Tour Sri Lanka by bike & train
The classic cycling route through Sri Lanka, made more achievable by the addition of the train. An unforgettable journey through this beautifully diverse country.
This trip runs Colombo to Galle. 

Sri Lanka map

This is an unforgettable week on the bikes. Broadly achievable by all riders, with quiet backroads, lots of downhills and comfortable accommodation with style and character.

Sri Lanka has so much diversity in landscape, culture and an amazing collection of flora and fauna. We experience all of these aspects on this trip as we travel from the central city of Kandy through the tea plantations and national parks to the coast where we enjoy the famously beautiful southern beaches before concluding in the historic Galle Fort.

A great trip to pick up as part of a wider Sri Lanka holiday, or the mainstay of your adventure, and one that also matches up well with our Flatlands Of The North trip. 

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. 

Tour details

$2350 USD

7 days duration

188 km distance

Difficulty: Moderate

Deposit payment: $800 USD
Single room option: $750 USD
Tour code: GHSI15

Trip Features & Tour Inclusions

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Great Bikes

Top quality, well maintained Merida mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour, fitted with hybrid tyres for touring. Handlebar bags for your personal possessions are also provided.

Comfy Beds

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. 

Your Hosts

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.

Support Van

An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available for tired riders and to carry your luggage.

Great Eats

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.

Snacking

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 10

This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 2 travellers. And we limit the group size to only 10 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.

Singles

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.


Tour Itinerary

for Sri Lanka by Bike the Easy Way

1

Train to Kandy & Cycle

15km cycling

An early start from your Colombo hotel is necessary to catch the early train up to Kandy. The train is comfortable and a nice way to take in the scenery. Arriving late morning, you'll have a few hours to explore the historic town, enjoy lunch and get kitted up for the first warm-up ride. We begin with a short briefing then drive out of town to clear the traffic and gain some elevation. The riding starts among lush mountain plantations and as we wind our way downhill on the backroads and through the villages, the landscape changes with the sun's path. We'll make our return to Kandy with the help of the support vehicle. Tonight we'll enjoy a group meal together to celebrate the start of the adventure.
Meals: LD 

2

Cycle to Gampola, Highland Train to Nuwara Eliya

25km cycling

Following a hearty breakfast we'll transfer high into the mountains outside Kandy, passing through small villages perched on the slopes, to begin our ride towards Gampola. We'll enjoy some great descending today through sparsely populated hill country, a couple of short sharp climbs to warm up the legs and a wide variety of road surfaces, but always with minimal traffic. We finish our ride with a mouthwatering lunch of local specialties before transferring the remainder of the distance to Gampola train station. A small local guesthouse nearby has some facilities for us to freshen up before another train ride, and one to remember. This afternoon we gain some serious height as the train weaves its way up the passes to almost 2000m above sea level. The views are stunning and the fellow passengers usually in good spirits as many will be heading up to the hills for family holidays and a well deserved break. After arriving at the station we make the last leg of the journey to Nuwara Eliya by car and check in to our comfy hotel nestled amongst the tea plantations.
Meals: BLD

3

Nuwara Eliya - High Country Exploration

30km cycling

We have a lazy morning in Nuwara Eliya this morning. It is a much cooler climate up here and we can expect some mist and frost in the morning. A game of golf may tempt some, but others are likely to be content just exploring the small town with its abundance of British colonial-era buildings. After lunch we set off from the door of our hotel on a ride which will take us first around the lake and then down a fast, well made road before we make a turn and get into some winding roads on a somewhat challenging gradient, but only for a short while. Once we meet the railway line, we follow that, passing through the high country train stations that are mere whistle stop locations, but are very important to those who live up here. Dairy cows can be seen grazing as we pass through Ambewella continuing an undulating ride to the foothills of the Horton Plains National Park before transferring back to Nuwara Eliya, stopping at a fully operational tea factory on the way. That same open fire and hot soup await in the charming, colonial era hotel.
Meals: BLD

4

Walk to World's End, Cycle & Transfer to Ella

32km cycling

A very early start is needed today for the transfer by vehicle up to Horton Plains. We then walk through the National Park to World's End Lookout where we take in the stunning views over the valley. Along the way you may be lucky enough to see deer and monkeys. After the walk we hit the bikes and take a thrilling downhill ride through a fertile valley where farmers will be hard at work, and then pass through the bustling town of Bandarawela before settling in the beautiful surrounds of Ella, a small town that caters well to the weary traveller.  
Meals: BLD

5

Cycle & Transfer To Yala

37km cycling

This morning we enjoy possibly the best ride of the trip. Not only for the beautiful scenery but also because whilst the road looks quite hilly and challenging, it is actually quite easy and very enjoyable. Just the right gradient to get the heart rate up, but allow you to maintain a good speed. After 20km or so we start a long, but not steep, descent down off the plateau. After the seemingly endless descent, we have lunch in a small town called Passara and then transfer by vehicle to the entrance of Yala National Park. Here we board jeeps for the drive into the park to enjoy a safari. The aim is to see Leopards. We often do see Elephants on the way in and many deer. Some birds are also to be seen, but the prize sighting is the Leopard that favours the cooler temperatures approaching dusk. As the sun sets we transfer to our very comfortable hotel perched on the edge of Yala National Park and the beach. A full, but very rewarding day.
Meals: BLD

6

Cycle The Tissa Lakes, Transfer To Mirissa

25km cycling

After a generous breakfast spread is consumed, we take to the open road from the door of our hotel to explore the Tissamaharama area that sits just inland from our accommodation. The terrain today is quite a stark contrast from what we have experienced so far. First passing through flat open scrubland, by salt farms and waterholes where buffalo lounge, we then approach more populated areas where greenery becomes increasingly abundant, eventually opening into wetland lakes. The lakes of this area are home to a huge variety of birds, from water birds to small parrots and occasionally larger birds of prey can be seen overhead. We conclude the ride before lunch then drive onto Mirissa about two hours down the road. The hotel is beachside once again, just out of town, so quiet enough but also only a short moto-rickshaw trip into the action. 
Meals: BLD 

7

Cycle Unawatuna, Tour Concludes in Galle

24km cycling

We start out with a drive along the coast to reach the start point of our ride. Today's cycle is less about distance and more about discovery, encapsulating much of the essence of what we have experienced over the journey so far. We'll enjoy a diverse range of terrain, exploring the backroads of the local villages and friendly farming communities. We finish or ride by lunchtime and after enjoying a wood-fired pizza lunch by the beach and maybe a refreshing swim, we drive into Galle where the tour concludes at your hotel.
Meals: BL


What's the Riding Like?

Mostly rolling hills

7 days riding

188km distance

The terrain is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads on secondary roads and quiet country lanes. Whilst there are about four uphill sections, these are not more than 2km in length and are generally achievable. The majority of the riding is flat, rolling hills and down. The distances are such that we would expect to be riding for around four hours a day, so plenty of time to rest and recover for the following day.  


Weather

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!

Sri Lanka is a fantastic country - 2000 years of culture, people are very friendly everywhere.

Anon November 2012

I have caught the Grasshopper bug! This was my second tour with you guys and I will keep coming back for more. Riding Sri Lanka on two wheels was absolutely magical! 

Anon March 2013

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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