On the move in southern Sri Lanka

An active trip including cycling tours and hiking trails in the south fo the island

 

 

individualPersonalized trip
Best travel dates: December – April
Price 2 to 4 people: from 1350 EUR/person / 1.620 USD/person
Price 5 to 9 people: from 1295 EUR/person / 1.550 USD/person


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Do you want to go to Sri Lanka, but aren’t interested in lying in the sun for hours, switching between belly and back to get the perfect tan? Are long, soothing oil massages not your thing? Then perhaps this trip, designed for active people who like to explore a country on foot and/or on bicycle, is a more appropriate choice for you. We have combined here beautiful bike tours with impressive hikes.

The classic highlights of the country are of course included as well: Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth, where one of Buddha’s dental pieces is preserved; the Sigiriya’s Lion Rock and its breathtaking vistas, hidden corners and enchanting “Cloud Women” frescoes; and the ancient city of Anuradhapura. The high point of this trip is the ascent to Sri Pada, considered a holy mountain by the countless pilgrims from all the great world religions – Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity – that visit it every year.

There will also be time and chances enough to meet the friendly inhabitants of the country and learn about their culture, traditions and sports (e.g. Elle) in general, and their individual lives, hopes and dreams.

Before, during and after the trip, you will also naturally be able to jump into the refreshing blue waters of the Indian Ocean and/or hotel pools and enjoy an Ayurvedic massage by experienced therapist hands. And since this is a 14-day trip, there is time enough for everything without it ever feeling stressed or rushed.

 

 

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ආයුබෝවන්

Ayubowan!

The singhalese greeting!

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Highlights at a glance

  • Anuradhapura, the ancient city and former capital of the island
  • The rock fortress of Sigiriya, with its famous “Cloud Women” cave paintings
  • Impressive bicycle tours on side roads
  • Ascent of the holy mountain of Sri Pada (2243 m)
  • Leopard Safari in the Yala National Park (but no leopard sightings can be guaranteed! 😉 )

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Itinerary

Day 1
Departure from home

Day 2
Arrival in Colombo. At the Indian Ocean.
Finally here! You will be welcomed at the airport in Colombo and taken to the hotel/guesthouse in Negombo, located on a beautiful long sandy beach on the northwest coast of the island. No special activities are planned for the rest of this day, so you can rest, enjoy the beach, explore or do anything you want until the evening. For dinner you can try some Sinhalese seafood specialties or try the vegetarian local cuisine. -, -, D

Note: If you are interested in the Ayurvedic massages it would be good to sign up for them before the trip, so that you can plan ahead and enjoy them whenever it fits you better.

 

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View of Colombo’s harbour

Day 3
Boat and Bicycle
In the morning we will take a boat trip of about 1½ hours on a canal built in the 17th century. Afterwards we hop on the trekking bikes, which we will provide in situ. Today’s ride is approximately 15 km long. Exploring the island on two wheels is particularly charming. At the end of the ride we will visit local young men who will show us the way in which the traditional bat-and-ball “Elle” is played. We stay active also in the evening, when we’ll learn more about the indigenous Angampora, one of the world’s oldest martial arts. BF,-,D
Cycling: easy, approx. 15 km

Day 4
Holy Buddhist Place
Today is also bike day: some good 35 km, mostly on secondary roads, although there is also a short stage on the main road. We will ride through small towns, picturesque villages with travel areas and coconut plantations. Then we saddle up and take a taxi ride about 3-hours-long to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, founded in the 5th century and first capital of the island. There we will visit the Buddhist Sri Maha Bodhi (“holy great Bodhi tree”), which is said to have grown from a branch of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. If this is true, it would be the oldest tree on the island. After the sightseeing, we drive with the caboose approx. 1 hour to the hotel, where you can cool down and relax in the pool. BF, -, D
Cycling: easy, approx. 35 km

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In the old city of Anuradhapuraya

Day 5
Rock Fortress of Sigiriya
During the morning we will visit the massive rock fortress of Sigiriya (see cover picture above). Sigiriya dates from the 5th century AD and is considered by many the eighth Wonder of the World. The architecture is still striking today. The famous frescoes of the “cloud girls”, located in a protected angle of the rock, have made the mountain world-famous. Let yourself be captivated by the story of Sigiriya, which is actually quite gory.
The climb is tiring but worthwhile, because the height makes for some really astounding views of the surrounding area. After the descent we cycle again through rural villages, past a large lake and along rice fields until we reach a Buddhist cave temple, where we will find sculptures and ceiling paintings over 2,000 years old!
Let the day end with an Ayurvedic massage or a visit to the pool. After visiting the temple there is also time for an optional Ayurvedic massage. BF,-,D
Cycling: easy, approx. 25 km

 

The Rock Fortress Sigiraya

Photo: Shutterstock/404549587

Day 6
Herbs, Health and Hiking
Leaves, flowers, bark, fruits, mushrooms and roots have been used by the locals for medical purposes for thousands of years. In the morning we will learn more about the most important plants of the island and its impact on humans. Afterwards, we will drive in the car for about 2.5 hours towards the mountains. Our destination is the Knuckles Mountain Range, which we will reach after hiking for approximately 4 hours. It is a rarely visited region, untouched and beautiful. After the hike we will enter a secluded village and take a bath in pure mountain water, refreshing both body and mind in the peace and seclusion of the place. Overnight accommodation in a simple lodge, in a multi-floor apartment on a mattress on the floor. BF, -, D
Hike: medium to advanced, 3-4 h / 6,8 km
Total ascent: 295 m
Total descent: 483 m
Elevation Delta: 420 m (Height of 366 m to 786 m)

Day 7
Hiking and Tree Camping
Today we start with a new hike, following the trail over hills, down valleys and through streams and rivers. If we are lucky, we will see wild elephants, sambar, deer and eagles. At lunch we picnic on the banks of a river or on a rock in the middle of the jungle. After the hike, we head back to the main road, where drivers are already waiting for us. In just over half an hour we drive to the village of the first inhabitants of Sri Lanka. It is thought that the Veddah are related to the Australian Aborigines and/or the Maori. Then another highlight of the day: we will spend the night in a hut on a tree next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. If you want, you can cross the lake in a canoe. With a bit of luck, we will be greeted by swimming wild elephants. BF, -, D
Cycling: easy, approx. 7 km

Day 8
Kandy
After breakfast we will drive for about 1.5 hours over a pass with 18 hairpin turns and through a nature reserve up to the starting point of today’s bike tour. We will then cycle through a picturesque mountain region, passing by tea-covered slopes towards our present destination. After about 15 km we get back into the cars and arrive around noon to today’s accommodation in Nuwara. Nuwara is better known as Kandy and was until 1815 royal capital of the island. Kandy is the religious and cultural center of the country. The Buddha’s tooth is preserved here in the temple with the golden roof – Dalada Maligawa. Before visiting it we dress in white (and cover ourselves from the shoulders to the knees) to adapt to the local customs. This is one of the holiest places for Buddhists from all over the world. This place, with its prayers and very special atmosphere, is one of the highlights of the trip. BF, -, –
Cycling: medium to advanced / about 15 km
Total ascent: 496 m
Total descent: 584 m
Elevation Delta: 367 m (Height of 621 m to 988 m)

 

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The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. One of the holiest places for Buddhists worldwide.

Photo: Shutterstock/396404413

Day 9
Kandy just for you
A free day to enjoy in any way you want. BF,-,-

Day 10
On the bike through the tea fields
Today we continue the cycling. But first we drive about 1 hour with the cars on a winding road through a stunning and seemingly endless carpet of tea fields. We learn more about tea – this part of the world’s favorite drink –, from its cultivation and harvesting to its professional preparation. Then we cycle along the plantations direction Sri Pada Kanda, the holy mountain common to the four main religions of this world. BF, -, D
Cycling: medium to advanced, approx. 25 km

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Where does the famous Ceylon tea come from and how is it made? This question will be answered on the trip.

Day 11
The Footprint up the Mountain
Very early in the morning, if you feel like it you can climb the Sri Padha (2,243 m). In the rocks on the summit, faithful Buddhists see a footprint of Buddha Himself. That’s where the mountain’s name comes from (Sri Padha = “holy foot”). For the Hindus the footprint is instead attributed to Shiva, while the Muslims attribute it to the Prophet Adam. Finally, the Christians proclaim it is the footprint of the Holy Apostle Thomas. For centuries pilgrims from all four denominations have climbed the summit, which in clear weather can be seen from the sea, to contemplate this holy imprint. Thousands of pilgrims make this strenuous ascent every year. Most climb up the many steps at night. The path is illuminated and there are small tea houses on the way where one can rest and enjoy a reinvigorating drink. For the effort one is rewarded with a fantastic sunrise. Therefore, we advise those interested in climbing the mountain to start their ascent at around 2 o’clock in the morning. Countless steep steps lead slowly up the mountain. Once you have reached the top, you can enjoy the view surrounded by the sound of the pilgrim’s Pujas.

After the descent we drive about 3 hours through the region of origin of the famous Ceylon tea, until reaching the next accommodation. BF, -, D
Hike: advanced, many steps, approx. 7 km
Ascent: about 1,140 m

From the full moon in December to the full moon in April the amount of pilgrims on the road is especially high. The ascent between these dates can therefore take much longer than during the rest of the year (10-12 hours instead of 6-7 hours).

Day 12
Leopards
During the morning we cycle down winding paths through lush pastures, passing waterfalls, virgin mountain forests and small villages. After about 40 km we continue by car past rice fields, lakes and tropical thorn bushes to Yala, in the southeast of the island. The more than 1259 km2 of the Yala National Park include a tropical thorn forest known for having the world’s highest density of leopards living in the wild. A safari jeep is waiting for us there to take us into the bush. The vegetation varies from the well-kept park to the dense jungle. Water holes, lakes and rivers offer drinking possibilities for elephants, leopards, sloth-bears, crocodiles, water buffaloes, deer, wild boars and many birds that we can observe and admire. F, -, A
Cycling: medium to advanced, approx. 40 km

Landschaft im Yala-Nationalpark

Landscape in the Yala National Park

Day 13
Beach Time

Today we will enjoy wonderful sea views while we travel along the coast to Mirissa. Perhaps we will meet the typical Sinhalese stilt fishermen on the way (there are only about 500 families in this area).
In the early afternoon we reach our accommodation, located in a beautiful beach. Take a refreshing bath in the sea and/or pamper yourself with an Ayurvedic massage! And after that, maybe a cocktail while looking at the sun setting on the Indian Ocean? BF, -, D

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The stilt fishing technique in Sri Lanka is unique and worth watching.

Day 14
Wales and Dolphines
Did you know that Sri Lanka is in a protected area of the International Whale Commission where 26 of the 80 species of whales can be found? If you schedule your travel time between November and April, you can take a 3-hour-long boat trip to observe the gentle giants. (Please book before the trip!)
Afterwards we will drive back to Colombo and into the loud, frenetic and a little crazy capital of the island. The rest of the day we look at the city a bit more closely. We will enjoy our last evening here dinning on the beach. BF,-,D

Day 15
Adieu Sri Lanka!
We will drive you to the airport and wish you a good flight back home! BF,-,-


Prices and Dates

Personalized Trip

You can choose the date that better accommodates you!
Best travel dates: December – April

 

Summer: 1st May to 31st October
Price 2 to 4 people: from 1350 EUR/person / 1620 USD/person
Price 5 to 9 people: from 1295 EUR/person / 1550 USD/person

 

Winter: 1st November to 30th April
Price 2 to 4 people: from 1410 EUR/person / 1690 USD/person
Price 5 to 9 people: from 1390 EUR/person / 1660 USD/person

 

Single Room Supplement: 300 EUR / 360 USD (Winter) or 240 EUR / 285 USD (Summer)
Discount for a 3-Beds Room: 250 EUR / 300 USD (Winter) or 160 EUR / 190 USD (Summer)
Extra charge for a German-speaking tour guide: 250 EUR / 300 USD

 

Please note that there are extra charges for food on Christmas and New Year’s Eve! During the high season (20th Dec – 10th Jan) there are also extra charges for some rooms. In addition, there is an extra charge for the rooms at Kandy Perahera, in Kandy.

 


Services included

  • English-speaking tour guide from day 2 until the end of day 14 (on request and for an extra charge for personalized group trips, also German-speaking guides available)
  • Airport transfer by English-speaking driver
  • Acclimatized taxi (or minivan/bus, depending on group size)
  • Service cart (with bicycle mechanic, first aid kit, drinking water system, spare wheels and luggage)
  • Accommodation and catering:
  • – 8 x well-maintained hotels or pensions (beach hotels or guest houses on days 2, 13 and 14)
  • – 2 x clean, simple rural guest houses (days 3 and 10)
  • – 1 x family house/lodge (multi-bed room / sleeping on the floor on a mattress on day 6)
  • – 1 x tree hut on camping mats (on day 7) / Pit toilet. No electricity and no shower. Camping mats, blankets, pillows and mosquito net are provided.
  • – 1 x in a forest hut (day 12)
  • – 13 x breakfast (no breakfast on day 2)
  • – 11 x dinner (no dinner in Kandy on days 8 and 9)
  • Locally available good Mountain-bikes of the brand Ghost
  • 1,5-hour-long boat trip
  • 30-minute-long canoe trip
  • Safari at Yala National Park

 

Nicht inkludiert

  • Flights
  • Insurance (Travel insurance is recommended)
  • Tips
  • Drinks
  • Visa for Sri Lanka
  • Vaccines
  • Additional costs due to illness, accident, delays and/or changes on the route due to force majeure.
  • Additional costs due to flights cancellation and/or delays.

 

Book this tour

 

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