I have travelled to Ernakulam from Bangalore quite a few times in the past and there is just one popular route which would get me there the fastest and that is through Tamil Nadu. This time on my way back I decided that I would take another route which would take me through Cherai Beach, Thrissur, Calicut, Wayanad, Mysore and finally Bangalore. These roads are much narrower and uneven. I would have to ride through Wayanad which is part of the Western Ghats which adds a bit more challenge to it and the forests are known for Elephants and Tigers. To make things worse I was riding at the end of the year when most of the tourists are driving home or going on a vacation, which meant large traffic jams at most of the locations.
I started by around 10 in the morning. I could have taken the highway straight to Thrissur but I wanted to get a view of the beach before leaving. So I took the road leading alongside Cherai Beach(a popular tourist location in Ernakulam) which allowed me to get some photographs. The ride was also much more fun since there was a bit more challenge than going on a highway. Once I was able to get the photos that I wanted I headed straight to Thrissur where I was to meet one of my friends with whom I would ride to Calicut where we had to attend a friends wedding. It was the heat was troublesome toward Thrissur since it was already noon by then.
After starting from Thrissur did we start to hit traffic. I will be honest I have never seen such traffic jams. The roads itself were not plane and the narrow roads made it extremely difficult to overtake the heavy traffic. This made the progress extremely slow and very tiring. The worst stretch came when we neared Calicut, which delayed us by almost an hour! Finally, by about seven in the evening we reached our hotel. After a little bit of partying, we ended lying facedown in our rooms tired and slept just as we hit the bed.
Since we didn’t get to see Calicut the previous day we decided to get up early and go for a walk on the beach. I have always found Calicut to be a very small city. I have stayed there before and most of the places were accessible by walk and that is what I see most of the locals doing. Calicut beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations, dotted with street food and activities in the evening, it is a nice place to relax if you don’t mind the croud. Calicut is also known for its food, especially Non-Veg. My friends who were didn’t eat meat found it quite hard to find something good to eat!
After the beach, we had some nice hot tea and later we got ready for the wedding. Before I started the trip, I knew if I left from Calicut by noon I would reach Bangalore at night so I looked for some hostels at Wayanad but couldn’t find any. I searched online to find good camping and found a spot at Tirunelveli, Wayanad called the Blue Mango which was in the middle of a Tiger reserve. The owner was kind enough to provide me with a spot to pitch my tent even though they were not taking any guests that day. Once the wedding was over I packed up for the trip that was I ahead of me.
Once I started my concern of encountering bad traffic on my way to Wayanad came true. Google maps helped me to dodge some of the traffic but that was not enough to make me reach my destination on time, I was more than an hour an half late. I did stop for some tea and had a fun conversation with the locals about how people behaved to you when you travel around. I got to see a beautiful sunset but that meant riding through the jungle for the next 30Kms in the dark. Every 500 meters I came across animal crossing signboards, the worst of which was Elephants (if I had seen any then it would mean I had to return since it would be too risky to cross a path of a wild elephant). Luckily I was able to reach my destination without anything like that happening, I was even able to get some dinner on the way for the night.
Wayanad a district in Kerala is known for its Wildlife, Forests forest, waterfalls and its beautiful landscapes. I have always wanted to ride here. There are lots of trekking and camping spots. I was able to spot Dears grazing by the roadside while I was on my way. Mornings are the best when the fog comes rolling through the valley. Wayanad is also known for its tribal communities.
This was my first-time camping experience, with only a dog as a companion and locals in the nearby houses. The campsite was fenced didn’t want a tiger to be sneaking up to ruin my good night sleep. The weather was cold and I had to cover up properly since I didn’t have a sleeping bag.
The next day the owner of the campsite was super nice and showed me around the farm and the river beside it. Had to cross this super unstable bridge and make some jumps over gaps over a small dam.
Later that morning I packed up my things and made my way back to Bangalore. The roads were dotted with humps and some of them were locations on slopes which made breaking and crossing them super difficult but after I crossed the border of Kerala the roads shifted to more become smoother and I could ride faster and keep a constant speed. This time I took much fewer stops and was able to reach Bangalore by 5 in the evening. Sadly, I had lost the screw of my action cam and wasn’t able to get any footage after Wayanad.
Things You Can Do
While riding through the roads of Kerala it took more than usual time to reach my destination since most of the roads are narrow two-lane roads. Even the roads are not uneven, so if there is a heavy vehicle climbing one of the slopes the traffic behind would move very slow along with it. There are also traffic cameras, hence had to maintain my speed most of the time. Delaying me further. Try staying at Calicut or at Wayanad which would give you more time to enjoy the ride the next day otherwise you would have to ride through the thick forest at night which would not be that safe.
Also do try to have food from Calicut, I don’t have any recommendations but the most popular hotel would be Paragon. It is known for its biriyani. But there are plenty of local restaurants which provide food at half of the price and tastes as good. You should also try out street food by the beach, many of which sell shellfish.
If you are the type who prefers taking the route less taken then you can go for a full-on coastal ride till Calicut. You won’t be riding by the beach but will be riding close to the coastline and can try to visit a few of the beaches on your way!