Last Modified: 27 Sep 2013
Cycle the Backroads of Sri Lanka
Trip code: HZXS
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 30 Apr 2014
Sri Lanka is both compact and diverse, offering something for everyone. Through rural surroundings we explore the island by bicycle giving us the best means to see the country, its people and different ways of life. Beginning our journey in its region of ancient cities, we travel along the old King's Route, created more than 1000 years ago. Here we stop to climb the impressive 'Lion's Rock' fortress at Sigiriya and explore the cave temples at Dambulla.
We visit Kandy before riding through the tea estates of Nuwara Eliya in the Central Highlands where the cooler temperatures and lush scenery make for a relaxing ride. In the south we visit Yala National Park where there are leopards, elephants and an abundance of colourful birdlife before ending the trip on the beaches of Sri Lanka's beautiful south coast. This trip covers a substantial part of the island, taking in as much as possible of the scenic and cultural variety that Sri Lanka has to offer.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Exodus. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Sigiriya/Dambulla
Your trip normally begins at the hotel in the evening of day 1. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the final joining instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. These instructions will also include information about where and what time to meet the group.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Built as a royal citadel on top of a 200m high rock mass, Sigiriya is an impressive fortress with some fantastic views, glorious water gardens and 5th-century frescoes.
After breakfast the following day we ride along gravel roads following an old irrigation canal to Dambulla, the 2nd century BC Buddhist cave temple. It is well worth the walk to view the five caves, which contain many ancient Buddha statues; some carved from the solid rock. Returning via the busy market town we take another quiet backroad riding through chilli and rice fields and ending back at the hotel for lunch and a swim in the pool.
In the late afternoon we climb the 5th century rock fortress of Sigiriya to see the beautiful frescoes painted onto the rock face. The ruins of the palace on the summit are surpassed only by the magnificent aerial view of the surrounding jungle. Stay as long as you like, as it is only a 10 minute walk back to the hotel. Please note this activity can be confronting for those with a fear of heights, and is not recommended if you suffer from vertigo.
Cycling distance: approx 52 km
- Sigiriya - Rock Fortress guided visit
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Itinerary
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Polonnaruwa
Today we have a long morning ride along a quiet back road in the Sigiriya Nature Reserve, before joining the highway travelling east towards Polonnaruwa. We arrive in time for lunch and perhaps a refreshing dip in the hotel swimming pool. Later we tour the old ruined city of Polonnaruwa, which dates from the 10th-13th centuries.
Polonnaruwa was the ancient capital of the Indian Chola Dynasty and its 1000-year-old remains feature beautiful palaces, temples, stupas and massive stone Buddhas.
Cycling distance: approx 73 km
- Polonnaruwa - ancient site guided bicycle tour
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Matale Region
Today we follow the lake's man-made 6 km dam and feeder canal to its source, the Amban Ganga River. The ride is flanked by the stunning Kalanduwa hills on one side and the borders of Wasgomuwa Wildlife Park on the other. As the jungle gives way to plantations, we enter the spice growing region of Sri Lanka where we spend the night in a family-run guesthouse with small cabanas dotted around the estate. It is basic but the home cooking in claypots on wood-fired stoves gives you the real flavour of Sri Lanka. If you would like to find out more about the spices used in the piquant Lankan curries the owners can arrange a visit to one of the renowned spice gardens a short walk down the road.
Cycling distance: approx 80 km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Kandy
Today is tougher as we head for the hills and Kandy, the spiritual and cultural capital of the hill country. Those who feel like an easy day can jump onto the bus for the 50 km trip to Kandy, while the rest of us pedal away, riding through the Moorish town of Matale. Its inhabitants, descendants from Arab spice traders, still control most of the spice market, which is a good place to pick some freshly ground curry powder of your own. We may have to transfer the last few km to avoid traffic, as Kandy's roads are as old as the city. Surrounded by hills, the town is centred around a small lake and the Temple of the Tooth. The afternoon is free to wander through the streets and markets.
Cycling distance: approx 53 km
The following day is free to explore the town. Kandy has many interesting attractions including the wonderful Botanical Gardens, the famous Temple of the Tooth, and streets lined with interesting curio shops, while the surrounding hills are dotted with wonderful temples.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Itinerary
- Botanical Gardens - LKR1230
- Kandy - Temple of the Tooth - Free
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Nuwara Eliya
For anyone who doesn't do hills, we strongly recommend the train ride to Nuwara Eliya, the highest point on the island! For those who feel like a challenge, it's 82km, climbing up to 2000m above sea level to reach the highest and most favoured Hill Station. For the first part of the ride we take the old road, a far more pleasant route, and one of the few places where you see terraced paddy fields. Beyond the paddy fields is tea country and the area is reputed to produce the finest teas on the island.
Cycling distance: approx 82 km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Ella
In the morning we visit a tea factory on the edge of the town, and then cycle through hilly country towards Ella, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant and later for tea in Bandarawella, a trading centre where exotic fruits from the east coast are traded for hill-country vegetables. Arriving in the late afternoon, we watch the sunset from the famous viewpoint Ella Gap. On a clear day you can see the coast shimmering in the distance.
Cycling distance: approx 66 km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 9 Tissamaharama/Yala National Park
We descend 1000 metres today and leave the breathtaking scenery of Uva Province for the gentle rolling hills of the dry zone, stopping at the impressive rock-cut Buddha Statues at Buduruvagala. The giant 15m rock carving of Buddha is flanked by small figures depicting his helpers and a very rare image of Maitreya, the future Buddha, which dates from the 10th century. The tranquillity of the place is enhanced by the lotus-covered lake on whose banks we can enjoy some fresh fruit before riding on to lunch. Here we can relax from the heat of the day, before the final 30km to Tissamaharama, the capital of the old Ruhuna Kingdom.
Cycling distance: approx 102 km
Next morning we cycle to Kataragama temple, which lies 16 km northeast of Tissa. People of all faiths come to seek favour with the god Skanda, who is reputed to restore people's health. The colourful and noisy pooja is always busy, with thousands of pilgrims during the festival season of July and August. We then head for Yala National Park. After lunch we have a safari in the park, when we may see elephants, deer, wild boars, sloth bears, Asian jackals, lots of birdlife and if very lucky a leopard. We return to Tissa for the night.
Cycling distance: approx 32 km
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 10 Itinerary
- Jeep safari
- Kataragama Temple
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 11 Ahangama
Leaving early to avoid the heat of the dry zone, we ride along the boundary of Bundala Bird Sanctuary. During certain times of the year thousand of flamingos can be seen wading in the brackish shallows, eyed up by crocodiles basking in the early morning sun. After 25 km we hit the main road for the final 30 km to Hambantota, a series of sandy bays fanning out from this typical coastal town. We transfer from Hambantota to Ahangama by vehicle.
Cycling distance: approx 55 km
The next day is free to relax at the hotel or join a late morning ride along rural roads to Wandurugama, a small rural village, before returning via Koggala Lake. The afternoon is free to explore the beach area, swim and laze by the pool, or watch the stilt fishers climb their poles to catch a few bites for supper. Tonight we will have a seafood barbeque at the hotel.
From November to April you can also go whale watching off Dondra Head, near Mirissa, which is one of the best places in the world for seeing blue and sperm whales. Huge pods of dolphins are also often seen accompanying the boats.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 12 Itinerary
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 13 Galle/Colombo
Leaving mid-morning, we stop to visit Galle, The old Dutch fort was built in 1663 after the Dutch took the island from the Portuguese. The old ramparts and small backstreets bring alive some of the history for the fight for colonial domination of this prized island. You are free to find your own lunch and have a wander, before meeting back at the bus for the 2 hour drive to Colombo. We arrive late afternoon and the rest of the day is free to relax or shop along the main street.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- HZXS Local Bike Hire - Cycle the Backroads of Sri Lanka - Exodus (HZXS)
- HZXS Single Supplement (HZXS)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
On this trip we cycle an average distance of 75 km (47 miles) per day, of 95% tarmac and 5% unsurfaced road. The terrain is hilly but the support vehicle is available if you need some time out. Routes mostly follow quiet backroads with occasional unsurfaced sections which may be rough in places. Keeping to the backroads means that there is less traffic but it can become busier when approaching towns.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LRK).
There are now many ATM machines throughout Sri Lanka, which accept both Visa and MasterCard. Although this is a safe and convenient way to access money during your trip we do recommend that you carry some money as cash/travellers cheques for when ATMs can not be accessed. Some money should be taken as US dollars cash in case of emergencies.
A 'black market' for currency changing does exist in Sri Lanka, these are considered a danger and best avoided. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks will allow cash advances against a credit card.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for drivers.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
At your group meeting on day 1 your tour guide will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
As of the 1st January 2013 a 25USD (3,250LKR Sri Lanka Rupees) departure tax has been introduced for all international flight travellers.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
The minimum age of clients on this trip is 16 years. Please note that teenagers aged 16 or 17 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
If you need to hire a bike please let us know at time of booking. Your sales consultant will be able to provide you with the cost for bike hire.
The following departures are Premium departures -
On these departures we stay in a range of
excellent hotels, ranging from comfortable modern properties to
older properties bursting with character. Many have pools, and most
have excellent facilities as well as restaurants serving tasty local
specialities and international dishes. As hotels are located in slightly
different locations than the hotels we use on our standard departures
then some days of the itinerary maybe slightly altered.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Hotel (13 nts)
Accommodation on this trip is a mixture of comfortable hotels with pools and 1 and 2 star hotels. Guesthouses are simple but in good locations along the cycle route giving a real flavour of the country. All rooms have en suite facilities.
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
4x4, Bicycle, Support vehicle
All your luggage and personal belongings will be carried by the support vehicles, which are a minicoach and a Landrover, though these might change, depending on the group size. Transfer sections will be done in the minicoach, which is air-conditioned. The Landrover will follow the riders most of the time for those on the main route, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like.
If you choose to hire a bike, we use specialised Rockhopper or Trek Marlin bikes with front suspension. Bike hire should be arranged at the time of booking, and the cost will be added to your invoice. Very occasionally a bike of your size may not be available. We may be able to offer you a bike of a different but acceptable size, or otherwise you must bring your own bike.
There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed. An experienced English-speaking cycle guide and local driver will accompany all groups.
Phone: 94 662286815
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
No. 371, Galle Road
Colombo - 06
Phone: +94 (01) 2363306
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
Foreign passport holders are required to obtain a visa prior to entry into Sri Lanka. This can be done on-line at the following website:
Detailed information and application forms are provided here. The process is simple and the cost is US$20 for most countries.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE:
Plenty of people choose to bring their own bikes on our cycle trips. If you wish to bring your own bike, please note that we cannot guarantee against small scratches and paintwork damage involved in the loading and unloading from support vehicles.
Please note that helmets must be worn when riding on all our Cycling holidays. You must bring your own helmet with you for this trip, as they are not available for hire.
EXTRA BIKE BITS:
You may like to bring your own saddle (excluding the seat post), or over gel cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it's your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle at the end of the trip. We can't guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.
A helmet, eye-protection (sunglasses), cycling gloves and water bottles or hydration system (e.g. camelbak). Please note that helmets must be worn when riding off-road on all our Cycling holidays. You must bring your own helmet with you for this trip, as they are not available for hire.
RECOMMENDED CYCLING CLOTHING::
Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof / windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting day pack.
FIRST AID KIT:
You should bring a small, personal first aid kit with you including items such as high factor sunscreen, lip balm and chamois cream if required.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
For the last 22 years Sri Lanka has been in the throes of a civil war and though long-term peace is now a positive prospect some sections of the country are still deemed as unsafe to travel to. The itinerary has been chosen with the safety and security of our travellers in mind however we retain the right to alter the itinerary at any time, if we deem it necessary.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
Although western standards of dress are becoming more accepted, the Sinhalese in general remain very traditional in what they wear. Out of respect (even though you may see other travellers dressed otherwise) both men and women should dress conservatively - no sleeveless/halter-necked tops please. Whilst shorts are acceptable in tourist centres they should be modest and reach to just above the knee. Arms and legs (and, occasionally, heads for women) should be covered when in religious buildings.
Please be aware that you will be passing through some remote villages where the locals are unaccustomed to seeing people in tight lycra - we recommend you wear baggy shorts or loose 'over shorts' so as not to cause offence.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.