I have just returned from an amazing solo 16 day motorbike ride through Sri lanka. A trip like this is not for the faint hearted and I researched extensively before proceeding with this challenge.
I travelled from Negombo thru Colombo and south to Hikkaduwa. The scenery was amazing, the traffic hectic and the roads were excellent.
From Hikka I rode to Galle, Unawatuna, Welegama and Mirissa on the south coast and then headed to up the east coast toTangalle and Tissa, then on to Arugam bay.
After a lazy beach respite in Arugam I headed west into the highlands to Ella, Haputale, Nuwara Eliya then Kandy before finishing my planned circuit in Negombo 16 days later.
From each location I would do day trips after booking into my accom, which I had a shortlist of and which suited my budget.
It was an awesome experience and a challenge that I will always remember. The friendliness of the people and the food was extraordinary.
1) I think my biggest tip would be to select the best Motorcycle rental company. After researching on TA and similar I chose Negombo Motorcycle Tours. The emails and contact flowed freely from the onset and Suranga, the owner was amazing to deal with. He arranged my Sri lankan riders permit and provided airport pickups and accom at his guesthouse in Negombo.
He arranged the proper Insurance and the most reliable motorbike that I have ever ridden, a Honda XR 250 trail bike. The reason that the bike was so reliable was due to the fact that Suranga only uses imported genuine parts, and also that his mechanics maintain the bikes in top condition. I did not have a single problem with my moto and take my hat off to Suranga and his staff. He also provided maps and fine tuned my itinerary to make the most of my tour.
2) I carried a very up to date map which I used many times as the signage in SL is a bit tricky. I also found that Google maps were pretty spot on, and again found this App invaluable.
3) I made a point of taking the time to get a Dialog Sim put in my phone. Wifi is pretty good in SL but when you are in the middle of nowhere and a bit lost it was really handy to have 3G to use Google Maps. Just pop into a Dialog store with your passport and they will set it up for you for a couple of dollars.
4) Don't bother pre-booking accomodation. Firstly, if the weather changes you may struggle to get to that location. Secondly, you have more freedom to stay a little longer or leave earlier. Lastly, I found that riding in off the street and negotiating the price was easier and cheaper than booking on line.
I did have a shortlist of 2 or 3 possible options and rode around till I found the right one in the right location for the right price.
Thank you to the TA forum and community for assisting in making my trip unforgettable.