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Sri Lanka Family Tour

Private, single family tour. Culture, history, flora and fauna, varied landscapes and activities make Sri Lanka the perfect family holiday destination

Land only section is now free for children under 6

A 2-week Sri Lanka Family Tour. Explore the World Heritage ancient city of Polonnaruwa by bicycle, scale the dramatic rock fortress of Sigiriya, raft down the jungle-lined Kelani River, hike across Horton Plains National Park to the spectacular ‘World’s End’, go on jeep safaris through Minneriya and Wilpattu national parks, take boat trips snorkelling or whale watching in the Indian Ocean, stay overnight in a big game camp and, of course, sample the delicious Sri Lankan curries in local cafes, with plenty of opportunities to meet the super-friendly island inhabitants.

This wide range of activities and stunning landscapes – no less than 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – plus the Island’s rich culture and history, ought to keep families of any age, shape and size happy, enthralled and fascinated.

By switching the beach activities from the south coast to the lesser-known northeast and the Trincomalee, Nilaveli area during the western monsoon means the tour and all its activities are eminently suitable for any time of the year. Below is our itinerary for the May to October period so if your travel plans are between November and April please ask for our seasonal tweak.

This is a private Sri Lanka family tour with no fixed departure dates and can, therefore, be arranged for whichever period suits your family’s time frame.  The ‘starting from’ price is based on a minimum of 4 persons sharing two double/twin rooms while flights are extra and vary according to the season. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further details or to discuss any queries, tweaks or requests you may have.

DISCOUNTS FOR CHILDREN ACCOMPANIES BY 2 ADULTS –  Up to 2 children under the age of 6 are free and up to 2 children between 6 and 12 there is a £150 per child discount.   Please note, this applies to land only and not to flights where airlines’ standard discounts apply.

Includes: Meals: B x 13, D x 3

Family

Itinerary

Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.

Sri Lanka, old town Galle

Day 1 - Arrival in Sri Lanka

Arrival in Colombo and transfer to Galle with an introductory walk to stretch your legs before a local-style welcome dinner introduces you to the Island’s justifiably famous cuisine. (Precise itinerary depending upon arrival time.)

Overnight: Galle Transport: Taxi, Walk,  Meals: D, 

Sri Lanka, Negombo port

Day 2 - Columbo - city tour and on to Galle

Morning walking tour of the famous walled city of Galle and the ramparts of the old Dutch fortress built on a rock jutting into the Indian Ocean with some free time in the afternoon to explore the UNESCO World Heritage town at your leisure and check out the narrow lanes of the old Moorish Quarter.

Overnight: Galle Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, Galle

Day 3 - The elephant orphanage and overnight in Ella

Some free time in the morning to explore the UNESCO World Heritage town and check out the narrow lanes of the old Moorish Quarter. Late morning departure for Udawalawe for a visit to the famous Transit Home (elephant rehabilitation centre) before continuing into the hill country and the mountain town of Ella. Time permitting, we can visit the mountain railway’s famous ‘Nine Arch Bridge’ and/or take a sunset hike to Little Adam’s Peak.

Overnight: Ella Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, World's End

Day 4 - Hike to World's End and overnight in Nuwara Eliya

An early start for a hike across the Horton Plains National Park to the famous, and aptly named, World’s End where the plains abruptly drop over 1,000 metres to lush forests below. Opportunities to discover the region’s fantastic flora and fauna and take in the beautiful Baker’s Falls with a short afternoon drive to Nuwara Eliya for our night’s accommodation.

Overnight: Nuwara Eliya Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka Family tour, Kithulgala

Day 5 - Kithulgala - jungle hike and river rafting

Morning drive to Kithulgala’s lush Kelanivally rainforest area with a jungle hike as well as a visit to a local village. An optional white water rafting trip down the picturesque Kelani River, (the actual filming location for the old Bridge on the River Kwai movie), can also be arranged if desired.

Overnight: Kithulgala Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, tea pickers, Hill Country

Day 6 - Mountain train ride to Kandy

Back into the hill country with a morning visit to one of the area’s celebrated tea plantations before a departure by local train for a picturesque ride through the hills to Kandy, the country’s second city and capital of the hill country. Afternoon arrival in Kandy where you’ll have the chance to actually learn some local-style, traditional dance and drumming with one of Kandy’s celebrated dance troops!

Overnight: Kandy Transport: Minibus, Train,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, Kandy

Day 7 - Kandy and the Temple of the Tooth

In the morning, experience the Buddhist puja (blessing ceremony) at the famous and highly prestigious Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most revered religious relic – one of Buddha’s teeth. After a local-style lunch in town, we’ll head out to the beautiful Peradeniya Botanic Gardens.

Overnight: Kandy Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

When's the best time to visit Sri Lanka

Day 8 - Dambulla Cave Temples and Minneriya National Park

Time to head north to discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dambulla – whose cave temples date to the 1st century BC. In the afternoon we’ll take a jeep safari in Minneriya National Park where we can see elephants, langurs and a spectacular array of Sri Lankan birdlife. During the July to October period, we may be lucky enough to see the ‘Gathering’, where herds of hundreds of elephants congregate around Minneriya Lake.

Overnight: Giritale Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, Sigiriya

Day 9 - World Heritage Sigirya and Polonnaruwa

Early morning ascent of the dramatic rock fortress of Sigiriya. This ancient site is built atop a sheer-sided rock outcrop, and we’ll take in the amazing Maidens of the Clouds on our way up the summit for some equally amazing views of the surrounding countryside. Another World Heritage Site is on the afternoon’s menu with a cycling (or tuk-tuk) tour of the historic temples and exquisitely carved statues of the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa.

Overnight: Giritale Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, holy man in Trincomalee

Day 10 - North to Trincomalee

Today we’ll travel north to the coastal town and ancient port of Trincomalee. Our tour will include China Bay, the old Dutch Fort Frederik, and the town’s lively bazaar, before continuing a short distance up the coast to the beach-side town of Nilaveli for accommodation in a small resort looking onto the Indian Ocean.

Overnight: Nilaveli Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka beaches, Nilaveli

Day 11 - Nilaveli - relax on the beach, snorkel or go whale watching?

A day at leisure in this charming spot. Laze on the magnificent beach or explore the local area.  More adventurous options include whale watching, (sperm and blue whales are regularly sighted off the coast), a snorkelling trip on the colourful reef around Pigeon Island, or even scuba diving.

Overnight: Nilaveli Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

Sri Lanka, Yala NP leopard

Day 12 - Back into the interior and Wilpattu National Park

Late morning departure to Wilpattu National Park – Sri Lanka’s largest, yet one of its least visited national parks or a late afternoon jeep safari and overnight stay in a comfortable tented camp.

Overnight: Wilpattu Big Game Camp Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, D, 

Day 13 - Early morning safari and return to Negombo

An optional early morning safari in the park is also on offer before breakfast at the camp and a leisurely return drive south to Negombo Town. Free time in the afternoon before our farewell dinner.

Overnight: Negombo Transport: Minibus, Boat,  Meals: B, D, 

Sri Lanka, Colombo sunset

Day 14 - Negombo - morning at leisure and end of tour

Morning at leisure in Negombo and end of tour.

Extra accommodation after your tour is available if required

Overnight: Departure Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.

Sri Lanka, holy man in Trincomalee

Just a few of the many highlights

Cycling tours of ancient cities; Colombo by night, local train through the Hill Country, jeep safaris, nature hikes in national parks, rafting on a jungle-lined river, spice gardens, botanical gardens, Galle, Kandy and much more

  • Our Sri Lanka tour includes no less than 6 UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites
  • Cycling tour of the ancient ruined capital of Polonnaruwa
  • Nilaveli beach stay including whale watching and snorkelling trip options
  • The spectacular Botanical Gardens and prestigious Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
  • Jeep safari and overnight camp in Wilpattu National Park
  • Sample the fantastic local cuisine and meet the super-friendly residents

Air Departures (UK) *From

Land Departures

Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed

*As fares are fluctuating wildly at present all ‘with flight’ prices are approximate.

*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from .

*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.

We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...

Tartaruga Hotel

Tartaruga Hotel view

  • Comortable, well-appointed resort with beach front location
  • Located in Unawatuna Bay a short diatcxne from Galle Town
  • Excellent in-house restaurant and well-stocked pool bar
Ambiente Hotel Ella

Ambiente Hotel Ella view

  • Small, comfortable, family run hotel
  • Spectacular views of the Ella Gap
  • Quiet location but walking distance of the town centre
Sri Lanka, Plantation Hotel, Kitulgala

Plantation Hotel Kitulgala view

  • Overlooking the scenic Kelani River, bordered by lush forest
  • Set in a former coffee plantation bungalow
  • Refurbished colonial period decor
The Hill Club, Nuwara Eliya

The Hill Club, Nuwara Eliya view

  • Former plantation owners' club now converted to hotel
  • Set in lush botanical gardens on the edge of Nuwara Eliya
  • Billiard room, ballroom etc - it's just missing Col Mustard
Sri Lanka tour, Hotel Suisse, Kandy

Hotel Suisse Kandy view

  • A restored, former British governor’s residence
  • Wonderful, central, lake-side location in Kandy
  • Pool, garden, spa, bar and restaurant
Sri Lanka, Pigeon Island Resort, Nilaveli

Pigeon Island Resort Nilaveli view

  • A cosy and comfortable, low-key beachside resort in Nilaveli
  • Situated just north of the old port of Trincomalee
  • Options include snorkelling, fishing and whale watching
Big Game camp

Safari Camp Wilpattu view

  • Comfortable 'glamping' style tented camp
  • Excellent location on the edge of Wilpattu National Park
  • En-suite showers plus on-site restaurant and bar
Sri Lanka, Camelot Beach Hotel, Negombo

Camelot Beach Hotel Negombo view

  • Odd name but top spot to relax in before or after your tour
  • Comfortable rooms, great service and Indian Ocean views
  • Walking distance of market, fishing port and plenty of cafes

*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.

Visa Info & Notes

Visas: Although visa on arrival service is available at Colombo International Airport, obtaining an electronic travel authorisation (ETA or e-visa) in advance of travel is strongly recommended and considerably speedsa up arrival procedures. The cost is c. $50 (US dollars). 3 days is officially required but processing is usually the same (working) day.

Passport: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Cambodia. You may be refused entry if your passport is damaged, in poor condition or does not have at least 2 blank pages remaining.

Tipping: We recommend a kitty system for smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local drivers and guides but which could also include minor expenses such as group tea/coffee breaks etc. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of £25-35 or $30-$40 total per person for the 2-week tour. For your driver and guide/tour-leader tips – both of whom will accompany you for the duration of your 2-week tour – we’d recommend approximately $25 per person total for the latter and $20 for the former though of course, this is always discretionary and performance-related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)

Meals: Breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Typical traditional meals involve fish or chicken curry with a selection of accompanying vegetable dishes and salads, Dishes are usually only mildly spicy and both vegetarians and vegans are very easily catered for. For any other likes and dislikes please remind your tour leader at the start of the tour. A number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.

Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3-4* range and are en-suite and air-conditioned. (Our 1-night camping is en-suite but fan only.) We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.

Activities: Note that no activities are compulsory and that any offered can be tailored for various fitness levels or alternatives suggested.

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