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Cycle Tour in Sri Lanka – 13 Nights / 14 Days

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Itinerary

Day 01 Arrival / Negombo

On arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, you will get your first taste of warm Sri Lankan hospitality. A representative will welcome you at the airport and proceed to the beachside hotel.

Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison. Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal. The canal leads south to Colombo. Neoclassical St. Mary’s Church, completed in the 1920s, features a ceiling decorated with vivid religious paintings.

Fishing is a key industry and there are bustling markets where you’ll see mats spread out with drying fish along the sandy beaches.

Overnight stay in Negombo.

Day 02 Negombo / Dambulla

From Negombo we begin cycling towards Kurunegala along a scenic 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 we will transfer on by vehicle to avoid main roads and then cycle to Dambulla.

Dambulla is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses.

Cycling Distance: 48km (30 miles)

Overnight stay in Dambulla.

Day 03 Dambulla / Sigiriya / Dambulla

We cycle a circular route today visiting Sigiriya. Part of our route will be 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.

Cycling Distance: 47km (29 miles)

Overnight stay in Dambulla.

Day 04 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 Brahmanicchiselled 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 the hotel.

Cycling Distance 70km (44 miles)

Overnight stay in Polonnaruwa.

Day 05 Polonnaruwa / Matale

We begin the day cycling from the hotel passing the boarder of Angamadilla National Park. Thereafter head up to Moragahakanda Reservoir view point. Our surrounding change with dramatic Landscapes, small cannels and Mountain View. Tonight you will stay in simple accommodation which will give you an authentic experience of rural Sri Lanka.

Cycling Distance: 72km (45 miles)

Overnight stay in Matale.

Day 06 Matale / Kandy

Today begins with a 52 km cycle through beautiful valley and hillside with rich natural diversity all around us. We cross 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 AluVihara. We continue onto Kandy, Sri Lanka’s hill capital and a cultural highlight.

Cycling Distance: 52km (32 miles)

Overnight stay in Kandy.

Day 07 Kandy (Rest Day)

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It’s set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city’s heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine. 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. 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: Suisse Hotel (B)

Overnight stay in Kandy.

Day 08 Kandy / Kithulgala / Dickoya

We leave beautiful Kandy cycling downhill through plantations with a few climbs along the way. After 50km we reach Kithulgala, a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rain forest, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest places in the country. Kithulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream.
We have a riverside stop for lunch and you can take a refreshing dip in the water.

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.

Cycle Distance: 85km (53 miles)

Overnight stay in Dickoya.

Day 09 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. This is a perfect location for nature lovers.

Cycling Distance: 41km (25 miles)

Overnight stay in Belihuloya.

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 Park consists of the immediate catchment area of the deep Walawe Reservoir, which is surrounded by open plains and foothills. The vegetation originally forested, grassland and thorn-scrub now predominate. Much of the forest was destroyed by chena (Shifting cultivation). Udawalawe Park is renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty and wealth of faunal species, particularly mammals and birds. It has become a tourist attraction throughout the year as it is blessed with the possibility to view the elephants at close range.

Cycling Distance 66km (42 miles)

Overnight stay in Udawalawa.

Day 11 Udawalawe / Weligama

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.

Cycling Distance: 100km (62 miles)

Overnight stay in Weligama.

Day 12 Weligama / Galle / Weligama

We make an early start cycling northwards this morning following the coast towards Galle. Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Notable buildings include the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church.

Cycling Distance: 52km (32 miles)

Overnight stay in Weligama.

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.

Cycling Distance: 16Km (10 miles)

Overnight stay in Negombo.

Day 14 Negombo / Airport

Transfer to the Airport in time to connect with the departure flight.