During this 11-day Sri Lanka Highlights and Wildlife Adventure of Sri Lanka, you will have loads of exciting wildlife encounters, visits to historic attractions and enjoy plenty of delicious cuisines!
Sri Lanka is blessed with diverse and abundant wildlife throughout the island and in the seas around it. Thanks largely to the establishment of vast National Parks, the variety of wildlife encountered here is simply staggering. Leopards, Elephants, Sloth Bears and Blue Whales are just some of the more famous animals in Sri Lanka, but the island has a whole lot more to offer to all types of wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. During this tour you will visit the 3 biggest National Parks, go on multiple Safaris, explore the Unesco World Heritage sites of Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Kandy and Galle Fort, go on the most scenic train journey in the hill country and also witness the truly stupendous sight of a *Blue Whale breaching!
Your accommodation will consist of handpicked hotels and glamping campsites, designed to minimize time spent in travel. This will allow you to have the maximum time to focus on your wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka and enjoy your accommodation, destinations, and the amazing cuisine.
Ideal For – Wildlife enthusiasts who are looking for a dash of culture as well. Recommended for Solo Travelers / Couples / Friends / Families with kids and teenagers / Groups consisting of friends and family.
Highlights at a glance
- Discover the diversity of Wilpattu National park with multiple safaris.
- Take in the ancient engineering marvels of the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress at sunset & then bravely climb the Pidurangala Rock to witness a glorious sunrise.
- You will also be witnessing the biggest Asian Elephant gathering.
- 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.
- Stay in the historic city of Kandy, a Unesco World Heritage site, and witness age-old Buddhist rituals.
- Go on a train ride, climb the Little Adam’s Peak and witness the world famous Nine Arch Bridge.
- Visit the Elephant Transit Home, where orphaned baby elephants are nurtured and injured elephants are nursed back to health.
- Meet the giants of the forests - the Sri Lankan elephants - as you explore Udawalawe National Park.
- Explore the world’s best park for Leopards, Yala National Park, with multiple safaris.
- Explore the eclectic streets of the Galle Fort, a Unesco World Heritage site.
- Go on a Boat Safari to see the largest mammal on earth, the Blue Whale* or experience the Ceylon Cinnamon Trail.
- 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.
- Experience regional culinary specialities and engage in culinary lessons with specialist chefs.
The start of your adventurous holiday in Sri Lanka, just ease into it. Depending on what time you arrive, it really is up to you to decide what you would like to do on your brief stop here. You may fancy a boat ride on Negombo’s Dutch Canal which weaves an interesting route around the city, or you may just like to linger on the beach. If you choose to venture out, Hotel Road teems with bars and seafood restaurants to check out.
An early morning start will see you heading to the fish market to watch the day’s catch coming in, experience the process of wholesale fish trading and also to learn about the process of drying fish. Afterwards you’ll be heading to Wilpattu.
Among things to do in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu National Park is a multi-faceted treasure: on your afternoon jeep safari, you will get a sense of this sprawling landscape: from low scrub forests, wetlands to tall ebony and milla trees, and its iconic lakes – getting its vernacular name which means ten lakes. “The Land of Lakes” is the biggest and 2nd oldest Wildlife Park of Sri Lanka. Look out for its wildlife, especially the elusive Sri Lankan leopard and numerous birds.
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 breakfast you’ll be heading to Sigiriya, which is part of the Cultural Triangle. Today will be your day to climb the Sigiriya Rock by early evening – a highlight of Sri Lanka tourism. The remains of gigantic sculptured lion paws will greet you at the start of the climb. You will ascend 600 metres to reach the zenith of the Lion Rock where you will be struck by the panoramic view and vantage point for a king. The foundations of what once housed a gathering hall, sleeping quarters – remain to be admired. There is the Mirror Wall which features the Sigiriya frescoes that are unfortunately fading. On descending, you will enjoy walking by once landscaped gardens with their own irrigation systems.
Amaara Forest Hotel
Veiled in the early morning chill and mist, you will head out to climb the Pidurangala Rock. At its zenith, you will be drawn by the unique view of Sigiriya’s ‘Lion Rock’ and the surrounding pristine splendour of the forest. Another treat for you to explore here: the remains of a monastery dating back to 2 BC.
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.
Then we’ll drive you to Polonnaruwa which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The Gal Vihara temple cut from one slab of granite stone possesses a jewel of Sri Lankan art: the statues of Buddha in the recumbent, seated and standing positions.
The Deer Park Hotel
The Monkey Tour with the Grey Langur starts early. Following them closely for a small part of the day – is a great experience to absorb. You will get to see how monkeys socialise as a community. Then it’s time to explore Polonnaruwa. It has so many ruins, including the ‘Gal Vihara’, a spectacular temple cut from a single granite wall! It’ll feel like you’re stepping into a bygone golden era.
A scenic drive will get you to Kandy. When you reach Kandy, your first port of call will be the Temple of the Tooth built in the 16th century, a prominent temple where Lord Buddha’s tooth lies; surrounded by artistic murals and paintings capturing the journey of Buddhism. You will find the daily rituals ‘pooja’ held amidst drumming and chanting, very intense and colourful – attracting many worshippers daily.
After breakfast, you will be dropped off at the railway station. The train will take you all the way to Ella and the ride is wonderfully scenic. Your vehicle will be waiting to pick you up at Ella railway station and take you to your hotel. The rest of the day is left free for you to explore your surroundings. Ella has some great hiking trails and all of them have amazing views. In the night you can check out the vibrant nightlife and enjoy the varied cuisines and local cocktails.
Ella Flower Garden Resort
Your first stop after breakfast will be the highly Instagrammed Nine Arches Bridge. Occasionally, the train pauses on the bridge to give visitors a special photo opportunity, so keep your fingers crossed for that. From there, you’ll be taken for a hike up Little Adam’s Peak where you can see more spellbinding scenery over the highlands.
Then we will head to the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe where over 50 elephants are being cared for, before being released to the wild. Next: an evening Guided Jeep Safari at Udawalawe. After dinner under the stars, you will be taken on a night drive in the buffer zone of Udawalawe National Park to observe the nocturnal behaviour of elephants.
Bird watching in Sri Lanka is quite a rewarding experience and the camp’s resident naturalist will take you on a morning birding trail, which will culminate just in time for breakfast. Then you’ll head to the famous Kataragama Temple for a pooja.
The drive to Yala is quite short, so after a brief exploration of the campgrounds you’ll have your lunch!
Then you will be taken on your evening safari of Yala National Park. A delicious dinner by a roaring campfire awaits your return from the safari, and your adventures on this day are capped off with a night walk along the borders of the Park, to meet some of the nocturnal residents of the jungle.
Early morning safari drive in Yala National Park and enjoy the wildlife at its best. and back at the campsite. Then you will having a Sri Lankan Cooking Experience at the campsite with camp chef followed by lunch. You can spend your evening relaxed at the campsite. (Optional : Cultural Safari to Situlpawwa Ancient Temple inside the Park). BBQ dinner and and overnight stay at campsite.
After the breakfast at campsite and the next stop will be Galle. Galle is a picture book UNESCO heritage city that will mesmerize you with its many charms. Depending on what time you reach your hotel, you can relax here with the sea breeze, or venture on a walk into the city. Galle Fort itself spans 90 acres overlooking the ocean. Your chauffeur will be happy to accompany you and show you the Meeran Mosque, the Fort Lighthouse, the Dutch Reformed Church, restaurants, live music bars and quaint houses on cobblestone streets. Galle boasts of a museum you may like to visit, that offers an interesting historical insight of its past. There is also the Dutch Market and numerous spice shops to see.
The Lady Hill Hotel
If your tour is from November to March, you will leave early by 6-6:30am to go whale watching from the Mirissa harbour. This is an exciting adventure when you may sight Blue whales and Bottle-nosed dolphins. If you are travelling from April to October, you will go on the Galle Cinnamon Experience; an interactive tour which gives you a sense of a cinnamon farmer’s life – visiting a beautiful, working cinnamon estate.
We’ve reached the end of your 10-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.
- 10 nights accommodation. HB at all hotels.
- Transportation in an Airconditioned Vehicle with an English Speaking Chauffeur throughout the tour including Airport Transfers.
- Jeep Safaris in the above mentioned National Park in a Private Jeep including the entry permit costs & government tracker fees.
- Entry Permits to all the sites, temples, museums & monuments mentioned in the itinerary.
- Costs of all experiences, community visits, hikes and village walks mentioned in the itinerary.
- 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 Authorization)
- 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.
- Any Optional Activities.
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.