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TheRickshaw Run Sri Lanka

Crossing Sri Lanka in a powered wheelbarrow

The Rickshaw Run Sri Lanka

The Rickshaw Run Sri Lanka. We initially thought it was going to be a stepping stone to the Indian Rickshaw Run, but it’s far more than that.

Upon realising that the Rickshaw Run was the best thing since someone let the milk go off and cheese was born, we thought it was about time its tentacles spread around the globe. Sri Lanka was the next logical country.

Rammed with wildlife, beaches, jungles, amazing food, some of the nicest people on the planet, and possible most importantly – rickshaws, it seemed stupid not to. It’s now firmly on our map, is a resounding success and very bloody happy we are with it too.

01.The Rickshaw

The engines on our Sri Lankan beasts are an impressively pathetic 10.5bhp. They have tiny wheels, shite ground clearance and bad suspension. They have no real protection from the elements, and they're incredibly unreliable.

All of this pretty much guarantees something will go wrong. Which is where you find out what you're really made of. Hopefully it's stern stuff.

Some of the off-road tracks in Sri Lanka are properly gnarly. Thankfully, with a mere 198cc at your command, this should mean you get utterly stuffed.


Now we’re talking. Nothing screams sexiness more than your very own auto rickshaw proudly sporting your very own design of artistic genius. It’s pretty much the pinnacle of excellence.

It’s pretty easy too. We’ll supply you with a digital pimping template. You can then use photoshop or some other graphics editing software to decorate said design. If you’re not too handy with a computer then you can print the template out and decorate it with crayons, marker pens or bodily fluids if needs be. Once you’re done then scan the printout or take a photo of it and send it back to us.

We’ll then get our graphic designer in India to make it into a wrap and bam, one pimped rick. Very detailed designs can sometimes get a bit lost. Best to go big, and bold. Like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.

Bear in mind, they’ll very often take the designs exactly as they come too, which means if you make a mistake, they will copy it exactly and make the same mistake, just bigger.

02.The Un-Route

Sri Lanka, the teardrop shaped island just south of India. Hopefully it hands you out equal measures of both tears of joy and frustration. Beaches, jungles, off-road tracks in the middle of bloody nowhere, the crumbling remnants of past kingdoms, mountains, elephants and remote villages. All this goes towards making an adventure that will basically melt your face with awesomeness.

Because this adventure is in its infancy we're still working on the perfect start line. In 2018 we tested out a couple of great locations that were good, but not perfect. In 2019 we'll test a couple more so by 2020 we'll have found a permanent venue.

The Run will finish deep in the south of the island. The exact route you take is up to you. Because this is an unsupported adventure, it'll be up to you to etch your own way into the map.

Getting there and home

This is easy enough. Fly in and out of Colombo Airport. From there you can get a bus, train or taxi, depending on how much you want to spend and how comfortable you want to be.


Driving License - You need to have the right sort of licence to drive a rickshaw. Basically you need something that proves you can drive a rickshaw legally in your home country, as well as something that translates it into an easily recognisable format. For example in the UK you need a category 'A' driving license and the corresponding stamp in an International Driving Permit.

Sri Lankan Visa - Many nationalities can buy this in advance and it costs just $35. More information on how this works and if you need them here.

Travel & Medical Insurance - You'll need appropriate travel insurance that covers you for exactly what you're doing and exactly where you're going. We wouldn't scrimp on this one, we might make light of the dangers in our writing, but they're very real.

Vehicle deposit - £1000 - To make sure we can have future Rickshaw Runs we take a vehicle deposit to make sure we can get it back in something resembling the condition we gave it to you in. The deposit is fully refundable and deductions will only be made if you fail to return the vehicle, if it is seriously damaged or if there are bits missing. If your vehicle doesn’t reach the finish line we will need to make deductions to recover it, which will not only reduce your returned deposit, but might delay its return (best to get it to the finish line yourself). The deposit will be paid by your team a couple of months before the launch.

Fuel, Food and Lodging

If you're a Rickshaw Run veteran then Sri Lanka will envelope you in its familiarity like a cuddle from an overweight favourite aunt - just without the smell of lavender and piss. Prices are slightly higher than in India, but are still reasonable. Expect to pay anything between £2 - £15 for a meal.

A room will likely cost you something around the £20 mark for something basic, and £50 for something with a pool, the smell of freshly laundered sheets and a minibar full of cold beer.

Petrol's cheap, around 50 English pence per litre.

You can get a rough idea of prices in Sri Lanka Here.

03.What you get for your money

  • The Rickshaw

    A once state-of-the-art three-wheeled Bajaj auto-rickshaw, with all the paperwork necessary for you to take it on public roads.

  • Test Driving

    A full day of test driving, pimping, mechanical sessions and a Q&A evening for you to familiarise yourself with your vehicle and what you are about to take on.

  • Launch

    A ruddy good knees up and launch ceremony befitting of the brave fools about to take on the whole of Sri Lanka in a crap rickshaw.

  • The Adventure

    Offering the best and worst that Sri Lanka can throw at you and all the stories and glory that go with it.

  • Finish Line

    A rousing welcome when you finish, and a bar for you to share your stories with each other. Topped off with a grand finish party.

  • The Tech

    A shiny blog and tracking map where you can upload your location, messages and photos while you are on the road.

  • The Knowledge

    Support from our team of experts to advise you how to get to the start line, the best outfits for the parties and the best biscuits to pair with Ceylon tea.

04.Saving the world

Since 2004 teams on the Rickshaw Run have raised more that £2 million for charity. No mean feat by any yardstick.


We need to save every rainforest in the world so future generations have somewhere to get stuck. Not because we’re tree hugging sandal weavers, but because the world would be shit without them. It’s not about the carbon off twatting, the point is rainforests are indescribably excellent. We don't just want to have adventures across this here planet, we also want to save it a bit too. We're working with the lovely folks at Cool Earth trying to not just save a tiny piece of the world at a time, but by saving the whole thing in one go.


We give all teams a target of £1000, this can either all go to the official charity or half can go to the official charity and the rest can go to a charity of your choosing.


The best way to raise these funds is through your friends and families, people you work with or anyone who's got a dirty little secret only you know about. We've found that the best way to collect these funds is through an online platform such as Virgin Money Giving as they make it easy for us to count the funds, the cash goes straight to the charities and also because it is possible for the charities to claim Gift Aid. Different charities can use different fundraising platforms in different countries so it's best to check with the charities which is best.


You've got until 6 weeks after the adventure to collect that cash, this means you get as long as possible to raise funds including the duration of the event and shortly after.


If you can't raise £1000, unfortunately you will go to hell. Together with the charities we give you tips and resources to help and when the time to count up what everyone has raised comes about we will pester you somewhat, but we won’t set any dogs on you, or force you to sell your children. We will be very, very disappointed though and do a sad face at you.

05.The Warning

These are genuinely dangerous things to do. The website is written in a light-hearted fashion but you cannot overestimate the risks involved in taking part in this adventure.

Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of taking part are high. Individuals who have taken part in past Adventurists' adventures have been permanently disfigured, seriously disabled and even lost their life.

This is not a glorified holiday, it's an unsupported adventure and so by its very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own and you really are putting both your health and life at risk. This is what makes them adventures.