We will meet you at Bandaranayake International Airport, upon your flight arrival we transfer you to our nearby hotel in Negombo. Mid-afternoon we will meet up for our trip briefing and bike fitting session with a short ride to make sure everything is set up is correctly. We end the day with sundown drinks and welcome dinner.
Cycling straight from the hotel we quickly find ourselves riding along back roads in an area known as little Rome, dotted with churches remnants from the Portuguese occupancy. Picking up a beach road as we head north through the Karavas fishing villages, their distinct patchwork sailed catamarans can be seen hauled up on along the beach or fishing just of the coast. High up in the coconut palms you will see the Toddy tapers collecting the coconut flower sap to ferment into Arrack a local whiskey. We end the ride after 40km and transfer to Anuradhapura the first capitial of Sri Lanka. Late afternoon we will walk around the sacred area surrounding the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, a sapping of the original tree under which Buddha obtained enlightenment. It was planted in 249 BC and is the old known planted tree in the world. Close by is the giant 103m Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, painted white it is always busy withworshipers lighting oil lamps and burning incense sticks before making offerings to the Buddha. Both these sites can be viewed at leisure before returning to our hotel for dinner.
Today's cycling is approximately 40km.
Cycling is the only way to explore the vast ruins of Anuradhapura, dating from the 4 th century BC it was the Sinhalese capital for 1300 years until the beginning of the 11th century AD. Starting at the museum located next to the ruined Jetavanaramaya Stupa the largest in the world 122m and the crowning glory of a huge monastery complex that once housed 3000 monks. We continue riding around the massive site passing grand structures of various kings and manmade lakes that gave life to the city. The lakes still act as reservoirs providing water to irrigate the rice fields that have remained unchanged for centuries.
The aptly name Elephant pond part of the military stables and the twin ponds beautifully carved stone bathing pools of the royal family are both worth seeing. The afternoon is free to explore more or just relax at the hotel. An optional Safari to Wilapttu National Park 25km away, Sri Lanka largest wildlife park and home to herds of wild elephants as well as leopard and deer can be arranged. The jeeps depart at 3pm and returns by 7.30pm. Tonight we will dine out for some tasty street food.
Today's cycling is approximately 90km.
Riding out from our hotel through the surrounding fields travelling along an old Kings route towards Sigiriya. The fields are full of strange vegetables, Snake & Drum stick gourds and Kikiri like a round cucumber. These dry zone vegetables make excellent salads, and can be mixed with grated coconut and chilli to make a fiery sambal pickle. To really experience Sri Lankan hospitality, you must visit someone’s home, we do that for lunch. You can watch and even help prepare some of the tasty regional dishes, all served on traditional banana leaves. With plenty of fresh fruit for dessert you may need to ride a few more KM to burn off lunch before we transfer to our hotel although it possible to ride all the way. Late afternoon we visit Sigiriya Rock, the fortress and palace complex built by king Kassapaya in (477 495CE). Climbing a series of rock cut staircases passing through a pair of colossal lion's paws to reach the palace on top. Those who suffer from vertigo can enjoy the lily-pad- covered moats and water gardens that surround the boulder garden around the base of the rock. There are plenty of monuments to see and the atmosphere quite tranquil.
Today's cycling is approximately 40km.
Riding out from the hotel through a jungle forest reserve part of an Elephant corridor that allows these majestic animals to move from park to park. We may not see Wild Elephants but often long tail Grey Langurs and Toque Macaque monkeys are seen hanging out in the trees or foraging on the forest floor. After 21km we rack up the bikes and transfer 20km(option to ride) to Polonnaruwato avoid busy roads riding the last 10km to the site entrance. Polonnaruwa history is carved in stone, the quadrangle has two Tooth relic temples, as well as other impressive stone buildings and require some time to visit. Riding down the old street passing monasteries with hospitals and monks mediation cells you can imagine life in the medieval capital. The highlight is Gal Vihara (stone temple), Four magnificent statues carved from the solid rock, showing the Buddha in different meditative poses. Once we have finish the site we can ride all the way to our hotel on the banks of a huge lake known as the Sea of Parakrama, built by King Parakrambahu the great in 1164 and who said "Not one drop of water must flow into the ocean without serving the purposes of man” Afternoon free to enjoy a swim in the pool or local bike ride.
Today's cycling is approximately 30km.
Cycling from the hotel along the top of the man-made 6km dam back towards its source to the Amban Ganga (river). Around the lake are small fishing communities, their outrigger canoes make good photographs scenes and bird watchers can enjoy seeing the aquatic bird life along the waters edge. Following the feeder canal upstream we pass terraced paddy(rice)fields and ride along some of the irrigation canals stopping to enjoy watermelon at a village tea stop. Ending the ride at Bakamuna (owl village) after 40km we transfer 23km (can ride) to Dambulla cave temple. Built by king Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C., the five cave temples each adorned with statues and thousands of images of Buddha painted on the walls and ceilings depictinghis life story, the journey to enlightenment. After lunch at a nearby restaurant we will transfer to Kandy approx. 2hrs the cultural and spiritual capital of the hill country. The rest of the day free to wander around town.
Today's cycling is approximately 45km.
No visit to Kandy would be complete without a visit to the temple of the tooth, where a sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha has been under royal protection since the 4th century A.D.. We start the day with the Pooja ceremony at the Tooth Temple the most revered site in Sri Lanka, offering flowers a reminder of impermanence. Later walking around, the old palace complex and town center experiencing daily life.
Kandy has something for everyone and we let you discover the town for yourself meeting up early afternoon after lunch (on your own) for a tour of the tea museum. Fitter riders might like to cycle through the tea estates on Huntane the mountain overlooking Kandy, the 35km tea loop ride ends close to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Those who prefer an easier day can visit the Royal Botanical Gardens the oldest in Asia, which contains 4,000 species of plants and takes a few hours to wander around, less if you take your bike.
After breakfast we will transfer you to Colombo for your flight back home
Sri Lanka offers incredible scenery, outstanding natural beauty and abundance of Buddhist monuments and ancient kingdoms. From the Ancient city region including the first Singhalese capital Annuradhapura BC200-AD1000 a center of power for over a 1000 years to the forts and churches built by the Portuguese in the 1500's, Sri Lanka offers a journey through history like no other.
High season in Sri Lanka is between January to April and July to September and are a great
times to visit the country. There are two monsoon seasons here, one from May until July and the second between October & December so it is normally best to avoid these months. However the weather doesn't always run like clockwise here and these months can sometimes be dry.