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Motorcycle road trip Sri Lanka - On the Roads of Ceylon

Motorcycle road trip Sri Lanka

On the Roads of Ceylon

Explore this lost paradise in the Indian Ocean, on a stunning motorbike tour.

Got a question?
Benoît will guide you!

Francis, Travel designer

Francis is a biker always venturing out on the road to uncover new routes with as much passion as he has telling stories. He is an enthusiast and knows our itineraries like the back of his hand.

Got a passion for motorbikes, nature and history? Then head off along Sri Lanka’s magical roads and trails. There are many Indian influences here, but they are lighter, softer, and restyled. Enter a radiant and luxuriant world – from the cultural triangle to the tea plantations, with a detour via Trincomalee before venturing into rainforests and national parks, then ending your trip near Galle, with feet dipped in the sea. For bikers who fancy intensely new surroundings and variety, this complete motorcycle tour blends cultural riches and beautiful landscapes.

Useful information
Period December to April
Duration 12 days incl. 10 days' riding
Available extensions
Level Intermediate
English-speaking tour leader
Accommodation Standard, Charming or Comfort
From €3,090/pilot

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Your Motorcycle Tour in Sri Lanka 12 stages - 876 miles

negombo sri lanka oruwa boat fisherman
D1 / Arrive in Negombo

You are met at the airport and taken 20 minutes by car to Negombo, a fishing port and coastal resort. After you settle in at the hotel, time for some beach- or pool-based R & R. From the shore, you can admire the flotilla of oruwas, traditional fishing boats whose square sails dance on the ocean.

sri lanka fisherman beach
D2 / Negombo - Kalpitiya - 68 miles

We begin the tour by heading north towards Kalpitiya peninsula, along a series of minor coastal roads and some tracks, passing through fishing villages. We reach a stretch lined by huge coconut plantations before they give way to shrimp farms. We fork off onto the peninsula and ride between the lagoon and the ocean.

sri lanka swimming pool hotel luxury resort
D3 / Kalpitiya - Sigiriya - 118 miles

After around 18 miles of main road skirting the immense Karuwalagas lagoon, we cross a plain peppered with jungles, rice paddies, coconut plantations, mango groves and several lakes. We make a detour to visit the Ritigala ruins, a monastery that was abandoned many years ago, nestled in the heart of the jungle. Only when the imposing Lion Rock is dominating the reddish plains do we know that we’ve arrived in Sigiriya.

sri lanka schoolgirl road
D4 / Sigiriya - 84 miles

Today, we have two options: we can visit either the ancient city of Polonnaruwa or Dambulla’s Buddhist cave temple. We ride along the edge of Minneriya National Park, where elephant sightings are common. After a break near Giritale tank, we head to Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, we can head to Dambulla and its astounding caves housing numerous Buddha statues.

sri lanka motorcycle couple paddy field
D5 / Sigiriya - Trincomalee - 99 miles

This morning, we visit the Lion Rock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hike to the top, where we’re rewarded with spectacular views. We head northeast along indescribably charming country roads for around 12 miles, then rough and ready tracks to end on a recently renovated, easy road straight to the coast. We stop in Trincomalee, a city that welcomed the end of the Tamil Tiger conflict.

motorcycle trip sri lanka landscape biker mountain
D6 / Trincomalee - Wasgamuwa - 134 miles

We drive south through the endless eastern plains, peppered with pristine expanses, enormous lakes and protected natural parks. We enjoy a long, wide track, which resembles an off-road highway. This part of the island is uncrowded and this leg takes us to the foothills of a large mountain range in south-central Sri Lanka. We stop at the foot of Knuckles mountain range.

sri lanka motorcycle tour
D7 / Wasgamuwa - Knuckles - 62 miles

We drive alongside the Knuckles range, a beautiful, tall mountain that remains very wild. We enjoy magnificent views of reservoirs with deep blue waters and the mountain range getting closer and closer until we reach a smooth, well-designed road that takes up into the cool high-altitude tropical rainforests above 1,000 m altitude. Finally, we end this beautiful leg passing our first tea plantations and rural villages.

sri lanka tea estate plantation pluckers
D8 / Knuckles - Nuwara Eliya - 78 miles

We continue our adventure, venturing into the heart of the island and its highlands, overlooked by the country’s highest peaks. We climb up to almost 2,000 metres. The road winds through several tea plantations and their artistic formations. When we reach Nuwara Eliya, the country’s highest city, you’ll soon realise that its nickname “Little England” is no exaggeration: it still carries a strong British influence.

sri lanka route elephant
D9 / Nuwara Eliya - Ella - 56 miles

We are in the heart of Sri Lanka's tea country. We take a deliberately arduous route so that we can really make the most of this unique region. As well as tea bushes, we also pass many dairy farms, a landscape that could easily be passed off as Switzerland. We arrive in Ella for lunch, a peaceful refuge for many travellers. We then ride to our stop for the night, just outside this small town.

sri lanka bathing river
D10 / Ella - Udawalawe - 99 miles

Today, we leave the central highlands behind us and head for the south coast. We make one last tea-related visit to the historical Sir Lipton’s tea factory, and weather permitting, we may even be able to take a ride to Lipton’s Seat, a lookout with perfect views across this empire of green gold. We take a break at Diyaluma Falls, the third highest in Sri Lanka. We stay on the edge of the famous Udawalawe national park.

sri lanka beach sea coconut tree
D11 / Udawalawe - Galle - 78 miles

We enjoy an early morning safari in Udawalawe national park, where elephant sightings are guaranteed. Then, we head to the much-loved south coast. En route, we stop off at Mulkirigala rock temples and the reclining Buddhas in the caves, proof of the island’s ancient Buddhist culture. We reach the turquoise waters of the coast, take a break next to the sea and then ride on to Galle, an old Dutch fortified city.

sri lanka stilt fisherman
D12 / Galle - Colombo international airport

Today, we ride to Colombo. You are then transferred to the airport in a private vehicle based on your flight time. Important: Make sure that you book an evening flight.

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the full program

Available extensions

The riders' opinions

alan williams
Have done Mongolia and Sri lanka

“Have done Mongolia and Sri lanka, both Excellent and cannot wait to get on another trip, always good company great riding and a fabulous adventure.”

stephen buskell
Vintage Rides SrI Lanka

“I was born in Sri Lanka but I was taken to parts I didn't know existed. Excellent knowledge of which routes to take to avoid the sometimes hellish traffic. The bikes were great fun : this is despite me being 125 kilos on a 350 - impressed ! They seem to be constantly reviewing their hotels which can only mean a better experience I would recommend this company to my biking friends”

Vintage Rides was Fantastic

“Vintage Rides delivered as they said they would, from the initial booking and liaising (which was all done via phone and internet as I am based in Australia) to the actual trip. There wasn't one thing that I could fault, the bikes were great and suited to the riding conditions, accommodation was great for the region, food was always plentiful and high quality. Our Guide, Mechanic and Support Driver were great and a fun part of the group and also very helpful and supportive. I enjoyed Vintage Rides that much that I am planning another trip in the future as it was that much fun.”


Upcoming departures

From December 22nd 2019 to January 2nd 2020
Special Xmas and NY's Eve tour
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From February 1st 2020 to February 12th 2020
From February 15th 2020 to February 26th 2020
From March 1st 2020 to March 12th 2020
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