Cycle Kerala & Tropical India - Premium
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- AnonymousWritten on October 8, 20134.0 - GoodCycling on varied terrain across some quite different parts of India, from cool hills and eucalyptus forests, to tea plantations, bamboo and coconut palms as well as National Parks. Accommodation excellent (on the premium trip) and the staff incredibly helpful and caring. Sometimes the traffic was a little much, but I just got in the bus! What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The long downhill from Ooty was the most varied of days with amazing scenery. I also enjoyed the quality of the food, I don't think we ate the same dishes twice. We saw a wild elephant in the National Park and had time to relax as well as cycle. People were really friendly and kind.What did you think of your group leader?Vishnu was great, really informative and made sure we knew what was happening each day. He was also a good first aider, and when I came off my bike on the last afternoon, he patched me up (it wasn't serious!) Our driver Ashok was so caring, and he prayed in the bus every day for our safety, which I appreciated a lot. Sheebu the mechanic looked after the bikes and made it a trouble free trip - he even sourced me a peaked hat for the downpour that threatened to wash my contact lenses from my eyes.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?There's quite a lot of traffic on some segments, so be prepared for that. India has changed a lot and continues to morph, so what used to be backwater is now densely populated.Is there anything else you would like to add?Thanks very much, we'll definitely use Exodus again, and we particularly liked the Premium trip option.
- AnonymousWritten on September 4, 20134.0 - GoodDespite being badged as a moderate/challenging trip, avid cyclists be prepared to rest on your handlebars and enjoy the scenery and the novel traffic conditions. Local changes and conditions mean that this a trip for adventurous leisure cyclists. This is a trip of contrasts; an emotional rollercoaster of experiences. A memorable trip with unforgettable people, places, sights and smells; but not something that I can easily sum up in a snappy summary. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Joseph, who was the group leader, took us to a Syrian Catholic church. There is no real reason why this unassuming building should have had such an impact, but Joseph found himself quizzed by a hundred questions, which he answered for us. TheseÂ question-answer sessions wereÂ typical ofÂ our access into what was for many of us an unfamiliar world. Our travels by bike inÂ India certainly opened up the question of its richÂ faithÂ history, which as a group we were mostly ignorant about. Temples, churches, mosques, shrines, festivals, ceremonial food, clothesÂ and even bodily markings constituted many of the reference points on our journey; but we barely scratched the surface.What did you think of your group leader?Cycling with Joseph was like meditation. The traffic conditions in Kerala are novel, and are a complete contrast to the segregated cycling lanes of Europe. Sticking close to Joseph made it possible to understand how to move through traffic in a new way, at a constant and calm pace. The way that Joseph cycles is much like his skill as a leader. We trusted him and he provided help, and support and answered endless questions. An exceptional and skilled leader.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?This seems to be a longstanding exodus trip and local cycling conditionsÂ change all the time; check to see what recent changes have been made. Trip notes will suggest what you are doing in terms of basic distance; but it is harder to anticipate your preference for long rest times, and mostly flat, unsurfaced roads.Is there anything else you would like to add?Â
- AnonymousWritten on May 31, 20135.0 - ExcellentThis was my first group cycling holiday and I really enjoyed the experience of cycling with others and having very experienced guides with us at all times.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The trip was very varied with lots of cycling but mixed with cultural experiences and plenty of delicious food. A fantastic way to see Indian life and soak in all the sensory explosions of colour, taste, noise and aromas.Getting to the top of Ooty hill up 36 hairpin bends was an inspirational moment even if it did take over 4 hours while others took 2 hours but kindly waited for us with tea and cake at the top!Â What did you think of your group leader?The group leader was very calm and efficient and we had excellent support from both him and his co leader and our lovely support driver who was always there with a seat in the bus, water and snacks to keep you going.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I would advise anyone with a fairly good level of fitness to join this trip, and go with the flow and start ringing your bell as soon as you hit any town traffic, keep your eyes open and enjoy the amazing scenery which I can only describe as vibrant.Is there anything else you would like to add?We all kept together for meals at lunch and supper which was fun and the houseboat party on the backwaters was also entertaining especially with a chance to wear Indian dress and dance Bollywood style!
- AnonymousWritten on March 6, 20135.0 - ExcellentBrilliant, absolutely love love LOVED it! First time I've ever done an Exodus holiday, a group holiday or a cycling holiday and I can't wait to do all three again!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Completing the ascent up Ooty- was amazed just to finish, the cake at the top was a pleasant bonus! :)The fantastic descent back down Ooty!Â Occasionally it pays to carry a bit of extra weight- free-wheeling on a bike is one of them!I found cycling is a fantastic way to see a country; you experience so much more of the local culture and in a very natural, laid-back way rather than something that is "put on" just for the tourists.What did you think of your group leader?Excellent.Â I think Vishnu's love for his local area really helped inspire an enthusiasm for learning about and experiencing a new culture that I've never truly had as a tourist before.Â In terms of the cycling, I always felt well looked-after (despite the sometimes crazy traffic, road surfaces and wildlife you share the road with) and very safe.Â Thanks to Vish and his team!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Surprisingly few issues with the food (or the ill-effects thereof if you know what I mean!!) and as a vegetarian (Pescetarian by the coast, admittedly!) I felt extremely well-catered for.My own gel saddle turned out to be an essential rather than a luxury. 100 denier tights are an excellent anti-mosquito method, recommended to men and women alike!Is there anything else you would like to add?I'm not a particularly experienced cyclist (usually cycle about 15miles a week... if the weather is nice!) but I didn't find the schedule too strenuous.Â It was certainly a challenge at times, and occasionally I thought I might not finish (the bus is always an available cheaty-option!) but the interesting surroundings and the "group psychology" always got me through.Â I found it very well paced, and appreciated that we were usually on a lunch-stop in the shade for the hottest part of the day.Â My only concern is that my next cycling holiday won't live up to the standard set by this one- lovely people (locals and fellow cyclists) great food, high standard of accommodation, amazing cycling... I still miss it!
- AnonymousWritten on March 4, 20134.0 - GoodStunning scenery, delicious and plentiful food, great company, amazingly cheap shopping, friendly local people and exhilarating cycling - what's not to like?What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The downhill bike ride after the ardours of cycling up to Ooty was breathtaking in all senses. The scenery took my breath away - majestic Eucalyptus trees for miles around looked like an impressionist painting - and swerving around huge potholes and maniac lorry drivers on the downhill ride was a big adrenalin rush, much like skiing a slalom course at speed! And you cycle through all temperatures, from the chill of Ooty at the start to the tropical steamy heat of Kerala as we crossed the border from Tamil Nadu. What did you think of your group leader?Joseph was excellent; he was extremely well organised, friendly and capable, and dealt really well with the impact of a 2-day national strike on our holiday, having to reorganise our plans at very short notice. He was the rear rider for the uphill ride to Ooty, and I was at the back of the group with 3 other women, struggling with the effort, but he helped keep our spirits up and got us to our final destination on 2 wheels despite our protestations!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The second week's cycling was a little disappointing compared to the first, as it was much less strenuous, so it felt a little anti-climactic. Some of our group had extended their stay to recover at the final hotel, but actually didn't need extra recovery time and regretted their decision.Â The cycling, apart from the Ooty day, was much easier than the similarly-graded Exodus tour to Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama - so if you're a lycra lout, you might be frustrated by the lack of challenge. Is there anything else you would like to add?The snacks we were served at the plentiful breaks en route were delicious and very enjoyable but packed with calories - fried banana fritters, chocolate bars and puff pastry pies, for example! I would have preferred more fresh fruit and less fried food, but when I suggested this to Joseph, he acted on it straight away and started offering us bananas, oranges and fruit platters.
- AnonymousWritten on March 4, 20134.0 - GoodIndia is an eye-opening place and I am very pleased I've been. The people are fantastically friendly I can't count the number of photographs I'm in with my new Indian 'friends'.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I think it would pretty hard to top the climb to Ooty. No number of warnings about how hard it is or how steep it is in places prepares you for just how hard and steep it is.I Â commute everyday by bike in London and now that I have experienced Indian traffic particularly in Mysore I feel I can cycle anywhere with confidence!What did you think of your group leader?Joseph was great. He was very helpful and well organised. He managed to get us all onto to a train to Varkala when we could no longer cycle because of the country-wide general strike. He was pretty good at pointing out things of interest - especially trees and fruit, etc.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you have reasonable fitness then this holiday should be fine. There's no need to be like Bradley Wiggins. I took out Sterling and changed currency in the towns which is fairly easy to do - avoid changing at the airport as the rates aren't so good - because while there are plenty of ATMs not all of them work (I thought it was a bank issue despite me telling them I was going to be away but it appears it was an ATM issue). I did find an ATM that worked and that was fine. Including tips, etc, I struggled to spend Â£250 over the two weeks.Despite using DEET throughout the holiday I did get bitten quite a lot - actually while we were on holiday there was an article published on the BBC news website saying that mosquitoes are becoming tolerant to DEET. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21519998.Â Is there anything else you would like to add?It is a shame that there was a general strike in our second week which meant that we only had one day's cycling - though it did mean we got to travel by railway. This is definitely a holiday of two halves - the first week is pretty intense with quite hilly terrain, lots of early starts and very little free time. In the second week the cycling is much flatter as you're at the coast but there's less cycling and more free days. Personally I would have preferred a bit more cycling in the second week.
- AnonymousWritten on February 25, 20135.0 - ExcellentAs our first visit to India, this gave us a real taste to see more of this lively, colourful and friendly country.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Visiting the orphanage the night before the "Ooty ascent", and talking to the older children about their plans for careers in professions such as doctors and barristers-a long way from their current circumstances.Â What did you think of your group leader?Vish was calm, knowledgeable and ever helpful, ensuring a perfect trip from start to finish.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Wear a cycle helmet!! Â Indian driving is a totally new experience, although in my experience you seem to have more chance of falling foul of the occasional pot hole than you do of falling foul of their driving style!Is there anything else you would like to add?Lots of unexpected experience "extra's" to the trip, such as 45 minutes sat watching a full grown male Royal Bengal Tiger, and seeing no other tourists for the first week -it was a bit of a jolt when we arrived in Cochin after 7 days in Tamil Nadu state, to suddenly find ourselves in an international tourist destination.
- AnonymousWritten on February 15, 20135.0 - ExcellentThis is an amazing trip. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Making it to the end of the trip unscathed, the traffic needs your full attention!What did you think of your group leader?Joseph was amazing.Â I could not have imagined a better group leader.Â Joseph invested a lot of time and energy into each of us insuring a great holiday.Â He also created a great team with Abi and Romeo. It was a magical combination.Â Book the trip just to be able to experience India with Joseph and his team.Â Worth it!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Just be ready for the traffic.Â Pay attention and stay with the group in the city and you are good to go!Is there anything else you would like to add?Don't be hesitant to book. Just do it! You won't be disappointed.Â This trip will work your mind, body and spirit.Â When there, say hi to Joseph and the gang for me!Â
- AnonymousWritten on February 13, 20134.0 - GoodThis was our first lengthy cycling trip and it has inspired us to book another next year. The long distances, level of difficulty and heat were perfectly manageable ( my husband and I are reasonably fit leisure cyclists in our early 60s ). I did decide however to walk rather than ride up the 37 hairpin bends which was no problem. Everyone was buoyed along by the great group camaraderie and the prospect of a shower and good meal at the end of the day. In my opinion this is the perfect way to see parts of India not on the normal tourist trail. Highly recommended.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The houseboat was unforgettable -Â like something out of the days of the Raj.Â The visit to the orphanage was sobering and inspiring - wonderful work being achieved . We were lucky to meet the remarkable Swiss lady who has spent her life raising funds to keep the place going.What did you think of your group leader?Safi was competent, professional and always attentive to the group's needs and diverse requestsAbi with his ready smile was always there to give support , checking the bikes daily and ensuring we had a good supply of water.Vipin did a great job shepherding the stragglers. We always felt we were in safe hands.It was alsoÂ very thoughtful of the teamÂ to arrange aÂ surprise cake and poppers for me on my birthday.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take a plentiful supply of pens to give to the many children who greet you along the route. They love them !Take aÂ can of insectÂ spray to blast your room before bedtime . Some hotels provided smoke coils , nets and socket inserts , but not all.Â Â In Ooty take the opportunity to travel by train on theÂ small gauge rail from Coonoor ( as featured on a BBCÂ programme about the old steam engines of southern India). Also an evening at the Kathakali theatre in Cochin is fascinatingÂ ( booking made withÂ proprietor of Ann's Residence ).
- AnonymousWritten on February 12, 20135.0 - ExcellentThis was a great trip with an interesting group of people and wonderful support from our leader Joseph who was always there to help in all matters. He was so efficient that we may have become too dependent on him. Abby was also very committed and gave me a lot of snacks and water going up Ooty.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Just meeting the local people throughout the trip who were so open and friendly was incredible. It gave me a new prospective on how it is that total strangers can be so open and friendly without seeking personal gain. Â What did you think of your group leader?Joseph is the consummate professional in every way. Always there for support and totally on the ball. Â Do you have any advice for potential travellers?You have to be calm and focused when cycling in built-up areas and the highways.Is there anything else you would like to add?I just felt very at home in Kerala. There wasÂ a sense of belonging and familiarity Â which is weird because I had never been there before.
ItineraryDownload PDF Brochure
- Day 1: Start Mysore.
- Day 2: Ride to Srirangapatnam ruins; return to Mysore; afternoon explore the city including the Maharaja Palace.
- Day 3: Cycle on the back roads of Mysore Plateau to Nanjangud; transfer to Bandipur N.P.
- Day 4: Ride to Mudumalai N.P; explore 'Wild Haven'.
- Day 5: Optional ascent to Ooty hill station (13km climb), former summer capital of the Raj; free afternoon to explore the town.
- Day 6: Western Ghats descent through tea plantations; transfer to Guruvayoor in tropical Kerala.
- Day 7: Morning ride to Guruvayoor Temple and Palayoor Church; continue along country roads to our beachside hotel in Cherai.
- Day 8: Cycle along coastal roads lined with coconut palms; ferry to Fort Cochin.
- Day 9: Free day in Cochin to explore the bazaars and the old harbour.
- Day 10: Cycle past old Portuguese houses; continue to Vambanad Lake in Alleppey.
- Day 11: Explore Alleppey town before backwater boat trip; overnight on Keralan houseboat.
- Day 12: Cliff-top ride to laid-back Varkala.
- Day 13: Free to relax on the beach and eat the wonderful seafood.
- Day 14: End Varkala.
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- Vicki10th June 2018
Cycle Kerala & Tropical India - Premium
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Plugs & Adapters
- Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
- Hepatitis A
- Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
- Recommended for India. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
- Recommended for India. Ideally 3 months before travel.
- Hepatitis B
- Recommended for India. Ideally 2 months before travel.
- Yellow fever
- Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for India. Ideally 10 days before travel.
- Japanese B encephalitis
- Recommended for India. Ideally 1 month before travel.
- Bangalore is the starting point and Varkala is the endpoint.
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- TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 21 December 2018 the full payment of $3,335 is necessary.
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- Bangalore (India)
- 128 km
- Mysore (India)
- 15 km
- Srirangapatna (India)
- 15 km
- Mysore (India)
- 20 km
- Nanjanagudu (India)
- 48 km
- Bandipur National Park (India)
- 26 km
- Mudumalai National Park (India)
- 24 km
- Ooty (India)
- 24 km
- Gudalur (India)
- 112 km
- Guruvayoor (India)
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