For 11 days, this cycling tour will take you on an unforgettable journey through some of the most exquisite sites and views Sri Lanka has to offer. From religious monuments, colonial architecture, temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to the stunning views the nature, beaches and landscapes have to offer, the famous cycling trails will guide you through the cultural demographics that are a blended combination of British, Indian, Portuguese and Dutch influences into the local Sri Lankan way of living. You will get to taste the rich spices of local Sri Lankan cuisine, sip on locally-produced tea, while resting your body in accommodation ranging from bungalows to luxurious spa resorts across the magical island destination. Feel and experience Sri Lanka in a healthy, nature-filled way.
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Arrive in the west coast city of Negombo. From the airport, you will be collected and transferred to the hotel and given a tour briefing, welcome dinner and initial meet-and-greet for all cyclists on the trail. The tour briefing will outline the basic itinerary for the 11-day cycle tour, including information on the terrain and viewpoints you’ll encounter along the way. Retire that night to your hotel room, and rest up for the days ahead.
Wake up and indulge in a nutritious breakfast to start your day highly-energized and ready for your 11-day cycle tour through Sri Lanka. The first leg of the cycle tour is roughly 34 miles, across moderate terrain. A good breakfast get you off on the right foot, before you embark on the coastal route toward Karavas, renowned for its fresh fish markets and boats. The trail will then take an inward turn along the country roads for 31 miles, before you are collected and transferred to Kurunegala Lake for lunch and overnight stay at Dambulla, home to the Buddhist “Golden Temple” with over 150 Buddhist statues dating back to the 2nd century.
The Dambulla loop is approximately 37 miles from the resort to Lion Rock, a 5th-century fortress, trailing through the natural beauty of paddy fields, orchards and elephant grass. You will be provided with a local lunch near the ancient water gardens of the remains of King Kasyapa’s summer residence, before completing the last stretch along red dirt roads that winds along an old irrigation canal.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast to energize you for the day ahead: you’ll take on a 48 mile forest trail up Kahaduwa Hills, which will provide not only scenic splendors, but also great chances of encountering wild elephants in the reserved land. Lunch will be served in a hotel in Polonnaruwa tank, a 10th-century city that contains the ancient Rajarata Kingdom's stone monuments. Expect fascinating views and a traditional touch, amidst well-preserved natural antiques.
Polonnaruwa to Wasgamuwa National Park is a 47-mile cycle in wilderness. Expect potential encounters with elephants, leopards, sloth bears, wild buffalo, and deer. One bridge crossing may or may not be possible, depending on water levels. If too high, a transfer will be arranged. After a well-earned, relaxing lunch, a Jeep will be waiting to take you on a three-hour safari within the national park. The national park has a well-preserved jungle feel to it. Embrace the wilderness.
Taking in the breathtaking beauty of Wasgamuwa is not a bad way to start a cycling day. After a well-earned rest and healthy food, you will commence a 48-mile trail hike that will lead you to the spice capital of Sri Lanka: Matale. The day will start with a half-mile climb over Laggala Pass to access the spice trail. The higher altitudes means temperatures may drop, so it’s recommended you take a waterproof jacket or some kind of lightweight cover to keep you comfortable in cooler atmospheres. From Matale, you will be transferred to Sri Lanka’s second-largest city, Kandy, where you will then have a day of rest and relaxation at the Kandy House or Earl's Regency Hotel.
Experience the beauty and buzz of the Sinhalese religious retreat, nestled along a lakeside in the mountainous terrain. Kandy - a Buddhist pilgrimage center, is renowned for its gem stores, markets, shops, while also home to the UNESCO Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Explore the natural surroundings, speak to locals and stock up on energy in this beautiful mountain city. Here, you’ll be kindly welcomed and encouraged to try local bites to eat.
Not for the faint-hearted, nearly 50 miles of challenging, steep terrain will take you through the traditional tea plantations, Hindu temples and local communities known as Tamil, where you will uncover Sri Lanka’s roots. Start your day feeling relaxed, refreshed and replenished after your day of rest - today, you’ll be reaching altitudes up to 4550 feet, with the final stretch being almost 2000 feet of gradual inclination to your bungalow in Kotagala, where you will rest for the night. Support vehicles will be on call should you need them for this leg of the journey.
The Kotagala to Udawalawe leg is a more relaxed cycle than the previous days’ climb. You’ll trace tracks for a total of 45 miles through tea estates towards Bogawantalawa town, with ample opportunities for photos, tea stops and chit-chat with local tea workers. Lunch will be served picnic-style, amidst all-encompassing, enchanting valley views from the exquisite Balangoda town. Before reaching Udawalawe, you’ll be transferred to your hotel from the cycling trail, giving you extra time to focus on the scenery rather than the handle bars!
Today will be another long, scenic ride - a total of 47 miles - that will enable you to experience a variety of views, from banana farms along an irrigation canal, to a coastal path that will lead you to a breathtaking sunset over the Indian Ocean in the town of Tangalle. Sri Lanka has 14 strains of bananas, each with unique medicinal characteristics. Lunch will allow you to taste Ash Plantain - cooking banana - at a local roadside stall, before continuing to the beaches of Tangalle.
Allow your body a peaceful, well-deserved rest day at Amanwella, offering picturesque beach views. Alternatively, for those who may be interested, Rekawa is a turtle sanctuary, only 12.5 miles away. Enjoy sleeping in, and relax in any shape or form that suits your needs. This rest day will give you time to perfect your tan, while experiencing the serene, simple beauty the island has to offer.
Today, you’ll push yourself to the finish line. It’s the last 50-mile stretch - you’re heading to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Asia’s largest city fortress; Galle. Galle is a port that incorporates a true mix of colonial European architecture with the traditional Southeast Asian culture, offering fantastic and informative guided tours. Lunch will be provided in Galle. After this, you’ll transfer to Colombo, where this evening, you’ll enjoy a final dinner.
In a haven of tranquility, hugging Sri Lanka’s immaculate western coast’s golden shoreline, lies Jetwing Beach, the winner of 2013 Certificate of Excellence and member to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. This lavish beach resort is one of Negombo’s finest hotels, offering a relaxing holiday in sophisticated comfort. Designed by one of Sri Lanka’s top architects, Geoffrey Bawa, this exquisite resort enables you to wind in hours of recreational beach fun, revitalize in invigorating spa wellness treatments, indulge in mouthwatering Sri Lankan dishes and rich international cuisine in one of several dining venues, and take advantage of the gorgeous swimming pool. Your day will always end on a high note, as you watch the stunning sun drop off the edge of the horizon, illuminating the sky into warm shades of pink, yellow, orange and red.
Designed by famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the unique Heritance Kandalama hotel is set into a cliff face among dense tropical forests, flanked by the Dambulla rock temple and Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The hotel’s buildings were planned to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment and are covered with hanging vines and flowering plants. Each of the 152 rooms faces either Kandalama Lake or the forest – even the bathrooms were planned to showcase the view – and is decorated in an elegantly simple contemporary style. The Kandalama is the first Green Globe 21-certified hotel in Asia, and the first hotel in the world to be awarded the prestigious LEED Green Building certification. There are three restaurants to choose from, including the Kanchana Café, which has won multiple awards. Among The Kandalama’s amenities are a pool, business center and fitness center, while the world-renowned Six Senses Spa has a location here that offers Asian, Swedish, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic massage.
Set amidst the lush expanses of Wasgamuwa, alongside the great Mahaweli river, a pocket of luxury exists in the Sri Lankan wilderness that is a serene haven for the discerning nature enthusiast. Radiating a tastefully strong rustic charm, the resort comprises six cozy suites, a restaurant, and a welcoming swimming pool. FarCry offers many excursions that will give you an unforgettable experience, such as the Wasgamuwa National Park, Sorabora Wewa and the Veddah settlements of Mahiyangana. The resort is settled on 12 acres of farmland with a mosaic of on-site nature trails worth exploring, while its chefs are busy in the kitchen, working to entice guests to tuck into some delicious variations of local Sri Lankan and international cuisine. All rooms are extremely modern, clean and comfortable, equipped with cable TV, complimentary WiFi, minibar and tea/coffee maker.
Nestled in the Dimbulla Valley, you’ll find a comfortable, spacious five-bedroom bungalow perched in the center of a well groomed, active tea plantation. Here, the growing Dimbulla Tea that circulates this peaceful bungalow in Kotagala releases its scent, adding another dimension to the stunning view of Adams Peak rising in the distance. Bungalows are minimal, but are the best around, and include all necessities for a relaxing stay. The interiors - from the rooms to the common areas - are kept clean and well-presented. Guests may choose from four double rooms, each with attached bathrooms, and a single room with detached bathroom. A personal butler is provided for guests’ ultimate comfort. The lounge and breakfast rooms have open fireplaces, providing warmth on the cooler evenings.
This environmentally-friendly four-star resort, covering seven acres of land, is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind resort in the north of Sri lanka. The resort offers 53 Deluxe and Superior rooms and four suites. With its magical flora and fauna that can be seen on- and off-site, it’s in a prime location, offering the perfect getaway for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Udawalawe National Park and Ath Athuru Sevana Elephant Orphanage are both within walking distance to make for exciting, action-packed days, while a picturesque swimming pool allows guest to relax in the warm sun, with excellent service at hand. Expect to dine in style at the hotel’s restaurant, which can can serve up to 250 guests at a time. The resort’s piece-de-resistance is its stunning free-form swimming pool, surrounded by loungers, and complete with adjoining bar.
Situated in the midst of a coconut grove on a secluded bay, the Amanwella resort is one of the world's most exclusive beach retreats. The resort sits on a perfect crescent of white-sand beach and is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, national parks and exotic wildlife and a 5 and 1/2 hour drive from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). There are 30 suites, each equipped with a plunge pool, terrace, and floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. A number of ocean suites are located further down the hill and have uninterrupted views of the coconut palms and the beach. The Amanwella restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, and uses its location next to the ocean to cook up fresh Asian- and Mediterranean-style seafood. The Pool Terrace also serves meals in a more laid-back setting. When not enjoying a safari, snorkeling, or swimming in the pool, there is a library with Internet access and reference books on Sri Lanka. The spa offers massages and traditional therapies using local, natural ingredients, which can be given either in the spa's suite or in selected garden locations. There is no fitness center.
The dramatic and sultry Tintagel property is located in central Colombo, close to Colombo Town Hall, National Art Gallery and Sinhalese Sports Club. The hotel was previously home to three of Sri Lanka’s political leaders, making it an important structure of national heritage. This unique and intimate hotel boasts ten high-ceilinged suites with timber floors, lavishly decorated with a unique blend of color, texture and atmosphere. The spacious bathrooms feature rain showers, bathtubs and large vanities. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, LCD TV screens with DVD/CD players, a minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities and Egyptian cotton bedding. Selected suites come with a private courtyard or a balcony. There are a range of dining facilities including an alfresco restaurant, a chic indoor restaurant offering international cuisine, a private dining room and a bar with black leather lounges and bronze tables. Other facilities and services of the hotel include a spa with optional in-room service, swimming pool, gym, steam room, library and courtyard.