HighlightsNegombo | Sigiriya | Polonnaruwa | Dambulla| Kandy | Nurwara Eliya | Ella | Yala National Park | Overnight stay in safari tents | Unawatuna beach | Galle | Colombo | Private chauffeur guide
Description of Sri Lanka highlights holidayThis two week, Sri Lanka holiday is a tailor made trip and so this is only our suggested itinerary, which of course we can adapt according to your interests. Although we believe it captures many of Sri Lanka’s highlights, both cultural and coastal, national parks and wildlife. Driven by your own driver and expert local guide, you will stay at a carefully selected mix of locally owned accommodations.
Starting in Colombo, we take you straight to the beach at Negombo on the west coast to be revived after your journey and to slowly but surely adapt to the laid back lifestyle of Sri Lanka. Moving on to the cultural segment of your tour, you will spend several days in Sri Lanka’s famous Cultural Triangle, based in a hotel in Polonnaruwa, an ancient kingdom with an incredible array of 10th century temples and palace ruins. From here, you will also visit Sigiriya’s incredible rock fortress and the cave rock complex at Dambulla.
The middle section of your trip is when we recommend you take in the centre of Sri Lanka, staying in the ancient city of Kandy, famous and revered for the Temple of the Tooth. And from this busy spot into the cooling hill stations and tea plantations. Similarly cooling is Horton Plains National Park, further south, where you can hike into mountainous, mist covered forest, with stunning waterfalls en route. Followed by more tropical wonders at Ella, which you can reach by train, and where you can hike up to Ella’s Rock or Little Adam’s Peak for the most stunning views.
Heading further south, one of the highlights of this trip for many is Yala National Park where a jeep safari will take you deep into the habitats of elephants, sloth bear, wild buffalo, sambhar elk and deer. And, most famously, leopard, with Yala boasting the highest, concentrated leopard population in the world. Although sightings are rare.
You will certainly have earned your few days at Unawatuna beach where you will stay just a quick walk from the shore. We also recommend one final stop at Galle, the magnificent 16th century fort town built by the Portuguese and now a buzzing hub of culture, markets and fine cuisine.
Responsible tourism Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka highlights holiday Show More EnvironmentWhen you embark on this itinerary you get several chances to spot wild animals, including elephants. We support the protection of the Sri Lankan environment by only visiting national parks which are responsible, and are in fact protecting the Sri Lankan wildlife. This includes the Minneriya National Park, Kaudulla National Park and Yala National Park. When in the Yala National Park you stay in tented accommodation which has little impact to the local environment. At the beginning of this itinerary when met by our local partner, our clients are also briefed on protection of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage. Our local partner in Sri Lanka also shares the same values as us in terms of using as little energy in the office and also recycling. We both use minimal paper in our offices and have all paper used recycled. They also have strict times at which they use the air-conditioning in their office.CommunityDuring this itinerary you will be staying in a mix of authentic small-scale accommodation including a family-run hotel in Kandy. By using this type of accommodation we support local families and local people who are employed by these hotels. Throughout the trip you will be travelling around with your private driver. Our drivers are trained by our local partner and then given a permanent contract offering reliable work which earns them a wage higher than the national average. Our local partner also runs a lot of charity projects in Sri Lanka and supports many local communities. In 2008, they provided emergency lights and installed lights at a girls home in Nugegoda. In 2013 our local partner bought 40 new mattresses for an retirement home near Colombo. Other projects that they have funded include providing food and rations to local charities, helping restore the homes of some of Sri Lanka's most needy, and paying for cancer drugs for patients at some local hospitals.
|Day 1-3:||Amble along Negombo's Canals: Today you’ll arrive in Negombo, a modest beach town on the palm-fringed west coast, not far from Colombo. During your time in Negombo, you’ll stay in an elegant villa with a swimming pool and gardens. The rest of the day is free for you to do as you please; why not relax by the pool with a good book or take a stroll along the beach. The following day, you can soak up the sights and sounds of the town with your driver. Explore the fascinating colonial history, wander through the vibrant bazaar and watch the fishermen bring in their morning catch at the market. At the end of your stay in Negombo you'll continue your journey with your private car and driver to Polonnaruwa. This journey will take around 5 hours.|
|Day 3-5:||Elephants in Buddha's Garden: From crumbling ruins to majestic elephants, this trip will take you on a discovery of Sri Lanka’s fascinating Cultural Triangle. After making your journey from Negombo, you’ll begin this part of your trip by climbing Sigiriya’s mighty rock fortress. Afterwards you'll head out to spot wild elephants on a jeep safari. Next, you’ll arrive at the ancient capital, Polonnaruwa. Here, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time as you wander through the ancient stone city, where towering stupas, age-old wall paintings and royal stone baths are just waiting to be explored. During this cultural experience, you’ll stay in a charming hotel in Polonnaruwa and round your trip off with a visit to Dambulla’s rock cave temple, which lies high up in the hills. Next you'll hop back in to your private car to continue your journey to Kandy. This drive will take around 3 hours.|
|Day 5-6:||Kandy's Cultural Treasures: Positioned right in the heart of central Sri Lanka and nestled in the green hill country, you’ll find the cultural city of Kandy. Here, you’ll stay in stylish, family-run accommodation, decorated with elegant furnishings and boasting a beautiful view of central Kandy Lake. There’s plenty to do here in Kandy, explore the glittering Temple of the Tooth, take a stroll around the peaceful lake, visit colourful markets, amble through picturesque Botanical Gardens and in the evening, watch a traditional Kandayan dance show. On day five of your trip, you'll travel to Nuwara Eliya by private car (approx. 3 hours)|
|Day 6-7:||Tea Hills and Trails: With the unmistakable air of a quintessential English town, Nuwara Eliya is affectionately known as ‘Little England’ and it won’t take you long to see why. Colonial style buildings, rose scented flower gardens, red telephone boxes and even a church, all surrounded by a blanket of rolling tea plantations; this is a totally different side of Sri Lanka. You’ll stay in a centrally located hotel right in the heart of the country. Watch tea pickers in the fields, visit an old English tea factory and walk along the picturesque plateau at Horton Plains to take in the sweeping views of World’s End. After your stay, you'll catch the train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella (approx. 3 hours)|
|Day 7-9:||Explore the Emerald Valleys of Ella: Today you’ll begin your journey to the mountain valleys of Ella on one of the most beautiful train rides through the Sri Lankan countryside. You’ll travel in third-class which means you can mingle with the locals as you watch the picturesque landscapes pass you by. This is a really authentic alternative to travelling by private car with your driver. Due to its location up in the hills, the temperature in Ella is cooler and very pleasant. During your stay, you’ll have a choice between taking a challenging four hour hike to Ella Rock, or a more gentle trek to Little Adam’s Peak which takes about two hours. From Ella, you'll then travel to Yala National Park by private car (approx. 3 hours)|
|Day 9-10:||The Wild Heart of Yala National Park: Yala National Park is one of the most famous National Parks in Sri Lanka. During this trip, you’ll head out on a jeep safari where you can spot a kaleidoscope of colourful birds, monkeys, crocodiles, buffaloes and of course, elephants. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot a leopard sneaking past, so make sure you have your camera ready! After an exciting day of wildlife spotting, you’ll head back to your simple yet unique accommodation, located on the edge of the park. Your comfortable tent comes equipped with a bed, toilet and sink! In the evening, you can fall asleep to the sounds of the wild- an experience to make your Sri Lanka wildlife trip complete! The next day you'll head from Yala to Unawatuna by private car (approx. 6 hours)|
|Day 10-13:||Turquoise Bay at Unawatuna: Enjoy a tropical beach break at the bay of Unawatuna for a dose of sunshine, sea and sand. Soak up the rays, sample freshly caught fish and perfect your downward facing dog with a little yoga. You’ll stay in your own characterful room just a few minutes walk from Unawatuna’s tropical bay. After a few days on the beach it's time to say goodbye to Unawatuna as you meet your driver once again and travel to Colombo by private car (approx. 2 hours)|
|Day 13-14:||Just One More Thing...in Colombo: Top off your Sri Lanka trip with a trip back in time as you journey back to Colombo via the old fortress town of Galle. You’ll arrive in Colombo in the early afternoon. You can take a city tour with your driver and be treated to a traditional British-style high tea in the colonial Galle Face Hotel. When it’s time to leave the next day, your driver will pick you up and take you to the airport for your flight back home.|