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9 Days | 8 Nights
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Discover Sri Lanka by bike over 9 days, cycle touring from the capital, Colombo, through lush highlands and rainforests to the coast. Along the way, you'll enjoy South Asia's best cycling, nature-packed hikes and safaris through national parks, luxurious hotels, delicious cuisine and the rich history and culture of Sri Lanka's welcoming people.
Cannondale CX3 or Trek E-bike
Friendly Sri Lanka team
4 to 14
Modern hotels, rainforest eco lodge
Take a 9-day guided adventure in paradise. Not only does this trip to Sri Lanka include some of the most beautiful bike touring in South Asia, but it also includes great hikes through national parks, a jeep safari with the chance to see leopards, luxurious lodgings, mouthwatering food and a cultural experience like no other.
Sri Lanka, a small island with a big heart, is well known for its highland tea plantations that we will spend some days riding through. We also take in the city of Kandy with its sacred Buddha tooth relic and pleasant climate. Pedal by Yala National Park where we often see animal and birdlife and spend some time on the southern coast with its crashing surf, relaxed pace of life and historic Portuguese forts.
This is the perfect bike tour to see some of the best of Sri Lanka in just over a week. You'll get a taste of the highlights & hidden treasures and be blown away by the diversity this small island nation boasts.
Pedal-assist E-bikes are an available option on this tour for $245.
283 Km 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.
Explore Horton Plains National Park and take a walk to World’s End for dramatic mountain views.
Take a tea tour to learn about the interesting process, then make tasty Sri Lankan curry in a cooking class.
A jeep safari through Yala National Park reveals elephants, leopards, wild boar, buffalo, and monkeys.
Hike through the UNESCO World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest to see and learn about the area’s wildlife.
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, 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.
Today we pedal 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 descents 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.
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 glimpse 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 traveler. The afternoon is free for exploration of the estate.
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 alongside 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.
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.
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!
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 around mid-afternoon so we can enjoy the quaint charm of our unique accommodation.
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.
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 we will include a group transfer back to Colombo or you stay on in Sri Lanka's southern coast. Our team is happy to help you with your onward travel plans.
Quality, well-maintained Cannondale CX3 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.
Sri Lanka offers a great variety in choice of 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 Kandy, we have all options covered.
An experienced English speaking, local leader will host you on this trip who is well spoken, very knowledgeable and charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use local guides 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 while keeping you safe and comfortable at all times. 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 no 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 become 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.
4 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of just 4 travelers. And we limit the group size to only 14 travelers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travelers - we will match you with another same-sex single traveler. If you want a single room there is an optional upgrade that you can book.
On this tour we provide Wahoo ELEMNT bike computers for additional navigational support. These are the latest in user-friendly navigation tech from Wahoo Fitness. With Wahoo devices you will be able to track your progress and monitor your route. Beyond their basic setup, the geek-cyclists will find Wahoo ELEMNTs to be excellent data mining devices allowing to measure almost any aspect of the ride.
This country mansion combines all of the charms of Colonial times with all of the friendly hospitality you’ve come to love in Sri Lanka. Nestled in the hills of tea country, this luxurious home near the city of Nuwara Eliya provides a unique experience.
Less than a mile away from the historic Galle Fort, this luxury hotel embodies all of the elegance of colonial Sri Lanka. Well manicured gardens give way to a private pool, and rooms are tastefully decorated with colonial-era furniture. You are sure to enjoy your time in this classic accommodation!
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.
Grasshopper plans the entire trip, so all you have to do is show up with a sense of adventure and a great attitude and you'll have the time of your life. Oh, and don't forget your camera - they'll take you to the most beautiful places off the beaten path.
Another awesome adventure with Grasshopper. Accommodation and food excellent and sights incredible. Truly enjoyed Sri Lanka in all its beauty and diversity. Cycling is the way to discover a country and its people!
Grasshopper takes care of all the details, even those delightful surprises you might never think of yourself. Each ride is a treat and most evenings when you finish pedaling you get to spend the night in an enchanting venue.
Sri Lanka is an amazing country. The people, colors, wildlife, animals... it's just unbelievable.
Our tour was truly exceptional thanks in big part to our wonderful guide Dodan.
He's inspiring, humble and very motivated.
It was our first time with grasshopper, but definitely not the last.
Looking forward to exploring other countries.
Click here to see our Sri Lanka Travel Guide.
Here is some general travel information for Sri Lanka.
Read our blog on the Sri Lanka travel warnings.
Multi-day Cycling Tours Frequently Asked Questions
Our classic Sri Lanka by Bike tour is the best way to take in the natural beauty and rich culture of this amazing island. This carefully crafted itinerary brings you to all Sri Lanka’s highlights as well as its well-protected national parks, and provides plenty of connection with the authentic Sri Lankan life that surrounds you. Along the way, stay in great accommodation, eat tasty local meals, and learn about the wildlife, history and culture of Sri Lanka from your expert local guide. This will be an unforgettable discovery of the Pearl of India.
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