Sri Lanka·April

Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Adventure - North

Three wheels. Two tuks. One epic ride.

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Overview

Imagine being able to tell your mates that you travelled 1,000km around Sri Lanka. In a rickshaw. A rickshaw that you drove. That, friends, is the Lanka Challenge rickshaw adventure: the ultimate road trip for those who like their travel fully-charged and no-holds-barred. Each day you’ll wake up, be told where you need to be by sundown, and get handed a list of challenges to complete along the way – the completion of which will see your team accrue points. The rest is up to you, you big legend. Questions you will be forced to ask yourself during the Lanka Challenge include: Who’s going to go and get a photo of that crocodile? Who’s going to get us invited to a local’s place for lunch? Who’s going to take one for the team in the chilli-eating challenge? What day is it? And where did I put my Imodium? One hell of an amazing time is guaranteed. Life-changing experiences are probable. Navigational stupidity is optional. Less travelled but no less exhilarating, our Northern Route will take you all the way up to the history-rich Jaffna and back down to beautiful beachside Trincomalee, and sometimes even further down the East Coast. Along the way, countless incredible landscapes will be thrust upon your face, and you’ll probably struggle to compute the severity of the serenity of it all. Best take a camera, then.

Highlights

Challenges

Challenges

Questions you will be forced to ask yourself during the Lanka Challenge include: Who’s going to go and get a photo of that crocodile? Who’s going to get us invited to a local’s place for lunch? Who’s going to take one for the team in the chilli-eating challenge? What day is it? And where did I put my Imodium? One hell of an amazing time is guaranteed.

Epic Scenery

Epic Scenery

Theres some epic scenery and we probably ask your tuk tuks to do a little more work on this route due to the hills but it’s nothing a tuk tuk can’t do. Along the way, countless incredible landscapes will be thrust upon your face, and you’ll probably struggle to compute the severity of the serenity of it all. Best take a camera, then.

Giving Back

Giving Back

All of our Adventure Challenges are geared around fundraising and responsible travel. It’s kind of our thing. That means that 10% of every dollar we get goes straight back to flagship charity projects and tree-planting campaigns in the countries we visit. The grassroots organisations that can really make a difference in the world.

Experience the Adventure

Schedule

Previous

Next

tamarind

DAY 1

Distanced Travelled: Training Day

Residence: Tamarind Tree Hotel

Check Point: Minuwangoda

kitesurfing

DAY 2

Distance Travelled: 160km

Residence: Kite Surfing Lanka

Check Point: Kalpitiya

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DAY 3

Distance Travelled: 160km

Residence: Camping

Check Point: Giant’s Tank

jetwing

DAY 4

Distance Travelled: 112km

Residence: Jetwing Jaffna

Check Point: Jaffna

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DAY 5

Distance Travelled: 220km

Residence:  Beach Hotel

Check Point: Nilaveli

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DAY 6

Distance Travelled: Rest Day

Residence: The Calm Resort

Check Point: Nilaveli

aliya

DAY 7

Distance Travelled: 150km

Residence: Aliya Hotel

Check Point: Sigiriya

amaya

DAY 8

Distance Travelled: 90km

Residence: Amaya Hills

Check Point: Kandy

suriya

DAY 9

Distance Travelled: 95km

Residence: Suriya Resort

Check Point: Negambo (Waikal)

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DAY 10

Distance Travelled: Departure

Residence: N/A

Check Point: Negambo

What's Included

What's Included

Hire and use of 1 genuine, ready to go vehicle for duration of challenge.

Accommodation for all nights in double or twin rooms.

Half-board. Delicious locally-made breakfasts and dinners at hotels.

All training, challenges & activities.

Challenge logistics & legal stuff (mechanics, ambulance, support team, permits, luggage truck & support vehicles).

Welcome pack (sim card and phone, map, t-shirt, event bag, phrase-book & navigational sheets).

Awards ceremony & farewell party.

10 % contribution to our Meaningful Travel projects

Flights, visas, airport transfers.

Tuk Tuk spare parts and repairs (approx. total £40-120 per team).

Fuel (approx. total £100 per team).

Day to day costs (approx. £30 per day for lunch and drinks).

Tuk Tuk Pimpin.

Sri Lanka

So, why is Sri Lanka so amazing?

Short answer: come and find out for yourself. Long answer: it’s sort of like India, without the madness and crowds. It’s still mad, and there are still crowds, but not quite on the same scale. It’s also got a great cultural legacy from trade and immigration: Indian, Tamil, English, Portuguese, Dutch. Pretty much every seafaring culture has touched the island at some point, which means the food is seriously good. Like don’t even get us started.

Sri Lanka

Trip Tips

The Tuk Tuk

The Tuk Tuk

Ah, the humble tuk tuk. The ride so nice they named it twice. These are standard issue, Indian-made, Sri Lankan-modified tuk tuks. They’ve got three wheels (don’t ask us why), an open frame, a canvas roof with drop down sides, a cabin for the driver and two seats in the back. Oh, and an engine: a 4-stroke beast that is probably slightly more powerful than a horse. Tuk tuks have a few advantages: they’re durable, easy to use and very forgiving. They’ll happily handle almost any surface, climate or level of abuse. Their cruising speed is a tasty 35kph (22mph). Their cruising altitude is about one foot.

How do challenges work?

How do challenges work?

The Challenge is broken up into various driving legs. Each team gets a road map and a daily navigational sheet, which they’ll use to get from A to B each day. The winning team isn’t necessarily the team that finishes first, it’s the one that accumulates the most Challenge points. How do you get points? By nailing various challenges, we set you along the way. That means that racing is not really encouraged. In fact it’s actively discouraged. There’s no need to set a new Sri Lankan ground-speed record (very difficult to do on a 200cc tuk tuk, but still…) We’ll provide mechanical support when you need it, but essentially you’re hiring a tuk tuk and driving it independently each day. By yourself. Han solo.

Reviews

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There is no way, like the Tuk Tuk way. Driving your own Tuk Tuk is the absolute best way to see the beautiful country of Sri Lanka and experience the hospitality, kindness and charm of the people.

Tilde Andrea Seider, Team Macaw

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The guys have this trip down to a fine art. During our travel we were far enough off the beaten track to feel this was a proper adventure but also supported just the right amount to know that if we really needed something we would be supported.

Nicholas Tyral, Team TNT-oi

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The Lanka challenge is not easy, sometimes its quite scary and its tiring, but its also a huge amount of fun, its massively rewarding and its truly the best and most amazing holiday experience that we have ever had and we can’t recommend it enough.

3 British Women and 1 Tuk Tuk, The Sri Lankanshire Lasses

Add Ons

ARRIVAL TRANSFER

ARRIVAL TRANSFER FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE HOTEL

PRICE$40.00/pp

ADD THIS

T-SHIRT

GET AN ADDITIONAL LARGE MINORITY T-SHIRT FOR YOUR ADVENTURE

PRICE$26.70/pp

ADD THIS

DEPARTURE TRANSFER

DEPARTURE TRANSFER FROM THE HOTEL TO THE AIRPORT

PRICE$40.00/pp

ADD THIS

You'll Be Staying Here

Tamarind Tree Hotel

Tamarind Tree Hotel

Kite Surfing Lanka

Kite Surfing Lanka

Jetwing Jaffna

Jetwing Jaffna

Beach Hotel

Beach Hotel

Aliya Resort & Spa

Aliya Resort & Spa

Amaya Hills

Amaya Hills

Suriya Resort

Suriya Resort

FAQs

Ah, the humble tuk tuk. The ride so nice they named it twice. These are standard issue, Indian-made, Sri Lankan-modified tuk tuks.

They’ve got three wheels (don’t ask us why), an open frame, a canvas roof with drop down sides, a cabin for the driver and two seats in the back. Oh, and an engine: a 4-stroke beast that is probably slightly more powerful than a horse.

Tuk tuks have a few advantages: they’re durable, easy to use and very forgiving. They’ll happily handle almost any surface, climate or level of abuse. Their cruising speed is a tasty 35kph (22mph). Their cruising altitude is about one foot.

Warning: Tuk Tuks can easily roll and flip if not handled correctly. We take safety really seriously on these challenges, and you should know there are inherent risks involved, including potentially life-threatening situations.

Specifications

  • Engine: 4 stroke engine – 200 cc
  • Petrol tank: 6 litre normal capacity plus 1 litre of reserve
  • Average petrol consumption: 1 litre approx 20 to 25 Km’s
  • Top speed: 55 kmph

For a comprehensive answer, go and Google ‘internal combustion engine’. But here are the cliffnotes.

  • The accelerator is found on the right.
  • The clutch and gears are located on the left.
  • The main break is actioned by your right foot.

On the first day of the event, everyone is required to attend a mandatory tuk tuk driving induction and safety training session (this means you). You’ll get enough lots of time to practice before hitting the road. A rickshaw is a cross between a car and a scooter, so clutch control is key. If you´ve driven a scooter or motorbike before, it’ll be a breeze.

It’s worth remembering that the Lanka Challenge is just that – a challenge. The Lanka Challenge is not a race. It’s not like Cake’s seminal 90s hit The Distance. Speed should not be your priority. If anything should be, it’s probably fun.

The Challenge is broken up into various driving legs. Each team gets a road map and a daily navigational sheet, which they’ll use to get from A to B each day. The winning team isn’t necessarily the team that finishes first, it’s the one that accumulates the most Challenge points. How do you get points? By nailing various challenges, we set you along the way.

That means that racing is not really encouraged. In fact it’s actively discouraged. There’s no need to set a new Sri Lankan ground-speed record (very difficult to do on a 200cc tuk tuk, but still…) We’ll provide mechanical support when you need it, but essentially you’re hiring a tuk tuk and driving it independently each day. By yourself. Han solo.

A team is made up of either 2 or 3 people. Apparently there is no ‘I’ in it. You get one tuk tuk per team.

Unfortunately, no. Only because each leg will start from the hotel / over-night stop and the idea is to share our challenging travel experience together. Most importantly you wouldn’t want to miss out on each night’s social gatherings…

Yes, you’ve got to be at least 18 years old in order to compete. We don’t have a maximum age, but if you’re over 65 we definitely recommend checking with your insurer to make sure you qualify for the medical insurance you’ll need to take part. The Challenge is pretty physically tough – we won’t sugar-coat it. You should really only take part if you’re in good physical shape and your health is A-Okay.

Probably not your ski jacket. Or that set of golf clubs. Sri Lanka is a tropical island, so pack accordingly. The nights can get a little chilly, depending on the time of year, so a windbreaker jacket and a few light layers wouldn’t go amiss. Other than that, bring all your travel essentials, some good quality suncream and anything you think will make the long driving days more fun (we recommend honing you I-Spy skills beforehand).

Don’t worry, you don’t have to strap suitcases to the roof of your tuk tuk. We’ve got a luggage truck that will follow us around. Each morning you’ll load it up with your heavy bags, and each night we’ll hand it back at our hotel. For the camping nights, we recommend bringing a smaller bag to act as a day pack.

Don’t stress, they’re very friendly. If you can ride a bicycle that has a clutch and an engine, you can ride a tuk tuk. Besides, on the first day everyone gets mandatory tuk tuk driving instruction and safety training. You’ll have plenty of practice before hitting the open road.

To put it bluntly – yes. There will be an element of danger, if only because you’re sitting behind the handlebars of a three-wheeled tuk tuk, on top of 200CC of raw power, and tackling unfamiliar roads in a foreign country. That in itself is a bit risky. But don’t worry too much – if you’re sensible and cautious, you should be fine, and we have a fully trained crew to swing in if anything goes wrong. That includes an ambulance and paramedics on standby.

Warning: Tuk Tuks can easily roll and flip if not handled correctly. We take safety really seriously on these challenges, and you should know there are inherent risks involved, including potentially life-threatening situations.

Your humble steed will be handed over in road worthy conditions and from then onwards it is your responsibility to take care of any repair costs. Our team of mechanics will be at your disposal throughout the event and will assist you with this at a cost. Otherwise you can turn to the locals to help you out. But don’t worry spare parts are not that expensive!

The cost of repairs depends on how each teams looks after their vehicle. Naturally there is a small amount of wear and tear on these type of events, but you will only be charged for parts that are damaged or need to be replaced. There will be a full vehicle inspection prior to handing over your tuk tuk. On average, the cost of repairs ranges from £40-120 per team.

These wonderful machines are surprisingly fuel efficient, so unless you drive like a madman your wheels will do at least 30 km to the litre so you won’t really be spending more than £100 bucks for the whole Challenge.

Whoa there, speed racer. These bad boys can’t really get over 50kph. The average speed should be around 35kph. Fast enough to get the blood racing, but not so fast you hit a cow. That’s the sweet spot.

If possible, try not to do this. One of our registration requirements is to pay (or better block the amount off your credit card) a refundable deposit of £ 1,500 per team. This will (ideally) cover you for most touch ups and accidents, although if the tuk tuk is a complete write-off the bill might increase. At the end of the Challenge we’ll inspect the vehicle, come to an agreement, and return any balance to you before you leave Sri Lanka. A pretty standard car-hire type system, really.

Emergency medical insurance is included in the trip price, however general travel insurance is not. We strongly recommended to protect against all the ways travel can go wrong. 

Teams have used Campbell Irvine in the past for this however please do shop around.  

Everyone who competes has to provide us with a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) with a Category B stamp. Sorry to be old bossy boots, but if you show up and can’t produce the license, we can’t let you compete (we also reserve the right to without a refund). NEW: We require you to send us a copy of your IDP and a digital copy of your passport photo so we can apply for a Sri Lankan recognition permit on your behalf.

Third party insurance is included under the hire of the tuk tuk. Scratch as many Ferraris as you want (please don’t actually do this).

Definitely! We love to see teams going the extra mile to raise money for charity. Just be aware that the tuk tuks we use have limited branding space (we take up some for our own branding purposes). If you need more info on this, just let us know.

Easy peasy. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up.
  2. Pay your initial deposit.

Once you’ve done all that successfully, we’ll send you an email with lots of exclamation marks confirming your team’s availability.

As soon as your registration is locked and loaded, we’ll email you and ask you to provide us with:

  1. A passport copy for each team member (we promise not to laugh at the photos).
  2. International Driving Permit with a category A or B stamp.
  3. Your arrival and departure details.

We’ll double check all these docs on the ground in Sri Lanka, so please bring copies with you.

No. If you have any concerns regarding this we do offer post payment options so please contact us directly for more information regarding this.

30 days before the Challenge.

Nope. We’ll provide the sleeping bags and the marshmallows as necessary. However it might be good to bring a torch.

Ah visas, our old nemesis. You can find out the full list, and how to apply, here.

We try to stick to the original route and accommodation as much as possible, but they can be subject to change from time to time.

Not really. Some luxuries can be a little pricey (hence the ‘luxury’ bit), but for the most part it’s super reasonable. Lunch might be a few dollars and beers are generally under a buck. It’s like travelling back in time to the 50s when the world was a much simpler place and children respected their elders.

All our hotels will have internet connection, but the campsites not so much (it’s really hard to train monkeys to operate the WiFi). If you’ve booked your own accommodation, you’ll have to check with them.

Buddhism – 70 per cent; Hinduism – 16 per cent; Christianity – 7 per cent; Islam – 7 per cent. If in doubt, just smile and be friendly.

Sinhala, Tamil and English are spoken throughout Sri Lanka, although in remote villages the English-speakers might be few and far between. You’ve brushed up on your Sinhala, right?

If you like your weather warm, you’ll love Sri Lanka. Warmth is kind of its thing. Even when it’s pouring with rain. There are plenty of more in-depth weather guides online, but generally the south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July, while the north-eastern monsoon is from December to January. Expect anything from 23 to 30 degrees Celsius.

This is completely up to you (and your doc), but generally it’s a good idea to be up-to-date with standard vaccinations like Tetanus, Hap A and Polio. Other jabs to consider are Tuberculosis, Meningitis and Typhoid. Anti-malaria meds might also be a good idea. If in doubt, check with your GP.

For more info, click here.

Sri Lanka has a good road network linking all the major cities, towns and interesting places. But don’t go expecting pristine tarmac everywhere you ride. Some of the rural roads in particular can get pretty wild and bumpy.

Short answer: come and find out for yourself. Long answer: it’s sort of like India, without the madness and crowds. It’s still mad, and there are still crowds, but not quite on the same scale. It’s also got a great cultural legacy from trade and immigration: Indian, Tamil, English, Portuguese, Dutch. Pretty much every seafaring culture has touched the island at some point, which means the food is seriously good. Like don’t even get us started. Check out this blog for a bit more info.

  • Only 10% deposit required to signup.
  • Outstanding amount is required 45 days before the start of the Challenge.
  • 45+ days before the challenge starts: Loss of deposit
  • 44-30 days before the challenge starts: 50%
  • 29 days or less before the challenge starts: 100% 

For more information please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.

Dates

April 16 - 25 2021

Sri Lanka·9 nights

FROM$2199

April 15 - 24 2022

Sri Lanka·9 nights

FROM$2266

Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Adventure - North

Sri Lanka·April·9 nights

FROM$2199