Thriving coastal towns and little fishing villages, cave temples, rock fortresses and ancient cities, hill capitals and lush tea plantations – take a ride of a lifetime around this paradise isle to discover the hidden beauty of Sri Lanka. Over 7 full days we go head inland from the coast to the cultural attractions, then up into the hills and back to the ocean for some chilling out time.
DAY 01: AIR PORT/NEGOMBO
Sri Lanka, here we are! welcomed with flower garlands by our Wild Monsoon Representative and introduced to our Chauffer Driver who will take us to our hotel in Negombo. It’s a real cultural hub of religions and races so the scenery is ever changing, but the beaches are gorgeous and seem to stretch for miles. check in, and rest to get ready for an early ride tomorrow.
DAY 02: NEGOMBO/ DAMBULLA
After breakfast we start our first ride along the old coastal road keeping the sea on our left we pass the distinctive patchwork sails of the fishing communities. We are cheered on by happy waves and smiling faces along the way. The fishing boats pulling up to shore and the clamouring fish markets make excellent photos. After 30km we leave the coast road and take the quiet by lanes and catch a glimpse of life here, as it really is. Another 30km, we rack up the bikes and travel by vehicle for 3 hours to Dambulla, stopping en route for a delicious lunch at local restaurant near the Kununegala Lake. At Dambulla, we visit the famous cave temple complex – the largest and best preserved in the country with over 150 impressive Buddha statues and ceiling frescoes. The view from the top is as magical. We return to our hotel hidden amongst paddy fields and mango trees, ready for some dinner and rest.
DAY 03: DAMBULLA /SIGIRIYA /POLONNARUWA
Setting off after a hearty breakfast, we ride on a mix of tarmac and red dirt roads passing lush orchards, paddy fields and plains of elephant grass. Easing along the shores of Kandalama Lake the giant rock fortress of Sigiriya rises 660 feet over the flat landscape - our destination. It is an incredible sight and after a 20km ride we’re there. At the old water gardens below the rock we park the bikes and walk through to climb this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates back to the 5th Century. The former kingdom of King Kassapa, its ingenious feats of artistry and engineering like huge lion paws, and frescos on the rock face still seem miraculous. But the panoramic view from the top leaves us beyond words and we are in no rush to abandon it. But lunch beckons, so we come down to sample some Sri Lankan delights at a local restaurant. After a good meal we set off for Polonnaruwa by vehicle. (Or we have the choice of a 40km ride towards Minneriya, with the backup vehicle right behind in case our legs give up on us). At Polonnaruwa we continue our ride for 15 km through the ruins of this 10th Century capital and the best preserved or Sri Lanka’s ancient cities. Rediscovered in the 18th Century it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After exploring all the main sites we take a 20 minute transfer to our hotel to check in for well-earned dinner and rest after a long day of happy riding.
DAY 04: POLONNARUWA /KANDY
A long and challenging ride awaits, so we start off with a good breakfast. The journey takes us on hilly roads with many twists and turns, but the scenery is exhilarating. Heading first to Pallegama we pass by the Yoda Ela - an 87 km long canal carrying excess water from Polonnaruwa to Anuradhapura – a feat of engineering that still baffles experts for its minute precision. We drive up to the central highlands, then cycle down to the town of Matale for lunch. After a 60km ride, we rack up the bikes and continue the rest of the journey from Alahera to Kandy by our vehicle. The last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings, Kandy still remains of great religious importance, and after an evening city tour taking in the beautiful scenery, we visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic – another World Heritage Site. Our minds buzzing with all the vibrant sights and sounds, we return to our hotel for the night. Drinks, dinner and rest is much looked forward to.
DAY 05: KANDY /NUWARA ELIYA
After a restful night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, our legs feel ready for today’s long climb to the heights of Nuwara Eliya. We stray off the main roads through winding country lanes, passing colourful Hindu temples, scared tree shrines and rolling hill upon hill of tea plantations. After a ride of 60 km we stop for lunch at Labukelle. Giving our pedals a break, we rack up the bikes and continue the rest of our journey by vehicle. Nuwara Eliya is another world altogether. It’s called little England with good reason. Colonial architecture both quaint and grand meets us at every turn, and at an elevation of 6000ft above sea level, the weather is certainly chilly, but pleasantly so. Replete with drinks and dinner, we enjoy the atmosphere of old world charm and settle in for our overnight stay in the mountains.
DAY 06: NUWARA ELIYA /HIKKADUWA
Another tough ride is ahead of us today, but we look forward to the challenge after a good breakfast. We are heading for the coastal hotspot of Hikkaduwa on the West coast, so leaving the heights of the hills behind we ride down on long, winding roads. The journey is rather arduous but the scenery makes it all worthwhile. We pass so many amazing waterfalls, incredible mountain scenery that contrast from forest to tea plantations, and dotted with little villages and vegetable farms. The friendly waves and warm smiles spur us on along the way. We ride 60 km to Bandarawela and give our legs a rest, riding the rest of the way by vehicle. (We have the choice however, of riding more if we feel like it, and we will have a guide to keep us company if we do). Being amazed at how much the scenery changes with each mile along the way we reach the coast and drive on to Hikkaduwa. We check in and check out the glorious beach, we have the rest of the day and night to explore – or just relax and recoup, whatever we feel like.
DAY 07: DEPARTURE
It has been one incredible ride all the way this holiday and we have millions of memories to take home with us. But it is time to say good bye to this paradise isle. So, after breakfast, we say hello to our Chauffer Guide for the drive to the airport for our departure flight.