Cycle Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka,

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12 people
14 days
Code: HPXC
Activity and Adventure, Cycling, Tours
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Overview of Cycle Sri Lanka

Ride through tea plantations, quaint fishing villages, and swathes of lush green jungle on this cycling adventure from Negombo to Colombo. Sri Lanka is gaining traction as one of Asia’s most exciting new destinations and it’s not hard to see why. With pristine coastline, ancient ruins, rugged peaks and wildlife-filled national parks, it’s a dream for travellers who like to get active. In between two-wheeled treks, laze on the beach, ride the rails (a must in Sri Lanka), explore the country’s premier Hindu and Buddhist sites, and taste the flavours of the tantalising night markets.

Trip Summary for Cycle Sri Lanka

Start Location: Negombo,   End Location: Colombo

Countries Visited: Sri Lanka, 
Meals Included: Breakfast: 12   Lunches: 9   Dinners: 0
Highlights:

    • Cycling allows you to get closer to the real Sri Lanka, with a leopard-spotting safari and scenic train trip taking the sightseeing to the next level. 
    • From the sensational seafood of Negombo to the pulsing night markets of Colombo, Sri Lanka a feast for the senses. Optional ‘food-crawls’ in most locations connect you with the best local street food. 
    • Step back in time as you explore Sri Lanka’s most important religious and heritage sites, including the Temple of Tooth Relic and Kataragama. 
    • Forget the coffee stops, this is Le Tour with a twist. Visit a tea factory in Giragama for a guided tour and taste of Sri Lanka’s most beloved beverage. 
    • Relax and unwind along the famous sandy beaches and azure waters of Sri Lanka’s southern coast.
    • Experience a fascinating slice of traditional culture with a Kandyan dance performance in Kandy.

 

Day 1 - Negombo
Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo which is located close to the international airport. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5:30 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the meeting will take place. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Riding distance: none

Day 2 - Anuradhapura
Rise early and enjoy some breakfast at the hotel. Start off with a test-ride through the city streets, from the hotel to the fish market. This gives you a nice insight into the daily working of the market and the dry fish industry. You will then cycle from Negombo to Chilaw (approximately 40 km). Along the way, you'll encounter quaint fishing villages, the scenic Dutch canal, coconut plantations and various tile factories. Sit down to a picnic lunch on arrival in Chilaw. Afterwards, hop aboard a coach and travel to Anuradhapura (approximately 90 km). Here you can settle into your hotel, relax and perhaps take a swim in the pool. You have the option of joining a 'food crawl' through the streets and markets of Anuradhapura – a great chance to sample some tasty local cuisine.

Notes: The fish market in Negombo is closed on Sundays.

Riding distance: approx. 40 kms

Day 3 - Anuradhapura
After breakfast, cycle to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Anuradhapura (approximately 20 km each way). Enjoy a guided bicycle tour of the ancient city. Among the ruins you'll see the sacred old Bo Tree – a spiritual reminder of the beginnings of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the inspiration for Anuradhapura's great buildings. The ruins themselves are spread over quite a large area, with some in woodland settings and others appearing more cultivated with columns and ponds dotted about. While you're here you will visit the impressive Isurumuniya Temple. Pay a visit to the Anuradhapura museum, then enjoy a local lunch. Return to the hotel and enjoy free time for the rest of the afternoon.

Riding distance: approx. 40 kms

Day 4 - Polonnaruwa
Cycle from Anuradhapura to Ritigala, passing paddies, man-made water tanks and jungle patches (approximately 55 km). Sit down to some lunch along the way at a countryside kiosk. Make a visit to the beautiful Ritigala monastery, which dates back nearly 2000 years and is named after the mountain on which it sits.. After exploring the site and learning a thing or two about its local mythology, board a coach and travel to Polonnaruwa (approximately 60 km). Relax and unwind on arrival. 

Riding distance: approx. 55 kms

Day 5 - Dambulla
Saddle up for a morning ride to Polonnaruwa. For breakfast you'll dine at a local village house. Arrive at the ancient site of Polonnaruwa, the second oldest of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, and do some exploring. Visit the likes of Vihara temple, Parakrama statue and Siva temple while you are here. Then cycle to Diyabeduma (approximately 45 km). Marvel at the scenery along the way – sanctuaries, man made channels and farm lands – before sitting down to a picnic lunch. Next, travel from Diyabeduma to Dambulla by coach (approximately 40 km). Enjoy some free time on arrival. In the evening you'll visit the Dambulla wholesale vegetable market, where there's an option to join in on a food crawl.

Riding distance: approx. 45 kms

Day 6 - Sigriya Rock & Kandy
This morning you will cycle from Dambulla to Matale via Sigiriya (approximately 50 km), an ancient rock fortress perched among lush greenery that strikes an awesome pose against the skyline. Enjoy some well-earned breakfast at the top of the rock, taking in the lovely views. Afterwards it's off to Matale, with a bike ride though spice plantations and pleasant countryside. Enjoy lunch at a spice garden, then transfer to Kandy by coach (approximately 30 km). In the evening you will sit down to a traditional Kandyan dance performance – a riveting insight into an age-old culture.

Riding distance: approx. 50 kms

Day 7 - Kandy
After breakfast at the hotel you have the option to either head out for some hard-core cycling in Knuckles Conservation Forest or stay in Kandy and explore. Later in the morning the group will head to Giragama (approximately 15 km) for a guided tour of a tea factory. This is a great chance to learn about how Sri Lanka's best-known beverage is made. You will also sample some of the delicious varieties on offer. Enjoy an afternoon of free time to relax. In the evening you will visit the Temple of Tooth Relic, the most important Buddhist site in the country. Explore the complex that surrounds it, then return to town for an (optional) food crawl.

Riding distance: none

Day 8 - Hatton
Transfer to Kandy railway station after breakfast. From the station you will embark on a scenic train trip from Kandy to Hatton, then cycle from Hatton station to Maskeliya (approximately 40 km) through leafy tea plantations. For lunch, enjoy an authentic Tamil meal from a local kiosk. Check into your guesthouse, then relax. In the evening, there's an optional climb of Adam's Peak, a beautiful, conical, snow-capped mountain (2,243 m). The best time for this activity is from mid December to early May.

Riding distance: approx. 40 kms

Day 9 - Tissamaharama
Enjoy a hearty breakfast before cycling down from Bogawanthalawa to Balangoda (approximately 55 km). This is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Sri Lanka – it follows a path along the tea plantations and passes lush pine forests. Have lunch at Balangoda on arrival, then transfer from Balangoda to Tissamaharama (approximately 100 km). Along the way, you'll stop to visit an elephant transit home which helps rehabilitate elephants for re-entry to the wild. The elephants are often released into the Uda Walawe National Park.

Riding distance: approx. 55 kms

Day 10 - Yala National Park
Cycle from Tissamaharama to Kataragama after breakfast (approximately 18 km each way). The holy city of Kataragama is a colourful and vibrant religious centre that rivals Adam's Peak in terms of national importance. This is where the two-week Kataragama Festival attracts thousands, mostly Hindus, each year in July/August. Afterwards, take a jeep ride through the beautiful Yala National Park, home to elephants, crocodiles, and gorgeous waterbirds such as the great thick-knee. Yala also lays claim to one of the world's highest concentration of leopards.

Riding distance: approx. 35 kms

Day 11 - Mirissa
After breakfast, cycle from Tissamaharama to Hambantota via the pretty Bundala National Park. After lunch at Hambantota, continue to Mirissa. Enjoy an afternoon of beach splendour in Mirissa. The beach itself is a long curve of sand with lovely clear waters for swimming – a great spot to watch the sunset. Consider cycling to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring fresh fish to sell along the shore. The local cottage industry of lace products is also well worth a look.

Riding distance: approx. 40 kms

Day 12 - Mirissa & Galle
Enjoy some time to relax with a free day that is yours to spend as you please. You might like to go whale-watching, which is more successful from November through to April. Later drive to Galle (approximately 50 km each way). Look out for a photo opportunity with the famous stilt fishermen casting lines from their traditional poles. Spend the evening exploring Galle, home to an impressive World Heritage-listed Dutch fort with extensive walls and many interesting old buildings. Enjoy a stroll around the historic fort and watch the sunset from the ramparts before driving back to Mirissa. 

Riding distance: none

Day 13 - Colombo
Depart Mirissa after breakfast with a transfer to Colombo (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, check into your hotel and then take a city walk past the bustling Petta Bazaar, Independence Square, Parliament, and the National Museum. Your walk finishes with a shopping opportunity at the Barefoot fairtrade store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. Tonight there's an optional final group dinner to celebrate your journey. This comes in the form of a food crawl along the city's tantalising market stalls. 

Riding distance: none

Day 14 - Colombo
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. The hotel's check-out time is 11 am.

Riding distance: none

Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities

Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money

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