Cycle the Back Roads of Sri Lanka

14 days
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4.7/5 Excellent
100+ reviews  
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Small Group Tour
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 the friendly people. We travel from ancient cities and the fortress at Sigiriya to the hill country towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. In the south, we visit Yala National Park, where we search for le...
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Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Trip pace
Balanced schedule


    • See the magnificent cave temple at Dambulla
    • Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya for breath-taking views
    • Explore the old, ruined city of Polonnaruwa
    • Discover the fascinating town of Kandy
    • Ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya
    • Search for leopards in Yala National Park

What's this trip about?

    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 the friendly people. We travel from ancient cities and the fortress at Sigiriya to the hill country towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. In the south, we visit Yala National Park, where we search for leopard, before ending 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, bicycle is the most common form of transport, so travelling by bike yourself is a great way to mix with the people and 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 offers. A combination of ancient cities, great rides through beautiful hill country, varied wildlife, and a chance to relax on wonderful beaches, will certainly display the many delights of Sri Lanka.Explore the rich history and culture of Sri Lanka by bike


Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 16 people
Age range16 years and up
Flights and transportN/A
Start CitySigiriya
End CityColombo

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • Cycling & Biking
  • National Parks
  • Nature & Wildlife


  • Asia
  • Sri Lanka


  • Kandy
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Sigiriya


  • Culture
  • Cycling
  • Nature
  • Wildlife viewing

Trip includes

    • All breakfasts and 10 lunches
    • All accommodation
    • All transport and listed activities
    • Tour leader throughout
    • Local bike hire

Popular Trips


Travel Map

Day 1 Start Sigiriya

This Sri Lankan cycling trip begins in Sigiriya. There are no planned activities today, so take time to relax in the hotel and rest those legs before our two-wheel adventure begins in earnest tomorrow. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening helmed by our tour...

Day 2 Ride to Dambulla cave temple; climb Sigiriya Rock

After breakfast, we ride along gravel roads following an old irrigation canal to Dambulla, a second century BCE Buddhist cave temple. On the way we stop by the impressive Kandalama man-made reservoir, rich in bird life. On arrival to Dambulla, it is well worth the wal...

Day 3 Ride to Polonnaruwa; cycle tour of ruins

This morning we have a long ride along a quiet backroad, which is part of the Sigiriya nature reserve where you often come across Monitor lizards and monkeys, before joining the highway to Polonnaruwa and riding to our hotel. Later, we tour the ruined city of Polonnar...

Day 4 Ride through foothills of spice-growing region

We follow a 4mi (6km) long artificial dam and canal to the source of a local lake, the Amban Ganga River. The afternoon ride is flanked by the Kalanduwa hills on one side and Wasgomuwa Wildlife Park on the other. And as jungle gives way to plantations, we enter the sp...

Day 5 Free day in Kandy

Enjoy a free day to explore. Kandy has so much to offer, including the wonderful botanical gardens, the Temple of the Tooth, and streets lined with curio shops. The surrounding hills are dotted with wonderful temples. Walk around the lake in the heart of the city to s...

Day 6 Challenging ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya

For those who feel like a challenge, it’s 52mi (84km) – climbing up to 6,562ft (2,000m) 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...

Day 7 Morning ride to Nuwara Eliya town and tea factory; afternoon free

Nuwara Eliya was a popular hill station during the British era and is situated in the cool highland air at 6,200ft (1,890m). Known locally as Little England, it is dotted with British-style houses and parks and even features a golf club and racecourse. After a leisur...

Day 8 Hill country ride to Ella

In the morning, we cycle through hill country towards Ella, stopping for tea in Bandarawela, a trading centre where exotic fruits from the east coast are traded for hill country vegetables. On arrival into Ella, we stop for a late lunch before check-in. We have the ch...

Day 9 Descent, stopping at the rock-cut Buddha statues at Buduruvagela; to Tissamaharama

Descending 3,281ft (1,000m), we leave the breath-taking scenery of the Uva Province for the gentle rolling hills of the dry zone, taking a break en route at the impressive Rawana Ella waterfall before stopping at the rock-cut Buddha statues at Buduruvagala. The 49ft (...

Day 10 Morning ride to Kataragama Temple; afternoon drive to Yala National Park for safari

In the morning, we cycle to Kataragama temple, which lies 10mi (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 (ritual) is always busy, with thousands of ...

Day 11 Ride through Bundala National Park and by the lagoon for spectacular birdlife; continue riding on the 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. We hit the main road for the final 19mi (30km) to Hambantota, a series of sandy bays fanning out from this typical coastal town. We then take a transfer from Hambantota to Ahangama by coach. For the next two nights we stay in Ahangama. Accommodation: Insight Resort (or similar)

Day 12 Free day on beach; optional ride to Koggala

Today you can pick your own adventure. Either relax at the hotel or join a late morning ride along rural roads to Wandurugama village where you will stop at a colonial manor house for High Tea and authentic Sri Lankan snack. Today it is known as Thalpe Walawwa Heritag...

Day 13 Transfer to Colombo via Galle

Leaving early after breakfast, we stop to visit Galle. The fort here 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 isla...

Day 14 End Colombo

Our Sri Lankan cycling adventure comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Unless, of course, you’ve booked onto our ultra-relaxing post-trip extension to the Maldives with your sales representative.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $3,165
Price per day$226
Last Updated: 5/22/2024
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Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Exodus Travels.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

Exodus Travels Reviews & Ratings

4.7/5  Excellent


Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels


Best Exodus tour yet Personalized attention from Exodus staff Best yet Don't consider travelling with Exodus if it cancels Cuba tours for political reasons - as...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels


Challenging cycling, interesting and varied, excellent guide Achieving the climb to the Hill station Excellent Well organised Always professional and extremely hel...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

The Best So Far!

A fairly challenging cycle tour of Sri Lanka, taking in some of the culture, wild life and sites and sounds. Completing a 2,300m climbing day through the tea planta...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Sri Lanka a must

Exodus lived up to expectations .Using local guides ,making sure our money went into local community,giving us an individual holiday. The guide was on duty 24hours ...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Fantastic - thoroughly recommended!

Really interesting trip. It has a great balance with plenty of cycling but still having time to explore our destinations and some time to relax too. It's a beaut...

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The Dolomites is a stunning location and having Campitello di Fassa as a base was a wonderful way to see this area. The hotel was centrally located allowing us to c...


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I just completed my 2nd Exodus trip

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Tour Operator

Exodus Travels

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It is all about adventure. That is what Exodus was founded upon and what the company is still all about. Discovering countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles; exploring this amazing planet we all live on.

At Exodus, we know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, we always remember that we are only guests. So we travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise our impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

This is a philosophy we take with us around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across over 90 separate countries. We also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as we possibly can, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.

Exodus started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

All our office staff have a passion for travel and adventure, and between us we’ve notched up experience that spans 171 different countries. That’s not all. In their former lives, our team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – so no-one is better placed to create tours that appeal to a wide range of specialist interests.

Their care in putting all the details in place really shines through too. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are a sign of our commitment to providing a holiday where your enjoyment, value for money and safety come first. It’s a telling reason why we remain one of the leading worldwide adventure tour companies. It is no exaggeration to say that our tour leaders can make a world of difference to the enjoyment of your holiday – so we choose them carefully. The result is that, in 2013, 93% of our clients stated that their leader exceeded their expectations. Where possible, we train and employ local leaders because they can provide invaluable insights that enrich the trip. What’s more, this investment in local staff really helps us benefit both them and their community.

Why we love this operator
With a wide range of trip styles, Exodus caters to every type of traveler out there- even those with specific interests from cycling to winter hiking.
What they’re known for
Global trips to a wide array of destinations with a focus on themed adventures, exciting physical activities and learning about local cultures.

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What's excluded

    • Travel insurance
    • Single accommodation (available on request)
    • Visas or vaccinations
    • E-bike hire


10 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with 100% vehicle support 95% tarmac, 5% unsurfaced road Routes mostly follow quiet backroads, with frequent climbs particularly around Nuwara Eliya Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader and driver. Min age 16 years 11 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses, all en suite All breakfasts and 10 lunches included,Accommodation on this cycling trip is a mixture of tourist-class hotels (some with pools) and local guesthouses. The guesthouses are simple but in good locations along the route and provide a real flavour of the country. The normal accommodations used on this trip can be found on the day-to-day itinerary; however, below are a few of the notable places we stay. Sigiriya: Hotel Sigiriya (nights 1-2) This comfortable four-star property surrounded by nature is the perfect place to begin our adventure. Ease into the trip with a dip in the freshwater pool (which has near-unbeatable views of Sigiriya Rock) and relax in your spacious room with garden views. Ella: Hotel Country Comfort (night 8) Experience Sri Lankan hospitality with a stay at this traditional 20-room guesthouse, where the rooms are simple, and the welcome is warm. It has a 40-seat restaurant serving a mix of cuisines (specialising in traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry) and a bar with local and international drinks. Yala: Chaarya Resort & Spa (nights 9-10) Retreat into the wilderness at this four-star property close to Yala National Park, which has spacious chalet-style bedrooms with private balconies. Cool off in the pool, an oasis between the trees, or visit the spa for a welcome massage. The resort also has an al fresco and indoor restaurant serving international and local cuisines. Ahangama: Insight Resort (nights 11-12) Enjoy a spot on the beach, where it is possible to swim in the sea most of the time. Spacious rooms offer sea views and the quiet fishing village is an easy walk for those wishing to explore a local community. Worth knowing Wifi is available at most accommodations, either in the rooms or the communal areas. Paying the single supplement may not mean 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 be allocated. The Nuwara Eliya hotel (Mirage Kings Cottage, nights 6-7) was selected for its character and pretty grounds, but the level of service is not always at the standard of the other hotels on this itinerary.
Cancellation policy

The cancellation policies of this trip when booked through Travelstride are determined by the stated policies of the tour operator - Exodus Travels.

If you or any other member of your party decides to cancel a confirmed booking you must notify Travelstride in writing. Your notice of cancellation will only take effect when it is received in writing by Travelstride and will be effective from the date on which we receive it.

If You Cancel Your Holiday
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the lead name or your travel agent must be received at our offices. 

Since we incur costs in canceling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay cancellation charges as follows (see also the exceptions below): 

  • More than 42 days - No cancellation fee. Deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original booking. Any remaining balance will be refundedThis excludes all non-refundable costs as set out in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 41 and 21 days (inclusive) - No cancellation fee. Balance and deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original bookingThis excludes all non-refundable costs as further explained in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 20 and 15 days (inclusive) - 80% of the holiday cost
  • 14 days or less; or failure to join the holiday (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Certain trips may involve different cancellation charges; you will be advised if this is applicable to your holiday during the booking process.For Polar holidays, the following cancellation charges will be made for all Polar holidays. Period before departure in which you notify us: 

Cancelation charge

  • More than 133 days - Deposit only
  • 133 days or less (or failure to join the holiday) (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Notes (i) Your deposit is non-refundable, even if the cancellation charge calculated is lower than the deposit amount paid; (ii) If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges; (iii) certain travel arrangements may be subject to higher cancellation charges and could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements from the moment the booking is confirmed.

If You Change Your Booking

If, after our Booking Confirmation has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the lead name or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of $60, and any further cost we incur in making this alteration (including those charged by third party suppliers who provide the component parts of your booking).  You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. Note: Certain travel arrangements may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.

You can transfer your booking to another person, who satisfies all the conditions that apply to this booking, by giving us notice in writing at least 7 days before departure provided that the new lead passenger accepts the transfer and these Terms and Conditions. Both you and the new traveler are responsible for paying all costs we incur in making the transfer. Please bear in mind that certain airlines and other transport providers treat changes as a cancellation and charge accordingly, up to 100% of the cost for that part of the arrangement. Where applicable these charges will be passed on to you.

If We Cancel Your Booking

Exodus reserves the right to cancel an itinerary before departure for any reason whatsoever, including too few participants ,logistical problems, a Force Majeure Event (as defined in Section 8), or any other circumstances that may make operation of the trip inadvisable. All trip payments received will be promptly refunded, and this refund will be the limit of Exodus’s liability without any further obligation on Exodus’s part. Exodus is not responsible for any expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip, including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing, visa or passport fees, or other trip-related expenses.

If We Change Your Booking

  1. Changes to the price. We can change your holiday price after you’ve booked, only in certain circumstances. Changes in the price of the carriage of passengers resulting from changes to the cost of fuel or other power sources, the level of taxes or fees imposed by third parties including tourist taxes, landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or exchange rates mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked.

  2. Changes other than the price. It is a term of your booking that we are able to make changes to any aspect of your booking. If the change is insignificant, we will ensure that you are notified about it. Examples of insignificant changes include alteration of your accommodation to another of the same or higher standard. If we are forced by circumstances beyond our control to alter significantly any of the main characteristics of the travel services that make up your package you will have the rights set out below.

    2.1 - We will contact you and you will have the choice of accepting the change or having a refund of all monies paid. You can also accept an alternative holiday, where we offer one (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). We will tell you the procedure for making your choice. Please read any notification of changes carefully and respond promptly as if you do not respond to us within the timescale given your booking may be canceled.

    2.2 - If you choose to accept a refund then that is the only liability we have and we will not be liable for any further sums, compensation or otherwise and you are advised to adequately insure yourselves against cancellation for any reason

Please note that insurance premiums and amendments charges are not refundable in any circumstances. 

Once you have put down a deposit for a tour, you are unable to cancel and re-book within a promotional period and we reserve the right to amend the pricing on any new booking you make within that time. If you cancel a tour and book the same tour under a promotional code, we reserve the right to decline the booking.

Important Note: Certain arrangements may not be amended after they have been confirmed and any alteration or cancellation could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements in addition to the charge above.

If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.

Where possible, we will deduct the cancellation charge(s) from any monies you have already paid to us.

For more additional details, see the booking conditions of TruTravels at the following web address:

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance alongside your travel package to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other contingencies. It offers you peace of mind and ensures you are prepared for unexpected events that may occur before or during your journey
Visa requirements
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included
All breakfasts and 10 lunches included. We suggest allowing about 7,000 rupees (US$23) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in Sri Lanka and your leader will provide recommendations for where to eat locally however, the options may not always be suited to larger groups. Some locations you stay may have limited local restaurant choice, in which case meals will be at the hotel. Hotel meals are generally buffets; the majority offer an à la carte menu, but service can be slow. Where suitable, your tour leader will be happy to arrange a shuttle transfer into the local town or, if you prefer to be more independent, take a tuk tuk or taxi. Your leader can help recommend some good places to eat. 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 as simply 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 (condiments), and a handful of tiny poppadum – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note, the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent in Sri Lanka. For example, wheat- or dairy-free options outside of hotels are limited. Please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home. Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels will serve Western options alongside traditional food. Mineral water is provided by our local operator in large containers throughout the trip so please bring a bottle with you to refill. Please note, restaurant service can be quite slow.
Age Requirements
16 years and up
Additional Information
  • 10 days cycling (including one optional ride) with full vehicle support
  • 95 percent paved roads, five percent unsurfaced
  • Routes mostly follow quiet backroads, with frequent climbs
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and driver. Minimum age: 16
  • 11 nights in hotels, two nights in guesthouses, all en suite
  • E-bikes available for an additional cost
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