- We will eat in the hotels each evening with a choice of full buffet Sri Lankan food or European.
- Food while you are cycling will be provided as snacks of local sourced, daily fresh baked buns, cakes, bananas (see below) and savoury food, known as ‘wade’. Energy bars and gels will also be available.
- How hot or cold is it? The temperature will be about 32°C with both tropical humid or direct equatorial sun. Sri Lanka sits close to the Equator and feels extremely hot even if it’s not sunny. You will need sun screen and to ensure that you are hydrated at all times.
- Wet and cold - The monsoon season will have finished by the time we arrive, but we can expect a tropical storm occasionally. If it rains when we are not in the mountains, it will rain for about an hour and will be warm and pleasant and not worth putting on rain jackets (just get wet and you will dry very quickly). If it rains when we are in the mountains, it can be quite cold and you might need a jacket.
- Evenings and early mornings - In the lower lying areas, it can be both hot and humid or hot and dry during the night, mornings and evenings, dependent on whether we are near the coast or inland. In the mountains, the evenings can be chilly.
- 4 and 5 star accommodation at each location – all hotels have swimming pools except those in the mountains – at up to 2000m above sea level, you might not feel the need to swim outdoors!
- All breakfasts and evening meals at the hotel/restaurant
- On the road lunches freshly prepared daily
- Airport pick-up at Colombo Bandaranaike
- Our personal tour guides and drivers – five support staff
- Support and gear (SAG) wagons – air-conditioned bus and support van for bicycles
- Limited sports nutrition – the food is so good you will want to eat local food
- La Fuga welcome pack
- GPX files and route maps for each day of riding
What's Not Included?
- Lunchtime meals at cafes
- Travel insurance
- Alcoholic drinks/soft drinks
- Incidental expenses
Please note tour deposits are non-transferable and non-refundable. Therefore please ensure you have the appropriate travel insurance in place should you have to cancel at the last minute.
THE RAID ITINERARY
Day 1 – Saturday 28 Nov: arrival Colombo International Airport
- Arrival at 12.40 hrs. Meet at Bandaranaike International Airport and 40 minute transfer to our hotel on the beach at Negombo, north of Colombo
- After a long journey, relax and spend the afternoon and evening by the pool, build bikes and option of a short ride to help acclimatise.
- Lunch: a la carte in the hotel or local restaurant (not provided within the package)
- Hotel in Negombo
Day 2 – Sunday 29 Nov: Negombo to Sigiriya
- Ride distance 80km, flat and undulating – we will start our morning with a bus transfer for 70km from Negombo to Kerunagala. From Kerunagala, our route has some small climbs and some fast, flat sections. Towards the end of our ride, we stop at the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya Golden Buddha and Cave Temple.
- Hotel in Sigiriya (two nights)
The Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya Golden Buddha and Cave Temple is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Asia. The area is thought to have been inhabited from as early as the 7th century BC, with paintings in the caves dating back to the 1st century BC.
The complex of five caves with over 2000m² of painted walls and ceilings is the largest area of cave paintings in the world. The caves also contain over 150 rock statues of Buddha.
The site is worth visiting not only for the cave temple, but also for the beautiful view over the countryside from near the caves at around 150m above the road.
Day 3 – Monday 30 Nov: Cultural Triangle
- Option 1 – coach trip to Sigiriya Rock (UNESCO World Heritage site) and climb the rock, continue by coach to visit the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (UNESCO World Heritage site) and return to our hotel via the Minneriya National Park for an elephant safari.Please note – entry fees into these sites are not included in the trip costs.
- Option 2 – circular ride the back roads of the cultural triangle, passing the base of Sigiriya Rock (UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Minneriya National Park (famous for its elephant herds. Ride total 110km, 890m ascent, easy gradients, undulating
- Hotel in Sigiriya
Sigiriya ancient rock fortress and palace is surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens and reservoirs. It is also renowned for its ancient paintings. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was used as a mountain monastery from the 5th century BC, with caves prepared by Buddhist monks. The complex was built by King Kashyapa (477 to 495 AD) and after the king’s death, was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
Polonnaruwa is the second ancient city of Sri Lanka and is one of the best archaeological relic sites in Asia. In 1982, the site was given UNESCO World Heritage status. The ruins consist of dagobas, monastic buildings and rock statues. Polonnaruwa is also the location of Sri Lanka’s largest tank, the local name for the reservoir. Many Sri Lanka tanks are over 1500 years old.
Minneriya National Park was designated as a national park in 1997, having been originally declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The Park is important as the wildlife catchment area of ancient Minneriya tank (reservoir), built by King Mahasen in the third century AD.
Large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the tank during the dry season – the Park sustains a large herd numbering around 150-200 elephants, although some reports suggest the number to be as high as 700.
The Park is also an important habitat for the two endemic monkeys; the purple-faced langur and toque macaque. Large herbivorous mammals such as Sri Lankan sambar deer and Sri Lankan axis deer frequent the Park and rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear also inhabit the Park.
Day 4 – Tuesday 1 Dec: – Sigiriya to Kandy
- Ride distance 128km, 1479m ascent, undulating – our ride takes us on quiet backroads, through spice farms and climbing into the edge of the Knuckles Mountains. We eventually finish the ride in the beautiful setting of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s 2nd city.
- Hotel in Kandy
- Optional evening visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth (UNESCO World Heritage), Kandy Lake and the Kandy Cultural Dancing show (not included in the package).
Kandy is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka and is the home of The Temple of the Sacred Tooth, the most venerable place for the Buddhist community in the world. It was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. It is the second-largest city in the country and was the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka. It lies in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical tea plantations.
Day 5 – Wednesday 2 Dec: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
- Ride distance 98km, 3000m ascent, mountains – we depart Kandy on a quiet road passing the Victoria Reservoir. The road then starts the first of three climbs that compare to anything that the best of Europe can offer cyclists. The 1st climb is a simple 4km up and down at an average of 6%, the 2nd climb is 14km followed by a 17km descent and the 3rd is a monster 34km climb to over 2000m. We stay the night in the delightful mountain town of Nuwara Eliya, at over 1900m above sea level, it is higher than most of the Alpine passes, but just 600km north of the Equator!
- Hotel in Nuwara Eliya (two nights)
Nuwara Eliya is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka and is the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is also known as ‘Little England’, as it was a hill country retreat for the British to relax in the cool climate. Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen’s Cottage, the General’s House, the Grand Hotel, the Hill Club and the Town Post Office, and many private homes maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.
At 1900m above sea level, Nuwara Eliya is the highest town in Sri Lanka and due to its highland location, it has a subtropical climate with a mean annual temperature of 16°C. In the winter months, it is cold at night and there can even be frost. However, it rapidly warms up as the tropical sun climbs higher during the day.
Day 6 – Thursday 3 Dec: Nuwara Eliya to Nuwara Eliya
- Ride distance 88km, 2100m ascent, mountainous – our 2nd tough mountain day starts with a short climb, followed by a spectacular 8km descent to the Mackwoods Tea Plantation and Factory. After a visit to the tea factory and a cup of local tea and cake on their lawns, we complete another 12km descent to the Ramboda Waterfalls. After coffee at Ramboda Waterfalls, we continue descending for a further 8km. Depending on how you view it, the fun either starts or finishes, as we begin almost 50km of ascent, back to over 2000m and our 2nd night in Nuwara Eliya.
- Hotel in Nuwara Eliya
Day 7 – Friday 4 Dec: Nuwara Eliya to Udawalawe National Park.
- Ride distance 142km, 1390m ascent and 3286m descent, undulating but mostly descending – the morning starts with a 30km descent, followed by a wonderful undulating road through the mountains to the tiny trekking village of Ella – if you need a good coffee fix, there is good Italian espresso coffee in Ella.
We then descend the spectacular Ella gap (passing the Rawana Falls the largest waterfall in Sri Lanka) for another 30km drop out of the mountains to Wellawaya town, where we visit Buduruwagala, the tallest rock Buddha statues in the world. From Buduruwagala, we continue a gradual descent on a fast road to Udawalawe.
The spectacular Rawana Falls are the largest in Sri Lanka and pour down into the Ella gorge, the water finding its course in three stages of nine metres.
The Buduruwagala rock sculptures consist of seven gigantic Buddhist figures. At the centre is a sculptured image of Lord Buddha with a height of 60m and now considered to be the tallest Buddha statue in the world. 8th-century statues
Day 8 – Saturday 6 Dec: Udawalawe to Galle
- Ride distance 134km, 1700m ascent, mostly flat with one climb – our Sri Lanka Raid finishes with a quiet ride through farmland and one final 5km climb. We complete the trip with a finish on the beach near the old city of Galle.
- Hotel in Galle
THINGS TO DO NEAR GALLE
If you decide to stay for a few days more in Sri Lanka, there are a few interesting places to visit and things to do.
The Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Centre is a fantastic insight into the conservation of turtles in Sri Lanka. Turtles have been in existence for a hundred million years, there are seven species worldwide, five of which can be found in Sri Lanka. The Green Turtle is the most common in Sri Lanka. The name refers to the colour of the fat found under the shell, which unfortunately is used to make turtle soup. They grow to a maximum length of 1m and can weigh 250kg. Adult females lay between 120-140 eggs at one time and o nest only every few years, laying several times in one season.
The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle is much smaller reaching a maximum length of 90cm and weighing 50-70kg. Its beautiful colourful shell is made up of 13 symmetrical pieces. Sadly, this has made it a target for traders, as the sole source of commercial ‘tortoiseshell’.
Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the best example of a fortified city in Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese, Dutch and British architectural styles.
Yala National Park is the largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park covers 979 square kilometres and was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, the park is known for its variety of wild animals, particularly one of the highest populations of leopard in the world.Yala National Park is also important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants and birds, with more than 200 bird species including six endemic species to Sri Lanka.
AirportsBandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka (CMB)
Saturday 28 November
Hertiance Negombo – 5 stars
Sunday 29 and Monday 30 November
Heritance Kandalama – 5 stars
Tuesday 1 December
Golden Crown – 5 stars
Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 December
Heritance Tea Factory – 5 stars
Friday 4 December
Saturday 5 December