motorcycle touring in india Man sitting on motorcycle looking at forest valley

Imagine a time around 80 million years ago, as the Indian subcontinent is drifting northward, it crosses the Re-Union hotspot, triggering a series of volcanic eruptions that result in the formation of this 1600 km ‘welt-like’ feature parallel to the Western coast of India.

Rich soil, a tropical climate and the monsoon rains combine to form such a force of creation, that this mountain range is considered one of the ten bio-diversity hotspots in the world. 

Alternating between the Western ghats and the West coast, this may be some of the most surreal road- tripping experiences; motorcycle touring in India has to offer.The circuits are intended as a pure reference, as they have been broken down as single day legs, that cover an average of 200 km/day.


beach west coast India goa motorcycle touring in india ghat road amobli maharashtra


However the magic of this region lies in slow, immersive travel.

There are so many attractions which require detours and spending a longer duration in specific locations. The stay options are plentiful & the hospitality amazing.. However we leave that for you to discover or you could stay tuned for a more detailed region specific post.


map showing western ghats india



The Western ghats have been used as a rough guide to define this set of motorcycle touring in India circuits, and first hand knowledge has allowed (sort) of a logical itinerary to develop. Convenient start/end points have been taken into consideration.

A theme comes into play in the case of the Plantation Circuit (route #4). But essentially the true inspiration comes from the desire to  travel through this ancient mountain range and an equally gorgeous coastline.




The Western Ghats route #1:  Forests, Spirituality and Lesser Known Roads..

  • Baroda – Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Shoolpaneshwar – Dindori

  • Dindori – Trimbak

  • Trimbak – Bhimashankar

  • Bhimashankar – Lonavala – Mumbai

  • Mumbai – Vadodara


Motorcycle touring in India map mumbai to Gujarat to Lonavla

This road trip begins in the artistic town of Vadodara, which in itself has several attractions, but the showstopper on this ride is the Western ghats and that’s where we retain our focus.

While Shoolpaneshwar is not technically a part of the Western ghats, the forests and undulating topography of the  Narmada basin allow for a great start and an opportunity to visit the Unity statue in the vicinity. A short ride away from Shoolpaneshwar we begin our tryst with the Western ghats, at the town of Songadh.

We traverse through stunning roads cutting across forest and agricultural land, along a gently undulating landscape, encountering jagged rocks, black soil, and  plateaus covered in short grass that are characteristic of the Western ghats.

Finish the (day’s) ride in the sylvan environs of Dindori – the start of the grape & wine heartland of India. Some great mountain roads lead you to Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga. Continue this spiritual passage, travelling to another Jyotirlinga at Bhimashankar. While these destinations have a clear religious significance, its worth a mention that the scenery you are passing through is nothing short of a spiritual experience in itself. Often a classic aspect of motorcycle touring in India.

dindori region vineyard motorcycle touring in india off road biking shoolpaneshwar wildlife sanctuary Trimbakeshwar Temple Nashik

Based on the time of the year, you would be accompanied by numerous waterfalls, lush forests of green, high vantage points and surreal sunrises/sunsets. Our final day along the ghats, takes us to the popular hill station of Lonavala, albeit on lesser roads that are a motorists delight. A straightforward return to Mumbai and finally along the highway back to Vadodara.



The Western Ghats route #2: The Konkan Kaleidoscope Road Trip ..

  • Mumbai – Kashid

  • Kashid – Harnai

  • Harnai – Ganpatipule

  • Ganpatipule – Sawantwadi

  • Sawantwadi – Goa

  • Goa – Satara

  • Satara – Mumbai


motorcycle road trip map mumbai to goa

This region is so picturesque and the nostalgia of this road trip so strong, that many movies and songs have paid tribute to its ‘epicness’. We are travelling between Mumbai and Goa, a region surrounded by stories, history, diverse landscapes, culinary delights, architectural marvels – it’s difficult to encompass it all into one single road-trip.

We encourage you to take this journey, focusing on slow and immersive travel, focusing on an event flow that enhances true engagement. Focus on the interior coast of Maharashtra, crafting a journey that has you travelling on: interior roads (slicing through the Sahyadris), skirting the Arabian sea (along pristine beaches), waiting for ferries to crossover lands-end, dabbling in local cuisine (amidst untouched villages), and through orchards of Alphonso mango interspersed with the green of Paddy fields.

This may be one of the BEST regions in India for a road-trip.

Start with the iconic gateway of India and get on the Ferry to Mandwa. A short road trip along the ocean ( on what’s called the coast of ruins) will take you to Kashid, and the nearby attractions of Murud & Janjira. We continue with ferry crossings and pristine beaches showcasing the west coast of India at its finest. Stop for a picnic lunch at one of the many spots you will cross.

motorcycle touring in india western ghats sawantwadi paddy feilds village konkan india sawantwadi village konkan india

Through spontaneous ocean dips, and stop-overs to sample the highway cuisine of the region; arrive at one of the most pristine beaches on the coast, where the combination of cliffs meeting the ocean set the stage for a perfect evening. We continue alternating between the hills and the ocean till we reach the sun-kissed shores of Goa.

The return journey takes you to the Kaas Plateau near Kolhapur – Deccan’s own, Valley of flowers. We eventually hit the Nh7 making a speed return to maximum city Mumbai.



The Western Ghats route #3: Of Hippies & Hills ..

  • North Goa – South Goa

  • South Goa – Jog falls

  • Jog Falls – Chickmangaluru

  • Chickmangaluru – Malpe

  • Malpe – Gokarna

  • Gokarna – Goa


Motorcycle touring in India map Goa to Gokarana to Jog falls

Churches, Bridges, Islands & Ferries– an inland Goa that is less touristy  than the beaches, yet offer a diversity of culture and landscape.

Perfect for a moto adventure, the roads are in great condition and trace across the countryside in  a dark pattern of electric-cable like interconnections. Explore the larger river islands of Divar & Chorao and further cross over to Old Goa’s historic quarter.

Crossover into the state of Karnataka  and  you are now in proper hill country with its associated twisties. Long sweeping bends &  sharp flicking switch-backs greet you, as you course through low mountains, blanketed in forest cover.

Enter the historic heartland of coffee! Chikmangaluru is where the first (smuggled) seeds of coffee were planted in India, by the sage Baba Budan. A forest within a forest would be an apt description of this region. The specificity of coffee plantations needing the shade of tall trees, ensures that the ecosystem is not a sterile mono-culture of coffee bushes

A short road trip to the 5th century living  architecture site – the temples of Belur, will transport you to a time of impeccable craftsmanship; when art was patronized by the rulers of this region.

One of the iconic sites of South Indian temple architecture, this diversion in our road-trip is a reminder of the historic  footprint of the land you are travelling through.  Our journey continues with another gorgeous stretch of tarmac that traverses the Western Ghats before we descend towards the coast. A short break by the lighthouse of Kaup  brings you to Malpe.

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We are in back-water country now. Which in parts, is fertile cultivated fields, and in parts islands of mangrove forest. All of this is interconnected through a series of brides that provide  a fitting view point of this dramatic landscape.

Hippie vibes await you at Om beach & Kudle, a reminder that Goa is just a couple of hours away.



The Western Ghats route #4: The Plantation circuit ..

  • Kochi – Munnar

  • Munnar – Kodaikanal

  • Kodaikanal – Ooty

  • Ooty – Madikeri

  • Madikeri – Calicut

  • Calicut – Kochi


motorcycle touring in india road map Kochi to Kochi

The Western ghats are a geographic phenomenon almost as old as earth. Forming a natural wall along the Western coast of India, millennia old forests, fed by the monsoon rains, cover this region. Home to such a high concentration of flora and fauna that its considered among the top 10 biodiversity hotspots in the world.

To deal with the South Indian summer and to exploit this abundant natural resource, a systematic network of roads was created, taming forests and bringing huge swathes of forest under cultivation for cash crops like tea, coffee, pepper and rubber.  This road-trip is a homage to a generation of pioneers, who have left an undeniable print across the landscape of India.

The rewards of motorcycle touring in India, especially South India, are in the slow winding curves on fast paced roads, lush forests (with high chances of spotting wildlife), and chasing psychedelic hued sunsets on beaches you never heard of..

Starting with the historic town of Kochi, you proceed onward to the tea capital of South India. Munnar is an endless views of rolling green hills  in various hues, picture postcard moments of tea pickers , lush meadows with cows, and patches of impenetrable Shola rain forests.

motorcycle touring in india western ghats home made chocolate munnar south india plantation in south india holiday South Indian filter Coffee

Travel further to Kodaikanal and Ooty, both famous for their boarding schools and uncommonly high concentration of home-made chocolate shops. You crossover from Tamil Nadu into Karnataka, and from tea country into the heartland of coffee cultivation in India – Coorg.

You finally leave the Western ghats and descend to the coast, at the historic town of Calicut –  equally legendary for its cuisine ( Mussels & Biryani). A last stretch on a coastal highway brings you back to Kochi. 



The Western Ghats route #5: The End ..

  • Kochi – Kumily (via Vagamon)

  • Kumily – Courtallam

  • Courtallam – Kanyakumari

  • Kanyakumari – Varkala

  • Varkala – Alleppey

  • Alleppey – Kochi


royal enfield motorcycle trip map kochi to kanyakumari

Owing to its connectivity, this trip also starts in Kochi- but you proceed into the hills towards Vagamon and onward to the lesser known hill- station at Kumily. Its vicinity to the Periyar national park makes it a stunning urban centre amidst dense rainforests. Several stay options allow it to be a convenient base to explore the National Park.

Lesser roads take you through the core of the rainforest, your eyes constantly alert , hoping for some wildlife sighting. We arrive at Courtallam famous for its waterfalls and therapeutic massages (not for the faint hearted).

Travel along low hill country with a higher density of cultivation, before making the final descent to lands end at Kanyakumari. Significant for so many reasons, take a dip at the Triveni Sangam and admire the statue of Swami Vivekananda, this historic town finds references from times of antiquity.

backwaters boat trip kerala india chinese fishing nets kochi india Kanyakumari statue south india motorcycle touring india a forest road in south india

A fast paced, high traffic ride along the expressway(NH 66) takes you to the cliffs of Varkala, and its idyllic beach. A haven for hippies, this town has transformed under the aegis of Kerala tourism, and several experiential properties & cafes line the narrow cliff face. Sip on a beverage as you watch the sun set over the Arabian sea, and if you are lucky, spot dolphins on the horizon.

A short trip on the inner coast takes you along a landscape sandwiched between the ocean and backwater lagoons. Low traffic and picturesque villages are scattered across this emerald landscape, dappled with shining pools of crystal blue. We reach the town of Alleppey and settle into our hotel room, preparing for the evening.

As cliched as it may be, a sunset cruise in  a house boat on lake Vembanad  is a must do. Surreal colors, stunning birdlife, local food, local beverages, and a human eco-system that survives in the back channels of this massive water body make this area beautiful to experience. Its everyday life conducted nonchalantly along a watery world (that they glide through on tiny boats & dinghies). A sort ride to Kochi means that you can depart from Alleppey as late as you want.


Whatever motorcycle touring route you choose, always remember to keep these points in mind.

We would love to hear what you think about these routes in the comments below, and have a look at our curated options for motorcycle touring in India or just message us for any motorcycle travel questions you have. Happy to share our knowledge and expertise.

Before you go , and if you have a time to indulge in more stories about motorcycle touring in India , check out our blog post on Reasons to Ride in South India. The road never ends .. 😉