roads and stop for a traditional Tamil lunch at the foot of the Palani Hills. Head off in the heat of the day, but temperatures soon drop as you ride up to the hill station of Kodaikanal at 2000 m in just 30 miles. If there’s time, you can take the bike around the paths of the summit, explore on foot, hire a boat on the lake in town, or just enjoy the local dairy products – cheeses and ice creams – and mushrooms.
Day 6 Kodaikanal – Munnar (165 km)
A mid-morning start gives you time to cruise back down, to stop for lunch at the restaurant at the foot of the Palani Hills. Then ride across the plains for about an hour, before climbing again through 17 hairpin bends and the start of a road of never-ending tea plantations. After stopping for tea on the edge of the Tata tea estate, the world’s largest, with a splendid view over Devikulam Lake, carry on to the enchanting hill station of Munnar.
Day 7 Munnar (free day)
A chance to explore the delights of Munnar and the surrounding area. You can go in search of the Nilgiri Tahr, a rare mountain goat, in the cool of the morning. About half of the total world population of about 2000 animals live in the ranges below the Anamudi Peak (2695 m), the highest in southern India. You can ride the beautiful road down to Marayoor, or to the Mattupetty Dam and up to Top Slip, or how about a visit the tea museum and take a jeep tour to the highest tea estates in the world?
Day 8 Munnar – Ooty (Ootacamund, 250 km)
Leaving Munnar, you ride through Eravikulam Park, with its abundant monkeys and scattering of elephants, leopards and tigers. You then pass through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, stopping for tea at Marayoor, famous for its local sandalwood. Looking out for herds of wild elephants sauntering across the road, you then descend to the plains of Tamil Nadu and stop for a late lunch at a roadside restaurant near Coimbatore. Then head back up into the Nilgiri Hills, hairpin bends aplenty, to a height of 2000 m and your overnight stop in Ooty.
Day 9 Ooty – Masinagudi (50 km)
See Ooty by motorcycle or on foot. Ride up to the Dodabetta Peak for fantastic views of the surrounding plains, or Avalanche Point, where there was snow and an avalanche many years ago! Visit the botanical gardens, English-style public (ie private) schools and churches, tea gardens and shops (or sleep in!). You then take your final mountain ride down a steep ghat road with over 40 hairpins to Masinagudi in time for a relaxed lunch and a pleasant afternoon by the pool or searching for tigers in the forest.
Day 10 Masinagudi – Wayanad (175 km)
An early start to go looking for elephants and tigers if you haven’t spotted any yet. After breakfast, get on your bike and traverse the huge Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and into Karnataka State. Stop for a pleasant lunch at the Bandipur Sanctuary and then head west into Kerala. After passing through Muthanga and Wayanad Sanctuaries, where spotted deer, wild boar and langur monkeys are common, and if you’re lucky you’ll see elephant herds browsing near the roadside.
Day 11 Wayanad – Secret Beach (200 km)
Heading west descending the ghats, and then south, avoiding the horrendous congestion of Calicut, you arrive by mid-morning at Guravayoor, one of the most famous temples and pilgrimage sites in southern India. Then enjoy a quiet section of the coastal road to a beautiful, undeveloped beach resort. The people here are incredibly friendly and make great efforts to wave and shout as you pass, they want you to feel most welcome and have not yet become blasé towards strangers. Spend the afternoon catching rays in the sea, and if you’re lucky dolphins too, and marvel at the sunset.
Day 12 Secret Beach – Thattekad (90 km)
You have time for an early dip in the Arabian Sea before heading off for Kodanad, a forestry department kraal where orphaned baby elephants are rescued, cared for and trained for a working life. Timing is crucial, so you can join in the daily bathing and rub down in the river, so no lie in today! A little known but well-kept road leads you to the hotel. Spend this evening watching the birds nesting for the night, and the villagers playing and working in the lagoon, with the croak of bullfrogs to complement your conversation.
Day 13 Thattekad (free day)
Today why not enjoy an early morning plantation walk, followed by canoeing in the Periyar River, with its sand boats, or even try white water rafting? In the afternoon, take a short ride into the forest where there’s a boat trip on the lake to go elephant and wildlife spotting.
Day 14 Thattekad – Cochin (50 km)
Your final ride takes you back to Cochin and a last chance to cement those memories. After saying farewell to your bike, in the afternoon there’s time for sightseeing and shopping in the old town. The atmosphere here is somehow different, and unlike any other Indian city – more relaxed, more open. Famous churches, cathedrals, synagogues and palaces are all within walking distance, and the sights and smells of the famous Chinese fishing nets and the market, with its teas, spices, nuts, fabrics, rosewood, Kathakali masks, cigars make this an enjoyable wander. Take an early evening stroll around the fort before this evenings farewell dinner.
Day 15 Cochin
After breakfast this morning your tour ends, transfer to airport for your onward travel arrangements.