Find your ideal cycling holiday
14th January 2022 - 28th January 2022 (15 days)
This coast to coast cycling holiday is designed to showpiece a cross section of Sri Lankan culture and nature. Lesser known destinations and back-road cycling routes from start to finish are the highlights, both chosen to show the heart of Sri Lanka. The tour will visit the ancient capitals of Sri Lankan kingdoms in Yapahuwa, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. There will be opportunities to see elephants and other wildlife in Minneriya and Udawalawe National Parks. Much of the route will be along the unspoilt east coast including Maha Oya and Arugam Bay. There will be a chance to explore the cultural connections of Baticalao, Galle and Colombo. The cycling is mainly on back roads with some dirt road and off road trails, and is largely flat.
This tour is not yet open for bookings and the dates and prices shown are provisional. However, if you are interested in making a booking and being added to a waiting list to be notified when bookings open, please use the 'Enquire Now' button.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Robin & Yvette Youngs
- Grade Moderate
- Booking Status Enquiries Only
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis Full Board
- Travel Arrangements Air
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 03402
Friday 14th January
Depart UK - flights to be confirmed.
Saturday 15th January
Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo. Vehicle transfer to Negombo. In the early evening we will have a bike-fitting. Stay 1 night. Meals: D
Sunday 16th January
After an early breakfast we transfer by vehicle for 1.5 hours out of Negombo. We cycle on village back roads and some off-road trails seeing coconut plantations and paddy fields. We arrive at the hotel in Yapahuwa for lunch. In the afternoon there is the opportunity for Ayurvedic massages and treatments. Before dinner we visit the Yapahuwa rock fortress for sunset. 65km. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Monday 17th January
In the morning we cycle from Yapahuwa to Dambulla. After lunch at an impressive hotel the highlight of this day is a visit to the Dambulla cave temple, a world heritage site containing Buddhist statues and paintings of exceptional quality and religious significance. We then transfer by vehicle to Sigiriya, where our hotel is opposite the famous rock. 53km. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Tuesday 18th January
After an early breakfast we have a short transfer to the Sigiriya rock fortress. Another world heritage site, this is the famous "Lion Rock", an ancient capital. We climb the rock with a local archeological guide. We then cycle through the Angamadilla National Park, some of which is on off-road tracks. We arrive in Polonnaruwa by mid-afternoon. There is then the option of going for a safari at the Minneriya National Park, one of the best place to see elephants. 72km. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Wednesday 19th January
We cycle east from Polonnaruwa down to Maha Oya through the forest reserve. En-route we pass the massive Maha Oya reservoir. We will be cycling in elephant country and will need to keep an eye out for elephants on either side of the road. After lunch we transfer by vehicle to the coastal town of Batticaloa. 75km. Stay 2 nights. Meals: B L D.
Thursday 20th January
Today we go on a local guided tour by bike in Batticaloa. On the tour we will visit a local market. We will then visit a local house where we will be taught how to cook some traditional Sri Lankan curries, followed by lunch. Then we will ride along the lagoon and visit some fishermen who will take us out onto the lagoon for a traditional fishing class. 15km. Meals: B L D.
Friday 21st January
We transfer out of town and then cycle along the coast road from Kalmunai to Arugam Bay, a well-known surfing and beach destination. 72km. Stay 2 nights. Meals: B L D.
Saturday 22nd January
This day we leave the bikes behind and have a tuk-tuk safari to the local jungle in the company of a naturalist. We visit the Panama Tank for crocodile spotting followed by a jungle walk and a picnic lunch. On the way back to the hotel we stop at Elephant Rock. Meals: B L D.
Sunday 23rd January
We cycle through the Lahugalla sanctuary before reaching the small hills of Monaragala on quiet back roads. Late afternoon transfer from Buttala to Kataragama. Kataragama is a pilgrimage town sacred to Hindu and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. In the evening, we visit the Kataragama Temple. 82km. Stay 1 night. Meals B L D.
Monday 24th January
We cycle to Udawalawe today. Our route starts on a surreal abandoned 4 lane highway. The highway suddenly ends and becomes a mud trail alongside the Lunuganwera Reservoir. We will reach the camp for lunch. After lunch, the group will visit the elephant orphanage and then go on a safari in the Udawawale National Park. Accommodation is in a tented camp within the national park. 57km. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Tuesday 25th January
Today we head south to the southern coast of Sri Lanka and the beautiful beach of Tangalle. Small towns and villages mark our progress, with the final stretch taking in some very scenic roads that are dotted with small ponds bustling with birds. In the evening there should be opportunity to visit a nearby turtle conservation centre. 63km. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Wednesday 26th January
The last day of cycling. Riding from the hotel we avoid the busy main beach road and use the network of quieter side roads that will allow us to really experience southern Sri Lankan charm. We stop at Weligama and enjoy lunch at a beautiful restaurant on the beach. We then transfer to our hotel just outside Galle Fort. In the evening we will go on a casual guided walk around the fort followed by dinner. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Thursday 27th January
After breakfast we transfer from Galle to Colombo. No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without visiting Colombo. Our hotel is in the city centre and makes it easy for us to explore the city on foot. In the early evening we will go on an exciting Tuk Tuk Safari tour of the city. We will end the trip with a dinner in the Dutch Hospital, which is now a heritage building with a shopping and dining precinct. Stay 1 night. Meals: B L D.
Friday 28th January
Transfer to Bandaranaike International Airport for flight to UK - details to be confirmed.
Meals: B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
The above itinerary should be treated as an indication of what is to be accomplished during the tour and not as a contractual obligation.
Accommodation & Meals
12 nights will be in 3-5 star (equivalent) hotels, in double and twin ensuite rooms, based on two people sharing. One night will be spent in a tented safari camp. Meals are provided on a full board basis. Participants with any special dietary requirements are asked to contact the Tour Managers prior to booking.
Vehicle transfers for participants, luggage and bicycles is provided as per the itinerary.
Passports, Visa & Health
British citizens must hold a passport that is valid for at least 6 months at the end of the tour. A visa will be required and must be obtained prior to departure from the UK. An e-visa or ETA with a 30-day validity can be obtained online at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ and costs 20USD (price in December 2020). Holders of non-UK passports are advised to check whether or not they require a visa.
There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents. You should contact your doctor at least 3 months prior to travel to obtain any vaccinations and the latest advice to travellers.
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £3,395 is based on a minimum number of 12 people taking part in the holiday;, please note Booking Conditions, clause 3. If there are insufficient bookings by 5th November 2021, we will contact you and return all monies paid.
This price is provisional.
- 13 nights hotel, sharing room, full-board
- Water and refreshments on cycling days
- All transfers in an AC coach including airport transfers
- Cycling guides and marshals
- Bike rental with mechanical support
- All entrance fees and tickets for activities listed
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Drinks with dinner
- Any alcoholic drinks
- Optional elephant safari at Minneriya National Park (allow 45USD per person)
- Video and camera permits where required
- Visa fees
- Gratuities to support team and hotel staff
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
- Single occupancy supplement (£480, subject to availability)
A deposit of £340 per person is payable upon booking. The final balance of £3,055 per person is to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 5th November 2021.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 5th November 2021
From 5th November 2021 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
Sri Lanka is an ideal travel destination combining palm-lined beaches, fascinating relics of past civilisations, lovely scenery, diverse wildlife and exotic cuisine. This tour uses quieter roads and trails but still takes in many of the island's most impressive sites. The cycling starts close to the west coast in Negombo. We then visit many of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the "Cultural Triangle", including the royal citadels of Yapahuwa and Sigiriya, the painted cave temples of Dambulla and the ancient Sinhalese capital of Polonnaruwa. Much of the route will feature the lesser-known east coast including the city of Batticaloa and the surf resort of Arugam Bay. Sri Lanka is known for its wildlife, particularly elephants. We will visit the Minneriya and Udawalawe Parks, spending one night in a safari camp. The predominant religion is Buddhism, with Hinduism, Islam and Christianity also represented. There are also remnants of colonialism that we will witness in Galle and Colombo.
Rides & Rest Days
This tour is suitable for experienced cyclists capable of distances of up to 80 kilometres and cycling on consecutive days. There are, however, rest days and days of sightseeing where the distances will be much shorter. Support vehicles will be with the group for the duration of the tour. Most of the cycling will be on quiet backroads which will be a mixture of tarmac and gravel. Occasionally there will be a need to use busier roads but this will be kept to a minimum with transfers to avoid the busiest stretches. Some of the cycling will be off-road using village and forest tracks.
The landscape will vary from long tracts of coconut plantation to forest and river valleys. Some of the riding will be along coastal roads with views of the sea. The tour will pass through small towns and many villages. Most of the route will be flat or gently undulating. On riding days an early start will sometimes be made to allow cooler conditions for most of the ride. There will be no obligation for the group to stay closely together, although there will be rest stops where the group will rendezvous with each other and the support vehicles.
There will be a local cycling guide riding with the group. Daily cycling distances are as described in the itinerary, with vehicle transfers at the start and end of some days. Organised sightseeing to places of interest has been arranged, as are extra options on some days.
Detailed route instructions including GPX tracks will be available to download before departure.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will be in at least 3-4 star equivalent hotels. Two nights will be spent in a luxury resort in Arugam Bay. One night will be spent in a tented safari camp at Udawalawe National Park. All breakfasts will be taken at hotels. Some lunches on cycling days will be packed. Most dinners will be in the hotels but with some at local restaurants.
Sri Lanka has a unique cuisine whose South Indian roots are influenced by Malay, Portuguese, Dutch and Arab cultures and make much greater use of coconut and seafood. Dishes tend to be hot and spicy but will often be modified for western tastes.
Return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo are included in the price, but you should not make any travel arrangements to/from London Heathrow until the Tour Managers have confirmed that the tour is running.
The maximum number of participants will be 16 excluding the Tour Managers. As well as the two Tour Managers, there will also be a local cycling guide along with a mechanic and drivers. Non-smokers only please. Also, as snoring can adversely affect the sleeping of the person you share a room with, anyone who habitually snores and wishes to share a room with someone they have not previously met is asked to declare this on the Booking Form in the box marked ‘Medical Conditions’.
Weather & Clothing
Sri Lanka has a near equatorial location and it mostly stands at altitudes of below 100m, which means that it tends to be hot and humid throughout the year, seldom dropping below 25 C, even at night. Patterns of rainfall are variable. On the west and south coasts during January the rainfall is usually relatively low. On the east coast during January the tail end of the North Eastern monsoon can bring rain which may be heavy. In the cultural triangle humidity is less and in January rainfall is likely to be low. Rainfall and thunderstorms can occur, so you should bring a waterproof. For most cycling days shorts and light layers will be adequate, although an additional layer may be needed for early morning starts. Adequate sun protection when required is essential. Casual wear can be worn in the evenings. Modesty is expected in towns and temples. Ladies should cover their legs and shoulders when not cycling. Shoes and sometimes socks may need to be removed when visiting religious sites.
Cycles & Equipment
Bicycle travel by air is increasingly restricted. This tour involves a number of international flights. In addition the terrain on this tour is varied with some off-road sections making a hardtail mountain bike the best option. As a result, participants on this tour will need to hire bikes from the local land agent. At the time of writing the bikes available are modern SCOTT and TREK bikes with front suspension, disc brakes and 29 or 27.5 inch wheels. You are welcome to bring your own pedals and saddle if you wish. Cycle hire and mechanical support is included in the cost of the tour. Sizes of participants will be supplied to the local agents before the tour so that appropriate bikes can be provided. The use of a helmet while cycling on this tour is mandatory.
All luggage will be transferred by vehicle and assistance will be available if necessary. An equipment list will be included with the final documents.
Maps & Guides
GPX files will be made available for the route, which will be accessible both as stand alone files and on the "Ride with GPS" platform. For those who prefer a physical map these can be bought at Stanfords - http://www.stanfords.co.uk/sri-lanka. Lonely Planet and Rough Guides publish guidebooks on Sri Lanka. Particularly recommended is the Bradt guide to Sri Lanka, Edition 6.
Travel Insurance & Advice
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice, including security and local laws, passport and visa information, from the UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.