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Sri Lanka tour

Our 2-week Sri Lanka tour takes you from World Heritage ancient cities, through Kandy and the scenic hill country to spectacular national parks and unspoilt coastline

The Island of Serendipity

This 2-week Sri Lanka tour takes you from the spectacular ancient cities of the Central Plains and Cultural Triangle, through Kandy, the scenic hill country, tea estates and national parks to a beautiful and undeveloped section of the southern Coast. We’ll encounter the flourishing wildlife and stunning scenery of Udawalawe and Horton Plains National Parks as well as visiting no less than 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites while ensuring a leisurely pace and ample time for relaxation and opportunities to ‘do your own thing’.

Some of the exciting and varied activities include a street food tour of Colombo, exploring the ancient cave temples at Dambulla, an 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, jeep safaris in Udawalawe National Park, a stay in a tranquil South Coast resort and – weather permitting – a whale watching option at Mirissa.

With a wide variety of sites, landscapes and activities this tour is a perfect introduction to the magnificent island of Sri Lanka.

We offer 2, seasonal, versions of our Sri Lanka tour; the below is suitable for November to April while for the May to October period please see our Sri Lanka Discovery – Ancient Cities and the Tea Country tour

Note also: for those with a few more days to spare, we propose a highly unusual and fascinating off-the-beaten-track Maldives tour 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 and a 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?

Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package.

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

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

A tour of some of the sites of Sri Lanka’s bustling capital Colombo. Visits include the National Museum, colonial architecture, colourful local markets and street life with a dusk stroll along Galle Face Green. In the evening we’ll take you on a fascinating guided tour of some of the array of hawker food on offer in the bustling Pettah Bazaar.

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

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Day 3 - Ritigala - into the interior

Time to head into the interior where our first stop will be the 2,000-year-old ruined Buddhist monastery at Ritigala – an atmospheric and rarely-visited site amid jungle-clad mountains. In the afternoon we’ll continue to nearby Habarana Town – our base for the following 2-day exploration of the Cultural Triangle.

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

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Day 4 - The Cultural Triangle - Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa

Early morning ascent of the rock fortress of Sigiriya for the magnificent dawn views followed by a tour of the rock palace, cliff paintings and lush gardens. From here we’ll travel to the nearby, picturesque medieval capital of Polonnaruwa – also World Heritage site – for a cycling tour of its historic temples and exquisitely carved statues.

Overnight: Habarana Transport: Minibus, Bike, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

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Day 5 - Dambulla - World Heritage cave temples

Morning visit to another World Heritage site Dambulla, location of Sri Lanka’s finest cave temples, dating back to the 1st century BCE, before continuing south to Kandy via a fascinating spice garden at Matale.  The famous mountain town comes with a picturesque, lakeside setting and rich historical and cultural heritage.

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

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Day 6 - Kandy - the ancient capital

Morning visit to the celebrated and highly prestigious Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most revered religious relic with an afternoon trip to the beautiful and well-presented Peradeniya Botanic Gardens on the outskirts of Kandy. Evening optional traditional dance display.

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

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

Departure from Kandy for a scenic journey by local train into the hills, passing (and of course visiting) tea plantations and spectacular waterfalls on our way to Nuwara Eliya. The quaint colonial town was the capital of the Hill Country during the British period and is Sri Lanka’s highest town at 1,900 metres above sea level.

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

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Day 8 - Horton Plains - National Park hike

An early morning hike through the heathland and forest of Horton Plains National Park in time to catch the awe-inspiring views at World’s End before the cloud sets in. En-route, opportunities to discover the park’s abundant flora and fauna as well as the picturesque Baker’s Falls, Return to Nuwara Eliya with time at leisure to explore the old colonial hill station.

Our hike can be tailored to any fitness levels

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

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Day 9 - Udawalawe - jeep safari in the National Park

Drop down from the Hill Country to the southern plains and continue to Udawalawe for an afternoon jeep safari. The national park is noted for its large elephant population as well as being home to leopards, sloth bears, crocodiles, wild buffaloes, several monkey species and no less than 150 bird varieties. Overnight on the edge of the park in a resort or safari camp depending upon availability.

Overnight: Udawalawe, safari camp or resort Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

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Day 10 - Tangalle - along the picturesque south coast

Early morning jeep safari at Udawalawe before a leisurely drive south to the picturesque and laid-back Indian Ocean town of Tangalle. We’ll stay in a secluded beach resort with the afternoon to relax, explore the area, or perhaps try out one of the famous Ayurveda massage treatments?

Overnight: Tangalle Transport: Minibus, Walk,  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. An option for the more energetic is a nature, boat safari through the lagoons and mangroves of Kalametiya National Park and Bird Sanctuary, a coastal wetland teeming with bird species and bountiful wildlife.

Overnight: Tangalle Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, D, 

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Day 12 - Galle - ancient town and World Heritage Site

Continue along the southern coastline to UNESCO-listed Galle and a tour of the Old Dutch Fort and spectacularly-sited walled town, jutting into the Indian Ocean on its rocky peninsula. Stroll along the ramparts and discover the narrow lanes and cafes of the former Moorish Quarter.

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

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

Free morning to explore 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 drive north up the West Coast back to Negombo, via Colombo.

Note - the whale watching option is dependent upon weather and sea conditions, but can be booked locally without prior reservation.

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

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Day 14 - Negombo and departure

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 the tour.

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

Extra accommodation in Negombo before or after your tour is available if required.

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

Wonderful and highly varied scenery, national parks and their abundant wildlife, relaxing at the coast, plus no less than 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • Visit the charming lakeside town of Kandy nestled in the mountains - 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 last but not least, plenty of opportunities to meet the friendly inhabitants and sample the superb local food

Air Departures (UK)

  • 22 December 18 3,050 GBP
  • 19 January 19 2,290 GBP
  • 16 February 19 4 x 2,490 GBP
  • 16 March 19 2,290 GBP
  • 13 April 19 2,290 GBP
  • 10 November 19 2,290 GBP
  • 22 December 19 2,490 GBP

Land Departures

  • 23 December 18 1,540 GBP
  • 20 January 19 1,540 GBP
  • 17 February 19 4 x 1,540 GBP
  • 17 March 19 1,540 GBP
  • 14 April 19 1,540 GBP
  • 11 November 19 1,540 GBP
  • 23 December 19 1,540 GBP

Guaranteed Places Left 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

Hotel Suisse, Kandy view

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

Big Game Camp, Udawalawe view

  • Situated on the edge of spectacular Udawalawe National Park
  • VIP tents complete with bedroom and ensuite bathroom
  • Subject to availabilty

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, but we recommend that you obtain an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) in advance for $35.

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Extensions

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