Days
14
Price from
3401CAD
Map of Jewels of Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka

Savour tea and sacred cities on the ‘Teardop Isle’

Sri Lanka has just about everything a traveller could want – superb ancient sites, magnificent scenery, amazing wildlife, delicious cuisine, incredibly welcoming people and palm-fringed, white sandy beaches. Add to this a history touched by Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and a society with a strong and devout adherence to the Buddhist faith and we find an island-nation of incredibly rich diversity with much to offer. We discover all of this and more on a comprehensive journey of what has been affectionately called, due to its shape, the 'Teardrop Isle'.


Start
Seeduwa, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination
Sri Lanka
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Wildlife
Code
PISJ
Physical rating
Trip rating
101 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Climb the narrow steps that wind around the cliff-carved rock fortress of Sigiriya, emerging triumphant at the world’s oldest landscaped gardens that sit 200 metres high.

  • Sip on fresh Ceylon tea in Dambulla and Nuwara Eliya, tasting lovely brews with even lovelier views of rolling, evergreen hillside.

  • Search for crocodiles, elephants, monkeys and buffaloes under cover of darkness during an evening safari tour of Yala National Park.

  • With a history touched by Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and a society with a devout adherence to the Buddhist faith, this island-nation has incredible diversity.

  • Included trips to key sites and plenty of free time to discover Sri Lanka yourself, this trip is the perfect balance between guidance and space.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The recent terrorist attacks were a tragic event and have had a serious impact on tourism in the country. Intrepid has a strong commitment to our local staff and the communities we visit and are continuing to operate all our trips in Sri Lanka. While the security situation is now much more stable, you will still see a high police presence in towns and cities and many check points are still in place. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. We don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time, however it’s important to be aware that the country is still recovering and things like travel times between destinations and time taken to go through security at the airport may be affected.

  • Though its equatorial position means fairly constant temperatures, the summer months in Sri Lanka are very hot with short, sharp monsoons in the southwest. Be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • The Rock Fortress – or Lion Rock – of Sigiriya is spectacular. However, those with a fear of (or even an aversion to) heights may wish to sit the excursion out. Scaling the rock involved walking up lots of rough, narrow steps and tight walkways.

  • This trip involves one long journey by private vehicle at around 4.5 hours.

  • Tourism in Sri Lanka is booming, resulting in a huge increase in visitors to Yala National Park. Overtourism and lack of sustainable management practices are of major concern to Peregrine, so in order to reduce our impact on wildlife and the environment we are trialling visits in a less-touristed section of the park known as Block 5 or Veheragala. If we determine that Block 5 is also too crowded to visit responsibly, we will change our itinerary to visit Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe is home to wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards, and nearby to the Elephant Transit Home. This is the same itinerary we follow from September to mid-October when Yala National Park is closed annually for infrastructure development and rejuvenation.

Itinerary

Welcome to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport (the country's only international airport), you'll be met and transferred to your hotel close to Negombo, which is situated north of Colombo. A welcome meeting with your trip leader will take place at around 6 pm, so check with reception or the noticeboard for details.
Accommodation
  • The Gateway Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Rise early this morning for a visit to the Negombo fish market. Morning is the best time to visit the market, which is a picture of organised frenzy as vendors display delicacies like crab, lobsters, shark and squid. Bid farewell to Negombo and continue by private vehicle (approximately 4.5 hours) to the ancient city of Sigiriya. In the late afternoon, head out for one of the highlights of any visit to Sri Lanka, a visit to the magnificent palace of Sigiriya (Lion Rock). This dramatic rocky outcrop, rising from the surrounding plains is topped by a ruined palace. It's a good workout to climb to the top, but well worth the effort.
Accommodation
  • Aliya Resort & Spa (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Negombo - Fish market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The visit to Lion Rock takes around 3.5 hrs. Start late afternoon, reaching the Lion Paw in around an hour and a half. On the way visit the water garden, boulder garden, Sigiriya Frescoes and the mirror wall. After the Lion Paw its a steep climb with plenty of steps and walkways along the side of the rock. This part of the climb takes around 30 minutes. Those not wanting to go to the top can rest at the Lion Paw until the rest of the group return.
Drive to Anuradhapura in a private vehicle after breakfast this morning (approximately 1.5 hours). The sacred city of Anuradhapura is one of the main shrines of Buddhism in the country. Take a walk through intricate monuments and amazing architecture. While here you witness the famous sacred fig tree, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Also see Isurumuniya, a beautiful Buddhist temple nearby. After your visit to this ancient city, head back to Sigiriya. Your evening is then free to do as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Aliya Resort & Spa (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Ancient site
  • Anuradhapura - Isurumuniya Temple
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, journey by private vehicle out to another of the area's ancient landmarks in Polonnaruwa (approximately 1.5 hours each way). There are plenty of temples, tombs and stupas to discover, as well as the spectacular Quadrangle. Today you also sit down to enjoy high tea in Dambulla. Later in the afternoon, head back to Sigiriya where you can have an optional ayurvedic massage.
Accommodation
  • Aliya Resort & Spa (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Giritale - Polonnaruwa Site
  • Dambulla - High Tea
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make the short drive to Dambulla Caves Temple this morning and explore this magnificent cave complex. The World Heritage-listed monastery has been a pilgrimage site for 22 centuries and for good reason. In the afternoon, venture out in your private vehicle to Kandy (approximately 2.5 hours). You'll also visit a spice garden in Matale on the way. On arrival, check in to your hotel and head out to explore.
Accommodation
  • Ozo Kandy Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Matale - Spice Garden
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Though it’s the second-largest city in the country and capital of the central hill regions, Kandy is tranquil and beautiful. In the morning, take a guided tour of the Royal Botanical Garden with a botanist. As well as 300 species of orchids, there are a number of bird species in the park, including the Yellow Fronted Barbet, Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot and Brown Capped Babbler. You will also pay a visit to the gem museum and lapidary, where you can learn about the history of gem mining in Sri Lanka. At some point today you will be welcomed into the home of a local dancer to watch a cultural performance in an intimate environment. Capping off a day full of treasures is an evening visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa). Located in the heart of town, this is the most important shrine in the country, housing a relic of a tooth of Buddha taken from his funeral pyre.
Accommodation
  • Ozo Kandy Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Kandy - Cultural performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say farewell to Kandy after breakfast and make the scenic journey to to Haputale (approximately 5 hours). Perched on a mountain ridge overlooking lush green countryside, this town offers many a photo opportunity. On arrival, check in to your accommodation and head out to explore your surrounds. Or simply soak up the views from the pristine gardens at your resort.
Accommodation
  • Melheim Resort or Akway Resort or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
TRAIN TICKETS
Train tickets from Kandy to Haputale are in very high demand, especially over high season (December - March).While we always try our best to secure tickets, on the rare occasion that we cannot you will be provided with a private vehicle.

Due to high demand we have added extra departures on November 10th & 24th, and December 26th, 2019 for this trip. Please note that these departures will not be staying in Haputale on Days 7 & 8 due to the unavailability of rooms at the Melheim Resort. We will instead stay at The Golden Ridge Hotel (or similar) in Nuwara-Eliya for those days.
Venture out this morning after breakfast and walk to a nearby tea plantation and factory. In the afternoon, you'll sit down for lunch at a local planter's bungalow, before having the rest of the day free to relax.
Accommodation
  • Melheim Resort or Akway Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tea Factory Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Transfer to Tissamaharama (known colloquially as Tissa). On the way there, make a stop at a beautiful small town in the highlands, Ella. Here, visit Ella Gap which offers beautiful vistas out across the plains. In the evening, head to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka's premier wildlife reserve. Here you board a 4x4 and embark on a safari. There's a good chance of spotting crocodiles, elephants, monkeys and buffaloes. When it's all over, retire to your resort to relax and unwind.
Accommodation
  • Kithala Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
From September to mid October the Wildlife Conservation Department of Sri Lanka close Yala National Park for the development of infrastructure as well as for plant and wildlife rejuvination. Today we instead visit the Elephant Transit Home at Udawalawe, followed by a jeep safari in Udawalawe National Park.
Udawalawe is home to wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards.
Today you will enjoy another safari in Yala National Park. Perhaps take the chance to do some birdwatching; Yala is home to some 215 bird species, including the Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Painted Stork and Crimson-fronted Barbet. If Yala is closed today, the group will visit Bundala National Park instead.
Accommodation
  • Kithala Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
From September to mid October the Wildlife Conservation Department of Sri Lanka close Yala National Park for the development of infrastructure as well as for plant and wildlife rejuvination. During this time our jeep safari will be in Bundala National Park. Bundala National Park is home to elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, and wild boar.
Take an optional visit Kataragama Temple in the morning to see the shrine that's dedicated to Kataragama Deviyo (resident god). Later we will transfer to Galle, a beautiful seaside town near Sri Lanka's southermost tip. Settle into your hotel, and perhaps stretch your legs with a stroll around a town considered the best preserved colonial town in Sri Lanka. At its core is a Dutch-built fort surrounded on three sides by the ocean but there's a trove of ancient mosques and churches, museums, boutiques and more. Between the months of November to April, whale watching is also a possibility in this area. If you have time in the day, pay a visit to the Handunugoda white tea plantation for a lesson in history and process.
Accommodation
  • Fairway Sunset or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kataragama - Kataragama Temple - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The morning and afternoon are yours to explore this charming town. There are a few options if you wish to add some structure to your day. Perhaps visit a cinnamon plantation 20 minutes outside of Galle to learn about the process of making the spice. Birders may wish to explore the Hiyare Rainforest Reservoir, also about 20 minutes from Galle. As always, speak to your knowledgeable leader for information on how to book or access these optional activities. In the evening, take a guided walk through this historic town.

Accommodation
  • Fairway Sunset or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Galle - guided walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
An afternoon transfer from Galle will leave enough time for you to take a guided tour of Sri Lanka's capital city. Stop by some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament, and past the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fair trade Store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. If you are lucky enough to be in Colombo on a Saturday, visit Good Market, a local market full of stalls showcasing social enterprises and responsible businesses. After your tour head out for a final dinner with your group.
Accommodation
  • Wonder Hotel Colombo or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colombo - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you’d like to stay on in Colombo, we can help arrange additional accommodation for you on request. Why not soak up all that Colombo has to offer on an immersive one-day Urban Adventure tour? Visit www.urbanadventues.com for more details.


Optional Activities
  • Colombo - Colombo by Tuk Tuk Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Colombo - Eat, Eat, Repeat Urban Adventure - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private Vehicle, Safari Vehicle, Taxi, Train

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (10 nights), Spa Resort Feature Stay in Sigiriya (3 night)

Included Activities

  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Negombo - Fish market
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Ancient site
  • Anuradhapura - Isurumuniya Temple
  • Giritale - Polonnaruwa Site
  • Dambulla - High Tea
  • Matale - Spice Garden
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Kandy - Cultural performance
  • Tea Factory Visit
  • Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
  • Galle - guided walking tour
  • Colombo - City Tour

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, and is applicable for all nights on tour.
2. Tourism in Sri Lanka is booming, and with it has come a huge increase in visitors to Yala National Park. Overtourism and lack of sustainable management practices have become a major concern for us in continuing to visit Yala. In order to reduce our impact on wildlife and the environment we are trialing visiting a less touristed section of Yala, known as Block 5. Should we determine that high tourist numbers at Block 5 also make it difficult to continue visiting responsibly we will change our itinerary to visit Udawalawe National Park, where wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards also reside, and the nearby Elephant Transit Home.
3. From September to mid October when Yala National Park is closed annually for infrastructure development and rejuvenation we follow the alternate itinerary of Udawalawe NP and Elephant Transit Home.
4. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

Essential trip information

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