Sri Lanka – The Perfect Adventure Motorcycling Destination

Sri Lanka – The Perfect Adventure Motorcycling Destination

Sri Lanka, Ceylon, Serendip – This emerald island nation nestled between India and Southeast Asia in the Indian Ocean has carried many names over the past 2,000 years. Sri Lanka, the country’s name since the 1970’s, seems to exemplify its characteristics better than the others: ‘Sri’, meaning ‘resplendent’ and ‘Lanka’, the Sinhalese word for ‘island’ and you know exactly what you are getting.

The first time you get on a bike and start to make your way around this island paradise, one specific question flashes through your mind: why did it take so long to do this? Forget about the stunning beauty of the place, the myriad cultural icons, the fabulous food or the sublime beaches because I will talk about these in a second: It’s the endless, perfectly maintained winding roads through national parks, tea plantations and mountain jungles that places Sri Lanka in the highest echelons of adventure motorcycling bliss. Now for the breakdown:

Tangalla Beach
  • The Beaches

Lest we forget, we are on holiday here and holiday for most people usually includes some beach time. It is here that we switch off and soak in the acoustic accompaniment of lapping waves and a good dose of sunshine. Sri Lanka has 1,342 kilometres or 832 miles of coastline and, no matter where you go, you will be hard pressed to find one with a crowd. Spare the odd herd of wild elephants (yes, really) most beaches are yours to explore. And because the country is a mere 550 miles or 880 km from the equator, the clear blue Indian Ocean surf surrounding your feet is warm and inviting.

Lion’s Rock in Sigiriya
  • The Mountains

As soon as you feel the equatorial heat making you feel a bit grumpy, it’s time to head to the mountains. The Knuckles Range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country’s core snakes us up to 1,200 metres or 4,000 feet and enshrouds us in a beautiful mist that turns the scene into a fabulous water colour at sunset. Up here you will find richly architected tea plantations to call home for a night or two while you take an evening meal of locally sourced Sri Lanka cuisine on a veranda.

  • The Food

As you would expect, the dishes are awash in the local flavours of the tropics: Coconut, limes, seafood, an array of spices, dals and rice, whether enjoyed at a roadside stall or a fine restaurant in Colombo or Galle, you have to try exceptionally hard to be disappointed. Grab a cooking class on your down days and bring something truly magical home with you.

A bull elephant at Yala National Park
  • The Wildlife

You don’t have to wait to be on safari to start spotting the incredible species Sri Lanka is home to. Endless winding country lanes, their boundaries strung with electric fencing, tells you you’re in elephant country. Spotting a wild elephant on a one of these roads or indeed on the side of a highway or strolling along the beach is not at all uncommon. It’s once you arrive at one the country’s many wildlife parks and refuges that the animal kingdom really comes to life: crocodiles, wild boar, deer, langurs and macaques abound and if you are really, really lucky, a leopard may cross your motorcycle’s path.

  • The Roads

If all those characteristics of this exotic island are not enough for you, then there is one common denominator that binds us all: the bike and all those glorious roads. You want muddy tracks through rice paddies? Fit the knobbies and get as filthy as you like. Wide, swinging twisties more your thing? Head to the mountains and lean your way to hillstation heaven. A nice coastal jaunt as Indian Ocean breezes soothe your face? The 1,300 kilometres of coastline will ensure you never, ever run out of beach.


Don’t Think. Go.

Sri Lanka, you may have read, is in a state of turmoil right now and we sincerely hope the situation rights itself soon. But, as is often the case with the news, the images that flash across your screen seldom tell more than a tiny fraction of the real story. Sri Lanka is still fully committed to its tourism industry and, to be honest, the best thing anyone considering traveling to this part of the world should do is exactly that: Go. You will be rewarded with a nation of endless natural beauty, kind people, marvellous cuisine, and breath-taking cultural icons. And they will benefit from a much-needed resuscitation of their vital tourism industry.


Robb La Velle

Roro La Velle is the founder and Maharaja of Client Experience with Two Wheeled Expeditions. He has ridden around the world twice and laid tracks through over 40 countries on 4 continents. He is also the author of ‘The Places In Between‘, an account of a husband & wife team circumnavigating the world on two wheels

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