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Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 2,720

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Backroads Of Kerala CKB

Visiting: India
Tour Duration 13 Days
Reviews for Backroads Of Kerala 5 out of 5 based on 19 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Backroads Of Kerala tour available at present.

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4 Toni Lehman & John Walsh, 23/04/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

It was very hot and humid and the cycling was more challenging than expected, especially at 63 we were much older than the others but we did it! What we saw and what we achieved gave us a unique experience of a lifetime! Kerala is gives a unique taste of India, very beautiful and diverse with friendly people and fantastic food. We enjoyed every minute of our trip, no pain no gain!

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4.5 jan hudson, 21/02/15

Please Review Your Overall Experience And What Your Highlights Were?

While doing the exhilarating ride down from the tea plantations I was reviewing the trip - fantastic holiday, amazing sights, wonderful fun group , food to die for , beautiful friendly people and a trip I will remember for a long time . Highlights :- The birds circling over the Arabian ocean and their songs; the swim in the clear rock pool ; the children on the way to school giving us 'high fives' as we rode past; the joy of stopping for lunch after a hard ride; beautiful saris and laughter


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5 Meetun Sharma, 11/04/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

I would say the scenery and the coastline were a constant highlight. Everyday was something new and different; and never felt repetitive. The most memorable moment was the impromptu sing-song that broke out after an evening meal at Vanilla County. A good indicator of how the group had gelled together and a sign that we were comfortable in each others company.

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5 Peter Adkin, 04/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

We had a great tour leader, a good group and interesting experiences in Kerala.The good pace of the tour lasted till we boarded the plane for home. There was no special moment as every part of the tour was a memorable experience.

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5 Enter nameJean, 27/02/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

I don't have just one highlight as the whole trip was totally memorable made great by good group dynamics.

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4.5 , 06/12/13



Tour Name

Backwaters of Kerala

Tour Code


What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Difficult to pin down any one moment as there were so many but the trip seemed to be filled with happy, smiling faces. That is my enduring memory. It was a real joy.

Tour Leader Name

SK. Nair

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Brilliant! Totally in control, very professional, always attentive, fantastic knowledge (especially on the natural world) and with a great sense of humour. I couldn't fault him or his team who also deserve recognition of the highest order.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Get plenty of cycling practice in before you go and understand that the roads will often be very busy. However, excellent well maintained bikes with high spec very suitable for the trip and despite the busy chaotic roads I loved it and never felt unsafe.

5 , 19/11/13


Kate Marston

Tour Name

Backroads of Kerala

Tour Code

CKB Nov13

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

So many highlights that it hasn't all sunk in yet. Accommodation-wise Vanilla County would have to be the highlight. Baby Matthew and Rani were such warm and welcoming hosts, the food was delicious, homemade pineapple and banana jams with pancakes were just awesome. Other highlights like swimming in rock pools, cycling through tea, rubber and spice plantations, learning about the culture and waving to lots of welcoming people – just brilliant. And so many coconut trees – never seen so many in my life before.

Tour Leader Name

Vishnu Prasad

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Vishnu and our other main guide Dileep were both excellent. Their knowledge and experience made the trip. They provided just enough support and direction so we didn't feel we were being herded around. They both ensured everyone in the group was looked after. For a trip with such a busy and varied itinerary they delivered it seamlessly. We thank them for their hard work to ensure our trip was a trip of a lifetime.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Go with an open mind and soak up the wonderful atmosphere, colour, sights and sounds. Don't be scared of the traffic and beeping horns! It seems mad but it works!

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Don't just think about booking this trip – do it! We'd also like to thank all the other team members that helped our trip to run so smoothly – the bus driver and support and the bike doctor and bike bus driver.

5 Malcolm Curtis, 07/03/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Cycling in the hills of the Western Ghats amongst the tea plantations and visiting the nature reserve at Periyar.

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5 William Payne, 01/03/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Staying at Vanilla County homestay and visit to the Spice Gardens. Cycling 20kms downhill......!

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Our Response

In the absence of questionnaire comments on this section, we will discuss with our tour leaders how popular the trek seems to be with their group.  We will certainly request a better local guide if the trek is to be retained.

5 Glyn Gough, 11/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"Cycling through Keralan villages
Keralan food
Smiles everywhere
Vanilla County ""homestay"""

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4 Anne Connolly, 31/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Vanilla county, fab location and really warm welcome


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5 Sarah, 14/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

This was our best holiday ever! Why, because there was something new and different to see each day with warm locals who laughed and waved as we passed, ever changing scenery, great food (fantastic fish not just curries), enthusiastic, knowledgeable local guides who made the holiday carefree and a bunch of  people aged from their 20s to 70s who mixed, laughed and looked out for each other. Highlights were cycling through palm fringed fishing villages, rice paddies, tea plantations, taking photos of the fishermen hauling in their nets on the beach, the doughnut-style cake and chai tea having all conquered a good hill, swimming in a rock pool after a really interesting walk and talk by Baby Matthew through his rubber plantation, and his wife, banana jam on rice flour pancakes for breakfast.

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0 E Jenkinson, 03/04/12
From the moment I left the airport at Trivandrum I knew that I was going to love Kerala and the cycling tour.  Despite being the youngest in the group by 18 years, I never felt like I didn't belong in the group and was happy to spend my holiday with a lovely group of people.  Our Indian guides were excellent and keen to give us an insight into their country and culture, and they worked very hard to ensure that the holiday ran smoothly and was enjoyable for everyone. I felt that cycling through the countryside allowed us to see a country that few other tourists will be lucky enough to experience.  It was a pleasure cycling through villages, saying hello to locals and school children, seeing beautiful beaches and backwaters, cycling in the fresher air through the tea plantations, and then doing a city sightseeing tour of Cochin by bike.  The pace of the cycling was not too fast, not too slow, and was very varied in terms of distance and terrain and no-one was pressured to cycle anything they didn't feel up to.  Yes, you do have be very aware of traffic, but so long as you are sensible, you're in no danger.  The mountain bikes were very good quality and well looked after, and it was sad saying goodbye to the bike at the end. All the locals that we met were very kind and welcoming, especially in the homestays.  If you're female and young, my only advice would be to make sure your cycling kit includes t-shirts with sleeves and longer shorts, or loose shorts for cycling so that you don't risk offending any locals.  I can't tell you my favourite bit of the trip because it was all excellent.  Explore have created an amazing and diverse itinerary.  I really didn't want to come home....
0 SH, 27/03/12
Cycling through villages with children waving, rickshaws beeping, motorbikes buzzing about, Indian music playing, streamers near the temples fluttering ! Awakens all the senses.  Kerala fish curries are delicious. Kingfisher beer and fresh lime sodas taste so refreshing after the rides.   Relaxing in hammocks at Vanilla County.   Enjoying the beach life at Kovalum.    Take lots of loose cotton tops, they encourage "baggy "shorts over tight cycling shorts as more modest for cycling. A large camera memory card for all your pictures. You will get sweaty, dusty and tired, but great fun.
0 S Snow, 20/02/12
Itinerary is well balanced and doesn't begin to describe the wonders on the tour. Our tour guide Beccy was fantastic, unfortunately they only have local guides now. The biking is easy for someone with average fitness, yet there are some more challenging sections for more serious cyclists. The balance of cycling is great, done by early afternoon so plenty of time to explore each new destination or relax. The range of environments you get to cycle through was excellent from beaches to backwaters, hillside to a range of different plantations. The homestays are magic, we were in one over Christmas and they pulled out all the stops - a truly memorable experience.  The only downside was the group, filled with nice people but as I was the youngest by 17 years I did not feel part of the group like I had on other explore trips which had much better range of ages.
0 Charles and Caroline, 11/02/11
We had planned to go Cycling in Kerala months before the snow paralysed Heathrow. Horrors: we’d booked precisely the wrong day and it threatened to ruin our Christmas and New Year 2010/11. But thereafter we laid back: the Explore home team dug us out calmly and efficiently and, luckily, we were able to make the next tour in good time. Better still, the insurance payout for the delay left us quids in; thereafter it was pretty much exciting bliss. This was our fourth Explore holiday: we’d been to Madeira, Poland and Jordan, and they were all great - but this was superb. We still often travel independently, but there’s no way we could have packed in all the pleasure, richness, variety and learning we enjoyed if we’d attempted Kerala on our own. Had we tried, it would certainly have taken much longer, cost much more and deprived us of the pleasure of doing it with a great group of people and an outstanding team leader too. The bikes were excellent, but we didn’t only cycle: we had the bus and used trains, boats, and of course feet – and at one point, where the road had been washed away, the group+bikes made it seamlessly in a relay of canoes. I’d guess we covered about 800km in all, but distance is no object when there’s probably something colourful, wonderful and/or extraordinary around every other bend. Our 460-odd photos prove the point. It wasn’t quite like being on another planet: it was sometimes very strange and always exotic, but there was nothing alien about it. There were only ever negligible exceptions to the general rule: everyone there seemed infectiously smiley, and wonderfully friendly, curious, generous and welcoming. As holidays go, this was by far the most subversive: forget the return ticket. Let’s just stay in Kerala, on and on.  I seriously hesitate to mention it, because I wouldn’t want to tempt those nice people at Explore to bump up their prices – but honestly, this holiday represented superb value. And whoever planned our itinerary deserves huge credit – for great imagination and sensitivity to local custom and practice, quite apart from their understanding of what Explorers might want to do and take in. Over and above some grand tour strategy, the attention to detail was brilliant: whoever dunnit must have worked their sandals off, whatever else. They should feel as proud as others would feel grateful for what they accomplished. This was our best holiday in decades. Trust me: my critical faculties are not just intact: some would say they are grossly over-developed – so it’s all the nicer to recommend this tour without reservation. It’s stunningly good. You end up drenched in highlights, so many that it would be absurd to choose between them. All in all, it felt memorable, going on life-changing. And there was a quite unexpected bonus for me: pre-Kerala, I was a committed carnivore, I am now a devotee of spicy vegetables and fruit even more…  Huge thanks to Ali (group leader), to everyone in the group (absolutely no exceptions) and to the planners and prime movers at Explore. Thank you all so much: it was a real treat. Charles and Caroline.(CKB - end January  2011)
0 GKD, 29/12/10
Wonderful homestay at Vanilla County, lovely old house, welcoming hosts. (CKB - 1st November 2010)
0 Kat Lyle, 23/12/10
This was my first Explore trip andI will definatly be going on more trips with them. Cycling around the beautiful countryside, villages and mountains was a great way to see the country. It really felt like a holiday as we mainly cycled in the morning then free time in the afternoon before an evening adventure: boat trip, cultural dance show, group meal. Also so many other adventures like visiting rockpools and riding elephants. My best holiday in a long time. (24th November 2010)
0 Claire Mandel, 22/09/10
This was a great holiday for anyone interested in seeing an utterly beautiful, relatively contained region of southern India from a bike, without the cycling being so hard core that you need to be super-fit. 3-4 hours of relatively easy-going cycling per day allowed plenty of time for a load of other things to be integrated into the trip. The trip includes a lovely combination of cycling and site-seeing, with great diversity of nature, culture, beaches and fun. It was also great to have the opportunity to spend some time with some locals through our homestay visits, which was definitely one of the highlights. January is a good time of year to do this trip, before things in Kerala hot up too much. I'd recommend this trip to anyone looking for an inspiring and stimulating, and still relaxing 2-weeks away. (CKB- 1st January 2010)
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