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Experiences Cycling Trips Cycling in Asia Cycling in Sri Lanka

Cycling in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the charming tear drop shaped island located just off the southern tip of India, known as ‘the Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Thanks to its natural beauty it offers a perfect mix of biking, culture and relaxation on tropical beaches. 

Sri Lanka is a tropical island with a mountainous interior that reaches over 2500 metres in elevation. Coastal cycling is on flat to rolling plains while the more challenging and beautiful terrain can be found in the south-central mountains. Although the country is small in size it has the highest biodiversity density in Asia, with 24 wildlife reserves and many endemic mammals and plants, and has been identified as one of 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. You can take a break from your bike for game drives to spot herds of elephants in Minneriya or Udawalawe National Park or elusive leopards in Yala National Park.

Culturally rich, Sri Lanka has an ancient history that has been documented for three thousand years. As you cycle across this welcoming island you encounter a diversity of religions, ethnicities and languages. You can also observe the more recent influence of the British, Dutch, Portuguese and Indian colonial rule. The island has a strong Buddhist heritage and the first known Buddhist writings were composed here. 

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The cultural triangle of Sigiriya, Dambulla and Giritale is packed full of ancient Buddhist temples, brightly painted caves and giant Buddha statues. One of the best ways to explore this area is on two wheels which allows you to visit the major sites and the smaller villages along the way. Lion Rock offers commanding views and it’s easy to see why the kings of the past chose the spot for their fortress.

The lakeside town of Kandy is home to the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha and after making your own pilgrimage by bike to this most holy of sites you have a wonderful chance to experience the islanders’ dedication to Buddhism as you observe thousands of pilgrims attend the daily ceremony.

As you cycle up into the cooler highlands you will see tea plantations and hear the chatter of the tea pickers harvesting the bushes. Take the time to sample the different blends and see how they are produced before picking your favourite. 

The coastal areas offer white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, warm waters for swimming and from December through to April it is possible to spot schools of blue whales and sperm whales passing by the southern tip of the island. The south and southwest is best visited between October and April when it is driest, and the north and east is driest from April to September.

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