Real Food Adventure - Sri Lanka Trip Notes

Real Food Adventure - Sri Lanka

Last Modified: 25 Apr 2016
Real Food Adventure - Sri Lanka
Trip code: HPZM
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Leave moderation at home and indulge on this gourmet adventure in Sri Lanka. Lie back on the coast, cool down in the highlands and weave through the streets of the buzzing capital. Taste melt-in-the mouth desserts, cook seafood straight out of the hands of a fisherman, uncover fiery curries and spend time with welcoming locals keen to share the mysteries of Sri Lankan cuisine. There’s also time to explore the rich culture of Sri Lanka: elaborate temples, ancient fortresses and wildlife-filled countryside. This is truly an adventure for the senses.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodation NotesVisas
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionWhat to take
Why we love itMealsClimate and seasonal information
MapTransportHealth
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
Style
Original
Themes
Food
Is this trip right for you?
- Sri Lanka is a great food destination for vegetarians, with a large amount of the nation’s favourite dishes meat free – vegetable curries, hoppers, string hoppers, vegetable rotty and, of course, the incredible selection of fruit on offer.
- At 6 hours, the train from Kandy to Bandarawela is the longest travel day. However, the scenery is so beautiful that you might not even want to get off!
- The drive from Bandarawela to Yala goes down from the mountains to the coast on a very windy road, and while this means the going can be a little slow, it also means that you’ll be able to appreciate the scenery from every angle.
- We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
Why we love it
- Witness the amazing Sri Lankan seafood on offer at the Negombo seafood market
- Spend time with welcoming locals keen to share the mysteries of Sri Lankan cuisine – learn Tamil, Sinhalese, and Bergher cooking in their homes
- Soak up the scenery while sipping a glass of the local arak – Sri Lanka’s signature local liquor
- High up in the tea plantations of Bandarawela, dine in a restored tea planter’s bungalow on a meal expertly prepared by an ‘Appu’ who, in former times, would cook for the colonial planters
- Spoil your tastebuds with flavour-filled curries and sweet desserts, and treat your eyes to banquets of rainbow spices, vibrant vegetables and colourful sambol
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Negombo
Welcome to Sri Lanka. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the island offers travellers palm-studded beaches, rolling plantations, and sacred sights steeped in spirituality. With charming people, mysterious ruins and some of the best cuisine in the world, Sri Lanka’s hypnotic essence will remain with you long after you come home. You’ll begin your adventure by getting in the seaside spirit in Negombo, a historical commercial centre surrounded by a fascinating network of canals teeming with rural life. Pull up a deck chair on Negombo’s huge, sweeping beach and enjoy the Indian Ocean before meeting up with your group and leader at a welcome meeting tonight at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have these for your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. Spend your first night enjoying the coastline, getting to know your fellow travellers and watching the fishing boats float by. Perhaps go out for a meal together for your first taste of Sri Lankan cuisine.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Dambulla
In the morning, wake early and pick your way through large hessian sheets covered in drying fish at Negombo fish market. This intense, salty concoction is one of the essential building blocks of the Sri Lankan kitchen. The town is situated at the northern end of a lagoon renowned for lobsters, crabs and prawns. Weave through stalls piled with shark, squid, barracuda and unheard of sea creatures as the sellers call out their wares, and get a great insight into local commerce. Continue on to a coconut plantation (approximately 1 hour) to discover why this ‘superfood’ is so central to life in Sri Lanka. Learn how all parts of the tree play an important part 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 filled with Chilaw prawns and cashews. Head inland to Dambulla (approximately 2 hours), home to vibrantly decorated cave-temples and a great base to explore the wide array of natural wonders and historic sites in this fascinating area. Your evening is free to explore. Alternatively join your leader on an optional street food crawl for an introduction to some staple Sri Lankan 'short eats', including hoppers and the famous kotthu roti.
Included Activities
  • Negombo - coconut plantation visit and lunch
  • Negombo - Fish Market Tour
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast, 1 lunch
    Day 3 Dambulla
    After breakfast, drive to Sigiriya (approximately 30 minutes) and take a leisurely walk back in time to the top of enormous Sigiriya rock and its elaborate ancient fortress complex (approximately 2.5 hours round-trip walk). The 200 metre high ancient remains of a defensive capital built by a fearful king, ‘Lion’s Rock’ houses dynamic 5th 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 only for few months for the year. 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 and dodge the trucks and people piled high with every type of produce imaginable. Boasting an incredible array of fresh food, much of which is subsequently 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. Your leader will also have some tips on where to find the best roti in town.
    Included Activities
    • Dambulla - Wholesale Markets tour
    • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
    • Dambulla - Chena Farm Visit and Lunch
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
      Day 4 Kandy
      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 Lankan’s 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 odours of 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. As the spice gardens here are popular with tourists, you will find the prices to be higher than outside, but it is the ideal place to learn about the best Sri Lankan spices. Continue on to Kandy and arrive by late afternoon (approximately 2 hours). Kandy is a pleasant city surrounded by lush green countryside, and it’s home to a picturesque lake, old shops, a bustling market and some great restaurants. This evening observe locals worshiping 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. Contrast the holy hush of the temple with the booming, energetic drums that accompany the elaborately costumed performers of a Kandyan dance show. 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 Kothu Roti.
      Included Activities
      • Matale - Spice Garden Tour and Lunch
      • Kandy - Temple of Tooth
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
        Day 5 Kandy
        This morning you’ll enjoy a guided walk around Kandy's peaceful city centre, including a tour of the Central Market (be sure to get your hands on the ‘short eat’ of a hopper, a bowl-liked pancake, soft and doughy at the bottom with a fried egg in the middle). The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Kandy is home to a National Museum, 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 spoil your sweet tooth with a Kandyan sweet-filled Sri Lankan dinner and cooking class. Try your hand at crafting the perfect hopper (this is an art that takes some practice to master!), and then prepare some traditional Sri Lankan sweets. Start with tangled nests of rice noodles called string hoppers and then chicken curry made with spice-infused coconut milk, closer to a Thai curry than a classic North Indian one. Then fill up on specialty sweets inspired by Dutch and Portuguese dessert traditions.
        Included Activities
        • Kandy - Cooking Class in a Sinhalese Home
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 dinner
          Day 6 Bandarawela
          This morning you will take an incredibly picturesque train ride to the town of Bandarawela (approximately 6 hours). Climb past waterfalls, little villages and up through the mountains on the scenic railway 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 you are invited to a restored tea planter’s bungalow for a special dinner prepared inside the tea estate. Enjoy a meal expertly prepared by an ‘Appu’ who, in former times, would cater to the colonial residences.
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 dinner
          Day 7 Bandarawela
          Rise early to trek high up to Lipton’s Seat in the Haputale Mountain region and survey the vast surrounding plantations, just like its namesake the Scottish tea baron used to. Next, visit one of the areas famed tea plantations for a crop to cup experience. Learn about the country’s most important export at the Dambetenna tea factory and taste the signature brews. Meet with some of the plantation workers and, depending on the season, try your hand at picking tea leaves as well. Travel out to the town of Haputale (approximately 1 hour) 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. Pick up a few cooking tips before returning to Bandarawela in the late afternoon. Soak up the rural charm of the town and the beautiful surrounding landscapes.
          Included Activities
          • Haputale - Tea Factory Visit
          • Haputale - Tamil family lunch
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch
            Day 8 Yala
            Start the day sweetly with a visit to the home of the curd and dodal industry, two 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 desert. You’ll visit a local producer of buffalo curd and discover the process of making this important staple. Then test your teeth on a big block of dodol, a toffee-like delicacy made of coconut milk, rice flour, and kithul jaggery (from the sap of the toddy palm), which was introduced by Malays in 17th century. Sri Lankan's are famed for their sweet tooth and dodol is just about as sweet as it gets. Next you’ll drive to the wilderness of Yala National Park (approximately 2 hours). 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 leopards that lounge in trees or stalk through the brush, crocodiles that patrol the river or wild elephants that graze across the savanna.
            Included Activities
            • Tissamahamara - Buffalo Curd Tasting
            • Yala National Park
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast, 1 dinner
              Day 9 Mirissa
              En route to the beautiful beach village of Mirissa (approximately 3 hours), discover the Muslim influence on Sri Lankan food with dishes like biryani and watalappam at lunch in Hambantota. 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, and the sunsets are great too. This is a paradise that you won't want to leave. Perhaps consider taking a bicycle ride or tuk tuk to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring back their loads of fresh fish to sell along the shore. Maybe take a boat to spot whales and dolphins, or wash down all that chilli with a beer, while watching surfers take on the waves.
              Included Activities
              • Lunch with a Muslim family
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                Day 10 Mirissa
                Witness the art of stilt fishing, a method unique to Sri Lanka. Meet with a local fisherman and learn about their craft, and how their lives have changed after the tsunami. Eat with the fisherman's family for the freshest seafood lunch possible – a wonderful crab curry is likely to be on the menu. You may even get the chance to taste the local drop, toddy (or coconut arrack), a popular drink made from palm tree sap. Continue on to the perfectly preserved colonial township of Galle (approximately 1 hour) and its blend of European architecture and South Asian traditions. In the evening take a tour of the Royal Dutch Fort, exploring the winding passageways, maze of gallery-filled narrow streets and 400 years of rich history. If you are still hungry, your leader can take you on a progressive dinner through town, sampling local delicacies straight off the street stalls, while you watch the spectacular pinks and violets of the sunset. You will then return to Mirissa for the night (approximately 40 minutes).
                Included Activities
                • Mirrissa - Stilt fisherman meeting
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                  Day 11 Colombo
                  Head north for the final stop on this gastronomic adventure and Sri Lanka’s commercial heart, Colombo (approximately 2.5 hours). The city is a cosmopolitan mix of vibrant street markets, colonial buildings, interesting museums, fine restaurants and great shopping opportunities. On an orientation walk through the city, stroll through the buzzing bazaar in Pettah, where Sri Lanka’s multi-cultural character is so clear and thousands of stalls vie for business. Snack your way around lanes filled with ‘short eats’, street-food possibilities and bustling local eateries. Share a final feast with new friends at a Dutch Burgher dinner, a group whose food (specialties such as lamprais rice) brings together the many culinary influences of the Sri Lankan table.
                  Included Activities
                  • Colombo - Walking tour
                  • Colombo - Dutch Burgher Farewell Dinner
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                    Day 12 Colombo
                    This trip concludes this morning. There are no activities planned for this final day and you are free to leave at any time.
                    Itinerary disclaimer
                    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                    Physical rating

                    Included activities
                    Negombo - coconut plantation visit and lunch
                    Negombo - Fish Market Tour
                    Dambulla - Wholesale Markets tour
                    Sigiriya - Lion Rock
                    Dambulla - Chena Farm Visit and Lunch
                    Matale - Spice Garden Tour and Lunch
                    Kandy - Temple of Tooth
                    Kandy - Cooking Class in a Sinhalese Home
                    Haputale - Tea Factory Visit
                    Haputale - Tamil family lunch
                    Tissamahamara - Buffalo Curd Tasting
                    Yala National Park
                    Lunch with a Muslim family
                    Mirrissa - Stilt fisherman meeting
                    Colombo - Walking tour
                    Colombo - Dutch Burgher Farewell Dinner
                    Group size
                    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                    Your fellow travellers
                    GROUP TRAVEL
                    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (11nt)
                    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                    TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                    CHECK-IN TIME
                    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                    PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                    AIR CONDITIONING:
                    Please note that not all hotels on this trip have air-conditioning. All hotels do have a fan.
                    Meals introduction
                    While we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please contact your agent at time of booking for further information. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, you must notify your booking agent prior to departure so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met.
                    Meals
                    10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
                    Transport
                    Private vehicle, Safari Vehicle, Train

                    LONG TRAVEL DAYS
                    There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
                    Money matters
                    SPENDING MONEY
                    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                    The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LKR).

                    There are now many ATM machines throughout Sri Lanka, which accept both Visa and MasterCard. Although this is a safe and convenient way to access money during your trip we do recommend that you carry some money as cash when ATMs can not be accessed. Some money should be taken as US dollars cash in case of emergencies.

                    A 'black market' for currency changing does exist in Sri Lanka, these are considered a danger and best avoided. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks will allow cash advances against a credit card.

                    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                    TIPPING
                    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

                    The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.

                    Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.

                    Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                    In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                    Optional Tipping Kitty:
                    At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.

                    Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                    EMERGENCY FUNDS
                    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                    Group leader
                    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                    Safety
                    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

                    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                    SEAT BELTS:
                    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                    SWIMMING POOLS:
                    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

                    BICYCLE HELMETS
                    Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles. If you wish you can bring along your own.
                    Joining point
                    Paradise Beach Hotel
                    289, Lewis Place,
                    Negombo
                    Negombo
                    SRI LANKA
                    Phone: 94 31 2 224258
                    Finish point
                    Mirage Hotel Colombo
                    61, Moor's Road on Marine Drive (Colombo Plan Road)
                    Wellawatte, Colombo 06
                    Colombo
                    SRI LANKA
                    Phone: +94 (0)112 363471
                    Fax: +94 (0)112364922
                    Finish point description
                    The Mirage Hotel is located about 3 kms from the city centre of Colombo and 1 hour's drive from Bandaranaike International Airport. The hotel has a fully equipped business centre and restaurant with a bar.
                    Emergency contact
                    in case of an emergency please use the following emergency contact information to contact our local Sri Lanka team:

                    24 hour booking/reservation issues: +94(0)76 831 6000
                    24 hours crisis emergency: +94(0)71 927 7676

                    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

                    For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                    PEAK DMC: +94 (0) 71 927 7676
                    Visas
                    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                    SRI LANKA:

                    Foreign passport holders are required to obtain a visa prior to entry into Sri Lanka. This can be done on-line at the following website:
                    www.eta.gov.lk

                    Detailed information and application forms are provided here. The process is simple and the cost is US$20 for most countries.
                    What to take
                    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                    Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                    WATER BOTTLE:
                    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

                    IMAGES FROM HOME:
                    During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.

                    TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                    It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                    LUGGAGE STORAGE
                    Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
                    Climate and seasonal information
                    PERAHERA FESTIVAL:
                    A surcharge will apply for stays in Kandy during the Perahera Festival (dates are based on the lunar calendar, usually in July-August). The 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 dancers and drummers, and a parade of more than 50 decorated elephants. Due to Intrepid's stance on Elephant cruelty we do not visit the Perahera and cannot purchase tickets on your behalf. .
                    Health
                    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                    DENGUE FEVER:
                    Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
                    Travel insurance
                    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
                    A couple of rules
                    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                    Responsible Travel
                    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.

                    ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
                    While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:

                    The Intrepid Foundation
                    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                    http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                    Feedback
                    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback

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