Encounter ancient cave temples, tea plantations and idyllic beaches on this laid-back adventure through Sri Lanka.

Set adrift in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is jam-packed with ancient sites, fascinating culture, beautiful wilderness and idyllic beaches. Go as fast or as slow as you like on this adventure through south and central Sri Lanka. Pick for treasures through the frenzied markets of Colombo, wander throught the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, climb Lion Rock at Sigiriya, and explore the monkey-filled mangrove forests of Unawatuna, or simply bliss-out on the beaches in Galle with ginger iced tea in hand.


Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Country
Sri Lanka
Style
Basix
Code
HPRS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Wander through the golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy, which houses one of Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relics – a tooth of the Buddha

  • Explore the palm-tree beaches and streets of Unawatuna, perhaps even stopping for a massage along the way

  • Walk around the perimeter of the grassy Galle Fort, check out the snake charmers and grab an icy ginger drink at a cafe in town

  • Take a guided tour through cosmopolitan Colombo, including a stop at bustling Petta bazaar

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.

  • Beaches in Sri Lanka may be unpatrolled, please seek local advice on where to swim safely.

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 Negombo, Sri Lanka. There are are no activities planned today so you're free to arrive at any time. A welcome meeting with your trip leader will take place at around 6pm, so check with reception or the lobby noticeboard for details. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these with you. 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.
After breakfast, leave Negombo and drive approximately 4.5 hours to Dambulla, arriving just after midday. After checking into the hotel, in the afternoon you may like to relax at the hotel or take an optional visit to a nearby wildlife reserve. With a bit of luck, you might spot some wild elephants on this jeep safari. Which park is available to visit depends on the season, but both Minneriya and Kaudulla are within easy reach of Dambulla. Another option is the nearby Dambulla Caves with their magnificently decorated interiors.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples - LKR1500
  • Minneriya - Jeep Safari - LKR6500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early this morning, before the heat is too intense, head to Sigiriya (approximately 30 minutes). This ruined fortress is one of Sri Lanka's premier sights. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with astounding views. Make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear, as this is a very steep climb with some uneven slopes. Those unable to climb to the top can explore the gardens at the base of the rock and still get some fantastic shots of the fortress from below. Return to the hotel for breakfast before heading to Kandy (approximately 3 hours). On the way, there's the option of stopping at one of the region's wonderful spice gardens for lunch. In beautifully located Kandy, visit the Dalada Maligawa (aka Temple of the Tooth), Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist site, and mingle with the white-clad pilgrims who come here to worship. This evening, don’t miss out on the option of an early-evening performance of the famed Kandyan dancers, drummers and and fire-walkers.
Included Activities
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day to explore the royal city of Kandy, a pleasant city surrounded by lush green hilly countryside. It’s home to a picturesque lake, old shops, a bustling market and some great restaurants. It was once the capital of the last Sri Lankan king, and the area managed to resist European control for hundreds of years, long after the coastal areas surrendered. Perhaps walk through the town to take in the sights of Kandy – explore the bazaar area or the citadel, or take a nature walk at Udawattakele Sanctuary, close to Kandy, which offers the chance to see flowers, birds and monkeys amid 160 acres of tropical rainforest. Kandy is perfect for those who enjoy walking – the town has many hidden corners to explore and views from walks around the lake are spectacular. There's also the chance to take a day trip to Nuwara Eliya along windy roads lined by green slopes of tea leaves. 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 quirky architecture reflects what you'd normally expect to find in an English country village, which will make you feel like you've stepped back in time.
Optional Activities
  • Kandy - Cultural performance - LKR1000
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - LKR1200
  • Kandy - Cooking Class in a Sinhalese Home - LKR1400
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey south in a private vehicle to Unawatuna (approximately 6 hours). 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 free time to explore Unawatuna and its surrounds. Perhaps take a walk through the monkey-filled mangrove forest off Galle–Matara road or unwind with an indulgent massage. 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Learn to chill out the Sri Lankan way. Sleep in, relax on the beach, work on your tan or grab a cocktail under the shade of a beachside restaurant. Feel like something a bit more active? Today is a good opportunity to pop into nearby Galle for some sightseeing. The city is a memorable collection of Dutch-colonial buildings with boutique shops and cafes to visit. Walk around the perimeter of the Galle fort and cool off with an icy ginger drink in a cafe, then mosey on back to the beach for some more chillaxing.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information


Leave Unawatuna behind and make the short journey to Galle, where you'll jump on a train to Colombo (approximately four hours). On arrival in Sri Lanka's capital, there's an option to join your leader on an city walk. If you'd rather pick up some last minute shopping, then pay a visit to the massive range of shops available. Tonight is free but why not celebrate the end of this Sri Lankan adventure with a final group dinner.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This Sri Lankan adventure comes to an end after breakfast and you are free to depart at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Colombo - Colombo by Tuk Tuk Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Colombo - Eat, Eat, Repeat Urban Adventure - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts

Transport

Public bus, Train, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Simply Sri Lanka trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Jump to a departure month
Earn Qantas Points on trips over $1000* Find out more

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.

Reviews

Our Simply Sri Lanka trips score an average of 4.08 out of 5 based on 12 reviews in the last year.

Simply Sri Lanka, November 2017

Troy Dicks

Simply Sri Lanka, July 2017

Beverly Cox