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7 Days Wonderful Sri Lanka Heritage Bicycle Tour in Central-West Sri Lanka

Goldi Sands, Negombo, Sri Lanks

Exciting Sri Lanka Bike Holiday

When you combine the great variety of cycling with the cultural and natural attractions, there is plenty to delve into and enjoy. The bicycle journey will be on quiet back roads, estate tracks, and gravel paths. You will cover 222 kilometers in five cycling days, and much, if not most, of the terrain, is undulating. When you combine the great variety of cycling with the cultural and natural attractions, there is plenty to delve into and enjoy.

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: 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, preferably one with front shocks
  • Starts and ends in: Colombo
  • Difficulty level: Moderate (cyclist needs to have a good level of fitness, the terrain is mostly hilly or unpaved but they will ride on flat terrain sometimes, 31-45 miles per day)
  • Total distance: 138 miles / 222 kilometers
  • Bike types: Mountain bike
  • E-bike: Available to rent / 150 USD per week
  • 2 to 16 persons

Highlights

  • 4 days of biking tour with an expert guide
  • Explore the beautiful territories of Sri Lanka
  • Visit beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town of Kandy
  • Mountain bikes included in the price of the package
  • Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation
  • Daily healthy meals
  • Airport transfer

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


5 cycling days in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 15
Airport transfer included: Bandaranaike International Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
14:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

Check-in: 14:00

Check-out: 11:00

The hotels listed are the first choice and where they hope you will stay, however, during festivals or other major events there is a chance they will have to substitute another hotel.

  • Day 1 - Golai Sands, Negombo
  • Day 2 - Thilanka Hotel Kandy, Kandy
  • Day 3 - Thilanka Resort & Spa, Dambulla
  • Day 4 and 5 - Deer Park Hotel, Polonnaruwa
  • Day 6 - Palm Garden Village, Anuradhapura

Program

Suitability

This trip is an active tour, which means you can expect to exert yourself some sections of the ride. Cyclists should be in relatively overall good physical shape with at least a moderate degree of cycling experience. Being physically fit will, of course, be a huge asset, but as the tour is fully supported, the van is always close at hand if needed.

Biking Conditions

The road surfaces are mixed: most days, you 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, 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.

Sri Lanka, the 'Teardrop of India', is a collection of ancient and natural delights that will bedazzle visitors as you move from religious to monarchical to colonial sites. Left behind by Buddhism, Hinduism, the British, Dutch, Portuguese, and Indians these influences are seen throughout our trail of historical and cultural sites.

You will visit five of Sri Lanka's eight UNESCO World Heritage sites as we cycle through the backroads and absorb a very traditional and grassroots feel of Sri Lanka. The ride starts by rolling into the beautiful old town of Kandy, home to the famed Temple of the Tooth and located on a picturesque lake. You will next head into the open abundant countryside, riding towards the caves and statues of Dambulla's Golden Temple. The dominating rock fortress of Sigiriya will be in view most of the ride as you cycle towards it.

After a climb to the top, you walk through one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. At Minneriya National Park, you will find plenty of elephants on the jeep safari. The next fascinating stop on this trail of Sri Lanka’s most ancient cities, Polonnaruwa, is an immense former capital created in the 12th century. Hidden in dense jungle for many years, Anuradhapura, the last heritage site is a treat: with palaces, monasteries and monuments and a principal shrine of Buddhism.

Day 1: Arrive in Colombo

You will meet you at Bandaranayake International Airport (CMB) upon your flight arrival and transfer you to your nearby hotel in Negombo for a welcome dinner.

  • Hotel: Gondi Sands - meals served: dinner

Day 2: Negombo - Kandy (42 kilometers)

You depart in the early morning and transfer from Negombo to fertile Mawanella. Your ride begins amidst coconut and rubber plantations and skirts rice paddy fields and local villages. After a gentle warm-up, it's time to start climbing up to and through the Banana Gap.

You then ride down to the Royal Botanical Gardens where you take a break to see some of the more than 4,000 species of plants. It's then a short ride onto the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town of Kandy, one of Sri Lanka's most sacred destinations.

Surrounded by mountain ranges and built around a lake, Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth, where a sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha has been enshrined since the 4th century AD.

  • Hotel: Thilanka Hotel Kandy -meals served: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3: Kandy - Dambulla (40 kilometers)

After breakfast, you have a short transfer to the town of Matale, known for its cultivation of spices. Here you start riding towards Dambulla using a mix of tarmac and red dirt roads. The scenery will again be dominated by bright fruit orchards, rice paddy fields, and the huge elephant grass that grows wild. The destination is the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a UNESCO Heritage site.

This famous rock temple dates back to the first century BC, and we explore the caves that sheltered King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. Once he regained the throne, he built some of the most magnificent rock temples to be found on the Island. You finish at the hotel where there'll be time for a swim before dinner.

  • Hotel: Thilanka Resort & Spa - meals served: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Dambulla - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa (35 kilometers)

The tour pedals out of Dambulla and proceeds to the unique ancient 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya (Lion Rock). As you ride along the shores of Kandalama Lake, you’ll get excellent views of Sigiriya, another UNESCO World Heritage site. You will park your bikes and climb up to the abandoned royal palace, converted to a Buddhist monastery.

On your way up, you pass famous frescoes and mirror wall. The views from the top are fantastic and more than worth the effort. Once you have explored Sigiriya thoroughly, you'll have a short transfer to your hotel in Polonnaruwa

Day 5: Polonnaruwa - Minneriya National Park - Polonnaruwa

An early morning jeep safari awaits as you head to Minneriya National Park to hopefully find some wild elephants. This morning is the chance to see some signature wildlife of Sri Lanka in an uninhabited wilderness environment.

The park is the habitat for wild elephants, buffaloes, boar, spotted deer, sloth bear, sambhur leopards, crocodiles, jackals also varieties of butterflies. Your morning safari ends with a snack, and then it's time to mount the bicycles again. You cycle back to Polonnaruwa on a smooth tree-lined road through a forest reserve.

When you reach the Polonnaruwa Tank, a very large manmade lake, we have lunch and relax as you still have a busy afternoon ahead of you. You next explore the fourth UNESCO Heritage site, Polonnaruwa, the 10th-century capital and best preserved of Sri Lanka's ancient cities.

  • Hotel: Thilanka Resort & Spa - meals served: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6: Polonnaruwa - Anuradhapura (60 kilometers)

You start the day with a drive of about 2 hours, so you can ride through the ruins of Anuradhapura, the most celebrated of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of the Sinhalese until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period, it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.

Considered sacred to Buddhists, you'll see the Bodhi-Tree said to have grown from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. The riding will be flat and interesting, and you have a cool down in the hotel pool to look forward to after your day of cycling.

  • Hotel: Palm Garden Village - meals served: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 7: Anuradhapura - Colombo

After breakfast, they will transfer you to Colombo for your flight onwards or trip extension to Galle.

  • Meals served: breakfast

Nuts and bolts

Bikes

Included in this tour are well-known makes of hybrid or mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, v-brakes, and Shimano components and front suspension. We also have E-Bikes available for hire. They are of SCOTT brand and come in 2 models with alloy frames, 9-11 speed, Shimano disc brakes, and components.

Bike Repairs

Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though they cannot guarantee to have spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube, and a pump while riding is recommended.

Safety

Wearing a helmet is required on all the biking adventures and is non-negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree, you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will

cover you for a mountain biking tour.

Guides

You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is nine people or more you will add another guide to the tour. All the guides are well informed in history, culture, and religions of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Your guide is also medically trained and an experienced cyclist, able to handle most minor repairs en route.

Solo Travelers

SpiceRoads does not require you to pay a surcharge for traveling alone. They will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveler of the same gender and if they can not match you up they will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.

Skill level

Intermediate

  • can cycle for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Location

This cycling tour will take you from Colombo to Negombo, Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park, and Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, was the tea-growing jewel of the British Empire. Now the island nation is an explorer’s paradise, full of natural wonder, spectacular wildlife, and an easygoing local culture. Despite its long, intertwining history with India, its larger influential neighbor, the “teardrop” of the Indian Ocean has a style all of its own.

Food

Meals are included as per the itinerary. Most meals are local and feature rice and curries. Sri Lankan curries come in many varieties of colors and flavors and can be meat- or fish- based dishes, but there are also vegetable and even fruit curries. Many of the spices used have Ayurvedic value when used in curries.

Meals are a mixture of local and western cuisines, with the local key ingredients being rice, coconut and especially spices, reflecting the island's history as a spice producer and trading center for hundreds of years. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let them know at the time of booking.

Drinks

Keeping you completely hydrated is a job they take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit, and soft drinks are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is readily available everywhere but is NOT included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Soda

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Seafood
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 4 days of biking
  • Mountain bike hire
  • Jeep safari at Minneriya National Park
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • SpiceRoads jersey
  • Water bottle
  • Support vehicle
  • Services of guide(s)
  • Meals (as indicated)
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Airport pick up and drop off

What's not included

  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • Visa fees
  • Alcohol
  • Tips

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). Transfer from and to the airport is included. SpiceRoads Cycling will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport Airport transfer included: Bandaranaike International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 45 days before arrival.
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