From £2,414 pp incl. UK flights
Day 1: Depart on a choice of flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Private transfer to the beaches of Negombo or colonial manor house for 1 nt
Day 3: Fly to Sigiriya for 2 nts in the Cultural Triangle. Private day tour to Lion Rock of Sigiriya
Day 4: Private guided tour of ancient city of Polonnaruwa & Minneriya National Park
Day 5: Private guided tour to Dambulla Cave Temple. Continue on to Kandy for 2 nts
Day 6: Kandy - Private guided City tour including Temple of the Tooth
Day 7: Fly to Hambantota - Transfer to Udawalawe National Park for 2 nts at Kalu's Hideaway
Day 8: Elephant Transit Home private guided tour & Udawalawe National Park jeep safari
Day 9:Private transfer to your choice of south or west coast beach hotel for 4 nts
Days 10-12: 4 days to relax and enjoy your seaside setting.
Day 13: Private transfer back up to Colombo in time for your flight home.
Day 14: 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
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred just 30 minutes north to Negombo, for 1 night on the beach in your choice of hotel. The rest of the day’s free to recover from the journey and enjoy a bit of beach time before starting the tour. Alternatively for a more historical start to your holiday head inland 20 minutes to Wallawwa, a 200 year old colonial manor house. The choice is yours.
If your international flight permits, we could book the flight to Sigiriya for today, but the flights rarely match up perfectly. An alternative overnight option would be to stay in Colombo itself and enjoy an afternoon’s tour.
Day 3: Negombo (B) - Fly to Sigiriya (Cultural Triangle) - Private Sigiriya Rock Tour
This morning you will be transferred back to the airport in time for the 30 minute flight to Sigiriya, in the heart of the Cultural Triangle. On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred your choice of hotel for 2 nights.
Within the Cultural Triangle you have a range of places to base yourself during your stay and we’d be happy to discuss this with you. With some much to do in the area it’s the perfect place to start your holiday, enjoy a variety of experiences and get yourself onto Sri Lanka time.
Time to check-in then re-join your guide for an afternoon tour of the Lion Rock of Sigiriya, one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites and a must see in any visit to the Cultural Triangle, as a testament to ancient artistry and architectural ingenuity. Built in the 5th century by King Kasyapa as a fortress and pleasure palace it dominates the surrounding landscape, rising 200 metres above the ground. The entrance to the original fortress was through the mouth of a lion, however the ravages of time mean that only a part of the massive paws remain today. The view from the flattened summit of the rock is spectacular and well worth the climb, but those without a head for heights can stroll around the ramparts and pleasure gardens, or take in the famous Sigiriya frescoes that can be found partway up the rock. Back at hotel late afternoon.
Day 4: Cultural Triangle (B) - Private Polonnaruwa & Minneriya National Park Tour
This morning with your private guide you head east to the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site built over one thousand years ago alongside the spectacular, carefully-engineered reservoirs that provide the region's water to this day. In its day Polonnaruwa was a thriving commercial and religious centre and as you stroll around the ruins you’ll get a feel for what life was like back then. The tour will include the statue of the great Sinhalese King Parakramabahu who built the reservoirs and the city's well preserved ruins. Notable highlights include the fascinating area known as the Quadrangle and the impressive Gal Vihara, with four separate Buddha images perfectly sculpted from one large piece of granite.Return to your hotel in time for lunch (own expense) and then re-join your guide for an afternoon jeep safari through Minneriya National Park which is 30 minutes away. Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8,890 hectares of Minneriya National Park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. The park’s main attraction is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena) and is often the best place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze, as well as huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters. Back at the hotel early evening.
Day 5: Cultural Triangle (B) - Dambulla Cave Temple - Kandy
After breakfast your guide will pick you up for the 2.5 hour transfer to the Ancient Capital of Kandy, stopping at the Dambulla Cave Temple en route. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 1st century BC and the cave system has been in continuous use for over 2000 years. First used as a refuge by an ancient king, who on regaining his throne commissioned magnificent carved images within the living rock. Later kings made further additions and the caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha, the largest of which is a colossal figure spanning 15 metres. Cave inscriptions from the 2nd Century BC are found and on the walls are many paintings most of which belong to the Kandy period (early 19th century). This temple is the perfect place in which to see the evolution of ancient Sri Lankan art and is an important historical site due to the amalgamation of material from many eras. From here continue on to Kandy and check-in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights.
Day 6: Kandy (B) - Private City Tour including Temple of the Tooth
Morning free then join your private guide for an afternoon’s tour of the ancient city that was the capital from 1592 until the rule of the British in the 19th Century. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it's an extremely picturesque setting with steep, green valleys running away from it in all directions. This afternoon’s highlights will include the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens that’s modelled on Britain's Kew Gardens, the Temple of the Tooth Relic where Buddhists believe they have enshrined a tooth of the Lord Buddha and the 88 foot tall Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue that looms protectively over the city and offers panoramic views over Kandy. Soak up the views before returning to your hotel.
Day 7: Kandy (B) - Fly to Hambantota - Udawalawe National Park
Morning check out and 30 minute flight to Hambantota Airport. From here it’s a beautiful 1.5 hour transfer through a tropical landscape of small villages, coconut plantations and paddy to Udawalawe. On arrival check in to Kalu’s Hideaway for 2 nights, a lodge like hotel on the banks of the Walawe River. Evening free.
Day 8: 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 9: Udawalawe (B) - Beach
This morning the touring section of your holiday ends as you’re transferred out to the beautiful coastline and 4 nights (or more) 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 10-12: 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 13: 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.
Hotels in Negombo
If you’d like a leisurely night on the beach before starting your Sri Lanka tour, Negombo is perfect,
Pre & Post Hotel Suggestions
Sri Lanka is rich in small hotels that offer a superb introduction or perfect conclusion to any holiday.
Hotels within Cultural Triangle
The Cultural Triangle shouldn't be missed and there's a superb range of hotel options here.
Hotels in Kandy
Sri Lanka’s last royal capital, Kandy sits high in the hills and is home to the Temple of the Tooth.
Hotels in 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.