Top to Tail Sri Lanka Cycling Adventure -

Top to Tail Sri Lanka Cycling Adventure

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Journey from the most northern to the most southern tip of Sri Lanka and enjoy the ever-changing landscape inbetween
  • Discover rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike, train and foot
  • Cycle through tea plantations, ancient cities to the stunning coastline and experience the way of life of the country’s friendly people
  • Appreciate the local wildlife with a game drive in the famous Uda Walawe National
  • Visit the ancient and fascinating city of Kandy which is surrounded by scenic mountains
  • Climb the famous rock fortress at Sigiraya for stunning views
  • Experience one of the world’s most scenic train journey’s
  • Finish your epic adventure at the southernmost point, Dondra Head Lighthouse, and lap up the breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.
  • Registration fee: £250pp – payable on booking and non-refundable
  • Remaining balance: £1645pp – payable 4 weeks prior to departure. Can be paid in installments if required.

 

For a compact island, Sri Lanka is spectacular, incredibly diverse and now is the best time to discover all it has to offer. Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Exploring on two wheels is the greatest way to see this rural country and to experience the way of life of its friendly people. This trip covers a substantial part of the island from north to south taking in as much as possible of the scenic and cultural variety that Sri Lanka has to offer. You will travel through ancient cities, Anuradhapura and the fortress at Sigiriya to the hill country towns of Kandy, where the cooler temperatures and lush scenery make for an amazing cycling journey. In the south you will visit Udawalawe National Park, where you have the chance to see herds of elephants, hundreds of species of birds and you may even catch a glimpse of a leopard before ending your cycling trip on the beaches of the beautiful south coast. Most of the route is a continuous ride, and transfers are kept to a minimum.

 

Included

Before your ride
Access to your personalised account
Pre-trip support materials – kit list, travel advice, responsible tourism tips
Discount code for Cotswolds Outdoor retail
Training programme
All risk assessments and safety management
Public Liability insurance
International Passenger Protection

On the ride
Qualified cycle guides
Adventurous Ewe cycle leader for groups of 10 or more
All ground crew per your itinerary
Bike hire
Support vehicle
Transfers within Sri Lanka per your itinerary
Drinking water during your ride
All logistical and safety management whilst in Sri Lanka
Emergency evacuation
1 night accommodation in Colombo
9 nights hotel accommodation
National Park Fees
Colombo to Jaffna Train Journey
Kandy to Hatton Train Journey

Not Included

Before you ride
Flights, airport taxes and any fuel surcharges
Travel insurance
Visa – please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka
Vaccination/s. Please refer to: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-east/sri-lanka
Clothing and equipment on your Kit List

On your ride
Evening meals. Allow £8 – £15
Personal snacks and drinks
Drinks with meals and alcoholic drinks
Personal spending money
Tips and gratuities

 

Itinerary 

Day 1

London to Colombo

Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be met by your Local Guide and transferred to your hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital and vibrant city, Colombo. You will have the chance to explore the city or relax prior to meeting for dinner and your adventure briefing that evening.

Included
Airport transfer:For people who arrive at the airport on the nominated flight
Accommodation:Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included:Dinner

Day 2

Colombo to Jaffna

Today you will have the opportunity to recover from your flight as you take the early morning train to Jaffna, a city on the northern tip of Sri Lanka. This fascinating coastal town has an absorbing mixture of colonial charm and vibrant Tamil culture while the Jaffna Peninsula and surrounding islands offer a string of remote temples and beaches

The scenic train journey takes 6 hours and on arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. The afternoon will be spent exploring Jaffna city. The town has its own unique and complex identity shaped in true Sri Lankan fashion by a wide cross-section of influences, including Tamil, Muslim, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sinhalese. There’s plenty to see with colourful temples such as Nallur Temple and Naaga Vihara, set next to huge churches like St. Mary’s cathedral, and streets dotted with ancient Dutch and British architecture like Fort Fedrick. Plus there’s the chance to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the buzzing Jaffna market full of dry fish, vegetables and exotic fruit.

Included
Transfer: Train journey from Colombo to Jaffna
Activities: Jaffna City Tour
Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3

Jaffna – Point Pedro to Killinochchi

The excitement builds as you transfer to Point Pedro Lighthouse, the symbolic starting point of your north to south Sri Lanka cycling adventure. Saddling up in the most northern point of Sri Lanka Point Pedro you will leave the beautiful shoreline and narrow white-sand beach behind you to pass by a succession of tiny fishing hamlets, where large rays, sharks as well as snapper and barracuda are harvested from the ocean. Cycling past the healing waters of Keerimalai Spring you will follow the Indian Ocean shoreline to the ruined Dagobas of Kantarodai, Dabbalolapatuna (the ancient port where Theri Sanghamitta arrived in Sri Lanka with a Sacred Bo tree Sapling) and Nilawarai, a bottomless well where it’s said that the Hindu God, Rama, shot an arrow to get water. While cycling along the rural surroundings of the Jaffna, you’ll get the chance to view this fertile arc of land criss-crossed with small country roads lined with smallholdings growing a wide variety of crops including chilies, bananas and grapes. Be ready to capture fishermen dragging nets on foot or snorkelling to little prawn farms in the shallow water on the way. You will then pedal past the Kayts Island and Pungudutivu Island to reach Kurikadduwan Jetty for a short ferry ride to the famous Naagdeepa Vihara correlated with Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka.

After lunch you continue the exploration back on the roads reaching Sangupiddy bridge which connects Jaffna to Kilinochchi district via Pooneryn. Cycling past the vast Jaffna lagoon surrounded by the densely-populated marshlands, palmyra palms, coconut plantations and rice paddies, numerous fishing villages and some salt pans. Once you reach Killinochchi you will have a vehicle transfer to the ancient city of Anuradhapura.

Distance
Cycling distance: 80kms

Included
Transfers: Ferry and vehicle
Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 4

Anuradhapur to Dambulla

Today will see you starting the day with cycling among the ruins of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka Anuradhapura. 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 such as the giant dagoba Ruwanwalisaya stupa. Some ruins amid in the woodland settings and others appear park-like with columns and ponds dotted about. You then continue to the central part of the island, Dambulla, through the countyside via Habarana experiencing the village life amongst. With a small drive to Ritigala explore more the glorious past of the country from a hideaway where history, talks more about the Sri Lankan heritage with ruins consists of an ancient Buddhist monastery with rock inscriptions that are found date back to the 1st century BC.

Distance
Cycling distance: 80kms

Included
Activities: Visit Anuradhapura ancient city and Ritigala
Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 5

Dambulla

In the morning you will take a short 30-minute drive to Sigiriya. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilisation, thought to once be the epicentre of the short-lived kingdom of Kassapa. There are spellbinding vistas across mist-wrapped forests in the early morning. Take a break from the saddle and step back in time with a climb to the top of Sigiriya rock and its elaborated ancient fortress. Make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear, as this is a very steep climb with some uneven slopes. Or you are welcome to simply explore the gardens at the base of the rock and still get some fantastic shots of the fortress from below.

Included
Activities: Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Optional Activities

  • Minneriya National Park jeep safari – highly famed for its elephants and wildlife
  • Dambulla Cave Temple – Golden Temple of Dambulla, a World Heritage Site
Day 6

Dambulla / Kandy

Jumping back on your bike today you will start cycling from the hotel through the countryside along the Kandalama Lake. This is one of the ancient man-made irrigation reservoirs which irrigates farmlands, supports fisheries, supplies drinking water and provides recreation to the cultivators. Pedalling along back roads, you will cycle via Naula which is known for its picturesque scenery and on to the Moorish town of Matale noted for its magnificent spices. You will have a chance to visit a spice garden where you will see many indigenous plants such as pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon before arriving at Kandy. There is an optional transfer from Matale to Kandy or for those who enjoy a challenge you can cycle the remaining distance through the central Highlands to Kandy.

Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. This precious relic attracts white-clad pilgrims, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani, every day.

Distance
Cycling distance: 90kms

Included
Activities: Spice Garden visit and Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 7

Kandy to Udawalawe National Park

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kandy Station for your train journey to Hatton which is regarded as Asia’s most scenic train journey. The train trip slowly rattles through lush green jungle, soaring mountains, terraced tea plantations, rural villages and working farms. Despite being synonymous with tea, Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tea producer behind China, India and Kenya. The rail route rises slowly from the subtropical spice and banana trees to pine and eucalyptus forest.

Arriving in Hatton you will jump back in the saddle for a cycle along one of the most scenic roads in the country from Bogawantalawa to Balangoda. Twisting and turning for 22km and with 800m of descent, you will experience breathtaking views of the central highlands passing through the tea plantations to the lowlands and paddy fields of Balangoda. On arrival at Balngoda your support vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to Udawalawe National Park to your overnight stay.

Distance
Cycling distance: 62kms

Included
Activities: Train journey from Kandy to Hatton
Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included: Packed breakfast and lunch

Day 8

Udawalawe to Dondra to Galle

Today is an early start to make the most of the game drive in the Uda Walawe National Park. Largely comprised of grasslands and bush forest, it’s one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka for seeing wild elephants and game spotting.

After the morning game drive you’re back on your bikes to begin your ride to the southern- most tip of Sri Lanka. Cycling along quieter roads you will soon reach the grand finale of your epic journey at Dondra Head Lighthouse located on Dondra Head, the southernmost point in Sri Lanka. The lighthouse is an ideal exclaimation mark as your finishing point given it is Sri Lanka’s tallest lighthouse, and also one of the tallest in South East Asia. After celebrating your success on reaching the Sri Lanka’s southern tip you will be transferred by bus to the famous Port of Galle. A Unesco World Heritage Site, this historic city is a delight to explore on foot, an endlessly exotic old trading port blessed with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques and churches, grand mansions and museums. Wandering its rambling lanes you’ll pass stylish cafes, quirky boutiques and impeccably restored hotels owned by local and foreign artists, writers, photographers and designers. It’s without doubt the number one urban attraction in Sri Lanka.

Distance
Cycling distance: 80km

Included
Activities: Uda Walawe National Park Game Drive
Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included: Packed breakfast and lunch

Day 9

Galle

With a relaxing start to the morning you will be transferred to Mirrssa by vehicle mid morning. Here you will have the chance to meet local fisherman and learn about their craft, and how their lives have changed after the tsunami. Enjoy the freshest seafood lunch possible with a fisherman’s family – a wonderful crab curry is likely to be on the menu. From here it is a bus journey to the perfectly preserved colonial township of Galle (approximately 1 hour) and its blend of European architecture and South Asian traditions.

You then have a free afternoon to explore the coastal Fort of Galle.

Included
Activities: Galle Fort
Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse (twin share basis)
Meals included: Breakfast and Fisherman’s House Lunch

Day 10

Galle to Colombo

Your cycling journey from most northern point to Southern point of this magical island comes to an end today with no activities planned.

Group Departure Transfer to Colombo and flight home 

To complete the Sri Lanka cycle trip comfortably, it is preferable that you have some previous multi-day cycling experience. The cycling is not dangerous or technically difficult, but you must be a confident with a good level of fitness in order to manage the long duration of the ride. Due to the unpredictability of the climate, you will need to be prepared for cycling in all conditions, as the weather can change extremely rapidly, making clothing and footwear choices important.

The regions we visit on the trip are very remote and you should be prepared to spend time in areas where facilities and services are limited. Roads are mostly paved and although well-maintained they can be bumpy and dusty.
Cycling distances stated are given as approximates only.
Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.
Cycling overseas can be precarious and although we take important steps to manage and minimise this risk, we can never eradicate it altogether. Your guide reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time should the conditions require it. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Equipment:
Mountain bikes with front suspension (TREK 4500 or similar). You will need to supply your own bike helmet.

All luggage, food and water will carried by our support vehicles, you will be expected to carry a day sack for items needed during the day: sunscreen, camera, waterproofs etc. Cycling is on terrain ranging from good A grade sealed roads to open gavel track We will be travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to a variety of weather conditions at any time. It is essential that your luggage is carried in either a soft sailing bag or soft rucksack. Bags must be waterproof, or their contents waterproofed in plastic bags.

Health
All our guides are first aid trained and carry fully equipped medical kits for serious medical emergencies. We insist that you have had the Tetanus jab and highly recommend vaccinations against Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Polio. You should always contact your GP or travel clinic for the most up-to-date information as world health situations do change.
The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.
Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Hotels and Guest Houses
Whilst on the ride you will be staying in comfortable 3 star hotels with twin share rooms.

Food and drinks
Most breakfasts and dinners will be served at the hotels/lodges or at local restaurants – mostly Sri Lankan style meals. Where meals are not included you will have a good selection of restaurants to choose from. We have not included evening meals and some lunches in the itinerary to give more options for eating in local restaurants or your hotel, your local guide will advise and offer any help when choosing a place to eat. We suggest allowing about £8 – £15 per day for all other meals. Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Despite (or perhaps because of) these influences, Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to as simply ‘Rice and Curry’. This is the staple dish in most restaurants and is usually a serving of rice accompanied by assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles, ‘sambols,’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free. Please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home. Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels will serve Western options alongside traditional food.

Passport
All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. Airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than 6 months validity.

Visa
A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. If you do not hold a British passport, please check the visa requirements with your local Sri Lankan Embassy or the ETA website http://www.eta.gov.lk/. Passengers should also be aware of local laws and customs in Sri Lanka (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/local-laws-and-customs). The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is an offence; please note that people have been refused entry to Sri Lanka because of visible tattoos of Buddha.

Adventurous Ewe is not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Insurance
It is a condition of joining this trip that you are insured against medical and personal accident. It is compulsory to supply Adventurous Ewe with documentary evidence of your travel insurance prior to departure.

We also recommend that you enrol with Global Rescue prior to embarking on your trip (optional). Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical & security advisory and evacuation services http://www.globalrescue.com/adventurousewe/.

Vaccinations
For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS government website ‘Fit for Travel’ at:
https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-east/sri-lanka

Experience 
 
cycling experience and level of difficulty
To complete this challenge comfortably, it is preferable that you have previous cycling experience in varied terrain. The cycling is not dangerous or technically difficult, though you must be a confident cyclist with a good level of fitness and comfortable with long days in the saddle to manage sections of the ride. During the ride you will be required to carry your own snacks, drinking water and personal items such medication and toiletries.

The cycling hours stated are given as approximates only.Timings include lunch and photo stops though will vary depending on the pace of your group and weather conditions.
Previous experience on multi day rides is not required. Full instructions and support will be provided by your guides.

Difficulty Rating
This challenge has a rating of Medium
Cost
£ 1895

Responsible Tourism

We Employ Local Experts. Areas are left exactly how we found them. We understand the need for care.

Featured Tourism

Three Peaks Challenge. Fully supported challenge from £315.00. Discounted price for group bookings.

Bespoke Trips

We offer Bespoke Trips. Subject to availabilty we are able to do trips that cater for you and take you to areas of the world that you would like to go.