Discover Sri Lanka on this 8-day tour full of ancient wonder.

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 (and often both at once) in this 8-day trip through the cities, jungles and caves of Sri Lanka.

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Terms & Conditions

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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Go safari, Sri Lanka style! Look for elephants and leopards in Minneriya National Park.

  • Discover evidence of ancient lives carved into the earth, from the cave temple of Dambulla to the soaring urban complex of Lion Rock.

  • Travel through highlands so green they almost glow in Nuwara Eliya, and sample some of the famous tea varietals that grow on the hillside.

  • Watch candy-coloured tuk-tuks zip down the street in the shadow of massive skyscrapers in Colombo.

  • See one of the worlds most revered relics at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to an earthly remain of the Lord Buddha.

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. If you have issues with heights, you may wish to sit out the climb of Lion Rock at Sigiriya. there are lots of rough, narrow steps and tight walkways.

Itinerary

Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in Negombo, located close to the international airport. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Make sure you have your next of kin and insurance details on hand to give to your group leader at this meeting. Those arriving early can get into the Sri Lankan spirit 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)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 maybe pack or book or simply 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
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The gorgeous highlands await you today, so rise and shine for the 4-hour train 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 by chartered bus, 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 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. Make a night-time visit to 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
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. When 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
  • Minneriya - Jeep Safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say Ayubowan (this versatile phrase is used for greetings and farewells) to the verdant plains of Sigiriya and begin the 3-hour journey to Anuradhapura. Stretch your legs with a stop at the Aukana Buddha statue. Carved in the 5th-century, the 12-metre statue still has plenty of intricate detail. Continue to Anuradhapura, an ancient Sri Lankan capital and home to some of the countries’ best-looking ruins. Take an evening tour of this World-Heritage listed site, soaking up the spooky splendour of ruins scattered among the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Ancient site
  • Aukana Buddha Statue
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Hit the road again and head to Colombo, where you’ll have a free day to explore at your own pace. A popular destination for international tourists and locals alike, this vibrant city by the sea has colonial architecture, shiny hotels and plenty of temples for those who haven’t had their fill of spiritual attractions. If you fall into the latter category, Kelaniya Temple is a revered Buddhist site that lies just outside of town. Colombo is also full of multi-level shopping centres, but the real magic (and best souvenirs) can be found at the Pettah Bazaar. It’s chaotic, so maybe enlist a few other brave travellers to keep you company and then dive into the madness.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

6 breakfasts

Transport

Private Bus

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Kandy - Cultural performance
  • Tea Factory Visit
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Minneriya - Jeep Safari
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Ancient site
  • Aukana Buddha Statue

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.
3. 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 performers, 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 Classic Sri Lanka trips score an average of 4.6 out of 5 based on 65 reviews in the last year.

Sensational Sri Lanka, August 2017

Peter Owers

Sensational Sri Lanka, October 2017

Susan Zahn