Best of Sri Lanka

15 Days | Hill country to Colombo, fuelled by curry and cups of tea

4.9 out of 5 based on 208 reviews submitted.
Explorer
From
AUD $3,015
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This tour eliminates guess work and immerses you in the must-sees, must-tastes and must-meets of this beautiful country. In other words, the best stuff. Like summiting Lion Rock in Sigiriya, cycling through sprawling ancient city ruins in Anuradhapura and touring massive granite Buddha carvings in Polonnaruwa. But the best doesn’t just mean the biggest. The best is also having lunch with a Tamil tea worker in their home, relaxing with a cold beer and your feet in the sand in Mirissa and hiking between plantations and villages in Haputale. In fact, we think the best is doing all that and more in one 15-day tour.

Trip overview

Map of Best Of Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka
Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Sri Lanka
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Original
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
HPSH
This trip generates 32.98 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Ride around the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura on a bike tour, cycling through the jungle to see the dagobas, palaces, and pools of a city abandoned over 1000 years ago.
  • Climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya to the ancient ruins that lie atop the 200-metre-high summit and get panoramic views over the surrounding wilderness.
  • Explore the divine city of Kandy, mingling with pilgrims at the Temple of the Tooth, touring a tea factory, and taking in the views of this lush lakefront town.
  • Fall in love with Sri Lankan food and get to know locals during experiences like lunching with a Tamil tea worker and a home-cooking demonstration.
  • Unwind on the sandy beaches of Mirissa, where the waters are clear and warm, and monkeys play in the swaying palms that line the shores.
  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?
  • The summer months in Sri Lanka are very hot with short, sharp monsoons in the southwest of the country. Please consider your suitability to the time of year you wish to travel and be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.
  • This trip includes hiking on Days 9 and 10, an awesome way to see the picturesque hill country and interact with the local Tamil people. The hike is over relatively flat ground and covers approximately 10-12 km each day. We recommend a basic level of fitness as some have found the experience physically demanding. Parts of the trails are on rough ground which can be muddy and slippery if it’s been raining. If you feel you are not able to complete these walks, we can arrange vehicle transport for you.
  • The views from the top of Lion Rock in Sigiriya are spectacular, but getting there involves walking up uneven, narrow steps and navigating tight walkways. If you’ve got a fear of heights or conditions that affect mobility you may wish to sit this activity out.
  • The drive to Mirissa on Day 11 is downhill, windy and slow. Motion sickness has been an issue for some travellers in the past. If you believe you might be affected, speak with your GP before travelling about medication that can help.

Itinerary

Map of Best Of Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka

Inclusions

Meals

12 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Public Bus, Train, Bicycle

Accommodation

Hotels (11 nights), Lodge (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night), Permanent Tented Camp (with basic facilities) (1 nt)

Activities
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Bike tour
  • Polonnaruwa - Bike Tour
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock Fortress Visit
  • Kandy - Tea factory visit
  • Bandarawela - Cooking demonstration & local meal
  • Kandy to Bandarawela – Scenic train ride
  • Hill Country trek
  • Galle - Walking tour
  • Galle - Traditional Sri Lankan Wood Carving - demonstration and participation
  • Colombo - City tour by bus
Add on activities
  • Minneriya National Park - Jeep hire (minimum 6 pax) - USD45
  • Minneriya National Park (entrance) - USD45
  • Kandy - Cultural Dance Performance - USD7
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - USD10
  • Udawalawe National Park - Entrance fee - per person - USD45
  • Udawalawe National Park - Jeep hire (minimum 6 pax) per jeep - USD45
  • Mirissa - Whale Watching (Nov to Mar) - USD70
  • Explore Galle by Bicycle - USD25
  • Explore Galle by bicycle with market visit and local lunch - USD35

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. In the wet season, we occasionally need to alter the length and itinerary of the Hill Country hike due to weather conditions.
3. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
4. Train tickets are in very high demand. We always try our best to secure tickets, but on the rare occasion that we cannot book them, you will continue your journey by private vehicle.

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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 based on 208 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Philippa · Traveled March 2024
Our trip was informative, interesting and above all great fun. Transport was comfortable, accommodation well chosen and our group very congenial and friendly. We visited key historic and cultural locations and learned a great deal about Sri Lanka’s history.
Review submitted 04 Apr 2024

KAREN · Traveled March 2024
After considering many different group trips for Sri Lanka I went with the Best of and it was excellent. There are a lot of included activities and it is a great mix. Lots of opportunities for sunrises and sunsets and occasionally other optional extras not mentioned in the itinerary, such as a morning nature walk, ayurveda massage etc. If you really want to do something not on the itinerary ask the guide, ours was very accommodating. One reason I chose the trip was the train and from the start the guide said it was unlikely we would have tickets and apparently this happens a lot recently. However it's still possible to take the train with unreserved seats and hope to get on and get a seat, which was what we did. It would be better if intrepid could get the tickets but I'd def still recommend the trip.
Review submitted 06 Apr 2024

Malcolm · Traveled March 2024
The Intrepid tour of Sri Lanka is a great way to see the country in a small group
Review submitted 06 Apr 2024

Helena · Traveled March 2024
An incredible trip with brilliant variety covering the best bits of Sri Lanka from tourist spots to local experiences, with great food and company along the way.
Review submitted 02 Apr 2024

Monica · Traveled March 2024
We very much enjoyed Sri Lanka. The food was amazing especially at the local houses. Our guide Nilanga was very friendly as were our capable driver Tony and his always helpful assistant Sangeer. The included and optional activities were fun and well organised.
Review submitted 31 Mar 2024
Best of Sri Lanka
From
AUD $3,015