Essential Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
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Take Sri Lanka, boil it like the tea leaves the country’s famous for and strain out all the best stuff. On this 11-day trip through natural paradise, small villages and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you’ll wander past barracuda at the Negombo Fish Market, search for elephants in Yala National Park, feast on spicy curry prepared by a local in Ella, hike through lush mountains and get horizontal on the beach in Unawatuna – Sri Lanka’s idyllic beach spot, perfect for lounging, tanning (don’t forget the sunscreen) and sipping cocktails. With a local leader who knows where to find all the best teahouses and a group of likeminded travellers, this one’s gotta be an adventure of a lifetime!

Availability

From 31/03/2024 to 07/01/2026

Departure dates & prices

Dates Availability Price
  • Mar Sun 31 2024 to Apr Wed 10 2024
    Sold Out
    From
    $1,115*
  • Apr Sun 14 2024 to Apr Wed 24 2024
    Sold Out
    From
    $1,180*
  • May Sun 12 2024 to May Wed 22 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,045*
  • Jun Sun 16 2024 to Jun Wed 26 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,065*
  • Jul Sun 14 2024 to Jul Wed 24 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,045*
  • Aug Sun 18 2024 to Aug Wed 28 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,055*
  • Sep Sun 22 2024 to Oct Wed 02 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,045*
  • Oct Sun 13 2024 to Oct Wed 23 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,085*
  • Nov Sun 17 2024 to Nov Wed 27 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,085*
  • Dec Sun 08 2024 to Dec Wed 18 2024
    Available
    From
    $1,125*
  • Dec Sun 22 2024 to Jan Wed 01 2025
    Available
    From
    $1,125*
  • Jan Sun 05 2025 to Jan Wed 15 2025
    Available
    From
    $1,095*
  • Jan Sun 26 2025 to Feb Wed 05 2025
    Available
    From
    $1,095*
  • Feb Sun 09 2025 to Feb Wed 19 2025
    Available
    From
    $1,095*
  • Feb Sun 23 2025 to Mar Wed 05 2025
    Available
    From
    $1,095*

What's included

Cruise around in a 4WD on a wildlife safari, searching for majestic elephants, lone leopards and aquatic birdlife in Yala National Park.
Learn the benefits of washing down a spicy curry with piping-hot Ceylon tea during lunch in a lush mountain village near Ella in a local home.
Kick back on the warm sands of paradisical palm-lined Unawatuna, with plenty of free time to soak up the sun at the beach and the opportunity for an optional whale-watching tour.
Leave the imprint of your face on the train window as you stare out wide-eyed on a journey from Kandy to Ella – this scenic rail ride is basically a six-hour nature documentary, there’s so much amazing scenery!.
Enjoy super fun included activities mixed with plenty of free time to choose your own adventure – maybe use some of it to visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Sigiriya.
These palace ruins sit atop a massive rock structure surrounded by gardens and are a must-see for any Sri Lanka visit.
By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Zero Plastic.
Donations help them educate Sri Lankan communities about the impact of plastic on the environment and reduce plastic pollution in the UNESCO-listed Sigiriya.
Breakfasts Included: 10.
Lunches Included: 1.
Hotel (8 nights),Hostel (Multi-share) (2 nights).
Train,Private vehicle.
Age: min 18, max 29.
Group Size: 1 - 16.
Negombo - Fish market.
Matale - Spice garden visit.
Kandy - Scenic train ride to Ella.
Ella - Trek to Ella Gap.
Ella - Nine Arch Bridge.
Ella - Lunch at a Local Family Home.
Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari.
Galle - Walking tour.
Colombo – Guided market visit.
Galle - Local train ride to Colombo.
.

Itinerary

  • 1 - Negombo Ayubowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight in Negombo. If you arrive early, you might like to stroll the seaside and witness some of the local fishing craft. Maybe explore the beautiful surrounding countryside on a bicycle, which you can rent from your hotel reception. Tonight, maybe head out with your fellow travellers for dinner and get to know each other over a couple of drinks. You'll spend the night by the beach, near plenty of beach bars and pubs.
  • 2 - Dambulla Head to the fish market in Negombo this morning - this can be quite hectic, but the variety of fish presented by the locals is a great insight into local culture. From here, you'll make your way to Dambulla - the second-largest centre in the Matale District. A popular activity today is a visit to the stunning Sigiriya - an ancient rock fortress and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the palace ruins that sit on top of a massive 200-m-high rock (leftover lava plug from an extinct volcano) that's surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens and reservoirs. If you decide to take this activity, you'll want to bring your camera, the photo ops are endless! If you like, your leader can take you for dinner tonight at a beautiful streamside restaurant that serves delicious local food.
  • 3 - Kandy This morning, you have the option to visit Dambulla Cave Temple (also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla) - a UNESCO World Heritage Site of various temples built into five different caves under an overhanging rock. Explore the paintings, statues and wall murals of this fascinating place and then head to Kandy, making a stop at a local spice garden in Matale along the way. When you arrive in Kandy, enjoy a free afternoon. Maybe take up a cooking class and learn how to make some of the local cuisine you've now grown to love!
  • 4 - Kandy If you're looking to relax this morning, you might want to book an Ayurvedic massage to rejuvenate those weary muscles. Kandy is home to a picturesque lake, some great old shops, a bustling market and some great restaurants, so there's lots to see and do with your free day today. Once the capital under the last Sri Lankan king, this area managed to resist European control for hundreds of years, long after the coastal areas surrendered. Maybe walk through the town to take in the sights of Kandy, head to the Royal Botanical Gardens, visit the Temple of the Tooth or book a cultural dance performance.
  • 5 - Ella This morning, say goodbye to Kandy and you hop on a train to Ella. This train trip is actually kinda famous, due to the gorgeous views along the way of lush, green scenery and surrounding mountains (so grab a window seat if you can!). It's a long journey, but you can buy all sorts of yummy treats from the onboard sellers. When you arrive, maybe visit to local tea factory or go for a drink in one of the many bars. Tonight, your leader can help you with the best spots for nightlife - maybe grab a couple of pals and head to a local restaurant nearby that boasts live music and delicious eats.
  • 6 - Ella Today you'll venture out on a half-day trek to Ella Gap. Get active and traverse the lush green mountainsides and fresh air. Along the way, stop in at a small village for a delicious spicy curry lunch at a local family home. Get to know your gracious hosts as you eat together and feel refreshed with a steaming pot of Ceylon tea to wash it all down. This is an excellent way of getting to know the area, not to mention the perfect opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals, learn about their lifestyle in Sri Lanka and ask them for their stories. After the hike, the rest of the day is then free for you to explore on your own.
  • 7 - Tissamaharama Head out of Ella this morning in a private vehicle to Tissamaharama. When you arrive, you'll head out on an exciting 4WD safari through Yala National Park, where you'll come across the area's native wildlife - look out for elephants, leopards and aquatic birds. This is an amazing experience that you'll never forget, so make sure you grab your camera and stay hydrated! Tonight, while you reflect on a super-fun day, why not go out with your travel buddies in search of some appa (hoppers), kottu roti and parippu (lentil curry).
  • 8 - Unawatuna Journey west in a private vehicle this morning to Unawatuna - this fantastic stretch of beach has plenty of local restaurants and bars to relax in. Along the way, stop in Galle and head out on a walking tour with your local leader, maybe grabbing some lunch to refuel. After, arrive at your destination where you'll have free time to explore Unawatuna and its surroundings at your own pace.
  • 9 - Unawatuna Today is all about the beach! Grab a good book, order a cocktail and don't forget the bottle of sunscreen - today is for rest, relaxation and reclining on the warm sands of Sri Lanka. If you like, you can even book an optional whale-watching tour or go 'bikesplore' the lesser-known areas of the city on two wheels. Make use of the many beach restaurants and bars that line the shore tonight after an epic sunset.
  • 10 - Colombo Leave Unawatuna behind and make the journey to Galle, where you'll jump on a local train to Colombo. When you arrive in Sri Lanka's capital, head out on a city walk with your leader. On your way, visit local shops and do some sightseeing. After, maybe explore the collection of temples and churches that all live alongside each other - apart from the gorgeous architecture, this is also a great example of how different types of belief systems and places of worship can come together side by side, creating a sense of community and peace. Tonight is free, but your leader will suggest an optional group dinner for your final night together. After, why not head out in search of the perfect spot to toast to a trip well-travelled?
  • 11 - Colombo Enjoy your last string hoppers and a super-black coffee for breakfast. With no further activities planned, your trip comes to an end this morning. If you'd like to stick around to explore more, just speak to your booking agent.
  • The following product terms and conditions apply in addition to our Booking Terms and Conditions (available on our website) and terms and conditions of the relevant travel service provider.
  • Prices quoted valid for sale until 01 March 2024 for travel during the period specified (if applicable) unless otherwise stated or sold out prior.
  • All prices are per person (unless otherwise stated), subject to availability and may be withdrawn or varied without notice. Accommodation (if included) is based on twin share unless otherwise stated.
  • Advertised price includes bonus nights and/or stated saving (if applicable).
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  • Airfare (including internal flights) is not included unless otherwise stated and, if included, is economy class unless otherwise stated.
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