Private Holiday11 days ex Colombo
Discover the many experiences Sri Lanka has to offer on this varied exploration of the island known as “The Jewel of Asia.” Cooking classes and cultural shows, tea plantations and train rides, game drives and gem stones…this itinerary is packed full of experiences you will cherish for a lifetime.
- Ride a section of one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world through highland tea plantations adorning misty mountains
- Get up close to elephants in the most ethical way possible in Sri Lanka at the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home
- Learn the secrets of Sri Lanka cuisine a land famous for its spices.
Day 01: Airport – Negombo
Upon arrival you will be met by a local representative and driven by private vehicle to your accommodation in Negombo. After checking in the remainder of the day is at leisure.Overnight in Negombo.
Day 02: Negombo – Sigiriya – Dambulla (B)
After breakfast at the hotel spend the morning with an optional cooking class in Negombo. Experience the culinary art of Sri Lanka as you spend approximately 4 hours learning how to prepare the flavours of this unique destination. Try your hand at different methods of cooking with Sri Lankan condiments and, most importantly, tasting the food and different flavours that come from a culture for whom spices have been so integral.
Following your cooking class / morning at leisure, transfer in a private air conditioned vehicle from Negombo to Sigiriya (approx. 3.5 hours), the 5th century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sigiriya doesn't only showcase ancient Sri Lankan engineering & urban planning skill but is also one of the finest monuments of art & culture in the country. Surrounded by ramparts, royal gardens, and moats, the Lion Rock is coated by frescoes similar to the Gupta style paintings found in Ajanta caves of India. Be sure to walk along the 'mirror wall' to view centuries of graffiti before exploring the museum downstairs for insight into how this wondrous fortress was created and maintained.
Later transfer from Sigiriya to Dambulla. Overnight in Dambulla.
Day 03: Dambulla – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya – Dambulla (B)
After breakfast at the hotel transfer via private vehicle to explore the ancient city sights of Polonnaruwa. Rising with the decline of Anuradhapura, the city of Polonnaruwa was the royal capital and the crown jewel of King Parakramabahu I. The stunning ruins here are in remarkable condition with many intricate carvings and beautiful statues having lasted centuries. The ancient Royal Palace is a hugely impressive building – especially considering that archaeologists claim it was once seven floors high. Following several hours with your guide exploring these fascinating and beautiful ruins, transfer to Minneriya
Spread over 8800 hectares, Minneriya is famous as a sanctuary for elephants but is also home to herds of deer and ample birdlife. The elephants, however, are the main attraction and gather here in some of the largest numbers found anywhere in the world. Park your jeep on the bank of the reservoir, switch off its engine and watch carefully as herds of elephants - one by one - roll on to the grass-covered banks to feed on tender shoots.
Transfer back to your hotel in Dambulla for overnight.
Day 04: Dambulla – Matale – Kandy (B)
After breakfast at the hotel spend the morning exploring Dambulla Cave Temple, inhabited since prehistory and treasured as a religious centre since the 1st century B.C. The surrounding area contains over 80 caves with the major attractions located in the five caves which make up the temple proper. With walls that shelter over 150 statues of Lord Buddha, and which are covered in exquisite cave paintings, this temple is an experience you will never forget.
Later, transfer in your private vehicle from Dambulla to Matale en route to Kandy. An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale is famous around the world for its tea, rubber, vegetables, and spices. Stop by a spice garden into which you will be most welcome to learn about the therapeutic values of spices over a refreshing cup of herbal tea.
Transfer from Matale to Kandy. Overnight in Kandy.
Day 05: Kandy – Peradeniya – Kandy (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer from Kandy to Peradeniya to visit the Botanical gardens. First developed as a pleasure garden by King Wickramabahu III in 1371 and later redeveloped by the British, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya attracts over 2 million visitors each year drawn by the stunning collection of over 4000 species of plants. Walk through this 147 acre area of magnificently landscaped lush greenery which features orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and many other species collected from around the world. To the north of the entrance rests a cafeteria for those who want to take the opportunity to have a refreshment.
Return back to Kandy to explore city sights. Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe before it was brought under British rule in 1815 Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & the last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings. Visit the crown jewel of this small lakeside town cradled among the misty hills - the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. For those wanting to shop, stroll across to the Kandy City Centre filled with world class brands, a bazaar, and an arts & crafts centre as well, as a gem museum & lapidary. Experience the colour and vibrancy as you walk through fresh fruit and vegetable vendors in the Kandy Market. Finally tonight, experience the atmosphere of a cultural show to learn more about the rich culture of Sri Lanka.
Return to your hotel. Overnight in Kandy.
Day 06: Kandy – Peradeniya – Nanu Oya Railway Station – Nuwara Eliya (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer from Kandy to Peradeniya and board the scenic train to Nanu Oya. Experience the thrill of the train ride through lush tea plantations and misty mountains - a highlight for many during their time in Sri Lanka. Upon arrival into Peradeniya, meet with your driver and continue on to Nuwara Eliya and your accommodation. Following check in the rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Nuwara Eliya.
Day 07: Nuwara Eliya – Tea Plantation – Nuwara Eliya (B)
After breakfast at the hotel spend the day exploring nearby tea plantations and the sights Nuwara Eliya.
“Tea” and “Tourism” are words which are indelibly linked to Sri Lanka. You will experience this first-hand today as you take a tour to the cold & misty hills that are the centrepiece of the ultimate tea tour. Step into a tea factory processing the prestigious brand of Ceylon Tea to bathe in the aroma and observe a rich tradition kept alive to this day. And of course you will have the chance to end your tour in style over a perfectly blended cup of pure Ceylon Tea.
Next, transfer from Tea Plantation to Nuwara Eliya. Misty steep roads twisting through lush green blankets of tea bushes in a cool climate remind visitors that they are nearing the renowned British colonial retreat, Nuwara Eliya. Still retaining its English countryside atmosphere, the “City of Light” - once governed by English & Scottish planters - is studded with colonial bungalows hedgerows & one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the world. A hike through the green grass and red-brick walls offers the chance of breathtaking views of the charming countryside. Drive through green valleys of the hill country pierced by endless waterfalls & dotted with tea pluckers dressed in bright-coloured saris. Or take an option to rent a bike for a gentle ride along the banks of Lake Gregory.
Overnight in Nuwara Eliya
Day 08: Nuwara Eliya – Udawalawe (B)
Following breakfast at the hotel, transfer in your private vehicle from Nuwara Eliya to Udawalawe (approx. four hours) and visit Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home.
Travel Kindly is an animal welfare project initiated by our Sri Lankan partners with aims of promoting sustainability best practice in wildlife experiences. Through Travel Kindly you will get the opportunity to help look after an orphaned baby elephant at the Elephant Transit Home. After spending time with these magnificent creatures you will be transferred to your accommodation and the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Udawalawe.
Day 09: Udawalewale – Galle / Ahungalla (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, visit Udawalawe National Park for an early morning game drive. Udawalawe is a true sanctuary for the Asian elephant. Blessed with relatively large herds of elephants, the national park proves to be one of the best places one could observe them in their natural habitat. After hopping into a safari jeep, you are likely to view your first herd of giants within only a few hundred meters of driving into the park. TBe sure to watch out for other species - such as potted deer, sambur, barking deer, water buffalo, and jackal - found within the park.
At the end of your morning game drive get back to your private vehicle and transfer to Galle (first class) or Ahungalla (deluxe class) including an excursion in Galle.
Walk the Dutch-influenced streets of Galle, the southern capital, listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions. Its original ramparts and bastions preserved up to date showcase evidence of a heritage preserved for more than 350 years. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the 'old gate' carrying the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion - the oldest of all - and the lighthouse standing 80 feet in its glory next to the Point Utretcht Bastion. Hop into the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex to be mesmerised by an array of souvenir selections. The Dutch fort remains a working community today with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches, and Southern folks frequenting its streets.
Day 10: Galle / Ahungalla - Kosgoda – Colombo (B)
After breakfast at the hotel transfer from Galle / Ahungalla to Colombo and visit Kosgoda turtle hatcheries en route. This vibrant tourist destination sitting on the southern coast of Sri Lanka has been recognised by the Wildlife Protection Society with a Sea Turtle Conservation Project which operates on a large scale today.
Continue on to Colombo and explore the city sights and shopping malls before checking in to your accommodation.
Colombo is the country's commercial capital and engine room of the national economy, contributing over 50% of Sri Lanka’s GDP. Drive along the clean streets edging the crystal white Race Course – a horse racing hub in 1893, then a World War II airstrip, and today the first rugby union field in Sri Lanka, with a main pavilion filled with lavish clothing food & tea boutiques. Next head to Pettah & experience the Floating Market - an offbeat shopping experience. Later, head along Bauddhaloka Mawatha towards 'Arcade' facing the historic way-post, Independence Square. The designer boutiques, top-notch cuisine outlets and even a 'walk-over fish tank' have revamped this colonial masterpiece into one of the trendiest shopping and hangout zones in Sri Lanka. Have a chilled drink at the Dutch Hospital while gazing through windows showcasing the best fashion, jewellery & handicrafs. Smell the aroma of incense while listening to the chiming bells of Gangarama temple. During the evening, jazz things up with Colombo's night life. If you're lucky, head into an exhibition at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) before swaying your head to an opera or play at Nelum Pokuna.
Once you have had your fill of all that Colombo has to offer, return to your hotel. Overnight in Colombo.
Day 11: Colombo – Airport (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, spend the day at leisure before your transfer from Colombo to the airport for departure flight.
- Accommodation in chosen class of hotel
- Daily breakfast
- Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
- Entrance fees to Sigiriya, Minneriya National Park, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, Kandy Temple and cultural show, Tea plantation, Ramboda Falls, Udawalawe National Park and Elephant Transit Home, Galle Fort, Kosgoda Turtle Hatcheries, Colombo Museum, and Gangaramaya Temple.
- Jeep safari at the Minneriya and Udawalawe National Parks.
- Train tickets from Peradeniya to Nanu Oya. (Subject to availability)
- English-Speaking Chauffeur Guide
- International airfares
- Optional tours and excursions
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Personal Expenses
- Departure taxes
- Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
- Visas (unless specified)
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Accommodation based on the below or similar
First Class: Pledgescape – Deluxe RoomDeluxe Class: Jetwing Blue – Deluxe Room
First Class: Hotel Sigiriya – Superior RoomDeluxe Class: Heritance Kandalama – Superior Room
First Class: Amaya hills – Standard RoomDeluxe Class: Earl's Regency Hotel – Deluxe Room
First Class: Jetwing St. Andrew'S Hotel – Superior RoomDeluxe Class: Heritance Tea Factory – Deluxe Room
First Class: Centauria Wild Hotel – Standard RoomDeluxe Class: Kalu’s Hideaway – Standard Room
Galle / Ahungalla
First Class: Amari Galle – Deluxe ocean view RoomDeluxe Class: Heritance Ahungalla – Deluxe Room
First Class: Ramada Colombo – Standard RoomDeluxe Class: Cinnamon Lakeside – Superior city view Room
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.