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Sri Lanka tour

Our 2 week Sri Lanka tour takes you from the spectacular ancient cities of the Central Plains and ‘Cultural Triangle’, through Kandy and the scenic hill country...

The Isle of Serendipity

Our 2 week Sri Lanka tour, ‘The Isle of Serendipity’, will take you from the spectacular ancient cities of the Central Plains and ‘Cultural Triangle’, through Kandy, the scenic hill country and it’s tea estates, to a beautiful and undeveloped section of the Southern Coast. The flourishing wildlife and stunning scenery of Yala West and Horton Plains National Parks, plus no less than six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as ample time for relaxation and opportunities to ‘do your own thing’, make this tour an ideal introduction to the magnificent island of Sri Lanka.

Some of the exciting and varied activities include: a Colombo by night street food tour; exploring the ancient cave temples at Dambulla; early morning ascent of the dramatic rock fortress of Sigiriya with its famous ‘Maidens of the Clouds’; joining a blessing ceremony at Kandy’s prestigious Temple of the Tooth; tea tasting at highland plantations; evening and early morning jeep safaris in Yala National Park; a stay in a tranquil South Coast resort; and, weather permitting, a whale watching option at Mirissa.

Note: this tour is offered from November to April, while during the western monsoon we move our beach stay to the more sheltered northeast coast at Nilaveli.

Note also: for those with a few more days to spare, we offer a highly unusual and fascinating guided tour of off-the-beaten track Maldives, or a more classic stay at an island eco-resort.

 

Sri Lanka

Itinerary

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

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Day 1 - Negombo and arrival in Sri Lanka

Arrival at Colombo International Airport, meet your tour-leader and a short transfer to nearby Negombo on the island’s west coast for some relaxation time after your flight. Explore the area, check out the beach or perhaps even try one of the famous traditional Sri Lankan massages?

Extra accommodation in Colombo before your tour is available if required.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.

Overnight: Negombo Transport: Minibus,  Meals: D, 

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Day 2 - Columbo - a tour of some of the sights

Leisurely morning to relax at our beach-side resort before an afternoon introductory tour of some of the sites of the nearby, bustling capital Colombo. Visits include the Museum, local market and a fascinating guided, evening tour of some of the array of street-food on offer.

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

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Day 3 - Dambulla -UNESCO World Heritage cave temples

Morning drive to our first UNESCO World Heritage site, Dambulla, location of Sri Lanka’s finest cave temples, dating back to the 1st century BC. In the afternoon we’ll continue to nearby Habarana Town – our base for our following 2 day exploration of the ‘Cultural Triangle’.

Overnight: Habarana Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 4 - Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa

Early morning ascent of the rock fortress of Sigiriya itself to view the surrounding countryside at dawn. Tour of Sigiriya’s rock palace, cliff paintings and ornamental gardens. In the afternoon we’ll head to the nearby, picturesque medieval capital of Polonnaruwa – another World Heritage site – for a guided cycling tour of it’s historic temples and exquisitely carved statues.

Overnight: Polonnaruwa Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 5 - Kandy - overand via the spice gardens of Matale

Drive south to Kandy, one of the principal points of the Cultural Triangle, with a stop on the way for an explanatory tour of a fascinating spice garden at Matale. The second city of Sri Lanka has a picturesque lake-side setting, a rich historical and cultural heritage, a comfortable Mediterranean-type climate, and again, World Heritage Site status. Overnight at a picturesque colonial-style hotel and former governor’s residence.

Overnight: Kandy Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 6 - Kandy - the ancient capital

Morning at leisure with an afternoon visit to the beautifully kept and well-presented Peradeniya Botanic Gardens on the outskirts of Kandy. In the evening, experience the Buddhist puja (blessing ceremony) at the Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most revered religious relic. (Yes, one of Buddha’s teeth!)

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

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Day 7 - Nuwara Eliya - tea plantations and the hill country

Transfer to Kandy railway station for a scenic train journey into the upper Hill Country, passing through tea plantations and spectacular waterfalls on our way to Nuwara Eliya, the former British capital of the Hill Country and the highest town in Sri Lanka at 1,900 m above sea level. A tour of a working tea factory to see how ‘two-leaves-and-a-bud’ turns into your daily cuppa and overnight in the former governor’s residence.

Overnight: Nuwara Eliya Transport: Train,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 8 - Horton Plains - National Park trek

Drive to Horton Plains for an early morning trek through the heath and forest of Horton Plains National Park, via Baker’s Falls, in time to see the awe-inspiring views at World’s End before the cloud sets in. Return to Nuwara Eliya with some free time to explore the old colonial hill station.

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

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Day 9 - Yala - jeep safari in the National Park

Drop down from the Hill Country to the southern plain over 1,000 m below and continue to Yala. Late afternoon jeep safari in Yala West National Park, Sri Lanka’s principal wildlife reserve, which has the highest density of leopards in the world. Other inhabitants include elephants, sloth bears, sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boars, crocodiles, wild buffaloes, mongooses, jackals, monkeys, and over 150 species of birds.

Overnight: Yala Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 10 - Tangalle - along the picturesque south coast

Leave the park and enjoy a leisurely drive west along the picturesque southern coastline to laid back Tangalle overlooking the Indian Ocean where we’ll stay in a secluded beach resort set in a coconut grove next to a pristine bay. Afternoon to relax explore the area or perhaps try out one of the famous Ayurveda massage treatments?

Overnight: Tangalle Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 11 - Tangalle - at leisure or visit some wetlands

At leisure in Tangalle; checking out the beach, going for a swim or exploring the area. Options for the more active include a bird watching boat safari through the lagoons and mangroves of Kalametiya Sanctuary, a coastal wetlands teeming with bird life or Udawalawe National Park and its Elephant Transit Home, rehabilitation centre.

Overnight: Tangalle Meals: B, D, 

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Day 12 - Galle - ancient town and World Heritage Site

Continue along the southern coastline to Galle Town – another World Heritage Site. A guided tour of the Old Dutch Fort and spectacularly sited walled town jutting out on its rocky peninsula. Amble around the ramparts and stroll through the narrow lanes of the Moorish Quarter.

Overnight: Galle Meals: B, L, 

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Day 13 - Galle - at leisure or a whale watching trip

Free morning in Galle with an optional whale watching boat trip* at nearby Mirissa where sperm, humpback and blue whales are occasionally spotted as well as pods of dolphins. Afternoon return drive north up the West Coast back to Negombo, via Colombo.

*Note this option is dependent upon weather and sea conditions but can be booked once in place without prior reservation.

Overnight: Negombo Meals: B, D, 

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Day 14 -

Morning at leisure in Negombo. Relax by the pool; a last dip in the Indian Ocean or pick up some last minute souvenirs and late morning end of tour.*

Extra accommodation in Colombo after your tour is available if required.

Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.

Transport: Minibus,  Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

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

Sri Lanka, Temple of the Tooth

Just a few of the many highlights

Mountains, plains, forest, coast and plantations; wonderful and highly varied scenery plus no less than 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • Visit the charming lakeside town of Kandy nestled in the mountain - home to the famous Temple of the Tooth
  • Visit the dramatic Sigiriya rock fortress - truly spectacular and another World Heritage Site
  • Historic Galle - a walled port town perched dramatically on a headland jutting into the Indian ocean.
  • Explore Polonnaruwa ancient city - former medieval capital and now UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Tour the picturesque 'Hill Country' - serene landscapes, waterfalls and of course tea plantations!
  • And of course plenty of opportunities to sample the superb local food

The map is currently being updated...

Air Departures (UK)

  • 8 November 17 2,190 GBP
  • 24 December 17 2,390 GBP
  • 13 January 20 2,190 GBP
  • 10 February 20 2,190 GBP
  • 9 March 20 2,190 GBP

Land Departures

  • 9 November 17 1,440 GBP
  • 25 December 17 1,440 GBP
  • 14 January 20 1,440 GBP
  • 11 February 20 1,440 GBP
  • 10 March 20 1,440 GBP

Guaranteed Limited Places Special Price Solo Traveller Closed

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

*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...

Paradise Beach Resort, Negombo view

  • Pool, garden and beachfront setting
  • Great place to unwind before & after your tour
  • Great location within easy reach of shops, cafes & eateries

Acme Hotel, Habarana view

  • Well located and comfortable lodge style hotel!
  • Small, low-key and friendly
  • Pool and garden setting plus in-house bar and restaurant

Hotel Suisse, Kandy view

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

Ceybank Hotel, Nuwara Eliya view

  • Another atmospheric, former governor's residence
  • Central location opposite the racecourse and park
  • Colonial chic in Nuwara Eliya

Palm Paradise Cabanas, Tangalle view

  • Lovely beach-side low-key resort
  • Traditional style, comfortable wooden chalets
  • Garden setting and unspoilt beach

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

Visa Info & Notes

Si Lanka: visas are available on arrival at Colombo International Airport for $40 or you can obtain an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) in advance for $35.

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Extensions

Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These extensions go well with this tour...

Testimonials

Here is what out guest have to say about their experience on this tour...

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