Visit a tea factory and learn about the process from picking to packing the leaves
Navigate Sri Lanka starting from the top all the way to the bottom
Ride with gorgeous views of Sri Lanka's lakes
Unearth 1000s of frescoes depicting the life of Buddha
Enjoy the quirks of cycling through this overlooked holiday destination
Climb one of Sri Lanka's most iconic structures
Spend some time with the locals
After riding through plantations, sample the teas yourself
Get to know the history and people of Sri Lanka
Finish your busy days at places nestled in mountains
Have your fill of world-class tea

Sri Lanka Spice Trails

12 days
Site savings
$2,415 USD

Forget the tourist-laden land of India and forget flying or driving. It’s time to discover a more unique adventure. Introducing a cycling tour in Sri Lanka that will produce a lifetime of spectacular unrivalled memories. Explore 2000-plus years of culture at ancient historical sites, soak up the glorious sunshine on the beach, meet fishing communities, observe wild elephants in national parks, drink the world’s best tea and simply enjoy unparalleled glorious cycling in a stunning land.

  • Category
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    12 days
  • Culture Level
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    3 - Active
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    357.3 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    39.8 miles
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SpiceRoads Cycling
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    12 days
  • Main Destination
    Sri Lanka
  • Distance
    357.3 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    39.8 miles
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain

Route Map (click to view larger image)

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1New and exciting roads lie ahead, starting in Negombo

    Chasing new experiences and that bubbling feeling of excitement is what traveling is all about and more so on this epic cycling adventure through the sizzling beauty that only a country like Sri Lanka can provide. It’s your first day ahead of an action-packed tour, but today is all about bedding in as you’re met in the beachside city of Negombo. Here you’ll run through the details of the trip with the guides, get acquainted and enjoy a sensational dinner together. Tomorrow the real adventure begins!

    Bike hires are available for USD 220
    The bikes are well-known makes of mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, v-brakes, and Shimano components and front suspension.

    • Goldi Sands Hotel
    • Dinner
  2. Day 2Dambulla’s rock cave temples and hundreds of Buddhas steal the limelight

    Yesterday’s pleasantries and brief insight into Sri Lankan life would have definitely whet your appetite, but it cannot hold a candle to what is to come.

    Today is your first day of riding and you’ll get started early after tucking into a magnificent breakfast. Sri Lanka is renowned for its bedazzling coastline and seemingly endless beaches, both of which regularly adorn the pages of travel magazines. So it will come as little surprise that the initial ride will take your wheels spinning along quiet coastal roads with the radiating blue of the sea as your consistent companion. Fish is big business in this beautiful country and as you soak up the sights, sounds and smells, your attention will be diverted by the pretty patchwork of sails that belong to the Karavas fishing community. This is a photographer’s paradise as you stop to capture these stunning boats and the fish markets that you’ll later glide past.

    Heading away from the coast and going inland, you’ll pedal down quiet back roads and continue to enjoy the diversity of this wonderful country. With an impressive distance already clocked up, you’ll switch to the support vehicles and head to the town of Dambulla to enjoy an excellent lunch at the Kununegala Lake. Dambulla is the location of one of your first historical stop offs on this epic journey. While the town is nothing to write home about, its rock cave temples are world renowned and an iconic image that is long entwined with Sri Lanka. Also known as the Golden Temple, the 2nd century complex is home to more than 150 Buddha statues and it makes for a fascinating visit. The spectacular views from the caves only serve to add to the special atmosphere and once the trip has been wrapped up you can either opt to ride or drive to your hotel. Located in paddy fields and surrounded by mango trees you really could not stay anywhere that typified Sri Lanka more.

    • 33.6 miles
    • 124.7 ft
      1,318.9 ft
      1,194.2 ft
    • Thilanka Spa & Resort
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  3. Day 3Climbing the dramatic rock fortress of Sigiriya

    Given the size of Sri Lanka, it’s quite incredible how many spectacular sights and history this small country can pack in. Every day of this tour you will discover something new and with the freedom of two wheels to guide you, you will witness far more than the ordinary traveler here. Today you’ll roll through the gears and test your tires on a variety of different terrains including tarmac and exciting dirt tracks. This is an introduction to a fresh variety of nature such as sprawling orchards, captivating paddy fields and intriguing elephant grass. But the real highlight of today is the dramatic and towering image of the 5th century rock fortress Sigiriya, otherwise known as Lion Rock. This mesmerizing rocky outcrop boasts near vertical walls that give way to a flat summit that is believed to be home to the kingdom of King Kasyapa. Before you take on the 300m walk up, you’ll be able to ride along Kandalama Lake and snap some sensational shots of this remarkable landmark. Once at the top, the views out across the land are glorious and will simply take your breath away. After making your way back down from the rock fortress, grab some lunch at a local restaurant before returning to your trusty bikes for an afternoon ride. This will entail following an old irrigation canal where you can see the locals go about their business before heading back to the same hotel as the previous night for another evening of luxury.

    • 37.3 miles
    • -75.5 ft
      1,820.9 ft
      1,896.3 ft
    • Thilanka Spa & Resort
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  4. Day 4Basking in the plentiful ancient history of Polonnaruwa

    Your overall destination for today is Polonnaruwa, the 10th century capital of Sri Lanka and home to a fascinating archaeological park that sheds light on how this spectacular city looked in its heyday. Well thought of as the best preserved ancient city in the country, Polonnaruwa has a treasure trove of tombs, temples, stupas and statues that are all worth exploring. Before reaching this place of absolute fascination it’s important to put your legs to the test. And so following a breakfast for champions, you’ll get riding and the initial challenges that present themselves are the ascents over the Kaladuwa Hills. Still these are easily achievable particularly as the riding is on a good road surface. However, on the descent you must keep your eyes peeled for wild elephants as they are known to roam here. The riding today truly is spectacular as having flown down the descents you can pedal gracefully through a forest reserve until reaching the manmade lake of Polonnaruwa and then breaking for some lunch. Following this, it’s time to get cycling through the city’s park that hosts so many wonderful sites such as the Brahmanic monuments, which commemorate the glory of the ancient Rajarata Kingdom. There is a wealth of things to see here and having checked out the main sites, you can take a 20 minute transfer to a delightful hotel on the banks of the reservoir.

    • 48.5 miles
    • -383.9 ft
      1,765.1 ft
      2,149 ft
    • Deer Park
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  5. Day 5Lakeside riding and national parks dominate

    It’s the final day of riding before you take a well-earned day off and naturally you’ll want to make the most of it. The day is started by heading back to Polonnaruwa in the vehicles before jumping on your bikes to get riding again. Begin by pedaling around the ‘sea of Parakrama’ as it’s known, though it’s really a large lake but the great king who built it would dispute such a fact. This twisting and turning ride takes you through Angammedilla National Park, which acts as an elephant corridor between two other national parks: Minneriya and Wasgomuwa. The possibility of seeing an elephant in Sri Lanka is always high and it will certainly keep you excited throughout this cycling dream tour. You’ll continue yesterday’s trail before following the Ambon Ganga River towards its source in the foothills around Naula. It is said that this is the center of the island and it marks a fitting point for you to conclude the ride early for the day. Finish up here in order to escape the busy roads and transfer for a lunch in Matale. From here you will also take a vehicle onwards to the spiritual and cultural capital of the country, Kandy.

    • 46.6 miles
    • 784.1 ft
      2,034.1 ft
      1,250 ft
    • Thilanka Hotel Kandy
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  6. Day 6Rest up in Kandy and check out the Buddha’s tooth

    It’s your rest day and it’s fair to say you have definitely earned it after an incredible first half to this spellbinding tour through Sri Lanka. There really is no better place to chill out and soak up the culture of this beautiful country than in Kandy. Home to a bio-diverse rainforest and scores of tea plantations, Kandy is a dream place to explore. Packing in a spiritual atmosphere Sri Lanka’s second largest city has long been recognized as a religious center for the country’s people and a popular pilgrimage for Buddhists. With an array of colorful houses and colonial-era architecture it’s easy to get lost in Kandy’s winding and picturesque streets. The day is your own to explore as you wish with a multitude of old shops and bustling markets that will be quick to draw your attention. However, one recommendation is to pay a visit to Sacred Kandy, which is home to Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, a tooth of the Buddha.

    • Thilanka Hotel Kandy
    • Breakfast
  7. Day 7There’s always time for tea in Sri Lanka

    For the tea lovers amongst you this is truly a day to relish as the hills around Kandy are explored and is home to so many beautiful and fragrant plantations. While each ascent may prove challenging the reward that awaits each time is a stunning vista worthy of a photo you will be showing your friends and family for years to come. The day is begun with a transfer out of town to Peradeniya before hopping on the bikes and winding along a gorgeous river valley and up a few gentle climbs. Every ascent is broken up nicely with a tea stop and the variations on offer will have you salivating no doubt. At the first tea stop in Gampola, you can also take the option to board the train with a picnic lunch. Regardless, from here the swooping valleys of Sri Lanka that are bedecked with tea plantations really burst into life. As you continue riding you’ll spot the bright and colorful clothing worn by those who are picking tea and these friendly locals will be all too happy to wave and shout ‘hello’ as you pedal past. Equally dazzling temples will also crop up and catch your eye. Like much of this excellent country, this is a photographer’s dream and plenty of time is provided for you to hop off the bike and grab those all-important photo mementos. Everyone will continue to regroup at the best tea outlets throughout the hills before making the final descent into Hatton towards an old colonial tea planter’s bungalow. There is also an option for those who wish to avoid more hills to take the train into Hatton. Eventually everyone will meet up for dinner again in the evening to reflect on an epic day of riding and to, of course, debate the best cup of tea we’ve had.

    • 48.5 miles
    • 2,096.5 ft
      5,019.7 ft
      2,923.2 ft
    • Upper Glencairn Bungalow
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  8. Day 8Setting your sights on the memorable views that await

    At this stage of the trip you’ll be stunned to reflect on just how many twists and turns the journey has taken. While you started with wonderful insights into history, now you are firmly embedded in the natural beauty of Sri Lanka, and it truly is stunning. Today, you’ll continue that voyage as you cycle deeper into the tea growing region that exemplifies this incredible country. Along the way tea pickers and their children will enthusiastically encourage you, wave and wish you well as you push yourself on and up towards the triangle shaped mountain called Adams Peak. While it can be deemed a long climb,, the gradual gradient makes it more than achievable and the sensational vistas make every rotation of the pedals worth it. The mountain pass that will be eventually reached is part of the Peak forest reserve, which also is home to a range of rare plants and, more intriguingly, the bear monkey, though it is usually just heard and rarely seen. Alongside these great experiences during the climb is a much needed and enjoyable descent right through picturesque villages and further tea communities before putting on the brakes close to Banlangoda town. Here you will enjoy a spot of lunch before packing up the bikes and grabbing a car to the hotel, which is located beautiful on the edge of a lake and the Udawalawe National Park.

    • 36 miles
    • -2,083.3 ft
      3,412.1 ft
      5,495.4 ft
    • Elephant Trails
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  9. Day 9Cycling to a national park to witness earth’s gentle giants

    Earlier it was told that the possibility of seeing an elephant in Sri Lanka is always high, but today this can be practically guaranteed. And what’s better is that the gentle giants you observe are wild, so you can witness these magnificent creatures just going about their day. It’s a real highlight of the day’s cycling and one for every single person to look forward to. The fantastic location you’ll see the elephants in is the Udawalawe National Park, it is recognized as one of the best places to see wild elephants. The riding will begin from the hotel and along paths surrounded by Sri Lanka’s finest nature. The park has approximately 400 elephants and you’ll see them at the best time of day – mid-morning – gathered close to the water’s edge by the reservoir. While these spectacular animals are without a doubt the highlight, do also keep your eyes peeled for wild buffaloes, crocodiles, sambur deer and monkeys as this wonderful selection of animals also make the park their home. Additionally, there are many water fowl and hawk eagles to spot too. All of which will make the photographers amongst you delighted with so many beautiful creatures to capture on camera. After your own safari around the park you’ll head for some lunch in a nearby eco-lodge before hopping back on the bikes and riding alongside an irrigation canal back to the hotel.

    • 32.3 miles
    • 3.3 ft
      1,361.5 ft
      1,358.3 ft
    • Elephant Trails
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  10. Day 10Feeling the flavor of Sri Lanka with some pure cross-country cycling

    To add variety to the tour, there are visits to different points of interest while some are just pure cycling. While yesterday’s main attraction was the national park visit and the elephants, today you’ll get back to basics and enjoy some pure Sri Lankan cross-country cycling. The tour is designed to have a bit of something for everybody. And on days like this you will really get to soak up the flavor of Sri Lanka as you take on a long and undulating ride. As your wheels keep turning, the charm of this country is really laid bare with so many locals smiling at you along the way. This fascinating ride is broken up with some tasty fruit stops that will have your taste buds exploding. Sri Lanka is renowned for its bananas and with 14 varieties on offer it is advised that you try as many as possible to give you the energy boost you need. The target for today’s riding is the beach and the aim is to get there in the early afternoon so you can enjoy the golden sands or the nearby surf camps. After some relaxation everyone will reconvene in the evening for a scrumptious dinner at a local restaurant.

    • 50.3 miles
    • -288.7 ft
      2,769 ft
      3,057.7 ft
    • Mandara Resort Mirissa
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  11. Day 11Gliding into the historic city of Galle

    Everywhere you cycle in Sri Lanka your eyes will always be diverted by some wondrous sight, but equally incredible is the range of beautiful smells and that is particularly evident today as you ride through open paddy fields and cinnamon estates. Fragrant whiffs of the spice really come to the fore here. The destination for the ride is the wonderful, historic city of Galle. The old trading port is full of historic Dutch-colonial buildings and makes for a fantastic place to wander around. After a mid-morning arrival, you will have plenty of time to explore Galle’s rambling streets. Surrounded on three sides by a fort, Galle has a unique charm and many people here are quickly seduced by its ambience and atmosphere. There are a range of excellent cafes and restaurants, so lunch is down to you this afternoon while you wander before meeting up in the evening for a farewell dinner.

    • 24.2 miles
    • 13.1 ft
      777.6 ft
      764.4 ft
    • Mandara Resort Mirissa
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  12. Day 12See ya later Sri Lanka, that time has come

    It’s time to wave farewell to each other and this spectacular tour you have embarked on through the sensational country that is Sri Lanka. While you may feel a tinge of sadness you can always think back on one hell of an adventure that has shown you a side of this country that few others ever get the privilege of seeing. Cycling through Sri Lanka ensures you can really experience the country and reap the most from your time here. There is time for one last breakfast together to reflect on the best moments before transferring 3 hours to Colombo. You will be dropped off at the airport or at your hotel should you decide to stay longer in the country. Equally, if you need further ideas for what to do in Sri Lanka the tour organizer would be happy to offer advice.

    • Breakfast