A Sip Of Ceylon
A bike tour as distinctive as the tea...
Discover the bold flavours of this full bodied, little island. The taste of a rich history and a deep, cultural aroma with a hint of colonialism.
Fiery, delicious cuisine, the warmth of welcoming people and the glow of the tropical sun brings the heat.
While the luscious, green landscape and bright, exciting wildlife, refreshes your palate and makes you thirsty for more.
This incredible self-guided cycle tour runs from Kandy to Galle.
Once known as Serendib, then Ceylon, and now Sri Lanka, this amazingly diverse country is ideal for cycling with a beautiful coastline and spectacular highland scenery. It welcomes you with great food, excellent accommodation and very friendly, engaging people.
A small island with a big heart, Sri Lanka is known for its tea plantations and it is these very plantations you will be riding through on your adventure.You'll also take in the cloud city of Kandy with its sacred Buddha tooth relic and pleasant climate. Ride by Horton Plains Reserve up in the high plateau and cycle through the stunning Udawalawe & Sinharaja National Parks, wher spotting wildlife is almost guaranteed. Finishing your tour on the southern coast with its crashing surf, relaxed vibe and fascinating fort.
Take a look at the many ways Grasshopper Self-guided tours go the extra mile.
For Sip of Ceylon Grasshopper Self-guided bike tour
Kandy - Arrival and Explore
Today you will meet our representative in Kandy, who will fit your bike and brief you on the adventure ahead. You have a day to enjoy this charming city. The Temple of the Tooth is a special experience and the holiest site in Sri Lanka. If you fancy a warm up ride, the hills surrounding Kandy offer some lovely views and there are also a number of activities in which to partake.
Nuwara Eliya - Train ride to Little England
Today you begin by taking to the back roads where the gradient will gradually begin climbing soon after leaving Kandy. As you cycle, the population thins out and the tea creeps in. You do enjoy some descending today and a wide variety of road surfaces, but always with minimal traffic. The ride finishes down at the Gampola railway station where you board the train to higher elevations.
The train ride really is stunning and the carriage is quite comfortable. Alighting at Nan Oya you then have a short cycle on a gradual gradient to cover the transition from the station to your hotel door in Nuwara Eliya. You will need your warm clothes up here as the temperatures drop at night, but the hotel does have an open fireplace and a great meal for dinner.
Nuwara Eliya - High country Exploration
You have a lazy morning in Nuwara Eliya this morning. It is a much cooler climate up here and you can expect some mist and frost in the morning. A game of golf may tempt some, but others are likely to be content just exploring the quaint town with its abundance of British colonial-era buildings.
After lunch, you set off on the ride which will take you first around the lake and then down a fast, well-made road before making a turn to get into what is now the familiar pattern of winding roads on a comfortable gradient. Once meeting the railway line, you'll follow that, passing through high country train stations that are mere whistle stop locations but are very important to those who live up here. Dairy cows can be seen grazing as you glide through Ambewella and then turn around and come back to Nuwara Eliya on a different route, stopping at a fully operational tea factory on the way. That same open fire and hot soup await in the charming, colonial-era hotel.
Belihuloya - All the Way Down-hill
Today is a long day on the bike as you cycle south, making your way out of the high tea country and into primary forest. Fortunately, the majority of the day’s riding is trending downhill on smooth roads, so you will cover distance quickly.
Udawalawe - Wetlands
Today’s ride begins by gently undulating for the first 25km, before you enjoy a great 10km descent, which eventually flattens out for the remainder of the ride as you cycle deeper into Udawalawe National Park.
Flat roads are then the theme for today, with only a few short hills. The roads are still quiet, the villages are a little sleepier and the route will spend some time riding along shaded canals as well as more open stretches. If you didn’t have time for a Jeep ride in the park the night before you might like to do that this morning before you head off. Alternatively or additionally you might like to do the same in Udawalawe, a park known for its large Elephant population.
Sinharaja - Rainforest
An early start is essential as you are back on the flat lands where the day heats up quickly. You'll ride on a wide, paved, yet almost disused road that leads past the recently finished and also disused airport. The flat, wide open spaces are quite different to what we have experienced. After morning tea, you'll be on rougher dirt roads for a little while and then onto some pleasant, paved roads along canals and through villages.
Board the van after lunch for a 2-hour transfer up to the Sinharaja Rainforest where you are in a charming lodge for the evening. One last hilly ride before the tour concludes. You are back into tea country today on great, deserted winding roads up through the estates and through friendly communities. The vegetation here is quite different to that which you experienced near Nuwara Eliya and in the drier areas. The southwest is a much more moist climate in general, hence the existence of Sinharaja Rainforest. Even with the 13km climb to reach the resort, you should have plenty of time to take a walk in the forest with a guide to see some of the birdlife and the lovely greenery. The resort itself is an interesting place, constructed from shipping containers.
Galle Fort - Cycle to the Sea
The final ride is one to remember as you pedal all the way from your rainforest lodge to the coast and the old port city of Galle, where the fort sits staunchly defending a city mostly composed of nicely restored houses and quaint cafes now.
15km of descending starts you off and then as things flatten out a bit you meet one of the best made roads of the tour. From that point on, you still have some elevation to lose, but you lose it over an extended distance, so it feels like you are flying on the bike. Rolling into the lovely Galle Fort in the late afternoon, enjoying a cool drink as you sit in a 300-year-old fort and look out over the ocean, your riding is now completed. Explore the fort in the evening, before enjoying one last dinner from the many options available.
Galle - Departure Day
This morning you will be met again by our representative to collect your bikes and equipment before you check out of the hotel. We can assist you in arranging onward travel, whether it be staying a few more nights soaking up the atmosphere in the fort or soaking up the sun at a nearby location along the coast, a further adventure to the cultural north or just getting back to the airport.
What's the Riding Like?
Moderate hilly terrain
6 days riding
The terrain is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads on secondary roads and quiet country lanes. There are a few sustained climbs (although not too steep) at times and some thrilling descents. There is always a support vehicle on hand to give you a lift if you need a break from the riding.
Learn a little more about this amazing little island. Recently Grasshopper Adventures hosted a "webinar" sharing some of our knowledge about Sri Lanka.