Timeless ruins, exceptional food and lush landscapes
Experience a sunset elephant safari, hike to hidden waterfalls and enjoy a seafood feast with locals on this journey of discovery in Sri Lanka. Starting in Colombo and travelling through fishing villages, national parks and Sri Lanka’s famous hill country, this tour ends with a relaxing stay on one of the country’s most idyllic beaches.
15 - 27 September 2019
17 - 29 November 2019
20 April - 2 May 2020
19 - 31 July 2020
12 nights' accommodation in twin share four and five-star boutique hotels
English speaking local tour guide
All activities, from an elephant safari to kayaking with pink dolphins, included
12 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 9 dinners
Airport transfers on day one, private air-conditioned transport throughout, one train journey
Maximum 14 fellow travellers
Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka
Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to Colombo International Airport. You can arrive at any time on day one as there are no activities planned until the welcome meeting at 6pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by heading to the beach to watch the local fishermen, exploring the local countryside by bicycle or just chilling by the pool.
You’ll meet your fellow travellers and your guide at 6pm for a welcome drink before heading out to dinner to get to know each other further.
Fishing and dolphin spotting in Kalipitya
Wake up this morning and enjoy your breakfast while taking in your new tropical surroundings. After breakfast, we’ll travel to Kalipitya, an exquisite coastal region located to the north of Negombo.
Kalpitiya is a peninsula set in between the deep lagoon of Puttalam to the east and the magnificent Indian Ocean to the west. Here we’ll jump aboard a traditional boat with some local fishermen who will teach us their fishing techniques. Then we’ll have the chance to explore the lagoon by kayak to spot the areas most prized inhabitants, pink dolphins!
The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy before you meet the group for dinner back at your hotel.
Sigiriya at sunset
Today we’ll travel to Sigiriya, taking in the magnificent views as we make our way inland. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for wild elephants along the way! We’ll stop en route for a delicious local lunch, giving you a chance to sample some of Sri Lanka's local dishes.
After checking into our luxury jungle hideaway, get ready for adventure as we take on the Pidurangala Rock Hike. This challenging trek will give you the chance to bond with your fellow travellers as we help each other to the summit. Located adjacent to Sigiriya Rock, Pidurangala Rock has a much more natural feel and from the top, we’ll take in the 360-degree views as the sun goes down.
Back at the hotel, a refreshing beer will hit the spot before we hit the hotel restaurant for dinner.
Summit Sigiriya Rock and a wild elephant safari
Today we’ll make an early start to visit one of the highlights of any trip to Sri Lanka, the magnificent palace of Sigiriya (Lion Rock). This dramatic rocky outcrop, rising from the surrounding plains, has a ruined palace at its summit. On the way up, we’ll visit the water garden, boulder garden, Sigiriya Frescos and the mirror wall. It's a good workout, but well worth the effort.
Once we get back to the hotel, it’s time to kick back and relax, enjoy a swim while taking in the beautiful green surroundings or treat yourself to an Ayurvedic spa treatment.
Once the evening rolls in, another adventure begins as we head out to the Minneriya National Park for a jeep safari to spot the park’s inhabitants, including wild elephants, sambar deer, leopards and monkeys.
Temples on two wheels
On your bikes, crew! Today we explore the temples and ruins of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa by bicycle. The UNESCO city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the most magnificent archeological relics in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the kingdom’s first rulers.
You’ll definitely work up at appetite this morning, so we’ll stop along the way to refuel with a lunch of delicious local delicacies.
Once back at the hotel, the rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy, until we meet for dinner.
Head to the hills in Kandy
Today we take on Kandy, the hill country capital surrounded by lush rolling hills and tea plantations. On our walking tour of the city, we’ll explore the local market, taste some of the region's endemic fruit and experience local life. Then we’ll visit Sri Lanka’s most important shrine and one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world, the Temple of the Tooth.
This evening we’ll be welcomed into the home of a local Sinhalese family for a cooking class and dinner. You’ll have the chance to try your hand at crafting the perfect hopper (guaranteed to be your new food obsession), try a chicken curry made with spice-infused coconut milk, then fill up on specialty sweets inspired by Dutch and Portuguese culinary traditions.
All aboard the Hill Country express!
Say farewell to Kandy as this morning we’ll hop onboard a train to Nuawara Eliya, also known as “Little England” due to its cooler climate, quaint cottages and green hills. This is the most scenic train journey in Sri Lanka, spend your time enjoying the views while sipping on a cup of local Ceylon Tea.
On arrival in Nuwara Eliya we’ll take a stroll around this genteel highland town before continuing on to our Hill Country accommodation. Perched on a mountain ridge overlooking lush green countryside, this town offers photo opportunities at every turn, so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Your Hill Country experience wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a tea plantation, so this afternoon we’ll participate in a tea tour and tasting as well as trying our hand at tea plucking, along with the local plantation workers.
It’s been a big day, so have a rest this evening before we head to a local pub for an Arrack tasting. Bottoms up!
Chasing waterfalls and cooking curries in Ella
After loading up on breakfast while taking in the sweet views from your Hill Country home, we’ll transfer to the nearby city of Ella for another exciting hike to Ella Rock.
After this hike, we’ll enjoy a scenic picnic lunch before cooling off with a visit to the Ella Wala Falls. Depending on the water level, we’ll have the chance to jump in for a swim at this small but beautiful waterfall.
Tonight, we’re in for another local feast with a family! Along with your hosts, you’ll help to prepare fragrant yellow rice, a selection of curries and kithul helapa – a treacle-like desert served wrapped in a leaf.
Udawalwe – Look out for leopards!
Good morning! After a hearty breakfast, today we’ll make our way to Udawalwe National Park. With herds of wild elephants, buffalo, spotted deer, giant squirrels and sloth bears, this is one of the nation’s finest national parks.
For today’s safari, we’ll jump into jeeps and head out to spot leopards lounging in trees, crocodiles patrolling the river and wild elephants grazing across the savanna.
After all the excitement of the day, you have the rest of the afternoon to take in your new surroundings,
Connect with locals on the coast
You're in for a treat this morning as we have another great animal encounter today. After breakfast, we'll pay a visit to the Udawalwe Elephant Transit Home which is a refuge for elephants that have been affected by the human-elephant conflict. After rehabilitation, the elephants are released back into the wild, many into the Udawalawe National Park. This provides the opportunity to see the orphans being fed, and also to see wild elephants in a stunning setting.
Next, we’ll start our journey to Weligama, but we’ll stop en-route to discover one of Sri Lanka's favorite ingredients. Buffalo curd. Served in bright terracotta pots with thick, golden treacle, it’s often eaten as a snack, as an accompaniment to meals or as a dessert. Sri Lankan's are famed for their sweet tooth and this is about as sweet as it gets.
As we journey further south, we’ll visit some local fisherman to learn about their craft, and how their lives have changed after the tsunami. We’ll have a chance to connect with a family over a fresh seafood lunch - a wonderful crab curry is likely to be on the menu.
Weligama beach day
The only activities on your agenda today are soaking up the sun, sea and sand on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Enjoy the Indian Ocean views from your hotel, take a dip in the pool or wander into town to soak up the atmosphere of this fishing town.
If you feel like doing something more energetic, we can arrange whale watching, a bicycle tour or a trip to the nearby city of Galle.
An urban food adventure
Today we'll make our way back to the capital city of Colombo. You'll have some free time this morning to do some last minutes shopping.
Then, in the afternoon we'll embark on an urban food tour! We don't know about you, but sightseeing makes us hungry, which is why we’ve loaded this Colombo walking tour with tonnes of food stops to keep you fueled along the way. We'll see the city sites while tasting typical Sri Lankan street food like hoppers, wadai, and kothu from the places where locals love to snack.
You'll then have some time to relax before we set off for our final dinner together at a local restaurant.
Sri Lanka, it's been epic!
Today marks the end of our adventure adventure in Sri Lanka. There are no activities today so you can depart at any time. Or, we can help you continue your trip.