(meals key: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner)
Day 1: Arrival - Negombo
You will be met on arrival at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport and transferred to our beachside hotel in nearby Negombo where you will be met by your tour leader. Your day is free to relax and rest after a long flight. The group will meet early this evening for drinks, a briefing, and our first dinner together.
Day 2: Chilaw to Yapahuwa
With the distance being a tad too far to comfortably cycle we need to begin our first day with an hour or so in our minibus, but once on our bikes, there will be no necessity to transfer again until the tour draws to a conclusion in Galle.
Hopping on the bikes we leave coastal Sri Lanka behind us as we plot a course east and for the first time experience Sri Lanka’s country roads and agricultural life. This is lowland Sri Lanka with tropical flora, where we ride beneath palm trees and past rice fields with bananas growing at the side of the road. Come days end we have the chance to climb the 100metre high Granite rock close to the hotel and enjoy stunning views - or simply relax by the pool before dinner.
Day 3: Yapahhuwa to Anuradhapura
A wonderful day’s cycling awaits as we set out on a mixture of sealed and unsealed byways and lanes, past large lakes, through beautiful scenery and an eclectic mix of wildlife including peacocks, mongooses, giant lizards, monkeys and possibly wild elephants.
Our destination, Anuradhapura, is one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals and boasts a vast amount of ancient architecture. For those wishing to visit the sights, we can arrange an optional tour with a local guide assuming we arrive in time. Alternatively, spend your time before dinner relaxing by our hotel pool.
Day 4: Anuradhapura to Sigiriya
Small lanes winding past lakes and through gorgeous countryside offer a wonderful start to today’s cycling adventure. Eventually, these quiet country byways will lead us to a larger well-surfaced road where an undulating ride takes us to lunch. The afternoon is an exploration of the byways and tracks of rural Sri Lanka where an abundance of wildlife waits to be spotted and ever friendly locals wandering the lanes and tending the fields great us with ready smiles as we wheel by. Our destination for today is Sigiriya, famed for its unique and rather magnificent 200-metre high rock, atop of which is the remains of an ancient city. For those interested in ancient ruins and fine views, this afternoon offers the chance of an optional extra excursion to Sigiriya rock to explore the ruins and admire the rather splendid views.
Day 5: Sigiriya to Kandy
We leave Sigiriya on a mixture of sealed and unsealed rural roads before turning south onto a red gravel canal path. This deserted byway leads us through a delightful pastoral scene with a soundtrack of bird song and the cry of wild peacocks. An unavoidable section of busier main road leads us to an afternoon of undulating minor byways that take us into the cultural and vibrant city of Kandy.
DAY 6: Kandy: Rest Day
Kandy is an ideal rest-day venue. Whether you enjoy wandering the streets and local markets with your camera, visit sights such as the sacred Temple of the Tooth, enjoy some of the Western food you may by now be missing, or simply relax by the pool with a book and a beer there is something to keep everyone happy in Kandy
DAY 7: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Tracing a route past the train station, botanical garden and university we are soon out of Kandy and on the open road. An undulating ride through small rural communities brings us to the real focal point of the day, an awesome winding climb on back roads that lead us up into the highlands of the tea country. Here friendly workers picking the tips from fragrant tea bushes wave at the rare sight of passing foreign cyclists as we ride through Tamil villages and past characterful colonial era tea factories. As challenging as it is beautiful this 2300 meter climb culminates in the temperate climate of the lost in time town of Nuwara Eliya, where depending on the weather we can either relax on our hotel’s well-tended lawn or warm ourselves by the lounge bar’s fireplace. Whichever, it is a fine end to a very memorable day’s cycling.
NB: For those who prefer to admire beautiful scenery without the need for climbing more than 2000 metres on a bicycle, we offer the alternative of a classic train journey in the comfortable observation carriage.
DAY 8: Nuwara Eliya to Ella
Charming little back lanes lead us around Nuwara Eliya and behind the boating lake to one of the great descents of the tour. Twenty-two kilometres of smooth asphalt surfaced downhill provides a wonderful ride as we sweep through endless curves losing a thousand vertical meters in altitude with a backdrop of stunning views.
The following twenty kilometres involve two eight kilometre climbs on gentle gradients before another eight-kilometre descent and a final short climb to the lovely little town of Ella. With a fairly short day and plenty of downhill, we should arrive with plenty of time to wander through the tea plantations, hike up to Little Adam’s Peak, explore the delightful little railway station, or relax with a beer overlooking the stunning view from Ella Gap.
Day 9: Ella to Udawalawe
Another dramatic 25 kilometre downhill begins our day as we descend from the cool of the high country to the hot dry plains below on a well surfaced winding road. Upon reaching the low country a wider undulating road allows those keen to stretch their cycling legs to power on for a while before reaching the second half of today’s ride with a meander through the savannah of the low country. As we ride remember to keep an eye open for wild elephants as we make our way to the tented safari camp that will be our home for the night.
NB: If we arrive in time, for those interested there is the option to take a three-hour jeep safari in the national park.
DAY 10: Udawalawe to Mirrisa
The theme for our final full day on the bikes is rural and begins in fine style with an early start following rivers, canals, and lakes along quiet court and unsealed canal paths. Leaving these trails behind at the first small town we settle into a series of undulating rural byways laced together with some busier wider roads. Today really gives us a deep insight into the rural living of Southern Sri Lanka as we head through pastoral scenes towards our destination amongst the beachside hotspots of the south coast.
DAY 11: Mirrisa to Galle
A fitting finale to our exploration of Sri Lanka is a lovely half day ride passing villages, paddy fields and lakes with the familiar and ever-present smiles and greetings of the locals all around. Our destination is one of Sri Lanka's finest jewels, the wonderfully preserved ancient port town of Galle.
Day 12: Finish
The tour official ends this morning. For those with time, the beautiful walled town of Galle is well worth a few extra days with its quiet streets, colonial architecture and laid back cafés. For those wishing to spend some beach time post tour Sri Lanka’s south coast offers some fine resorts. The nearest is Unawatuna just 5 kilometres to the east. For those heading home, we provide transport back to Colombo Airport or to our joining hotel at Negombo where we will happily book you any extra nights you may require.
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