Want to explore Sri Lanka at your own pace? Then cycling Sri Lanka is a good way to do it all. Exploring Sri Lanka on a bicycle gives you the best opportunity to see Sri Lanka’s diverse landscapes from a cycling perspective.
You will see the very best of this beautiful Island. You will meet friendly locals while passing through lush mountainous landscapes and tiny hamlets in rural Sri Lanka. You can enjoy the warmth of Sri Lanka’s tropical beaches whilst having plenty of time to check out the best tropical surfing spots. You can see the ancient cities and stop to experience the thrills of camping amidst wildlife and much more. Cycle though Sri Lanka and take back with you unforgettable memories. More
Sri Lanka often known, as “The pearl of the Indian ocean” is truly a Holiday Island offering palm fringed beaches, rolling plantations, sacred sights steeped in spirituality and wildlife galore.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka has a huge network of roads and tracks making it especially appealing for those keen on seeing the country on a bicycle.
With charming people, ancient ruins, some of the best cuisine in the world and many remnants of the influence of the British, Dutch & Portuguese colonisation, you will find Sri Lanka an amazing destination to discover on two wheels.
The holistic experience you gain by exploring Sri Lanka on a bicycle, the scenic mountains, the undulating landscapes, the customs, the culture, the nature and beauty of this resplendent Island is definitely worth discovering on two wheels.
Besides cycling you can combine your cycling tour with a safari, a hike, a little bit of canoeing, exciting white water rafting, rock climbing, cave exploration, camping in the wilderness, covering ancient archaeological sites and finally relaxing on a beautiful palm fringed pristine beach somewhere on the coast and ending it all with a little bit of Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. For more information on cycling go to this link or check the following cycling tours in Sri Lanka.
(1) Cycling, Rafting & Yoga Sri Lanka 9 days
(2) Sri Lanka Cycling Tour 13 days
(3) Mountain Biking Sri Lanka 6 days
Day 1 & 2
Your tour could commence with a warm up down the narrow and mostly deserted roads surrounding Sigiriya, on the way stopping at the 3rd-century caves at Dambulla, which is home to plenty of Buddhist statues housed within an ancient cave.
Take a break and climb the summit of Sigiriya. You will get a 360-degree view of the surroundings once you reach the top. Don’t forget to climb the staircase leading to the world famous Frescoes depicting topless maidens of king Kasyappa. This is a heritage listed rock fortress by UNESCO. Don’t miss this great opportunity to climb this historic fortress, which can be seen from afar.
DAY 3 & 4
Cycle through the peaceful and serene backroads of Sigiriya and then hit the highway to Polonnaruwa to check out the 10th century ruins. Enjoy a bullock cart ride at Polonnaruwa and taste Sri Lankan cooking in clay pots of the Hindurangoda village. Enjoy a canoe ride in the lake, take a hike and return to your hotel for the night.
Day 5 & 6
Cycle alongside canals and take a brief stop at Amban Ganga River. Enjoy the freshness of this area and continue your journey on a breath-taking ride up the hills at Kalanduwa along the border of Wasgamuwa wilflife park.
Encounter a herd of wild elephants crossing the road or stop to take a safari in the national reserve at Wasgamuwa.
Day 7,8 & 9
Now that you have cleared most of your cycling through flat terrain it is time to start the hard journey uphill on the winding roads leading to Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. You will pass through the famous hill country town of Kandy where the famous tooth relic of the Buddha is housed at the lakeside temple known as the “Dalada Maligawa” Rest a day or two in Kandy or settle for a scenic train ride to Nuwara Eliya. Try a bit of water rafting if you have time to travel to Kitulgala.
Day 10 &11
Cycle your way up the hills to Nuwara Eliya. Pass through terraced paddy fields and tea plantations. Once you have reached Nuwara Eliya the weather here is very much cooler during the day and the nights are comfortably cold setting you up for a nice long sleep.
Wake up in the morning feeling completely refreshed. Take a hike to Hortan planes and cycle to Ella water falls and witness the beautiful sunrise from a lookout point at Ella Gap. There are Buddha statues on the way to Budurugala. As a point of caution please do not touch or take pics standing beside Buddha statues. It is considered offensive and might get you into trouble with the law.
When you reach Yala take a safari, spot the elusive leopard and watch the flamingos by the water holes or the deer and sloth bear
7 elephants roaming the shrub land. Relax by the beach and absorb the peacefulness of the area. Enjoy the stars in the milky way at night, try to catch the fire flies and take in all the peace within yourself and the surroundings.
Day 13 & 14
Take a break from cycling and begin your relaxing stay at a beach resort before your departure.
The palm studded beaches and beach side hotels will cater to all your relaxing needs with Ayurveda, yoga and meditation available at most resorts. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Sri Lanka and indulge in all the niceties provided at these resorts and go home feeling relaxed and happy that you had a beautiful cycling holiday in Sri Lanka.
If you have another travel story please feel free to send in your story.
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1. Stay in a sea-facing hotel
Imagine waking up to early morning views of a rain-drenched promenade by the sea. Check into one of the many sea-facing hotels in Colombo like the legendary Galle Face Hotel, Taj Samudra, Cinnamon Grand or the new The Kingsbury, and you’ll be treated to one of the most spectacular views that Colombo has to offer.
2. Taste the Wattalappam
Indulge your sweet tooth with this traditional Sri Lankan dessert, a rich egg custard made with an indigenous palm sugar (Kitul) treacle, coconut milk and cinnamon! Cinnamon rules Sri Lankan cuisine and it’s difficult to find a curry or dessert that’s not spiced with cinnamon. The historic influences are evident in the numerous other dishes too — like the Sri Lankan bread pudding with its British colonial touch.
3. Take the road to Galle
The Old Dutch Fort at Galle dating back to the 17 century, a UNESCO heritage site, is best experienced on a sunny day. Take the old route to Galle along the coastline, that’s dotted with picturesque beach resorts. Kalutara, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, it’s difficult to decide if the resorts on the way or Galle itself is more spectacular. Do stop by at the Kosgoda sea turtle hatchery to watch Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Green turtles that arrive on the shore to nest.
4. Tune in to Gold FM
Go on a nostalgic trip with Gold FM, Sri Lanka’s leading English radio music channel that plays hits from the 1960s, 70s and 80s non-stop, island wide. From foot-tapping rock n’ roll numbers to the greatest country hits, it’s relaxing music 24 x 7 — anytime, anywhere.
5. Go on a shopping spree
From the exquisite Odel that’s all over the city to trendy Beverly Street, No Limit, Cool Planet, Fun Factory, House of Fashion… the list of places for clothes and accessories is long! You can shop for the most beautiful ceramic cutlery at the Lanka Ceramics or Noritake or Dankotuwa outlets.
6. Hang out at the Dutch Hospital precinct
The oldest building in the Colombo Fort area, the Dutch Hospital precinct has been restored and transformed into a heritage mall with its original tiled-roof 17 century Dutch colonial architecture intact. Wander through its thick-walled corridors and sip beer at the open courtyard that’s lined with restaurants.
7. Frolic with elephants
Pinnawala elephant orphanage is on the must-visit list. At this rehabilitation centre-cum-retirement home for orphaned and injured elephants, time your visit to watch the baby elephants being fed milk from large feeding bottles, or catch the entire group being herded across the road for an afternoon dip in the Maha Oya River. You can watch the elephants frolic in the river as you lunch at the restaurants on the rocky river bank.
8. Explore the history trail
If history interests you, the National Museum on Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha would be the right place to begin, as it has an impressive collection of cultural artefacts from the early period. But the Dutch and British colonial presence is evident in the numerous churches along the Colombo coastline. Among the other interesting museums are the Dutch Museum on Prince Street, the Independence Memorial Museum at Independence Square and the Maritime Museum housed in a Dutch warehouse built in 1656 — the oldest yet well preserved building inside Galle Fort!
9. Sri Lankan wedding
Weddings best reflect a culture, and Sri Lankan wedding finery is in a class of its own. Skilfully colour-coordinated in shades, Sri Lankan weddings are a feast to the eye. And it’s not just the couple who dazzle, but the guests too. If you’re lucky, you can find newlyweds in their wedding finery posing at the most scenic beaches and hillsides. If there’s a wedding in the family, Colombo is where you should be putting together the trousseau.
10. Unwind at Mount Lavinia
An ode to the love that blossomed in 1806, between the British governor Sir Thomas Maitland and Lovina Aponsuwa a Mestizo-Sinhalese dancer, this governor’s bungalow-on-the-beach-turned-luxury-hotel is the most romantic location in Sri Lanka. Historic and breathtakingly beautiful in equal measure, a few scenes from the classic war-time movie The Bridge on the River Kwai were shot here.
Flights to Colombo are available from major cities in India. Airfare is anywhere between Rs.6,500 and Rs.11,500, round trip per person. Visa on arrival.
Travel from Colombo to its neighbouring tourist destinations is easier by train than by bus, though trains are less frequent and slightly more expensive than buses.
Importing currency from India is illegal. You will find exchange bureaus in Colombo — at airports and tourist areas. Remember to change your money back before leaving the country as you will not be allowed to export more than Rs.5,000, nor will foreign banks exchange the Sri Lankan currency.
Colombo is humid all year long. Heavy rains can be expected in the monsoon season — from May to August, and also from October to January.
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