Bike tour Sri Lanka from the highlands to the coast
Discover the rich history and culture, delicious cuisine, welcoming people and amazing cycling that this small but diverse country offers. This trip runs Negombo to Galle.
This is a week in paradise. Not only does this trip include some of the most beautiful cycling on offer in South Asia, it also includes some amazing lodgings, food to remember, and a cultural experience like no other.
A small island with a big heart, Sri Lanka is known for its tea plantations and it is these very plantations that we spend two days riding through. We also take in the city of Kandy with its sacred Buddha tooth relic and pleasant climate. We pass by Yala National Park where we often see animal and birdlife and we spend a day on the southern coast with its crashing surf and relaxed vibe.
A great trip to pick up as part of a wider Sri Lanka holiday, or the mainstay of your adventure, this is a great tour 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.
7 days duration
365 km distance
Difficulty: Somewhat challenging
E-Bike option: $245
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
What makes Grasshopper so special?
Find out how your next ride goes the extra mile.
Click on each icon below to see more...
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). Available from March 2018
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 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.
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
Train to Kandy & Cycle
We start with an early pickup from your Colombo Hotel. We then take a train up through the hills to Kandy. The journey takes 3-4 hours and will have us arriving around lunch time. In the mid afternoon, we fit up the bikes and head out for a gentle ride of the neighbourhoods around Kandy. In the evening, there is time to visit the Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred tooth relic is placed with its supporting stories illustrated in a prayer hall.
Cycle to Gampola, then train to Nuwara Eliya
This is a challenging day as we get into the hills again. 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 do enjoy some descending today and a wide variety of road surfaces, but 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 really 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 fire place and a great meal for dinner.
Nuwara Eliya - High Country Exploration
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 town with its abundance of British colonial-era buildings. After lunch we set off on the 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 what is now the familiar pattern of winding roads on a comfortable gradient. 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 and we then turn around and come back to Nuwara Eliya on a different route, stopping at a fully operational tea factory on the way. That same open fire and hot soup await in the charming, colonial era hotel.
Walk to Worlds End, Cycle to Ella
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 Ella, a small town that caters well to the weary traveller.
Cycle to Kataragama & Yala Safari
A few more climbs start us off today through stunning tea country and small villages. We see some amazing views this morning over the interesting shapes of the various peaks. After morning tea we get into our huge descent back to the flat lands. Only those averse to downhill riding will be without an ear to ear grin as the kilometers tick over a lot quicker than they have for the previous week. As we reach the flat roads, the heat increases, so we have lunch and then take a 40 minute vehicle transfer to the hotel. A quick turn-around is in order and we then board a jeep that will take us through the nearby Yala National Park in the hope that we may see elephants, leopard and almost certainly deer, wild boar, buffalo, monkeys and peafowl. This is a really nice way to round out the day and we can expect to be back at the hotel a little before 7pm in time for dinner.
Cycle & Transfer to Sinharaja Rainforest
An early start helps us make the most of the cool morning temperatures and as things start to warm up a little, we will stop to eat our take-away breakfast from the hotel. The ride is on flat, open road today which is something of a novelty 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 backroad along a canal. Passing through more populated areas in the late morning, we finish the ride with lunch in a minor town named Embilipitiya and then take a transfer of around 2 hours to reach our accommodation at Sinharaja Rainforest.
Transfer & Cycle to Galle
Our final ride is one to remember as we ride all the way from our rain forest lodge to 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. We continue to pass through tea plantations and villages until lunch, then we are in rice growing territory until we reach our destination. Galle fort sits staunchly defending the city, although it is mostly nicely restored houses and quaint cafes now. The tour concludes on arrival in Galle at the hotel of your choice.
What's the Riding Like?
Very hilly terrain
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!
Koki was a legend. He was professional and really conscientious. He was lots of fun and made the tour feel well-organised but relaxed. His English is perfect and he is really easy to communicate with.
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! There is truly no other better way to see this country.
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.
Our comprehensive bike tour of Sri Lanka's highlights
Discover the rich history and culture, delicious cuisine, welcoming people and amazing cycling that this small but...
Tour Sri Lanka by bike & train
The classic cycling route through Sri Lanka, made more achievable by the addition of the train. An unforgettable jo...
Sri Lanka's compact family bike adventure
Explore the hill country of Sri Lanka on two wheels. An active adventure stretching from Kandy and highland tea cou...
A bike tour of Sri Lanka the family will never forget!
Discover the culture, wildlife, history and scenery of this wonderful country on two wheels, with fun activities f...