Best of Sri Lanka

15 Days | Hill country to Colombo, fuelled by curry and cups of tea

4.9 out of 5 based on 166 reviews submitted.
Explorer
From
USD $2,291
View dates and book

This tour eliminates guess work and immerses you in the must-sees, must-tastes and must-meets of this beautiful country. In other words, the best stuff. Like summiting Lion Rock in Sigiriya, cycling through sprawling ancient city ruins in Anuradhapura and touring massive granite Buddha carvings in Polonnaruwa. But the best doesn’t just mean the biggest. The best is also having lunch with a Tamil tea worker in their home, relaxing with a cold beer and your feet in the sand in Mirissa and hiking between plantations and villages in Haputale. In fact, we think the best is doing all that and more in one 15-day tour.

Trip overview

Map of Best Of Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka
Start
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Finish
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
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
Style
Original
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
HPSH
This trip generates 29.14 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.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Ride around the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura on a bike tour, cycling through the jungle to see the dagobas, palaces, and pools of a city abandoned over 1000 years ago.
  • Climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya to the ancient ruins that lie atop the 200-metre-high summit and get panoramic views over the surrounding wilderness.
  • Explore the divine city of Kandy, mingling with pilgrims at the Temple of the Tooth, touring a tea factory, and taking in the views of this lush lakefront town.
  • Fall in love with Sri Lankan food and get to know locals during experiences like lunching with a Tamil tea worker and a home-cooking demonstration.
  • Unwind on the sandy beaches of Mirissa, where the waters are clear and warm, and monkeys play in the swaying palms that line the shores.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Zero Plastic. Donations help them educate Sri Lankan communities about the impact of plastic on the environment and reduce plastic pollution in the UNESCO-listed Sigiriya.

Is this trip right for you?
  • The summer months in Sri Lanka are very hot with short, sharp monsoons in the southwest of the country. Please consider your suitability to the time of year you wish to travel and be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.
  • This trip includes hiking on Days 9 and 10, an awesome way to see the picturesque hill country and interact with the local Tamil people. The hike is over relatively flat ground and covers approximately 10-12 km each day. We recommend a basic level of fitness as some have found the experience physically demanding. Parts of the trails are on rough ground which can be muddy and slippery if it’s been raining. If you feel you are not able to complete these walks, we can arrange vehicle transport for you.
  • The views from the top of Lion Rock in Sigiriya are spectacular, but getting there involves walking up uneven, narrow steps and navigating tight walkways. If you’ve got a fear of heights or conditions that affect mobility you may wish to sit this activity out.
  • The drive to Mirissa on Day 11 is downhill, windy and slow. Motion sickness has been an issue for some travellers in the past. If you believe you might be affected, speak with your GP before travelling about medication that can help.

Itinerary

Map of Best Of Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka

Inclusions

Meals

12 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Public Bus, Train, Bicycle

Accommodation

Hotels (11 nights), Lodge (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night), Permanent Tented Camp (with basic facilities) (1 nt)

Activities
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Bike tour
  • Polonnaruwa - Bike Tour
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock Fortress Visit
  • Kandy - Tea factory visit
  • Bandarawela - Cooking demonstration & local meal
  • Kandy to Bandarawela – Scenic train ride
  • Hill Country trek
  • Galle - Walking tour
  • Galle - Traditional Sri Lankan Wood Carving - demonstration and participation
  • Colombo - City tour by bus
Add on activities
  • Minneriya National Park - Jeep hire (minimum 6 pax) - USD45
  • Minneriya National Park (entrance) - USD45
  • Kandy - Cultural Dance Performance - USD7
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens - USD10
  • Udawalawe National Park - Entrance fee - per person - USD45
  • Udawalawe National Park - Jeep hire (minimum 6 pax) per jeep - USD45
  • Mirissa - Whale Watching (Nov to Mar) - USD70
  • Explore Galle by Bicycle - USD25
  • Explore Galle by bicycle with market visit and local lunch - USD35

Dates and availability

Loading trip dates and availabilities...

Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. In the wet season, we occasionally need to alter the length and itinerary of the Hill Country hike due to weather conditions.
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.
4. Train tickets are in very high demand. We always try our best to secure tickets, but on the rare occasion that we cannot book them, you will continue your journey by private vehicle.

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

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 based on 166 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.

Filter by rating

Penny · Traveled February 2024
I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Sri Lanka. The activities were varied, interesting and worthwhile. Our guide Mathisha, driver Kam and assistant Sanju were enthusiastic and professional. Based on this experience, I will be considering another holiday with Intrepid for the future.
Review submitted 15 Feb 2024

Hermione · Traveled January 2024
Wow, what an amazing tour we have had with the world's best Group Leader Sam (Sampath) taking 12 adventurers to the 'real' Sri Lanka. This was an exceptional holiday learning about the history, culture and food of this stunningly beautiful and friendly country. What a holiday! Gold star throughout 🌟 , we will be back for more....thank you Intrepid.
Review submitted 08 Feb 2024

Beverly · Traveled January 2024
This trip was a great way to see the country and learn all about it from an outstanding local guide. It’s an action packed trip with lots of activities , yet flexibility. We were lucky enough to be welcomed into several local families homes for meals which was a unique and authentic way to immerse ourselves in this beautiful culture and country.
Review submitted 08 Feb 2024

Fay · Traveled January 2024
Absolutely fantastic trip - Sam our tour leader was absolutely brilliant - incredibly knowledgeable but also ensured we had good fun. They really thought of every detail so you can enjoy your time. The trip covers a large amount of the country so the itinerary is quite full on but a great variety of activities and opportunity to rest along the way. If debating it - I would recommend getting your own room to ensure you are well rested. Accommodation, food and transport all great.
Review submitted 11 Feb 2024

Paul · Traveled January 2024
A great way to discover Sri Lanka! 15 days is perfect for a taste of the country. You can go back to your favourites later ( I loved the mountains) My sixth Intrepid tour - not my last.!!! Job well done.!!!
Review submitted 12 Feb 2024
Best of Sri Lanka
From
USD $2,291