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20 Day Sri Lanka Mountains and Coast Guided Motorcycle Tour

Negombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka

Motorcycle Tour Sri Lanka

Every day will be surprisingly different from the one before. This trip is full of culture, extensive mountains, tropical beaches, an adventurous safari while spotting lots of wildlife, tea plantations, rafting, visiting an elephants sanctuary, a wide variety of accommodation and of course local specialties. We will search for smaller, more challenging, and as much as possible unpaved roads through magnificent areas far away from tourists.

Key information

  • Terrain: unpaved roads or paths
  • Bike: rental bike (Enduro 250cc or Indian Royal Enfield)
  • Mileage: 1,905 kilometers / 1,184 miles
  • Daily rides: 70 - 250 kilometers / 43 - 155 miles
  • Riding gear: mandatory: helmet, motorcycle jacket with protection, gloves, a good hard wearing (motorcycle) trousers with protection or separate knee protection, and solid high (mountain) boots
  • Meals: all breakfasts

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Negombo
  • Day tour in Horton Plains National Park
  • Discover the tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya
  • Visit Anuradhapura, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • Stay for a day in Dambulla as there are lots to see
  • Prepare for a feast to your eyes in Kandy
  • See the sunrise from the Adam’s Peak
  • 19 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


14 riding days
Group size: 6-12 participants
Airport transfer included: Bandaranaike International Airport
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Accommodation

You will be accommodated in various accommodations along the route.

Program

Day 1

Your departure from your own home country.

Day 2: Arrival in Colombo / Negombo

Depending on your flight, you will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in the morning or afternoon. The drive to the hotel in the centre of Negombo is about 20 minutes. In the late afternoon, you will pick up the motorcycles and meet the driver / mechanic who will accompany you on this trip.

Day 3: Negombo - Kalpitiya (160 kilometers / 99 miles)

Straightaway after you leave Negombo, the road becomes less crowded, particularly when you leave the highway and you will ride on smaller roads. Along the coastline, there are a lot of shrimp farms. You will ride through palm tree plantations. Next, you will follow an unpaved road to the northern direction of Kalpitiya. This area is very popular among kite and wind surfers, therefore there are a lot of small, cosy resorts. You will stay in a resort close to the beach where you can stroll or watch the surfers in the nearby lagoon.

Day 4: Kalpitiya - Anuradhapura (155 kilometers / 96 miles)

Today, you will ride towards the east into the inland. Soon, you will leave the highway and ride on small and poor quality country roads that are sometimes unpaved. Along the road, you will find signs that will remind you that you are riding in Sri Lanka, such as: ‘Watch out for crossing elephants!’ You will spend tonight in Anuradhapura. This city has been politically very important for over a century, as Singhalese kings ruled their kingdom while residing in Anuradhapura. The city has lost its glamour over the years, however it is still a beautiful city with palaces, stupa, magnificent gardens, and an impressive history. The city is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which shows its great importance and value.

Day 5: Anuradhapura - Dambulla (130 kilometers / 81 miles)

Before you move to your next destination, you will visit some temples. For example, the Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, Isurumuniya Vihara, Jetavanarama Monastery, and last but not least, Mihintale. It is definitely worth to visit the top of the Aradhana Gala as well. After these visits, you will continue to Dambulla over paved and unpaved country roads. Along these roads, you find many artificial lakes (pokunas). These lakes date back to the 12th century. Pokunas are shallow water reservoirs that absorb the monsoon showers and are used as irrigation storage. Your hotel with swimming pool is located in the outskirts of the vivid village Dambulla.

Day 6: Dambulla

You will stay one more day in Dambulla as there is a lot to do around here! Close to your hotel, you can find the Golden Temple, also called the Dambulla Cave Temple. 20 kilometres away from the hotel, you can visit the Rock of Sigiriya. You can also visit the Minneriya Giritale National Park.

Day 7: Dambulla - Polonnaruwa (70 kilometers / 43 miles)

If you haven’t done this yesterday, you will visit the Golden Temple today. When you get back, you will pack your luggage and start the short ride to Polonnaruwa of approximately two and a half hours. You will ride past the Angammedilla channel and later, the Giritale Wewa Lake. Your hotel is located next to the lake. In the surroundings, there are rice fields. Tonight, you will have dinner in a special restaurant. It is about six kilometers from the city, and can be reached following a dark path. There is a great diversity of delicious Sri Lankan dishes; and fresh! Your host grows almost all of his ingredients in his own garden and his wife uses them to make a delicious dinner.

Day 8: Polonnaruwa - Kandy (180 kilometers / 112 miles)

You will ride past the huge Parakrama Samudra lake, then through many villages towards the Knuckles Forest Reserve. Via the old road, you ride into the mountains, where you will have several stops to enjoy the view. If you feel like it, you can ride a beautiful route through tea plantations before going to Kandy. Your hotel with swimming pool is close to the city centre and offers a breath-taking view on the valley.

Day 9: Kandy

The ancient imperial city Kandy is definitely a place to stay for one more day. You can visit the Temple of Tooth, where a remain of Buddha’s tooth is exhibited. The temple is situated in the royal palace complex. Since the ancient times, this piece of tooth played an important role in local politics because people believe that the one in possession of the tooth must rule the country. Behind this royal palace complex, you will find the World Buddhist museum that is definitely worth a visit. Furthermore, it is fun to stroll through the bustling city centre and over the colourful market.

Day 10: Kandy - Nuwara Eliya (160 kilometers / 99 miles)

You will leave Kandy via the main road to “enjoy” the busy traffic and its many smelly busses. The further you get away from Kandy, the calmer it becomes. After 18 hairpin curves, you leave this road for smaller roads. Around you, you find many rice fields. Via Victoria Randenigala Rantembe Sanctuary, you start gaining altitude and soon enough, you are riding through a beautiful area with tea plantation as far as you can see. You keep this view until you reach Nuwara Eliya. The hostess will make a delicious traditional dinner for you.

Today, you will have the opportunity to walk to the famous Adam’s Peak (top at an altitude of 2243 metres and with stairs of 5500 steps). If you want to go there, you will be brought to a village close to the starting point of the walk in the afternoon. You will spend the night in that village and at 2 in the morning, you will start walking to the top so you can see the sunrise from the Adam’s Peak. During the course of the day, you will be brought back to the hotel where the other group members have spent the night. Depending on your endurance, the total time of the hike will be around eight hours. If you wish to do this hike, please inform your tour guide in advance.

Day 11: Nuwara Eliya

You can spend this day off to discover the tea plantation of Pedro of 1885. You can do a guided tour where you will learn how the tea is made and you can also enjoy the beautiful view over the plantation. The waterfalls of Lover’s Leap are easy to excess from the guesthouse. In the afternoon, you can take a tuktuk to the city centre of Nuwara Eliya. This city looks very British because of the many big colonial houses and hotels. A cup of afternoon tea will be the finishing touch!

Day 12 : Nuwara Eliya - Ella (160 kilometers / 99 miles)

You leave Nuwara Eliya and soon, you will also leave the highway. Via small roads, you will zigzag through the many tea plantations that offer breathtaking views. While you gain altitude, the road becomes smaller and of lesser quality. When you cross the top, you will head for a small path that first goes through a forest and later through small villages where people earn their money by working on the tea plantations. Towards the end of this day, you will get to a viewpoint. When the weather is clear, the view is magnificent. Next, you will get to your destination of today: Ella. This is a friendly village with many restaurants. You will spend the night in the outskirts of the centre, in the middle of the woods.

Day 13: Ella, day tour (140 kilometers / 87 miles)

This will be a beautiful day for off-road lovers because you will go the Horton Plains National Park via a small path that goes up (around two hours). At the start, the asphalt is okay, but the higher you get, the worse the road gets. A part of the road will only be sand and gravel. You will ride past waterfalls and the view becomes extra impressive. After you buy your entrance tickets, you will ride into the park over the Horton Plains, a plateau of 31 square kilometers at an altitude of 2130 metres. Beside the magnificent landscape, the park also has an unique vegetation, completely different from the rest of the trip. You will start descending over small roads to Ella. It can be very cold at the Horton Plains, so beware of you clothing!

Day 14: Ella - Tissamaharama (170 kilometers / 106 miles)

After breakfast, you will head south. The first part is calm riding through mountains. Via a small path, you get to the main road. You will ride to Tissamaharama via Lunugamvehera National Park where elephants can cross the road. Your hotel is situated between the rice fields in the suburbs of Tissamaharama.

Day 15: Tissamaharama - Udawalawa

This will be a very special morning, because you will go on a safari in Yala National Park! At 4:30 a.m., you will be picked up by a jeep. While it is still dark, you will drive into the park. The early morning is the best time to spot wildlife. There is a big chance you will get to see crocodiles, elephants, and many exotic birds; perhaps even leopards! Around noon, you will be back at the hotel, and after lunch, you will make the short trip to Udawalawa National Park, where you will spend the night.

Day 16: Udawalawa - Mirissa (90 kilometers / 56 miles)

In Udawalawa National Park, it’s possible to make a safari in the morning as well. In this park, you will probably find elephants. It is also possible to visit an elephant orphanage and sanctuary. After lunch, you will head further south. Following many small paths, along rice fields and through palm tree plantations, you will arrive in seaside town Mirissa. The hotel is situated directly next to the beach and there are many restaurants in the surroundings.

Day 1: Mirissa, day tour (70 kilometers / 43 miles)

Today, you have a day off to enjoy the tropical beach of Mirissa. If you wish to do something active, you can ride to the Galle fort. This is about 40 kilometres. Galle is a colonial town that was built in 1663 by the Dutch VOC after the Portuguese were spooked away by 2000 men who arrived with 12 ships. Definitely worth a visit!

Day 18: Mirissa, whale tour

For who has never seen dolphins or whales in the wild, this is your chance! A few kilometers from the coast, you can see any kind of whales in the morning. For example, the blue whale with a weight of 170 tons and a length of 30 metres, that reaches the surface for some air and hopefully goes back down with a beautiful dive.

Day 19: Mirissa - Kitulgala (250 kilometers / 155 miles)

You leave the south coast and head north, back into the mountains. Soon, you are riding through tea plantations. Again, the more altitude you gain, the worse the roads become. The temperatures drop as well. When the weather is clear, you will be able to see the coast slowly disappear behind you. Via many hairpin turns, you will descend again. Then, you’ll ride to Kitulgala, where you will spend the night in the forest via a river.

Day 20: Kitulgala - Negombo (100 kilometers / 62 miles)

This area is known for its rafting. In the morning, you can experience this adventure facing rough waters. After lunch, you will get on your motorcycles for one last time to ride towards Negombo. You will avoid the crowded roads as much as you can, and use smaller roads. Eventually, you will arrive at the hotel where you started this trip. In the evening, you will end this beautiful tour having a great last dinner together.

Day 21: Negombo, departure

Today, you will be brought back to the airport in Colombo with a cab.

Day 22

Depending on your flight, you will arrive home today.

Skill level:

Often, you will be riding on unpaved roads or on a path. These are not very hard and very achievable without off-road experience. However, when the weather is bad the off-road path can be a bigger challenge. The ride to the Horton Plains is quite hard, but still feasible depending on the weather conditions. This day tour is planned on a day off, so you don't have to go if you don't want to.

Location

The starting point of this adventurous motorcycle tour is in Colombo / Negombo. You will drive through central and south Sri Lanka and you will experience the historical Buddhist temples. In the mountains of central Sri Lanka, you will ride through famous tea plantations, where you will also experience how picked tea leaves are processed. You will visit different national parks. On the beaches of West and South Sri Lanka, you will relax and enjoy the tropical atmosphere. Evidently, you will also visit one of the many wild parks where you can find among others: elephants, leopards, monkeys, and crocodiles.

Ruwanwelisaya Stupa

Many think it’s the most beautiful stupa of Anurahapura. About 140 years B.C., the stupa was built in commission of King Dutthagaminïs. It is surrounded by a beautiful garden, a place to relax for both locals and tourists. The stupa is 55 metres high, so it won’t be easy to miss.

Isurumuniya Vihara

This is a monastery dating back to the third century. Isurumuniya Vihara is carved out of rock and was used to accommodate 500 monks. Pilgrims bring flowers to a statue of a reclining Buddha dressed in a red cloak. The statue is surrounded by pretty paintings that show life and legends of Buddha from the ancient world of Anuradhapura.

Jetavanarama Monastery

The stupa of this monastery is 122 metres high and was one of the highest structures in the world when it was built. Only the Egyptian piramids of Giza were higher. This third century stupa is exceptional because of its complicated ancient architecture as well as its spiritual significance. You will be impressed when you are standing in front of the high building.

Mihintale

Mihintale is a Buddhist pilgrimage site situated about 16 kilometres east of Anuradhapura. This site is believed to be the place where Mahinda introduced Buddhism to king Devanampiyatissa three centuries B.C. Eventually, Mihintale, also known as Mahinda’s Mountain, became the origin location of Buddhism and the Sinhalese culture. With 1,840 steps, the stairway in Mihintale is very impressive. It brings visitors to the first level of the Mihintale complex. On this level, you will find many ruins and stupas.

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple is also called the Dambulla Cave Temple. The Golden Temple is a complex of historical Buddhist buildings. The wall paintings, with a total surface of 2,100 square kilometres, shows how Buddha was challenged by Mara, but to no avail.

Rock of Sigiriya

This is one of the seven places of Sri Lanka that are listed on the World Heritage List. The Rock of Sigiriya consists of idyllic spots surrounded by walls and cannels. On top of the rock, there is a citadel, which used to serve as a palace. Now, it’s just a ruin. On the north side of the rock, you can reach the Mirror Wall that is situated halfway the steep stairs. On the Mirror Wall, you can see frescoes of women. When you climb further up, you will find a terrace and the remains of the Lion’s Gate. This is where the name ‘Sigiriya’ originated from, the translation is Lion’s Rock.

Minneriya Giritale National Park

This park is relatively small, but it has a huge variety of wildlife. For example, spotted deer, sambar deer, purple coloured langur monkeys and macaques, but the most famous one is of course the elephant.

Food

You will have daily breakfast at the accommodations.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • All airport transfers
  • 19 nights accommodations based on a double room with breakfast
  • Motorcycle rental (Enduro 250cc or Royal Enfield)
  • Support car with local driver / mechanic
  • English speaking guide on a motorcycle
  • Liability insurance for the motorcycle
  • Comprehensive handbook

What's not included

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Fuel motorcycles
  • All other meals and drinks
  • Optional safari in Yale National Park (around 45 USD)
  • Entry fees national parks and sights
  • Other optional excursions
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Visa costs (25 USD)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Motor Trails will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport Airport transfer included: Bandaranaike International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 12.1% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
20 days / 19 nights
from --
Tour information

However, if you agree to travel without support car, this trip is possible with a tour leader on a motorbike with a minimum of 3 participants.

 

Booking policy

In the event that the participant cancels the trip, the participant is liable for cancellation costs. These cancellation costs cover reimbursement of any costs incurred by Motor Trails on behalf of the participant, up to the moment of cancellation, for which Motor Trails does not receive a refund.

All cancellation costs are supplemented, as applicable, by the cancellation costs of any issued tickets. Cancellation of the travel agreement by the participant must always be made in writing (by letter or email). You are strongly advised to take out a good travel cancellation insurance. This insurance will compensate for the cancellation costs provided that the cause of the cancellation is covered by the policy.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 6 participants

Friday February 19, 2021
(20 days / 19 nights)

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