Special offer

Celebrate 20 years of epic adventures with Charity Challenge!

Get 20% off your registration fee for 20 days.*

Use code CELEBRATE20 when booking.

*offer applies only to selected expeditions, valid only on for new bookings, sale runs 17 June - 6 July 2019, not valid in conjunction with any other offers. 

Sat 21 Mar - Sun 29 Mar 2020

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

ESSENTIAL INFO

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Typical Day

Safety

Responsible Tourism

Extension

Flights

Visa

Insurance

Vaccinations and Medicine

Climate and Terrain

Training

Training Weekends

Luggage Allowance and Valuables

Leadership

Group Size

Bikes, clothing and equipment

Accommodation and Toilets

Food and Drink

Money

Phone and Wifi

Emergencies

Level of Difficulty

Challenging: A “challenging” trip will test someone who is relatively fit and has a spirit of adventure. You may have had some previous experience, but this is not necessary as long as the correct training is undertaken. A “challenging” trip may involve some altitude, but this will be compensated by easier terrain and trekking conditions. 

You can tell your supporters that on your Sri Lanka cycle Challenge you will be:

  • Cycling for around 6-8 hours per day, covering approximately 450kms over 6 days.
  • Battling the heat and humidity. Temperatures can reach the 30s.
  • Taking on the challenging climb to Nuwara Eliya - a 20km uphill cycle. 

Typical Day

You will wake at around 6am, have breakfast and pack your daypack for the next section of the cycle. You will be given enough water for the day and your packed lunch to carry. The rest of your luggage will be transported for you to the next destination. At around 7.30am you will begin the day’s cycle, stopping for lunch at a scenic spot around midday. You will be cycling throughout the morning to avoid the midday heat and will usually arrive at your destination by mid-afternoon. In the evening, you will have dinner and a briefing around 7.30pm.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, an advanced and thorough safety management system. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount.

In terms of your Sri Lanka challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The cycling route is exposed at times, and on sunny days the temperatures can soar. You should ideally be wearing sun cream and a cap with a peak (so it can be worn under a helmet) and be hydrating constantly!
  • Your challenge will see you cycling on different terrain and road types, from gravelly back-country tracks to sections of busier roads. The road conditions will vary and you should be aware of loose stones and potholes. Your leader will brief you fully before each day. 
  • Smoke alarms are not a legal requirement in Sri Lanka, and as such some of the hotels we use do not have them in place. Your leader will explain the emergency fire procedures to you.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Extension

If an extension is available for your itinerary, this info will be included on the respective expedition website. If you wish to book an extension, you will need to do so no later than 4 months prior to departure.

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow to Colombo Bandaranayake Airport. The flying time is approx 11 hours when flying directly. Once confirmed, your flight info will be available in your Account Area under 'Flights'. Your flight tickets will be emailed to you before your departure.

If you choose to book your own flights please confirm with the Charity Challenge office prior to booking any flights, otherwise you may be liable for your included group flight cost. Contact flights@charitychallenge.com for any further info or intent of booking your own flights. For any general flights questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Visa

We will upload a Visa Application Advice document into your account area 3 months prior to your departure. The visa info is per the FCO website where a link will be provided together with a link to the visa office for that country.

The approximate cost of visas for this itinerary is $35.

Insurance

It is a condition of travelling with Charity Challenge that you have a suitable travel insurance policy which covers you for your entire challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. 

If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you must complete and return to Charity Challenge prior to travel.

For more travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page or for any specific queries, please contact us at bookings@charitychallenge.com.

Vaccinations and Medicine

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the Travel Health Pro page:  https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/204/sri-lanka

Charity Challenge team are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting, and as such, it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Medication

  • Carry medicines (including those bought over the counter) in their correctly labelled original packaging, as issued by the pharmacist. These should be carried in your hand luggage.
  • Consider packing a spare supply of medication in the hold luggage in case of loss of hand luggage
  • A letter from the prescriber detailing the medicines with the generic names for the medications can be helpful for border control checks, and in case medicines have to be replaced or medical help is required
  • Carry a note from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery for controlled substances and injection medications
  • Take out an appropriate level of travel health insurance including repatriation and specific cover for any pre-existing illnesses

N.B.  Some medications are banned abroad so please check. You can find further information at https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/43/medicines-abroad

Climate and Terrain

Climate
The weather in Sri Lanka varies depending on which part of the country you are in. In March, Central (Sigirya) and southern (Galle) Sri Lanka can see temperatures reach the mid-30s. Kandy and the hills of the Tea Country will be a little cooler due to their higher altitude. The monsoon season runs from April to September, but you should still come prepared for showers in March. 
The weather in September is more varied and, whilst it is the end of the monsoon season, there is still a chance of showers along the south coast and in the hills of the tea country. Central Sri Lanka usually remains dry, even during the monsoon season, and temperatures will be between 25c and 30c. 

Terrain
You will mainly be cycling on B roads with good tarmac. The ride between Sigiriya and Kandy has a long gravel section. The final 20km between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya is a steady uphill climb on a well-maintained road. 

Training

To help build your fitness and stamina, we offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends help you become physically prepared for the challenge. Our experienced instructors and leaders will also talk you through your clothing and equipment, health and wellbeing, trekking skills and teamwork. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out the information in your online account area. (please note: these training weekends are not cycling weekends.)

Training Weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends help you become physically prepared for the challenge. Our experienced instructors and leaders will also talk you through your clothing and equipment, health and wellbeing, trekking skills and teamwork. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out the information in your online account area.

Luggage Allowance and Valuables

The luggage allowance will depend on the airline we are using for your challenge, but in general it will be one piece of checked baggage at  approximately 20kg.

Each cycling day, your personal kit will be transported to the next stop by a support vehicle. You will carry a daypack for your daily needs such as sun cream, lunch, water, camera and lightweight waterproofs.

We will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions. The general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Carry your passport with you and make sure you have a photocopy of your documents (travel insurance, passport, visa etc.) in case they get lost or damaged.

We advise that you wear your cycling footwear on the plane and take a set of cycling clothing (especially your jacket) in your hand luggage. In the unlikely event that your hold bag should go missing, you will be able to begin the challenge until you are reunited with your luggage. 

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support guides and staff to assist them. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be 10 people minimum in order to run and a maximum of approx. 30 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 6 to 9 people by charging a small group supplement of £95 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Bikes, clothing and equipment

Bikes

The bikes are good quality, 27 speed hybrid bikes. They have front suspension, town and country tyres and adjustable stem hydraulic disc brakes. Please indicate your height on your booking form so that we can aim to book the correct size well in advance.

Clothing and Equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, a helmet is compulsory, and comfortable footwear for your cycle will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some good quality padded cycling shorts. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are a high quality, gore-tex waterproof jacket and technical/Dry fit t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. Cycling gloves, and a cotton scarf or buff are also highly recommended to protect you from the dust. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here, and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, cycle surgery, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Accommodation and Toilets

Accommodation

The standard of accommodation in Sri Lanka is generally high. All rooms are en-suite and have facilities for charging batteries and wifi connection. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please ensure that you note this where appropriate when booking or email challenges@charitychallenge.com

Toilets

These range from very basic during the cycling route to normal western standards in the accommodation. There will be en-suite toilet and washing facilities at the hotels. Remember to bring some toilet paper with you as it may be difficult to find during your cycling day.

Food and Drink

Food in Sri Lanka is a delight with strong influences from India, Indonesia and it's Southeast Asian neighbours. The currys are always freshly prepared, accompanied with rice and vegetables and flavoured with Sri Lanka's famous, locally-produced spices. 

Breakfast will usually consist of eggs made to order alongside small local dishes. Lunch will be lighter and usually consist of roti, fried rice and fruit. In the evenings you will be able to try the local curries with rice or a hotel buffet depending on the accommodation.

Clean drinking water will be provided for you while you cycle and there will be opportunities for you to purchase alcoholic and soft drinks to accompany your dinner. 

Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies. You will need to be as flexible as possible with your eating habits when travelling in Southeast Asia, as some diets are hard to cater for! 

Money

Currency

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee. Changing money at the airport is strongly recommended and you will often get the best rate here. ATMs are available at the airport and in Kandy, but they do not always accept international bank cards. Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted, but outside main centres you may find cash the only acceptable currency. It also may be difficult to cash travellers’ cheques.

How much to bring

All accommodation and meals are included within the price of the trip, as well as water during the days of your cycling challenge. You will not need to carry a lot of money with you during the challenge, but as there are opportunities to buy soft drinks, alcohol and snacks on the way we would suggest a maximum of about £15 a day. Remember to bring more if you intend to buy souvenirs as there are plenty of places to pick up gifts along the way.

Tipping

Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. We recommend approx. £10 per person per challenge-day. This should be given to the challenge leader who will distribute it among the support team, including guides, assistant guides, cooks and porters.

Phone and Wifi

Most of the accommodation you are in will have limited Wi-Fi which you will be able to use, but please do not rely upon this. You will have phone signal in almost all places on the challenge.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s cycling abilities. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. In the event of an emergency, all guides and leaders are maintaining contact via radio, and the backup vehicle will not be far away. If somebody is unable to cycle at all, then the guides will arrange evacuation to a vehicle.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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