Rural outback cycling challenge: dry zone forest road – Kalthota

Cycle through the Kalthota dry zone, and meet the island's rural folk while exploring: reservoirs, the risky Kalthota Pass, waterfall hunting trails, and Elephant Corridors of Udawalawe National Park.

kalthota cycling trailSLDT/1702/CY02
Why should you book this trip?

  • A ride to 50m from 1200m passing breathtaking diverse scenery, different vegetation types and many different communities.
  • Feel the climatic diversity of Sri Lanka.
  • Close interaction with the local community. There are few better ways to truly experience the essence of Sri Lanka's rural culture and its untouched natural beauty than on a bicycle. Get up close and personal with some of the island's rural folk and experience what life is like in a traditional Sri Lankan village.
  • Some of the tour highlights – Samanalawewa reservoir and dam, Kuragala view point, beautiful Kalthota Pass with many hairpin bends, Doowili Ella Waterfall, Kalthota irrigational canal, and the Elephant Corridors of Udawalawe National Park.
  • You will be led by an experienced cycle guide.




+94 70 222 8222




Included in the price

  • High quality, well-maintained mountain bikes with helmets
  • The services of an experienced cycling guide
  • Drinking water during the cycle tour
  • Packed snacks and refreshments during the trail
  • Emergency back-up at any time
  • All Government taxes



  • Transportation to the starting point and from the end point of the cycle trail (this could be arranged by us)
  • Any extra beverages or food and snacks consumed
  • Optional activity costs
  • Any personal effects not mentioned here
  • Any tips for the staff
  • Any others expenses not mentioned in Price Inclusions section




Tour in brief 

You will meet our guide at the Pambahinna junction on time. We start the bike ride after putting on the cycling gear followed by a brief on the safety, trail and pit stops etc.

We cycle past the Sabaragamuwa University and some breathtaking scenic villages to reach the Samanalawewa lake dam. From here, we climb up few kilometres, through the forest reserve to reach a viewpoint of the magnificent lake. After a little rest, we do a few short uphill and downhill stretches to reach to Balangoda/Kalthota road. We cycle on this route to reach Kuragala. We park our bikes and do the climb to Kuragala Rock. It’s a sacred place for Buddhists and Muslims also.

We take our bikes again and go down the scenic Kalthota Pass until we reach the turn off to the Duwili Ella – one of the hidden gems of Sri Lanka. We will do a walk to see this magnificent waterfall.

The next lap of the cycling trail is mostly downhill and flat. Upon reaching the Kalthota hamlet, we take the left turn and cycle along a beautiful canal until we reach a newly-built fairly broad tarmac road. We cycle past many interesting landscapes, encountering different villages as we cycling through an Elephant Corridor.

Our final destination on this cycling journey is the Big Game Camp – Udawalawe.

After a short break, you will have your lunch and continue the journey.


  • Clients should bring suitable clothing for warm, windy and rainy conditions
  • Recommended items such as insect repellent and sun lotion should be brought by clients
  • Lightweight clothes and biking shoes and boots should be worn on the ride
  • Water bottles and refreshments should be carried by clients at all times
  • Dress code and other important things when visiting temples
    • Dress should cover shoulders and legs down to knee level
    • Head should be uncovered
    • Shoes to be taken off
    • White is the widely used color
      • Don't try to photograph without asking or referring signage, since some important religious places do not allow photography or videography
  • Should be talking softly inside the temple


Kuragala is a Buddhist monastery complex 18 kms off Balangoda. It covers a number of rock outcrops which is collectively known as Kuragala. The monastery has between 30-40 rock caves while some are large enough to hold around 2000-3000 people. These ruins date as far back as the second century BC and has even been declared an archeological reserve.

Kuragala is also a topic of great debate amongst Buddhists and Muslims in the country as they both claim the sire as being important in their respective faiths.

The Muslims in Sri Lanka claim that it is a holy mountain, home to an ancient Sufi shrine while the Buddhists claim that the rock cave is an ancient Buddhist monastic site.

While hard-line Buddhists demand that the site be cleared of all Islamic buildings and monuments, the Muslims are adamant that the mosque remain in its current location due to its great significance.

The Muslims believe the Arabic rock inscriptions and tombstones at the site as well as other historical evidence points to a greatly revered Islamic saint who had come on a pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak and meditated in the rock caves for 12 years.

However, Buddhists say the archaeological evidence point to Kuragala being of significance to Buddhism.


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