Essential Sri Lanka

11 Days | Spot wildlife on safari, soak up some beachside sun and sip the finest Sri Lankan tea

4.9 out of 5 based on 26 reviews submitted.
18 to 35s
EUR €650
View dates and book
This trip is for the 18 to 35 year olds

Take Sri Lanka, boil it like the tea leaves the country’s famous for and strain out all the best stuff. On this 11-day trip through natural paradise, small villages and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you’ll wander past barracuda at the Negombo Fish Market, search for elephants in Yala National Park, feast on spicy curry prepared by a local in Ella, hike through lush mountains and get horizontal on the beach in Unawatuna – Sri Lanka’s idyllic beach spot, perfect for lounging and sipping cocktails. With a local leader who knows where to find all the best teahouses and a group of likeminded travellers, this one’s gotta be an adventure of a lifetime!

Trip overview

Map of Essential Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Lanka
18 to 35s
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
Min 18 - Max 35
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
This trip generates 41 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.
Bucket list destinations

Tick off all the popular spots and enjoy unique local experiences

Great value

Affordable trips with the freedom to choose how you spend your time

Responsible travel

You book, we donate to help support local communities

Why you'll love this trip
  • Cruise around in a 4WD on a wildlife safari, searching for elephants, lone leopards and aquatic birdlife in Yala National Park.
  • Learn the benefits of washing down a spicy curry with piping-hot Ceylon tea during lunch in a lush mountain village near Ella in a local home.
  • Kick back on the warm sands of paradisical palm-lined Unawatuna, with plenty of free time to soak up the sun at the beach and the opportunity for an optional whale-watching tour.
  • Leave the imprint of your face on the train window as you stare out wide-eyed on a journey from Kandy to Ella – this scenic rail ride is basically a 6-hour nature documentary, there’s so much amazing scenery!
  • Enjoy super fun included activities mixed with plenty of free time to choose your own adventure – maybe use some of it to visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Sigiriya. These palace ruins sit atop a massive rock structure surrounded by gardens and are a must-see for any Sri Lanka visit.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip puts the power in your hands – there’s tonnes of free time for optional activities, so you’ll have plenty of freedom to decide what you want to do.
  • The road from Ella to Tissamaharama takes a winding road down the mountains to the coast, which means the drive can feel a little slow. But don't worry, it also means that you’ll get to see the awesome scenery from literally every angle.


Map of Essential Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka



10 breakfasts, 1 lunch


Train, Private vehicle


Hotel (8 nights), Hostel (Multi-share) (2 nights)

  • Negombo - Fish market
  • Matale - Spice garden visit
  • Kandy - Scenic train ride to Ella
  • Ella - Trek to Ella Gap
  • Ella - Nine Arch Bridge
  • Ella - Lunch at a Local Family Home
  • Yala/Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
  • Galle - Walking tour
  • Colombo – Guided market visit
  • Galle - Local train ride to Colombo
Add on activities
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock Fortress (entrance) - USD35
  • Dambulla - Cave temples (entrance) - USD7
  • Kandy - Cooking Demonstration and Dinner in a Local Home - USD12
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - USD10
  • Kandy - Cooking Class in a Sinhalese Home - USD12
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth - USD7
  • Kandy - Cultural Dance Performance - USD7
  • Mirissa - Whale Watching (Nov to Mar) - USD70

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. The single supplement is not available on Days 3 and 4 (Kandy) and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
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.
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.

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


4.9 out of 5 based on 26 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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Henry · Traveled May 2024
Such a great trip - beautiful place with a load of activities which really gets under the skin of the country. Our guide Vidusha was fantastic, very knowledgeable and fun. Would 100% recommend,
Review submitted 27 May 2024

Dishni · Traveled May 2024
Intrepid Essential Sri Lanka trip is one of the best travel experiences in my life. The trip itinerary was really good, and the tour leader's service is exceptional throughout the tour. I can recommend this trip to anyone who loves to visit top tourists' destinations in Sri Lanka including mountains, beach, waterfalls, wildlife and many more. I's so glad, I decided to go on this trip.
Review submitted 28 May 2024

Katie · Traveled May 2024
A must-do trip to see the highlights of Sri Lanka!
Review submitted 24 May 2024

Rose · Traveled May 2024
We had the best time in Sri Lanka with our informative, helpful and friendly guide Vidu. We would totally recommend this trip for anyone looking to get an in depth insight into Sri Lanka
Review submitted 24 May 2024

Sarah · Traveled May 2024
Intrepid tours are a great way to cover a lot of areas/ activities and learn about a country in a safe group. Sri Lanka exceeded my expectations as it was so beautiful and chilled.
Review submitted 28 May 2024
Essential Sri Lanka
EUR €650