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Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak

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Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak

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Description

On a 10-day active adventure in Sri Lanka, you’ll see the best UNESCO World Heritage sites and varied landscapes of this beautiful country. Cycle through tea plantations, kayak down rivers and hike to ancient fortresses from Negombo to Colombo. Explore Sigiriya’s Lion Rock, wander through the Knuckles Mountain Range and feel the breeze in your hair as you fly past the Golden Valley of Ceylon on two wheels. Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s most exciting destinations and it’s not hard to see why – with expansive coastlines, ancient ruins, rugged mountain peaks and wildlife-filled national parks, it’s a dream for travellers who like to get outdoors and experience a truly wild landscape.

Trip Name
Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak
Last Updated
2024-04-30
Days
10
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Kayak down the Gin River on a half day paddle through Sri Lanka’s ever-changing landscape. Float past forests, sandbanks and plantations while keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way.
  • Come face with one of Sri Lanka’s most storied sites as you hike to the ancient carved rock fortress of UNESCO World Heritage site – Sigiriya, which rises dramatically from the surrounding plains.
  • Hike through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Knuckles Mountain Range and encounter Sri Lanka's lush scenery and amazing biodiversity. Visit the observation point ‘Mini World’s End’ and see the sheer drop into the Thelgamuwa Valley and its forest floor below.
  • Cycle a mostly downhill route through the green heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country in ‘the Golden Valley of Ceylon’.
  • Get to know the layered history of Galle during a cycle and walking tour, uncovering the city’s maze of streets, historic buildings, lighthouse and the famed 17th-century fort.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, World Bicycle Relief. Donations provide school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas with bicycles that provide access to education, healthcare, and income.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Negombo
Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the beachside town of Negombo with a welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Known for its centuries-old fishing industry, Negombo is a historic port city close to Sri Lanka's international airport. If you arrive early, maybe watch the fishing boats head out to sea, stroll along the beach to see the daily catch drying in the sun or indulge in a seafood feast. The surrounding countryside, with its network of canals, is a fascinating slice of Sri Lankan rural life and is best explored by bicycle.
Day 2 - Sigiriya
Leave bright and early this morning and travel to Dambulla – home to the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. After checking into your accommodation, make the short drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya for your first activity – a hike up the 1200 steps of the famed Lion Rock. This ancient carved-rock fortress rises dramatically above the surrounding plains, elevating Sigiriya high into the air. On the way you’ll visit the water and boulder gardens, frescoes and the mirror wall. The next section of the climb takes about half an hour along steep walkways and steps all the way up to the rocky plateau, which soars 200 m above the jungle. From here, the views over the surrounding area and the nearby Pidurangala Rock are jaw-dropping. Make your way back down and head back to Dambulla for a relaxing evening.
Day 3 - Minneriya National Park & Knuckles Mountain Range
Today you’ll head out on a relaxed jeep safari for about 3 hours through the nearby Minneriya National Park. The park is home to a mix of evergreen forest and scrublands – look out for sambar deer, leopards and elephants roaming the wild. After the safari, travel by private vehicle to the Knuckles Mountain Range – your home for the next two nights. Named after its striking visual likeness to human knuckles, this UNESCO World Heritage site features 34 mountains that range from 900 to 2000 m. Surrounded by dense forest, waterfalls and terraced rice fields, they are home to some of Sri Lanka’s best hiking trails. Tonight, get closer to nature as you set up camp next to the pristine waters and natural rock pools of the Thelgamu Oya stream. To keep you fresh for tomorrow’s hike your activity is limited to an evening walk around the village before relaxing by the riverside with a group dinner.
Day 4 - Knuckles Mountain Range Hiking
Today you’ll head out early for a full-day guided hike along the Manigala Trek through the Knuckles region. Start hiking after breakfast and wind your way through emerald forests and hillsides, past cliffs and alongside fast-flowing rivers. Maybe stop to explore a few of the villages along the way, which are surrounded by sweeping rice terraces. Have lunch by the river and continue up the stone and dirt trail all the way up to the imposing Manigala Rock, for the panoramic views of the peaks and valley below. After taking in the views, make your way back down to camp to enjoy a hearty dinner after a long but rewarding day of hiking.
Day 5 - Kandy & Knuckles/Mini World’s End Hiking
Begin the day with a moderate hike through the forest to Knuckles’ renowned Mini World’s End – an observation point overlooking the Thelgamuwa Valley and a sheer drop of 1192 m (4000 ft) to the forest floor below. The panoramic views over the misty valley and distant mountain peaks are truly spectacular, you’ll want your camera today! After the hike, you’ll drive to Kandy, passing the gorgeous scenery along the way. Lying in the hills of the Kandy plateau, this city previously served as the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. The rest of the day is free for your own discoveries – maybe visit the golden roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Housed inside, the relic of the tooth of the Buddha has played an important role in local politics due to the belief that whoever holds the relic holds governance of the country. Kandy’s temple and its status as the last city of the Sri Lankan Kings have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 6 - Hatton & Tea Country Cycling
Start your day with a scenic train journey to Hatton. When you arrive, cycle from the train station to the small village of Norton Bridge, passing vast tea estates and scenic, tree-lined hills along the way. Check in to your hotel and if you’re still feeling energetic, maybe opt to hike up to Adam’s Peak. The peak is often visited by pilgrims who climb a candle-lit trail in the evening, passing shrines and food stalls along the way. Or you can simply put your feet up with a nice cup of Ceylon tea – the afternoon is yours.
Day 7 - Tea Country Cycling & Mirissa
After breakfast, it’s back on your mountain bike for a mostly downhill ride through the heart of tea country. Pedal from Hatton through Bogawantalawa – home to premium Ceylon Tea – to Balangoda. Cycle through the sculpted green hills of ‘the Golden Valley of Ceylon’. Your ride will be broken up with snack breaks and a lunch stop, providing plenty of fuel (and photo opportunities) for your ride. Then, transfer to the delightful coastal town of Mirissa. This town is part fishing village, part beachside resort and is the perfect place to sit back and relax by the beach after a few active days. For those looking to keep their heart rate up, you can visit nearby Weligama – the ideal place to hit the waves at one of the local surf or bodyboarding schools.
Day 8 - Gin River Kayaking & Galle Cycling
Start your day with a short drive to the small town of Unanwitiya – your starting point for an exciting day of kayaking down the Gin River. After instruction from your expert guides, you’ll cruise down the clear waters as it winds its way downstream. Paddle past dense forests, sandbanks, tea plantations and rice paddy fields while keeping an eye out for monitor lizards, birds and the occasional troop of monkeys. After kayaking, head to the boathouse for a delicious local lunch and then head to UNESCO World Heritage city of Galle for a countryside cycling tour. Once the main port for local cinnamon trade, this city features a maze of streets with mansions, ancient churches, a lighthouse and the imposing 17th-century fort. Surrounded on three sides by the ocean, this is surely one of the most dramatic structures in all of Sri Lanka. Start your exploration of Galle Fort on a walking tour along the ramparts and winding streets of the Fort. Return to Mirissa in the evening for a well-earned rest tonight.
Day 9 - Colombo
Depart Mirissa after breakfast and transfer to Colombo. When you arrive, check into your hotel and then take a leader-led walk past the bustling Petta Bazaar, Independence Square, Parliament, and the National Museum. Your walk finishes with a shopping opportunity at the Barefoot fairtrade store. Here, you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. Tonight, there's an optional group dinner to celebrate your journey – if you opt in, you’ll go on a fun food crawl along the city's many market stalls.
Day 10 - Colombo
There are no activities planned after breakfast today and your adventure comes to an end. You're free to leave at any time after check out. If you'd like to extend your stay, just get in touch with your booking agent ahead of time to organise additional accommodation.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
07-07-202416-07-2024AUD $ 2,286-
14-07-202423-07-2024AUD $ 2,376-
21-07-202430-07-2024AUD $ 2,533-
28-07-202406-08-2024AUD $ 2,265-
11-08-202420-08-2024AUD $ 2,274-
25-08-202403-09-2024AUD $ 2,274-
08-09-202417-09-2024AUD $ 2,184-
15-09-202424-09-2024AUD $ 2,231-
29-09-202408-10-2024AUD $ 2,184-
13-10-202422-10-2024AUD $ 2,184-
10-11-202419-11-2024AUD $ 2,184-
24-11-202403-12-2024AUD $ 2,265-
08-12-202417-12-2024AUD $ 2,265-
22-12-202431-12-2024AUD $ 3,100-
26-12-202404-01-2025AUD $ 2,795-
29-12-202407-01-2025AUD $ 2,990-
12-01-202521-01-2025AUD $ 2,945-
26-01-202504-02-2025AUD $ 2,503-
09-02-202518-02-2025AUD $ 2,406-
16-02-202525-02-2025AUD $ 2,406-
23-02-202504-03-2025AUD $ 2,503-
09-03-202518-03-2025AUD $ 2,503-
23-03-202501-04-2025AUD $ 2,503-
06-04-202515-04-2025AUD $ 2,830-
20-04-202529-04-2025AUD $ 2,830-
27-04-202506-05-2025AUD $ 2,830-
13-07-202522-07-2025AUD $ 2,725-
27-07-202505-08-2025AUD $ 2,725-
10-08-202519-08-2025AUD $ 2,725-
24-08-202502-09-2025AUD $ 2,830-
14-09-202523-09-2025AUD $ 2,830-
28-09-202507-10-2025AUD $ 2,830-
19-10-202528-10-2025AUD $ 2,725-
09-11-202518-11-2025AUD $ 2,725-
23-11-202502-12-2025AUD $ 2,725-
30-11-202509-12-2025AUD $ 2,725-
07-12-202516-12-2025AUD $ 2,945-
21-12-202530-12-2025AUD $ 2,945-
28-12-202506-01-2026AUD $ 2,945-
11-01-202620-01-2026AUD $ 2,710-
25-01-202603-02-2026AUD $ 2,710-
08-02-202617-02-2026AUD $ 2,710-
15-02-202624-02-2026AUD $ 2,710-
22-02-202603-03-2026AUD $ 2,710-
08-03-202617-03-2026AUD $ 2,710-
22-03-202631-03-2026AUD $ 2,710-
05-04-202614-04-2026AUD $ 2,710-
19-04-202628-04-2026AUD $ 2,710-
26-04-202605-05-2026AUD $ 2,710-
12-07-202621-07-2026AUD $ 2,710-
26-07-202604-08-2026AUD $ 2,710-
09-08-202618-08-2026AUD $ 2,710-
23-08-202601-09-2026AUD $ 2,710-
13-09-202622-09-2026AUD $ 2,710-
27-09-202606-10-2026AUD $ 2,710-
18-10-202627-10-2026AUD $ 2,710-
08-11-202617-11-2026AUD $ 2,710-
22-11-202601-12-2026AUD $ 2,710-
29-11-202608-12-2026AUD $ 2,710-
06-12-202615-12-2026AUD $ 2,710-
20-12-202629-12-2026AUD $ 2,710-
27-12-202605-01-2027AUD $ 2,710-

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights),Camping with basic facilities (2 nights)

Transport

Private vehicle,Jeep,Taxi,Kayak,Mountain Bike

Map