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⁠⁠Top 8 biking routes in South India: A rider's paradise

⁠⁠Top 8 biking routes in South India: A rider's paradise

By Aquib Nawab

08 Jul, 2024

Breathtaking views, diverse landscapes, and a wealth of cultural attractions in the southern parts of India make it a paradise for bike fanatics. From the misty hills of Coorg to the palm-fringed beaches of Kerala, biking through this area will be an experience you’ll never forget.

Here are the 8 best biking routes that will take you through South India’s beauty and adventure:

1. Chennai to Pondicherry: The coastal cruiser

  • Distance: 165 km (approx)
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

This iconic route along the East Coast Road (ECR) is a perfect blend of scenic beauty and smooth tarmac. Starting from the bustling metropolis of Chennai, the road opens up to reveal the Bay of Bengal, accompanying you with its rhythmic waves and salty breeze.

What makes it special?

  • Scenic coastal views: Witness the changing hues of the ocean as you ride alongside golden beaches and swaying palm trees.
  • Smooth roads: The well-maintained ECR ensures a comfortable and enjoyable ride.
  • Interesting stops: Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram with its ancient temples and rock-cut sculptures, or take a detour to the serene Muttukadu backwaters.
  • Culinary delights: Indulge in fresh seafood at roadside shacks or enjoy a luxurious meal at one of the many resorts dotting the coast.

Pondicherry | Credits: cooper_moon_, Instagram

2. Bangalore to Ooty: The queen of hills climb

  • Distance: 271 km (approx.)
  • Duration: 5-6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

This route takes you from the Silicon Valley of India to the "Queen of Hills," Ooty, offering a mix of urban landscapes, ghat roads, and breathtaking mountain views. Along the way, you'll pass through lush green forests, tea gardens, and charming hill stations, making it a scenic and refreshing journey. The winding roads and steep climbs add an element of adventure, perfect for those who love a challenging drive.

What makes it special?

  • 36 hairpin bends: Test your riding skills and experience the thrill of navigating the legendary 36 hairpin bends leading up to Ooty.
  • Tea plantations and waterfalls: Ride through lush green tea estates and witness cascading waterfalls like the Pykara and Kalhatti Falls.
  • Pleasant weather: Escape the heat and enjoy the cool, refreshing climate of the Nilgiris.
  • Colonial charm: Experience the colonial heritage of Ooty with its charming bungalows, botanical gardens, and the iconic Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Ooty | Credits: th.fail_, Instagram

3. Mangalore to Goa: The Konkan coast explorer

  • Distance: 343 km (approx)
  • Duration: 6-8 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The route along the Konkan Coast offers a delightful journey with coastal roads, rolling hills, and charming views of rural life. You'll encounter beautiful beaches, quaint fishing villages, and lush greenery that typify the serene coastal landscape. As you drive, the aroma of fresh seafood and the sight of traditional architecture will enhance your travel experience, making it a memorable adventure along India's western shoreline.

What makes it special?

  • Scenic coastal highway: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea, with coconut groves and quaint villages dotting the coastline.
  • Western Ghats passes: Experience the thrill of riding through winding roads and hairpin bends as you cross the Western Ghats.
  • Historical sites: Explore the ancient temples of Gokarna and Murudeshwar, or visit the historic forts of Bekal and Chandragiri.
  • Goan vibes: End your journey in Goa, soaking in its vibrant culture, beaches, and nightlife.

Goa | Credits: flexcia_dsouza, Instagram

4. Munnar to Thekkady: The spice route adventure

  • Distance: 88 km (approx.)
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This route takes you through the heart of Kerala's spice plantations, offering a sensory overload of lush greenery, aromatic spices, and stunning landscapes. As you wind through the hills, you'll pass by cardamom, pepper, and coffee plantations, experiencing the rich aroma that fills the air. The journey also provides opportunities to spot diverse wildlife and enjoy picturesque vistas, making it a truly enchanting drive through the Western Ghats.

What makes it special?

  • Tea and spice gardens: Ride through verdant tea estates and spice gardens, inhaling the aroma of cardamom, pepper, and cloves.
  • Periyar wildlife sanctuary: Take a detour to the periyar wildlife sanctuary and get on a jungle safari to spot elephants, tigers, and other wildlife.
  • Hill station charm: Enjoy the cool, misty climate of Munnar and Thekkady, surrounded by rolling hills and valleys.

Munnar | Credits: jostin__333, Instagram

5. Coorg to Wayanad: The coffee trail ride

  • Distance: 145 km (approx)
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This route takes you through the coffee-growing regions of Coorg and Wayanad, offering a scenic ride through rolling hills, coffee plantations, and dense forests. While you start from The Hosteller Coorg, you'll be greeted by the lush greenery and tranquil ambiance that Coorg is famous for.

As you travel towards Wayanad, the landscape transforms into a tapestry of coffee estates, spice gardens, and verdant forests teeming with wildlife. Upon reaching your destination, The Hosteller Wayanad, you'll find yourself immersed in nature's splendour, surrounded by serene beauty and the aroma of fresh coffee.

This drive not only connects two of the most picturesque locations in South India but also provides a refreshing escape into the heart of nature.

What makes it special?

  • Coffee estates: Ride through endless stretches of coffee plantations, witnessing the coffee-making process from bean to cup.
  • Waterfalls and viewpoints: Stop by scenic waterfalls like the Abbey Falls and Iruppu Falls, or enjoy panoramic views from Raja's Seat in Coorg.
  • Wildlife encounters: Explore the Nagarhole National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary for a chance to spot elephants, tigers, and other wildlife.

Wayanad | Credits: _walker46, Instagram

6. Kanyakumari to Rameswaram: The pilgrimage ride

  • Distance: 308 km (approx)
  • Duration: 6-7 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This route takes you on a spiritual journey through Tamil Nadu, connecting two significant pilgrimage sites: Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India, and Rameswaram, an island town known for its Ramanathaswamy Temple.

What makes it special?

  • Religious significance: Visit ancient temples like the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari and the Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram.
  • Coastal scenery: Enjoy riding along the southeastern coast of India, with the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean flanking your route.
  • Cultural immersion: Experience the local culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu, sampling authentic cuisine and witnessing colourful festivals.

Kanyakumari | Credits: ilyaskhan303, Instagram

7. Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley: The Eastern Ghats escape

  • Distance: 113 km (approx)
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

This route takes you from the coastal city of Visakhapatnam to the scenic Araku Valley, nestled amidst the Eastern Ghats. The journey offers spectacular views of lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and terraced coffee plantations.

As you ascend through winding roads, you'll pass by tribal villages and dense forests, making the drive both thrilling and enchanting. The cool, refreshing climate of Araku Valley provides a perfect contrast to the coastal heat, ensuring a rejuvenating escape into nature.

What makes it special?

  • Scenic mountain roads: Experience the thrill of riding through winding roads and hairpin bends as you ascend the Eastern Ghats.
  • Coffee plantations and waterfalls: Enjoy the scenic beauty of coffee plantations and cascading waterfalls like the Borra Caves and Katiki Waterfalls.
  • Tribal culture: Immerse yourself in the unique culture and traditions of the tribal communities residing in the Araku Valley.

Visakhapatnam | Credits: vizag_cityofdestiny, Instagram

8. Hyderabad to Hampi: The historical heritage ride

  • Distance: 373 km (approx.)
  • Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This route takes you from the "City of Pearls," Hyderabad, to the ancient ruins of Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, you'll traverse through the diverse landscapes of Telangana and Karnataka, ranging from bustling towns to serene countryside. The journey is dotted with historical landmarks, quaint villages, and scenic vistas that provide a glimpse into the region's rich cultural heritage.

Upon reaching Hampi, you'll be greeted by awe-inspiring temples, majestic stone structures, and a landscape that narrates tales of a glorious past, making this drive a captivating blend of history and adventure.

What makes it special?

  • Historical significance: Explore the architectural marvels of Hampi, including the Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple, and the Stone Chariot.
  • Rural landscapes: Ride through the rural heartland of Karnataka, witnessing picturesque villages, paddy fields, and ancient temples.
  • Unique rock formations: Marvel at the giant boulders and unique rock formations that dot the landscape around Hampi.

Hyderabad | Credits: ___mr.charan___, Instagram

Travel across in an affordable way!

Looking to travel without breaking the bank? Hostels are an affordable lodging option worth considering. Hostels provide basic dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms and common areas for a fraction of the price of a hotel. The communal vibe allows you to easily meet fellow travellers to share stories and travel tips.

Many hostels also organise social activities like group dinners, walking tours and pub crawls. This makes them ideal for solo travellers looking to make friends on the road.

If you want budget friendly accommodation without sacrificing comfort, be sure to check out The Hosteller. They offer clean, modern facilities including free Wi-Fi, laundry and lockers. The welcoming community and amenities at The Hosteller make it the perfect budget base for your next adventure.

What to do now?

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