X

Looking for expert help?
Call us on:

Request a call back:

Our team is available during the following times to call you:
9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday | 10am-1pm Saturday
Indian Ocean

Discover Sri Lanka

From €1979pp tour-only
Depart From
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Departure Date
Regular departures throughout the year
Duration
12 Days
Destination
Sri Lanka
Price
From €1979pp tour-only
Enquire Now
Share          

Become enchanted by Sri Lanka on an unforgettable 12-day journey.

Stroll spice gardens and tea plantations, and ride through Wilpattu National Park with a forest ranger in search of elephants and leopards. Come away with a deep understanding of why early Arab traders called this island country “Serendib,” a name that gave English speakers the word “serendipity.”

Explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress and refresh your spirit at the unusual Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Highlights:

  • Explore ruins and archaeological sites with local experts
  • Take in a lecture on elephant conservation
  • Search out leopards at Wilpattu National Park
  • Enjoy a taste of tea at its source
  • Learn about local ingredients and flavours during a cooking demonstration

 

TRAVEL STYLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC JOURNEYS

Greater exploration, insider access, and the freedom to roam – all without sacrificing comfort.

SERVICE LEVEL: UPGRADED

Quality accommodations and more inclusions than on other G Adventures tours, like meals, private transport, and activities.

PHYSICAL RATING: 3 - AVERAGE

Some tours may include light hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking in addition to walking.

TRIP TYPE: SMALL GROUP

Small group experience; Max 15, avg 12

AGE REQUIREMENT: 12+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

DAY 1: COLOMBO

Arrive at any time and enjoy your day. Please meet your CEO in the hotel lobby at 6:15PM for the welcome meeting.

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Arrival Airport Transfer:  Bandaranaike International Airport – Colombo

You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel to start your adventure.

Accommodation:  The Steuart by Citrus (or similar) 

DAY 2:  COLOMBO/ WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

Depart early and visit a coconut plantation, learning about farming and popular coconut-based products. Continue north to Wilpattu National Park, known for its leopard population. Explore the park on a 4x4 and meet with a local expert to hear about conservation efforts and the issues of human encroachment on wildlife reserves. Overnight at a safari camp, located just outside the National Park.

Wilpattu is the oldest National Park in the Country and home to Sri Lankan leopards and we will do our best to search some out with our local ranger. As well, enjoy the stunning flora and fauna, keeping an eye out for elephants, wild boar, sloth bear, spotted deer and water buffalo. Our safari camp is located 10 minutes to the Southern boundary of the park enterence, on the boundary of a lake, surrounded by bush forest.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Wilpattu Safari and Conservation Talk

Explore Wilpattu, one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka, renowned for its leopard population. Explore the park by jeep with a local expert to observe the local flora and fauna, but be on the lookout for the parks most famed resident, the leopard. Also discuss wildlife conservation in the area and the conflicts of human encroachment on wildlife reserves.

Hands-on: Visit a Coconut Plantation

Visit a local coconut plantation and learn about the importance of this crop to local people and the Country as a major export. Sri Lanka is fortunate that the coconut palm is native to the island and lush plantations cover a large portion of coastal areas. Many local industries are founded in coconut based products using all parts of the fruit including the kernel, shell, husk, and fiber.

Private Vehicle: Colombo – Wilpattu National Park 4h/ 155km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

DAY 3: WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK/ ANURADHAPURA

Travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through the ruins and discover ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples. Enjoy some free time this afternoon and opt to rent a bike.

Private Vehicle: Wilpattu National Park – Anuradhapura 1h/ 35km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Anuradhapura Excursion

Tour the ruins and monasteries of Sri Lanka's first capital. A symbol of Sinhalese power, this is the nation's most extensive and important ancient city. 

Optional Activities - Day 3

Cycle Anuradhapura

Choose to get active and enjoy the views of this sacred city by bicycle. Cycle through the beautiful surroundings and get an intimate glimpse into daily life in Anuradhapura. With so many stunning ruins, monasteries, and natural sights to see, there will be no shortage of breathtaking moments to be viewed via bicycle.

Accommodation:  Palm Garden Village (or similar) 

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 4: ANURADHAPURA/ DAMBULLA

Enjoy a walk through Habarana, a rural farming village, and learn about daily life. Relax with a canoe trip on the lake, ride on a bull cart, taste a local lunch, and venture out into the rice and vegetable fields. Later, continue on to Dambulla for the evening.

Private Vehicle: Anuradhapura – Dambulla 2h-2h30m/ 85km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Agricultural Village Experience

Visit the thriving Village of Habarana for a glimpse of authentic rural life in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province. Travel by foot, traditional bull cart and canoe in this scenic region, visiting farms of lush vegetable fields and rice paddies, surrounded by a landscape of green jungle and picturesque lakes. Walk through the town to meet some of its residents and vendors and gain an understanding of their largely agricultural life. Take a canoe ride on the lake, then sit down to a lunch of local specialties.

Accommodation: Sigiriana Resort by Thilanka (formerly Thilanka Resorts & Spa) (or similar) 

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch

DAY 5: DAMBULLA

Head to Sigiriya (Lion) rock fortress and climb the steps to the top of this captivating site to discover UNESCO-listed ruins and take in stellar views. After, enjoy some free time to explore Dambulla.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress Visit 

Be mesmerized by this rock fortress, which captivates every visitor with its well-laid out gardens, caves, monasteries, and palaces adorned with beautiful wall motifs. Start at the water gardens and climb more than 1,200 steps to reach the top. Pass caves with frescoes and boulders to find the ruins of a palace on the flat surface of the old volcanic magma rock. The rock rests 370m (1,213 ft) above sea level with a shear drop on all sides.

Private Vehicle- Dambulla

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation: Sigiriana Resort by Thilanka (formerly Thilanka Resorts & Spa) (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 6: DAMBULLA/ KANDY

Tour the impressive Dambulla Cave Temple and admire ancient Buddhist murals and statues then visit a spice garden in Matale to learn about the theraputic uses of local spices. Continue on to Kandy and enjoy a tour of the Temple of the Tooth, which houses an important relic — a tooth of Lord Buddha kept in a well-preserved golden casket. This evening, listen to some traditional music at a cultural show.

Dambulla Cave Temple Visit, Sigiriya (1h-1h30m)

Visit the ancient Dambulla cave temples at one of the most well-preserved temple and cave sites in Sri Lanka. See Buddhist mural paintings that line the walls of the seventh-century caves as well as a collection of hundreds of statues of Buddha in different poses.

Spice Garden Excursion, Matale

Visit a spice garden and marvel at the various spices used as natural medicines and as condiments in food.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Tour, Kandy (1h)

Enjoy a tour of the Temple of the Tooth, which houses an important relic – a tooth of Lord Buddha kept in a well-preserved golden casket. Learn about the importance of this site from local guides.

Kandyan Cultural Dance, Kandy (45m-1h)

Be swept away by an entertaining performance that will provide insight into the local culture in Kandy.

Private Vehicle: Dambulla – Kandy 3h/ 90km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation:  Hotel Thilanka (or similar) 

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 7: KANDY

Today, visit the impressive Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, considered a national asset. Enjoy the lush surroundings, pavilions, conservancy, orchid house, and stunning Javan fig tree. After, visit Sthree Craft Shop and Café, a G for Good-supported social enterprise that helps local women and youth. Here, we view a handicraft demonstration, listen to a lecture lecture, and enjoy afternoon high tea. Taste local teas, scones, clotted cream, jam, and an assortment of sweet cakes and pastries. Later, enjoy some free time to walk through the city and around Kandy Lake.

Royal Botanical Gardens Visit, Kandy (2h-3h)

Enjoy a leisurely walk in the colourful Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. See 300 varieties of orchids of Sri Lanka as well as a range of other plants.

G Adventures for Good: Sthree Craft Shop and Café

Stop by Sthree Craft Shop and Café, a G for Good-supported social enterprise created in partnership with The Women's Development Centre, an organization that supports training and work opportunities for local women and disabled youth from the Kandy area. "Sthree" means "women" in both Tamil and Sinhala – fitting as the shop and café is both a place for local women to hone their hospitality skills, while selling handicrafts sourced from all over Sri Lanka.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: High Tea and Handicrafts

Visit Sthree Craft Shop and Café to indulge in High Tea and a handicraft-making demonstration from a member the shop’s training program. Sit down for a talk from one of the project organizers about what they do, while you enjoy a taste of local teas and an assortment of sweet cakes and pastries.

Free Time In Kandy (Optional activities)

Opt to visit an Ayurvedic hospital to learn about Ayurvedic oil massage treatments or explore the well-laid out walkways of the city and don't miss the famed Palm Avenues.

Accommodation: Hotel Thilanka (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 8: KANDY/ NUWARA ELIYA

Travel through scenic mountains to the tea-producing town of Nuwara Eliya, stopping at a traditional tea plantation in the central highlands to gain insight into the process of growing tea and its effect on the Ceylon region. Enjoy a cup of perfectly blended pure Ceylon tea then continue exploring the English countryside atmosphere which was once governed by English and Scottish planters. Walk through the green grass and lanes, enjoying stunning views of this countryside hamlet. Opt to enjoy high tea at the Grand Hotel.

Private Vehicle:  Kandy – Nuwara Eliya 3h/ 80km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Tea Plantation Visit, Nuwara Eliya 1h-1h30m

The town of Nuwara Eliya produces the finest Orange Pekoe Ceylon tea, and is inhabited mainly by tea planters and plantation workers. Pay a visit to one of the factories to learn all about tea production.

Explore Nuwara Eliya

Enjoy a tour of colonial Nuwara Eliya and its lush surroundings. Follow misty roads, through lush green blankets of tea bushes into a cooler climate, that remind visitors of an English countryside atmosphere. Once governed by English and Scottish planters - the area still offers colonial bungalows, hedgerows and one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the world.

Optional Activities - Day 8

High Tea at the Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya (15USD per person)

Step back in time and enjoy high tea at the historic Grand Hotel. Enjoy a lovely setting with Elizabethan-era architecture and beautiful gardens. The building was the former mansion of Sir Edward Barnes who was the Governor of Sri Lanka during 1830-1850.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 9: NUWARA ELIYA/ UDAWALAWE

Enjoy a picnic breakfast and hike through the highlands in Horton Plains National Park. Continue on to our tented camp on the border of Udawalawe National Park. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration by the camp chef to learn about local specialties.

Private Vehicle: Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains Nature Reserve 1h-1h30m/ 30km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Horton Plains Trek, Horton Plains Nature Reserve – Negombo 4h-4h30m/ 9km

Get close to nature and stunning scenery on this Horton Plains Trek. Hike 9km (6 mi) into the Horton Plains and walk through the clouds to discover a majestic drop that provides amazing views over the plains into the sea.

Private Vehicle: Horton Plains Nature Reserve – Udawalawe 4h-4h30m/ 105km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Hands-on: Sri Lankan Cooking Demonstration

Enjoy a cooking demonstration and see how local Sri Lankan delicacies are prepared.

Accommodation: Big Game Camping (or similar) in a Lodge

Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

DAY 10: UDAWALAWE

Enjoy a wildlife safari drive into the park to observe elephants who are in abundance here. After, visit and enjoy a lecture at the Elephant Transit Home, a haven for orphaned elephants who are rehabilitated then released back into the wild, many directly into Udawalawe National Park.

Udawalawe is a sanctuary for large herds of elephants, and the national park proves to be one of the best places to observe them in their natural habitat. Hop into a safari jeep and head into the park, but keep an eye out for other wildlife such as spotted deer, sambur, barking deer, water buffalo and jackal - all found within the park.

Udawalawe National Park Safari 3h-4h/ 45km

Drive through this massive nature reserve and keep an eye out for the mighty Sri Lankan elephants – they live in abundance here and often wander along the road. Make several stops to observe these beautiful animals. 

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Elephant Rehabilitation Centre

Sri Lanka is home to a significant elephant population – estimated at approximately 4,000. The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation, to treat and rehabilitate injured elephants that have been found in the area – before releasing them back into the wilderness. Drop by this incredible facility to watch – rather than touch – these gentle giants as they feed, play, and mingle with each other. Meet one of the centre’s conservationists who will talk about the work they do here, including its challenges and its successes.

Accommodation: Big Game Camping (or similar) in a Lodge

Meals included:  Breakfast | Dinner

DAY 11: UDAWALAWE/ NEGOMBO

Drive to Negombo and enjoy free time to explore the city and check out the beautiful Portuguese and Dutch architecture.

Private Vehicle: Udawalawe – Negombo 5h-6h/ 210km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation:  Jetwing Sea Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 12: NEGOMBO

Depart at any time.

Hotel check out is at 12:00pm. Your CEO can assist you with arranging an easy transfer to Colombo or the International airport.

Not ready to leave? We can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

Meals included:  Breakfast

Price is per adult sharing and includes:

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Wilpattu Safari and Conservation Talk, Wilpattu National Park
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Agricultural Village Experience, Habarana
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: High Tea and Handicrafts, Kandy
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, Udawalawe
  • G Adventures for Good: Sthree Craft Shop and Café, Kandy
  • Hands-on: Visit a Coconut Plantation, Colombo
  • Hands-on: Sri Lankan Cooking Demonstration, Udawalawe
  • Tour of Anuradhapura ruins
  • Tour the Sigiriya rock fortress
  • Dambulla cave temple visit
  • Visit a Matale spice garden
  • Tour the Temple of the Tooth
  • Cultural show
  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Tour Nuwara Eliya area and a Ceylon tea plantation
  • Hike in Horton Plains National Park
  • Safari drive in Udawalawe National Park
  • Accommodation: Hotel/lodges (9 nights), tented camp (2 nights)
  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners (Allow USD265-345 for meals not included)
  • Transportation:
    • Private vehicle, boat, 4x4, walking
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Arrival transfer
  • Staff & experts: Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout and Local Guides

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Flights to Sri Lanka- we'll find the best fare for your chosen travel date and departure airport
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

Enquire about this holiday

Fill out the form below and one of our travel experts will be in touch with more information and to help you book.

Questions? Live Chat

0000

Join Our Mailing List

Dreaming of a holiday? Sign up to our mailing list to receive our weekly special offers

We are moving home after 20 years!

Yes, we are excited to let you know that Sayit Travel is being incorporated in to its parent company Shandon Travel. Nothing has changed! We're still your one stop shop for all your travel needs.

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More