This is a comprehensive cycling tour across beautiful Sri Lanka with a slight twist. Instead of only taking you to all the clichéd attractions recommended to you by travel guides, we take you to some of the less-frequented, hidden treasures spread throughout the island as well.
The fun begins after you are picked up from the airport and transported to your hotel in nearby Negombo. Here, you will meet the crew and set off on your adventure after a day to relax.
You will head to the wild Wilpattu where you will come face-to-face with nature. Cycle through paddy fields and quiet villages surrounded by the most breath-taking scenery. Birds and beasts are plenty here and your authentic camping experience out here in the wild will ensure you have an unforgettable time.
Then it’s time for you to explore Sri Lanka’s mysterious past. A ride through the ruins of Sri Lanka’s most ancient kingdom in Anuradhapura awaits you. Climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya and venture through the ruins of Sri Lanka’s second great kingdom in Polonnaruwa.
You can liven things up when you head to Pasikuda. Lounge along its golden sandy beaches and swim in its warm ocean, you can relax and rejuvenate your body on this untouched coastal stretch.
You’ll cross Dambana, the region which is still occupied by the last remaining native “Veddah” tribes and ride up to Sri Lanka’s hill capital in Kandy. This tour gives you an unmatched cultural experience in these locations.
Nuwara Eliya, fondly known as Little England awaits you next. Misty and cool, Nuwara Eliya is truly a portal to another world which is unlike anything else seen on this tropical island. Colonial-style bungalows and vast tea estates lay scattered across this mountainous terrain waiting to be explored.
The tour includes a walking trail through Sri Lanka’s highest situated national park at Horton Plains. See some of the unique wildlife featured here before heading back down to the traditional villages seen in Belihuloya.
Elephants and more exotic wild animals are up next as you cycle to Udawalawe and then the Sinharaja rainforest.
Then it’s down to the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Galle is a culturally and historically significant city and will be your final destination before departure. Explore its colonial fort and enjoy its sunny beaches before you are transferred back to the airport in time for your flight.
This is your chance to get to know the land intimately and visit some of Sri Lanka’s true gems that have been tucked away from hordes of tourists.
Highlights at a glance
- First you will get to visit colourful fish markets, vegetable & fruit markets… interact with the locals & learn a few “trade secrets”.
- Witness the ancient engineering marvels at the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress and join devotees at the Dambulla Cave Temple.
- Then off to visit the 13th century mediaeval capital Polonnaruwa and discover the ruins of palaces and temples where the award winning movie “Monkey Kingdom”was also filmed.
- Witness age-old Buddhist rituals and try your hand in traditional arts & crafts in the suburbs of Kandy; the hill capital.
- Slowing the pace, experience the entire Ceylon Tea making process and enjoy a hot cup of pure Sri Lankan Tea from the factory itself.
- Get into the wild in Udawalawe and Yala National Parks .
- Relaxing at the Unawatuna beach !!
Upon your arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, you will be transferred to a nearby hotel in the coastal town of Negombo where you will spend your first night. Relax at your accommodation before having a pre-dinner meeting with your cycle guide(s) in order to discuss the cycling programme.
Goldi Sands Hotel
CYCLING ROUTE: Giriulla to Ambanpola
DISTANCE: Approx. 30 km
DURATION: Approx. 2 – 3 hours
Breakfast, you will be transferred to Giriulla, nourished by the Maha Oya River, where your cycling adventure will start from. The 30km cycling trail will take you through fairly flat terrains on both tarred and byroads in the country’s dry zone, ideal for warming you up for what lies ahead. In these regions, you will discover the beauty of the Sri Lankan countryside, quiet villages and vast, green paddy fields. Keep an eye out for exotic birds as a vast array of species inhabit these areas. The trail will end in Katupotha from where you will be transported to the Big Game Campsite that offers you an authentic safari camping experience by the border of Wilpattu National Park.
Cycling Route: Wilpattu To Anuradhapura
Distance: Approx. 33 Km
Duration: Approx. 2 – 3 Hours
After the wilderness adventure in Wilpattu, it’s time to hit the road again. The day will start by cycling along the outskirts of the Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest park that is home to elephants, leopards and sloth bears. Gravel and tarred roads will lead you to the small villages where you will get a chance to meet the locals and experience the rural lifestyle. The cycling trail will end in the ancient city of Anuradhapura that has some Sri Lanka’s most important historical sites dating as far back as the 4th century BC. Then, from Anuradhapura, you will be transferred to your hotel in Sigiriya.
Cycling Route: Sigiriya – Moragas Wewa
Distance: Approx. 25 km
Time: Approx. 2 to 3 hrs
After an early breakfast, you will start the 10 km ride from the hotel to Sigiriya Rock and visit the magnificent rock fortress of Sigiriya, built by the young King Kasyapa in the 5th century. Combining baffling architectural features and sensual artistic values, the Lion Rock is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as nominated to be the eighth wonder of the world — along with the Grand Canyon and Ancient Pyramids.
From Sigiriya, a smooth and easy track of 15 km will then lead you through open terrains and little forest patches to Moragaswewa on B249 road. From there you will be transferred to Polonnaruwa which is the second capital of Sri Lanka. Polonnaruwa is one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capital cities (and part of the famous ‘Cultural Triangle’). The most famous symbol of this capital is the impressive and evocative Gal Vihara temple complex where the three colossal granite statues of Lord Buddha rest.
On this day you will have the option of visiting Polonnaruwa Historical Site on Bikes which is a 5 km track within the site.
Deer Park Hotel
Cycling Route: Polonnaruwa – Welikanda
Distance: Approx. 32 km
Time: Approx. 4 – 5 hrs
After having breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to Polonnaruwa by your vehicle. Today, you will cycle towards Welikanda on A11 road. The riding through a flat terrain, but due to hot and dry weather, you will need to drink enough water. The 300 meter long Manampitiya Bridge would be one of the highlights on today’s ride which was once the only bridge for both Railway & Motor vehicles. Once you reach Welikanda, you will get into your vehicle and will be driven to Pasikuda, which is one of the most gorgeous beaches in Sri Lanka. Situated on the eastern coast of the country, about 35 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa, Pasikudah is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow reef coastline in the world.
Giman Free Resort
Cycling Route: Karadiyanaru to Dambana
Distance: Approx. 65 km
Time: Approx. 5 to 6 hrs
After enjoying the golden beaches of Pasikuda, it’s time to go exploring into the heart of Sri Lanka. Discover Sri Lanka’s indigenous roots with a ride to Dambana where the country’s native “Veddah” tribes reside. Dambana is home to around a thousand Veddahs and is known as a refuge for this indigenous population as well as their moribund Vedda language. Due to its prominence, this is also a well-known location for many eco-tourism projects as well. You will gradually cycle inland until you reach Dambana from where you will be transferred to Mahiyangana in your vehicle.
Cycling Route: Hunnasgiriya to Pallekele
Distance: Approx. 28 km
Time: Approx. 2 – 3 Hours
Grading: Soft & Moderate
Today, you will have a challenging task on your hands as it is the time to tackle the descend from Hunnasgiriya to Moragamulla which is a 450 m descent in 8 km. From there you will continue another 80 in the mixed terrain, with Victoria Reservoir in the background on your rides. Upon you reach Pallekele where the world famous Cricket Ground is located, you will get in your vehicle and will be driven to Kandy. This city, nestled in the mountains, is the capital of the hill country and the last bastion of the ancient kings with fascinating history and colorful traditions. Today you are free to have your own dinner in a restaurant of your choice in Kandy.
Cycling Route: Kandy & Suburbs
Distance: Approx. 32 km
Time: Approx. 3 Hours
Grading: Soft & Moderate
Today is all about thoroughly exploring the wonderful city of Kandy. This city lays claim to some of the most beautiful historical and cultural attractions on the island and is also a very sacred place for Buddhists as it is home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. This temple houses the relics of Lord Buddha’s tooth and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists. You will be transferred to Kadugannawa where you will visit the Railway museum. Thereafter you will be visiting three temples; Gadaladeniya Temple, Lankathilaka Temple & Embekke Shrine. Visiting local brass craftsmen and witnessing the making of traditional drums would be another two highlights of this ride. Then you will be riding from Weligalla to Gannoruwa where an agro farm is located. Gannoruwa agro farm is spread over 80 hectares of land while you will also catch a glimpse of local industries ranging from high-tech agriculture to spice gardens. It is a one-stop destination where you can learn about root and tuber crops, bee-keeping, plant pathology, various types of gardens and much more. From there, you will be transferred to your hotel in your vehicle.
Cycling Route: Nanuoya to Nuwara Eliya
Distance: Approx. 7 km
Time: Approx. 30 Min
You will take a scenic train ride (Subject to availability!) from Kandy to Nanu Oya and thereafter cycle around 7 km from the station to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya. This hilly paradise is known for its vast green tea plantations, colonial estates and its cool climate. It boasts some of the best mountainous scenery available in the country and will no doubt be a pleasure to explore. Spend the rest of the evening roaming around the city. Often referred to as “Little England”, Nuwara Eliya is a doorway to a different time. This city was heavily influenced by the colonial planters who lived here and provides a truly unique look into Sri Lanka’s past. Many of the structures here retain its old colonial-style including the Golf Club which dates back to 1889. Your overnight stay will be in Nuwara Eliya.
Cycling Route: Horton Plains – Kalupahana
Distance: Approx. 23 km
Time: Approx. 3 hrs
Grading : Soft & Moderate
Following a relatively relaxing previous day it’s time to get back on the road. After breakfast and a warm pot of Sri Lankan tea you will be transported to Horton Plains. Situated around 2100m above sea level, Horton Plains is a large plateau situated snugly in the misty mountains of Nuwara Eliya. Keep an eye out for Sambar deer and Leaf Monkeys during the ascent. Since cycling is not allowed here, we will conduct a nature walk through the Horton Plains National Park which is around 10,000 hectares. Elk deer, squirrels, wild boars, hares and porcupines reside within the park along with an array of migratory birds. You will then get back on your bike and descend through what’s known as “Satan’s Steps”. This steep descent gets its name from the hairpin turns along its path. After a brief stop at Sri Lanka’s highest waterfall, Bambarakanda, a further 6 km descent awaits you.
Kinchigune Camp Site
Cycling Route: Kalotota – Hambegamuwa
Distance: Approx. 33 km
Time: Approx. 3 to 4 hrs
Grading: Soft & Moderate
It’s time to experience some of Sri Lanka’s most renowned wildlife highlights. Today, you will head to Udawalawe. First you will be transferred to Kaltota via Samanalawewa Dam where the reservoir spreads over an area of 897 ha with the shape of a butterfly. Continue to Kaltota via Rajawaka, you will start your ride upto Hambegamuwa where your campsite is located. With approximately 400 elephants residing within the area of 31,000 hectares, it is one of the best places in the world to see wild elephants. In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer and monkeys. When in Udawalawe, you may go for an afternoon safari in the national park, and your accommodation will be arranged at the fully serviced Big Game campsite.
Cycling Route: Godakawela – Weddagala
Distance: Approx. 44 km
Time: Approx. 4 to 5 hrs
After a comprehensive tour of a range of terrains in the dry zone it’s time to make a foray into the Wet Zone of Sri Lanka. The beautiful and enigmatic Sinharaja Forest Reserve is your destination today. Roughly translated as ‘Kingdom of the Lion’, it is known to be the country’s most treasured rainforest and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. It has also been named a World Heritage Site. After breakfast near Udawalawe you will begin your cycling journey to Sinharaja while a mixture of rugged terrain will challenge you on this trail. However, the shift in climate will help you cope with the strains of this trail. The cool atmosphere of the Wet Zone together with the breath-taking bird and flora species you may encounter en route will make this an unforgettable cycling experience.
The Blue Magpie Lodge
Cycling Route: Neluwa – Galle
Distance: Approx. 62 km
Time: Approx. 5 to 6 hrs
From the cool climate and the natural setting of the Sinharaja rainforest to the historical port city of Galle. Today you will head back south to visit one of Sri Lanka’s most significant port cities and the capital of the Southern Province. Galle served as an important hub for the colonists who once occupied these lands and is filled with several historical and cultural sites that point to its eventful past. You will descend through forest patches along a fairly soft and moderate track while exposing yourself once again to the heat of the Dry Zone. Be sure once again to keep yourself hydrated throughout the journey. The final stretch before reaching Galle will be on a flat surfaced road.
The Lady Hill
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake in time to catch your flight back home. Take with you a host of memories and experiences of Sri Lanka that will be second to none.
- Accommodation in the above mentioned hotels/ campsites
- Meals as per the programme
- Well-experienced cycling guides, their meals and accommodation.
- Well Experienced location/site guides when needed
- Backup vehicle for cycle transportation.
- Passenger transportation whenever necessary. [Van or Mini Coach ]
- Entrance fees to the sites and cost of activities
- Snacks & water during the rides.
- Government taxes and service charges.
- Any International or Domestic flights.
- Any Visa fee or ETA fee. (Electronic Travel Authorization)
- Christmas & New Year Eve dinner supplement. (24th & 31st December)
- Perahera Supplement at Kandy Hotel during the Perahera Period.
- Any additional beverage or food.
- Early Check-in or Late Checkout Charges at Hotels.
- Cost of optional activities/sites (Whale Watching/ Galle Cinnamon experience)
- Any tips to the staff.
- Any expense of personal requirements telephone, laundry, hotel extra bills etc.)
- Any additional expenses, other than mentioned in the inclusions list above.
When it comes to the accommodation, all the reservations are subject to availability at the time of confirmation, and as soon as we have received the payment, our Tour Operations Team will take in charge of your tour and proceed with the reservations. In case a hotel mentioned in your itinerary has no availability, we will find you an alternative. No changes will be done without your approval!
We will make a rough day-by-day schedule for your tour, but won’t set you exact timings for each and every activity – unless there is a an activity which start at a specific time. Since you will be traveling by private vehicle, with a knowledgeable driver-guide, we want you to have your part in decision making. With the help from him, you may tune the schedule to your rhythm.
Along the destinations included in your itinerary, you are free to take as many stops as you want to. When it comes to additional visits and destinations that are located out of the original route, the extra kilometers will be taken in consideration. For your journey, we will calculate a total mileage that is sufficient for the whole tour and mentioned in your itinerary. If this limit is exceeded, we will charge a supplement according the extra mileage.
We’ll do our best to accommodate the programme in your needs and wishes, if something urgent occurs during your tour. In a situation that requires changing the accommodation, the cancellation policies of the hotels concerned are to be taken on account.
Since the 1st of January 2012, all travelers must be in possession of a visa when arriving in Sri Lanka. Citizens from Singapore and The Maldives are the only exempt. Visitors can apply for the official Electronic Travel Authorization (visa) via www.eta.gov.lk, or upon arrival at the airport. There is a small fee to pay, and you must have at least six months left on your passport at the time of travel to obtain one.
MasterCard and Visa are widely used and accepted by many local shops, restaurants and hotels, but it’s always better to double check. Other major cards such as AmEx and DinersClub are accepted often also.
The important stuff
Sri Lanka is a nation where religion and culture occupy an important place in the day-to-day lives of the local people. It is important to be aware of the customs and practices that are particular to the location you are visiting, so here are a few general tips to keep in mind during your travels. Your guide will assist you with more detailed information.
- If you plan on visiting any temples, ancient or current, you should wear clothing that covers your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Head coverings such as caps or helmets should be removed and shoes must be taken off at the entrance. White coloured clothing is generally a good choice to go with here.
- Some religious places do not allow photography or videography without prior permission and some may not allow it at all. Refer to signage or ask your guide about the policy or protocol. Don’t try to photograph or take videos without permission.
- If you have any tattoos associated with Buddhism, Hinduism or Islamism, it’s best that you cover them completely in public places.
- Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces and on public transport.