The quiet back roads of this tear-drop shaped island make it ideal for cycling. We start along the west coast catching glimpses of the sails of the local fishing boats, before we cycle inland through a multitude of Buddhist and Hindu monuments. Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was once known, has been influenced by ancient dynasties, Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British, all leaving their imprints and a resulting curious mix of ancient cities, monuments and atmospheric colonial architecture to explore.
We continue to the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the once medieval capital of Polonnaruwa. Here we put the bikes aside for an afternoon and take a wildlife safari in the Wasgomuwa National Park. We take a rest day at the hill town of Kandy so you have time to view the Temple of the Tooth, relax on the lake or walk through the splendid botanical gardens. We then follow rivers flowing down to the south coast and the fortress of Galle. We overnight in a wonderful range of accommodation, from spa resorts to colonial bungalows on tea estates to remote rustic lodges to the architecturally wonder designed by the famous Geoffrey Bawa. Be captivated by the romance, color and spice of Sri Lanka, a truly remarkable destination that you'll never forget!
* Our bicycle journey will be on quiet back roads, estate tracks and gravel paths. We cover 770 kilometers in 10 cycling days, and much, if not most, of the terrain is undulating and there are some days with more than 100 km of riding. When you combine the great variety of cycling with the cultural and natural attractions, there is plenty to delve into and enjoy.
* The road surfaces are mixed: most days we ride on reasonably good quality asphalt roads, but there are enough sections on very badly broken or dirt tracks that you will need a mountain bike, and preferably one with front shocks. However, there is nothing technical involved on this tour and anyone, assuming they have a reasonable level of fitness, will be able to join. A support truck is always available to help.
* This ride is for those who have some biking experience as well as experts. The beginning of this ride is relatively flat, but there will be hills as we head inland and there are some long distances to cover. Never underestimate the heat and humidity of tropical Sri Lanka, as it will likely ensure things feel hot. This is a true journey through the finest terrain and scenery of Sri Lanka, with the best culture, nature and wildlife thrown in along the way, ensuring you get the very best of everything from your cycling efforts.
Day 1: Arrive in Sri Lanka and meet at hotel at Negombo beach.
Day 2: Ride along coast before heading inland to visit Dambulla, a 2nd century Buddhist cave temple.
Day 3: Loop ride to the ancient 5th century rock fortress Sigiriya and climb 300 m to top to view ruins.
Day 4: Ride along irrigation canals to ancient city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 5: Cycle along the eastern fringe of Wasgomuwa National Park. Afternoon jeep safari into park to view wildlife.
Day 6: Climb up to the Laggala pass at 1000 m, then descend on the so-called spice road to Matale. Overnight at Kandy.
Day 7: Rest day to explore Kandy's town center, bustling market or the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sacred Kandy.
Day 8: Bicycle through tea plantations, stopping to see the tea making process and tasting the result.
Day 9: Cycle along gravel roads and tea estate tracks, through the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea growing region.
Day 10: Descend out of tea country to the jungle covered slopes of the Sinharaja rainforest.
Day 11: Ride along the Nilwala river as it flows out of the hills towards the coast and the fortress town of Galle.
Day 12: Rest day to wander through the fortified old city of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on your own.
Day 13: Cycle along some quiet inland roads heading north towards Colombo.
Day 14: Free time until transfer to airport for onward travel.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Sri Lanka Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring