Encounter ancient cave temples, tea plantations and idyllic beaches on this laid-back adventure through Sri Lanka.

Set adrift in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is jam-packed with ancient sites, fascinating culture, beautiful wilderness and idyllic beaches. Go as fast or as slow as you like on this adventure through south and central Sri Lanka. Pick for treasures through the frenzied markets of Colombo, explore the monkey-filled mangrove forests of Unawatuna, or simply bliss-out on the beaches in Galle with ginger iced tea in hand.

changes to itinerary 2018
There will be slight change on the HPRS itinerary for 2018. We will travel to Dambulla on day 2 and stay the night there, rather than visiting Dambulla caves from Kandy.
Nuwara Eliya will be removed from the itinerary with the trip heading straight from Kandy to Unawatuna.


Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Country
Sri Lanka
Style
Basix
Code
HPRS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Wander through the golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy, which houses one of Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relics – a tooth of the Buddha

  • Take a trip back in time with a visit to Nuwara Eliya, the best preserved English colonial town in Sri Lanka, which is now the centre of the country's famous tea-growing industry

  • Explore the palm-tree beaches and streets of Unawatuna, perhaps even stopping for a massage along the way

  • Walk around the perimeter of the grassy Galle Fort, check out the snake charmers and grab an icy ginger drink at a cafe in town

  • Take a guided tour through cosmopolitan Colombo, including a stop at bustling Petta bazaar

Is this trip right for you?

  • Though its equatorial position means fairly constant year-round temperatures, the summer months in Sri Lanka are very hot with short, sharp monsoons in the south-west of the country. Be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • Beaches in Sri Lanka may be unpatrolled, please seek local advice on where to swim safely.

Itinerary

Welcome to Negombo, Sri Lanka. There are are no activities planned today so you're free to arrive at any time. A welcome meeting with your trip leader will take place at around 6pm, so check with reception or the lobby noticeboard for details. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these with you. Although Colombo is the commercial capital, and by far the largest city in Sri Lanka, it's still relatively small. You won't be staying in the capital itself but in a place by the beach. There are plenty of beach bars, pubs and restaurants available close by.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Begin your journey by private vehicle to Kandy and visit a spice garden on the way, which should take around three hours in total (approximately 120 kilometres). On arrival to Kandy, there's a visit to the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa), the most important shrine in the country. It's also worth attending a cultural show while in town – the Kandyan dance performances are awesome. The Royal Botanical Garden is just ten minutes away from your accommodation.
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Temple of Tooth
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a busy day. Enjoy a day trip to the famous Dambulla Caves Temple and discover this magnificent cave complex. The World Heritage listed cave monastery has been a pilgrimage site for 22 centuries and for good reason. Continue to Sigiriya and climb Lion Rock. Its a bit of a hike but well worth the effort. If you're feeling a little worse for wear in the afternoon, why not try an Ayurvedic massage to relax those weary muscles.
Included Activities
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Dambulla - Cave complexe and Golden Temple
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll enjoy a short but very scenic train journey to Nuwara Eliya, past lush green hills and gushing waterfalls (approximately 3 hours). This old British hill station is the heart of the tea growing industry and full of colonial charm. Built entirely during the 19th century, its quirky architecture reflects what you'd normally expect to find in an English country village, which will make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Once known as 'Little England' by British colonialists, it’s a fascinating mix of water buffalo and brick Victorian buildings, golf courses and tea plantations. Head to your accommodation and enjoy the views across the hills and tea plantations.
Included Activities
  • Nuwara Eliya - Tea factory Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey south in a private vehicle to Unawatuna (approximately 6 hours). This fantastic stretch of beach has plenty of local restaurants and bars to relax in. There are no included activities today, so you'll have plenty of free time to explore Unawatuna and its surrounds. Perhaps take a walk through the monkey-filled mangrove forest off Galle–Matara road or unwind with an indulgent massage. 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Learn to chill out the Sri Lankan way. Sleep in, relax on the beach, work on your tan or grab a cocktail under the shade of a beachside restaurant. Feel like something a bit more active? Today is a good opportunity to pop into nearby Galle for some sightseeing. The city is a memorable collection of Dutch-colonial buildings with boutique shops and cafes to visit. Walk around the perimeter of the Galle fort and cool off with an icy ginger drink in a cafe, then mosey on back to the beach for some more chillaxing.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information


Leave Unawatuna behind and make the short journey to Galle, where you'll jump on a train to Colombo (approximately four hours). On arrival in Sri Lanka's capital, there's an option to join your leader on an city walk. If you'd rather pick up some last minute shopping, then pay a visit to the massive range of shops available. Tonight is free but why not celebrate the end of this Sri Lankan adventure with a final group dinner.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This Sri Lankan adventure comes to an end after breakfast and you are free to depart at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Colombo by Tuk Tuk Urban Adventure - Colombo - USD55
  • Eat, Eat, Repeat Urban Adventure - Colombo - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Kandy - Temple of Tooth
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Dambulla - Cave complexe and Golden Temple
  • Nuwara Eliya - Tea factory Visit

Dates & availability

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip and i s valid for all nights on tour . See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
2. The Perahera Festival is a 10 day period of evening processions to honour the Sacred Tooth, which is enshrined at Kandy's Temple of the Tooth. Each night features thousands of perfomers, including dancers, drummers, and a parade of more than 50 decorated elephants. Due to Intrepid's stance on elephant cruelty we do not visit the Perahera Festival and cannot purchase tickets on your behalf.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Simply Sri Lanka trips score an average of 4.29 out of 5 based on 7 reviews in the last year.

Simply Sri Lanka, July 2017

Elizabeth Offredi

Simply Sri Lanka, July 2017

Niamh Cooney