Wondering which Asian destination would be the first to fully re-open for travel? So were we!
The winner is Sri Lanka.. and we couldn't’ be more excited.
In announcing that they are immediately eliminating all quarantine measures for fully vaccinated travelers, Sri Lanka edged out many higher-profile Asian destinations to welcome our guests. So after nearly 20 months of hibernation - (but who’s counting) - we are beyond delighted to invite you back to Asia and this stunning island nation.
A fantastic country for bike touring and perennially among our highest-rated destinations, here are seven motivational reasons why you should reserve your spot today, and be among the first to visit Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankans are waiting with open arms!
A short greeting from Vinoli and Nishan, part of our team in Sri Lanka
The travel industry (pre-COVID) accounted for around 12% of Sri Lankan GDP and employed more than 400,000 people or about 5% of the workforce. These charming, enthusiastic and hardworking people are extremely excited at the prospect of welcoming back guests, and we already have departures guaranteed for early 2022! It’s true.. they really, really want you to visit.
Sri Lanka's landscapes will astound you!
Rolling tea plantations of the central highlands
You might live near stunning mountains or near the ocean front -- but are the mountains rimmed by tea plantations, laid out some 150 years ago, with mature trees punctuating the bright green carpet of bushes? Or are your beaches swimmable year-round? Here the beaches are lined with coconut palms, where you can recline on a chaise, sipping a cold drink while savoring freshly barbecued seafood. Sri Lanka's landscapes are simply breathtaking.
Acclaimed Flora and Fauna -- Still Intact
Spot a leopard on safari!
There is so much to love about Sri Lanka and its flora and fauna is right up there at the top of the list. Peafowl prancing about like free range chickens, elephants roaming the National Parks and leopards easily seen on a safari tour are just the beginning. There is an incredible range of birdlife visible and audible throughout the country along with smaller animals like mongoose, langur monkeys, and the quirky slender loris. Sri Lankans have proudly preserved their incredible biodiversity for future generations and for you, as a welcome visitor.
The port city of Galle
The ancient fort town of Galle on Sri Lanka's south coast
Throughout history, the port of Galle served as an important stop along global trade routes. Built from granite, stones and coral in the 16th century, the fort is home to descendants of those ancient, Arabian traders. To wander the narrow streets today and to hear the stories is to understand the incredibly rich ethnic and historical tapestry of Sri Lanka. Galle is one of Asia’s & UNESCO’s jewels.
Sri Lankans have been preparing.
Traveler interest was growing at a rapid rate pre-COVID with the country’s tourist arrivals doubling between 2012 and 2019, and sometimes it showed. The good news is Sri Lanka has had the opportunity to work on developing its infrastructure through the downtime the pandemic provided. Yes, there will likely be some teething issues as foreign guests return, but our team on the ground is well prepared for your arrival.
Eat, Ride, Sleep
Your luxury hotel on the edge of Yala National Park
Sri Lankan food is outstanding! Curries are the cornerstone of the cuisine, but it doesn’t stop there. There is an abundance of fish as you would expect for an island and endless varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables. The riding is outstanding with lots of elevation that provides sweeping scenery and fun descents, with transfers to get past more severe gradients. When it’s time to head to bed you will be doing so with a solid day’s ride behind you and a belly full of delicious and nutritious fare, but you’ll also be staying in some of the very best hotels the country has to offer (as long as you travel with Grasshopper Adventures of course! :)
Sri Lankans are protected (and so are you)
As of October this year, 99% of eligible adults had received at least one vaccination shot and 84%, two. The government has mandated all hospitality and tourism workers to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, the newly announced entry rules ensure everyone is tested prior to leaving their own country, or on arrival in Sri Lanka if unvaccinated. For further peace of mind, private international hospitals in Colombo are world-class and well prepared for foreign visitors who might require treatment.
As Asia continues to re-open, there are going to be lots of choices of places to visit. For many of us, our travel wishlist has grown substantially during the last two years and certainly Sri Lanka deserves your attention.
The country is open, our team is in place with wheels pumped and chains cleaned, and the legendary Sri Lankan hospitality all awaits your arrival -- See our top-rated cycle tours in Sri Lanka trips depart from January!