Sri Lanka Spice Trails
Sri Lanka Bike Tours
Bike the Island of Spice
A bike tour in Sri Lanka is a kaleidoscope of images, experiences, and smells; tea plantations, cool highlands, ancient cities, and tropical beaches. The extraordinary flora and fauna highlight the diversity of this land, rich in history, religion, and culture. Once considered a lost paradise, the island was part of the hundreds of ancient trade routes, including the trade route for the coveted spices. Though no longer considered luxuries, the exotic flavors, colors and smells of these delicacies remain!
The quiet back roads of this tear-drop shaped island make it ideal for cycling. Beginning on the west coast, dotted with the sails of the local fishing boats, the route leads inland past a multitude of Buddhist and Hindu monuments. Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was once known, has been influenced by ancient dynasties. The Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left imprints, resulting in an eclectic mix of ancient cities, monuments, and colonial architecture to explore.
- Ancient Ceylon
- Wildlife safari in Wasgomuwa National Park
- Temple of the Tooth
- Botanical gardens
- Lovely beaches
You will be captivated by the romance, color and spice of Sri Lanka!
January 6 departure: £ 2113 $ 4,683 € 2487 $ 3747 NOK 23417 kr 21615 $ 2,810 Single supplement: £ 508 $ 1,125 € 597 $ 900 NOK 5625 kr 5192 $ 675 All other departures: £ 2038 $ 4,517 € 2398 $ 3613 NOK 22583 kr 20846 $ 2,710 Single supplement: £ 485 $ 1,075 € 571 $ 860 NOK 5375 kr 4962 $ 645
Electrical Bike: £ 165 $ 367 € 195 $ 293 NOK 1833 kr 1692 $ 220
Private airport transfer: £ 30 $ 67 € 35 $ 53 NOK 333 kr 308 $ 40 (for two people)
Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
† Currency exchange rate set 90 days before travel.
This tour starts in Negombo, Sri Lanka. Bandaranaike International Airport (also known as Colombo International Airport and Katunayake International Airport (IATA: CMB, ICAO: VCBI) is the closest main international airport.
Private transfer can be arranged at a cost of 40 USD/car/way (maximum 2 passengers per car), valid from now until 30th Sep’16. You can also order a taxi to arrive to your first hotel. There is a taxi counter at the airport. (Cab drivers in Sri Lanka do expect a tip!). If you prefer public transportation, a shuttle bus operates every 15 minutes from the terminal to main bus station located about 500 m away. From here, intercity buses operate to the city. *Do note that taxis are quite inexpensive in Sri Lanka and we feel are the most convenient way to arrive to your first hotel.
Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half and the Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island. Average temperatures for Colombo and the low-lying coastal regions are 27°C while at the higher altitudes like Kandy (500m), the average temperature is 20°C. A gortex rain jacket and a warm jacket for the central highlands are suggested clothing.
Europeans, Australians and North Americans receive a tourist visa upon entry, valid for 30 days. All other nationalities, please check for the latest updates and requirements here: www.immigration.gov.lk. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry.
This guided tour will take place on a variety of road surfaces; quiet back roads, dirt roads, and gravel paths. You will encounter uneven surfaces, broken asphalt and potholes. 575 km is covered in 9 cycling days on undulating terrain. There are days with more than 70 km of riding but do note that no technical riding is required.
Where You’ll Stay
Carefully chosen accommodations that are the best available for the location and offer a good mix, from local bed and breakfasts to luxurious lodges.
- All accommodations
- All meals except for lunch and dinner on rest days
- English speaking tour guide (two guides if group is larger than 8)
- Support vehicle
- 24 to 27 speed Trek mountain bike
- Fruit, healthy snacks, water and electrolyte drinks during the rides
- SpiceRoads water-bottle and a SpiceRoads bike jersey
What’s Not Included
- Transfers to and from airport (can be arranged)
- Lunch and dinner on Day 6 and 12
- Breakfast and lunch on Day 1
- Bicycle Protection
- Travel Insurance
*January 6, *February 3, *March 17, April 7, July 28, September 22, October 6, November 10
Arrivals are possible on other days. Please ask. Group size 2-16 riders.
Day 1: Arrival in Sri Lanka
Day 2: Negombo – Dambulla, 34 mi. (54 km)
Day 3: Dambulla Loop, 37 mi. (60 km)
Day 4: Dambulla - Polonnaruwa, 49 mi. (78 km)
Day 5: Polonnaruwa - Kandy, 46 mi. (75 km)
Day 6: Kandy Rest Day
Day 7: Kandy - Hatton, 49 mi (78 km)
Day 8: Hatton - Udawalawa, 36 mi. ( 58 km)
Day 9: Udawalawa loop, 32 mi. ( 52 km)
Day 10: Udawalawa - Mirissa, 50 mi. (81 km)
Day 11: Galle loop, 24 mi. (39 km)
Day 12: Galle - Mirissa– Colombo
Day 1: Arrival in Sri Lanka
There will be a welcome meeting at the Goldi Sands hotel in Negombo for a trip briefing and welcome dinner.
Day 2: Negombo – Dambulla, 34 mi. (54 km), Elevation: + 402 m / - 364 m
Directly from the hotel, the cycle route follows the old coast road, past the distinctive patchwork sails of the Karavas fishing community. Turning inland on quiet back roads, after cycling approximately 50 km, there is then a transfer of approximately 3 hours to Dambulla, breaking for lunch at Kununegala Lake. Dambulla is famous for the 2nd century Buddhist cave temple, Golden Temple, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in the country, containing more than 150 Buddha statues. A final short ride will lead to a peaceful hotel amid mango trees and paddy fields. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Dambulla Loop, 37 mi. (60 km), Elevation: + 555 m / - 578 m
Today's ride is through the countryside on a mix of tarmac and red dirt roads passing orchards, paddy fields and elephant grass. You cycle along the shores of Kandalama Lake to the ancient 5th century rock fortress Sigiriya (Lion Rock) where the 300 m ascent will challenge but the views of the ruins of King Kasyapa's summer palace will reward. After the descent, the afternoon ride follows an old irrigation canal along red dirt roads, framed by long green grass. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Dambulla - Polonnaruwa, 49 mi. (78 km), Elevation: + 538 m / - 655 m
You could be awarded a glimpse of wild elephants on the ascent over the Kaladuwa Hills! The ride passes along tree-lined roads through the historic park of Polonnaruwa, the 10th Century capital and best preserved of the ancient cities which was abandoned in the 13th Century, since rediscovered in the 18th Century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Polonnaruwa - Kandy, 46 mi. (75 km), Elevation: +620 m / - 381 m
A short transfer takes us back to Polonnaruwa, where we ride around the huge lake known as the Sea of Parakrama, named after the great king who built it. Part of the ride is through Angammedilla National Park, built to protect the water source. This small forest reserve is an elephant corridor linking Minneriya and Wasgomuwa National Parks. Here we retrace part of yesterday’s ride, following the Ambon Ganga (river) back towards its start point in the foothills around Naula, said to be the centre of the Island. We end the ride here to avoid busy roads and transfer to lunch in Matale, situated in Sri Lanka’s spice-growing region, and on to Kandy, the spiritual and cultural capital of the hill country and Sri Lanka’s second largest city. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Kandy Rest Day
A rest day is scheduled today in picturesque Kandy, an important religious center of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Nestled among hills and centered around a lake, picturesque Kandy has long been an important religious center of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Today you can explore the town center’s old shops, antique and gem specialists or the bustling market. A must do is to see the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sacred Kandy which houses the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic, a tooth of the Buddha. Breakfast
Day 7: Kandy - Hatton, 49 mi (78 km), Elevation: +1530 m / - 891m
After a day of rest, we are ready to tackle hill country. For those who enjoy riding but find hills a bit too challenging, there is the option of taking the train for the final part into Hatton. A short 8-km transfer takes us out of town to Peradeniya, famed for its Botanical Garden and university. Starting the ride from the campus, we wind our way along a river valley with some short climbs opening out to the surrounding vistas, with our first tea stop in Gampola 21 km away; the optional train journey begins here. From Gampola, we start to see the tea carpeted slopes of the hill country. Riding at a gentle pace, you can stop to take photos of brightly dressed tea pickers and colourful Hindu temples. We regroup at the tea outlets brewing the best tea on the island, fresh from their respective estates. Reaching Hatton, we descend to one of the old colonial tea planter bungalows set in lovely gardens. Those taking the train will be met at the station and shuttled to the bungalow. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Hatton - Udawalawa, 36 mi. (58 km), Elevation: + 1040 m / - 1675m
Today’s ride will be along tea estate tracks, through the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea growing region. You’ll be greeted by the pickers at work and their children as we head towards the Peak Wilderness and the distinctive triangle shaped mountain, known as Adam’s Peak. The long climb with an easy gradient up to Bogowantalawa gets tougher for the last 10 km to a remote pass with dramatic views. The mountain pass is part of the Peak Forest Reserve; its distinctive stunted forest contains many rare, endemic plants as well as the shy bear monkey more often heard than seen. The reward for the long climb is a stunning 30 km, 1000 m descent through small villages and tea communities, ending close to Banlangoda. After lunch at a local restaurant, we pack our bikes and transfer to our hotel on the edge of Udawalawe National Park, set on the banks of a lake. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Udawalawa loop, 32 mi. (52 km), Elevation: + 315 m / - 414m
Riding from the hotel, we cycle 21 km to Udawalawe National Park, one of the best parks to see wild elephants in Sri Lanka. The park, centred around a reservoir, has approximately 400 elephants in small herds scattered around the park, and mid-morning is a good time to see them close to the water’s edge. We may also see wild buffaloes, crocodiles, sambur deer, and monkeys. There are lots of resident water fowl and hawk eagles to keep the photographers happy. We lunch in a nearby eco lodge and then mount our bicycles to follow an irrigation canal back towards our hotel. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Udawalawa - Mirissa, 50 mi. (81 km), Elevation: + 844 m / - 932m
Riding from the hotel, we use a network of back roads for some fantastic cross-country riding. Here you get to experience southern Sri Lankan charm – lots of smiling faces and a slow pace of life. It’s quite a long, undulating ride, with lots of fruit stops to break up the day. Be sure to try one of the 14 varieties of bananas in Sri Lanka, each with its own taste and medicinal qualities, to give you energy. We try to get to the beach by the early afternoon, leaving you free time to enjoy the beach or a nearby surf camp. We will dine at one of the many nearby restaurants in the evening. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Galle loop, 24 mi. (39 km), Elevation: + 237 m / - 233m
Cycling through open paddy fields and cinnamon estates, we arrive in Galle mid-morning, giving you plenty of time to explore this historic masterpiece. The Dutch expanded the original fort to its present size, and later the British added the court complex and several other outstanding buildings. The different architectural and cultural influences meld to create a magnificent sight. You are free to choose your own lunch. and we meet up again for a farewell dinner. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: Galle - Mirissa– Colombo
We transfer 3 hours to Colombo where we can drop you at the airport or to a hotel if you are extending your stay in Sri Lanka. Breakfast
Itinerary is subject to change.