Cycle the Backroads of Sri Lanka

14 days
from
2 155 €
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 113 reviews >
Trip code: 
MIR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
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, with frequent climbs
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader and driver. Min age 16 years
  • 11 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses, all en suite

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 us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
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

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 Sigiriya

    The group flight from London typically arrives at Bandaranayake International Airport around lunchtime and we transfer to Sigiriya (approximately 4 hours) where we stay for the next 2 nights.
    Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area

    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. Stay as long as you like, as it's only 10 minutes walk back to our hotel.
    Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area

    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.
    The Village Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    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.
    Countryside Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • 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 alternative accommodation in the area

    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 alternative accommodation in the area

    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).
    Hill Club Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

  • 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 Bandarawela, 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, Ella Gap. On a clear day you can see the coast shimmering in the distance.
    Hotel Country Comfort or alternative accommodation in the area

    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.
    Chandrika Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    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).
    Chandrika Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    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.
    Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area

    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.
    Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area

    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 at 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 Sapphire or alternative accommodation in the area

    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 available is 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 us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
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 & Guesthouses

Accommodation on this trip is a mixture of tourist-class hotels, some with pools and some local guesthouses. Guesthouses are simple but in good locations along the cycle route giving a real flavour of the country. All rooms have en suite facilities. Wi-Fi is available at the majority of places, either in the rooms or the communal areas.

Single accommodation (available on request)

Call us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
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 us on
353 (0)1 804 7153
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 September 2017
    Jan Ellis

    Backroads of Sri Lanka - Fantastic!

    We loved our trip to Sri Lanka and would not hesitate to recommend it. The itinerary is very well planned and there is a really good mix of cycling and sightseeing.  We visited temples, caves, a tea factory, a gem factory, a spice garden (complete with massage), several wildlife parks and walked up the famous Sigirya Rock as well as stopping at a number of very individual refreshment stops.  The accommodation was good throughout as was the food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s hard to pick one but all 16 of our group completing the hill climb to Nuwara Eliya, seeing the elephants at Yala national park, climbing Sigiriya Rock, meeting the local people at some of the tea stops were all highlights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What really made the trip special was the leader, Suresh.  He has led this trip over 70 times so much of the itinerary had been developed by him, including some really special stops at the houses of local people who Suresh – and successive groups of Exodus cyclists – have been able to support and help through difficult times.  Wherever we went it was clear that he was greatly respected and no problem was too big for him to sort – and we threw a few at him just test him out!  He is very proud of his country and passionate about telling you its history, its wildlife and its culture – his knowledge is amazing!  He really brought our various stops to life and they would have meant much less to us without his guidance.  He was also amazingly adept at spotting wildlife in the bushes while cycling along at speed!  And all combined with a very engaging personality and some enduring catch-phrases. The support crew of Sandy, Upali and Lasa were also excellent, making sure we always had plenty of water, guiding us at junctions and making sure our luggage was always ready and waiting for us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is action-packed with some long days in the saddle so a reasonable level of fitness is advisable to make the most of it. I would advise taking some energy gels and electrolyte tablets to help with hydration. Be prepared for cycling in heavy traffic in some of the towns, particulary Kandy, however we had no problems and there’s always the option of hopping on the bus. There were a lot of dogs around but we didn’t find them aggressive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cycling is a great way to see country, starting in the Cultural Triangle with rides to the Buddha caves at Dambulla and the complex of temples en route to Polonnaruwa and then climbing up through tea plantations in the hill country before a long ride south to the coast. A very memorable trip made special by the excellent leader and a great group.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    keith sawyers

    Superb action packed trip

    This was simply the best trip we have been on. We loved every element. Cycling through the back roads allows you to get under the skin of the country and the people - both were simply beautiful! It was a triumph of organisation and was superbly led.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had it's own highlight but spending 2 nights at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean at the end of the holiday after many days of tough riding was particularly memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was simply superb. Knowledgable, organised, personable with a great sense of humour. The best we have ever experienced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Worthwhile to come with a reasonable level of fitness.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Get yourself there - you will not regret it - magical trip!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Satu Hietanen

    Great cycling, beautiful scenery and good food

    This is one of the best cycling trips I've done. There's a good variety on cycling terrain (mountains, backroads, beach, towns, villages) and the scenery is great throughout the trip. And you see a lot of wildlife on and off the bike. Plus lots of temples to visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hill climb to Nuwara Eliya. Visiting local people on our tea breaks and learning more about their way of life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh and his team were excellent. Everything run smoothly throughout the trip. Suresh's local knowledge taught us a lot of the Sri Lanka life that you don't find in guide books. And he always had a surprise (a positive one) up his sleeve... And the best curry - guaranteed!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the local bus drivers... They drive very fast and rather close to you... When in doubt, wait and let them pass. The weather is very hot and humid - remember to stay well hydrated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it - it's a great trip overall!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Barry Price

    excelent trip

    This was a very well organised trip. where the guide could not do more to help people. it is good that from when you get the bikes to when you finish there are no transfers, you can cycle all the way. Plus the scenery is very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    cycling through the back roads and small villages

    What did you think of your group leader?

    very helpful especially with my food restriction ( being a coeliac)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very hot so drink a lot
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Angela Jackson

    Probably one of the best cycling holiday in the world!

    Two weeks of full on great cycling and when we were not cycling we were climbing rocks, learning how to cook, going on safari, walking round a tea factory, having a massage, learning about the spices of Sri Lanka, swimming in sea, watching whales, elephants, coloured birds and wandering around a temple or two. No time to spare and always something to see or do.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hill climb to Nuwara Eliya, the birds and wildlife we saw when cycling, the incredible scenery and climbing the Sigirya Rock. But I particularly like the way this trip supports local families and businesses who provided some of the tea stops and the back stories provided by Suresh on how they came to do this.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh makes it his mission to ensure that everyone has a good time all the time. He had everything covered, making sure that your luggage gets to your room, that everyone gets the best room, the best view, the best bike, the best tea and the best curry - guaranteed!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get yourself fit so you can enjoy the cycling. There are lots of dogs as mentioned in other reviews but we did become expert at spotting the ones likley to give chase from those happy to lie perilously close to the edge of the road. Unfortunately Sri Lanka does not come out well in dog welfare. There is a good variety of food and not all of it is curry. A breathing mask would have been a help to deal with the vehicle pollution in Kandy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it and enjoy.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Claire Tritton

    The perfect way to see Sri Lanka...

    A fabulous trip - cycling is the perfect way to experience Sri Lanka. The trip is varied, interesting, enjoyable and fun. Loved it all - the local tea stops, the wildlife, the scenery, the food, the people, the temples.... A wonderful experience in a beautiful country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many highlights it's hard to choose.... Seeing wildlife as you pedalled along was incredible, peacocks, kingfishers, monitor lizards, monkeys and even an elephant and crocodile and just so many amazing birds I'd never seen before. The people... So warm, welcoming and friendly. I will remember the beautiful smiles, the greetings of good morning whilst pedalling through villages and the children excitedly running to wave and greet us. Visiting Sigiriya Rock, Dambulla Rock Temple, the long scenic downhills, the beautiful hill country area and seeing a leopard at Yala national park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb... Best guide I have ever had. Suresh gives 100% every single day. He is extremely organised and very aware of group and individual needs and works tirelessly to ensure everyone is having a good trip. Suresh has a good sense of humour and he goes the extra mile to give the group so many wonderful experiences. He is very knowledgable and passionate about his country - you learn so much about culture and wildlife. An outstanding guide - we were very grateful for his enthusiasm, endless energy and for making it such a fun, enjoyable and interesting trip. Also he gave us some great advice for our extended time in Sri Lanka. Thank you Suresh!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a lot of dogs around... Some just sleep on the road, others wander in front of you, some just bark as you pass by but you occasionally get one that will chase you. We didn't have any problems at all but if you are a person who is really scared of dogs this might be an issue.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have any extra days to extend your holiday in Sri Lanka I would recommend it. Taking a few days to chill out after the trip was really good.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Colin Rugg

    A fantastic fortnight in Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka is a beautiful country. The people are friendly, the food is excellent, the scenery is fantastic and the history and culture are amazing. Cycling on the backroads gives you a chance to experience all of this first hand. A truly memorable trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was something positive every day but for me completing the hill climb followed by fantastic descents with stunning views was a highlight. The wildlife was amazing - and not just in the National Park! I have also been inspired to get creative in the kitchen!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exodus should consider itself lucky to have Suresh as a tour leader. He is the kind of guy who even though you may have only just met you feel like you've known him for ages. He looks after everybody and you know that he is putting his customers first. He has a great sense of humour and puts everyone at ease but behind the scenes you know he is working tirelessly to make sure everything is just right. He also has great knowledge of the history and culture of Sri Lanka which made the trip even more interesting. The rest of the team, Upali, Charmara and Tissa also did a fantastic job. Nothing was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In some places there are dogs. The vast majority are asleep but occasionally one might bark and give a bit of a chase. They are not a big problem, just something to be aware of if they make you nervous. There is a lot of noisy traffic in Kandy. If you don't like cycling in heavy traffic with car horns blaring out then you might want to consider going in the support vehicle for the first couple of miles on that day. But we stick together and go slowly slowly and we all made it! It can get a bit chilly at 2000m altitude so you might want to consider packing a light fleece/sweatshirt.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Even though I mentioned dogs and the traffic in Kandy, for me personally these weren't a problem and just added to the fun. Don't worry if you don't like spicy food. There are milder options or even non-spicy options available. There's a lot more on this trip than just cycling. There are plenty of little trips and surprises organised by Suresh which help make the holiday a great experience.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Robert Alexander

    Sri Lankan Highways and Byways

    A well balanced programme of moderate and sometimes very challenging cycling with lots of cultural interest as well. Our group of 16 like minded people were challenged by some rather unseasonable wet weather during the first week but in many respects this made the trip even more memorable. The cycling was a particular challenge due to the volume of traffic in towns ( lorries,vans,motorcycles and an abundance of tuk tuks ) as well as the notorious hill climb to Nuwara Eliya ( which we completed in very heavy rain ) ; however, I think we all went home feeling a great sense of achievement . Retrospective pleasure ? I was pleased to see that Exodus are supporting small enterprises - our stops for tea, bananas,roti etc were a delight. The hotels were mostly of exceptional standard and our meals at hotels and local restaurants were brilliant.Perhaps I'm biased being a big fan of spicy food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the hill climb to Nuwara Eliya followed by our stay at the Hill Club hotel . The hill country ride to Ella and our subsequent walk to the stunning Ella Gap viewpoint. I also particularly enjoyed the day when we descended 1000 metres in altitude and on to Tissimaharama over a distance of 102 kms.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh is a top guy. No wonder he's won the Exodus leaders award previously. He must be in line again. Everything was well organised with intelligent alterations to the itinerary to cater for the wet weather we encountered. Nothing was too much trouble. Unfortunately Suresh sustained an injury to his ankle which prevented him from cycling for a few days. I think that many leaders would have handed over to someone else but he carried on ( bandaged and using a crutch ) and still with a smile, despite the fact that he was in pain. Brilliant! Mention should also be made of the back up team to include Upali the driver and Sandy the mechanic. Hard working, helpful and friendly people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for traffic fumes in built up areas - particularly Kandy. I saw one motorcyclist using a face mask but that was it . If face masks for cycling work ( I'm certainly no expert on this ) it might be worth considering using one at times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lovely country and friendly people. it was a very memorable trip made more so by the excellent leader and a very special group who all 'got on' extremely well.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Ian Browne

    Backroads of Sri Lanka

    The Sri Lanka cycle ride was probably the most enjoyable of all my trips with Exodus of which I have completed 8

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several great moments therefore I am inclined not to nominate one

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh Bandara is possibly the most accomplished bike tour guide I have traveled with who was very instrumental in adding numerous special touches to the experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sri Lanka is a great journey by bike however it is perhaps the most expensive I have traveled in Asia so far.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would like to compliment the team behind Suresh as well this includes Upali, Vijay and our backstop cyclist Sandy
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Dave Oakes

    A wonderful cycling trip around this jewel in the Indan Ocean

    A wonderful trip around a great country brilliantly led by Suresh with his excellent team ensuring everyone got the most of the holiday. A really well put together itinerary balancing cycling, culture, wildlife and fun!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not easy to pick one particular highlight but with virtually no transfers we were able to take in the sights, sounds and smells (of the wonderful cooking) as we moved from place to place by bike. Whilst the cycling was tough at times there was time to see historical monuments, visit a few temples and witness the way different religions worship and prey, sit by the pool and beach, take a short hike up a mountain, watch wildlife, eat the wonderful food and of course sample the local beer! The variety has been superb - the scenery and climate changed as we explored this gem in the Indian Ocean allowing us to see paddy fields, tea plantations, wetlands, forests and more. The roads were in general pretty good - better than most backroads I cycle on in the UK - and we tended to avoid most of the traffic. The people of Sri Lanka are the icing on the cake. The children wave and say hello as you whistle past on your bike and in general we got a very warm welcome everywhere we went.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The Exodus team were exceptional and its easy to see why Suresh has been recognised for his abilities. Not only did he make sure everything run like clockwork but he worked tirelessly to make sure we got every ounce of enjoyment from the trip, pulling out a few pleasant surprises along the way (I'm not going to say more - you will have to go and find out for yourselves!). Suresh was well supported by Upali, Sandy and Vijay who kept us safe, watered, fed and happy... I didn't have to pick up my suitcase for the whole trip and am still trying to work out how they found out who's bag was who's.... They clearly enjoy their jobs and it mattered to them that we had the best of holidays. Thank you so much.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a brolly for the occasional shower and be prepared for some early starts.

Dates & Prices

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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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