Take the family on an unforgettable journey through magical Sri Lanka

Naturally gorgeous, culturally captivating and steeped in mysticism, Sri Lanka makes for a wonderful introduction to both travel and the Indian subcontinent. Discover temples carved from cliffs in Dambulla and fortresses built on boulders in Sigiriya. Cycle through peaceful scenes of village life and tour working tea plantations in the hill country around Bandarawela. Visit the country's most significant religious relic, the Temple of the Tooth, in Kandy, safari through Udawalawe National Park in search of leopards and monkeys, see baby elephants up close at a rescue centre and chill out by the beach in Mirissa. Educational, active and leisurely paced, this trip is everything you could want in a family getaway.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Country
Sri Lanka
Style
Original
Code
HHFL
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 2, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Take in sweeping vistas of the outlying terrain from Sigiriya's rock-top fortress

  • Spy elephants in their natural habitat at Uda Walawe National Park and see rescued infants up close at the onsite Elephant Transit Home

  • Learn the steps of traditional Kandyan dance during lessons with the locals

  • Soak up some beach time along the pristine, palm-fringed sands of Mirissa

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.

  • 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

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. There are no activities planned today until your group welcome meeting at 6 pm. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these with you. If arriving in Negombo earlier, spend some time poolside at the hotel, or head out to explore the neighbourhood.
Accommodation
  • Rani Beach Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Begin the adventure by heading out to Dambulla, located at the end of a moderate 4-hour drive from Negombo. This town plays home to some of the world’s most spectacularly decorated cave-temples and serves as a great starting point to trek into nearby natural wonders and historic sights. Upon arrival, you‘ll have the option to visit the Dambulla vegetable wholesale market. This huge labyrinth of shops and stalls sitting south of the centre of town offers a fascinating look at the vast range of produce grown in Sri Lanka. Items you see being carted about with manic energy will be sold in Colombo tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Pelvehara Village Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today’s adventure takes you from Dambulla to Sigiriya, a colossal stone monument hosting a ruined fortress at its peak. Let the kids burn off some energy with a climb to the top of enormous Sigiriya rock and its ancient fortress. If you’re lucky, you should be able to take in sweeping views of the thick forests below before descending once more. Once you return to Dambulla, take the family for a pleasant bike ride around the town. The numerous temple complexes and religious monuments are well worth a visit if you get the chance.
Accommodation
  • Pelvehara Village Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sigiriya - Bike ride
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Say farewell to Dambulla in the morning and take a 3-hour drive towards beautiful Kandy, often recognised as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. The verdant hills surrounding the city along with the tranquil lake in the centre creates the perfect scenery for family photo opportunities, and the old shops and restaurants will keep you busy for hours. Spend the afternoon basking amongst rows of flowers and towering palm trees in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The garden plays home to more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and various trees. It’s a leisurely walk, full of colour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Senani or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you’ll visit Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Tooth), which houses the country's most sacred relic: a tooth said to be the Buddha's. Pilgrims have been coming to pay homage at this site since the 16th century. Visit the magnificent Peradeniya Botanical Gardens with its immense fig tree and impressive orchid collection. Considered among the finest botanical gardens in all of Asia, this is a great spot for the kids to run around in. Next up, visit a local family for dinner and learn the steps to traditional Kandayan dancing during some lessons from local performers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Senani or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Family tip: When visiting the Temples you have to take your hats and shoes off, do not leave your shoes at the side of the road or the monkeys will run off with them. Store them with the ‘shoe keepers’ for a small charge or put them in your rucksack.
Tuck into breakfast before hitting the road once more, travelling via private vehicle into the evergreen hills of Nuwara Eliya. After 3 hours on the road, take a quick visit of this old British Hill station and get a feel for the colonial charm of this mecca of Sri Lanka’s tea growing industry. The 19th century architecture reflects what you’d come to expect from an English country village, so it may come as no surprise that it was once referred to as ‘Little England’ by its former British hosts. Try to spot roaming water buffalo, brick Victorian-era buildings, tea plantations or the odd golf course.
Accommodation
  • Orient Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After a few days on the road, today runs at a bit of a slower pace. Bandarawela is an unhurried, unpretentious hill-country town that exists to supply the needs of the tea plantation workers and their families. The people of Bandarawela enjoy a simple way of life, where school children and grandparents work together harvesting their crops and tending their livestock. Another distinctive feature of Bandarawela is the colonial flavour still preserved in the many old buildings, including the Bandarawela Hotel and the old Cargill’s Supermarket. Enjoy a leisurely morning walk through the countryside, past tea pickers plucking the tips of the plants and throwing them into the baskets on their backs. The afternoon is free for your enjoyment – you could always get the family together and challenge some of the locals to a friendly game of cricket.
Accommodation
  • Orient Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bandarawela - Country side trek
  • Bandarawela - Tea Plucking Experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After a hearty breakfast and 9am checkout, drive to Uda Walawe National Park (approximately 3 hours). This park has an amazing array of animal and birdlife, with more herds of wild elephant than anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Following lunch, discover how this majestic creature has been part of Sri Lankan culture for centuries during a visit to the nearby Elephant Transit Home. Run by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation, ETH provides shelter for orphaned or abandoned baby elephants with the aim of releasing them into the wild. Arriving at a viewing platform at feeding time ensures you'll get to see the elephants only metres away! Once feeding is over, hop in a jeep for a safari inside the park. Wildlife regularly spotted here includes macaques and larger monkeys, spotted deer, crocodiles and sometimes even leopards. This is a real safari experience, nothing like a zoo or safari park – truly an adventure for all ages!
Accommodation
  • Wild Trails - Luxury Camp or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Udewalawa - Elephant Transit Home
  • Udewalewa - Park Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Family tip: Don’t forget your camera!
After starting the day with a hearty meal, hit the bird trail in the nearby the park. Take the road and head towards the Elephant Transit Home. Supported by the Born Free Foundation, this home helps support and rehabilitate elephants before resettling them within the national park. Watch these gentle giants as they feed with their carers, then take a jeep safari into the park itself to hopefully spot other elephants in their natural environment. Afterwards, travel onward to the chilled-out beach town of Mirissa and settle in for the night.
Accommodation
  • Paradise Beach Club – Mirissa or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a change of pace this morning with a bit of free time. Relax around Mirissa’s lovely waterfront or take in some of the local sights. The waters are clear and inviting if you’d like to go for a splash in the Laccadive Sea, or you could follow the fresh fish coming in from shore and perhaps grab a bite to share with the family. Consider gathering the family and heading (by tuk-tuk or bicycle) to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring fresh fish to sell along the shore. The local cottage industry of lace products is also well worth a look. In the evening, visit the Dutch Fort in Galle for a spot of kite flying. If the colours of the kites don’t get you excited, the kaleidoscopic hues of the sunset surely will.
Accommodation
  • Paradise Beach Club – Mirissa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mirissa - Kite making and flying
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Check out of the hotel and head towards Colombo. Once you arrive, take a bit of time to wander through the bazaar, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the bustling market. Afterwards, enjoy a bit of free time. You’re in the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, so there’s more than enough things to do to while away the day. The waterfront is full of life, sights and stalls which makes for an excellent starting point. Regroup in the afternoon and head to Galle Face Green – 5 hectares of ocean-side park bliss. The kids can play a spot of cricket or fly kites while you sit back on the grass before getting together for a final farewell dinner afterwards.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Sri Lankan family holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. Additional accommodation is available through your booking agent at the time of booking your trip.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Private bus, train, cycle

Accommodation

10 nights Hotel, 1 night camping

Included activities

  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Sigiriya - Bike ride
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Bandarawela - Country side trek
  • Bandarawela - Tea Plucking Experience
  • Udewalawa - Elephant Transit Home
  • Udewalewa - Park Entrance
  • Mirissa - Kite making and flying

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.

Minimum age for children on this trip is 4 years old.

A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.

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 Sri Lanka Family Holiday trips score an average of 4.36 out of 5 based on 11 reviews in the last year.

Sri Lanka Family Holiday, September 2017

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Sri Lanka Family Holiday, September 2017

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