Sri Lanka Explorer – Luxury
Providing you with the opportunity to take in the very best of what Sri Lanka has to offer, this in-depth small group tour digs a little deeper into the island’s culture and history, as well as seeking out its famous wildlife species in two national parks as you travel from the west and south coasts.
Itinerary in Brief
- Negombo – 1 Night
- Kandalam – 3 Nights
- Kandy – 2 Nights
- Nuwara Eliya – 2 Nights
- Yala – 2 Nights
- Galle – 1 Night
Day 1: UK to Negombo
Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Negombo
On arrival, transfer to your hotel in Negombo where you have some time to relax. This evening there will be a welcome dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant. Approx. journey time: 20 minutes, 6 miles. Stay: Jetwing Sea (or similar). D.
Day 3: Negombo to Kandalama
Today, head away from the west coast and into the cultural heartland of Sri Lanka. Stop for lunch at the Tropical Village restaurant in Dambulla before reaching the village of Kandalama, your home for the next three nights. This afternoon marks the start of your sightseeing with a visit to the incredible Dambulla Cave Temple complex. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most incredible attractions on the island with over 150 statues of Buddha and intricately-painted murals covering the walls and roofs of five of the rock’s 80 or so caves. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 105 miles. Stay: Heritance Kandalama (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 4: Kandalama
This morning you will visit another of the Cultural Triangle’s most famous sites, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Sri Lanka’s second capital still retains many of its ancient buildings. This afternoon, head out on a game drive into Minneriya National Park, one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. Approx. journey time: 6 hours, 143 miles. Stay: Heritance Kandalama (or similar). B, D.
Day 5: Kandalama
Begin the day with a visit to the ruins of the once-glorious Sacred City of Anuradhapura. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool of your hotel. Alternatively, you can visit the iconic Sigiriya Rock on an optional excursion. We recommend that you only embark on the ascent to the top if you are fit, healthy and do not mind heights as there are many steep steps and narrow walkways. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours, 110 miles. Stay: Heritance Kandalama (or similar). B, D.
Day 6: Kandalama to Kandy
The day begins with an insight into rural life on a nature ‘trek’ in the village of Hiriwadunna. At the start of this four-hour immersive experience you will be transported via a paddy farmer’s tractor and trailer through a shaded forest to the edge of a man-made reservoir that is covered with pretty lily pads. Cross the water on a traditional boat before continuing your village exploration on foot and discovering the everyday lives of Sri Lanka’s rural population. Later, as you make your way south, there will be the opportunity to visit a spice garden and discover a little more about the varieties grown. Following a typical Sri Lankan lunch at Ranweli Spice Garden and Restaurant, continue on to Kandy. This evening, watch a Kandyan dance and cultural show. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 75 miles. Stay: Earls Regency (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 7: Kandy
Today begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya where you’ll find a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a renowned orchid collection. Following your visit to the gardens, explore the city on your own, perhaps taking a walk around the market square to witness the local life of the vendors. Later in the afternoon, head to the most famous of Kandy’s attractions, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Stay: Earls Regency (or similar). B, D.
Day 8: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
This morning it’s onwards deep into the island’s beautiful Hill Country towards Nuwara Eliya. En route you will visit to the Glenloch Tea Factory for a typical Sri Lankan experience. The Nuwara Eliya region of Sri Lanka sits at the heart of Sri Lanka’s historic tea producing industry, a subject you will learn more about during a tour of the plantation. This will be followed by a hands-on tea picking experience out in the fields. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 68 miles. Stay: Heritance Tea Factory (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 9: Nuwara Eliya
A morning of sightseeing takes you to the beautiful Hakgala Botanic Gardens. As well as tea, Nuwara Eliya is also known for its many strawberry fields, one of which you will visit later this morning. There will also be the opportunity to visit the town’s incredible central market where locals go to buy their fruit, vegetables and spices. Active guests can opt for the Horton Plains optional excursion. There’s an early start for this three-hour trek over relatively challenging terrain. You’ll reach the renowned World’s End precipice where you can enjoy incredible views over the surrounding countryside. Later, the whole group will take high tea at The Grand Hotel – a quintessential Sri Lankan experience. Stay: Heritance Tea Factory (or similar). B, D.
Day 10: Nuwara Eliya to Yala
The morning will be spent travelling south through rural Sri Lanka towards the south coast and the incredible Yala National Park, a highlight of the entire tour. It is known locally as leopard country as it plays host to one of the world’s highest densities of leopards. Late this afternoon, head out on a game drive which will be one of the best chances to see one of these elusive creatures in the wild. Other animals you may spot include elephants, sloth bears and saltwater crocodiles, as well as a wide variety of bird species. Approx. journey time: 5 hours, 125 miles. Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, D.
Day 11: Yala
Today you’ll be entirely free to relax at your hotel. Alternatively, you can take another game drive into the park this afternoon (bookable and payable locally). Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, D.
Day 12: Yala to Galle
Following breakfast, set off on your journey along the south coast to the beautiful walled city of Galle, stopping at the 25-acre working cinnamon plantation, Top House, en route. There will be a informative tour followed by lunch before setting off again along the south coast. On arrival in Galle, head out on a tour of the city. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours, 130 miles. Stay: Jetwing Lighthouse (or similar); for Feb 18 departure: Ladyhill Hotel. B, L, D.
Day 13: Galle
Transfer to the airport (approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 97 miles) for your return flight to the UK. B.
Sri Lanka beach 3 nights
Kick back and relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.
Maldives 3 nights
Relax in paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.
Need to Know
For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 7 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests.