Get the low-down on India’s lush neighbour.

The remnants of a spiritual past await your discovery in Sri Lanka, from the ancient cliff-built complex of Lion Rock in Sigiriya to the ruins of the Sinhalese capital in Anuradhapura. Explore wonders of nature and humanity – often both at once – on this 8-day adventure through the cities, jungles and caves of Sri Lanka. Beginning in Negombo, travel through verdant countryside, past tea plantations, into the wildlife-filled Minneriya National Park and to the thriving capital of Colombo. An immersive and cultural Sri Lankan escapade awaits – the only thing left to choose is when to go.


Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination
Sri Lanka
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
HPKS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Travel through highlands so green they almost glow in Nuwara Eliya, and sample some of the acclaimed tea varieties that grow on the hillsides with your small group.

  • Learn of the varied cuisine and local customs of different regions around Sri Lanka, highlighted by a rhythmic cultural dance performance in Kandy.

  • See one of the world’s most revered relics at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to an earthly remain of the Lord Buddha, and discover the cave temple of Dambulla.

  • Head on safari – Sri Lanka style! Look for elephants and leopards while you cruise the beautiful Minneriya National Park in a jeep with expert local guides at twilight.

  • Watch candy-coloured tuk-tuks zip down the street in Colombo and while you’re checking out all the sights, have time to shop locally and ethically at small cottage industries.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The April 2019 terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka were a tragic event and have had a serious impact on tourism in the country. Intrepid has a strong commitment to our local staff and the communities we visit and are continuing to operate all our trips in Sri Lanka. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. The security situation is now much more stable and we don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time.

  • This is a busy trip, with lots of included and optional activities to make the most of your short time in the country.

  • 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. Check the weather before you travel to make sure you are well prepared with sun protection and suitable clothing.

  • If you have issues with heights, you may wish to sit out the climb of Lion Rock at Sigiriya as rough, narrow steps and tight walkways take you to the top.

  • This is a Comfort level trip, but we have itineraries in Sri Lanka in all our styles. For a short Basix itinerary, see Simply Sri Lanka (trip code HPRS) or for those aged 18-29, Essential Sri Lanka (HPYL) is the way to go. Those looking for a longer, Original-style adventures should check out Best of Sri Lanka (HPSH) or Sri Lanka Explorer (HPSS). For more information, search the trip code on the Intrepid website.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to the international airport. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Negombo - Spirit of Negombo Urban Adventure - USD60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Those who arrive early can dive straight into it by joining our local Urban Adventure - Spirit of Negombo. First check out the sights on foot and then take a leisurely boat tour, all while soaking up some epic views and learning all about the history and culture of Negombo. If you’d prefer to explore on your own, perhaps stroll the seaside observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.
Rise and shine for an 8 am check-out this morning. Wipe the sleep from your eyes and take a private transfer to lush, rainforest-rimmed Kandy. It’s a 3.5-hour drive, so get to know your fellow travellers during the journey. Your afternoon is free, so perhaps head out and indulge in some of Kandy’s natural and historical attractions. The Peradeniya Botanic Gardens offer both – the sculpted lawns were once a private playground for Kandyan royalty. In the evening, watch a traditional dance performance set to percussive rhythms.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Cultural performance
Optional Activities
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - LKR2000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The gorgeous highlands await you today, so rise and shine for the journey to Nuwara Eliya. The evergreen hills and cool climate made this town a primary retreat for British colonialists in the 19th century, and many buildings remain from this period, earning it the nickname ‘Little Britain’. Stop in at a tea factory and learn about the process of cultivating the region’s fragrant, highly-regarded varieties. Nuwara Eliya remains an incredibly important tea-growing area, and the plantations that dot the hillside make for lovely scenery. Return to Kandy and maybe ask your leader where you can grab a nice kotthu roti (chopped roti with vegetables and plenty of spices). Kandy was one the world’s primary source of cinnamon and a variety of spices are grown the area, which makes for food that is bursting with flavour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tea Factory Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, visit the temple that holds a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. The aptly named Temple of the Tooth is one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred places and no matter your spiritual inclination (or lack thereof) the hush of the temple and the atmosphere of reverence is incredibly powerful. Bid farewell to Kandy and transfer to Habarana, located just 12km from Sigiriya, where the immense Lion Rock dominates landscape. Tomorrow you will explore the ancient gardens and frescoes that decorate this behemoth, but today another unique site awaits. Visit the cave temple of Dambulla, actually a complex of five caves that are full of paintings and statues of the Lord Buddha. Murals cover the rough walls and sloping ceilings of the caves, which once served as dwellings for prehistoric Sri Lankans before the arrival of Buddhism.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Kandy - Spice garden visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you'll visit the ancient carved-rock fortress that rises 180 metres above the surrounding plains in Sigiriya. A true spectacle of both nature and human endeavour, the Lion Rock features ancient paintings, the remains of a great lion sculpture and some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Climb the winding walkways and explore this incredible example of ancient urban planning. Before the sun goes down, jump in jeep and go safari at Minneriya National Park. Many of the local beasties come out to play in the evening, so keep your eyes peeled for elephants, sambar deer and leopards.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Depending on the time of year we may move the safari from Minneriya National Park to Kaudulla National Park or Hurulu Eco Park in effort to give you the best chances for wildlife sightings. All three of these parks border each other and wild animals, including elephants, move freely between them.
Say ayubowan (used for both greetings and farewells!) to the verdant plains of Sigiriya and begin the 1.5 hour journey to Anuradhapura. This ancient Sri Lankan capital is home to some of the countries’ best-looking ruins. Take a guided bike tour of this World-Heritage listed site, soaking up the splendour of ruins scattered among the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Ancient site
  • Anuradhapura Bike Tour - Bike Guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Hit the road again and watch the world go by on our 5.5 hour long drive to Colombo. Stop by some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament, and past the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fair trade Store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. If you are lucky enough to be in Colombo on a Saturday, visit Good Market, a local market full of stalls showcasing social enterprises and responsible businesses. Tonight there's an optional final group dinner to celebrate your journey together.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colombo - Market Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Intrepid adventure comes to an end today in Colombo. With no scheduled activities, you're free to leave after check-out. Can't get enough of Colombo? Why not embark on an Urban Adventure and see the streets and sights from a tuk-tuk. You won’t see this side of Colombo on your own! Find out about this and other options at urbanadventures.com/destination/Colombo-tours.

Optional Activities
  • Colombo - Colombo by Tuk Tuk Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Colombo - Eat, Eat, Repeat Urban Adventure - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Kandy - Cultural performance
  • Tea Factory Visit
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Kandy - Spice garden visit
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Ancient site
  • Anuradhapura Bike Tour - Bike Guide
  • Colombo - Market Visit

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip and is valid for all nights of tour.
2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

PASSPORT DETAILS: Full passport details are required for the train journey. Without them we cannot purchase train tickets. Please advise them at the time of booking.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

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