Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak
from $3375
Duration: 13 Days
Ride through tea plantations, kayak down rivers, and hike to ancient fortresses on this fitness focused adventure from Negombo to Colombo. Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s most exciting destinations and it’s not hard to see why. With pristine coastline, ancient ruins, rugged peaks and wildlife-filled national parks, it’s a dream for travellers who like to get active. Explore the country’s premier sites while wandering through the wilds on this Sri Lankan experience.
  • Witness ritual devotion in the spiritual heart of the country during a visit to Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth.
  • Spot birdlife and watch as Sri Lanka's forested landscape shifts with the flow of the Kaluganga River on a three-day kayaking expedition.
  • Encounter Sri Lanka's rich plant life while hiking through the Knuckles Mountain Range, so named for it's fist-like appearance.
  • Soothe sore muscles while relaxing on Mt Lavinia's 'Golden Mile' of incredible beaches.
  • Visit Sigiriya's ancient carved-rock fortress, which rises dramatically above the surrounding plains.
  • Minneriya National Park
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Knuckles Mountain Range guided trek
  • Knuckles Mountain Range guided trek
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth with pooja ceremony
  • Hatton - Mountain biking
  • Hatton - Mountain biking
  • Kalunganga River - Canoeing
  • Kalunganga River - Canoeing
  • 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: Sigiriya
    Travel by private vehicle (4.5 hours) to Sigiriya, and check into your accommodation. Once the evening rolls in, head out to the Minneriya National Park for a jeep safari. The park plays home to a mix of evergreen forest and scrublands, not to mention the sambar deer, leopards and elephants that can often be spotted roaming the wilds.
    Day 3 Location: Knuckles Mountain Range (Hike)
    Sigiriya is an ancient carved-rock fortress that rises dramatically above the surrounding plains. The near vertical walls elevate the ancient city of Sigiriya high into the air, keeping the secrets of the Kassapa Kingdom inaccessible save for a rigorous climb along steep staircases. Your visit begins early, at 7am, to beat the heat of the day, reaching Lion Paw’s Terrace by 8:30am. On the way you’ll visit the water and boulder gardens, frescoes and the mirror wall. The next section of the climb takes approximately 30mins along steep walkways and steps. You can opt out of this section, resting at Lion’s Paw Terrace. Afterwards, transfer onward to Illukkumbura. From here, take a half-day walk through the Knuckles Mountain Range, named because the peaks and folds resemble a clenched fist when viewed from certain angles. The trek goes from Brew Junction to Weddapani Ella, crossing Thelgamu Oya, reaching your campsite by approximately 5:30pm. More than 34 per cent of Sri Lanka’s endemic trees, shrubs and herbs are only found in these forests, so keep an eye out for these various plants as you push along the trail.
    Day 4 Location: Knuckles Mountain Range (Hike)
    Today you’ll head out on a rigorous full day trek, the Manigala Trek, through the Knuckles region. Head out after breakfast and wind your way through forests and hillsides, perhaps stopping at villages along the way. Enjoy lunch by the river and climb Manigala Rock where views of the valley below and adjacent peaks await.
    Day 5 Location: Kandy (Hike)
    Start your day with a morning hike to Mini World’s End (approximately 3 hours), before transferring to Kandy (approximately 2 hours). Lying in the hills of the Kandy plateau, this major city previously served as the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. Spend the rest of the day relaxing here – maybe find a spot by the scenic lake in the centre of town and while away the afternoon.
    Day 6 Location: Kandy
    Today we visit the golden roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Housed inside, the relic of the tooth of the Buddha has played an important role in local politics due to the belief that whoever holds the relic holds governance of the country. It’s because of both the temple and Kandy’s status as the last city of the Sri Lankan Kings that Kandy stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterwards, enjoy the rest of the day with free exploration of the city.
    Day 7 Location: Hatton (Bike)
    Take a scenic train journey to Hatton today (approximately 3 hours). After arriving, cycle from the train station to your hotel via Norton Bridge. Enjoy the passing scenery of vast tea estates lying in the flowing hills, dotted with trees. After arriving at your hotel, you can choose to hike up to Adam’s Peak. The peak is often visited by pilgrims who climb a candle lit trail in the evening, passing shrines and food stalls along the way.
    Day 8 Location: Ratnapura (Bike)
    After breakfast it’s back on your mountain bike to ride from the hotel to Ellarawa Junction, passing through Bogawantalawa and Balangoda, cycling through the rich forests and sprawling fields of rural Sri Lanka. Your cycling will be broken up with snack breaks and a lunch break, providing plenty of fuel for your ride. At the end of your ride, transfer to Ratnapura, the bustling capital of the Sabaragamuwa Province, where you’ll spend the night.
    Day 9 Location: Kaluganga River (Kayak)
    Wake up in the morning and stretch those arm muscles as you prepare for a big day of kayaking along the Kaluganga River, meaning Black River in Sinhalese language. The Kaluganga stretches an impressive 129 kilometres (80 miles) in length, reaching through many of Sri Lanka’s districts and provinces. As a result, the landscape and vegetation next to the river shifts the further you paddle along the river, listening out for bird calls as you quietly drift on. Stop off at a local village where you'll camp for the night.
    Day 10 Location: Kaluganga River (Kayak)
    Continue your kayaking journey down the Kaluganga River, heading off after breakfast and arriving at your next campsite, in Anguruwatota, by 1:30pm. Enjoy the changing scenery and wildlife along the riverbanks as you paddle onwards.
    Day 11 Location: Mt Lavinia (Kayak)
    Depart your campsite after breakfast and set out on the final leg of your kayak adventure, arriving at Kalutara, where the river meets the sea, at approximately 11am. Once an important trading centre for spices, the town’s name is derived from the Kaluganga River and was temporarily made the capital by order of a South Indian prince. After a little bit of time looking over the beautiful beaches, board your private vehicle and depart to Mount Lavinia (approximately 1 hour).
    Day 12 Location: Mt Lavinia
    Located 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the Colombo city centre, Mount Lavinia is a suburb renowned for its “Golden Mile” of beaches. It’s one of the most liberal areas of Sri Lanka and plays host to the island’s annual Gay Pride and Rainbow Kite festival since 2005. With a free day to relax on the beach, wash yourself off after a big haul of physical exercise and calm your muscles down. Consider taking on an optional yoga class to knock off any extra tension, or even say goodbye to your fellow adventurers over a group meal, if you choose to do so.
    Day 13 Location: Mt Lavinia
    Today marks the end of your adventure and there are no activities scheduled after breakfast.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    16JAN2022
    Return Date:
    28JAN2022
    3645NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03APR2022
    Return Date:
    15APR2022
    3505NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    24JUL2022
    Return Date:
    05AUG2022
    3375NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    28AUG2022
    Return Date:
    09SEP2022
    3375NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18SEP2022
    Return Date:
    30SEP2022
    3375NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16OCT2022
    Return Date:
    28OCT2022
    3505NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27NOV2022
    Return Date:
    09DEC2022
    3505NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25DEC2022
    Return Date:
    06JAN2023
    3645NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike & Kayak

    Trip code

    HPXS

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Ride through tea plantations, kayak down rivers, and hike to ancient fortresses on this fitness focused adventure from Negombo to Colombo. Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s most exciting destinations and it’s not hard to see why. With pristine coastline, ancient ruins, rugged peaks and wildlife-filled national parks, it’s a dream for travellers who like to get active. Explore the country’s premier sites while wandering through the wilds on this Sri Lankan experience.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Active Adventures

    Transport

    Private vehicle,Jeep,Taxi,Kayak,Bike

    Physical Rating

    4

    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.

    Finish point

    Palms Mount Lavinia

    52 De Seram Road,

    Mount Lavinia

    Mt Lavinia

    10370

    SRI LANKA

    Phone: +94 11 271 2713

    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 if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 3, 4 9 & 10 (Camping). Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 2. In case of weather conditions leading to cancellations or delays in the included outdoor activities, this trip will operate on an alternate itinerary. 3. You do not need to bring a sleeping bag or sleeping mat. Your luggage will transported by vehicle and will meet you at the camp site. 4. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.

    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 are 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. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements 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 the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. 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

    Witness ritual devotion in the spiritual heart of the country during a visit to Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth.

    Spot birdlife and watch as Sri Lanka's forested landscape shifts with the flow of the Kaluganga River on a three-day kayaking expedition.

    Encounter Sri Lanka's rich plant life while hiking through the Knuckles Mountain Range, so named for it's fist-like appearance.

    Soothe sore muscles while relaxing on Mt Lavinia's 'Golden Mile' of incredible beaches.

    Visit Sigiriya's ancient carved-rock fortress, which rises dramatically above the surrounding plains.

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip requires a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy the physical activities included. The weather in this region varies seasonally. Be prepared to get sweaty, and for the occasional rainstorm which may require a change of plans. All travellers will need to be competent swimmers to take part in the kayaking section of this trip. Sri Lanka gets hot and humid, drink plenty of water and remember a good quality hat and sun block. Read more about what it's like travelling on this trip here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/active-sri-lanka-tour-with-intrepid/

    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. 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 HEALTH SCREENING 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. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 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$4-US$5 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 US$2-US$3 per day for drivers. 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$7-US$8 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$12-US$13 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. The summer months in Sri Lanka are very hot with short, sharp monsoons in the southwest. Be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water if you are visiting during this period of the year. 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. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    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

    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. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page: 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. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. 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. 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.

    Accommodation

    Camping (basic facilities) (4 nights),Hotel (8 nights)

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