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house boat in the backwaters of Kerala in India

Cycle Kerala 2022

Challenge level: 4 out of 5

When can I go?

10 November - 19 November 2022 On Sale
19 November - 28 November 2022 On Sale
Duration 10 days

What does it cost?

Registration fee (payable today) Info $523
Remaining amount
Total commitment Info

Cycle Kerala 2022

Due to the red-hot demand for this challenge, we are delighted to open two new dates for 2022! Light up your November and join us for one of our most popular Dream Challenges in history!

Cycle through the wildlife-packed Western Ghats, the spicy Cardamom Country and the beautiful backwaters of Kerala to the Mirari Beach, on this exquisite challenge for the charity of your choice.

Setting off from Kochi, we’ll tackle tough climbs through Munnar’s misty coffee and tea plantations, to the top of the Kannan Devan Hills in the Western Ghats.

The breath-taking panoramas and ample wildlife spotting opportunities are well worth the climb.

The Western Ghats is renowned for its vast biodiversity, home to thousands of plants and hundreds of animals, including 325 endangered species. We’ll keep our eyes peeled every pedal of the way. If we’re lucky, we may spot leopards, elephants and nearly fifty different types of butterfly!

We spice up our cycle as we skirt Periyar National Park through the cardamom-growing Idukki Region.

Then it’s one last stretch across the palm-lined lagoons, islands and canals of the backwaters. We’ll get awesome insight into the coconut catching and coir communities, before reaching a paradise finish at Marari Beach.

Although beautiful, this is far from a relaxing getaway. Our cycle will leave you with aching legs, unforgettable experiences and a bunch of new friends.

COVID-19 - keeping you safe
The health and safety of our participants is always - and has always been - our highest priority.

Our team of experts here at DC has created a brilliant 14-step initiative, to minimise the risk of coronavirus and maximise your safety. Please click here to see our ground-breaking plan and rest assured that you're safe booking with us.

Your itinerary

Days 1 & 2
UK – Kochi – Munnar (1,500m) | approx. 105km

We first meet as a group at the airport in London, where we catch our overnight flight to Kochi International Airport in Kerala, southern India.

Arriving on Day 2, our fab ground handler meets us at the airport and we transfer together (approx. 4 – 5 hours) to the misty tea fields of Munnar (1,500m).

Renowned for its local coffee and spice plantations and incredible range of wildlife, Munnar is tucked in the Western Ghats and makes the perfect introduction to Southern India.

Once we’ve checked in to our hotel, we have our bike fitting and enjoy a short orientation ride through the exquisite natural scenery.

Our day ends with our first group dinner.

Day 3
Munnar – Top Station (1,900m) – Munnar | approx. 76km (+/- 400m)

After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer through the lush valley of the tea fields to our starting point in the Kanan Devan Hills and cycle up to the Top Station.

This first climb is tough but the vistas from approx. 1,900m are more than worth it and it means we’re over our hardest stretch by lunch time.

Then it’s back down we go through spectacular panoramas, stopping along the way at the Mattupetty Dam. The structure itself is unremarkable; but the view of the river flowing amongst lush vegetation and a majestic mountain backdrop is a sure sight for sore thighs!

Looking out over tea gardens, we have the chance to spot a massive array of wildlife. The Western Ghats is home to nearly a third of India’s flora and fauna and the WWF has called it a treasure trove of wildlife. If we’re lucky, we may see some of the 325 different endangered species of animals and plants, including leopards and elephants.

Coming to the end of our day’s ride, we meet our coach and transfer to our hotel for dinner and a good night’s rest.

Day 4
Munnar – Vandanmedu (1,100m) | approx. 80km (+500m/-900m)

Mounting our bikes after breakfast, we bid goodbye to the tea plantations and pedal up and down through the biggest cardamom plantation in India.

This leads us to the breath-taking Lockhart Gap. Standing at an elevation of 2,000m, the panoramas of dramatic cliff faces, rolling plantations and misty blue skies make it one of Munnar’s major attractions.

We end our day with dinner and a good rest at a comfortable hotel, nestled amongst cardamom plantations.

Day 5
Vandanmedu – Vagamon (970m) | approx. 70km

We spice up our cycle, as we move into the outskirts of the national park. Tackling some tough climbs, we pedal through the protected sanctuary of Thekkady/Periyar, home to the critically endangered Nigiri tiger.

The Idukki district of Kerala, which we’re passing through now, is known as "Heaven of all spices" with a spice trade believed to date back three thousand years. If time allows, we have the chance to gain insight into the local agriculture, with a visit to a beautiful spice garden.

As we leave Periyar behind, we’re in for plenty more up-hill cycling; but with an array of wildlife to look out for as we go and constant lush panoramas, we’ll love every second of it.

Finally, we reach our hotel in Vagamon, a gorgeous town set amidst green hills of meadows, pine valleys and tea fields. We’re likely even to smell the fresh tea growing around us.

Day 6
Vagamon – Ettumanoor – Kumarakom (50m) | approx. 85km

Our hilly but heavenly day’s route takes us to the backwaters of Kerala. Starting off with some climbs after breakfast, we head towards the major town of Ettumanoor.

Known for its magnificent Shiva temple, this town also hosts the historic Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple, which, according to myth, was established by the five acknowledged sons of the king of Hastinapur, Pandu.

Before we reach the town, we stop off at a nearby hidden lake for amazing views and a stretch of the legs. Then we hop back on our bikes to ride along a mix of roads via Ettumanoor Junction.

As the day goes on, we meet some more flat terrain and enjoy the last stretch to our hotel in Kumarakom.

It becomes clear why Kerala is known as “God’s Own Country”, as we reach this idyllic destination by the fresh water Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in Kerala.

Days 7 & 8
Kumarakom – Marari Beach | approx. 50km

We’ve made it to our last day of cycling and our route doesn’t disappoint. Setting off after breakfast, we enjoy a fairly gentle ride through the rustic Kerala backwaters, a network of tranquil canals and lagoons, fringed with palm trees.

We get an extra feel for the local lifestyle as we cross the serene island of Alleppey. We pass right through the quaint coir village resort for a chance to see the local crafts and coconut catchers. Our challenge ends when we reach our finish line at the Marari Beach.

Rated as one of the world’s top five Hammock Beaches, Marari offers white sand, refreshing waters and hundreds palm trees.

Needless to say, we can well and truly relax here. Tonight, we celebrate our achievement with a delicious dinner.

Day 8 is then free for you to spend as you wish in this slice of paradise. Kerala is renowned for its stunning beaches and having just conquered an awesome challenge, you'll enjoy it all the more!

To give you maximum flexibility, you’ll need to arrange and buy your own lunch and dinner today – a great chance to try one of the local restaurants.

Days 9 & 10
Marari - Kochi - UK

After breakfast, we transfer to Kochi for a guided walking tour of the historic city.

With chances to pick up any last-minute souvenirs, we explore the Jewish streets and spice markets, and visit St Francis Church and the synagogue.

We end the day with a last delicious Indian dinner, before transferring to Kochi Airport for our flight back to the UK. Touching down in London on Day 10, we part ways and you make your own way home.

Book my place

Funding options

Self Funded

Pay your registration fee and your challenge costs yourself.

$2,699

Pay the balance

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £349 when you book, which is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Pay your challenge cost yourself 12 weeks before the challenge starts.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, approx. £325), your food, accommodation, transfers, entry fees, guides, bike hire, mechanics and medical support, including at least one UK doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Please also remember to budget for your visa and your airport taxes and fuel surcharge (approx. £325).
  • Choose to fundraise as much as you can or make a personal donation to the charity of your choice.
Book my place

Sponsorship

Pay your registration fee and raise the minimum target for your chosen charity.

$5,400

Minimum sponsorship target

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £349 when you book, which is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Fundraise the minimum sponsorship target for a charity of your choice at least 12 weeks before your challenge starts.
  • Providing you have raised the funds, the charity you are supporting will pay the challenge costs on your behalf.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, approx. £325), your food, accommodation, transfers, entry fees, guides, bike hire, mechanics and medical support, including at least one UK doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Please also remember to budget for your visa and your airport taxes and fuel surcharge (approx. £325).
  • Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
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FAQs
Cycle Kerala 2022

As we hope you know, the health and safety of our participants is always - and has always been - our highest priority.

Our team of experts here at Dream Challenges has created a brilliant 14-step initiative, to minimise the risk of coronavirus and maximise your safety. Please click here to see our ground-breaking plan and rest assured that you're safe booking with us.

A challenge must meet the following criteria to go ahead:

  • The UK government including the Foreign Commonwealth office, and the authorities of the destination country, must be allowing travel and events of this type at the time of departure.
  • There must be no general requirement for isolation or quarantine on arrival in the destination country or on the return to the UK at the time of departure.
  • The challenge must meet all the relevant parts of our 14-step COVID-19 action plan.
  • There must be enough people that want to travel to make the group viable.
  • The challenge must be an enjoyable and memorable experience within any actions that need to be taken. 

Absolutely! As part of our amazing 14-step initiative to minimise the risk of coronavirus and maximise your safety on all our challenges we're delighted to have found a fantastic travel insurance policy, which covers you for cancellation due to medically diagnosed COVID-19.

You can see the insurance policy here or click here to check out the full 14 actions we're taking to keep you safe.

Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate cover for your challenge.

This challenge is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for.

A number of the people who will take part will have a low level of fitness when they sign up. This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, help your favourite charity in a big way and have the experience of a lifetime.

The toughest aspect of our adventure will probably be the humidity. We also recommend that you incorporate hills into your training rides, as the route is almost entirely undulating hills.

We'll cycle on a mix of roads.

Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up for Cycle Kerala on their own.

Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for Cycle Kerala.

Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow cyclists on your training and fundraising.

You may also want to reach out to the other participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.

Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. Everyone aged 18 or over is welcome to join the ride!

A cycling helmet is essential. Cycling shorts are also recommended and everyone will need their own water bottles or a Camelbak-type hydration system. Apart from that, no specialist equipment is required.

We'll supply you with a list of everything you will need to take before you go. Cyclists will have the use of 18 or 21-gear mountain bikes and we suggest you bring the saddle or gel cover you're used to riding on.

We'll be staying in comfortable hotels on a twin-sharing basis throughout this challenge.

Yes of course! If you wish to extend your stay you will need to come out of our group flights. Please let us know at least fourteen weeks before the challenge start date and we can arrange this for you.

Your non-refundable registration fee of £349 per person is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.

Your challenge costs of £1,799 (ie. 50% of the sponsorship target) cover:

  • Your flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, approx. £325)
  • Meals throughout the challenge (except for your lunch and dinner on Day 8)
  • Accommodation
  • Bike hire
  • All transfers in India, as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transportation throughout the challenge
  • A team of first-aid trained local guides and Dream Challenges staff
  • Full support from the Dream Challenges office in the lead up to and during your challenge
  • Medical support, including at least one UK doctor with expedition medicine training, who will accompany us throughout the challenge
  • Mechanical support
  • Your Cycle Kerala 2022 medal and t-shirt
  • Extra protocols taken to protect you from COVID-19 - please see our ground-breaking 14-step action plan here.

In addition to paying your registration fee of £349 and either fundraising the sponsorship target or self funding your challenge costs of £1,799 you will need to budget for:

  • Your airport taxes and the fuel surcharge (approx. £325 but subject to change – up or down)
  • Your lunch and dinner on Day 8
  • Your personal travel insurance
  • Your visa for India. You will need to arrange this yourself. We'll send you details of this in the lead up to the challenge.
  • Gratuities
  • Optional tours
  • Personal expenses

Travel Insurance

You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has found an insurance provider, which covers you for this type of activity and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19. 

You can see the insurance policy here or click here to check out the full 14 actions we're taking to keep you safe.

You can, however, take out your own insurance providing it covers you for a charity cycle ride in India. 

Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate cover for your challenge.

Visa

All participants will need a tourist visa for India, which you will need to arrange yourself. Please don't apply for your visa until we advise you to do so. We will send you all the relevant information about how to do this before the challenge. 

Please make sure to apply for your visa on the correct website: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/

This is the only website the High Commission of India uses and other sites are likely to be scams and/or charge unnecessary fees.

The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way.

We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.

Once you have registered, we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the cycle. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.

During the cycle, we'll have at least one UK doctor with expedition medicine training from the get-go and at all times throughout the challenge, along with a team of experienced, first-aid trained challenge guides and porters.

We’ll have an event leader and a group of first-aid trained challenge guides, plus at least one UK doctor with expedition medicine training, who will be with you the whole time.

The group size is likely to be around 30 people for this challenge.

As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.

We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.

NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

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