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Classic Sri Lanka


The remnants of a spiritual past await your discovery in Sri Lanka, from the ancient cliff-built complex of Lion Rock in Sigiriya to the ruins of the Sinhalese capital in Anuradhapura. Explore wonders of nature and humanity – often both at once – on this 8-day adventure through the cities, jungles and caves of Sri Lanka. Beginning in Negombo, travel through verdant countryside, past tea plantations, into the wildlife-filled Minneriya National Park and to the thriving capital of Colombo. An immersive and cultural Sri Lankan escapade awaits – the only thing left to choose is when to go.

8 days, from

$1,675

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: HPKS
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Sri Lanka
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Head off on safari – Sri Lanka style! Look for elephants and leopards while you cruise the beautiful Minneriya National Park in a jeep with expert local guides.

  • See one of the world’s most revered relics at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to an earthly remain of the Lord Buddha, and discover the cave temple of Dambulla.

  • Travel through highlands so green they almost glow in Nuwara Eliya, and sample some of the acclaimed tea varieties that grow on the hillsides with your small group.

  • Learn about the varied cuisine and local customs of different regions around Sri Lanka and join local families to dine on traditional dishes like fragrant fish curry and rice.

  • Take a guided bike tour around Anuradhapura City, an impressive World-Heritage listed site, soaking up the splendour of the ruins which date back to the city’s heyday hundreds of years ago.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Negombo

Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to Bandaranaike International Airport. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until an important welcome meeting at 6pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.

Day 2: Kandy

After breakfast, take a private transfer to the lush, rainforest-rimmed Kandy where you’ll enjoy a delicious home cooked lunch on arrival. Refresh with a home grown juice welcome drink then feast on traditional Sri Lankan cuisine with a slice of sweet kithul thalapa for dessert. After lunch, check in to your hotel then visit the temple that holds a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. Aptly named Temple of the Tooth, it is one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred places and no matter your spiritual inclination, the hush of the temple and the atmosphere of reverence is incredibly powerful. If you have spare time this afternoon, you may like to visit the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens which were once a private playground for Kandyan royalty. This evening, join your group for a traditional dance performance set to traditional music with percussive rhythms.

Day 3: Kandy

The gorgeous highlands await you today, so rise and shine for the scenic train journey to Nuwara Eliya. The evergreen hills and cool climate made this town a primary retreat for British colonialists in the 19th century, and many buildings remain from this period. Stop in at a tea factory and learn about the process of cultivating the region’s fragrant, highly regarded varieties. Nuwara Eliya remains an incredibly important tea-growing area, and the plantations that dot the hillside make for lovely scenery. After the tour, drive back to Kandy and maybe ask your leader where you can grab a nice kottu roti (chopped roti with vegetables and plenty of spices). Kandy was one the world’s primary source of cinnamon and a variety of spices are grown the area, which makes for food that is bursting with flavour.

Day 4: Habarana

This morning, bid farewell to Kandy and transfer to Habarana, located just 12 km from Sigiriya, where the immense Lion Rock dominates the landscape. This afternoon you will explore this behemoth, but first some other unique sites await. Visit a spice garden and see how the popular spices you use at home are grown then travel onward to the cave temple of Dambulla with its five caves filled with paintings and statues of Lord Buddha. Murals cover the rough walls and sloping ceilings of the caves, which once served as dwellings for prehistoric Sri Lankans before the arrival of Buddhism. Check into your hotel then set off to experience Lion Rock which features ancient paintings, the remains of a great lion sculpture and some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Climb the winding walkways and explore this incredible example of ancient urban planning as you take in the beauty of the sunset.

Day 5: Habarana

This morning, enjoy a relaxing sleep in then join your leader and group for a home-cooked lunch with a local family. After a welcome drink made with home-grown tropical Sri Lankan fruits, head outside to the garden and take a seat under the trees where you’ll dine on traditional dishes like rice and curry, perhaps made with fresh fish caught from the local lakes. After lunch, jump in a jeep and go on safari at Minneriya National Park where elephants, sambar deer and leopards can be spotted amongst the evergreen forests and scrublands.

Day 6: Anuradhapura

Say ayubowan – used for both greetings and farewells – to the verdant plains of Sigiriya and travel to Anuradhapura where you’ll discover some of the best-preserved ancient ruins in the country. Take a guided bike tour around Anuradhapura City, an impressive World-Heritage listed site, soaking up the splendour of the ruins as you gain an appreciation of what this area must have looked like during its heyday hundreds of years ago. If you would prefer to skip the bicycle, a tuk tuk is available to take you on the tour. Anuradhapura is also home to a sacred, ancient Bo tree, which originally came from a branch of the famous Bo tree in Budda Gaya.

Day 7: Colombo

After breakfast, watch the world go by on the drive to Colombo and take in some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament and the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fairtrade 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. Tonight, there's the chance to have a group dinner with your travel crew to celebrate your Sri Lankan journey together.

Day 8: Colombo

With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave any time after breakfast, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times. If you would like to spend more time in Colombo, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).