Bike, hike & safari Sri Lanka's natural wonders
Discover Sri Lanka over 9 days, touring from the capital, Colombo, through the lush highlands, descending through rainforests to the coast. Along the way you'll enjoy some of South Asia's best cycling, nature-packed hikes and safaris through national parks, luxurious hotels, and of course the delicious cuisine, rich history and culture of Sri Lanka's welcoming people.
Bike tour from the city of Kandy, through the Ella gap, to the Sinharaja rainforest, all the way to the historic town of Galle. This small but highly diverse country offers a taste of everything on a truly memorable trip.
This trip runs Colombo to Galle.
Take a week-long cycling holiday in paradise. Not only does this trip include some of the most beautiful bike riding in South Asia, it also includes some amazing lodgings, food to remember, and a cultural experience like no other.
Sri Lanka, a small island with a big heart, is known for its tea plantations that we will spend two days riding through. We also take in the city of Kandy with its sacred Buddha tooth relic and pleasant climate. Pass by Yala National Park where we often see animal and birdlife and spend a day on the southern coast with its crashing surf and relaxed pace of life.
This is a great trip to pick up as part of a wider Sri Lanka holiday, or the mainstay of your adventure. Tour this fascinating country before finishing in the historic trade city of Galle.
Peak Season Surcharges
Please note that for tours commencing from Aug 1 to Aug 31 and from Dec 20 to Jan 10 there is a peak season surcharge of 10% on the price of this tour due to hotel rate increases at this time of year.
9 days duration
285 km distance
E-Bike Option: $385
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
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Quality, well-maintained Merida mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour, fitted with full hydraulic brakes, hybrid tyres for touring. Removable handlebar bags for your personal possessions and comfortable saddles are also provided, with a women's specific version available.
Simple to use and a pleasure to ride the Trek Conduit+ pedal-assist bike expands touring possibilities for all riders, and anything that enables people to explore more of the world by bike is a great thing in our books! Find out more about our E-Bikes here.
Always striving to deliver a premium tour experience Grasshopper Adventures are the first (and currently only) to offer pedal-assist e-bikes as a tour option in Southeast Asia. An upgrade can be purchased for this trip, availability is limited and on a first-in basis. After making your online booking our support team will follow-up requesting your bicycle preference (E-bike or regular).
Sri Lanka offers a great variety in choice for accommodation, and we make full use of this. From a grand old colonial property in Nuwara Eliya, to an eco lodge in the rainforest, and a modern hotel in contemporary style in Kandy we have all options covered.
An experienced English speaking, local leader will host you on this trip who is well spoken, very well informed, and charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local leaders who have a passion for their country and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of their country. Your leader will be supported by an assistant guide/mechanic who is tasked with keeping the bikes in tip top shape and often will lead the riding while the leader will ride among the group.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available for tired riders and to carry your luggage.
Sri Lankan food is centered around curries and has an emphasis on vegetables. This is not to say that there is not variety though. Given Sri Lanka's International integration over the centuries, there is a good variety of food available. While lunches tend to be quite similar due to the remote areas traversed, the evening meals often provide for a great deal of choice. As we near the coast, some amazing fresh seafood and fish becomes available and some of the properties in which we stay, pride themselves in their meal offerings. We are experienced in catering for all dietary requirements and invite you to discuss this with us in advance if you are concerned in any way. Included meals are listed in the day by day itinerary, and drinking water is always included with meals. Any soft or alcoholic drinks are not included and will be at your own expense.
Energy bars, local snacks and fresh fruit are provided to keep your energy levels up for the riding, and clean water and electrolyte drinks are always available to keep you well hydrated.
Take It Home
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home. We also provide a Grasshopper drink bottle as an extra memento.
2 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 2 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
for Sri Lanka by Bike tour
Train to Kandy & Cycle
We start today with an early pickup from your Colombo Hotel before we drive to a small village station to board the train that takes us up into the hills towards Kandy. The scenic journey takes 3-4 hours before we arrive around lunchtime, and we’ll stop a few stations before the city in order to meet our support team and our bikes. To warm up our legs we’ll cycle from the train station into the center of town, pedaling down small roads to escape the traffic. Our ride takes us along a river and its local villages. In the evening, there is time to visit the Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred Buddha tooth relic is placed with supporting stories illustrated in a prayer hall. Tonight we’ll enjoy our first dinner together in Kandy.
Cycle to Gampola, Train Ride to Nuwara Eliya
Today we take back roads and find ourselves climbing soon after leaving Kandy. As we go, the population thins out and the tea creeps in. As we weave our way through tea plantations, keep an eye open for roadside shops selling delicacies such as fresh dates and dried corn crackers. We then enjoy some descending today and a wide variety of road surfaces, always with minimal traffic.
We finish our ride down at the Gampola railway station where we board the train for the higher elevations. The train ride is stunning, and the carriage is quite comfortable. We alight at Nana Oya and then travel by car the short distance to Nuwara Eliya. You will need your warm clothes up here, but the hotel does have an open fireplace and a great meal for dinner.
Walk to Worlds End, Cycle to Ella
A very early start is needed today for the transfer by vehicle up to Horton Plains National Park, and we’ll enjoy some light snacks to get us started. From there, we will walk through the grassy highlands to World's End Lookout where we take in the astonishing views over the valley from the clifftop. Keep your eyes peeled while you walk, as we may be lucky enough to see deer and monkeys.
Here we’ll enjoy a picnic breakfast in this serene spot before hitting the bikes for a thrilling downhill ride through a fertile valley where farmers will be hard at work. We will pedal through the bustling town of Bandarawela, stopping briefly for lunch before settling in Ella, a small town that caters well to the weary traveller. The afternoon is free for exploration of the estate.
Walk to Little Adams Peak, Cooking Class
Enjoy the sunrise over dewy tea plantations, taking in the postcard views of Ella from arguably the most picturesque location in town. Today we stay off the bikes to pursue alternative active adventures. We’ll start off with a tea tour at our luxurious hotel set in the hills on 98 acres of tea plantation. Here you’ll have the chance to experience the tea production process from start to finish, with a walk through the plantation with a tea plucker, a visit to the factory to glimpse the tea withering process, and finish off the tour with a tasting session to sip on Pure Ceylon Tea.
In the afternoon, we’ll be welcomed by a small white statue of the Buddha as we begin hiking the trail to Little Adam’s Peak, an easy going climb. This spot is the younger, smaller brother of Adam’s Peak further out of town, but will still provide us with spectacular sunset views of the far hills and tea plantations below. This evening we’ll enjoy a cooking class and whip up some Sri Lankan curry.
Cycle to Kataragama & Yala Safari
We start off today with a few more climbs through stunning tea country and small villages. Catch some amazing views this morning from your bike over the impressive shapes of the various peaks. After morning tea, we glide on two wheels into our huge descent back to the flatlands. Only those averse to downhill riding will be without an ear to ear grin as the kilometers tick by a lot quicker than they have for the previous few days.
As we reach flat roads, the heat increases, so we have lunch and then take a 40-minute vehicle transfer to the hotel in Kataragama. A quick turnaround is in order and we then board a jeep that will take us through the nearby Yala National Park in the hopes of seeing elephants, leopards and almost certainly deer, wild boar, buffalo, monkeys, and peafowl. This is an enthralling way to round out the day and we can expect to be back at the hotel a little before 7 in time for dinner.
Cycle & Transfer to Sinharaja Rainforest
An early start helps us make the most of the cool morning temperatures. As things start to warm up a little, we will stop to eat our takeaway breakfast from the hotel. The ride is on flat, open road today which is a welcome rest after the recent terrain. We get into slightly narrower roads after breakfast as we pass through an unpaved section, then follow a nicely paved, quiet back road along a canal.
After passing through more populated areas in the late morning, we finish the ride with lunch in a small town named Embilipitiya and then take a transfer of around 2 hours to reach our accommodation at the beautiful Sinharaja Rainforest. Here you’ll enjoy the hum of the rainforest and the sounds of wildlife there. Keep your eyes peeled for some interesting, colorful birds flitting around!
Hike Sinharaja Rainforest
Today we swap the bikes for our hiking shoes as we explore the stunning Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve on foot. Our expert guides and their wealth of wildlife knowledge will put us in good stead to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and see some of the unique wildlife in the area. We will transfer in the van (depending on the season) to ensure we are in the best spot to start and end the hike. We expect to be out for about 4 hours, with a few special stops along the way for some snacks to keep the energy levels up. We'll head back to the hotel aroaund mid-afternoon so we can enjoy the quaint charm of our unique accommodation.
Ride & Transfer to Galle, Old Fort Walking Tour
Today's ride is one to remember as we pedal 50 kilometers down from the rainforest towards the coast and the old port city of Galle. The ride starts with a brilliant, 25km descent with only short sections of plateau or incline. What starts out as a patchy, tea estate road then becomes a smooth, well-made road without too much traffic and with just the right degree of twists and turns to keep it interesting.
Once we’ve made it down to the coast, we’ll take a transfer to the perfect beach spot for devouring lunch before transferring the rest of the way to Galle. Later we’ll take a walking tour of the Galle Fort: a 16th-century Portuguese structure set on the Bay of Galle which sits staunchly defending the city.
Galle Countryside Loop Ride, Tour Concludes
Our final ride of the tour is a relaxed affair, exploring the surrounds of historic Galle. We'll begin and end at the door of your hotel making the most of our last time on the bikes and returning with time to freshen up and say our goodbyes before check-out and conclusion of the tour.
From here you can take a scenic train ride up the coast back to Colombo or stay on in Sri Lanka's southern coast. Our team is happy to help you with your onward travel plans.
What's the Riding Like?
7 days riding
The terrain is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads on secondary roads and quiet country lanes. There are a few sustained climbs (although not too steep) at times and some thrilling descents. There is always a support vehicle on hand to give you a lift if you need a break from the riding.
Sri Lanka is a year-round destination, with generally good weather. Two monsoons affect different parts of the country, so one region can be dry while another is experiencing tropical rain showers. The hill country is noticeably cooler than the plains and coast and can be downright chilly at night! March to mid-April is the driest time nationwide, with the first annual monsoon bringing rain to the southwest lowlands and central hills from late May to September and a weaker second monsoon affecting the northeast of the island from November to February.
What our guests tell us...
Just a selection of our great reviews!
The routes were varied, through really interesting countryside with awesome scenery in the high country, as well as low. We felt we really got a feel of how both rural and urban Sri Lanka lives. A lot of thought and planning has obviously gone into preparing the routes, but also choosing the hotels, which were a welcome haven of luxury after each day.
Thanks to Grasshopper Adventures I had – quite literally – the time of my life cycling in Sri Lanka! I did the wonderful 12 day Sip of Ceylon tour. Sri Lanka is a stunning and wonderful mix of diverse terrain and experiences that they give a traveler: rainforest, amazing beaches, mountains, lush tea and rice territory, busy cities and towns. And friendly and curious people at every stop! It’s a gorgeous country – and Grasshopper – through supremely helpful and reliable support every day – made my adventure possible.
Other Multi-day Tours in Sri Lanka
We have an exciting range of multi-day cycling tours in Sri Lanka. Bike through the scenic tea plantations of the Hill Country, absorb the history of ancient Sri Lanka on the dry plains of the Cultural Triangle, or relax in gorgeous Galle and the beaches of the south. History, culture, amazing landscapes, friendly faces and one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world - Sri Lanka has all this and more.
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