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14 Day Cycle Tour in Sri Lanka

offered by supplier M20818 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 14 day(s)
Group Size: 4 - 16 people
Destination(s): Sri Lanka  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1595 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1649 Pound Sterling (GBP)

Sri Lanka is a fantastic cycling destination, with well-surfaced roads and diverse, beautiful natural surroundings. From ancient religious and cultural sites to rain forests, national parks, mountains, wildlife and stunning coastline, there is so much to enjoy and no better way to explore than by bicycle. For centuries adventurers and traders have been drawn to this jewel in the Indian Ocean. The island has been inspiration to many adventurers from Marco Polo to Paul Theroux, renowned for a rich variety of terrain and wild life within a small land space. Species native to the island include monkeys, crocodiles elephants leopards and exotic peacocks. Moving forwards from a 30-year civil war which ended in 2009, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular cycling holiday destination.

The redspokes Sri Lanka Classic bicycle tour begins in West coast Negombo with beaches and sea views. We travel through ancient capital city Kurunegala, surrounded by imposing mythological 'animal rocks' and on to the extraordinary Sigiriya fortress with its series of moats, ramparts and water gardens. We explore the cultural triangle, the ‘King's Land’ of the ancient Sinhalese by bicycle, discovering medieval ruins and sacred temples. Our cycling tour continues on into the highlands through cloud forest and hill stations arriving at Uda Walawe National Park. We ride on to reach the southern tip of Sri Lanka, arriving at Mirissa, a coastal resort and fishing port with idyllic palm fringed beach. After making a stop in histoirc Galle, you will be transferred back to Negombo where the tour ends.

Itinerary:
Day 1: Negombo.
The redspokes 'Classic Sri Lanka' holiday begins in the coastal town of Negombo. On arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport you will be met and transferred to our beachside hotel.

Day 2 : Negombo – Dambulla.
From Negombo we begin cycling towards Kurunegala along a picturesque route passing through paddy fields on fairly flat wide roads after 40km we reach Kattimahana. From here we will transfer to Kurunegala. Coconut and rubber plantations surround the town, but long before we arrive we will spy a towering Buddha statue. Eight large rocks encircle the city and legend has it that they represent animals who were turned to stone by a demoness lady of the lake for threatening to drink the water dry. Once a medieval capital city, Kurunegala is now predominantly a modern town with an old stone clock tower in the centre. After lunch here wea we will transfer on by vehicle to avoid main roads and then cycle to Dambulla.

Day 3 : Dambulla - Sigiriya - Dambulla.
We cycle a circular route today visiting Sigiriya. Our route begins with 20km alongside the shores of Kandalama Lake with excellent views of the ancient 5th century rock fortress Sigiriya (Lion Rock). This ‘eighth wonder of the world’ dates back to the 5th century B.C. and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the summer palace of the notorious Sinhalese King Kassapa. Reaching Sigiriya, we park our bikes and walk through the old water gardens passing moats and ramparts. Then we climb 300m to the summit passing impressive frescoes on our steep ascent on a mix of steps hewn out of the rock and circular iron staircases. At the summit we will find the ruins of Sinhalese King Kasyapa’s stronghold and be rewarded with spectacular views. Returning to ground level you can enjoy a cool drink of king coconut thambili before we loop back to Dambulla on well surfaced road.

Day 4: Dambulla - Polonnaruwa.
We begin the day cycling through paddy fields and small villages with jungle on both sides of the road; we may see or hear a few peacocks and monkeys along the route. We reach Polonnaruwa a cornerstone of Sri Lanka's cultural triangle and continue our ride for a further 15km through the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. Abandoned in the 13th Century, it was rediscovered in the 18th Century. The Brahmanic chiselled stone monuments, built by the Cholas, show the magnificence of the ancient Rajarata Kingdom. This medieval capital (11th - 12th Century AD) remains a well-preserved city of stupas, moonstones, beautiful parks, towering buildings and imposing statues from antiquity. Ancient treasures include some of Sri Lanka's finest art and architecture of the period, such as the giant Buddha statues of the Gal Vihara. The ruins of the city are spread out over an extensive area of woodland and a bicycle is the ideal way to explore the sprawling temple complex. After seeing the main sites we’ll have a 20 minute vehicle transfer to our hotel.

Day 5: Polonnaruwa - Lagalla Valley.
The day begins with a vehicle transfer passing through Girithale. We begin cycling on a flat terrain experiencing variable surfaces and passing the beautiful Wasgomuwa Wildlife Park. We head on up into the hills following small roads and lanes first through forested scenery. As we ascend into the spice plantations our surroundings change with dramatic landscapes, hidden waterfalls and stunning mountain views. We stay tonight in simple accommodation which will give you an authentic experiernce of rural Sri Lanka.

Day 6: Lagalla Valley - Matale - Kandy.
Today begins with a 35 km cycle on twisting roads through beautiful valley and hillside in the Knuckles mountain forest reserve with stunning vistas, cloud forests, waterfalls and rich natural diversity all around us. We reach spice hill capital Matale; the town’s people descend from Arab spice traders. Just north of Matale are spice gardens and a colourful temple at Alu Vihara. We continue onto Kandy, Sri Lanka's hill capital and a cultural highlight with a vehicle transfer.

Day 7: Kandy Rest Day.
Kandy is regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful towns. It is 488 meters above sea level and after Colombo is Sri Lanka's most visited destination. Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth; an important religious shrine. A sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha has been preserved here since the 4th Century. The temple features fine ornate decoration and woodwork. Religious services (pooja) with traditional music and drumming are held daily at dawn, mid-day and in the evening and guests can participate. There is a mix of traditional and colonial architecture and at the town's centre is a small lake. The Udawattekelle forest reserve is right at the heart of Kandy. In just a matter of minutes you can leave the bustling city centre for tranquil jungle surroundings. Accommodation: Hotel (B).

Day 8: Kandy - Kithulgala - Dickoya.
We leave beautiful Kandy cycling downhill through plantations with a few climbs along the way. After 50km we reach Kithulgala, a Sri Lankan village on the Kelani river with white water rapids and unparalleled natural environments; an adventurer’s idyll. We have a riverside stop for lunch and you can take a refreshing dip in the water. There are also options for rafting and to visit nearby Belelina Cave. From Kithulgala to Dick-Oya we cycle a stretch of flat road before climbing up into the hills again, via immaculately laid out tea plantations surrounded by forest and valleys.

Day 9: Dick-oya - Belihuloya.
Today we continue through tea estates along dirt tracks that cut through the greenery, linking old colonial plantations and hill stations. As we journey through lush landscapes there are many steep climbs to reach Belihuloya. This beautiful hillside location links the dry and wet zones and the hill and low countryside at an altitude of less than 1500m making it a rich bio-diversity spot. The vegetation ranges from moist semi-evergreen and tropical forest, to dry patana grasslands and temperate forests. A perfect location for nature lovers.

Day 10: Belihuloya - Udawalwa.
From Belihuloya we cycle gravel paths through small towns, villages and forest, first on gentle undulating road before a steep uphill ride. As we ride mostly through thick forested areas the journey is refreshingly cool in the shade of the trees onto Udawalwa national park. The area was created to provide a habitat for animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe River. There are many water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants here. A popular tourist destination Udawalawe is the third most visited park in the country.

Day 11: Udawalawe - Mirissa.

We head on towards the southern coast today, setting off on back roads through beautiful paddy fields passing small village houses. En-route you will be able to witness some of Sri Lanka’s finest cinnamon plantations. The gentle coastal hills of southern Sri Lankan are especially suited to the growth of cinnamon. Also, you will see some of the best low grown tea plantation at an elevation between sea level and 600m. These are heavy and robust teas with a deep colour. We cycle the last few km along the main coastal road to Mirissa. At the southern tip of the island, Mirissa has a headland between a small fishing harbour a beautiful stretch of sandy beach with calm, clear waters. This tranquil spot is now becoming more popular as travellers turn away from the more popular resorts. Fringed with coconut trees the beach offers spectacular sunsets Mirissa is a popular place for whale and dolphin watching.

Day 12 Merissa - Galle.
We make an early start cycling northwards this morning following the coast towards Galle. Galle is the largest provincial town in the south of the island and a UNESCO world heritage fort. It was built by the Portuguese and extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17 C, it is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

Day 13: Galle - Negombo.
This morning we will take a city tour by bicycle that lasts approximately an hour. After this we pack up the bikes and have lunch at a restaurant in Galle fort. This afternoon we will transfer back to Negombo. There is time to explore the town's old quarter, the fish market and stretches of sandy beach.

Day 14 Saturday: Negombo - Home. We will arrange your transport to the airport.

Supplemental Tour Information:
Optional Extras
Own Room From: £425
Bike Hire from: £185
e-bike Hire from: £370.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Rooms will be in mid-range/good hotels or guesthouses with air conditioning or ceiling fans and en-suite facilities. All room prices are based on two people sharing.

A typical Sri Lankan meal is based on rice and curry. Central flavours include coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic. There is an abundance of fresh seafood and fish. Breakfasts and evening meals will be taken at the guesthouse/hotels. On moving on days the support crew will provide light lunches. Mineral water will be paid for from a kitty.

All vehicle transfers to and from airports and vehicle support with baggage transfers are included in this tour. You will have the services of an English-speaking guide throughout the tour along with all visits/trips as per the itinerary.

The trip does not include: your international flights, some meals in transit, and on rest days. (Light lunch and refreshments will be provided by our back up crew on moving on days), drinks, including mineral water, other than those supplied with meals, visa costs ($30), gratuities (these are at the discretion of the tour participants), any other personal expenses, travel Insurance.

About This Supplier
Location: England
Joined InfoHub: Mar 2011

M20818 is a specialist company taking small groups of cyclists to spectacular, remote areas of the world. We offer a unique blend of physical challenges, cultural experiences and cycling camaraderie, at highly competitive prices. M20818 guides are experienced cyclists and tour leaders. Destinations include Laos,...

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