Map of Essential Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka

Your Geckos trip, Sri Lankan Adventure, has moved here to Intrepid.

From October 1st, Geckos Adventures tours will be run by Intrepid Travel under our brand new 18 to 29s range.

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Soak up the sights in Kandy, Ella, Unawatuna and Colombo

Sri Lanka, land of rolling tea plantations, wild cinnamon groves, heaps of elephants and amazing surf breaks. And really incredible food. Chow on curry in Negombo, check out Buddha’s tooth in Kandy, spot elephants and leopards and sloths (oh my!) in Yala and have a whale of a time in Unawatuna.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.


Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination
Sri Lanka
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
HPYL
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Shark, squid, barracuda and hundreds of things with fins that nobody knows the name of – visit the sensational Negombo fish market.

  • Practice sticking out your little finger and delicately holding a teacup with your thumb and forefinger. Why? To prep for a delicious cuppa in the tea-heartland of Kandy.

  • Leave the imprint of you face on the train window as you stare out wide-eyed from Kandy to Ella – it’s basically a 6-hour movie of amazing scenery.

  • Go on safari in search of leopards and elephants in Yala National Park.

  • Three days (and nights) on Unawatuna's golden beach can cure almost all of life’s problems.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Can you feel that tingling in your fingers? That my friend is power! This trip puts it in your hands – there are few inclusions so you’ll have plenty of local choices to decide what you want to do.

  • At six hours, the train ride from Kandy to Ella is the longest travel day. But the only reason you’ll want to get off this train is to charge your camera after what is basically one long amazing natural photoshoot.

  • The drive from Ella 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 get to see the awesome scenery from literally every angle.

  • Tourism in Sri Lanka is booming, and with it has come a huge increase in visitors to Yala National Park. Overtourism and lack of sustainable management practices have become a major concern for us in continuing to visit Yala. In order to reduce our impact on wildlife and the environment we are trialing visiting a less touristed section of Yala, known as Block 5 or Veheragala. Should we determine that high tourist numbers at Block 5 also make it difficult to continue visiting responsibly we will change our itinerary to visit Udawalawe National Park, where wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards also reside, and also the nearby Elephant Transit Home. This is the same itinerary we follow from September to mid-October when Yala National Park is closed annually for infrastructure development and rejuvenation.

Itinerary

Welcome to Negombo, Sri Lanka. There are are no activities planned today so you're free to arrive at any time. Your adventure kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Head to the fish market in Negombo this morning. This can be quite an intense affair, but the variety of fish being presented by the locals is a great experience. From here, begin your journey by private vehicle to Kandy and visit a spice garden on the way, which should take around three hours in total (120 kilometres). On arrival to Kandy, there's an optional 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 and there is access to the swimming pool of Kandyan Residencies (next door). Your evening is free to do as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth - LKR2000
  • Kandy - Cultural performance - LKR1000
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - LKR1200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is free to explore Kandy. If you didn't visit the Royal Botanical Garden yesterday, then take a stroll around it today. Perhaps organise a day trip to the famous palace of Sigiriya and Dambulla Caves Temple - discovering this magnificent cave complex. The World Heritage listed cave monastery has been a pilgrimage site for 22 centuries and for good reason. If you're feeling a little worse for wear in the afternoon, why not try an Ayurvedic massage to relax those weary muscles?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - LKR1200
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples - LKR1500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, say goodbye to Kandy as you hop on a train for around six hours to Ella. It’s a kinda long trip, but you can buy all sorts of yum treats from the onboard sellers. On arrival to Ella, check in to your accommodation which is within walking distance of the station. Once you've dropped off your luggage, perhaps head out for a visit to a local tea factory. If this doesn't take your fancy, go for dinner in one of the many local restaurants and bars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Venture out on an included half day trek this morning, then stop for a spicy curry lunch and a pot of Ceylon tea in a local village. This is an awesome way of getting to know the area and a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals. In the late afternoon, cool off with a dip in your hotel's pool. Your evening is then free to do what you want.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ella - trekking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today is going to be so cool. Head out of Ella in a private vehicle for around three hours to your resort on the edge of Tissa Lake. Once settled, you'll head out on a jeep safari where you'll come across the area's native wildlife such as elephants, leopards and aquatic birds. This is an amazing experience that you'll never forget.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Each September the Wildlife Conservation Department of Sri Lanka close Yala National Park for the development of infrastructure as well as for plant and wildlife rejuvination. 
We instead visit the Elephant Transit Home at Udawalawe, followed by a jeep safari in Udawalawe National Park.
Udawalawe is home to wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards.
Journey west in a private vehicle for around three and a half hours to Unawatuna. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Life’s a beach, so spend the day on one. With a book and a cocktail and a bottle of sunscreen. Today is a free day to explore, there are no included activities. Possibly head out o a whale watching tour or take a day trip to visit the Galle Royal Dutch Fort. There is no entry charge for the fort. You'll be staying at a guest house on the beach tonight, so make use of the hundreds of beach restaurants and bars that surround you.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Galle Dutch Fort - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You have another free day beside the beach today. Take a towel and relax on the beach, sleep in, work on your tan or grab a cocktail under the shade of a restaurant. This is the perfect way to chill out and enjoy the Sri Lankan coast. Otherwise maybe today is the day to pop into Galle for some sightseeing. Walk around the perimeter of the fort, and grab an icy ginger drink in a cafe, then mosey on back to the beach for some more well-earned chillaxing.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Unawatuna behind and make the short journey to Galle, where you'll jump on a train to Colombo (approximately four hours). On arrival to Sir Lanka's capital, why not head out on an optional city walk with your leader? If you'd rather pick up some last-minute shopping, then pay a visit to the mass amounts of shops that are available. Tonight is free but your leader will suggest a spot for an optional final group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Have string hoppers and a super-black coffee for breakfast, then pull your saddest face as our trip comes to an end.
Optional Activities
  • Colombo - Colombo by Tuk Tuk Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Colombo - Eat, Eat, Repeat Urban Adventure - USD55
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

9 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Public bus, Train, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights)

Included activities

  • Ella - trekking
  • Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip and is valid for all nights on tour.
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.