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, monkeys and elephants 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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Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination
Sri Lanka
Style
Original
Theme
Family
Code
HHFL
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 2, Max 16

Why you'll 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

  • As a family 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?

  • The recent terrorist attacks 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. While the security situation is now much more stable, you will still see a high police presence in towns and cities and many check points are still in place. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. We don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time, however it’s important to be aware that the country is still recovering and things like travel times between destinations and time taken to go through security at the airport may be affected.

  • 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 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
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 5pm. 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
  • Lavinia Hotel or similar (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.
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
  • Breakfast
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 courtyside. 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
Special Information
Bike helmets are compulsory during this included activity. Though laws in other countries do not require riders to wear helmets we ask that all riders on Intrepid trips wear a bike helmet on all included riding activities. Bike helmets are provided.
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.
We will also visit the Spice Gardens to learn about Sri Lankan spice plants and herbs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Senani or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens
Optional Activities
  • Kandy - Cultural performance - LKR1000
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. We 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
  • Dinner
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.
After breakfast we drive past lush green hills to Nuwara Eliya (3 hrs). In Nuwara Eliya we have a quick visit of this old British hill station is the heart of the tea growing industry and full of colonial charm. Built entirely during the 19th century, its old world architecture reflects what you might normally expect to find in an English country village. Once referred to as 'Little England' by British colonialists, it’s a fascinating mix of water buffalo and brick Victorian buildings, golf courses and tea plantations

We then board the scenic train to Bandarawela (2hours) and head to our accommodation and enjoy the views across the hills and tea plantations.

Note: the local train is often booked out, in the event this happens the group will continue by private transport to Bandarawela.
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
  • Lunch
After a hearty breakfast and 8:30am checkout, drive to Udawalawe 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, hop in a jeep for a safari inside the park. Other 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!

We check into our campsite around 6pm after a full day of adventure.
Accommodation
  • Mahoora - Luxury Camp or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Udewalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Family tip: Don’t forget your camera!
Join your leader for an early morning nature walk (4kms) to a nearby lake, which is home to lots of local birds. Head back to camp and fill up on a hearty meal, before travelling to the chilled-out beach town of Mirissa. Check out the stunning beach and splash around in the waves, or ask your leader for a delicious dinner recommendation. This is one of the best spots in Sri Lanka and you and your family will have some free time to explore it your way.
Accommodation
  • Paradise Beach Club – Mirissa or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Relax around Mirissa’s lovely waterfront or take in some of the local sights in your free time this morning. 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 Flying
Optional Activities
  • Mirissa - Whale Watching (Nov to Mar) - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Mirissa is a great place to go whale and dolphin watching during the months from November to April. Ask your leader for details.
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.
Accommodation
  • Fairway Colombo or similar (1 night)
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

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Private Bus, Train, Bicycle

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
  • Udewalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
  • Mirissa - Kite 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 5 years old.

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

A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.

PASSPORT DETAILS: Full passport details are required for the train trip on Day 6: Nuwara Eliya to Bandarawela. Without them we cannot purchase train tickets. Please advise them at the time of booking.

Essential trip information

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