cycling in Sri Lanka

Cycle the Back Roads of Sri Lanka

14 days
from
£2,049
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Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Trip code: 
MIR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
4–16
Ages:
16+

Explore rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike

Although a compact island, Sri Lanka is incredibly diverse. Exploring on two wheels is the best way to see this rural country and to experience the way of life of its friendly people. We travel from ancient cities and the fortress at Sigiriya to the hill country towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, where the cooler temperatures and lush scenery make for a relaxing ride. In the south we visit Yala National Park, where we go in search of leopard, before ending the trip on the beaches of the beautiful south coast. Most of the route is a continuous ride, and transfers are kept to a minimum.

In many regions of Sri Lanka the bicycle is the most common form of transport, so travelling by bike yourself is a great way to mix with the people and to gain access to their world. This trip covers a substantial part of the island, taking in as much as possible of the scenic and cultural variety that Sri Lanka has to offer. The combination of visits to the ancient cities, great rides through the beautiful hill country, the varied wildlife, and a chance to relax on one of the many wonderful beaches, will certainly give you a taste for serendipity.

Highlights

  • The magnificent cave temple at Dambulla
  • Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya for breathtaking views
  • Explore the old ruined city of Polonnaruwa
  • The fascinating town of Kandy
  • Ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya
  • Search for leopard in Yala National Park

Key information

  • 10 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with full vehicle support
  • 95% tarmac, 5% unsurfaced road
  • Routes mostly follow quiet back roads, with frequent climbs
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and driver. Min age 16 years
  • 11 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses, all en suite
  • Countries visited: Sri Lanka

What's included

  •  All breakfasts and 10 lunches
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers (for group flights only)
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Airport transfers (for land only bookings)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

10

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 95% tarmac, 5% unsurfaced roads

Day by day breakdown
Day 252.0km/32.0miles
Day 373.0km/45.0miles
Day 480.0km/49.0miles
Day 553.0km/32.0miles
Day 784.0km/52.0miles
Day 866.0km/41.0miles
Day 9102.0km/63.0miles
Day 1032.0km/19.0miles
Day 1137.0km/22.0miles

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • We financially co-sponsored a local Tsunami relief project, which enabled 25 families to be rehoused and for two schools to be equipped with toilets, running water and outdoor swings.  
  • In collaboration with a German operator and the village temple, we have helped towards 10 large water tanks and an eye clinic in a remote village with a donation of 200 pairs of glasses.
  • We assisted a principal agent of UNICEF in development of day care and education of school children of the estate sector labourers in the hill country.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We visit culturally important sites like the 2nd century Buddhist temple at Dambulla, the rock fortress at Sirigiya and the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy. Here, our entry fees make a vital contribution to their upkeep whilst also celebrating Sri Lankan history.
  • During this trip (depending on the time of year), we visit Yala National Park, or alternatively Lunugamvehera or Udawalawe National Park, where clients may have the opportunity witness elephants, deer, leopards, and other Sri Lankan wildlife. A proportion of the trip costs will go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the National Park.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • The Exodus Travels Foundation has launched the Community Kickstart Project to help our destination communities recover and rebuild following the impact of COVID-19. In Sri Lanka, we’ve contributed to the Yala Park Driver Support initiative, more details can be found here.

 Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.
  • This trip favours locally-owned and run accommodation and establishments with strong environmental policies. For example, Hotel Sigiriya uses scheduled light switching, recycling and waste regulations and water saving cisterns.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Please be aware there are a large number of stray dogs in Sri Lanka, and you may encounter some during your trip. Our local operators are aware of this and we are monitoring any animal welfare concerns.
  • Cultural respect:
  • One should not touch someone’s head as this is considered disrespectful.
  • It's polite to use your right hand when shaking hands or handing money and small objects to someone else.
  • It is common practice to remove one’s shoes before entering someone’s home.
  • Especially when visiting temples, men’s and women’s clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee.

Itinerary

Expand all
  • Day 1

    Start Sigiriya

    The group flight from London typically arrives at Bandaranayake International Airport around lunchtime and we transfer to Sigiriya (approximately 4 hours) where we stay for the next 2 nights.
    Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Lunch
  • Day 2

    Ride to Dambulla cave temple; climb Sigiriya Rock

    After breakfast we ride along gravel roads following an old irrigation canal to Dambulla, the 2nd Century BC Buddhist cave temple. It is well worth the walk to view the five caves, which contain many ancient Buddha statues, some carved from the solid rock. Returning via the busy market town we take another quiet back road riding through chilli and rice fields before cycling back at our hotel for lunch and a relaxing swim in the pool. In the late afternoon we climb the 5th Century rock fortress of Sigiriya to see the beautiful frescoes painted onto the rock face (not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo). The ruins of the palace on the summit are surpassed only by the magnificent aerial view of the surrounding jungle. Stay as long as you like, as it's only 10 minutes walk back to our hotel.
    Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Ride to Polonnaruwa; cycle tour of ruins

    A long morning ride along a quiet back road which is part of the Sigiriya nature reserve, before joining the highway travelling east towards Polonnaruwa, riding all the way to our lunch stop and overnight stay. For those who fancy a swim, the hotel also has a swimming pool, a pleasant place to spend the hot early afternoon. Later we tour the old ruined city of Polonnaruwa, which dates from the 10-13th centuries.
    The Village Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Ride through foothills of spice growing region

    We follow the local lake's man-made 6km dam and feeder canal to its source, the Amban Ganga River. The afternoon ride is flanked by the stunning Kalanduwa hills on one side and the borders of Wasgomuwa Wildlife Park on the other. As the jungle gives way to plantations, we enter the spice growing region of Sri Lanka. The night is spent in a family-run guest house with small cabanas dotted around the estate. It’s basic but the home cooking in clay pots on wood fired stoves gives you the real flavour of Sri Lanka. If you would like to find out more about the spices used in the piquant Lankan curries, the owners can arrange a visit to one of the renowned spice gardens a short walk down the road.
    Countryside Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Ride to Kandy

    Today is tougher as we head for the hills and Kandy, the spiritual and cultural capital of the hill country. Those who feel like an easy day can jump onto the bus for the 50km trip to Kandy, while the rest of us pedal away, riding through the Moorish town of Matale. Its inhabitants, descendants from Arab spice traders, still control most of the spice market, which is a good place to pick up some freshly ground curry powder. As Kandy's roads are as old as the city itself, we may have to drive the last few kilometres to avoid the traffic. Surrounded by hills, the town is centred around a small lake and the Temple of the Tooth. The afternoon is free to wander through the streets and markets.
    Hotel Thilanka or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Free day in Kandy

    A free day to explore the town. Kandy has many interesting attractions including the wonderful Botanical Gardens, the famous Temple of the Tooth, and streets lined with interesting curio shops. The surrounding hills are dotted with wonderful temples.
    Hotel Thilanka or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Challenging ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya

    For anyone who doesn't do hills, we strongly recommend the train ride to Nuwara Eliya. For those who feel like a challenge, it’s 84km, climbing up to 2000m above sea level to reach this most favoured hill station. For the first part of the ride we take the old road, a far more pleasant route, and one of the few places where you see terraced paddy fields. Beyond the paddy fields is tea country and the area is reputed to produce the finest teas on the island. Tickets for the train journey are dependent on availability on the day (although usually available, there may be the chance that the bus will need to be used instead for those who don't fancy the hill).

    Please note that due to the current situation with covid and social distancing concerns, we are not able to offer the optional train ride to Nuwara Eliya as the train is subject to over-crowding and appropriate social distancing will not be possible. For anyone who does not wish to ride, there will be the option to take the minibus instead.

    Mirage King's Cottage or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Hill country ride to Ella

    In the morning we visit a tea factory on the edge of the town, and then cycle through hilly country towards Ella, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant and later tea in Bandarawela, a trading centre where exotic fruits from the east coast are traded for hill-country vegetables. Arriving in the late afternoon, we watch the sunset from the famous view point, Ella Gap. On a clear day you can see the coast shimmering in the distance.
    Hotel Country Comfort or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Descent of 1000m, stopping at the impressive rock-cut Buddha statues at Buduruvagela; to Tissamaharama

    Descending 1000m we leave the breathtaking scenery of Uva Province for the gentle rolling hills of the dry zone, stopping at the impressive rock-cut Buddha Statues at Buduruvagala. The giant 15m rock carving of Buddha is flanked by small figures depicting his helpers and a very rare image of Maitreya, the future Buddha, which dates from the 10th Century. The tranquillity of the place is enhanced by the lotus-covered lake where we will relax on the banks and enjoy some fresh fruit before riding on to lunch. Here we can retreat from the heat of the day, before the final 30km to Tissamaharama, the capital of the old Ruhuna Kingdom.
    Chandrika Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Morning ride to Kataragama Temple; afternoon drive to Yala N.P. for safari

    In the morning we cycle to Kataragama temple, which lies 16km northeast of Tissa. People of all faiths come to seek favour with the god Skanda, who is reputed to restore people's health. The colourful and noisy pooja is always busy, with thousands of pilgrims during the festival season from July - August. Tissa is close to Yala National Park, the best park in Sri Lanka to see leopard. After lunch we have a safari in the park, when we may see elephant, deer, wild boar, sloth bear, Asian jackal, lots of birdlife and if very lucky a leopard. We return to Tissa for the night (please note that the sanctuary may be closed for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the animals. We therefore go to an alternative area close by, usually Lunugamvehera or Udawalawe National Park).
    Chandrika Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Ride through Bundala N.P. and the lagoon for spectacular birdlife; continue riding on coast to Hambantota; transfer to Ahangama

    Leaving early to avoid the heat of the dry zone, we ride along the boundary of Bundala Bird Sanctuary. During certain times of the year, thousands of flamingos can be seen wading in the brackish shallows, eyed up by crocodiles, basking in the early morning sun. We hit the main road for the final 30km to Hambantota, a series of sandy bays fanning out from this typical coastal town. Transfer from Hambantota to Ahangama by coach. For the next 2 nights we stay in Ahangama.
    Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Free day on beach; optional ride to Koggala

    Relax at the hotel or join a late morning ride along rural roads to the village of Wandurugama before returning via Koggala Lake and back to the hotel to end our riding. This afternoon is free to explore the beach area or swim and laze by the pool. In the late afternoon we can view the stilt fishermen climb their poles to catch a few bites for supper. From November to April we can also go whale watching off Dondra head, near Mirissa, which is one of the best places in the world for seeing Blue and Sperm whales. Huge pods of dolphins are also often seen accompanying the boats.
    Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Transfer to Colombo via Galle

    Leaving mid morning, we will stop to visit Galle. The Old Dutch fort was built in 1663 after the Dutch took the island from the Portuguese. The old ramparts and small back streets bring alive some of the history of the fight for colonial domination of this prized island. You’re free to find your own lunch, meeting back at the bus at around 2.30pm for the 2 hour drive to Colombo. The rest of the day is free to relax by the pool or shop along the main street. For the last evening meal we can choose from one of the many restaurants in Colombo.
    Hotel Mirage or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Colombo

    If you are travelling on the group flight we will have a morning transfer to the airport for the daytime flight to London. The arrangements for those not flying with the group end after check out.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Post-trip Extensions

Maldives

If you are keen to end your holiday on a very relaxed note, we can arrange a visit to the Maldives for you.

The flight from Colombo is around 1 hour and upon arrival you will be transferred by speedboat (approximately 20mins) to the Paradise Island 4* resort. Paradise Island is a beautiful coral island with a total land area of 178,900 square metres, covered with lush tropical vegetation, numerous palm trees, surrounded by a wide sandy beach and the crystal clear waters of an azure lagoon.

 You can choose to add on as many extra nights to your trip as you wish; your time on the island will be at leisure for you to do as you wish. The accommodation used has a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, room service and all rooms are air‐conditioned and have en suite facilities. As well as the modern amenities of the resort, there is also access to scuba diving and snorkelling or for the less active the chance to swim in these wonderful, calm waters. Either way it is a veritable paradise and a memorable end to the trip.

 If you choose to take advantage of this opportunity then we can arrange flights for you to Malé as well as booking the hotel and speedboat transfer to the island. Please be advised, all accommodation booked at the Paradise Island 4* resort from 28th December 2021, will be based on half board included. 

Essential Info

Visas

Sri Lanka

For a quick and easy guide to the latest travel advice to Sri Lanka, as well as by nationality, we recommend using the CIBT entry guide accessible via Exodus Travel's Travel Hub or via https://cibtvisas.co.uk/

A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. A visa (ETA) can be obtained before travel through http://eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ and costs US$35 per applicant. Exodus strongly recommends travellers to obtain their visa (ETA) online prior to travel in order to avoid any complications and delays on arrival. 

Passengers should also be aware of local laws and customs in Sri Lanka (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/local-laws-and-customs). The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is an offence; please note that people have been refused entry to Sri Lanka because of visible tattoos of Buddha.

Vaccinations

Sri Lanka

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 10 lunches included.

Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Despite, or perhaps because of, these influences Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to simply as ‘Rice and Curry’; this is the staple dish in most restaurants and is usually a serving of rice accompanied by assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles ‘sambols’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic. The variety is constant and this along with the abundance of fresh seafood and fish ensures the cuisine is a constant highlight of the trip. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent (for example, wheat or dairy-free) so please be prepared for this as you may need to bring these from home. Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels with serve Western options alongside traditional food. All lunch and tea stops are subject to change dependent on the cycling speed of the group as well as the weather conditions.

Weather

Because of its location near the equator, Sri Lanka has a hot and humid climate. At the higher elevations, however, the climate is cool; the humidity is relatively lower in the northern and central parts of the country. The average annual temperature is 32ºC (90ºF) in the lowlands and 21ºC (70ºF) in the higher mountainous regions, though it can get chilly in the hill country at night.

Galle

Is this trip for you?

This trip is rated Activity Level 4- Moderate/ Challenging

Average daily distance: 65km / 40 miles

No. of days cycling: 10 (including 1 optional ride)

Vehicle Support: Fully supported

Terrain is hilly, particularly around Nuwara Eliya and the hill country, but the support vehicle available is if required. Routes mostly follow quiet backroads with occasional unsurfaced sections which may be rough in places. Rides are designed to run door-to-door without transfers. Keeping to the backroads means that there is less traffic but it will become busier when approaching towns.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Guesthouses

Accommodation on this trip is a mixture of tourist-class hotels, some with pools and some local guesthouses. Guesthouses are simple but in good locations along the cycle route giving a real flavour of the country. All rooms have en suite facilities. Wi-Fi is available at the majority of places, either in the rooms or the communal areas.

The hotel that we typically use in Nuwara Eliya has been selected for the character of the premises and the appearance of its grounds but the level of service is not always at the standard of the other hotels on this itinerary.

Single accommodation (available on request)

Please  note paying the single supplement may not mean that you receive a double or twin room for sole use. The room you are allocated may differ from hotel to hotel, and on some nights a smaller room for ‘one person’ may well be allocated.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2022

    A Fantastic Trip

    I found the Wildlife of Sri Lanka amazing, everywhere we went, not just the in the game reserves. Generally cycling along, we found crocodiles, long Lizards, a variety of bird life, mischievous monkeys, etc. One day an elephant was on the road, just before we cycled through. I wasn't expecting so much nature outside of the reserves. Rowan, the trip leader, and the boys were amazing in every respect. You will be well looked after. Be ready for early starts and a quick departure to take advantage of the cooler mornings. The heat and sun when ascending, was challenging, but the bus and truck were always there if it got too much. I felt completely safe in Sri Lanka. Although there are lots of problems there regarding fuel and food, we did not experience any problems as tourists, so don't let the News put you off. They badly need tourism to return to pre-covid levels to support their economy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife and the friendliness of the Sri Lankan people, especially on the local small restaurants and bars.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The whole day was very tightly structured, including where the group were to eat in the evening (e.g. at the hotel or a ride to local restaurant). If like me, you want to be independent in the evenings, make sure read in advance what's around your hotel, so you can have evenings to yourself as it's not always obvious as to what you can do and there were no alternative options given by the leader for most evenings. Tuk Tuks are available everywhere and inexpensive, I used them a few times to get around locally when not with the group. The monsoon weather is heavy vertical rain. My 'expensive' breathable shower proof jackets were insufficient. Take a brolly and a cheap all body waterproof poncho with you... you will be glad you did. Day 4 at the Countryside Hotel was not so great, in my view, with a poor breakfast and 'rundown' chalets. Hopefully you have a better experience, but maybe you want to buy some fruit for breakfast and have some insect repellent available for that night, just in case. All other hotels/guesthouses were fabulous.
  • Reviewed March 2022

    Cycling in Ceylon

    What an amazing holiday! This best thing I have done in ages & up there with my best trips. I booked at the last minute as there was a cancellation due to COVID and was very apprehensive as to what lay ahead. Would I cope, what will the group be like etc. etc. I don’t cycle regularly and took the e-bike option and really glad that I did. Some days were hard, especially the uphill ascent to Nuwara Eliya and some days were undulating. Using the e-bike allowed me to enjoy my holiday and took away the angst of thinking whether I could do it. The holiday was great on so many levels: - Guide & trip support Suresh was our guide and what a beautiful person he is, kind, caring, thoughtful, funny, always going the extra mile to ensure everyone was happy and catered for… a true professional. I can not rate him highly enough; in many ways, he made the trip. Suresh was supported by a fantastic team - Suranga, Ruwan and crew. Suranga provided technical support, ensuring all the bikes were ok, he would even be checking them as we cycled. The guys worked so hard behind the scenes to make sure everything ran seamlessly. Making sure that we were fed, watered as we cycled from place to place. In the morning all the cycles were lined up, clean & checked ready to go. Trip The trip itself is fantastic, every day was filled with something different to do and see. Cycling is a wonderful way to see Sri Lanka especially cycling the back roads. It’s so vibrant and provides an assault on the senses… all the colours, smells, sounds, beautiful vistas, wildlife and people. The Sri Lankan people are so welcoming and friendly, children and adults waving as we cycled past…shouting ‘Hi’ ‘Bye’ Accommodation The accommodation overall was fantastic and even better than expected. I particularly liked the hotels in Sigiriya, Kandy and Ahangama. It was easy to cycle from one place to another…Suresh would check us in & our bags would be waiting for us in the rooms! When leaving we would just leave our bags outside the door and the bag fairies would sort everything. Food What can I say…yum, yum yum! So many gorgeous vegetable & meat curries, not forgetting the egg hopper. One must try when one is in Sri Lanka. Suresh took us to some fantastic places to eat. I really enjoyed the family meal where our food was cooked in banana leaves. One of the things I really enjoyed were the cycling tea stops. We visited small cafes, a Sri Lankan home. We were offered the most divine fresh fruit-mango and pineapple and lots of spicy snacks-I’ve forgotten the names. We had some great lunch stops too. Activities. These are all listed in the itinerary and were great and plentiful, I am amazed we packed so much in. Climbing Lion rock, climb in Eliya, visit to gem factory-shop, spice garden, safari-we saw the elusive leopard, tea factory, I skipped the whale-watching as I needed a relax! Group As well as Suresh the group really made the holiday for me. I wasn’t sure at first but as the days unfurled, we bonded. We had lots of fun and banter…what a lovely group! I hope we stay in touch. We even saw the infamous ‘yellow elephant’ Big thankyou to GI Jane & Captain Chris, the lovely Janine & Darren, Sue-‘Queen of the Mountains’, Lady Julia, Richard of Wales, Sir Roger, Peter the Great, St. Simon, Neil Young-the one & only, Jimmy Carter and Bob Hope. Personal Final note, I had a bad 2021, felt in a bit of a rut. It was a big step for me to book this trip but I’m so glad I did. It made me feel alive again…what more can I say! Thankyou Suresh and team, group and Sri Lanka xxx
  • Reviewed February 2022

    Beautiful island, great cycling

    This is a wonderful trip. The landscape is beautiful, nature everywhere, monkeys, birds, even elephants and crocodiles. Gentle people, interesting history. Cycling started with 2 easy days then the build up to the big hill after the rest day in Kandy. All those who started the hill finished it and were glad to have done so - but it is a long hard day. The second week has a visit to Yala safari park which was terrific and a day and a half on the beach - optional whale watching. The guide Suresh is the best leader I have come across by a distance. The way he organises everything brings us into the heart of the country and its people. Super efficient use of time at tea stops etc by his use of a group kitty. And supported by a greedily and very practiced team. And no bus time until the second week. We cycle from hotel to hotel. Hotels variable but fine. Food is good and plenty of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    That hill

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best. 10 out of 10

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to have massive breakfasts. The snacks come throughout the day
  • Reviewed February 2022

    The Best Way to Experince Sri Lanka

    We have just returned from cycling the back roads of Sri Lanka with Exodus. Quite wonderful… a lot of miles across multiple landscapes on very good bikes staying in great accommodation, eating local food all managed & led by an exceptional guide. A joy every day with so much seen and experienced.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views heading up to the highest town on the island, the happiness of the children and people we encountered on the way, the sense of achievement at the end of every day!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Suresh has been leading this trip for many years and as a result has fine tuned so many of the experiences - knowing where best to stop to enjoy a view or where refreshing tea / fruit or ice cream might be required. His relationship with all the local people and owners & staff of places where we stopped shone through and made everything we did feel happy and safe, as well as a treat.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The point of the trip is to cycle and there are some big days….I was pleased to have my own saddle!
  • Reviewed February 2022

    utterly brilliant trip!

    Sri Lanka on a bike - was outstanding. This was our 5th trip and it certainly was one of the best so far- the country is beautiful, the people so friendly and the cuisine was delicious. The trip was made even better by the outstanding tour leader - Ruwan was so organised, considerate and knowledgeable about so many aspects - his country, religion, wildlife, plants, demographics -we can thoroughly recommend this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan was fabulous - so attentive to everyone's needs and a lovely person too!
  • Reviewed January 2022

    Holiday of a lifetime

    Sri Lanka is a Beautiful island and what better way to see it than on a bike. The cycling varies with some days very challenging and others easy. Our guide Suresh was fantastic. I cannot rate him high enough and his team could not do enough for us. Suresh guides the whole group through the ten days keeping us safe and ensuring every one us gets the most we can from the holiday keeping us entertained with his great sense of humour. The hotels are varied depending on where you are at the time but you always feel exodus has booked you into the best available for the area with some being excellent. The meals provided are excellent and the group always ate together in the evening which was always fun. This was my first group tour and I loved every minute of it. I can't wait to book my next.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing 2000 metres in a day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh was inspirational. Nothing was too much trouble for him. At one point I dropped all my credit cards at night walking back to the hotel. He came back into town with me to search and we found them lying in the road . I was very lucky! Suresh did things like that for everyone taking everything in his stride with good humour and kindness.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do this trip you won't regret it
  • Reviewed December 2021

    Maximum Respect and thanks!👍

    I am just back from the first of these trips post lockdown- it was wonderful and I would highly recommend it. For me the trip was a good balance between cycling and sight seeing and I can’t quite believe how much we packed in (food and activity!) thanks to the brilliant organisation and planning of Suresh and his lovely team. I have been on several Exodus trips over the years and have always been impressed with the standard of guiding but Suresh exceeded all my expectations. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, was too much trouble, and it really was like Suresh had ears everywhere and if something was wanted or needed it would magically appear, from ice-creams to Dosas, new bikes to Arak and blankets in the bar! Suranga was on alert for all our cycling needs with problems fixed in a jiffy and water and snacks flowing with ever memorable smiles from Sangeeth and Sangey. Suresh organised all our meals and showcased Sri Lankan cuisine to us by special orders at the hotel or taking us to lovely local places where we got to taste a great variety of local dishes and met local people. I am not sure we quite met his expectations of “maximum damage” at the buffets but we tried hard! My waistline certainly feels like we did! This is a really nice trip, a good combination of cycle time and other time but made all the better by an outstanding guide who knows the tour like the back of his hand and uses that knowledge to greatly enhance the experience for his guests and the lovely Sri Lankan people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was inspiring. The beautiful countryside, the lovely people and the hard work of those working in the travel industry there with their determination to make everything work again after such a long break and the hardship they have endured without the tourists. Everyone getting up the big hill and having lunch part way up on the beautiful terrace overlooking the tea plantations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh was brilliant. I feel I might be disappointed on my next trip as I have probably experienced the best! There is really nothing more we could have asked him for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes go. Support the Sri Lankan people. They are very COVID aware - better than the UK, and are ready to welcome you with their warm smiles and hospitality.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to all the group who were great fun and made this a really special, memorable holiday.
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Nick Mycroft

    Cycling and curry

    A wonderful holiday with wonderful people! Our exceptional hosts Ruwan and team lead us on an amazing journey, exploring the countryside, the wildlife and introducing us to their culture and way of life. I was very much looking forward to my first trip to Sri Lanka and I loved it. Cycling through the countryside, paddy fields teaming with bird life, being greeted with big smiles and high fives from the locals was a real pleasure. I really enjoyed the hilly days, some are challenging then the lion beer, curry and rice at the end of the day are perfect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling down hill after cycling uphill

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan was very knowledgeable and very proud of Sri Lanka, I felt privileged to have him as my guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Give it plenty in 2020.....go for it
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Nick Mycroft

    Cycling and curry

    A wonderful holiday with wonderful people! Our exceptional hosts Ruwan and team lead us on an amazing journey, exploring the countryside, the wildlife and introducing us to their culture and way of life. I was very much looking forward to my first trip to Sri Lanka and I loved it. Cycling through the countryside, paddy fields teaming with bird life, being greeted with big smiles and high fives from the locals was a real pleasure. I really enjoyed the hilly days, some are challenging then the lion beer, curry and rice at the end of the day are perfect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling down hill after cycling uphill

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan was very knowledgeable and very proud of Sri Lanka, I felt privileged to have him as my guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Give it plenty in 2020.....go for it
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jane Traveller

    Great trip!

    A well organised trip with lots of variety to keep everyone interested.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finally seeing a leopard!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.... intuitive to everyone’s needs, can resolve any problem that arises, works tirelessly to make sure everyone’s happy, all with patience and a great sense of humour. Nothing is too much trouble. The support team were also excellent, going about their jobs efficiently & discretely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack very little.... there are several laundry opportunities, I needed needed half of what I took. Train hard for the hills. Drink lots. Don’t expect to lose any weight.

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 0203 993 4668, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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