Upon arrival you will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the group hotel. The rest of the afternoon is spent at your leisure. This evening we head out for our first group meal, this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members.
After breakfast we drive to Mysore (approx. 3 hours), situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills, Mysore is commonly described as the City of Palaces. Upon arrival we will have a sightseeing tour of the city including a visit to the ornately adorned Mysore Palace, one of the most famous in India, and the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. We also visit the Chamundi Hills where we can see two ancient temples and get a panoramic view of the city. Overnight Regaalis Hotel or similar.
You will start cycling a short distance away from the city to avoid traffic, to one of the best wildlife reserves in south India, Mudumalai National Park. The park is nestled away in the foothills of the Nilgiris (The Blue Mountains) and is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Here, you can take a jeep safari deep into the midst of this dry deciduous forest, to observe herds of wild Asiatic Elephants, Leopards, Bison, Tigers, the elusive Sloth Bear and primates like the Langur, Bonnet Macaque and Slender Loris, all in their natural habitats. This reserve has achieved many a milestone in conservation efforts, which is evident from the growing number of tigers.
Overnight Jungle Hut Lodge. Cycle; approx. 55km
This morning we negotiate the Kallatti Ghats toward the colonial town of Ooty. We drive up the Nigiris (literally blue mountains) to the old hill station of Ooty or Udagamandalam. Many 'hair pin bends' later you find yourself greeted with pleasantly cool weather at your destination situated at just over 2,200 metres. Cycling along these mountain roads you can find charming English style cottages blending into the landscape. These cottages with teak floors, art-deco armchairs, red-tiled roofs and chimneys also boast well kept gardens with a profusion of flowers that thrive here. The excellent botanical garden at Ooty which is over 160 years old is home to not only a great variety of exotic flora but also many birds. Overnight Meadows Hotel or similar. Cycle; approx 35km
This morning we board the historic Toy Train for a remarkable rail journey with spectacular vistas as we descend to the popular hill station of Coonoor. From here we take a scenic bike ride, mostly downhill (approx 40km) to Mettupalayam a small town located at the foothills of the Nilgiris. You will leave this busy town behind, and travel on our vehicle to Pollachi (approx. 2.5 hours), near the city of Coimbatore. At Pollachi, you will spend the night at a beautiful resort set amidst a coconut grove. In the evening we will take a walk through the farm & the nearby village. Overnight Coco Lagoon or similar.
One of the longer cycling days, today we hop on our bikes and head towards the tea town of Munnar. En-route we pass by the dry scrub land forests at Chinnar and the sandalwood forests at Marayur before the climb begins to Munnar, situated at a pleasantly cool 1500m in altitude. The mountain scenery we pass today is spectacular, and we have plenty of time to stop and enjoy the views. Overnight Eastend Hotel or similar. Cycle; approx 70km.
Your rain forest trek at Munnar begins early, as you to have to ascend to a height of 2640 metres, where the peak of Meesapulimala is located. Meesapulimala is the second highest peak in the Western Ghats and your rain forest trek at Munnar involves navigating through the high altitude cloud forests and grasslands to get to this peak. After a brief stop to feast your eyes on a brilliant view of forests and tea estates down in the valleys below, you will trek down to trail head and be transfered back to Munnar. Overnight Eastend Hotel or similar. Hike; approx 18km.
The Cardamom Hills are famed all over the globe as the spice centre of the world, and today we cycle through the shadow of these hills. We ride around Anaerangal Lake and along wonderful mountain roads to Nedungandom where we stop for lunch. We pass through thick forests, cardamom estates, and spice gardens that have given these Cardamom Hills their name. In the afternoon we drive to Periyar and check into our accommodation where we can relax or explore the jungle. Periyar is one of the best wildlife reserves in India. Here we have an opportunity to meet some of the local people and see their fascinating way of life. Overnight Forest Canopy Hotel or similar.
Cycle; approx 60km
Early this morning we venture into the national park. Mannans are among the oldest indigenous group of people to inhabit Periyar. As late as the 1940's, they lived in the remotest areas of the reserve seeking out a simple life, fishing in the lake and cultivating a few crops, today they are instrumental in the conservation of the forest. There is also the opportunity to do bamboo rafting for those that are feeling adventurous. In the afternoon we visit the Natural History Museum, and the cardamom and pepper plantations.
Another long day ahead of us and perhaps the best day of the trip. It is also the most challenging day of the week with undulations all through. The view is magnificent and we have spice plantations on either side. We would see the famous arch dam of Idukki on the way and just before we reach our destination for the night we cross the beautiful Kulamavu dam. The last bit is a tough climb and a worthwhile challenge. Overnight Greenberg Hotel Cycle; approx 80km
Today, you will be taking a downhill ride through the mountain passes to the plains and from there through the rubber country of Palai to Alleppey, the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Here, you will settle into a beautiful resort at Alleppey.
Overnight Lake Canopy Hotel or similar Cycling; approx. 55Km
Today morning we are in for a different adventure, exploring the backwaters on Kerala on a Kayak. You will kayak through the narrow canal, a great opportunity to experience the village life that evolves around the backwaters. Before noon we will complete the kayaking and board Kerala's most luxurious forms of accommodation and transport, the houseboat. Reclining on cushions and drifting through quiet canals, you will pass through paddy fields grazed by ducks, floating markets, local toddy shops, temples and churches.
Overnight aboard houseboat
We end our journey at Fort Kochi with a fabulous beach side ride. After a chance to relax and freshen up we have lunch, and then spend the rest of the afternoon discovering a little of this amazing city. Its historic links can be seen in the Colonial Bungalows, an old Synagogue, Chinese fishing nets, the oldest European Church in India and a medieval Portuguese Palace. The city was founded in 1341 following a flood which created a natural and safe harbour and quickly became the chief port on the Malabar Coast. From the 1400's it attracted Jewish, Arab and Christian settlers from the Middle East as a result of the Royal Family's move to the city from Muziris, 50 kms north. The Europeans began settling from 1500's as the Portuguese, Dutch and English competed to control the port and the lucrative spice trade. The city has three distinctive regions Ernakulam, the modern region to the East, and the older districts of Mattancherry and Fort Kochi located on a peninsula in the west. We are staying in the heart of the historic Fort Kochi, India's Oldest Indo European town.
We will discover a little more off the rich cultural history of this place during our visits to museums and temples that dot the city and surrounding areas. In the evening we can enjoy traditional Keralan dances like kathakali and mohiniattam.
Cycle; approx 60km
Trip concludes after breakfast.