Sri Lanka Raid

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3,400.00

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Simply pay a deposit. After you book, a La Fuga Travel Consultant will follow up with you to manage all the details of your trip. From travel insurance, bike rentals, your jersey size and more - we'll tailor all the finer points of your trip and adjust your Tour Price accordingly.

For a group size larger than 6, please call +44 (0) 208 876 5665 to speak to a Travel Consultant.

La Fuga's first foray outside of Europe and what a trip it will be! Sri Lanka came to our attention recently as we took a test trip out there in March of 2017 - it was an amazing experience, and we think you'd like it too.   Sri Lanka is a wonderful mix of romantic landscapes with incredible mountain vistas, lush forests and tea plantations, stunning waterfalls, golden beaches and some of the world’s most interesting ancient architecture. Road With Elephants Sri Lanka Our La Fuga Sri Lanka Raid will provide you with some of the most beautiful and challenging early season cycling, to match any European destination for climbs and road surface quality. The only difference being that you will be in a wonderfully warm tropical country, with ancient historic monuments, incredible wildlife, friendly people and exceptional cuisine. You will not only get some early season riding on excellent roads, but our route will give you the opportunity to visit some of the country’s most historic sites (including four UNESCO World Heritage sites), the country’s largest waterfalls, tea plantations and a safari into one of the top national parks. With this trip we will take you on a 7 day loop through the mountainous middle part of the island, winding our way from town to town taking in some of the cultural sites and climbing our way up through the tea plantations. The middle part of the island is very mountainous and the highest pass you will climb is a shade over 2000 metres, which is comparable to some of the big climbs in the mountains of Europe. FOOD Sri Lankan people are extremely proud of their food preparation and cuisine. All local food is prepared fresh each day, including meat and fish. There are also many vegetarian and vegan choices as part of the regular Sri Lankan diet, offering amazing flavours, whether your choice is spicy or not.
  • 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.
There are more than 20 varieties of banana in Sri Lanka (in the UK, we have just one variety), each with their own name, and the Sri Lankans are very proud of them. There are small ‘Lady’s Fingers’, big ones (some as large as your arm), red bananas, super sweet bananas, salty bananas and some (plantains) only for cooking. HOW HARD IS THE CYCLING? The Sri Lanka Raid is both a tour and training camp through the spectacular island of Sri Lanka and an opportunity to test your cycling legs at whatever speed you want to cycle. The trip caters for riders of all abilities, and it is suitable for your best road bike. Elephants And Cyclists You will need to bring your own bicycle with you. When you arrive in Sri Lanka (if you wish), our Sri Lankan team will build it for you, to ensure it is safe and ready for your trip. Each day is designed to allow you to either ride the full distance or just a part of the day. If you don’t want to cycle at any time, simply place your bike in one of the Support and Gear (SAG) wagons (see below) and take a ride in our air-conditioned bus. There are usually two groups on the road, the steadier riders (the Café Latte group) always set off a few minutes ahead of the faster riders (the Espresso Group) on 30-40km ride segments with a SAG wagon accompanying each group. By the time you have completed 30-40km, the two groups should have come together on the road, or there will be just a few minutes between them. At the end of each 30-40km segment, we will stop and our support crew will provide fresh water, local food and refreshments. After our feed stop, we set off again on the next segment (as above, always with the Café Latte riders leaving ahead of the Espresso riders) until our full distance for the day is completed. We don’t stop for lunch, but we do stop for coffee whenever we can! The ride days range from totally flat to mountainous. When it is flat, it is absolutely pancake flat and when we are in the mountains, the climbs will match anything you have undertaken in Europe, or anything you may have seen in professional cycling, with climbs of 20km+ and 7%+ average gradients. The climbs are both challenging and spectacular, with breath-taking views throughout.
The climb from Kandy to Ramboda Falls

The climb from Kandy to Ramboda Falls

THE ROADS The roads in Sri Lanka are in good condition and many have been resurfaced - some of the smaller roads may be a little rough, but they are asphalt and in no worse condition than the roads in the UK! The roads are also surprisingly quiet outside of the towns and speed limits are generally adhered to and strictly enforced by the police.
Long-tailed Macaques

Long-tailed Macaques

SUPPORT AND GEAR WAGONS Our Support and Gear (SAG) wagons are a 27 seater air-con bus and a van which, along with the drivers, will stay with us for the duration of the trip. The distances are short/long enough to get us to our hotels by mid/late afternoon in order to relax by the pool, have a massage or see the local town and historic sites. Some days are more challenging than others and if anyone is not up to riding a full day or wants to jump in the SAG wagon at any time during the day, the van will take the bikes and riders can sit with air-con and relax in the company of Vernon, our qualified guide waxing lyrical on the wonders of Sri Lanka’s wildlife and cultural history. AIRLINES There are a number of good airlines that fly to Sri Lanka, but Sri Lankan Airlines are the only carrier that travels direct, with no stop-over. Most airlines also allow a 30kg baggage limit for Economy and 40kg baggage limit for Business Class. This will give you enough weight allowance for your clothing and bicycle, but remember, there is a 30kg upper weight limit for a single large item - i.e. your bike and bike box. WEATHER
  • 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.

What's Included?

  • 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?

  • Flights
  • 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.

Bike Hire

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THE RAID ITINERARY

  • Outbound Friday 16 March 2018 – fly Heathrow to Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (e.g. Sri Lankan airlines departs 20:40 hrs on Friday 16 March 2018 arriving 12.40 hours Saturday 27 Jan 2018 – flight duration is 10 hrs 30 mins.
  • Inbound Sunday 25 March 2018 – fly Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport to Heathrow (e.g. Sri Lanka airlines, 13.05 hrs on Sunday 25 March 2018, arriving London Heathrow at 20.00 – flight duration is 11 hrs 55 mins

Day 1 – Saturday 17 Mar: 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 18 Mar: 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)
Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya Golden Buddha

Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya Golden Buddha

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.

Polonnaruwa Ancient City

Polonnaruwa Ancient City

Day 3 – Monday 19 Mar: 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 Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

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 reservoir. Many Sri Lanka tanks are over 1500 years old.

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park

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 20 Mar: – 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).
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    Temple of the Sacred Tooth

    Temple of the Sacred Tooth

    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 21 Mar: 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 delightful mountain town of Nuwara Eliya, at over 1900m above sea level, it is higher than most of Alpine passes, but just 600km north of the Equator!
    • Hotel in Nuwara Eliya (two nights)
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      The Hill Club, Nuwera Eliya

      The Hill Club, Nuwera Eliya

      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, Nuware 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 22 Mar: Nuwara Eliya to Nuwara Eliya

      Mackwoods Tea Estate

      Mackwoods Tea Estate

      • 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 23 Mar: Nuwara Eliya to Udawalawe National Park.

      The Ella Gap

      The Ella Gap

      • 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.
        Rawana Falls

        Rawana Falls

        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.

    • Hotel in 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.

    Buduruwagala Rock Statues

    Buduruwagala Rock Statues

    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 statuesDay 8 – Saturday 24 Mar: 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.

    Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Farm baby green turtles

    Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Farm baby green turtles

    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 ‘tortoise- shell’.

    Galle Fortress

    Galle Fortress

    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.

    Leopard Yala National Par

    Leopard Yala National Par

    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.

    Galle Beach

    Galle Beach

Airports

Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka (CMB)

Saturday 17 March
Negombo
Hertiance Negombo – 5 stars
http://www.heritancehotels.com/negombo

Heritance Negombo

Heritance Negombo

Sunday 18 and Monday 19 March
Sigiriya
Heritance Kandalama – 5 stars
http://www.heritancehotels.com/kandalama/

Heritance Kandalama

Heritance Kandalama

Tuesday 20 March
Kandy
Golden Crown – 5 stars
http://thegoldencrownhotel.com/
The Golden Crown Hotel View

Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 March
Nuwara Eliya
Heritance Tea Factory – 5 stars
http://www.heritancehotels.com/teafactory

Heritance Tea Factory

Heritance Tea Factory

Friday 23 March
Udawalawe
Hotel Sobana
http://www.hotel-sobana-embilipitiya-sri-lanka.en.ww.lk/

Hotel Sobana On Lake

Hotel Sobana on the lake

Saturday 24 March
Galle
Hotel Amari
https://www.amari.com/galle-srilanka

Hotel Amari Galle

Hotel Amari Galle