Trip Overview

Trip Overview

  • Explore four UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Sigiriya rock fortress, the Golden Temple of Dambulla, and the sacred cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura.
  • Learn about tea harvesting at a plantation in Ceylon, and stay at an eco-lodge located on a tea estate.
  • Join a ranger on safari in Wilpattu National Park, home to a thriving leopard population, and learn about local conservation efforts.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Be enchanted by Sri Lanka on an unforgettable 11-day journey. Explore Sigiriya rock fortress and refresh your spirit at the unusual Golden Temple of Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll spice gardens and tea plantations, and ride through Wilpattu National Park with a forest ranger in search of elephants and leopards. Come away with a deep understanding of why early Arab traders called this island country “Serendib,” a name that gave English speakers the word “serendipity.”

This trip is offered in partnership with
G Adventures.

Day 1: Colombo
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.
Accommodations:The Steuart by Citrus (or similar)
Day 2: Colombo/Wilpattu National Park
Depart early and visit a coconut plantation, learning about farming and popular coconut-based products. Continue north to Wilpattu National Park, known for its leopard population. Explore the park on a 4x4 and meet with a local expert to hear about conservation efforts and the issues of human encroachment on wildlife reserves. Overnight at a safari camp, located just outside the National Park.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3: Wilpattu National Park/Anuradhapura
Travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through the ruins and discover ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples. Enjoy some free time this afternoon and opt to rent a bike.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Palm Garden Village (or similar)
Day 4: Anuradhapura/Dambulla
Enjoy a walk through Habarana, a rural farming village, and learn about daily life. Relax with a canoe trip on the lake, ride on a bull cart, taste a local lunch, and venture out into the rice and vegetable fields. Later, continue on to Dambulla for the evening.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Thilanka Resorts &Spa (or similar)
Day 5: Dambulla
Head to Sigiriya (Lion) rock fortress and climb the steps to the top of this captivating site to discover UNESCO-listed ruins and take in stellar views. After, enjoy some free time to explore Dambulla.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Thilanka Resorts &Spa (or similar)
Day 6: Dambulla/Kandy
Tour the impressive Dambulla Cave Temple and admire ancient Buddhist murals and statues then visit a spice garden in Matale to learn about the theraputic uses of local spices. Continue on to Kandy and enjoy a tour of the Temple of the Tooth, which houses an important relic — a tooth of Lord Buddha kept in a well-preserved golden casket. This evening, listen to some traditional music at a cultural show.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Hotel Thilanka (or similar)
Day 7: Kandy
Today, visit the impressive Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, considered a national asset. Enjoy the lush surroundings, pavilions, conservancy, orchid house, and stunning Javan fig tree. After, visit Sthree Craft Shop and Café, a G for Good-supported social enterprise that helps local women and youth. Here, we view a handicraft demonstration, listen to a lecture lecture, and enjoy afternoon high tea. Taste local teas, scones, clotted cream, jam, and an assortment of sweet cakes and pastries. Later, enjoy some free time to walk through the city and around Kandy Lake.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Hotel Thilanka (or similar)
Day 8: Kandy/Nuwara Eliya
Travel through scenic mountains to the tea-producing town of Nuwara Eliya, stopping at a traditional tea plantation in the central highlands to gain insight into the process of growing tea and its effect on the Ceylon region. Enjoy a cup of perfectly blended pure Ceylon tea then continue exploring the English countryside atmosphere which was once governed by English and Scottish planters. Walk through the green grass and lanes, enjoying stunning views of this countryside hamlet. Opt to enjoy high tea at the Grand Hotel.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Grand Hotel (or similar)
Day 9: Nuwara Eliya/Udawalawe
Enjoy a picnic breakfast and hike through the highlands in Horton Plains National Park. Continue on to our tented camp on the border of Udawalawe National Park. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration by the camp chef to learn about local specialties.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Big Game Camping (or similar)
Day 10: Udawalawe
Enjoy a wildlife safari drive into the park to observe elephants who are in abundance here. After, visit and enjoy a lecture at the Elephant Transit Home, a haven for orphaned elephants who are rehabilitated then released back into the wild, many directly into Udawalawe National Park.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Big Game Camping (or similar)
Day 11: Udawalawe/Negombo
Drive to Negombo and enjoy free time to explore the city and check out the beautiful Portuguese and Dutch architecture.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Jetwing Sea Hotel (or similar)
Day 12: Negombo
Depart at any time.
Meals Included:Breakfast