From £1,948 pp incl. UK flights
Day 1: Depart on a choice of flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Private transfer to Wallawwa, a beautiful colonial manor house for 1 nt
Day 3: Morning white water rafting. Transfer up into tea country to Hatton for 2 nts
Day 4: Climb Adams Peak in time for sunrise. Afternoon optional mountain bike tour
Day 5: Hatton Tea Country - Hill Train - Overnight Nuwara Eliya at your choice of hotel
Day 6: Nuwara Eliya - Horton Plains private walk - Udalwalwe National Park. 2 nts Kalu's Hideaway
Day 7: Elephant Transit Home visit. Udawalawe NP Afternoon Safari.
Day 8: Transfer to your choice of beach resort for 4 nts (or more).
Days 09 -11: Free beach days and perhaps include a dolphin / whale watching tour
Day 12: Private transfer back up to Colombo in time for your flight home.
Day 13: Arrive home.
Day 1: UK Airport / Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Colombo. Direct flights are with Sri Lanka Airlines from Heathrow, otherwise there are a range of one stop options with such airlines as British Airways, Qatar and Emirates.
Day 2: Arrive Colombo - Transfer to Wallawwa
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred just 20 minutes to the wonderful Wallawwa Hotel for 1 night. On arrival you’ll find a beautifully restored 200 year old colonial manor house (part of the RAF’s headquarters during WW2), that’s now a luxury boutique hotel, surrounded by beautiful, landscaped gardens within a rural idyll. A relaxed introduction to Sri Lanka that you may wish to extend to 2 nights.
Day 3: Wallawwa - White Water Rafting - Hatton Tea Country - Climb Adam’s Peak (B / D)
This morning head into the hills (1.5 hours) to Kitulgala where you board your raft for a white water rafting adventure. Boasting medium level (depending on time of year) white water rafting on the majestic Kelani River and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery it’s a great way to start your adventure. As a nod to the film industry, its claim to fame is that it was used as the location for the film "Bridge on the River Kwai", although the bridge no longer exists. With a double monsoon, low water is rarely a problem and the best conditions are during the summer and November / December. For a more peaceful ride travel from January to April. Lunch can be enjoyed (own expense) at the rafting centre and then it’s just a short drive (1-1.5 hours) to Hatton, home to some of the most beautiful and iconic tea estates.
The landscape here has a softness to it, as the perfectly manicured tea bushes follow the folds of the gently undulating hills and the narrow roads forms ribbons that reveal one majestic vista after another, whether it be the tree studded estates, the tea pickers hard at work or lake views. No large hotels, instead you’re treated to a range of century old British tea estate managers’ bungalows that have been largely restored to their former glory. On arrival check-in to your choice of bungalow for 2 nights. The bungalows are relatively isolated and so they are all-inclusive, including all the meals and most drinks.
This evening you will be leaving the hotel just before midnight to make a night time ascent of Adam’s Peak, one of Sri Lanka’s highest mountains and famous for Buddha’s footprint near the summit. Its name derives from a claim that it is the place where Adam first set foot on earth, thus indirectly claiming that Sri Lanka is the original Garden of Eden. However the more popular name is ‘sripada’ or the sacred foot print, in the belief that Buddha’s foot print is found at the summit. Start at 2am the climb takes approx. 4 hours so it’s timed that you enjoy sunrise at the peak. The view is unmatched in Sri Lanka and you truly feel like you’re on top of the world.
Climbing Adam’s Peak requires a good degree of fitness but the path is well lit and steady, you won’t be scrabbling or climbing. Don’t imagine you will be in splendid isolation as this is very popular with Sri Lankans and visitors, with vendors selling all sorts of food and drinks along the route but it would be best for the clients to carry their own water on this climb. The climb is seasonal from December to May.
Day 4: Hatton Tea Country - Return from the walk - Afternoon Bike Tour (B / L / D)
Climb back down and transfer back to the bungalow for a late breakfast. The rest of the morning is free to grab and few hours shut eye before lunch. This afternoon we’ve included a mountain bike half day exploring the surrounding hills but you may prefer an afternoon at leisure enjoying the scenery or perhaps taking a walk through the surrounding tea plantations following well established.
Day 5: Hatton Tea Country (B / L) - Hill Train - Nuwara Eliya
Travelling by car in air-conditioned comfort has a lot going for it, but swapping this for the train allows you to immerse yourself more into Sri Lanka life and from Hatton to Ella riding the rails offers the best views of the tea estates, forests, waterfalls and village life. This morning your guide will take you to the station and then meet you at Ella station. The journey takes about 4 hours as you follow the beautiful curves and ridges of the hill country landscape. Arrive in Ella mid-afternoon and your guide will take you Nuwara Eliya at your choice of hotel for 1 night.
Day 6: Nuwara Eliya (B) - Horton Plains Walk private guided walk - Udalwalwe National Park
Early breakfast this morning as today’s walk is best done early. Leave at 6am and drive 1 hour to Horton Plains, Sri Lanka's highest plateau, 7200 ft above sea level in the central mountains. Reminding many of a tropical version of Scotland, but as you’re high in hill country to us it’s temperate and extra layers will be needed early morning. Horton Plains offers access to great walking country ringed by mountains but largely fairly even with grass plains and marshlands dotted with the occasional waterfall. You’ll see distinctive flora (many English field flowers grow on the plains) colourful butterflies and rare highland birds.
The reason you’ve come here is primarily to walk to the World’s End, a stunning escarpment that plunges 880m. The reason you leave so early is that by 10am the warm rising air will have created an impenetrable wall of white cloud, but arrive early enough and you can marvel at an uninterrupted view of villages, towns and farms dotted in miniature in the valley below all the way to the south coast. This will give you a good idea how dramatic the drive will be to Udawalawe.
The walk to World’s End is 4km. You then loop back to Baker’s Falls (2km) and continue back to the entrance (another 3.5km). All in all this should take about 4 hours with your private guide.
Back at the car it’s time to leave the hills behind for the 3 hour drive south to Udawalawe. Lunch (own expense) on way down. The changes in scenery are stunning as you start up amongst the tea plantations and then head down through jagged hills along winding roads that dramatically drop away from you to reveal amazing views. Once at the bottom tea bushes are replaced by coconut and paddy fields as you’ve dropped back into the tropics. The day will give you a full sense of the variety Sri Lanka has to offer. On arrival check in to Kalu’s Hideaway for 2 nights, a lodge like hotel on the banks of the Walawe River.
Day 7: Udawalawe (B) - Elephant Transit Home & Udawalawe National Park Jeep Safari
This morning leave the hotel and travel a short way past the Udawalawe Reservoir to the Elephant Transit Home. On the way keep your eyes out for the “beggars”, adult elephants from the park who skirt the reservoir and beg for food over the fence.
The Elephant Transit Home is sponsored by the Born Free Trust and was established in 1995 with the primary objective of the rehabilitation of orphaned baby elephants and their release back to the wild. There’s no riding or real interaction with the babies, just the pure joy and anarchy of feeding time. The elephants are largely free to wander around the grounds of the home and because it’s just across the lake to the national park it’s a much easier transition when they’re ready to join the herd.
Back to the hotel for lunch at own expense then re-join your guide for a late afternoon safari through the beautiful scenery of Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe National Park covers an area of 31,800 hectares and was declared a protected sanctuary with full national park status in 1972. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland, which of all Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, best rivals the Savanna of Africa and shrub jungle. Teak plantations, water holes and two important factors make this park special, the large Udawalawe Reservoir and the Walewe River, which ensure a supply of water for the fauna within. Internationally renowned for its large herd of elephants, the park is also known for several species of deer, wild boar, buffalo, jackal and very rare sightings of leopard.
Day 8: Udawalawe (B) - Beach
This itinerary is jammed packed and a few days relaxing on the beach and reflecting on the previous 7 days wouldn’t go amiss! This morning the touring section of your holiday ends as you’re transferred out to the beautiful coastline and 4 nights (or more / less) nights on your choice of beach on the south or west coast.
Sri Lanka boasts an incredible range of resorts and hotels and so we’ll offer a selection of suggestions that we hope will fit the mark. If you’ve time a 5 minute conversation can often help us refine the choice to fit in with the style, budget and position you’re looking for.
Days 9 - 11: Beach Days (B)
3 full days to enjoy your beachside location and perhaps explore a bit further. Dolphin and whale watching tours are particularly popular off the south coast, as is a visit to Galle.
Day 14: Beach (B) / Home
Day free until your airport transfer and overnight flight home.
Day 15: Arrive home
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas International airport departure taxes if payable locally
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Pre & Post Hotel Suggestions
Sri Lanka is rich in small hotels that offer a superb introduction or perfect conclusion to any holiday.
Hotels in Hatton Tea Country
Atmospheric luxury colonial tea houses are dotted across idyllic working tea country estates.
Hotels in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is synonymous with tea, don’t miss the chance to travel by train to get the best views.
Hotels Around Udawalawe National Park
One of the most beautiful parks centred on a large lake around which elephants and other wildlife thrive.
Hotels on the South Coast Beaches
The continuous ribbon of bays offers a wide selection of hotels from large developments, through hideaway luxury resorts down to colonial style villas. The most popular beach destination during our winter months.
Hotels on the West Coast Beaches
The West Coast boast as string of established beach resorts that offer a fantastic range of luxury beach hotels with good water sport facilities.