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Sri Lanka Real Food Adventure


Hungry for adventure? This food-focused journey through Sri Lanka hits the spot. Explore the fish market in Negombo, take part in a Sinhalese cooking class in a local home in Kandy, tuck into a Tamil family lunch in Haputale and enjoy a cooking demonstration with a fisherman’s family in Mirissa. Lie back on the coast, cool down in the highlands and weave through the streets of the buzzing capital. When you’re not busy eating, you’ll explore the rich culture of Sri Lanka: elaborate temples, ancient fortresses and wildlife-filled countryside. So, what are you waiting for? Dig in!

12 days, from

$1,920

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: HPZM
Style: Original
Theme: Food

Details

Countries Visited:  Sri Lanka
Accommodation: Hotel (11 nts)
Transportation: Private vehicle , train , jeep
Included Meals:

  • 10 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • 3 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12
Minimum Age: 15

  • Learn the secrets of Sri Lankan cuisine during a cooking class in a Sinhalese home in Kandy and a demonstration in a local home in Bandarawela.

  • Experience some of Sri Lanka’s most remarkable sights, including Lion Rock, the Dambulla Cave Temples, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Yala National Park and Galle Fort.

  • Spoil your tastebuds with flavour-filled curries, seriously fresh seafood, sweet desserts, roti, hoppers, dosa, idli and more.

  • Discover Sri Lanka’s favourite beverage when you visit a tea plantation in Bandarawela, meeting local tea pickers, learning about their craft and tasting a freshly brewed cuppa.

  • Take a look behind closed doors when you’re invited for a home-cooked Tamil lunch in Haputale and feast on a freshly caught meal with a fisherman’s family in Mirissa.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Negombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka! Living up to its nickname of the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, this country delights with its palm-studded beaches, rolling plantations, and ancient sites. It’s also a food lover’s paradise – with Indian, Portuguese, Malay, English, Arab and Dutch, food in Sri Lanka is like nowhere else on earth. Your adventure begins in the seaside city of Negombo where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers for a 6pm welcome meeting. Spend your first night enjoying the coastline, getting to know your fellow travellers and watching the fishing boats float by. You may like to go out for a meal together for your first taste of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Day 2: Dambulla

Wake early this morning to catch the action at the Negombo fish market. Situated at the northern end of a lagoon, the market is renowned for lobsters, crabs and prawns. Weave through stalls piled high with seafood as the sellers call out their wares, and get a great insight into local commerce. Continue on to a coconut plantation to discover why this super food is so central to life in Sri Lanka. Learn how all parts of the tree play an important role in daily life, sip the water of a king coconut, watch ‘toddy tappers’ extract the palm wine from the coconut sap and taste the results. Enjoy a Sri Lankan rice and curry lunch before heading inland to Dambulla, home to ornately decorated cave temples and surrounded by natural wonders and historic sites. Your evening is free to explore. You may like to join your leader on an optional street food crawl for an introduction to some staple Sri Lankan 'short eats' (snack food), including famous hoppers (bowl-shaped savoury pancakes).

Day 3: Dambulla

After breakfast, make the short drive to Sigiriya. Here you’ll have the opportunity to climb to the top of Lion Rock and visit its ancient fortress complex (approximately 2.5 hours round-trip on foot, including stairs). The 200 metre high ancient remains of a defensive capital built by a fearful king, Lion Rock houses fifth-century frescos, terraced gardens and splashing fountains. Next, observe age-old traditions at a nearby chena cultivation area, one of the oldest forms of agriculture known to humans. It’s particularly popular in the dry zone of the country where it rains for only a few months of the year, and principal crops are tropical vegetables, cereals, grains, yams and corn. Then, feast on tropical vegetables, curry made with tapioca, and fried fish caught in the nearby lake for lunch. In the late afternoon, return to Dambulla to explore the wholesale market. Boasting an incredible array of fresh food, much of which is transported to Colombo for sale, this is the perfect place to get a sense of Sri Lanka's agricultural diversity. The rest of the evening is free for your own food adventures. Use the free evening to poke around the town or sit back with a drink. There are plenty of restaurants surrounding the markets, and your leader will have tips on where to find the best roti in town.

Day 4: Kandy

Located high on a cliff face are the impressive Dambulla Cave Temples. You’ll have time to explore these this morning and admire the many Buddha images, frescoes and paintings. On the way to the physical and spiritual heart of the country and the former home of the last Sri Lankan king, stop for lunch at a spice garden in the renowned spice-growing region of Matale. Sri Lankans are the masters of spice and here you can learn how spices aren’t just used in food, but also cosmetics and ayurvedic medicine. Smell the fragrant cumin, cinnamon and curry leaves before tasting pumpkin curry flavoured with aromatic fenugreek, with a side of dry chilli sambol and the uniquely Sri Lankan coconut roti. Continue on to Kandy and arrive by late afternoon. A pleasant city surrounded by lush green countryside, Kandy is home to a picturesque lake, old shops, a bustling market and some great restaurants. This evening observe locals worshipping in Kandy’s Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth), one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred shrines that houses a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. With your free evening, perhaps follow the sound of rhythmic chopping to watch a chef transform a ball of dough into a huge sheet of wafer-thin roti, skilfully slice, griddle, mix with vegetables and spices and create kottu roti.

Day 5: Kandy

Kick off the day with a guided walk around Kandy's busy city centre, including a tour of the Central Market and samples of local fresh fruits. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Kandy is home to a National Museum and several monasteries, and there are many scenic walks around town. The botanical gardens here are among the best in Asia. In the early evening, join a Sinhalese family to get your sugar fix with a Kandyan sweet-filled Sri Lankan dinner and cooking class. Try your hand at crafting string hoppers, pressing a smooth rice dough into noodle-thin strands to form perfect discs (this is an art that takes some practice to master!), try a chicken curry made with spice-infused coconut milk, closer to a Thai curry than a North Indian one. Then fill up on specialty sweets inspired by Dutch and Portuguese dessert traditions.

Day 6: Bandarawela

Have your camera at the ready and take a scenic journey into the highlands to Bandarawela. Journey past waterfalls, villages and up through the mountains on the way to this town in the cool highlands, once popular with British plantation managers. Look down over a sweeping vista filled with bright green tea bushes and vegetable gardens. Tonight, take a look behind closed doors and experience a slice of local life when you’re invited into a local home for a cooking demonstration followed by a traditional dinner.

Day 7: Bandarawela

Rise early and head to the verdant surrounds of the region's tea plantations. Learn about the country’s most important export and meet local tea pickers who will show you their craft and let you have a go at picking and weighing tea before it heads off to the factory. Enjoy a freshly brewed cup at the source, then travel out to the town of Haputale for a home-cooked lunch with a Tamil family. Tear into traditional Tamil cuisine with dosa (a crispy rice pancake) and idli (a savoury steamed rice cake served with curry sauces or chutneys). Return to Bandarawela in the late afternoon and soak up the rural charm of the town and the beautiful surrounding landscapes.

Day 8: Yala/Udawalawe National Park

Drive out to the wilderness of Yala National Park (or Udawalawe National Park in the off season). Encompassing a variety of diverse ecosystems, the park has an impressive array of wildlife, including sloth bears and lots of birds. In the evening take a safari tour and get the binoculars out to search for the elusive leopards that lounge in trees or stalk through the brush, crocodiles that patrol the river or wild elephants that graze across the grasslands. Please note that during times of inclement weather, such as heavy rainfall, it may not be possible to visit the national parks and an alternative activity will be arranged.

Day 9: Mirissa

Start the day by discovering one of Sri Lanka's favourite ingredients. Try buffalo curd, served in bright terracotta pots with thick, golden treacle, often eaten as a snack, as an accompaniment to meals or as a dessert. Sri Lankans are famed for their sweet tooth and this is just about as sweet as it gets! En route to the beautiful beach village of Mirissa, enjoy a delicious lunch of biryani and watalappam (coconut custard pudding). Spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the golden sands of Sri Lanka’s southern coastline. The beach is a long curve of sand and has lovely calm clear waters for swimming, not to mention incredible sunsets – this is a paradise you won't want to leave. You may like to take a bicycle ride or tuk-tuk to watch colourful fishing boats bring back their loads of fresh fish to sell along the shore, or perhaps take a boat to spot whales and dolphins. Prefer to chill out? Grab a beer, sit back and watch surfers take on the waves.

Day 10: Mirissa

Gain a unique insight into local life this morning when you meet with a local fisherman and learn about the craft, and how the lives of fisherman have changed since the tsunami. Enjoy the freshest seafood lunch possible with a fisherman's family – a wonderful crab curry is likely to be on the menu. Continue on to the wonderfully preserved colonial township of Galle, with a blend of European architecture and South Asian traditions. In the evening, take a tour of the Royal Dutch Fort, exploring the winding maze of gallery-filled narrow streets and 400 years of rich history. Return to Mirissa for the night.

Day 11: Colombo

Head north for the final stop on your food adventure, travelling to Sri Lanka’s commercial heart, Colombo. The city is a cosmopolitan mix of buzzing street markets, historic buildings, interesting museums, fine restaurants and great shopping opportunities. Snack your way around lanes filled with short eats, street-food and popular local eateries. Enjoy a final Dutch Burgher-influenced meal, and celebrate the end of your food adventure with new friends.

Day 12: Colombo

Your food adventure in Sri Lanka comes to an end this morning. There are no activities planned for this final day and you are free to leave at any time.