Best of Sri Lanka – For Solo Travellers
from $3165
Duration: 15 Days
A jewel in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is jam-packed with ancient sites, fascinating culture, beautiful wilderness and idyllic beaches. On this adventure, designed for solo travellers only, you will enjoy all that this stunning island has to offer. From ancient Anuradhapura city and the well-preserved Polonnaruwa ruins, to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the impressive Sigiriya rock fortress, Sri Lankan culture spans more than 2000 years and still remains vibrant and alive today. Trek through lush tea plantations, indulge in seafood feasts in quaint fishing villages and dip your toes in the calm, clear waters of Mirissa beach on this all-encompassing adventure for those seeking a unique travel experience.
  • Ride around the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura on a bike tour, cycling through 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 homecooking 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.
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple
  • Anuradhapura - Bike tour
  • Polonnaruwa - Bike Tour
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth entrance
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Kandy - Tea factory visit
  • Bandarawela - Cooking demonstration & local meal
  • Hill Country trek
  • Galle - Walking tour
  • Colombo - City tour by bus
  • Day 1 Location: Negombo
    Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to the international airport. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka 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.
    Day 2 Location: Anuradhapura
    Leave Negombo after breakfast today. Your private vehicle takes you to ancient Anuradhapura via the small town of Chilaw (approximately 5 hours total travel time). Those keen on history and archaeology might like to visit Mihintale, the sacred birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism, as a recommended optional activity. The price of this will depend on the number of people sharing the vehicle.
    Day 3 Location: Anuradhapura
    A guided bicycle tour of the city will take place today. Among the ruins you'll see the sacred old Bo Tree, a spiritual reminder of the beginnings of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the inspiration for Anuradhapura's great buildings. The ruins themselves are spread over quite an area, some in woodland settings and others appearing park-like with columns and ponds dotted about.
    Day 4 Location: Polonnaruwa
    Travel by both public bus and private vehicle on to Polonnaruwa (approximately 2 hours), the capital of the Indian Chola Dynasty after Anuradhapura was conquered in the late 10th century. These ruins are close together and generally in much better repair than those you have just seen. Cycling amid the remains of 1,000-year-old Polonnaruwa is once again the best way to get around. Once the heat of the day has eased you'll visit more palaces, temples and stupas. A likely highlight will be the massive stone Buddhas: 14-metre-high granite carvings of the iconic reclining Buddha which represent the zenith of Sinhalese rock carving. You'll also visit the well laid-out museum, which has scale models of many of the buildings to show how they would have existed in their time.
    Day 5 Location: Dambulla
    Depart Polonnaruwa this morning and travel to Dambulla (approximately 2.5 hours). Explore the amazing Dambulla Cave Temples which are located high on a stone cliff face, with numerous steps to enter. Some 150 Buddha images adorn the five caves, with fascinating frescoes and paintings on the walls and roofs. In the afternoon, you may like to relax by the hotel pool or take an optional wildlife jeep safari to Minneriya, Kaudulla or Eco National Park where you might spot some wild elephants with a bit of luck. Which park is available to visit depends on the season, but both Minneriya and Kaudulla are within easy reach of Dambulla. 
    Day 6 Location: Sigiriya - Kandy
    Early this morning, before the heat is too intense, head to Sigiriya (approximately 30 minutes). This ruined fortress is one of Sri Lanka's premier sights. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with astounding views. Make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear, as this is a very steep climb with some uneven slopes. Those unable to climb to the top can explore the gardens at the base of the rock and still get some fantastic shots of the fortress from below. Return to the hotel to freshen up before heading to Kandy (approximately 3 hours). On the way, there's the option of stopping at one of the region's wonderful spice gardens for lunch and to learn about the medicinal properties of ingredients used in cooking and treatments. In beautifully located Kandy, visit the Dalada Maligawa (aka Temple of the Tooth), Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist site, and mingle with the white-clad pilgrims who come here to worship. Time permitting, you'll have the option of visiting the National Museum or the world-class Botanical Gardens.
    Day 7 Location: Kandy
    Today you will visit a nearby tea factory and take a guided tour to learn about the production of Sri Lanka's best-known beverage. Of course, you will also sample some of the delicious varieties while you're here. Your hotel in Kandy, located far from the noise and bustle of the city, is a great place to unwind with lovely views over the town.
    Day 8 Location: Bandarawela
    Take a scenic journey into the highlands to Bandarawela (approximately 7 hours). Once in Bandarawela you will visit a local home for a cooking demonstration to learn some secrets of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Enjoy the delicious meal afterwards.
    Day 9 Location: Haputale
    Drive to the starting point for our walk today (approximately 30 mins). This hike (approximately 4.5 hours) takes you through picturesque tea plantations and small Tamil villages. Lunch will be arranged at Tamil tea worker’s house. Tonight's accommodation is in a comfortable local lodge.
    Day 10 Location: Jungle Camp
    Embrace an early start this morning and drive to the starting point for our walk today. The walk will take approximately 4.5 hours and will explore more of the beautiful surrounds of Sri Lanka's Hill Country. Enjoy this chance to meet the tea pickers along the way and stop for an included lunch in Bambarakanda. After eating, make the approximately 3-hour drive to tonight’s jungle camp accommodation, stopping en route at Diyaluma Falls. Your accommodation this evening is a lake-facing camp that backs onto a forest reserve where many herbs used in ayurvedic medicine are grown. On arrival, you can choose to go on a short tour of the local village.
    Day 11 Location: Mirissa
    There’s a chance this morning to take an optional excursion to Udawalawe National Park to look for elephants, just keep in mind that participating will require a wake-up call of around 4.30 am. Alternatively, you could sleep in and then choose to visit a local home to watch curd being made or head to a ayurvedic medicine manufacturing centre. Speak to your leader about these optional activities in advance for details. Later, set off for Mirissa by private bus (approximately 3.5 hours). This is your paradise for two days of relaxation, with your comfortable accommodation just metres from the water.
    Day 12 Location: Mirissa
    Enjoy a day of beach splendour in Mirissa. The beach itself is a long curve of sand with lovely clear waters for swimming – a great spot to watch the sunset. Consider taking a bicycle ride or tuk-tuk to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring fresh fish to sell along the shore or 'bikesplore' the lesser known areas of nearby Galle on an Urban Adventure. From September to April there is an optional whale watching excursion. Please ask your leader as you'll need to book at least one day in advance.
    Day 13 Location: Galle
    Head further down the coast. Arrive in Galle (approximately 1 hour), home to an impressive World Heritage-listed Dutch fort with extensive walls and many interesting old buildings. In the evening, enjoy a stroll around the historic fort and watch the sunset from the ramparts.
    Day 14 Location: Colombo
    Leaving Galle, we travel on to Colombo, the nation's capital (approximately 3 hours). Stop by some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament, and past the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fair trade Store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. If you are lucky enough to be in Colombo on a Saturday, visit Good Market, a local market full of stalls showcasing social enterprises and responsible businesses. Tonight there's an optional final group dinner to celebrate your journey together.
    Day 15 Location: Colombo
    Your trip comes to an end today, with no activities planned. Checkout time at the hotel is 12 noon.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    26DEC2020
    Return Date:
    09JAN2021
    3165NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27DEC2020
    Return Date:
    10JAN2021
    3165NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    20 Sep 2020

    Trip title

    Best of Sri Lanka - For Solo Travellers

    Trip code

    STHPSH

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    A jewel in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is jam-packed with ancient sites, fascinating culture, beautiful wilderness and idyllic beaches. On this adventure, designed for solo travellers only, you will enjoy all that this stunning island has to offer. From ancient Anuradhapura city and the well-preserved Polonnaruwa ruins, to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the impressive Sigiriya rock fortress, Sri Lankan culture spans more than 2000 years and still remains vibrant and alive today. Trek through lush tea plantations, indulge in seafood feasts in quaint fishing villages and dip your toes in the calm, clear waters of Mirissa beach on this all-encompassing adventure for those seeking a unique travel experience.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Private vehicle,Train,Bicycle

    Physical Rating

    3

    Joining point

    Rani Beach Resort

    Lewis Place Beach Front, Negombo

    Negombo

    SRI LANKA

    Phone: +94 312223106

    Joining point description

    The Rani Beach Resort has 34 rooms each with air-conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi, 24 hour room service and tea/coffee facilities. There is a fully licensed bar and restaurant.

    Joining point instructions

    Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. Bandaranaike International Airport is located in Negombo, approx. 35km north of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer please collect your luggage and head towards exit number 1. Your transfer representative will be holding a signboard displaying the Intrepid logo. Please ask them to confirm your name. Once confirmed they will assist you to the vehicle for your onward transfer to your hotel. Note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment. If your flight is delayed or cancelled or if you have any trouble locating your transfer representative on arrival to Colombo airport please call the below numbers: +94 (0) 76 831 6000 +94 (0) 71 927 7676 Taxis in Sri Lanka are easy, safe and cheap. You can book a taxi from the set-fare service desk in the arrival hall or at the taxi service just outside. A taxi from Bandaranaike International Airport takes approx. 15 minutes and costs approx. 2,500LKR (20USD). If you are staying in Colombo prior to the tour it is approximately 30km from Colombo, which will cost about LKR5,600 (US$40). Uber is now available in Colombo.

    Alternate Joining point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

    27 Dec 2020 (STHPSH201227)

    Lavinia Hotel

    No 24, kudapaduwa, Negombo,

    Negombo

    SRI LANKA

    Phone: +94 312280286

    Finish point

    Fairway Colombo

    No. 07, Hospital Street

    Colombo 01

    Colombo

    SRI LANKA

    Phone: +94 112153153

    Finish point description

    A sophisticated, 'smart luxury hotel' situated in the heart of Colombo. All rooms come equipped with 40 inch LED TV with a choice of local and international channels, IP phones, safety box, mini fridge, hot beverage facility, writing desks, motion sensor Air conditioners, luxury fitted shower areas and hi-speed Wi-Fi internet connections. The hotel boasts a rooftop bar and restaurant, gym, 24 hour coffee shop. Located within walking distance to restaurants, shopping malls, banks, pubs and bars.

    Alternate Finish point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

    26 Dec 2020 (STHPSH201226), 27 Dec 2020 (STHPSH201227)

    Fairway Colombo

    No. 07, Hospital Street

    Colombo 01

    Colombo

    SRI LANKA

    Phone: +94 112153153

    Alternate Finish point description

    A sophisticated, 'smart luxury hotel' situated in the heart of Colombo. All rooms come equipped with 40 inch LED TV with a choice of local and international channels, IP phones, safety box, mini fridge, hot beverage facility, writing desks, motion sensor Air conditioners, luxury fitted shower areas and hi-speed Wi-Fi internet connections. The hotel boasts a rooftop bar and restaurant, gym, 24 hour coffee shop. Located within walking distance to restaurants, shopping malls, banks, pubs and bars.

    Alternate Finish point instructions

    A departure transfer is available to purchase. Please check with your consultant at the time of booking. Alternatively you can book a taxi locally for the trip to Bandaranaike International Airport through the hotel or with the assistance of your tour leader. The journey to the airport takes around 1 hour, but can be more in peak travel times.

    Important information

    1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip and is valid for all nights of tour with the exception of Day 13. 2. In the wet season, we occasionally need to alter the length and itinerary of the Hill Country hike due to weather conditions. 3. PASSPORT DETAILS: Full passport details are required for the train journey. Without them we cannot purchase train tickets. Please advise them at the time of booking.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    CURRENT SITUATION: The recent terrorist attacks were a tragic event and have had a serious impact on tourism in the country. Intrepid has a strong commitment to our local staff and the communities we visit and are continuing to operate all our trips in Sri Lanka. While the security situation is now much more stable, you will still see a high police presence in towns and cities and many check points are still in place. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. We don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time, however it’s important to be aware that the country is still recovering and things like travel times between destinations and time taken to go through security at the airport may be affected. POLITICAL TENSION: Demonstrations and large public gatherings can turn violent or be a target for politically-motivated attacks. Police have used tear gas and water cannons in response to protests. Curfews can be imposed at short notice. You should avoid all large public gatherings and follow advice of your leader. Some security forces maintain a visible presence, particularly in the northern and eastern provinces. Military and police checkpoints can be established and road closures can occur without warning. PETTY CRIME: Pick-pocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime occurs in Sri Lanka, particularly in crowded places such as tourist areas, markets and on public transport. Carry only what you need an always use hotel safes where available. Card skimming has been known to occur - only use ATMs attached to banks or at major hotels. Some tourists unwittingly buy counterfeit goods, particularly jewellery and gems - be aware you may not be buying the real thing. LOCAL LAWS: You must carry a form of official photo identification with you at all times - a copy of your passport is a good idea. Be aware that smoking and drinking in most public places is illegal. BICYCLE HELMETS: Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles. If you wish you can bring along your own.

    Communications

    Hotels in Sri Lanka generally have excellent WiFi connections. Most hotels offer free WiFi in public areas, with many also offering in room WiFi. Your tour leader will offer you the best advice on communications in remote areas of the country. You can purchase a local SIM card at the airport on arrival. Etisalat and Airtel are two of the bigger operators with the best nationwide coverage.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. SRI LANKA VISA Please check with the Sri Lanka Embassy or Consulate in your country for up-to-date visa information. Travellers requiring a Sri Lanka visa prior to entry can apply online at the following website: www.eta.gov.lk INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR SRI LANKA TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS Train tickets in Sri Lanka must be booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number no later than 60 days prior to departure. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number.

    Why we love it

    Ride around the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura on a bike tour, cycling through 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 homecooking 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.

    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 20 kilometres 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 from Bandarawela 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.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. MOSQUITIO-BORNE ILLNESSES: All regions of Sri Lanka can experience outbreaks of dengue fever, with cases more prevalent in the west of the country. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases (including chikungunya fever, Japanese encephalitis and filariasis) occur regularly. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by taking measures to avoid insect bites.

    Food and dietary requirements

    SRI LANKAN FOOD: Sri Lankan food is, put simply, delicious! Here's some advice on the best local dishes to try: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/eat-like-a-local-in-sri-lanka/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/best-breakfasts-sri-lanka/ Vegetarians & vegans also won't go hungry: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegetarian-vegan-food-guide-sri-lanka/

    Money matters

    The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LKR).There are many ATMs throughout Sri Lanka, which accept both Visa and MasterCard. Although this is a safe and convenient way to access money during your trip we do recommend that you carry some money in cash for when ATMs can not be accessed. Some money should be taken as US dollars cash in case of emergencies. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks will allow cash advances against a credit card. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest $4-$5 per person per day for both bus and the staffs. Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$5 - US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx US$10-US$12 per day of your trip to cover tipping. At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. Suggested budget for meals not included - USD$350

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. A lockable bag or small padlock is useful. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day and for your overnight hike into the tea plantations. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes are useful. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in Colombo. Please also bring clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples. For women, a light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when hot. - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses RECOMMENDED: - The Hill country of Sri Lanka can be cold, especially on the tea plantation hike. Please bring a light, warm waterproof jacket.   - Hiking boots, socks and light hiking clothing such as synthetic T shirt styles that wick away moisture - Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent. - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. - Camera / phone. OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against street noise, barking dogs and snorers. - A good book, journal and music player. LUGGAGE LIMIT: Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every day . We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and/or a small portable power bank. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    SRI LANKA WEATHER: Weather in Sri Lanka can vary depending on the time of year and part of Sri Lanka you are travelling to. The monsoon season is December to March in the northeast and May to October in the southwest. Flooding and landslides can occur during this time, so be ready for some delays in land travel or some reroutes to avoid affected areas. PERAHERA FESTIVAL This annual festival, held in July or August, is a 10 day period of evening processions to honour the Sacred Tooth, which is enshrined at Kandy's Temple of the Tooth. The event features a parade of more than 50 decorated elephants. Due to our stance on elephant cruelty we do not include the festival and cannot purchase tickets on your behalf.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page: For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. Intrepid's local Operator: 0094 (0)768316000

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller LOCAL DRESS: When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong. BUDDHA IMAGES: Posing for a photograph next to a statue of Buddha is considered extremely disrespectful or even illegal as is mistreatment of Buddhist images, which can include the wearing of tattoos, jewellery or clothing associated with Buddhism. ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection, advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately, many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive-bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/elephants-welfare

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ *Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society supports the livelihood of communities and keeps elephants safe. For over 21 years Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) has worked to find solutions to human elephant conflict. By working directly with communities, they established Project Orange Elephant which encourages farmers to cultivate oranges, a crop that elephants are not attracted to. At the same time, growing oranges helps rural Sri Lankan farmers to create a new, sustainable income while keeping both their families and wild elephants safe. Through their efforts, SLWCS is striving to help elephants and people coexist. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/sri-lanka-wildlife-conservation-society

    Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. AIR CONDITIONING: Please note that while all hotels on this trip have fans, not all will have air conditioning.

    Transport notes

    MOTORCYCLES: Your travel insurance policy is unlikely to cover you when riding a motorcycle. We do not include or offer motorcycle activities on any of our trips in Sri Lanka. TAXIS: Use the taxi services from within the arrivals terminal at the airport or taxi services arranged through your booking agent. If you have a local SIM card, ride-sharing services, such as Uber, are available in major cities.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips). If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. URBAN ADVENTURES: Join us for the Best. Day. Ever. Urban Adventures are for those who want to get away from the tourist crowds and really connect with a city, with a local by their side. The experience can be as short as a couple of hours, or as long as a whole day, but in every case our Urban Adventures tours take travellers to interesting places to experience local culture and see what makes a place unique. If you are travelling before or after your trip with us and would like to book an Urban Adventure in advance, please contact your booking agent or use this link: http://www.urbanadventures.com/?aff=2226. While on tour with us, your leader can assist in booking other Urban Adventures.

    Accommodation

    Hotels (12 nights),Local Lodge (1 night),Permanent Tented Camp (with basic facilities) (1 nt)

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