"Discover the endless wonders of Sri Lanka - it's incredible landscapes, people, history, food and wildlife - on an incredible ride that takes you through the heart of the cultural triangle, over the cool mountainous tea country, to the spectacular southern coast"
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Day 1: Arrival in Colombo - Transfer to Negombo - Group MeetingDinner
Welcome to Sri Lanka!
On arrival at Colombo airport, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to our start point hotel on the beach in Negombo. We have nothing planned during the day, as everyone will be arriving at different times, but if you do arrive early, the hotel is by the beach, so a swim in the Indian Ocean is a must. In the evening we'll get together for a group meeting and dinner, toast the beginning of our adventure, as well as go over all the formalities and answer any questions.
Negombo is a major port city in Sri Lanka. It is situated at the mouth of Negombo Lagoon, a haven for trading and fishing vessels, and was once a key port in the spice trade as well as in the centuries old fishing industry. One of the first places to be colonised by the Portuguese in the early 1500s for the spice trade (cinnamon a major product), the area has a majority Roman Catholic popopulation, and several Christian churches.
Day 2: Transfer/ Cycle to AnaharadupuraBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 50 km
After breakfast we'll head north up along the coast a short way and set up our bikes for a warm up ride along the old coastal road with the sea on our left. We'll pass the distinctive patchwork sails of the “Karavas” fishing boats, groves of palm trees, which are “tapped” for making “toddy”, a slightly alcoholic beverage, and many fishing villages. After a couple of hours exploring local life on the coast, we'll pack up the bikes and head inland by vehicle stopping for lunch along the way. In the afternoon we'll cycle to Anuradhapura to explore the many ancient temples, irrigation systems and shrines of this 2400 year old ancient capital. Many Buddhists visit the site for worship and an extraordinary array of intensely coloured water lilies and other flowers are made as offerings. After visiting the site we'll cycle back to the hotel for dinner and a cool off in the hotel pool.
Anuradhapura is a World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sinhalese civilisation, founded in 437 BCE and lasting 1500 years. Anuradhapura is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Asia. A centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries, it is a major Buddhist pilgrimage site with ruins of many ancient Buddhist temples, including the famous Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, which is said to be the oldest still-living planted tree in the world and is believed to have originally been a branch of the sacred fig tree at Bodh Gaya (Bihar, India), under which the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Day 3: Cycle to HabaranaBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 65 km
After breakfast we will start our ride along a sealed road passing small villagers, forest, wetlands and paddy fields. Our route takes us along the outskirts of Ritigala National Park, and it's mountain namesake will form a beautiful backdrop for a part of our ride. Along the way we'll stop for a selection of curries, sambals, rotti, and more. The food in Sri Lanka is exceptional with endless types of curries using endless varieties of vegetables, definitely a culinary adventure that works great with biking. This cycling section is through the dry zone, an area that sees relatively less rainfall during monsoon season, and has unique flora to other parts of the country. We'll arrive at our resort stay for swim and a freshen up before dinner. In most cases dinner is in the hotels or guesthouses as they are secluded away. There is always a huge variety of dishes to tempt. We'll be taking a loop ride the next day visiting nearby Sigyria Rock and Dambulla Caves, so we will stay in this accommodation for two nights.
Day 4: Cycle to Sigyria Rock and Dambulla Cave TempleBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 50 km
Enjoy a hearty breakfast before our ride through the countryside on a mix of tarmac and dirt roads passing orchards, lakes, paddy fields and elephant grass. We'll be exploring the countryside but the main attractions are Sigyria Rock and Dambulla Cave Temple. It's a short ride to the ancient 5th century rock fortress, Sigiriya (Lion Rock), our first destination. We’ll park the bikes and walk across the crocodile infested moats, through the old water gardens and finally take a 180m climb - up stairs either hewn out of the rock or on circular iron staircases - past dozens of rock frescoes to view the ruins of King Kasyapa’s summer palace on the summit. It should take around two hours to explore. Back on the bikes, we'll head off-road along the shores of Kandalama Lake where we’ll have excellent views of Sigyria Rock over the water. We'll have a special lunch today, a great selection of Sri Lankan delights served alfresco in the fields, surrounded by farmland. Onward after lunch we make our way to Dambulla Cave Temple Complex, Sri Lanka most significant cave temple site, via quiet backroads and trails.
Sigyria is a UNESCO world heritage site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of granite rock approximately180m above the surrounding plain, chosen by King Kashyapa (AD 477–495) for his new capital. He built his palace on top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure; Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock (an etymology similar to Sinhapura, the Sanskrit name of Singapore (the Lion City). The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king's death and it was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. Dambulla is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues and murals that cover an area of 2,100 square metres. Dating back to the first century, Dambulla Cave Temple is also a world heritage site.
Day 5: Cycle to KandyBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 60 km
The next section of riding is in the hill country and we start with a drive to avoid the main highway and get us onto the quiet mountain roads. Our destination is the old capital Kandy, but first we'll be riding along ridge lines with interspersing views of forest, tea plantations and, mainly, Tamil villages that work the tea plantations. Hindu shrines and styled architecture are a contrast to the Sinhalese Buddhist decorations, and if we’re lucky enough to be cycling on a holy day we may see some ceremonies. The ride will take us via hilly roads with lots of twists and turns and stunning views before descending into Kandy. Our hotel is located on the hillside with panoramic views over Kandy.
Day 6: Free Day KandyBreakfast & Dinner
Today is free to relax, swim in the pool or explore Kandy. The main attraction is the Temple of the Tooth although the town is worth poking around for the local life, roti restaurants and old colonial hotels and buildings that dot the city.
Kandy was the last centre of the King-era of Sri Lankan history. The Kingdom of Kandy began with Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu (1473–1511) and lasted through several colonial invasions by the Portuguese and Dutch before finally succumbing to the British in the early 19th century. The Temple of the Tooth is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. The relic was historically held by Sinhalese kings. The temple of the tooth is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple and the relic.
Day 7: Cycle/ Train Ride to Nuwara EliyaBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 50 km
After leaving Kandy early, we head back up into Tea Country yet another great ride. We'll be on small country roads winding through tea plantations and mountain villages. We'll take a deviation off road into the hills skirting a spectacular rocky ridge making our way through forest, tea plantations with views across the mountains. A truly spectacular ride before we descend to the train line for lunch and board our train to Nuwara Eliya. For most of the afternoon we'll be able to relax at old school train pace and absorb the slowly moving scenery on the colonial era train line that winds it's way up to Nanoyu Station, our jumping off point. Hanging out the side of the train, buying snacks from the hawkers and chatting to locals is part of the experience of one of the last of it's kind train journeys. Once we hit Nanoyu, we'll head to our hotel with mountain views and the old colonial town of Nuwara Eliya below. The weather is much cooler and warm gear will be needed for evenings and mornings.
Nuwara Eliya was founded by Samuel Baker, the explorer of Lake Albert and the upper Nile in 1846. The climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara Eliya, called Little England, was a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse themselves in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket. Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen's Cottage, General's House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, St Andrew's Hotel and Town Post Office. Visitors to the city can wallow in its nostalgia of bygone days by visiting the landmark buildings in the search for that Grand Budapest Hotel experience!
Day 8: Cycle to Horton Plains/ Hike to World's EndBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 47 km
A big day lies ahead! We'll start with a ride out of town with it's faded colonial glory and make our way through rolling grasslands on our way to Horton's Plains over 26km. The ride is surreally European feeling at the beginning, racetracks, green pastures and hills in the distance. A stop at a buffalo dairy for ice cream is the fuel to take us up the switch-back climb to the plains. High altitude landscapes and Sambar deer appear as the views become more spectacular. We'll grab a picnic lunch and then begin our two to 3 hour hike to World's End, a precipitous 800m drop overlooking the plains below, and onto Bakers Falls. The walk is stunning, if the weather co-operates!, and highly recommended. For those with energy, also recommended is the descent following on our way to Haputale: a long winding drop over 20km through the cloud forest canopy and further down through pine forest. We'll have a transfer to our final destination in Haputale, with a hotel overlooking the coastal plains all the way to the ocean.
Day 9: Cycle to Tissa/ Visit Kataragama TemplesBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 80 km
We begin the day with a beautiful downhill ride on back roads rarely used, passing by Diyaluma Waterfalls with views across the plains below. The last section of road brings us through ever bigger villages and towns across the flat southern plain until we reach lakeside Tissa. Our hotel has a pool to cool down after a hot ride. After dinner, we'll visit the sacred town of Kataragama, where pilgrims of all religions from across the country travel to worship. It's a crazy colourful affair as Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies overlap and intermingle with throngs of pilgrims clamouring for blessings and good fortune. It's hard not to come back without flowers in your hair or paint on your face!
Day 10: Cycle to Tangalle via Bundala Bioshere ReserveBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 60 km
Today we ride through the Bundala Bioshere Reserve, one of the most important wetlands for migratory birds in Sri Lanka, where almost 200 species of birds visit annually - the highlight being the greater flamingo. We also have a chance to come across elephants, crocodiles, macaques, buffalo, leopard and jackals among others. After having our fix of fascinating fauna, we make our way to our hotel in Tangalle with time to hit the beach for sunset.
Day 11: Cycle to Mirissa BeachBreakfast & Lunch 50 km
Our last day on the bikes takes us slightly back inland to explore the backroads and villages of the south. The vegetation is lush and green, tiny farming communities sit nestled in valleys and along rivers. We ride from valley to valley, crossing creeks and rivers (which are not safe to swim in as they are inhabited by crocodiles) until we reach our last stop at Mirissa Beach. Our resort is in the middle of the action, centrally located so it's a short walk from your room to the waves. Our last night we'll celebrate with your choice of delicious seafood and Sri Lankan delights over sunset on the beach!
Day 12: Departure DayBreakfast
Today is departure day and we'll organise transfers to get you back to Colombo airport today. However, we highly recommend you extend your stay. There's plenty more to see….Galle, Yala National Park, endless beaches and Geoffrey Bawa designed hotels and villas to check out.
Sri Lanka, the tear drop of India, is one of our favourite destinations. Not only does it boast a stunning variety of landscapes and wildlife - perfect for exploring on two wheels - but the people, food and culture are a fascinating and heady delight to experience. Our tour begins with a ride to Anharadupura, the millennia-old ancient capital, and to surrounding historical sites in the “cultural triangle” such as spectacular Sigyria Rock and Dambulla Cave temple. This first segment of riding is in the “dry zone”, interspersed with forest, farmland and village life. We then head south and up into the hill country; mountain communities, tea plantations and extraordinary vistas from quiet backroads are all highlights. A rest day in Kandy, in which to explore the former capital joining pilgrims at the Temple of the Tooth, sits in the middle of our tour. We'll jump aboard a train to take us to Nuwara Eliya - a chance to ride an old school colonial era train line and watch the tea country scenery slowly roll by. We'll continue up to Hortons's Plain National Park through rolling grasslands, take a switch back climb to the highest point on the tour, and spend the rest of the day exploring World's End and Bakers Falls on foot. We leave the hill country behind and descend onto the southern coastal plain where visit the pilgrimage town of Kataragama, and join in the puja. We'll also cycle through Bundala National Park, an important wildlife reserve that is visited by dozens of species of migratory birds, such as the flamingo, and then beach hop by bike along the coast to Mirissa via Tangalle. Our last night we'll spend enjoying seafood on the beach at sunset overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Getting There & Away
Airport transfers are included for all arrivals on arrival day. Departure transfers are not included on this tour as many people choose to extend their holiday after the tour. We will help you with departure transfers on request for departure day as these are easily organised on ground and can be shared among participants leaving together.
Tour Info Pack
Once we have recieved your booking and deposit we'll send you your Sri Lanka tour notes that will include the itinerary, training tips, preparation info and hotel information. If you have any questions about the tour at all please don't hesitate to contact us.
The tour price is based on twin share occupancy which means that each single traveller will be paired up with a someone of the same gender. You can choose to have your own room for an extra fee which is listed in the tour stats section of the website.
If you require additional accommodation at the start or end of the tour, just let us know on the booking form and we can reserve rooms for you.
For additional general information on our Sri Lanka tour regarding guides, accommodation, sleeping arrangements, cycling grades, food, bikes, etc you can head over to our About section to learn more about our trip style.
Can we change the itinerary or customise the tour?
Not for publicly listed dates, but if you have your own group or date in mind, Yes. If you want to make a private booking we can help design a tour that suits you. You may have ideas based on any of our tours or something in mind that you can't find on our website. Just get in contact with us and let us know what you have in mind and we'll try our best to make it happen!
Do you cater for vegetarians?
Yes we do! If you have any dietery requirements just let us know when you book in the space provided (Additional Requests). For any severe alergies or other conditions it is best that you let us know in advance so that we can prepare and/ or advise you on what we can provide or what you might need to bring so that are well catered for.
What about Covid 19?
Covid restrictions have passed for most countries and it is now possible to obtain tourist visas for China. For China you may need to provide a personal Covid test within taken 24 hours before your departure, these are only checked randomly, and can also be taken on arrival.
During all our tours we take care to avoid any transferring of any viruses, such as Covid, through providing hand sanitisers and minimising exposure. As with any illness, all care will be made for the participants well being during the tour and we will help with any arrangements that need to be made if the participant needs to leave the tour (this will be at the cost of the participant). Costs for unused segments of tours cannot be refunded, for any reason, as all tour costs are paid in advance.
How to I make a booking and payment?
Simply go to the "Dates" section of the tour page and click on the "book now" button, or click on "book" on the website header and select your preferred tour and departure date. If you are booking onto an on demand tour and have your own dates in mind there will be an facility for you book here too.
Before you book, we recommend that you read through the tour details and our booking terms and conditions. You can contact us about the trip if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a time to chat about the tour.
Upon completion of your booking form we’ll send you an acknowledgement email and invoice for a deposit. All long trips (7 days or more) require a deposit of 300USD to guarantee your place. Trips departing within 60 days at booking will require full payment. Once your deposit is received, we’ll also send you a pre-trip information pack that will give you added information about the tour, the region you’ll be travelling through, a checklist of things to prepare, suggestions for packing, training tips and more. For shorter trips and day tours we require full payment 30 days prior to the commencement of the tour or as soon as convenient if booking within 30 days of departure.
Payments can be made on credit card via Paypal or through a direct bank transfer in most currencies. Information on payments will be present on your initial deposit invoice. Paypal payments will incur a 4% fee.
- Sri Lanka
- 12 days
- Cycling Tour
- 512 km
- 6 - 16 People
- 2550 USD
- 495 USD (single supplement)
- 200 USD
- Discover ancient Sri Lanka's at Anharadupura, Sigyria Rock and Dambulla Cave Temples
- Cycle high mountain tea country, rural dry zone flatland, tropical coastline and dense jungle
- Satiate your well earned appetite on kaleidoscopic Sri Lankan cuisine
- Hike Horton's Plains National Park to World's End and Baker's falls
- Join Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim on a puja pilgrimage in Kataragama
- Sit back, or hang out the window, of the old tea country train as the scenery rolls slowly by
- Check out Kandy and the revered Temple of the Tooth
- Stay in a range of accommodations from beachside resorts to hilltop hotels
- Ride through Bundala Reserve and see an array of wildlife: monkeys, crocodile, buffalo and and flocks of migrating birds
- Relax on the beach, dine on seafood, sip on a cocktail and take in epic Indian Ocean sunsets
- Ride carefree with a support vehicle, great bikes and attentive, knowledgeable and fun guides
- 11 nights accommodation in comfortable hotels & resorts
- Meals as listed
- Bike Asia cycling leader and local cycling guide(s)
- Support van(s) for your luggage or you!
- Great quality bikes
- Water, snacks and fruit on cycling days
- Entry tickets for included tourist sites
What's Not Included?
- Travel insurance
- Tips, gratuities
- Alcoholic beverages
- Personal expenses