This bicycle trip covers the southwest of India, where you'll see abundant forests, spice plantations, coconut trees, sophisticated temples, beaches, and lots more. South India is filled with tropical vegetation, beautiful villages, old forts, and white-sand beaches. Its gentle hills and backroads make it perfect for biking. You'll cross the Western Ghats and visit the Bandipur and Mudumalai sanctuaries, whose jungles hide wild elephants, tigers, and even leopards. Then, you'll ride up to Ooty Hill station, which the British once called the "Queen of Hill Stations."

Highlights

  • Go on an early-morning safari in Bandipur National Park
  • Cycle up to the famous Ooty Hill Station
  • Explore the ruins of Great Emperor Tipu Sultan’s capital
  • Bike through the tea plantations of the Nilgiri Hills

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bangalore and drive to Mysore Mysore
Day 2 Ride to Srirangapatna ruins and Chamundi Hill Mysore
Day 3 Mysore (Mysuru) to Bandipur National Park Bandipur National Park
Day 4 Bandipur National Park to Mudumalai National Park Mudumalai National Park
Day 5 Mudumalai National Park to Ooty Hill station Ooty
Day 6 Ooty to Guruvayur in Kerala Guruvayur
Day 7 Explore Guruvayur by bike, train to Cochin, and depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bangalore and Drive to Mysore

Mysore Palace, the historical home of the Maharajas of Mysore

Once you land at Bangalore's Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR), your driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel in Mysore, where you can check-in and relax. The drive takes around three to four hours. 

In the afternoon, your guide will take you to visit the central bazaar and the magnificent Maharaja's Palace, which was rebuilt in the early 20th century after a fire destroyed it in 1897. The palace is known for its extravagant architecture and stunning interiors, which put the wealth of the Maharajas of Mysore on full display. Afterward, you'll do an M-check of your bikes with your tour guide and mechanic. 

Day 2: Ride to Srirangapatna Ruins and Chamundi Hill

The tomb of Tipu Sultan
The tomb of Tipu Sultan

In the morning, you'll go on a leisurely ride north towards Srirangapatna to see the ruins of Great Emperor Tipu Sultan’s capital, which was destroyed by the British in 1799 during the decisive battle to secure control of southern India. The ruins are located on the island of Srirangapatna, in the middle of the Cauvery River. Once you cross the bridge, you'll cycle around the old ramparts before entering Colonel Bailey's Dungeon and the Ranganatha Swamy Temple

While you're on the island, you'll also visit Jama Masjid, a mosque built by Tipu Sultan in 1787, and Dariya Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace. 

After exploring the ruins, you'll cycle back to Mysore for lunch. In the afternoon, your guide will take you on a ride Chamundi Hill to see Nandi, Shiva’s 16-foot-high (5 meters) statue, which was carved from a  single block of granite. 

Cycling Distance: 25 miles / 40 km

Day 3: Mysore (Mysuru) to Bandipur National Park

Cycling in Bandipur

After breakfast, you'll start your ride at the hotel and head south on country roads. As you pass through rural villages, you'll see women in colorful saris carrying water pots on their heads and children playing. Then, you'll cycle to Nanjangud, an important place of pilgrimage, to see the impressive Srikanteshwara Temple dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. 

After lunch, you'll leave the plains behind and cycle up into the forested foothills of the Western Ghats (hills). This area was once the hunting preserve of Mysore’s Maharajas and is now a tiger reserve and part of Bandipur National Park. In the late afternoon, you'll do a safari in the park. 

Cycling distance: 56 miles / 90 km

Day 4: Bandipur National Park - Mudumalai National Park

Gray Langur monkeys in Mudumalai National Park
Gray Langur monkeys in Mudumalai National Park

In the early morning, you'll have the option to go on another safari in the park. This is the best time to spot gaur (Indian bison), wild elephants, and sambar deer. After breakfast, you'll be able to relax for a couple of hours before setting off southwards through the park's thick forests, where you might spot deer and monkeys in the trees. You'll follow the road into the adjacent Mudumalai National Park, which is in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu

Then, you'll have a free afternoon to relax in your rustic bungalow, which has fantastic views of the Nilgiri Mountains on one side and the Mudumalai jungles on the other. 

Cycling distance: 20.5 miles / 33 km

Day 5: Mudumalai National Park to Ooty Hill Station

Bike check near Mudumalai National Park

Today, we'll ride up to the hill-station of Ootacamund (7350 feet / 2240 m altitude), which is commonly known as Ooty. The route has 36 hairpin bends and stunning views, and you'll feel a real sense of achievement once you reach the top. 

Located in the Nilgiri Hills, Ooty served as a summer capital for the British during the colonial period. Its stunning beauty and gentle climate inspired the British to nickname it the "Queen of Hill Stations." If you prefer, you can also walk or relax in the morning and go up the hill by car. 

For the final 5250-foot (1600-meter) ascent, you'll have the option to bike or ride up by car until you reach the hotel in Ooty. The cool climate of the Nilgiri Hills will give you a nice break from the heat of the plains below. In the afternoon, you'll have free time to explore the town and sample some of its famous cardamom tea. 

Cycling: 15.5. miles / 25 km

Day 6: Ooty to Guruvayur in Tropical Kerala

The colorful houses of Ooty
The colorful houses of Ooty

Today your bike tour will take you through the stunning tea plantations that blanket this part of the Nilgiri Hills. It's pleasantly cool at this altitude (6560 feet / 2000 meters), and you'll be able to enjoy the views of the hills below you. Then, you'll continue through the hills and tea-covered slopes of the Western Ghats to reach Gudalur, which is near the junction between the states of  Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. Stock up on fresh fruit and continue your descent through the ever-more-luxuriant vegetation until you reach a typical roadside Kerala restaurant, where the day's bike ride ends. 

From there, you'll transfer by car to Guruvayur to avoid a section of busier roads. 

Cycling distance: 53 miles / 85 km
Driving distance: 3.5hrs

Day 7: Explore Guruvayur by Bike, Take the Train to Cochin, and Depart

Vazachal in Thrissur
The beautiful landscapes of Thrissur

In the morning, you'll ride out to the coast to see Chavakkad Beach, where fishermen in colorful fishing boats haul their nets directly onto the sand. Then, you'll pedal along quiet country roads in the rural Thrissur district. You'll have lots of opportunities to take photos. 

In the afternoon, you'll be taken to the train station to board your train to Cochin. Once you arrive in Cochin, a guide will meet you to transfer you to the airport to board your late-night flight home. 

Map

Map of Cycle Across Karnataka:  Mysore, Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park, Ooty, and More - 7 Days
Map of Cycle Across Karnataka: Mysore, Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park, Ooty, and More - 7 Days