Essential Sri Lanka

Trip Code: HPYL

Why we love it

Cruise around in a 4WD on a wildlife safari, searching for elephants and leopards, then relax lakeside at tranquil Tissa., Shark, squid, barracuda and hundreds of things with fins that nobody knows the name of – visit the sensational Negombo Fish Market., Learn the benefits of washing down a spicy curry with piping-hot Ceylon tea during lunch in a lush mountain village near Ella., Leave the imprint of you face on the train window as you stare out wide-eyed from Kandy to Ella – it’s basically a 6-hour movie of amazing scenery., Two days (and nights) on Unawatuna's golden, palm-lined beaches can cure almost all of life’s problems, including any residual tightness in your photo-taking finger.

Is this trip right for me?

Can you feel that tingling in your fingers? That my friend is power! This trip puts it in your hands – there are few inclusions, so you’ll have plenty of freedom to decide what you want to do.

At 6 hours, the train ride from Kandy to Ella is the longest travel day. But the only reason you’ll want to get off this train is to charge your camera after what is basically a long, natural photoshoot.

The road from Ella to Tissa Lake winds down mountains to the coast, which means it can be frustratingly slow. It also means that you’ll get to see the awesome scenery from literally every angle.

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 Intrepid, 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. This is the same itinerary we follow from September to mid-October when Yala National Park is closed annually for infrastructure development and rejuvenation.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. The Perahera Festival is a 10-day period of evening processions to honour the Sacred Tooth, which is enshrined at Kandy's Temple of the Tooth. Each night features thousands of perfomers, including dancers, drummers, and a parade of more than 50 decorated elephants. Due to Intrepid's stance on elephant cruelty we do not visit the Perahera Festival and cannot purchase tickets on your behalf.
3. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
4. Train tickets are in very high demand. We always try our best to secure tickets, but on the rare occasion that we cannot book them, you will continue your journey by private vehicle.
5. All visitors to Sri Lanka will need to pay mandatory local covid insurance of 12 USD with one month cover of 50,000 USD through visitsrilanka.gov.lk (check https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/ for more info)

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. A lockable bag or small padlock is useful.
You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIALS:
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes are useful. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in Colombo. Please also bring clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples. For women, a light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when hot.
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

RECOMMENDED:
- The Hill country of Sri Lanka can be cold especially around Nuwara Eliya. Please bring a light, warm waterproof jacket.  
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world.
- Camera / phone.

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against street noise, barking dogs and snorers.
- A good book, journal and music player.

LUGGAGE LIMIT:
Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip.

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

BATTERIES/POWER:
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every day . We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and/or a small portable power bank.

MORE!
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list., https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Physical rating

 
2

Joining your group

Oasis Beach Resort, No. 31, Poruthota Road Ettukala,, Negombo, SRI LANKA

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Colombo City Hotel, 33 Canal Row Fort, Colombo, 01, SRI LANKA

Colombo City Hotel is located in the heart of Colombo right opposite to the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the old Dutch Hospital, now converted to a modern shopping complex. It is also walking distance from the Old Parliament. A short stroll from the hotel and you will find your self amidst historic buildings and the Colombo Port. The hotel has a wonderful rooftop restaurant/bar offering food & beverages. Colombo City Hotel is a 5-minute walk from Colombo Fort Railway Station and a 1-hour drive from Colombo International Airport.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 9

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 

SRI LANKAN FOOD:
Sri Lankan food is, put simply, delicious! Here's some advice on the best local dishes to try:
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/eat-like-a-local-in-sri-lanka/
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/best-breakfasts-sri-lanka/

Vegetarians & vegans also won't go hungry:
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegetarian-vegan-food-guide-sri-lanka/

Climate & seasonal information

SRI LANKA WEATHER:
Weather in Sri Lanka can vary depending on the time of year and part of Sri Lanka you are travelling to. The monsoon season is December to March in the northeast and May to October in the southwest. Flooding and landslides can occur during this time, so be ready for some delays in land travel or some reroutes to avoid affected areas. 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 if you are visiting during this period of the year.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

Intrepid's local Operator: 0094 (0)768316000

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

AIR CONDITIONING:
Please note that while all hotels on this trip have fans, not all will have air conditioning.

Transportation


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