Cycle the Back Roads of Sri Lanka

15 days
from
£2,349
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 151 reviews >
Trip code: 
MIR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
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 5 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 (see below)
  • 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 3944
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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 352.0km/32.0miles
Day 473.0km/45.0miles
Day 580.0km/49.0miles
Day 653.0km/32.0miles
Day 884.0km/52.0miles
Day 966.0km/41.0miles
Day 10102.0km/63.0miles
Day 1132.0km/19.0miles
Day 1237.0km/22.0miles
Cycling around Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

All of the hotels on this trip are locally staffed and uses freshly sourced produce wherever possible, providing employment opportunities and income alternatives for the local community. Whilst staying in the guest house, clients get to try a home cooked clay pot meal and visit the spice gardens where some of the ingredients came from.

Our entry fees to culturally important sites will provide a vital contribution to their upkeep whilst also celebrating Sri Lankan history. There are plenty of opportunities to engage with local culture on our visits to the various towns and villages as well as places to buy handcrafted souvenirs along the way. Furthermore, cycling trips have very little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support.

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 partner and the village temple, we have helped towards providing 10 large water tanks and an eye clinic in a remote village with a donation of 200 pairs of glasses. We also assisted in the development of a day care and education of school children in the hill country.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London

    The group flight usually departs in the evening from London Heathrow.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Colombo; transfer to 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 3

    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 4

    Ride to Polunnaruwa; 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 5

    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 6

    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 7

    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 8

    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 availabilty 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).
    Hill Club Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    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 10

    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 11

    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 12

    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 13

    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 14

    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 15

    Fly to London

    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.

Essential Info

Visas

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration & Emigration has announced that from 1 August 2019 to 31 January 2020, British nationals on short visits to Sri Lanka of up to 30 days can get a visa on arrival free of charge. The immigration authorities have not confirmed if this is a temporary scheme or a permanent change to visa policy. For up-to-date information and advice on visas, check with the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK

A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. If you do not hold a British passport, please check the visa requirements with your local Sri Lankan Embassy or the ETA website www.eta.gov.lk. 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.

Exodus visa information sheet for British passport holders.

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?

Average daily distance: 65km / 40 miles

No. of days cycling: 10 (inluding 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 3944
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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.

The Hill Club in Numara Eliya was originally set up as a private members’ club. Some traditions are still in place and so occasionally rooms  are blocked off for a members’ conference.  It might be that in the months of April , November and December we are not able to secure rooms at the Hill Club. If this is the case we will accommodate your  group in a similar standard hotel in Nuwara Eliya, though the hotel may not have the same kind of ‘old style’ character.

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 3944
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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 3944
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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

Yala National Park

If you're having trouble choosing between a trip lounging on the beach, exploring the wild, or soaking in t

  • Reviewed May 2019
    Fran Storey

    Sri Lanka cycling

    Excellent holiday in a wonderful country - fun cycling with a lovely group of people, great food, amazing scenery and wildlife, and lots of local life to observe and enjoy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday was full of mini adventures - making it to the top of Sirigiya, elephants on the way to Polunnaruwa, the Spice Gardens massage(!), cycling through the towns, making it up the hill Nuwara, whale watching, tea with the locals, greetings from the local children, cooking demonstrations, monkeys ....to mention a few.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh, Suranga and the crew are excellent. We were all extremely well looked after but in a very relaxed manner.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is generally along the quiet back roads but their are a few sections which are along busier roads and towns.....keep your wits about you and go for it! Stating the obvious...Sri Lanka is hot and humid! Drink lots of water (followed by Lion beer!). There's opportunities to do laundry etc, so no need to bring lots of cycling kit. Enjoy - Sri Lanka is fab.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Tom Syme

    Happy memories of Sri Lanka

    This was a wonderful trip with great cycling, eating, sight-seeing and so much more. We got a great insight into the local history, culture and economy. The group got on well and enjoyed the wit and humour of its members, but the tone was set by the leader, Suresh, who informed us and amused us in equal measure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the hill climb on day 7. Also the whale watching was spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader did an excellent job of rolling out the programme each day and delivering it in a confident and relaxed manner. He took time to make sure everyone was happy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring cycling gloves that you can get on and off easily when your hands are hot and sweaty. Have a good level of fitness so that you can enjoy the cycling

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for heavy traffic and fumes in some built up areas. The majority of the route is on quiet backroads
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Jonathan Dusheiko

    Sri Lan-ka!

    Great cycling holiday through a stunning country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Whizzing past white stupas with a backdrop of emerald green hills on day 5. Watching late afternoon cricket at Ella and views of mountains. Elephant up close in Yala National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh organised everything very competently,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took a headband, removable UV-protective arm sleeves and sweat-proof sports sun cream. Don’t underestimate the equatorial sun, especially on the day after the big climb when you are also at 1900m! The big climb is not that bad if you have done some training, shortly after we arrived at the top a couple on touring bikes with heavy panniers got there as well to general amazement. Remember binoculars and a reasonable zoom camera for Yala NP. Don’t bother with full cycling gear for late afternoon visit to ruins at Pollonaruwa, more walking than cycling!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Eddie and Jan Summers

    An amazing experiance

    If you are having any doubt about booking this, think again. This is a trip of a lifetime and a truely amazing experiance. Cycling the backroads of Sri Lanka gives you a wonderful insight into the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through small busy towns, seeing local farmers working the land and visiting small farms,

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Surresh made the experiance , and the support from the team was superb

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it you will not regret it
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Ravi Suchak

    Cycle back roads of Sri Lanka

    Fantastic trip- beautiful country with lots to see, friendly people and great food

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the Ayurvedic doctor who had a cure for everything...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh is the best tour leader we have come across so far on our travels

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do NOT take the train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya- stick to the bicycle/ bus if necessary
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Tony Whelan

    Maximum Everything !!

    Absolutely loved this trip and would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind a little bit of graft for a whole lot of fun!! First of all, we had a cracking bunch of lads looking after us and they played a major part in creating a very enjoyable experience. Suresh was our main man and he was faultless in coordinating everyone to be where we needed to be, when we needed to be there. So many times above and beyond his call of duty throughout the trip to ensure extra activities were expertly organised and helping several of us who stayed on after the trip with travel arrangements etc. Sri Lanka proved to be far more than I expected; - the culture, lush verdant landscapes, golden beaches, bird, reptile and animal life and of course the people. Suresh's huge enthusiasm for his homeland was evident in all aspects and he obviously made sure we were treated like royalty wherever we went. The cycling was tough, even 'brutal' in the heat and humidity but descents through beautiful valleys and riding the backroads through villages, fields and forests was a real pleasure, our team made sure we had plenty of fruit, snacks and drinks to keep us going. A major plus on this trip for me was the minimal bus transfers and cycling hotel to hotel

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife which cropped up at almost every turn.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh was brilliant 10/10 thank you for sharing your country with us, laughs, banter and great memories all the way.... "maximum damage, probably"

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sunscreen and sleeves, the sun is very strong, factor 50 didn't stop sunburn. Keep a small bag for easy access on the bus with a towel, shorts and T shirt in case of a heavy shower.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Standard of food was generally very good but too many hotel buffets for me, always the option of going your own way but the emphasis seemed to be on using hotel restaurants as a 'group'. I revisited the South Coast area with my wife after the Exodus trip finished and we found some lovely Roti shops and beach restaurants serving (very reasonably priced) fantastic seafood.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Chriscy Peacock

    Best cuided cycle trip so far

    There are two exceptional things about this trip, Sri Lanka and our guide Suresh. Sri Lanka is full of interest, landscape, culture, food and wildlife. So cycling through the mainly quiet roads of this beautiful and engaging country was always going to be good. The amazing level of enthusiasm, competence and good humour shown by Suresh and the rest of the team made for a truly exceptional holiday

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through the varied interesting countryside and seeing the wildlife at close quarters.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A lot has been written about Suresh in other reviews, so all I can do is confirm that his unbounded commitment to his guests and his country is exceptional. He managed with to get us up and out on schedule, point out all the wildlife and features we passed, and keep us fed and watered with great expertise and humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip is graded moderate challenging and some days are, particularly the 7800ft of total ascent to get to Nuwara Eliya, but other days were fairly hard as well so do some training, but all achievable by a recreational ageing cyclist and there is always the insurance policy of the bus! We liked the food, it helps if you like curry and vegetarian food which always seemed to in clean well run places, doubtless due to the careful research of Suresh. Some roads do get busy but the traffic was not too chaotic or dangerous.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do go for a really good holiday
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Samantha Simister

    Our Sri Lankan Adventure

    A wonderful way to see Sri Lanka. The route captured everything from wildlife to culture to coast. Our Guide and Team were all exceptional, we couldn't fault them. A fabulous experience coupled with the opportunity to meet a super group of people. A good blend of moderate and challenging . A little less traffic, fumes and "excitement" on one or two of the roads we could have done without...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 1500m climb to Nuwar Eliya Cycling alongside elephants and monkeys

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Loved him. Exodus is lucky to have Neelaka . I have filled out a separate review for Neelaka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit and do the climb. Much better than taking the train......

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If there is any chance that the route can be changed to include one or two more back roads as opposed to the main trunk roads, that would be amazing. Try to avoid this trip taking place during Independence Day. We climbed to Nuwar that weekend and the traffic was terrible. Too many fumes. It would have been so much nicer without the amount of traffic...
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Lesley Attwood

    The best ever !

    This was simply the best cycle trip so far . Sri Lanka is as vibrant and colourful as I had hoped, and the cycling was amazing , but it is hilly so be prepared for some serious inclines in the saddle. It's not all back roads as per the title, but I felt safe throughout and it was great to see the hustle and bustle as well as the tranquility. The food was a journey in itself , and the standard of accommodation was far better than expected. One place is slightly ' below standard' , but the entertainment that night of our fantastic guide Suresh giving us a cookery demonstration more than made up for it. The trip is full on and busy but you will be entertained from the 6am wake up calls starts until you have your first well earned Lion beer every evening. Great company in my fellow cyclists, great support and the best ever guide in Suresh to make sure we made ' maximum damage' to cycling Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up the steepest longest hill ever, seeing the elephants , whale watching - so many , too many to list.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh went beyond and above to make sure we had everything and more. He was extremely knowledgeable and interesting, plus had a good sense of humour. Everyone needs a Suresh !!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit - it's a hilly place. And make sure you get your elephant tshirts in Kandi !
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Stephen Fahey

    Maximum Damage in Sri Lanka

    Gosh where to start... we have been on 3 trips now with Exodus and each time l think the guide is good, but Suresh was a true Ambassador not only for Exodus but most importantly Sri Lanka. He was so proud of it, the people, its geography, wildlife, flora and fauna and of course its culture. That deep knowledge helps convey a strong level of confidence and insight whenever he was "guiding" or asked questions about Sri Lanka. So that's him in a nutshell but there is so more to talk about what he and the supporting team delivered during our 2 weeks. The team were excellent, they were well briefed understood exactly what was needed, nothing was ever too much trouble. Every morning the bikes were cleaned if dirty, chains were cleaned and oiled & of course checked to ensure our safety. Whenever we stopped the team would quickly remove our drinks bottles and refill to ensure we kept hydrated, it was after all hot! In addition to our guide we also had two other cyclists riding, both were excellent at either supporting riders at the back of the group or riding ahead at key junctions to point the way or many cases stop the traffic so we could just continue cycling. We also had 3 others in the support team who were equally as helpful and again just could not do enough for you. Nobody could fault the team. I would say the group had a mixed level of experience, but at no point did any of them ever indicate that they always felt riding with them. They were always very encouraging. Many of the roads were as the trip notes state were just back roads quiet and full of life - local people, children shouting hello or goodbye, animals and birds. Traffic and driving in Sri Lanka can at times be described as a little chaotic, but even when we had to ride on main roads (A roads) they were never that busy. Whilst cycling Suresh’s knowledge of his environment was second to none, he ensured that we never missed anything - he even ensured that we had the right "lucky" Jeep driver to ensure we saw a Leopard in Yala National Park. His “management” of us was very professional, courteous and exceptionally polite when asking for people’s attention, it is often difficult to get but he did through his knowledge, respect and of course good humour. His ability to laugh at himself is a great virtue! When it came to the day to day logistics of riding, no stone was ever left unturned. Suresh ensured we received 100% service from not only him and his team but also those who provided us with Sri Lankan hospitality. Whether it was a simple & basic tea house, 4* hotel, or a dinner on the beach the relationship he had created with them meant service was second to none. It was evident that if any of these were not delivered to his exacting standards then he would tirelessly secure somewhere better. All these establishments knew that. I could say more but where to stop my final example would be on our departure day from the group. We decided to stay an additional week near Galle, so we asked Suresh if he could book us train tickets, contact the HomeStay to see if we could hire bikes, etc. which he duly did. Come the day of our departure at 6am from the Hotel, Suresh organised a tuk tuk for all 3 of us to get to Colombo train station. He accompanied us on to the right platform and ensured we get on the train safely. Once we were on he then of course left us. We then saw him 10 minutes later back on the platform. He had sent some photos of us on the platform to the WhatsApp group but when asked did we have seats he then had to stop his journey back to the hotel and return to the station to take some photos of us in said seats as evidence. Why would you do that? Simple because he truly cared. We absolutely loved every minute of our holiday to Sri Lanka, the people, its culture, the birds, wildlife, history and geography. All of this was fully exposed because of the insight and passion that Suresh and his team had. They truly bought it to life, guides can make or break a holiday, they made it for all of us. We will have no hesitation in returning and recommending this trip to other cyclists. It was ACE!!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Though where Suresh truly excelled himself was in identifying, approaching and using the homes of the Sri Lankan people, whether they were providing a simple tea stop with clean toilets or a beautiful lunch. We went to one of the families of the coach driver, it felt truly special to be invited and shown around their homes. It just demonstrated why he and them are so proud of their country. It was great to see him and Exodus investing into the local economy and not some global corporation.

Dates & Prices

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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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