LK10 SRI LANKA TOUR

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'the Resplendent Isle'

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Wilpattu National Park Tented Camp & Safari; Sigirya Rock Fortress; Kandy & Nuwara Eliya Exploration; UNESCO protected Galle Fort; Village Visits & Tea Plantation Tours

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before any applicable taxes. The pricing reflects twin-sharing, per-person costs without airfare to/from the tour; however, we can book flights from your home airport for an added cost. Contact us for a no obligation quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sat 08 Dec 2018Wed 19 Dec 2018 $3870 USD
Tue 12 Feb 2019Sat 23 Feb 2019 $3870 USD
Sat 07 Dec 2019Wed 18 Dec 2019 $3870 USD

Optional Single Supplement: $1375 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $688, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


This itinerary offers some exclusive and unique experiences that go beyond the standard tourist highlights. We have designed this tour to grant you an intimate peek into the country and to provide you with the opportunity to meet local people. Our tour will offer access into villages and homes to provide a truly unique perspective. While offering some unique experiences and encounters, we strive to stay conscious of the sustainability of the local habitat, people and culture. On this tour you will not find the "typical" elephant orphanage visits, animal rides, or any other experiences that exploit people or animals.

Regions visited: South Asia
Countries visited: Sri Lanka


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Sri Lanka / Negombo
Arrival in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

On this first night we will overnight in the city of Negombo, situated nearby the International Airport and approximately 35km (22 mi) north of Colombo. Negombo town is a historically interesting place that has been strongly influenced by the Catholic Church. The Dutch captured the town from the Portuguese in 1640, lost it again in the same year, and then captured it again in 1644. The British then took it from them in 1796 without a struggle. Negombo was one of the most important sources of cinnamon during the Dutch era.

This evening we will enjoy a short visit to the neighbouring communities by Tuk Tuk (auto rickshaw). We later return to the hotel in time for dinner.

Overnight in Negombo.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Negombo - Wilpattu / Evening Safari & Night Walk
This morning we depart after breakfast and head to Wilpattu National Park, the oldest and largest National Wildlife Park in Sri Lanka. This destination is a must for those wishing to explore unchartered wildlife parks in Sri Lanka. Visitor numbers here remain low, even in high season, which gives Wilpattu a genuine sense of wilderness.

Lying on the northwest coast, Wilpattu was declared as a sanctuary in 1905 and upgraded to national park status in 1938. Aside from Wilpattu's rugged beauty, there is thought to be a high chance of sighting leopard here, and in addition elephant, sloth bear, water buffalo, and spotted deer can also be found. The park is also a major sight of interest for birders!

Upon arrival we will check into our tented safari camp (all tents have en-suite facilities), our home for the next two nights. After a break for lunch at the camp we will enjoy an afternoon/evening safari with our naturalist-guide.

As our campsite is located just bordering a lake close to the park’s boundary, we are able to experience something very similar to living inside the park. If we are fortunate we may even encounter wildlife in the campsite itself. Our complete tented camp experience includes expert game drivers and professional naturalists.

After dinner we will also enjoy a guided night walk!

Overnight near Wilpattu National Park.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Wilpattu National Park: Full Day Exploration
Today we make an early start so that we can enjoy a full day safari in the park. Coffee, tea and cookies will be available at the camp in the morning, and a scenic location has been pre-selected for our picnic breakfast stop.

The Wilpattu National Park is a well known ecotourism destination -- a status which is upheld by the strong prevalence of leopards in the park. Though the present number of Sri Lankan Leopards in the park is unknown, this is one of the favoured wildlife safari destinations to observe these big cats. Another highlight is the highly population of Sri Lankan Sloth Bears that can also be found here. We will enjoy a lovely picnic lunch near a lake. A unique feature of this park is the existence of "willus" (natural lakes) -- natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater.

We later return to our tented camp in time for dinner, and for those who would like, another night walk is available this evening.

Overnight in Wilpattu National Park.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 Wilpattu - Sigiriya: Afternoon Fortress Visit
This morning we depart for Sigiriya. The ancient city of Sigiriya is a premier historical destination in Sri Lanka, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. For many travellers this site is considered to be one of the world’s true wonders! Translated as 'Lion Rock' in English, the name of the monument indicates the way in which visitors used to begin their final ascent to the top -- through the open jaws and throat “giriya" of a lion “sinha”. Unfortunately, the only remains of this lion figure are the gigantic paws, sculpted into the side of the rock. The topography of the area is flat except for the massive rock outcrop of the fortress itself, which rises an incredible 600 feet up from the green scrub jungle.

After checking into our lodge we will head out for our visit to the rock fortress of Sigiriya. Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is surrounded by an extensive network of gardens, lily-covered moats, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains. Climbing to the top is not easy (and perhaps not possible for everyone), but we have plenty of time and will not be in a rush. There are about 1,200 steps! That's roughly the equivalent of climbing 60 flights of stairs in a 60 story building. But, don't panic... with proper footwear and lots of water, you can climb at your own pace and turn back at any time that you wish.

After conquering the winding spiral staircases and limestone steps, you will reach the summit of Sigiriya rock. Once at the top, relax and savor the unmatched panoramic views! Here stood the royal complex, complete with bathing pools, royal chambers, and a throne. Once you reach the top you will understand why Sigiriya is often referred called the “palace in the sky.”

We later return to our lodge in nearby Kandalama in time for dinner.

Overnight in Kandalama.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa
After breakfast we will enjoy a walk along a village trail with our local guide in order to learn more about the way of life in the nearby community. Today we will enjoy a typical local lunch prepared by the villagers.

Later this afternoon we will visit the UNESCO protected ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa is nearly 1,000 years, and is one of Sri Lanka 's ancient capital cities. This is part of the famous 'Cultural Triangle' of Sri Lanka. Kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa 800 years ago, when it was a thriving commercial and religious centre. Although King Vijayabahu was the first to claim the city as his capital, it was King Parakramabahu who made it what it is today... with its massive buildings, ornate parks and the 'piece de resistance' -- a 2500 hectare tank called 'Parakrama Samudra' (Sea of Parakrama). The city itself is divided into the ‘new’ and ‘old’ town, with the impressively preserved ruins split into five main areas. Due to its reasonably compact layout, the ruins can be easily explored on foot.

Tonight we will enjoy dinner at our lodge with our special guest -- Sunil Gunathilake from The Primates Project. Sunil is the Senior Research Assistant of the project, and he will take us through almost 50 years of history of the Monkey Kingdom (A 2015 American nature documentary) in Pollanaruwe, where the primate “actors” became an instant hit with award winning movie.

Overnight in Kandalama.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Sigiriya - Kandy / Temple of the Tooth
Today we depart from the Sigiriya region and travel south towards Kandy. Kandy is Sri Lanka's second largest city located in the mountainous center of the island, and considered by some as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. Kandy was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. The cooler climate and smaller size make it a pleasant place to visit. The easy to explore compact downtown area is surrounded by beautiful and lush hills.

In the early evening we will enjoy a city walk in Kandy, and we will visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth. Sri Dalada Maligawa -- famously known worldwide as The Temple of the Tooth -- dates back to the 16th century, though most of the present buildings were built in the 19th century. Venerated as the most important object in the Buddhist world, the Sacred Relic of the Tooth of Buddha is enshrined at the Temple. Brought from India 2500 years ago, it is said that the possessor of the Relic had the right to rule the country. The Relic is kept in a gold casket and stored amidst great security in the Inner Chamber. The Temple complex is made up of numerous buildings most of which are highly decorated with paintings and carvings depicting Buddha. Rich in history and tradition, the Sri Dalada Maligawa is a religious centre where daily worship is a colourful and joyful way of everyday life.

At several times throughout the day different services are held, and with the large numbers of worshippers present it is clear to see why Buddhists are so piously devoted towards the Sacred Tooth Relic. Spine-tingling traditional drumming can be heard coming from the Inner Chamber, and will signal that the ceremonial opening of the window for the public viewing of the casket with the Relic within is just about to begin.

Overnight in Kandy.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Kandy / Gadaladeniya & Lankathilaka
Today after breakfast we will visit Gadaladeniya & Lankathilaka. These sites are both important, though lesser-known highlights of the Kandy region.

This Buddhist temple of Gadaladeniya dates from the 14th century, and the main shrine room contains a stunningly beautiful, gilded seated Buddha. Built on a rocky outcrop and covered with small pools, the temple is reached by a series of steps cut into the rock. Lankatilaka is an ancient Buddhist temple built upon a huge rock and dates back to the 14th Century. During our visits this morning we will be met by a spiritual leader and invited to attend a brief Buddhist ritual (approx 45 minutes) where we learn about the Buddhist way of life and mediation. Our special invitee, Vipula Wanigasekera, was in the spiritual studies for nearly three decades. Vipula is a senior lecturer at the Sri Lankan government owned National School of Business Management.

After a break for lunch we will return to the hotel in the late afternoon and you will have some free time before dinner (on your own this evening).

Overnight in Kandy.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 Kandy - Nuwara Eliya & Tea Plantations
After breakfast we will head to the Kandy train station where we board our train to Nanuoya.
Our journey provides us with some breathtaking views! The very first steam trains were running in Sri Lanka to bring tea, the greatest commercial export of the colonial Ceylon, to Colombo. From Nanuoya we disembark and travel by bus to Nuwera Eliya.

Along our route we will make a stop at the Pedro Tea Estate where we will visit the factory and learn about the tea making process. Sri Lanka is one of the biggest and best tea producers, and tea is an integral part of the culture. The factory here was originally built in 1885 and is still packed with 19th-century engineering.

Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by mountains covered by dense, moss-covered cloud forests and
tea plantations. Here one experiences perpetual English spring weather, with seasonal mists and dry winds that provide ideal weather conditions for the production of one of the choicest grades of high grown tea, to which it gives its name. The city's southern end is adorned by Lake Gregory; high waterfalls add to its scenic beauty.

Overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Nuwara Eliya - Unawatuna
Today’s journey takes us to Unawatuna in the southwest of the country. We will depart the tea country and head towards the beautiful coast of Sri Lanka. This is a long drive, usually taking most of the day, but we will make several stops along the way.

For much of our route today we will pass through the hilly ‘wet zone’, noted for its fishtail palms, red and yellow bananas, and rubber trees. In the wet zone, the dominant vegetation of the lowlands is a tropical evergreen forest, with tall trees, broad foliage, and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers. Subtropical evergreen forests resembling those of temperate climates flourish in the higher altitudes. Montane vegetation at the highest altitudes tends to be stunted and windswept.

En-route we pass through Kitulgala. This is a small town situated in the wet zone rainforest, and is one of the wettest places in the country. The Academy Award-winning 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala. Large numbers of local people make the excursion from Colombo during the weekends to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Overnight in Unawatuna.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Unawatuna - Galle City Tour
After an early breakfast we will head out to the historic city of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This city truly is a jewel, and we will tour the city and Fort with a local specialist. During our walk we will witness the life of the city and visit inside the private home of a family who have been living there for generations! The exotic old trading port of Galle is blessed with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques and churches, grand mansions and museums.

Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia

On our way back to the hotel we will stop and see the famous stilt fishermen. This is an iconic and age old method of catching fish, and there is a beauty and uniqueness to the method. Though stilt fishermen make the activity seem easy and comfortable; stilt fishing requires much skill and balance. A vertical pole with an attached crossbar is embedded into the sea floor among the shallows, or on a riverbed. The crossbar allows the fishermen to be seated a couple of meters above the water causing minimal shadows on the water and hence little to no disturbance amongst the sea life. The stilt fishermen then use a rod from this precarious position to bring in a good catch of spotted herrings and small mackerels from the comparative shallows of the sea or from the river. They collect the catch in a bag tied to the pole or to their waist. Though it is a lovely sight, it is a hard and uncomfortable task for a small catch of just enough fish to feed a few mouths.

Overnight in Unawatuna.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Unwatuna - Colombo / Colombo City Tour
After breakfast we will depart for Colombo. Colombo is Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, and an important port in the Indian Ocean since ancient times. Traders from the Middle East used Sri Lanka as an exchange center while Arab traders came to gather the ivory, precious stones and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pepper, which were highly priced in Europe.

Our city tour will take us to the bustling Petta Bazaar, Independence Square and past the Parliament. During this time our local guide will introduce you to the melting pot of cultures that make up Sri Lanka, and you will learn about its history, trade and communities.

Overnight in Colombo.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Departure from Colombo
Today we say our farewells and depart from Sri Lanka.

BON VOYAGE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Goldi Sands Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Negombo
Country: Sri Lanka

On a palm-shaded beach along the Laccadive Sea and surrounded by tropical gardens, this upscale hotel features colourful, contemporary rooms
... flat-screen TVs, safes and minifridges, as well as tea and coffeemaking facilities.
Read More.

Mahoora Tented Safari Camp

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Wilpattu National Park
Country: Sri Lanka

Located in strategic and advantageous locations, mostly alongside the boundaries of national parks, Mahoora brings you a world class, "pack
... - pack out" all inclusive private tented safari camp experience.
Day & night treks, all drinks including wine and beer; all meals with signature dishes plus many other value additions are included free in your intimate Elite Mahoora tented safari camp experience.

Read More.

Lake Lodge Kandalama


Location: Kandalama
Country: Sri Lanka

Lake Lodge is a small and exclusive 12 room hotel in the little village of Kandalama, in the heart of
... Lanka’s Cultural Triangle.
The village is dispersed around a 3000 acre human-made body of water whose history dates back to over a 1000 years ago, to a highly agriculturally advanced civilization, and is part of an intricate irrigation network to thousands of acres of paddy cultivation that continues to function and flourish even today.

Read More.

Amaya Hills Resort

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Kandy
Country: Sri Lanka

This stately property occupies a privileged position high on a hill overlooking the verdant tropical landscape. Service and comfort are
... with understated grace and traditional charm.


Read More.

Heritance Tea Factory Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Nuwara Eliya
Country: Sri Lanka

In a converted tea factory on a plantation, this rural, industrial hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows with plantation views. The cozy,
... rooms offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, and tea and coffee-making facilities
Read More.

Thambapanni Retreat

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Unawatuna
Country: Sri Lanka

Treat yourself to the finest of comforts and total relaxation at the best accommodation at Unawatuna beach. Meeting high standards
... amenities and facilities, the hotel offers a luxurious stay amidst cooling green bamboo groves. Read a book by the tropical garden from the hotel’s own library, heal body and soul with ancient herbal Ayurvedic treatments, awake to Yoga and Reiki and meditate in calm surroundings and experience the natural beauty of Unawatuna.
Read More.

Galle Face Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Colombo
Country: Sri Lanka

Overlooking the Indiana Ocean, this upmarket hotel is 1 km from Galle Face Green park and 2 km from Gangaramaya
... Temple. Warmly decorated rooms have free Wi-Fi and beverages, along with flat-screen TVs and safes.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and most dinners, some lunches, are included daily (as per the detailed itinerary). Expert leadership, all transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees are included for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving/departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, some lunches, one dinner, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air taxes, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on entry requirements, shopping, and not-included meals.

Seasonality and Weather

Sri Lanka's climate is rather complicated for such a small country, due to the fact that the island is affected by two separate monsoons. In practical terms, this means that the best time to visit the west and south coasts and hill country (where most of our tour occurs) is from December to March.

Sri Lanka’s position close to the Equator means that temperatures remain fairly constant year-round. Coastal and lowland areas enjoy average daytime temperatures of around 26-30C (often climbing up well into the 30Cs during the hottest part of the day). Temperatures decrease with altitude, reducing to a temperate 18–22C in Kandy, and a pleasantly mild 14–17C in Nuwara Eliya and the highest parts of the island – nights in the hills can be quite chilly, with temperatures sometimes falling close to freezing. Humidity is high everywhere, and we will definitely experience some sticky heat on this trip.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport via private air-conditioned motor coach.

The tour is not physically strenuous though it is busy; you must be prepared for some early starts, be steady on your feet, and be able to endure some heat and long (exciting!) days.

We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Porters are generally available at hotels but you must still be able to manage with your baggage from time to time.

Accommodation

Accommodation in air-conditioned 3&4-star hotels/lodges. Our purpose-built tented camp offers star class amenities such as fully- functional toilets, a shower, toiletries, and comfortable beds.

Some of our hotels are character properties with simpler rooms and perhaps no elevators. Some properties have swimming pools.

Single rooms are limited in number and may be smaller than twins.

Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions'). Click on "Map & Hotels" tab for more information

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations. At a couple locations, local wildlife and spiritual experts will join us for an informal lecture/discussion in the evening.

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader