Cycle the Backroads of Sri Lanka - Premium

  • Premium
14 days
from
2 485 €
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Traveller ratings
4.9 / 5 from 7 reviews >
Trip code: 
MIRP
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Explore rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike

Although a compact island, Sri Lanka is incredibly diverse. Exploring on two wheels is the best way to see this rural country and to experience the way of life of its friendly people. We travel from ancient cities and the fortress at Sigiriya to the hill country towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, where the cooler temperatures and lush scenery make for a relaxing ride. In the south we visit Yala National Park, where we go in search of leopard, before ending the trip on the beaches of the beautiful south coast. Most of the route is a continuous ride, and transfers are kept to a minimum.

In many regions of Sri Lanka the bicycle is the most common form of transport, so travelling by bike yourself is a great way to mix with the people and to gain access to their world. This trip covers a substantial part of the island, taking in as much as possible of the scenic and cultural variety that Sri Lanka has to offer. The combination of visits to the ancient cities, great rides through the beautiful hill country, the varied wildlife, and a chance to relax on one of the many wonderful beaches, will certainly give you a taste for serendipity.

Highlights

  • The magnificent cave temple at Dambulla
  • Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya for breathtaking views
  • Explore the old ruined city of Polonnaruwa
  • The fascinating town of Kandy
  • Ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya
  • Search for leopard in Yala National Park

Key information

  • 10 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with full vehicle support
  • 95% tarmac, 5% unsurfaced road
  • Routes mostly follow quiet backroads, there are frequent climbs
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader and driver. Min age 16 years
  • 13 nights hotels, all en suite  (on Premium departures we stay in a range of excellent hotels, ranging from comfortable modern properties to older properties bursting with character)

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 10 lunches
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

10

Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 95% tarmac, 5% unsurfaced roads

Day by day breakdown
Day 252.0km/32.0miles
Day 373.0km/45.0miles
Day 480.0km/49.0miles
Day 553.0km/32.0miles
Day 784.0km/52.0miles
Day 866.0km/41.0miles
Day 9102.0km/63.0miles
Day 1032.0km/19.0miles
Day 1137.0km/22.0miles
Cyclists by Sigirya

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Dambulla

    The group flight from London typically arrives at Bandaranayake International Airport around lunchtime and we transfer to Dambulla (approximately 4 hours) where we stay for the next 2 nights.
    Amaya Lake or similar

    Meals included: Lunch
  • Day 2

    Ride to Dambulla cave temple; climb Sigiriya Rock

    After breakfast we ride along gravel roads following an old irrigation canal to Dambulla, the 2nd Century BC Buddhist cave temple. It is well worth the walk to view the five caves, which contain many ancient Buddha statues, some carved from the solid rock. Returning via the busy market town we take another quiet back road riding through chilli and rice fields before cycling back at our hotel for lunch and a relaxing swim in the pool. In the late afternoon we climb the 5th Century rock fortress of Sigiriya to see the beautiful frescoes painted onto the rock face (not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo). The ruins of the palace on the summit are surpassed only by the magnificent aerial view of the surrounding jungle.
    Amaya Lake or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Ride to Polunnaruwa; cycle tour of ruins

    A long morning ride along a quiet back road which is part of the Sigiriya nature reserve, before joining the highway travelling east towards Polonnaruwa, riding all the way to our lunch stop and overnight stay. For those who fancy a swim, the hotel also has a swimming pool, a pleasant place to spend the hot early afternoon. Later we tour the old ruined city of Polonnaruwa, which dates from the 10-13th centuries.
    Deer Park Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Ride through foothills of spice growing region

    We follow the local lake's man-made 6km dam and feeder canal to its source, the Amban Ganga River. The afternoon ride is flanked by the stunning Kalanduwa hills on one side and the borders of Wasgomuwa Wildlife Park on the other. As the jungle gives way to plantations, we enter the spice growing region of Sri Lanka. The night is spent in a family-run guest house with small cabanas dotted around the estate. It’s basic but the home cooking in clay pots on wood fired stoves gives you the real flavour of Sri Lanka. If you would like to find out more about the spices used in the piquant Lankan curries, the owners can arrange a visit to one of the renowned spice gardens a short walk down the road.
    Thilanka Resort and Spa or similar

    Thilanka Resort & Spa

  • Day 5

    Ride to Kandy

    Today is tougher as we head for the hills and Kandy, the spiritual and cultural capital of the hill country. Those who feel like an easy day can jump onto the bus for the 50km trip to Kandy, while the rest of us pedal away, riding through the Moorish town of Matale. Its inhabitants, descendants from Arab spice traders, still control most of the spice market, which is a good place to pick up some freshly ground curry powder. As Kandy's roads are as old as the city itself, we may have to drive the last few kilometres to avoid the traffic. Surrounded by hills, the town is centred around a small lake and the Temple of the Tooth. The afternoon is free to wander through the streets and markets.
    Hotel Thilanka or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Free day in Kandy

    A free day to explore the town. Kandy has many interesting attractions including the wonderful Botanical Gardens, the famous Temple of the Tooth, and streets lined with interesting curio shops. The surrounding hills are dotted with wonderful temples.
    Hotel Thilanka or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Challenging ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya

    For anyone who doesn't do hills, we strongly recommend the train ride to Nuwara Eliya. For those who feel like a challenge, it’s 84km, climbing up to 2000m above sea level to reach this most favoured hill station. For the first part of the ride we take the old road, a far more pleasant route, and one of the few places where you see terraced paddy fields. Beyond the paddy fields is tea country and the area is reputed to produce the finest teas on the island. Tickets for the train journey are dependent on availabilty on the day (although usually available, there may be the chance that the bus will need to be used instead for those who don't fancy the hill).
    St Andrews Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Hill country ride to Ella

    In the morning we visit a tea factory on the edge of the town, and then cycle through hilly country towards Ella, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant and later tea in Bandarawella, a trading centre where exotic fruits from the east coast are traded for hill-country vegetables. Arriving in the late afternoon, we watch the sunset from the famous view point of Ella Gap. On a clear day you can see the coast shimmering in the distance.
    Hotel Heaven's Edge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Descent of 1000m, stopping at the impressive rock-cut Buddha statues at Buduruvagela; to Tissamaharama

    Descending 1000m we leave the breathtaking scenery of Uva Province for the gentle rolling hills of the dry zone, stopping at the impressive rock-cut Buddha Statues at Buduruvagala. The giant 15m rock carving of Buddha is flanked by small figures depicting his helpers and a very rare image of Maitreya, the future Buddha, which dates from the 10th Century. The tranquillity of the place is enhanced by the lotus-covered lake where we will relax on the banks and enjoy some fresh fruit before riding on to lunch. Here we can retreat from the heat of the day, before the final 30km to Tissamaharama, the capital of the old Ruhuna Kingdom.
    Kithala Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Morning ride to Kataragama Temple; afternoon drive to Yala N.P. for safari

    In the morning we cycle to Kataragama temple, which lies 16km northeast of Tissa. People of all faiths come to seek favour with the god Skanda, who is reputed to restore people's health. The colourful and noisy pooja is always busy, with thousands of pilgrims during the festival season from July - August. Tissa is close to Yala National Park, the best park in Sri Lanka to see leopard. After lunch we have a safari in the park, when we may see elephant, deer, wild boar, sloth bear, asian jackal, lots of birdlife and if very lucky a leopard. We return to Tissa for the night (please note that the sanctuary may be closed for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the animals. We therefore go to an alternative area close by, usually the Udawalawe National Park).
    Kithala Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Ride through Bundala N.P. and the lagoon for spectacular birdlife; continue riding on coast to Hambantota; transfer to Ahangama

    Leaving early to avoid the heat of the dry zone, we ride along the boundary of Bundala Bird Sanctuary. During certain times of the year thousands of flamingos can be seen wading in the brackish shallows, eyed up by crocodiles, basking in the early morning sun. We hit the main road for the final 30km to Hambantota, a series of sandy bays fanning out from this typical coastal town. Transfer from Hambantota to Ahangama by coach. For the next 2 nights we stay in Ahangama.
    Garton's Cape Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Free day on beach; optional ride to Koggala

    Relax at the hotel or join a late morning ride along rural roads to the village of Wandurugama before returning via Koggala Lake and back to the hotel to end our riding. This afternoon is free to explore the beach area or swim and laze by the pool. In the late afternoon we can view the stilt fishermen climb their poles to catch a few bites for supper. From November to April we can also go whale watching off Dondra head, near Mirissa, which is one of the best places in the world for seeing Blue and Sperm whales. Huge pods of dolphins are also often seen accompanying the boats.
    Garton's Cape Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Transfer to Colombo via Galle

    Leaving mid morning, we will stop to visit Galle. The Old Dutch fort was built in 1663 after the Dutch took the island from the Portuguese. The old ramparts and small back streets bring alive some of the history of the fight for colonial domination of this prized island. You’re free to find your own lunch, meeting back at the bus around 2.30pm for the 2 hour drive to Colombo. The rest of the day is free to relax by the pool or shop along the main street. For the last evening meal we can choose from one of the many restaurants in Colombo.
    Hotel Mirage or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Colombo

    If you are travelling on the group flight we will have a morning transfer to the airport for the daytime flight to London. The arrangements for those not flying with the group end after check out.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Post-trip Extensions

Maldives

If you are keen to end your holiday on a very relaxed note we can arrange a visit to the Maldives for you.

The flight from Colombo is around 1 hour and upon arrival you will be transferred by speedboat (approximately 20mins) to the Paradise Island 4* resort. Paradise Island is a beautiful coral island with a total land area of 178,900 square metres, covered with lush tropical vegetation, numerous palm trees, surrounded by a wide sandy beach and the crystal clear waters of an azure lagoon.

 You can choose to add on as many extra nights to your trip as you wish; your time on the island will be at leisure for you to do as you wish. The accommodation used has a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, room service and all rooms are air‐conditioned and have en suite facilities. As well as the modern amenities of the resort there is also access to scuba diving and snorkelling or for the less active the chance to swim in these wonderful, calm waters. Either way it is a veritable paradise and a memorable end to the trip.

 If you choose to take advantage of this opportunity then we can arrange flights for you to Malé as well as booking the hotel and speedboat transfer to the island.

Essential Info

Visas

Sri Lanka

A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. If you do not hold a British passport, please check the visa requirements with your local Sri Lankan Embassy or the ETA website www.eta.gov.lk. Passengers should also be aware of local laws and customs in Sri Lanka (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/local-laws-and-customs). The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is an offence; please note that people have been refused entry to Sri Lanka because of visible tattoos of Buddha.

Vaccinations

Sri Lanka

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 10 lunches included.

Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Despite, or perhaps because of, these influences Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to simply as ‘Rice and Curry’; this is the staple dish in most restaurants and is usually a serving of rice accompanied by assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles ‘sambols’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic. The variety is constant and this along with the abundance of fresh seafood and fish ensures the cuisine is a constant highlight of the trip. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent (for example, wheat or dairy-free) so please be prepared for this as you may need to bring these from home. Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels with serve Western options alongside traditional food. All lunch and tea stops are subject to change dependent on the cycling speed of the group as well as the weather conditions.

Weather

Because of its location near the equator, Sri Lanka has a hot and humid climate. At the higher elevations, however, the climate is cool; the humidity is relatively lower in the northern and central parts of the country. The average annual temperature is 32ºC (90ºF) in the lowlands and 21ºC (70ºF) in the higher mountainous regions, though it can get chilly in the hill country at night.

Galle

Is this trip for you?

Average daily distance: 65km / 40 miles

No. of days cycling: 10 (inluding 1 optional ride)

Vehicle Support: Fully supported

Terrain is hilly, particularly around Nuwara Eliya and the hill country, but the support vehicle is available if required. Routes mostly follow quiet backroads with occasional unsurfaced sections which may be rough in places. Rides are designed to run door-to-door without transfers. Keeping to the backroads means that there is less traffic but it will become busier when approaching towns.

Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 13 nights in hotels , all rooms en suite. On Premium departures we stay in a range of excellent hotels, ranging from comfortable modern properties to older properties bursting with character. Many have pools, and most have excellent facilities as well as restaurants serving tasty local specialities and international dishes.

Single accommodation (available on request)

Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Barbara Kinner

    Cycling the backroads of Sri Lanka sMhes

    This was an excellent trip and it did require a fair amount of fitness to get up some of the hills. It combined some fabulous outings on our rest days. The safari was memorable because we saw the leopard, the bear AND the elephants. We also saw and were quite close to two whales frolicking in the ocean. The Sri Lankan people were so warm and welcoming. We felt like Tour de France riders coming through the rural villages as the kids all came out to wish us 'hi' and 'bye'. Accommodation was very good and it's wise to remember you are visiting a third world country. Traffic was courteous and the bedlam was very organised!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were a fantastic group supported by a fantastic crew. Help and encouragement got the slower ones up the hills. Pace was set so those at the back didn't feel like they were holding everyone up at the front.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh was amazing. He was well known throughout the route and we were accommodated and well looked after everywhere. His knowledge about his country was impressive. On our last but one evening we went to market, picked our fish and prawns and the hotel put on a fantastic buffet with BBQ'd fish and lots of local curried dishes and salads. Fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mosquitos weren't the problem we thought they might be but pack the deet just in case. A buff is a good item to pack as it keeps the sun off the back of your neck and boy...was it hot. Make sure your good on the hills and remember for each one you get up you have to get down which rests the butt and legs! Money was no problem changing and we had a mixture of dollars and Sterling . It's a long flight. We upgraded and it wasn't alarmingly expensive. Charging equipment wasn't a problem just make sure you have the correct adaptors. There are 3 to choose from.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was so brilliantly amazing. The Sri Lankan's were so warm and welcoming. We did have rain but it was warm and sometimes welcomed. But no mudguards meant quite a lot of dirt came up onto your cycling kit. Washing kit wasn't a problem but humidity meant drying was sometimes slow. Small price to pay for such an amazing adventure.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Jonathan Richards

    Sri Lanka cycling

    This was an excellent trip, basically from the the central mountainous area down to the coast including 6 of the 8 UNESCO world heritage sites, a safari and Whale watching. Surish the guide is excellent and has great local knowledge. Some similarities to the Kerala trip, but not as chaotic as India.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Whale watching - we saw 2 Blue Whales right by boat (season starts late Oct) Lush landsacpe Lovely food

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He is excellent -knowledgeable, thoughtful & entertaining

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel late Oct onwards for Whale watching There are a couple of tough days, but vehicle support is on hand There are a lot of wild dogs, I understand there have never been any incidents, but having said that I was pleased I got a Rabies jab as well. Take some antispetic hand wash - stomach issues were not really a big issue The Premier trip has a lot more swimming pools
  • Reviewed August 2016
    David Bell

    Cycling the backroads of Sri lanka

    Just back from a very good 2 weeks in Sri Lanka. Hotels and food were very good and Suresh and his team went to great lengths to make it a great holiday for everyone. Bikes were good and any mechanical problems were fixed by the mechanics. I had hoped to see more wildlife and I expected to be on back roads all the time as the main roads were very busy. The trip might be improved by use of a trailer to carry bikes then more main roads could be avoided.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The evening visit to Kataragama pilgrim site was a special moment as was seeing elephants in Yala National Park. Climbing to Nuwara Eliya was the best cycling moment although the last few cycling days were the best for birds and wildlife. Being on the top of Sigiria Rock was the best view. In fact most days had something special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh worked hard behind the scenes to make every day special for the group. He was always arranging great places to eat or tea stops on the route, and if anyone was not happy about something he did all he could to put it right. Suresh is a credit to Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling was not as hard as I expected as many sections were flat. However, long days in the sun and temperatures of 30 degrees plus make for tiring days. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy it, especially the climbing day to Nuwara Eliya. High factor suncream, insect repellent, rehydration sachets are all essential. I was happy with my saddle but several of the group brought their own saddle and pedals. There were many tea and fruit stops and water bottle filling opportunities. There are no panniers on the bikes but you can leave a rucksack in the bus. I took a bar bag for my camera.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Sri Lanka is a fascinating country and the people are very friendly. Definitely worth a visit, and with a leader like Suresh you are sure to have a great time.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Martina Lecky

    Beautiful island - best seen on a bike seat

    It was a fantastic trip with the right balance of exercise, wildlife, culture and relaxation ( which was needed after several 6am starts!).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wildlife safari; it was wonderful to see the elephants and my first near sighting of a leopard ( we at least saw it move through the trees).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding. He is an ambassador for Exodus and Sri Lanka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train for the hills!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An unforgettable two weeks!
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Peter Howard

    Cycle Sri Lanka

    We went for our honeymoon and had an amazing time and were really well looked after. It only rained once - which was not quite what BBC weather told us - which was that it was going to be raining every day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Some of the cycles along really quiet roads were great and seeing a lot of wildlife. We saw a water lizard eating a rat snake and lots of kingfishers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh did a great job - such as if someone asked for a diet coke and the restaurant didn't have one he'd go and see if he could scout one out and also making sure we had lots of interesting tea stops which gave us a chance to try lots of different tasty treats

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't get dollars out as you can just chance sterling at the airport or use a debit card to take money out. Maybe take some wine as it seemed quite overpriced there. Try the cocktails and enjoy curry for breakfast. Look at maybe taking bar ends if you're used to them as the handles get quite slippy in the heat
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Helen Stalker

    Tour de Sri Lanka

    From a cycling perspective, this trip has its challenging moments - 55 miles of largely uphill cycling on one day - but it felt a very satisfying achievement. You will cycle through some stunning scenery - by rivers, lakes, rice paddies and terraces, the sea; and weave your way through busy roads on occasion with buses, cars, motorbikes, tuk tuks, other bikes, pedestrians and stray dogs that seem to want to cross the road just as you reach them. But you will feel like a local! Fantastic trip. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably cycling downhill through the hill country, past hill terraces and rice paddies - truly stunning. After all the hard work cycling up the 'big hill' previously, the speed with which we descended made it all worthwhile. And the friendliness of local people as you passed them was delightful - from shouting "come on, come on" to kids trying to high-five you as you passed!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh was outstanding. Always calm, responsive and anticipated our needs beautifully. He has a great sense of humour and that wonderful Sri Lankan cheerfulness. And the rest of the support team were great too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's worth training a bit to make the most of the trip as there are some long days and difficult parts. Keep well hydrated and it's worth taking electrolytes too. I totally lost my appetite after the 'big hill' as I had sweated so much and drank a lot of water such that my salt levels were too low. The electrolytes quickly sorted me out again.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    For anyone that loves cycling, this is a great trip.
  • Reviewed March 2015
    William John Wallace

    COCONUTS, BANANAS - AND THE BEST BUILDERS' TEA EVER!

    As with all Exodus bicycle trips, this one took us down roads that revealed Sri Lanka at local village and countryside level, where the road in front of us was a rich and varied conduit for all human life - from banana and coconut sellers to wayside pop-up cafes that served fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut; from temples rarely visited by anyone to emerald-green vistas and blue distant hills that forever beckoned us onward. This trip connected us directly to the heart of Sri Lanka - a heart that was generous as it was welcoming!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A small, unremarkable, yet hugely enriching few monutes spent at a family tea-shop by the road. Made from platted palm leaves and serving the most delicious Ceylon tea, it was looked after by mother, while little boy played; father carved wood for a scarcely existent passing tourist trade; brother and grandfather helped out. There was a sense of calm, contentment and peaceful welcome that was a balm to the soul after a busy morning on the road. We all sat quietly, for once setting aside our customary chat and banter in favour of the cool green quiet the surrounded us. That's the kind of moment when an Exodus holiday came alive and found its way into the heart.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh became our guardian, parent, elder brother, fixer, proactive thinker-ahead, kindly gift-giver, laughing joke-teller (of truly awful jokes - the worse they were, the better they were!). Oh, and he was a genius cook, iron-man cyclist, fund of endless knowledge, source of traditional wisdom - totally devoted to his professional calling, a hero amongst men, and an epic ambassador for Exodus!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes: stop what you're doing right now - and book this trip!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes. Didn't you hear me? I said: stop what you're doing right now and book this trip!

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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