A visit to Sri Lanka sometimes feels like a vacation at the circus. Cycling along the road at the famous Kandy perahera (parade), we have seen bare-chested men crack whips, boys on stilts juggle torches and crimson-robed elephants lumber along beside their mahouts. And the carnival atmosphere doesn’t evaporate after the parade ends. Sri Lankans smile constantly – perhaps amused, perhaps joyous – at the spectacles that surround their daily lives: stilt fisherman reeling in mullet along the south coast; teenaged couples walking the walls of the 17th-century Dutch fort in Galle; kids searing their tongues with a fiery curry meal. Sri Lankans sweep you into their circus so persuasively that you’re soon moving with the show, instead of watching it. So our aim with our bike trips in Sri Lanka is, not only to experience some great biking, but to provide the chance to be swept up in the circus, to let you become part of Sri Lanka and then Sri Lanka become a part of you forever.
The pear-shaped island has 1,600 km of coastline and beaches, but its centre is made up of mountains that rise to 2,500 m (many covered with tea plantations), this is perfect biking scenery. Most of the island is lush, tropical jungle, broken occasionally by rivers and dramatic waterfalls. The northern third of the island is a relatively dry plain, most of which is off-limits to travellers because of intermittent fighting.
Sri Lanka's weather is affected by two different monsoons. The southwest part of the island gets soaked May-July while the northeast monsoon arrives December-January. Humidity is high year round, however, and you can expect some rain just about every day. The humidity and heat are at their most uncomfortable in April, when anyone who can flees to the hill country. Temperatures there are about 10-15 F/5-8 C degrees cooler than temperatures along the coasts. In the highest part of the country - around Nuwara Eliya - it gets surprisingly cool in the evening. Be sure to take along a sweater.
The scenery is magnificent, the food superb and the people amongst the friendliest on earth. Travelling by bike is a great way to mix with the people
12 days From $1995
For the ultimate Sri Lankan experience, this motorcycle journey includes visits to tribal villages, a jeep safari in the jungle and time to unwind at some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
14 days From $2650