India·September

India Tuk Tuk Adventure

Explore the lush, contrasting landscapes of South India. The ultimate Indian Adventure Challenge!

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Overview

Welcome to the India Tuk-Tuk Challenge! Fact: lots of people have been to India. In fact, you can barely move for people who’ve been to India. It’s all “India this” and “India that.” And that’s not a bad thing. India is amazing. Properly amazing. But, the next time someone comes up to you and starts going on about India, imagine you were able to respond with: “Sorry, can I stop you there? I actually once drove a rickshaw about 1000km around India on my own, so whatever you have to say about India, it better be more interesting than that. And if it isn’t, well-intentioned though I’m sure you are, my suggestion is that you leave this conversation posthaste and go and have a long, hard think about how decidedly pedestrian your trip to India was compared to mine. OK?” Yeah. Cool innit. See, we love rickshaws and we love adventures. So we thought we’d take our extremely successful rickshaw rally format – in which, you drive around a country as part of a team and complete challenges to accrue points – and apply it to India. It’ll kick-off in Kerala then wind up, down, under and around this incredible sub-continent, before eventually arriving back in Kerala, like a big, spicy, self-drive boomerang. And there it is. The India Challenge. Are we good or what?

Highlights

Route Details

Route Details

We hire the rickshaws from local drivers. We arrange all of your accommodation. We ensure a big chunk of your entry fee goes towards helping local communities. All you have to do is turn up, get in and drive the damned things. You won’t find another adventure like it.

Adventure

Adventure

Our India Rickshaw Challenge does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s in India. It’s challenging. You drive rickshaws. And an Indian adventure is pretty much guaranteed. But really, there’s so much more in the tin than that: there’s Jungle with tigers in it, impossibly hot curry, getting lost and the occasional monsoon rain cloud . If that sounds like your particular brand of fun, read on.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Getting dirty when you have a nice bed to look forward to is fun; getting dirty when all you have to look forward to is more dirt is no fun at all. That’s why we like to look after you after a hard day on the open road: a few nights in some lovely urban Indian hotels and a few nights in some pretty awesome boutique hotels tucked away in the hills. We’ll also chuck in delicious breakfasts and dinners during the challenge.

Experience the Adventure

Schedule

Previous

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DAY 1

Training Day

Destination: Kochi

Accommodation: Killians Hotel


dining

DAY 2

Distance Travelled: 125km

Checkpoint: Cheruthuruthy

Accommodation: River Retreat

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DAY 3

Distance Travelled: 82km

Checkpoint: Pollachi

Accommodation: Coco Lagoon

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DAY 4

Distance Travelled: 130km

Checkpoint: Kodaikanal

Accommodation: Le Poshe

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DAY 5

Distance Travelled: 0km

Checkpoint: Kodaikanal

Accommodation: Le Poshe

dining

DAY 6

Distance Travelled: 130km

Checkpoint: Bodimettu

Accommodation: Shola Crown

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DAY 7

Distance Travelled: 89km

Checkpoint: Kumily

Accommodation: Forest Canopy

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DAY 8

Distance Travelled: 130km

Checkpoint: Aleppey 

Accommodation: Houseboat

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DAY 9

Distance Travelled: 60km

Checkpoint: Kochi

Accommodation: Trinity Hotel

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DAY 10

Departure

From: Kochi

What's Included

What's Included

Training and driving lessons on arrival day.

Hire and use of 1 genuine, ready-to-roll rickshaw for the duration of the Challenge. Third party liability insurance included.

Accommodation for 2 or 3 people (9 nights) in double, twin or triple rooms. 1 room per team.

Half Board – 9 delicious locally-made breakfasts and dinners.

India Rickshaw Challenge logistics & legal stuff (mechanics, support team, permits, luggage truck).

Welcome pack (sim card and phone, map, t-shirt, event bag, phrase-book, navigational sheets).

Emergency & Medical travel insurance for the duration of the India Rickshaw Challenge.

Awards ceremony & farewell party.

10 % contribution to our Meaningful Travel projects

Flights, visas, airport transfers.

Rickshaw spare parts and repairs (approx. total £40-120 per team).

Fuel (approx. total £100 per team).

Rickshaw Pimpin.

Day to day costs (approx. £30 per day for lunch and drinks)

India Adventure

Why India?

Our India Rickshaw Challenge does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s in India. It’s challenging. You drive rickshaws. And an Indian adventure is pretty much guaranteed. But really, there’s so much more in the tin than that: there’s Jungle with tigers in it, impossibly hot curry, getting lost and the occasional monsoon rain cloud . If that sounds like your particular brand of fun, read on.

India Adventure

Trip Tips

What should I bring along?

What should I bring along?

Probably not your ski jacket. Or that set of golf clubs. South India is as tropical as it gets, so pack accordingly. The nights can get a little chilly in the hills, so a windbreaker jacket and a few light layers wouldn’t go amiss. Other than that, bring all your travel essentials, some good quality suncream and anything you think will make the long driving days more fun (we recommend honing you I-Spy skills beforehand). Oh, and did we mention it might rain?

How about luggage?

How about luggage?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to strap suitcases to the roof of your tuk tuk. We’ve got a luggage truck that will follow us around. Each morning you’ll load it up with your heavy bags, and each night we’ll hand it back at our hotel. Job done. Simples.

Add Ons

ARRIVAL TRANSFER

ARRIVAL TRANSFER FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE HOTEL

PRICE$40.00/pp

ADD THIS

T-SHIRT

GET AN ADDITIONAL LARGE MINORITY T-SHIRT FOR YOUR ADVENTURE

PRICE$26.70/pp

ADD THIS

DEPARTURE TRANSFER

DEPARTURE TRANSFER FROM THE HOTEL TO THE AIRPORT

PRICE$40.00/pp

ADD THIS

You'll Be Staying Here

Killians Hotel

Killians Hotel

River Retreat

River Retreat

Coco Lagoon

Coco Lagoon

Le Poshe

Le Poshe

Shola Crown

Shola Crown

Forest Canopy

Forest Canopy

Trinity Hotel

Trinity Hotel

FAQs

Ah, the humble Indian rickshaw, or “Auto” as they’re sometimes known as, is the original tin can on wheels. These are standard issue, Indian-made rickshaws. And they’re freak’n awesome!

They’ve got three wheels (don’t ask us why), an open frame, a canvas roof with drop down sides, a cabin for the driver and two seats in the back. Oh, and an engine: a 4-stroke beast that is probably slightly more powerful than a horse.

Rickshaws have a few advantages: they’re durable, easy to use and very forgiving. They’ll happily handle almost any surface, climate or level of abuse. Their cruising speed is a tasty 35kph (22mph). Their cruising altitude is about one foot.

Specifications

  • Engine: 4 stroke engine – 205 cc
  • Petrol tank: 6 litre normal capacity plus 1 litre of reserve
  • Average petrol consumption: 1 litre approx 20 to 25 Km’s
  • Top speed: 55 kmph


For a comprehensive answer, go and Google ‘internal combustion engine’. But here are the cliffnotes.

  • The accelerator is found on the right.
  • The clutch and gears are located on the left.
  • The main break is actioned by your right foot.

On the first day of the event, everyone is required to attend a mandatory rickshaw driving induction and safety training session (this means you). You’ll get lots of time to practice before hitting the road. A rickshaw is a cross between a car and a scooter, so clutch control is key. If you´ve driven a scooter or motorbike before, it’ll be a breeze.

It’s worth remembering that the Indian Rickshaw Challenge is just that – a challenge. It’s not a race. It’s not like Cake’s seminal 90s hit The Distance. Speed should not be your priority. If anything should be, it’s probably fun.

The Challenge is broken up into various driving legs. Each team gets a road map and a daily navigational sheet, which they’ll use to get from A to B each day. The winning team isn’t the team that finishes first, it’s the one that accumulates the most Challenge points. How do you get points? By nailing various challenges, we set you along the way.

That means that racing is not encouraged. In fact it’s actively discouraged. There’s no need to set a new Indian ground-speed record (very difficult to do on a 200cc Rickshaw, but still…) We’ll provide mechanical support when you need it, but essentially you’re hiring a Rickshaw and driving it independently each day. By yourself. Han solo.

A team is made up of either 2 or 3 people. Apparently there is no ‘I’ in it. You get one Rickshaw per team.

Unfortunately, no. Only because each leg will start from the hotel / over-night stop and the idea is to share our challenging travel experience together. Most importantly you wouldn’t want to miss out on each night’s social gatherings…

Yes, you’ve got to be at least 18 years old in order to participate. We don’t have a maximum age, but if you’re over 65 we definitely recommend checking with your insurer to make sure you qualify for the medical insurance you’ll need to take part. The Challenge is physically tough, but by no means extreme – we won’t sugar-coat it. You should really only take part if you’re in decent physical shape and your health is A-Okay.

Probably not your ski jacket. Or that set of golf clubs. South India is as tropical as it gets, so pack accordingly. The nights can get a little chilly in the hills, so a windbreaker jacket and a few light layers wouldn’t go amiss. Other than that, bring all your travel essentials, some good quality suncream and anything you think will make the long driving days more fun (we recommend honing you I-Spy skills beforehand). Oh, and did we mention it might rain?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to strap suitcases to the roof of your tuk tuk. We’ve got a luggage truck that will follow us around. Each morning you’ll load it up with your heavy bags, and each night we’ll hand it back at our hotel. Job done. Simples.

Don’t stress, they’re very friendly. If you can ride a bicycle that has a clutch and an engine, you can ride a rickshaw. Besides, on the first day everyone gets mandatory rickshaw driving instructions and safety training. You’ll have plenty of practice before hitting the open road.

To put it bluntly – yes. There will be an element of danger, if only because you’re sitting behind the handlebars of a three-wheeled Rickshaw, on top of 200CC of raw power, and tackling unfamiliar roads in a foreign country. Lets face it, Indian roads can be diabolical in places and the driving standards might not be what you’re used to. That in itself is a bit risky. But don’t worry too much – if you’re sensible and cautious, you should be fine, and we have a fully trained crew to swing in if anything goes wrong. That includes an ambulance and paramedics on standby.

Warning: Auto Rickshaws can easily roll and flip if not handled correctly. We take safety really seriously on these challenges, and you should know there are inherent risks involved, including potentially life-threatening situations.

Your humble steed will be handed over in a good road worthy condition and from then onwards it is your responsibility to take care of any repair costs. Our team of mechanics will be at your disposal throughout the event and will assist you with this at a cost. Otherwise you can turn to the locals to help you out. But don’t worry spare parts are not that expensive!

The cost of repairs depends on how each teams looks after their vehicle. Naturally there is a small amount of wear and tear on these type of events, but you will only be charged for parts that are damaged or need to be replaced. There will be a full vehicle inspection prior to handing over your ride. On average, the cost of repairs ranges from £40-120 per team.

These wonderful machines are surprisingly fuel efficient, so unless you drive like a madman your wheels will do at least 30 km to the litre so you won’t really be spending more than £100 bucks for the whole Challenge.

Whoa there, speed racer. These bad boys can’t really get over 50kph. The average speed should be around 35kph. Fast enough to get the blood racing, but not so fast you hit a cow. That’s the sweet spot.


If possible, try not to do this. One of our registration requirements is to pay (or better block the amount off your credit card) a refundable deposit of £1,500 per team. This will (ideally) cover you for most touch ups and accidents, although if the rickshaw is a complete write-off the bill might increase. At the end of the Challenge we’ll inspect the vehicle, come to an agreement, and return any balance to you before you leave India. A pretty standard car-hire type system, really.

Emergency medical insurance is included in the trip price, however general travel insurance is not. We strongly recommended to protect against all the ways travel can go wrong. 

Teams have used Campbell Irvine in the past for this however please do shop around.  

Third party insurance is included under the hire of the rickshaw. Scratch as many Ferraris as you want (please don’t actually do this).

Everyone who competes has to provide us with a valid International Driving Permit with a Category A stamp. It’s your responsibility to have the correct DL.

Definitely! We love to see teams going the extra mile to raise money for charity. Just be aware that the rickshaws we use have limited branding space (we take up some for our own branding purposes). If you need more info on this, just let us know.

Easy peasy. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up.
  2. Pay your initial deposit.

Once you’ve done all that successfully, we’ll send you an email with lots of exclamation marks confirming your team’s availability.


Once your registration is locked and loaded, we’ll email you and ask you to provide us with:

  1. A passport copy for each team member (we promise not to laugh at the photos).
  2. International Driving Permit with a category A stamp.
  3. Your arrival and departure details.

We’ll double check all these docs on the ground in India, so please bring copies with you.

30 days before the Challenge.

Nope. If we camp we’ll provide the sleeping bags and the marshmallows as necessary. However it might be good to bring a torch.

Ah visas, our old nemesis. You can find out how to apply, here.

We try to stick to the original route and accommodation as much as possible, but they can be subject to change from time to time.

Not really. Some luxuries can be a little pricey (hence the ‘luxury’ bit), but for the most part it’s super reasonable. Lunch might be a few bucks and beers are generally around the same. It’s like travelling back in time to the 50s when the world was a much simpler place and children respected their elders.

All our hotels will have internet connection, but the campsites not so much.

If you like your weather warm, you’ll love the India Rickshaw Challenge. Warmth is kind of its thing. Even when it’s pouring with rain. There are plenty of more in-depth weather guides online, but generally the south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July, while the north-eastern monsoon is from December to January. Expect anything from 26 to 30 degrees Celsius.

This is completely up to you (and your doc), but generally it’s a good idea to be up-to-date with standard vaccinations like Tetanus, Hap A and Polio. Other jabs to consider are Tuberculosis, Meningitis and Typhoid. Anti-malaria meds might also be a good idea. If in doubt, check with your GP.

India has a good road network linking all the major cities, towns and interesting places. But don’t go expecting pristine tarmac everywhere you ride. Some of the rural roads in particular can get pretty wild and bumpy.

  • Only 10% deposit required to signup.
  • Outstanding amount is required 45 days before the start of the Challenge.
  • 45+ days before the challenge starts: Loss of deposit
  • 44-30 days before the challenge starts: 50%
  • 29 days or less before the challenge starts: 100% 

For more information please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.

Dates

September 17 - 26 2021

India·9 nights

FROM$2066

September 16 - 25 2022

India·9 nights

FROM$2133

India Tuk Tuk Adventure

India·September·9 nights

FROM$2066