Cycle the Backroads of Sri Lanka

14 days
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£1,699
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 144 reviews >
Trip code: 
MIR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade 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 backroads, 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

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:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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 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
Cycling around Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

Essential Info

Visas

Sri Lanka

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.

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:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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:
074 340 4587
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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.

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  • 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.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Rebecca Nansoz

    Book it!

    We have just returned from the most stunning 2 weeks in Sri Lanka. The trip is extremely well planned with interesting trips spaced between the cycling. The cycling is manageable - but be warned DAY 5! It is an extremely tough climb - and even the fittest amongst our fabulous group found it very tough. If you are lucky enough to have Wasantha as your leader, you will be spoilt. He is so knowledgeable, helpful and organised and nothing was too much trouble. Our group was very lively and he never got annoyed at having to repeat himself! We were blessed with perfect weather (be warned its v humid). Hotels mostly very good. Food is great and never ending. Many in our group had done quite a few Exodus cycling trips but voted this very highly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip to the tea plantation was very interesting, as was the Spice Garden visit. Seeing wild elephants on the safari was also a highlight

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wasantha went above and beyond. A lovely man who worked tirelessly to ensure our trip was a success.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit for the climb on Day 5. Don't bother to bring dollars. Just change pounds at the airport.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Yvonne Carson

    Fantastic experience

    This trip is fantastic! So well organised by the amazing guide, amazing wildlife and scenery and great cycling. Be prepared for the heat and the humidity, but the terrain is not too difficult. Accommodation was mostly very good or excellent, one not so good hotel. This is an experience to remember.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wild elelphants at the side of the road!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Couldn’t fault Suresh. Best leader I have met. Lovely person. Well organised. Very high standards. A credit to his country and Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    enjoy every moment. Take anti bacterial gel, as toilet facilities can be basic out with hotels. Don’t need US dollars, Sri Lankan Rupee is best. Food is mostly rice and curry.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved this trip.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Sue Hoddell

    sri lanka

    great cycling, diverse landscapes and a real flavour of the country. a well put together programme and full on with little time unoccupied. some challenging rides on generally good roads and plenty of time in the saddle. Good accommodation and food. don't expect much time to relax

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    enjoyed the ride up through the tea plantations to the high point, even more enjoyable as part of it was done in torrential rain but little danger of getting cold. the wildlife park trip scored well on spotting the animals and showed a wide range of animal life in the park

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wasantha was kind and thoughtful, always respectful of the group members

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    we were lucky with the weather but the rain we did experience was awesome, be prepared as it can really throw it down

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    was not too taken with Kandy, staying there for the extra day fitted the cycling itinerary but there were nicer places to have spent a little free time
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Marie Longworth

    Excellent trip!

    Great cycling, fab food, wonderful people, stunning scenery! Oh and the best guide ever! Guaranteed!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I suppose like everyone completing the cycle to Newara Eliya! Epic cycle made even more challenging with the torrential rain!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have done about 10 Exodus cycling trips and I have to say that Suresh has been the best! His organization skills, attention to detail and great sense of humour meant that we felt totally spoiled and supported on this trip! I certainly would not have completed the climb to Nuwara Eliya without him as he stayed with myself and another person for the last 10 K or so. I had total faith in him to get us there safely! He helped everyone at the end of the trip and I was glad to stay at the hotel in Colombo longer as opposed to spending a whole day at the airport. Thanks for helping me with that Suresh! I must also mention Saranga, Anitha and Upali. I probably saw more of Saranga and he was the back cyclist and I spent a lot of time at the back! His quiet presence was reassuring and he took the bike off me and parked it regularly when I got off. When you saw Upali directing u to the left or right it usually meant that the cycling was finished!! Whew! Anitha was a gentle giant who always filled our water bottles before we even asked! He was so lovely and kind!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Where to start? Eh don’t expect to lose weight! The food was fab! We seemed to be always eating! Train for distance and hills for this trip. I had done some training but could done more. Bring less clothes as you have an opportunity to have washing done.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    simon worsley

    Fabulous Sri Lanka!

    Wonderful journey through the varied landscape of this friendly country- through paddy fields and tea plantations, taking in historic temples and monuments, and pausing at local cafes for delicious local fare. Some epic climbs and descents, on excellent and well maintained bikes, with a fantastic support team and superb tour guide (Suresh). We felt that the trip gave us a good insight into the culture/scenery/history/flora/fauna of Sri Lanka, the accommodation was generally excellent, and where more basic it was characterful and adequate. Overall, this trip was an epic, and highly recommend it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The grinding climb up to Nuwara Eliya through a torrential downpour and thunderstorm, with night falling before we reached the summit, then the hair raising descent in the dark, and arriving at the warm haven of the Hill Club. Unforgettable and possibly outrageous, but none of us would have stopped and taken the bus!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh is simply the best tour guide I have ever encountered, period. Commanding yet courteous, informative and inspirational, ensuring that we were all looked after and assisting the group bonding. After the end of the tour, he even helped out one of the group make her boat transfer to the Maldives after an oversight by the agents neglecting to ensure that her ticket had been validated by the resort- above and beyond expectation....

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do ensure good sun protection. Electrolyte tablets for rehydration. We didn't take the usual lycra padded shorts, but used MTB short equivalents with sheep skin saddle savers, and had less problems with butt soreness than most in the group. Make sure that you are hill climbing fit- we had 4 full days of fairly strenuous cycling back to back. Consider taking bike lights- would have been grateful for my "twinklies" on the final ride in the dark to Nuwara Eliya.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip- would thoroughly recommend.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Rachael Dodgson

    A totally amazing trip!

    This was my first cycling tour with Exodus and it was absolutely excellent. Sri Lanka is a fascinating country with lots to see. The cycling was great - some of it was pretty tough - especially the day to Nuwara Eliya but doable for anyone with a good level of fitness. The scenery across the country was beautiful and the food was fabulous. The accommodation was generally of a very high standard. Two places were fairly basic but we only stayed in them for 1 night each so it was fine. This is a great trip and if you’re considering booking it you should - you won’t regret it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably as for most other people completing the days cycle to Nuwara Eliya felt a great achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh was a fantastic trip leader, well organised, patient, funny and always willing to go the extra mile for people. The rest of the team working with him also deserve a mention - they were always professional, hard working and happy to help with anything. I was really impressed with them all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is with making the effort to get fit for this trip. I did spinning classes 3 or 4 times a week for 6 or 7 weeks before I went and that made a huge difference to my overall enjoyment of the trip as I was able to keep up with ththe cycling. And don’t think you will lose weight on this trip. Despite the cycling the food is fabulous and never ending...
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Martin Mowbray

    Review

    Best Exodus tour yet

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Personalized attention from Exodus staff

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Best yet

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't consider travelling with Exodus if it cancels Cuba tours for political reasons - as is rumoured

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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