Lanka Challenge Review: Driving Tuk-Tuks Across Sri Lanka

Out of 10
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To be perfectly honest, this specific adventure experience was what inspired my partner and I to take on the Top 50 Adventure Holidays in the world. After spending 10 days driving a tuk-tuk across a foreign country, we wanted to share the entire experience with everyone and hopefully inspire others to take on this challenge for themselves.

The scenery that we saw, the actual navigating and driving through unfamiliar places, and the local interaction that we had along the way made it one of our best experiences to date.

Having been on the road now for almost four years, we’re pretty used to experiencing some pretty cool things. We spent five days trekking in the jungles of Sumatra in search of giant Orangutans, went paragliding over an exploding volcano in Ecuador, and even lived with a local fisherman for almost a week in the Philippines.

To put things lightly, we always make it a point to go out of our comfort zone and do things out of the ordinary. Why? Well, call us crazy but we believe this is the best way to learn, grow, and experience a country for what it truly is.

So as soon as we heard of Large Minority and their epic 10-day tuk-tuk driving challenge in Sri Lanka, we knew it was something we had to do. Last year, we spent 10 days with them sailing through unchartered islands in the Philippines.

So as soon as we cleared up our schedule, we signed up for the Lanka Challenge. Read our experience below and find out how you can join the upcoming trips.

Lanka Challenge: What is it?

For those that missed my original post on what the Lanka Challenge is, it is a 10-day event where teams from around the world compete against each other as they drive a tuk-tuk across some of the most beautiful parts of Sri Lank.

As if navigating a tuk-tuk in a foreign country isn’t hard enough (no GPS allowed), you also had to complete a few challenges along the way.

As soon as the race begins, you are given a route map as well as a list of challenges that you have to complete. One thing to remember is that this isn’t a race as you won’t be given points for arriving at the destination first.

Instead, you will be given points for completing the daily challenges. While I won’t go on and give too much insight as to what the challenges are, Large Minority designed the challenges so that you really go out of your way to interact with the locals which is one of the things we loved about the entire experience.

lanka challenge

Team Adventure in You

Our Lanka Challenge Experience

Without getting too sentimental, I can proudly say that the Lanka Challenge is one of our best experiences to date. Not only did it allow us to travel and experience Sri Lanka in a completely different way, it also allowed us to really get to know the local people, something which most people normally overlook when going on the usual resort type holiday.

So to help explain things better, here are a few things which made the Lanka Challenge an unforgettable experience for us.

The Tuk-Tuk

While the tuk-tuk is a rather odd vehicle of choice to be driving around in any country, it was the perfect way to see and explore the best of Sri Lanka. After driving 1000km around some of the best bits, we realized that having your own transportation really made a big difference.

During the trip, we stopped alongside incredible viewpoints, had heaps of fresh coconut breaks as we chilled with the locals, and even took a few detours so we could go off-roading. Throughout it all, rough roads, rain, and steep mountains, our (almighty) tuk-tuks powered on.

Although some parts of the trip was a struggle, our tuk-tuk who we called Rocky kept going and going….(cue in Eye of the Tiger soundtrack).tom-tuk-tuk

In all honesty, these little bad boys looked intimidating to drive at first and rightly so as the traffic in Sri Lanka (especially in the main cities) can be mental. However, after day 2, all trepidation disappeared and we were all soon driving these things like a pro.

Our team even decided to pick up a few locals along the way who all seemed half confused/amused by our tuk-tuk driving antics. I don’t know if it was our awful driving, our wacky costumes, or our non-stop karaoke singing that scared them off but needless to say, it was very entertaining.

Don’t get me wrong. Things can go wrong. There were breakdowns, crashes, and a few “wildlife encounters” but throughout the entire race, there was always a backup tuk-tuk, support vehicle, or ambulance nearby to help us out.

Lanka challenge elephants

Enjoying the incredible view of wild elephants

Check Out Our Lanka Challenge Video

The People

Together with ten other teams from different parts of the world, we all arrived in Sri Lanka as complete strangers and left as good friends. As with every other memorable trip, the people who you’re with plays a big part in your entire experience.

At first, glance, when you put all 25 participants in one room, we looked like we all had nothing in common. However, a few days in, we realized that we were all crazy enough to sign up to drive a metal tin can 1000km across a foreign country and that made all the difference. lanka team

Even though we were all from different parts of the globe, with an even wider age range between all of us, we all left with an unwritten new bond for surviving this once in a lifetime experience together. I will never forget the look on people’s faces when we all reached the finish line.

There was a lot of hugging, jumping, and cheering. And although we were all technically competing against each other, our new-found family and friends (#teamjigglymuffinyou) made the experience even more so special and memorable.

In fact, as soon as the coveted first place was awarded to the SriLankashire Lasses, a team comprised of 3 amazing women in their 50’s, everyone leaped up in genuine joy and excitement as we all celebrated with them as they jumped up and down in tears.lanka-lassies

Sri Lanka as a Country

By far, one of the things that made this trip so much more memorable was the fact that Sri Lanka is an amazingly diverse country. Throughout our ten days, we drove past busy cities, hilly tea plantations, stellar mountain views, beautiful seaside towns, and national parks allowing us to experience and get a glimpse of everything that this country had to offer.

We were all seriously blown away not just by the scenery that we saw along the way, but also by the kindness and hospitality of the locals. From people who gave us directions when we were all hopelessly lost, to the people who opened their homes to us when we needed to use the bathroom or even more so, cook an entire meal in their kitchens. The kindness and hospitality we received from the locals was unbelievable.

Related: The Philippine Sailing Challengesri lanka women

Adventure Travel Made Easy

One of the best things about this particular adventure was that we had the freedom during the day to see and do as much as we wanted without ever feeling like we were in an organized tour around Sri Lanka. Yet every afternoon, we would arrive at these beautiful 3-4 star hotels and would be pampered with delicious buffet dinners and breakfasts.

While we read that all nightly accommodation and food would be taken care of, we didn’t think much of it. But every night, our hotels and food got better and better, allowing us a mix of both adventure and R&R.

Above the fantastic trip logistics, the most impressive thing about Large Minority is their commitment to sustainable travel as they pledge 10% of all fees to be donated to various charities and organizations.

During our time there, we visited various organizations who received our donations, allowing us to ultimately see the direct impact of meaningful travel.

Related: Epic Challenges Around the World with Large Minority

lanka kids

Large Minority donated musical instruments to this school through the money raised from the sign ups

Breaking Through Comfort Zones

While I could ramble on and on about how amazing the trip was, I think for my partner Tom and I, the primary reason why this trip was so memorable was because everything we experienced tied in perfectly with Adventure in You’s core mission. When we first started this blog, our main purpose and motivation was:

To inspire and encourage people to DO MORE and live their lives to the fullest.

Throughout the trip, we saw ourselves and the teams around us challenge themselves to go out of their comfort zones. To speak to locals, to ask for help when lost, to practice empathy, cultural sensitivity, and most of all, to break boundaries of what we think we can and cannot do.

We all left Sri Lanka knowing that we could all never go back to going on regular holidays, with some of us already making plans on when the next adventure would be.

Lanka Challenge Details

If you want to take part in this EPIC adventure (which we couldn’t recommend enough), here are a few details. We went on the Southern Route but would definitely do the Northern Route again in a heartbeat. You can see more information on route details, costs, and FAQ on the Large Minority website.

If you’re interested (and you should be), sign up in the box below and receive an exclusive Adventure in You discount on the overall price of the challenge. Oh, yeah!

Northern Route

 1000 km travelled (approx.)

9 nights (includes 1 camping night)

10 days (includes 1 rest day)

10 – 20 teams

30 – 55 challengers

*for more details and discounts subscribe above*

Southern Route

1000 km travelled (approx.)

9 nights (includes 1 camping night)

10 days (includes 1 rest day)

10 – 20 teams

30 – 55 challengers

*for more details and discounts subscribe above*

On a side note, if you’re really interested in participating in the Lanka Challenge, please don’t hesitate to send me an email and I will happily answer any questions that you have about the trip. So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime?

Looking for other articles? Check out a few of our best ones on Adventure Travel and Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka Travel | Looking for a unique way to see Sri Lanka? The Lanka Challenge is an adventure of a lifetime where you get to drive a tuk tuk across some of the best parts of Sri Lanka. Think Amazing race and survivor, rolled up into one.

Top 50 Adventure Holiday Score
Between the actual driving of the tuk-tuk and the challenges we had to complete along the way, this experience was definitely one for the books. The scenery that we saw during the entire trip was incredible as we drove through mountains, the coastline, and the central plains. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, we highly recommend this once in a lifetime trip to anyone.
Wow Factor
Out of 10
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