During this 14-day Summer Holiday of Sri Lanka, you will have loads of nature with so many different landscapes, beautiful wildlife, history etched into so many ancient ruins, beaches stretching forever, mesmerizing mountains, and multicultural people with their spicy and colorful cuisine. And we haven’t even mentioned the adventures you can have in water sports, train rides and much more.
Meet fisher folk in the town of Negombo; white water rafting in Kitulgala; discovering how the famous Ceylon Tea is produced in Nuwara Eliya and a scenic train ride. Additionally, you will enjoy experiencing Sri Lankan traditional village lifestyle, witness sacred rituals in Kandy and explore a world famous botanical garden; explore the ancient kingdoms of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya and unravel their mysteries; visiting the Minneriya National Park & Wilpattu National Park to sight wildlife and avifauna, and experimenting with delectable street food.
Your accommodation will consist of handpicked hotels and campsites, designed to minimize time spent in travel, so that you can have the maximum time to focus on your Sri Lankan cultural holiday and enjoy your hotel, destinations, and the amazing cuisine in the area.
Highlights at a glance
- Some exciting White Water Rafting in Kitulgala, in class 2 to 3+ rapids.
- Journey into the hills, visit a tea plantation, and tour a tea factory.
- Train Ride for you! Experience the remains of the bygone era in these “time machines” witnessing breathtaking views.
- Stay in the historic city of Kandy, a Unesco World Heritage site, and witness age-old Buddhist rituals.
- Join devotees at the Dambulla Cave Temple.
- Then off to visit the 13th century mediaeval capital Polonnaruwa and discover the ruins of palaces and temples where the award winning movie “Monkey Kingdom”was also filmed.
- You will also be witnessing the biggest Asian Elephant gathering.
- Witness the ancient engineering marvels at the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
- Then we are off to soft, sandy golden beaches in Trincomalee.
- Explore Sri Lanka’s first ancient city; Anuradhapura.
- Discover the diversity of Wilpattu National park with multiple safaris.
- Stay at Tented Safari Camps bordering the National Parks in Sri Lanka and experience guided safaris, candlelight dinners under the stars, night walks and delicious BBQ served by roaring campfires.
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Your first destination – Negombo. This will take about 25 minutes and depending on your arrival time, you can decide how you want to spend the rest of the day.
This coastal city is a bustling place, with historical buildings and churches reflecting colonial influences. Negombo has a canal system that weaves an interesting route around the city and a lively fisherfolk community with a daily bustling fish market that attracts people from near and far. And of course it’s an enchanting beach that will always beckon you.
You will drive to Kitulgala, one of the adventure destinations in the region and the location for the iconic film ‘Bridge on the river Kwai’. Enjoy paddling down pristine waters. Professionally trained guides are there to supervise and will make sure you have a safe and fun day on the river!
Kitulgala’s climate is humid throughout the year making it an ideal destination for whitewater rafting. You will love the thrilling adventure on the whitewater sections of the Kelani River – great for both beginners and professionals. It’s an adrenaline-rush adventure, paddling down the waters, in class 2 to 3+ rapids.
After that activity, you will carry on driving to lush green tea plantations of the tea capital: Nuwara Eliya.
After breakfast at the hotel, sightseeing this quaint town will be peaked by your visit to a tea factory. With incredible dexterity and speed, versatile women pluck tea leaves filling up their tea sacks every day. At the tea factory, you will see the entire process of how tea is made from scratch, from tea bush to teapot. After that you will visit Gregory Lake and Victoria Park which is located in the town.
Or Optional – A pre-dawn start will see you heading up to Horton Plains with packed breakfast. The easy circular trek should take you a couple of hours and you will head back to your hotel. Then proceed to see the other sites in Nuwara Eliya.
Get ready in the morning for your next unforgettable experience, a scenic train ride from Nanu Oya to Kandy – one of the best train rides to make in Sri Lanka. Experience the remains of the bygone era in these “time machines” witnessing breath-taking views and historical locations. It will feel like time travel, as the trains chug on. It is a nicely paced ride that everyone enjoys – away from roads and traffic. You will pass tea plantations, mountains, misty forests, winding your way through local villages, waving at smiley locals standing in their backyards, or working in the fields, disappearing into smoky mountain tunnels and emerging into the cool rush of pristine mountainous air – a photo fest for you!
Royal Botanical Gardens is a stunning, 60-hectare garden with its fine collection of orchids and spice gardens. There is also the extraordinary cannonball fruit tree and 40m-high Burma bamboo.
After a delicious lunch you will resume your journey to visit the Temple of the Tooth (the Sri Dalada Maligawa, where the sacred relic of a tooth belonging to Lord Buddha is kept) and also witness a daily sacred ritual known as Thewawa.
Time to meet the traditional arts and crafts community. You will get a chance to be an artisan yourself, an activity you will surely enjoy engaging in and taking their craft home as a souvenir!
Then, we will drive you to Dambulla, known for its Cave Temple, the impressive mural paintings and 157 statues, including a 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha. A World Heritage site surrounded by great views.
Today you will be visiting the Monkey project, which filmed the famous documentary “Monkey Kingdom”. Next, the 13th century mediaeval capital of Sri Lanka; Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa, with its ruins in a resplendent state of preservation, was the Capital of Sri Lanka from 11th to 13th century. The ancient city defended by enclosing walls, is dotted with palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes. The Gal Vihara temple complex, cut from a single granite wall, consists of statues of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha and ranks among the masterpieces of Sri Lankan Art.
Then, we’ll head for the Minneriya National Park. Annually, in August/ September during the dry season, wild elephants migrate from Wasgamuwa National Park to Minneriya National Park in search of food and shelter. It’s a wanderlust dream to see over 350 majestic mammals, migrate across the expansive parks.
Morning you’ll get to climb the Sigiriya rock. At the Fortress, you can take your time leisurely exploring the vast boulder gardens and water gardens before heading up. The climb up the rock is quite easy, as it is made up of walkways and steps with guide rails. Halfway up the rock, you will encounter the famous Sigiriya frescoes and you will reach the summit just in time to catch a gorgeous sunset highlighting the panoramic view all around you.
Then you will drive to Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbours in the world. Home to beautiful white beaches, clear waters around the Pigeon Island, it’s a wanderlust for families with long stretches of beach and warm blue waters to revel in!
Whether you want to book some water sports activities, go diving and snorkeling to several key sights at Trincomalee, make it a fun-filled 2 days for you. The pool is always a treat to laze by with cool drinks, but the inviting beach is amazing to soak up the sun or play with your children. Pigeon Island is not far to take a boat ride to and explore. It is surrounded by coral reefs and turtles and reef fish can be sighted here. Building sandcastles, tap rugby, football… Taking photographs of the landscape or selfies with your loved ones are a few things you can enjoy here.
Rest of the day is free for you to explore on your own or if you would like to see whales, remember, March to September is the best time and means spending about half a day out in the ocean. You will leave early by 6-6:30am to go whale watching from the Trinco harbour. This is an exciting adventure when you may sight Blue whales and Bottle-nosed dolphins.
After breakfast, you will drive to Wilpattu via Anuradhapura. If you are up to it, you can stop at Anuradhapura and it’s the first ancient capital of Sri Lanka with ruins.
Then you will be heading to WIlpattu. You can anticipate a different accommodation experience for you, a delicious BBQ dinner under the stars awaits you at the campsite. After dinner, you will set off on an exciting night walk where you will get to know the nocturnal wildlife and even possibly catch sight of the elusive Slender Loris!
It is an overnight stay at an eco-friendly campsite in jungle settings!
An early morning start on your summer tour of Sri Lanka will see you set off on a full-day safari with packed breakfasts, lunches, and refreshments. This excursion is focused on visiting the numerous lakes in this Park, as they afford the best sightings of Leopards, Sloth Bears and other inhabitants of the jungle. At the end of the safari, a delicious BBQ dinner under the stars awaits you at the campsite. After dinner, you will set off on an exciting night walk where you will get to know the nocturnal wildlife and even possibly catch sight of the elusive Slender Loris!
After an impressive spread of a Sri Lankan breakfast, it is time to travel south again to Negombo. Enroute, you will have a completely ‘nutty’ experience: enjoy the water of the king coconut and eat the flesh of the fruit, which is a delicious and natural drink that is great for your health. An organic fruit, fresh from the tree, its health benefits are globally recognised and promoted.
The coconut is a staple essential in the life of any Sri Lankan. From being a key feature of Sri Lankan cuisine to its use in day to day life, cultural and several religious rituals, the coconut tree – locally also known as ‘kapruka’ – is a versatile and wonderful tree the island is truly blessed with.
We’ve reached the end of your 13-night holiday to Sri Lanka and it is time to depart. Your chauffeur will take you to Colombo Airport in time to catch your departure flight.
Includes / Excludes
- 13 nights accommodation.
- Bed & Breakfast basis at all hotels except Big Game Campsite on Half Board basis.
- Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle with an English Speaking Guide throughout the tour including Airport Transfers.
- Jeep Safaris in the above mentioned National Park in a Shared Jeep including the entry permit costs & government tracker fees. Including 01 full day safari at Wilpattu.
- Service charges at the hotels & current applicable taxes by the Sri Lankan Government.
- Any International or Domestic flights.
- Any Visa fee or ETA fee. (Electronic Travel Authorisation)
- Entry permits to all the sites, temples, museums & monuments.
- Christmas & New Year Eve dinner supplement. (24th & 31st December)
- Perahera Supplement at Kandy Hotel during the Perahera Period.
- Any additional beverage or food.
- Early Check-in or Late Checkout Charges at Hotels.
- Any tips to the staff.
- Any expense of personal requirements telephone, laundry, hotel extra bills etc.)
- Any additional expenses , other than mentioned in the inclusions list above.
When it comes to the accommodation, all the reservations are subject to availability at the time of confirmation, and as soon as we have received the payment, our Tour Operations Team will take in charge of your tour and proceed with the reservations. In case a hotel mentioned in your itinerary has no availability, we will find you an alternative. No changes will be done without your approval!
We will make a rough day-by-day schedule for your tour, but won’t set you exact timings for each and every activity – unless there is a an activity which start at a specific time. Since you will be traveling by private vehicle, with a knowledgeable driver-guide, we want you to have your part in decision making. With the help from him, you may tune the schedule to your rhythm.
Along the destinations included in your itinerary, you are free to take as many stops as you want to. When it comes to additional visits and destinations that are located out of the original route, the extra kilometers will be taken in consideration. For your journey, we will calculate a total mileage that is sufficient for the whole tour and mentioned in your itinerary. If this limit is exceeded, we will charge a supplement according the extra mileage.
We’ll do our best to accommodate the programme in your needs and wishes, if something urgent occurs during your tour. In a situation that requires changing the accommodation, the cancellation policies of the hotels concerned are to be taken on account.
Since the 1st of January 2012, all travelers must be in possession of a visa when arriving in Sri Lanka. Citizens from Singapore and The Maldives are the only exempt. Visitors can apply for the official Electronic Travel Authorization (visa) via www.eta.gov.lk, or upon arrival at the airport. There is a small fee to pay, and you must have at least six months left on your passport at the time of travel to obtain one.
MasterCard and Visa are widely used and accepted by many local shops, restaurants and hotels, but it’s always better to double check. Other major cards such as AmEx and DinersClub are accepted often also.
The Important Stuff
Sri Lanka is a nation where religion and culture occupy an important place in the day-to-day lives of the local people. It is important to be aware of the customs and practices that are particular to the location you are visiting, so here are a few general tips to keep in mind during your travels. Your chauffeur will assist you with more detailed information.
- If you plan on visiting any temples, ancient or current, you should wear clothing that covers your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Head coverings such as caps or helmets should be removed and shoes must be taken off at the entrance. White coloured clothing is generally a good choice to go with here.
- Some religious places do not allow photography or videography without prior permission and some may not allow it at all. Refer to signage or ask your chauffeur guide about the policy or protocol. Don’t try to photograph or take videos without permission.
- If you have any tattoos associated with Buddhism, Hinduism or Islamism, it’s best that you cover them completely in public places.
- Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces and on public transport.