Map of Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak including Sri Lanka

From seaside to mountaintop, get active in Sri Lanka

Ride through tea plantations, kayak down rivers and hike to ancient fortresses on an active adventure from Negombo to Colombo. Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s most exciting destinations and it’s not hard to see why. With pristine coastline, ancient ruins, rugged peaks and wildlife-filled national parks, it’s a dream for travellers who like to get outdoors. Explore the country’s premier sites while wandering through the wilds on this Sri Lankan experience.


Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination
Sri Lanka
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures
Code
HPXM
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Kayak down the sparking Gin River, taking in Sri Lanka’s ever-changing landscape. Float past forests, sandbanks and plantations while keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way.

  • Encounter Sri Lanka's amazing scenery and biodiversity while hiking through the Knuckles Mountain Range and on to the ‘Mini World’s End’.

  • Cycle a mostly downhill route through the green heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country in ‘the Golden Valley of Ceylon

  • Slip down a few gears in the laidback coastal town of Weligama, where inviting sandy beaches offer a welcome break for sore muscles, and fantastic waves give you the chance to stay active.

  • Come face to face with one of Sri Lanka’s most storied sites as you hike to the ancient carved rock fortress of Sigiriya, rising dramatically from the surrounding plains.

  • Get to know the layered history of Galle during a cycle and walking tour, uncovering the city’s maze of streets, colonial buildings and famous 17th-century fort.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip requires a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy the physical activities included.

  • While the activities are diverse, they are all run at a relaxed pace and do not require a high level of expertise/experience to participate in. All travellers will need to be competent swimmers to take part in the kayaking section of this trip.

  • The weather in this region varies seasonally. Be prepared to get sweaty, and for the occasional rainstorm which may require a change of plans. Drink plenty of water and remember a good quality hat and sun block.

Itinerary

Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the beachside town of Negombo, located close to Colombo's international airport. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Negombo - Spirit of Negombo Urban Adventure - USD60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave early and travel by private vehicle (approximately 3 hours) to Dambulla, home to the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. After checking into your accommodation take the short drive to 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, as the near vertical walls elevate the ancient city of Sigiriya high into the air, keeping the secrets of the Kassapa Kingdom inaccessible save for a rigorous climb along steep staircases. On the way you’ll visit the water and boulder gardens, frescoes and the mirror wall. The next section of the climb takes approximately 30 mins along steep walkways and steps all the way up to the rocky plateau, soaring 200 metres above the jungle below. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s hike takes approximately 1-2 hrs and is mostly stone steps. You can opt out of the final section of the hike, resting at Lion’s Paw Terrace, if you choose.
Today is a gentle one as you enjoy a relaxed jeep safari (approximately 2-3 hours) in the nearby Minneriya National Park. The park plays host to a mix of evergreen forest and scrublands, not to mention the sambar deer, leopards and elephants that can often be spotted roaming the wild. After the safari travel by private vehicle (approximately 2 hours) to the Knuckles Mountain Range, your home for the next two nights. Named after its striking visual likeness to human knuckles, this mystical UNESCO World Heritage Site features 34 dramatic mountains that range from 900 to 2,000 metres, surrounded by dense forest, waterfalls and terraced rice fields, and is home to some of Sri Lanka’s most stunning 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 a delightful evening walk around the village before relaxing by the riverside and an included dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Minneriya National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you’ll head out early on a rigorous full day guided hike along the Manigala Trek through the Knuckles region. Start hiking after breakfast and wind your way through emerald green forests and hillsides, past sheer cliffs and alongside fast-flowing rivers, perhaps stopping at villages surrounded by verdant rice terraces along the way. Enjoy lunch by the river and continue up the stone and dirt trail all the way up to the imposing Manigala Rock, where spectacular panoramic views of the valley below and adjacent peaks await. After taking in the views make your way back down to camp to enjoy a hearty dinner after a long but rewarding day’s hiking.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Knuckles Mountain Range guided trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s total walking distance is approximately 12kms/7.5miles, with a maximum altitude of 1112m/3650ft. Depending on the weather and the trail conditions the hike can vary from moderate to challenging.
Begin the day with a moderate 2 to 3-hour hike through beautiful forest to Knuckles’ renowned Mini World’s End, a dramatic observation point overlooking the Thelgamuwa Valley and a sheer drop of 1192 metres (4000ft) to the forest floor below. The panoramic views over the misty green valley and distant mountain peaks are truly spectacular. After the hike enjoy a picturesque vehicle transfer to Kandy (approximately 2.5 hours). Lying in the hills of the Kandy plateau, this major 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 find a spot by the scenic lake in the centre of town and while away the afternoon or opt to 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 landed it as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Knuckles Mini World's End Guided Trek
Optional Activities
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth - LKR2000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start your day with a scenic train journey to Hatton (approximately 3 hours). After arriving, cycle directly from the train station, enjoying the undulating scenery of vast tea estates lying in the flowing, tree-lined hills, as you make your way to the small but picturesque village of Norton Bridge. After arriving at your hotel, those feeling energetic can 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 simply put your feet up with a nice cup of Ceylon tea – the choice is yours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Adam's Peak Trek - LKR6000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total cycling distance is approximately 38kms/23 miles and takes about 3 hours.
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, cycling through the sculpted green hills of ‘the Golden Valley of Ceylon’. Your cycling will be broken up with snack breaks and a lunch stop, providing plenty of fuel (and photo opportunities) for your ride. At the end of your ride, transfer to the delightful coastal town of Weligama (approximately 3 hours), which literally translates to ‘sandy village’. This dual personality town, part fishing village and part beachside resort, is the perfect place to simply sit back and relax by the beach after a few vigorous days. For those looking to stay active, Weligama is the ideal place to hit the waves at one of the local surf or bodyboarding schools.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Golden Valley of Ceylon Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling
  • Hatton Tea Country Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total cycling distance is on mostly sealed and undulating roads, approximately 65kms/40miles, with 720m/2360ft of elevation gain.
Start your day with a short drive (approximately 1 hour) to the small town of Unanwitiya, your jumping off point for an exciting day kayaking down the Gin River. After instruction from our expert guides, cruise down the clear waters of the river as it winds its way downstream on a mixture of occasional white but mostly flat water. Paddle past dense forests, huge sandbanks, tea plantations and rice paddy fields while keeping an eye out for monitor lizards, colourful birds and the occasional troop of monkeys. After the kayaking, head to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage coastal city of Galle. Once the main port for the cinnamon trade, this former Portuguese then Dutch colonial city features a maze of rambling streets, colonial buildings, mansions, ancient churches, a characterful lighthouse, and it’s crowning jewel, 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 on an afternoon cycling tour Galle Fort then get to know the city more intimately on a walking tour along the ramparts and winding streets of the Fort. Return to relaxed Weligama in the evening for a well-earned rest after an active day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Galle - Galle Fort Walking tour
  • Gin River Kayaking
  • Galle Guided Cycling Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total kayaking time is approximately 4-6 hours and is rated ‘Beginner/Intermediate’. All appropriate safety gear and a full safety briefing is provided.

Today’s total cycling distance is approximately 4kms/2 miles, with 100m/330ft of elevation gain.
Depart Weligama after breakfast with a transfer to Colombo (approximately 2.5 hours). On arrival, check into your hotel and then take a city 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 final group dinner to celebrate your journey. This comes in the form of a food crawl along the city's tantalising market stalls.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colombo - City walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today marks the end of your adventure and there are no activities scheduled after breakfast. You are free to depart at any time or stay on an further explore this fascinating city.
Optional Activities
  • Colombo - Colombo by Tuk Tuk Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Colombo - Eat, Eat, Repeat Urban Adventure - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Jeep, Taxi, Kayak, Mountain Bike

Accommodation

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

Included activities

  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Minneriya National Park
  • Knuckles Mountain Range guided trek
  • Knuckles Mini World's End Guided Trek
  • Golden Valley of Ceylon Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling
  • Hatton Tea Country Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling
  • Galle - Galle Fort Walking tour
  • Gin River Kayaking
  • Galle Guided Cycling Tour
  • Colombo - City walking tour

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Read details here.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 3 & 4 (Camping). Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. In case of weather conditions leading to cancellations or delays in the included outdoor activities, this trip will operate on an alternate itinerary.
3. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag or sleeping mat. Your luggage will transported by vehicle and will meet you at the camp site.
4. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.

Essential trip information

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