Have you've ever come across a holiday in Sri Lanka that was so amazing that customers filled our hearts with praise for organising such a wonderful holiday for them. Our customers who have travelled extensively to lots of destinations say this is the best holiday in Sri Lanka they have had. Ancient fortresses that tell a story of life in Sri Lanka 500 BC. when kings ruled the Island long before the Dutch, Portuguese and British invasions. Sandy palm fringed beaches and sunshine, cool lush green hill country landscapes adorned with tea plantations, scenic train rides, awe-inspiring hikes, colonial cities and trips that uncover parts of Sri Lanka travellers didn't know existed. This itinerary is the result of customers and travel consultants working together as a team. We hope you will enjoy reading about this epic journey of the Granville family. Their feedback was so very enthralling and captivating that we decided to publish this bespoke itinerary for all to see. You can check their detailed review at the bottom of this page.
DAY 01 - NEGOMBO
After touching down at the Bandaranaike International Airport, we cleared all the immigration formalities, collected our baggage and headed straight to the arrival lounge, where we were met and greeted with welcoming smiles from our chauffeur-guide, who we spotted holding a sign board with our Glanville family name. Everything happened according to plan. We were then transferred to our hotel in Negombo, checked in easily, refreshed ourselves and relaxed.
Sandwiches will be left in your room we were told if our arrival was a late night touch down. Program Your Hotel tonight: Beacon Beach Hotel, Negombo Room Type - Deluxe Meals: Halfboard (HB) - Dinner & breakfast
Negombo - a famous fishing village North of Colombo. You will see a Dutch built Canal leading all the way to Colombo and the famous 17th century Dutch Fort bordering the beach. The canal itself is a hive of activity with all the fishermen traveling up and down in their adorned boats. This quaint town is also famous for its noisy fish market. Many churches in the area reminded us of early conversions to catholicism during Portuguese occupation. East of the town at the Angurukaramulla temple is a 6 metre long reclining statue of the buddha worth seeing. South west of the town you will see the Negombo Lagoon which is surrounded by a densely populated ethnic mix of Sinhalese and Tamils and a coastline brimming with hotels of all categories. The mangrove swamps attract a huge variety of water birds including cormorants, herons, egrets and waders. You can tour the mangroves by hiring a boat (For your safety check for boats that provide life jackets )
Fishermen dragging their nets to shore
Negombo Beach Fish market
DAY 02 - SIGIRIYA
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for Sigiriya. En-route stop at a coconut-based product manufacturing factory in Kurunegala to witness various coir-based products and how they are made. Lunch in Pinnawala. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Proceed to Sigiriya. Hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress in the afternoon.
Sigiriya - Sigiriya is a massive rock fortress built by King Kasyapa, who ruled the country from 473 to 495 CE. The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king's death. Stories of betrayal, intrigue, patricide, guilt and suicide surround this mighty citadel. After the death of King Kasyappa, Sigiriya was used as a buddhist monastery until the 14th century. The rock fortress is famous for its frescoes and the mirror wall. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. It is the most visited historical site in Sri Lanka.
Thereafter return to the hotel, enjoy dinner at the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Options available at the hotel – Spa (direct payment), pool, bicycles, badminton and board games.
View from Sigirya summit
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
DAY 03 - ANURADHAPURA
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and embark on a city tour of the historic town of Anuradhapura Lunch in Anuradhapura. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Thereafter visit Isurumuniya rock temple and return to Sigiriya. En-route visit Avukana buddha statue. Afterwards return to the hotel, enjoy dinner at the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Options available at the hotel – Spa (direct payment), pool, bicycles, badminton and board games.
Anuradhapura is the most visited town of Sri Lanka’s ancient ruined cities. The city’s greatest treasures are its dagabas constructed with small sun-dried bricks, hemispherical in shape. The most notable of these dagabas are the Ruvanveli which dates back to the 2nd Century BC and is 300 ft in diameter,was build by the great king Dutugamunu who reigned from 137BC to119 BC. the Jetawanarama is 370 ft,was built by King Mahasena of Anuradhapura (273–301) and the Thuparama which enshrines the collarbone of the Buddha, This dagga was built by King Devanapiyatissa, who reigned from 307 BC to 267 BC. Buddhism arrived to this kingdom during his reign. The city’s most renowned relic is the sacred Bo-Tree which is said to have grown from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. It was planted 2250 years ago and is one of the oldest historic trees in the world.
Remnants of Watadage
Sacred Bo-tree Anuradhapura
DAY 04 - DAMBULLA
Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel and take on an exciting village tour which includes a local canoe ride, a chena farm visit, a cookery demo (you have the option of taking part in the cooking process) and a bullock cart ride at 08.00 am. Village lunch in Sigiriya with rice and curries. (Included) – Afterwards visit the Dambulla cave temple and a spice garden. Your Hotel tonight: Kasappa Lion Rock, Sigiriya Room Type - Deluxe Meals: Fullboard (FB) Breakfast,Village Lunch,Dinner)
Dambulla stands as an isolated rock mass 500ft high and a mile around the base. This rock temple dates back to the First Century BC. The caves of Dambulla sheltered the King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. When he regained the throne he built the most magnificent of Rock Temples in Sri Lanka, at this site. Also known as the Golden temple it remains well preserved throughout the centuries. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses and Hindu deities Vishnu and Ganesh. The buddha's first sermon and temptation by the demon Mara could be seen illustrated on the walls of the cave. Skeletal remains of pre-historic human burial sites have been discovered by archeologists in this cave dating back 2700 years.
day 05 - Polonnaruwa
Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Gal Oya via Polonnaruwa. Visit the Medieval city of Polonnaruwa and visit ruins by bike (cycling). Village lunch in Polonnaruwa at Priyamali’s Gedara Sri Lankan rice and curries. Afterwards proceed to Gal Oya and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Polonnaruwa - the capital of Sri Lanka dates back from 11th -13th century A.D. The monuments at Pollonaruwa have been well preserved. The circular relic house (Vata-da-ge) Lankathilaka, Thuparama, Royal Palace, Rankoth vihara and Galvihara with the beautiful rock-cut Buddha statues are amazing works of art.
After an early breakfast, enjoy a boat safari in the Sri Lanka’s largest lake, trek to Monkey mountain and enjoy a bicycle tour in the national park Monkey mountain - for the adventurous early risers, a 1.5-hour uphill trek first thing in the morning is a must. Up top, dramatic 180-degree views over the large forested valley await. An early start allows you to watch the sun rise over the hills in the distance, observing the never-ending jungle canopy below. After you’ve finished, return for a well-earned breakfast and enjoy the rest of your day. Enjoy a bicycle tour in the national park with one of the naturalists. You may choose to ride on a shorter off-track trail to the small Kiri Oruwa Lake, which is teeming with bird species. Alternatively, you may ride on the longer main road which cuts through the national park to the beautiful Namal Oya Reservoir. Helmets are provided.
Optional – Visit Veddha Village. (AUD 78 per person not included)
You may not be familiar with the word Vedda, but it’s an ancient word evocative with Sri Lanka culture and tradition. The Vedda are the forest- dwelling, indigenous people of central Sri Lanka. They have inhabited the island for hundreds of years, living off the land and being at one with nature. Discover and learn about local nature as the village chief brings the forest alive, explaining his tribe’s use of medicinal plants, ancient hunting grounds and cave dwellings. It’s a fascinating insight into how the hunter-gatherers lived in the jungles of Gal Oya.
Optional – Picknick in the National Park with a jeep safari. (AUD 30 per person not included)
Enjoy a lunch next to the river, waterfall or overlooking one of the park’s many breath-taking views. The picnic is coupled with the jeep safari. We recommend a 12:30pm start for a late lunch and a swim in the river if you wish to continue on with a jeep and walking safari.
In the evening, join one of the naturalists for a night walk in the forests surrounding the lodge. Use a torch to spot eyes peering back at you that could belong to a number of different animals including amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. One of the highlights is a chance to spot the bizarre looking Frog Mouth bird or if you are really lucky the endangered thick-tailored Pangolin.
Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka was established in 1954 and serves as the main catchment area for Senanayake Samudraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. Senanayake Samudraya was built under the Gal Oya development project by damming the Gal Oya at Inginiyagala in 1950.Wikipedia
View From Gal Oya
Monkey mountain Gal oya
DAY 07 - KANDY
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for Kandy. Lunch in Kandy. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Visit Kandy Temple of The Tooth in the evening. The Temple of the tooth relic also known as the Dalada Maligawa is the holiest Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, making it one of the most sacred places of worship among Buddhists around the world. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. (ceremony time is 06.30 pm)
Thereafter return to the hotel, enjoy dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Your Hotel tonight:Hotel Suisse, Kandy Room Type - Standard Meals: Halfboard (FB) Breakfast,Dinner
Kandy - Sri Lanka's hill capital. Once a stronghold of the Sinhala Kings, is a very beautiful town. It is 488 meters above sea level and next to Colombo is Sri Lanka's most visited place. The main attraction of this town is without doubt the golden roofed Sacred Temple where the Tooth Relic of the Buddha is enshrined. There are many shrines and temples in and around Kandy, showcasing rare paintings, frescoes, wood and stone carvings.
Sacred Temple Kandy
DAY 08 - KANDY
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for a city tour in Kandy including visits to arts & crafts centre, Kandy view point, Kandy bazaar and Royal botanical gardens in Peradeniya. Royal Botanical Garden - considered Sri Lanka’s largest botanical garden, with 147 acres and over 4000 species of plants, Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a well-known attraction in Sri Lanka. The lush garden estate, also referred to as the Royal Botanical Garden is famed for its collection of 300 species of orchids. Optional – Trek in Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. (AUD 6 per person not included) Udawattakele is a 257 acres forest reserve on a hill-ridge in the city. The reserve also contains a great variety of plant species, especially lianas, shrubs and small trees. Udawatta Kele was designated as a forest reserve in 1856, and it became a sanctuary in 1938. The forest is of religious importance as there are three Buddhist meditation hermitages and three rock shelter dwellings for Buddhist monk hermits. Lunch in Kandy. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Enjoy cultural dance show in the evening. Enjoy dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Your Hotel tonight:Hotel Suisse, Kandy Room Type - Standard Meals: Halfboard (FB) Breakfast,Dinner
Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya. You might be impressed taking a walk around these stunning gardens. It was once reserved exclusively for Kandyan royalty. Enjoy this (60 hectares) botanic gardens and admire the natural beauty of the famous cannonball fruit tree, the tall Burma bamboo trees along the bunds of the Mahaveli River and the picturesque giant Javan fig tree and the much talked b out orchid collection.
Javan Fig Tree Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
BOTANICAL GARDENS PERADENIYA
Palm Avenue Peradeniya
SUSPENSION BRIDGE PERADENIYA
DAY 09 - Nuwara Eliya
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave Nuwara Eliya. En-route enjoy white water rafting in Kitulgala. Lunch in Kitulgala. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Proceed to Nuwara Eliya. Hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Options available at the hotel – Billiard, board games and a mini library.
Nuwara Eliya Tea Plantations & Factory - The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls and Tea Plantations. It is supposed to be one of the coolest places in the Island, but it is really just like an English spring day, although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of the British influence, houses like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions. The Victoria Park, in the middle of the town, is a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic and is also good for Birding as you get some rare birds in this Park.
Overnight in Nuwara Eliya on HB Basis Your Hotel tonight: Galway Heights, Nuwara Eliya Room Type - Deluxe Meals: Halfboard (FB) Breakfast,Dinner
Tea Plantation Nuwara Eliya
While Water Rafting, Kithulgala
DAY 10 - NUWARA ELIYA
Leave for a Trek in Horton Plains National Park with packed breakfast at 06.30 am.
Upon completion, return to the hotel. Lunch in Nuwara Eliya. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person.
Nuwara Eliya city tour in the afternoon including visits toGregory lake, pink post office building, tea plantation and the local fruit market. Thereafter return to the hotel, enjoy dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Options available at the hotel – Billiard, board games and a mini library. Your Hotel tonight: Galway Heights, Nuwara Eliya Room Type - Deluxe Meals: Halfboard (FB) Breakfast,Dinner
Horton Plains national park is located about an hour outside of Nuwara Eliya. The drive through little towns is quote interesting, though roads aren't in perfect condition in some areas. It's a good idea to get to the park as early as possible as the local wildlife is much more active in the mornings. The big attraction of Horton Plains is the summit famously known as "World's End". On a clear day you can get a panoramic view of the landscape below as far as the eye can see. A great place for photography. The trail to world's end is about 9.5 km. A leisurely walk on this rugged land will take you around 3 hours. The view from the summit can sometimes be obscured by heavy mist. If you are patient enough you can get a great photography view in between the clouds. The trail to Baker's falls is steep but worth it.
Sambur Deer Horton Plains
Bakers Falls Horton Plains
Top of World's End, Horton Plains
World's End Horton Plains
DAY 11 - ELLA
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for Ella. Take the scenic train ride from Nuwara Eliya at 08.54 am to Ella. 1st class tickets included. (approx. duration :03 hours) Proceed to Ella. Hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Lunch in Ella. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Afterwards visit Demodara Nine arches bridge in Ella. This bridge, which is almost 100 years old, has been built with blocks of stone and cement without any strengthening iron or concrete. The giant arches take the bridge on a curved path to link to mountains. The Bridge was commissioned in 1921 under the British Government. Ella hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Ella on HB Basis Your Hotel tonight: Oak Ray Hotel Ella Room Type - Deluxe Meals: Halfboard (FB) Breakfast,Dinner
Little Adams Peak look out
Ella Rock Look out
DAY 12 - ELLA
Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel and trek to Little Adams Peak. Little Adams peak is the closest and easiest hike in Ella. You will get to the entrance in about a 15 min walk from Ella town. It is 1141 m in height and from the entrance it takes up to 30-45 min to complete the hike. Views from the summit are incredible. 360 degrees panoramic views with clouds rolling in. An amazing place for any traveller. The hike itself is a worthy experience as you walk through lush green tea estates, talking to local tea pluckers along the way. The high itself is moderate. Optional – Trek to Ella Rock (FOC) If you are visiting the area, Ella Rock should be on your bucket list as it is one place you get some dashing panoramic views in Sri Lanka. You can see this rock from anywhere in Ella. Trekkers love this place. It’s bit tiring to do the hike. But it is definitely worth it. Once you get to the summit you will realize why we said so. The panoramic views with mist and cloud formations, especially in the early mornings and the late evenings are moments not to be missed.
Optional – Flying Ravana Mega Zipline (AUD 25 per person cost not included)
Located amidst the luscious green estates of Ella. The two-wire zip-line stretches for more than half a kilometre, sliding at 80k mph and offering a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful surroundings. It is exclusively designed for adventure enthusiasts. Lunch in Ella. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Thereafter return to the hotel, enjoy dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Ella on HB Basis
Your Hotel tonight: Oak Ray Hotel Ella Room Type - Deluxe Meals: Halfboard (HB) Breakfast,Dinner
The Nine Arch Bridge is one of colonial-era railway bridge built in 1921. Standing 3100m above sea level, the bridge forms a viaduct between Demodara and Ella Railway stations. This bridge is built entirely out of brick, rock and cement. No steel was used. This bridge is still standing in good solid shape since 1921. The construction of the bridge is generally attributed to a local Ceylonese builder, P. K. Appuhami. Tourists and locals come to this place to take photographs along the railway lines that lead to the tunnel. Also, it is an exciting opportunity to watch the train meandering through the tunnel and rolling slowly on to the bridge.
DAY 13 - TISSAMAHARAMA
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for Tissamaharama. En-route visit Buduruwagala temple. Lunch in Tissamaharama. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Proceed to Tissamaharama. Hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Tissamaharama on HB Basis Your hotel tonight: Kithala Resort Tissamaharama Room Type: Deluxe Meals: Half board (HB) Breakfast, Dinner
Buduruwagala Temple This is a 1000-year-old temple carved on rock with images of the Buddha. The standing Buddha image is 15m tall bearing traces of its original stuccoed robe, and streaks of orange. Smaller carved figures standing beside bring back memories of the spread of Buddhism to these remote towns. This temple is situated 9km off a scenic roadway south of Wellawaya.
DAY 14 - KUMANA SANCTUARY
Kumana National park jeep safari with packed breakfast at 06.30 am. (approx. travel time from Kithala resort to Kumana entrance: 04 hrs.) Kumana National Park is the most important and most popular bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Kumana birdlife supported by Some 20 lagoons and tank is an ornithologist’s paradise. Regular sightings of birds include pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets and hundreds of little cormorants. The very rare black-necked stork has also been spotted at the swamp. Thereafter return to the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Lunch in Arugam Bay. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure. Your hotel tonight: Kithala Resort Tissamaharama Room Type: Deluxe Meals: Half board (HB) Breakfast, Dinne
DAY 15 - UDAWALAWE CAMPING
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for Udawalawa. En-route visit the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawa. Proceed to Udawalawa. Athgira River Camp check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards. Lunch in Udawalawa at the camp site. (Included)
Afternoon wildlife Jeep Safari at Udawalawa National Park. Udawalewe National Park - is an area of 31,800 hectares, which was declared a protected sanctuary with full national park status in 1972. The park area which falls within two provinces of Sri Lanka has an annual rainfall of 1,520 mm and an average temperature of 29.4 C. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland, which of all Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, best rivals the Savanna of Africa and shrub jungle. Dinner at the campsite and spend rest of the day at leisure. Options available at the campsite – fishing, badminton and swimming in the river. Overnight in Udawalawa on FB Basis
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and leave for Galle. Morning enjoy a cycling tour in Galle/Unawatuna. Afterwards visit Galle Dutch Fort. Galle, Sri Lanka's southern seaside metropolis, is an attractive and increasingly cosmopolitan town, dotted with sights, shops and eateries, not to mention one of the world's most iconic test cricket grounds. Its main landmark and the hub of most tourist action is its mighty fort, a perfectly preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site with a history that dates back over 400 years. Conceived by the Portuguese, built by the Dutch and modified by the British, Galle's Fort is an eye-catching, photo-worthy hybrid of architectural styles. Optional – Toddy tasting in Galle (AUD 4 per person cost not included) Coconut palm offers many uses and by-products. While the coconuts themselves can be eaten or turned into coconut milk, the coconut shells, palm fronds and bark are also used in a variety of ways. Even the sap of the coconut flower is used to make toddy, a local alcoholic beverage natively known as “raa”. The process one engages in extracting the sap is referred to as “toddy tapping” and those who do this are called “toddy tappers”. While in Galle, curious travellers can learn more about the toddy tapping process and even taste test the popular drink. Lunch in Galle. (not included/own arrangements) Lunch approx. 8 AUD per person. Thereafter leave for Hikkaduwa. Hotel check-in is scheduled from 02.00 pm onwards.
En-route stop at community educational centre in Hikkaduwa to take part in a tree planting event with students of the educational centre. You can make donations directly to the educational centre after the tree planting event. Dinner at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure.
Hikkaduwa Hikkaduwa has been a famous resort area since the 1970's. This seaside resort town in the southwestern province is a coastal town full of fun and activities. You can snorkel the Coral Sanctuary, visit the Turtle Sanctuary and Tsunami Museum during your stay. Lots of shops and restaurants in the town will keep you busy. Swimming is safe here and you will find the beach attractive and the waters warm. Surfing and other water sports are common here.
Your Hotel tonight: Citrus Hikkaduwa Room Type: Standard Meals: All inclusive (AI) Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner and free beverages and limited liquor Overnight in Hikkaduwa on AI Basis
day 17 - hikkaduwa
Enjoy all meals at the hotel and spend rest of the day at leisure by the beach or the pool. Optional – Snorkelling in Hikkaduwa for 01 hour with equipment and guide (AUD 30 per person cost not included/ approx. 1.5 hrs drive from Kalutara) Optional – Boat safari in Bentota for 01 hour (AUD 09 per person cost not included)
Corals at Hikkaduwa
Bentota River Boat Safari
Madu River Croc
DAY 18 - cOLOMBO
After breakfast, morning relax at the hotel. Afterwards, proceed to Colombo and engage in *a city tour of Colombo including the Gangarama Temple and a Tuk Tuk ride. Check-in at your Hotel in Colombo and rest of the day relax at the hotel.
Your Hotel tonight: Fairway Hotel Colombo Room Type: Standard Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Colombo Colombo has changed amazingly through the centuries into a sprawling cosmopolitan city. A must-see stopover for visitors, making it a worthwhile start or finish to your Sri Lankan holiday. A city tour or a tuk tuk ride will take you to places of interest including views of Colonial buildings, temples and stopovers at the many restaurants, night clubs and Casinos will give you a glimpse of what the city is all about.
TUK TUK DRIVERS
COLOMBO CITY VIEW
GANGARAMA TEMPLE COLOMBO
DAY 19 - NEGOMBO
After breakfast relax at the hotel and check out by noon and proceed to your final destination in Negombo. Lunch in Negombo Negombo. Hotel check in time starts from 2:00 pm onwards. After you check in you will have time to take a dip in the sea, sunbathe, go for walks or just relax and do your own thing.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and visit the fishing village in Negombo. Return to the hotel afterwards and spend rest of the day at leisure. Lunch in Negombo. (Included) Check-out from the hotel at 06.30 pm and proceed to the Bandaranaike International Airport in time for your flight back home. (Late check out can be arranged for departures at midnight).
You are not allowed to have both hats and shoes while entering a Buddhist temple. Every visitor must remove the shoes and hats before entering the Buddhist religious places. Your chauffeur guide will collect shoes in bag or assist you to a shoe at collection stand at each temple.
While visiting the Buddhist temples it’s mandatory for both men and women to wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees. It is also preferred to wear cloths which are white or lite coloured when visiting temples. Value additions
Special welcome at the airport with frangipani garlands
1 x 500 ml water bottle per person on arrival
Welcome gift pack
Accommodation at the above-mentioned hotels on mentioned meal plan for 19 nights
Transport in an air-conditioned flat roof van with the services of an English-Speaking chauffeur guide
Early check-in at Beacon Beach from 11.00 am onwards
Late check-out at Beacon Beach/Fairway till 06.30 pm on departure depending on flight times
02 Night stay at Citrus Hikkaduwa AI basis.
City tours in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Galle, Colombo and Negombo.
Site entrance fees to Isurumuniya rock temple, Sri maha bodhiya, Anurahapura ancient city, Avukana temple, Sigiriya rock fortress, Polonnaruwa ancient city, Dambulla cave temple, Royal botanical gardens in Peradeniya, Temple of The Tooth, Horton plains national park and Gangarama temple
Jeep safari hire at Kumana and Udawalawa national parks
Village trek with bullock cart ride, boat tour and a farm house visit followed by lunch
Bike hire at Polonnaruwa
Special Sri Lankan lunch at Priyamali’s Gedara in Polonnaruwa
Boat safari in Gal Oya
Trek to Monkey mountain
Bicycle tour in the national park
Visit to Sri Lankan cultural dance show
White water rafting in Kitulgala
Scenic train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella
White water rafting excursion in Kitulgala
Visit a spice garden
Visit to a Tea plantation and a Tea Factory
Cycling tour in Galle/Unawatuna – approximate 02 hours
A tuk tuk ride in Colombo
Visit to a gem lapidary, silk shop and a batik shop
Visit to Galle Dutch Fort
Visit a coir-based product manufacturing company
Visit a rubber-based product manufacturing company
Take part in a tree planting event with students at the Hikkaduwa community centre
Service charges and taxes
Site entrance fees not mentioned above
Visa fees and airfare
Water sports activity cost
Tips + Portage
Any expense marked as ‘optional’ in the itinerary
Photography, Videography or drone licenses
Any expense of personal nature
Village Lunch menu in Habarana
Rice, fish (fresh from the lake), dhal curry and two curries made with organic vegetables
Fruits for dessert
Priyamali’s Gedara Lunch menu in Polonnaruwa
Rice with over 15 Sri Lankan curry options
Fried chicken and fish
Authentic Sri Lankan sweets & fruits for dessert
TERMS & CONDITIONS
TERM AND CONDITIONS/CANCELLATION POLICY
Booking Conditions: • Hotel availability is subject to change at the time of confirming this booking. • Booking process will begin after 100% payment of the total invoice value is made to George Steuart Travel. Once the payment is realized in the company accounts, our agents will be in touch with you for the rest of the booking proceedings. • In case the above hotels are not available, an alternative option or the next best available option will be offered. • Full payment should be settled 40 days prior to arrival date. • Up 100% Cancellation charges will be applicable 45 days prior to arrival date.
Child rates – child from 1 - 2.9 years will be FOC, child from 3 – 11.99 year will be charged 50% from the adult rate & child of 12 years and above will be considered as an adult.
George Steuart Travel/ Steuart Holidays/Leisure World Tours will not be held responsible for any shopping done in Sri Lanka. Any purchase is the sole decision and responsibility of the client.
No amendments to confirmed bookings will be accommodated. Any amendment to a booking which is confirmed is subject to additional fees/ charges.
Glanville Comments A great start to the trip with a friendly greeting from our driver Sanjeewa (Sanji ) who presented us with bottled water and garlands. He helped us to organise mobile phone sim cards and exchange currency prior to leaving the airport. The Beacon Hotel was right on the beach and was clean and our rooms had lovely ocean views. The staff were friendly and check in was smooth with Sanji’s aid which was much appreciated after a long flight. We were served a lovely 4 course meal for lunch. We enjoyed a restful afternoon by the pool and beach. The Hotel facilities were good. We had a short tour later in the afternoon at the fish market and local harbour prior to dinner to avoid the main heat of the day. The market was essentially empty with only a couple of stores still operating. Probably best to visit the fish market early in the morning when it is busier with more to see & cooler. We enjoyed another 4-course meal for dinner with excellent service.
After a restful sleep we went for a morning walk along the beach to check out the boats and fishermen. We were surprised at the number of stray dogs on the beach. We saw baskets of fish, and a crab. We enjoyed a buffet breakfast on the top floor of the hotel with magnificent views of the beach and ocean. Meal was good with friendly service. First stop was the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnewala. - We loved seeing the Elephants bathing in the stream and then walking up the main street back to the orphanage. We were able to have a close-up experience with the elephants with our teenage children enjoying being able to feed & pat the elephants. Would certainly recommend the viewing of the elephants bathing in the stream as was very picturesque. Entry fee to the orphanage seemed high & was not included in our package.
Note we elected not to do the stop at the coconut based product manufacturing factory. Next we visited a spice farm which was very informative & we all enjoyed a relaxing massage using natural oil products. We felt a little uncomfortable having to take our shirts off in an open shelter for the massage but overall the experience was enjoyable.
We stopped at a small village for lunch which had a beautiful outlook over a stream. Meal was enjoyable & scenic. Sanji selected our lunch stop locations which we were happy for him to do with his local knowledge. Generally, the meals offered a variety of selection & were not expensive which suited our needs.
Due to the heat in the afternoon and at the suggestion of Sanji we decided it would be better to visit & climb Lion Rock Fortress early the next morning. So, we went straight to our accommodation (Kassapa Lion Rock Resort) which was a very high standard in all aspects – Service/ facilities /cleanliness/location/food. The food & service was excellent with the dessert room being the highlight.
An early rise 5.30am, but so worth it. We climbed the 1200+ steps up Sigiriya/Lion Rock and admired the water gardens and amazing views while eating our packed picnic breakfast. Both our guide and our driver accompanied us giving explanation and information about the fortress & surrounds.
Next we went to Anuradhapura and saw the Rock Temple and the oldest documented tree on earth “The Sri Maha Tree” and also saw the Great Stupa. We experienced our first Tuk Tuk ride which was fun. A more formal tour of the area with a local guide would have been a better option to help explain more about this ancient city in the little time we spent there. Approximately 3 hours. The afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool. We saw Monkeys, Mongoose and two types of lizards which made things even more interesting.
Our dinner was again very enjoyable in the open-air restaurant which provided a great atmosphere Again started the day with an enjoyable breakfast. A religious public holiday today with the full moon. Hence the Dambulla Temple was a hype of activity with ceremonies being conducted and many pilgrims and tourists for the holy day. The history, caves and statues were very impressive.
Next we did the village tour, we didn’t really see much of the village but we did enjoy the cart ride (although no bullock due to public holiday, but a motorised machine pulling the cart) and they put our daughter in the driver’s seat which added to the experience. The canoe ride was fun, our son was requested to assist and we all enjoyed participating in the cooking demonstration. The food was very tasty & somewhat spicy. Gave us runny noses and watery eyes, but a good way to try the local traditional food 😊. The Tuk Tuk ride back to the van was fun. Our son was pleased he had a chance to drive. Lovely breakfast before checking out (would highly recommend the Kassapa Lion Rock Hotel) We visited Polonnaruwa, we rode bikes, it would have been good to have a guide on the bikes with us explain what the different ruins were. Our driver met us at the major places and explain a little history. The Gal Vhare complex was very impressive. The Village lunch at Priyamali’s Gedara was again a good way to enjoy the some of the different rice and curries whilst looking out over the rice paddies was very picturesque.
Arrived at Gal Oya late afternoon and settled in. What a unique & wonderful place. 5.30am wake up call, some discussion between staff about whether it was going to be too wet to climb, then given the OK to go. We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 hours hike up Monkey Mountain. A bit scary in some parts with a little drizzle of rain, but well worth the views which were majestic. (Important to mention to wear appropriate footwear for hiking).
When we returned to the Lodge we had a scrumptious breakfast and enjoyed most of the day at leisure, the pool was wonderful and we had time to play cards, read and then we went to the research centre to learn about the research being conducted by the centre which was very informative and interesting. The Naturalist explaining everything was very passionate which made it all very engaging. Unfortunately, they only had 3 mountain bikes operational, so we didn’t get to go for a ride.
In the evening we went with a naturalist on a night walk in the forest where we were able to view fish, frogs and some night birds. Another highlight of Gal Oya is the accommodation. Rooms were fantastic with bathrooms overlooking the surrounding jungle. A real back to nature feels with environmental sensitive construction. The meals and service were outstanding.
Another lovely breakfast and then checkout and off to the boat safari. Safari was good, however the boat required serious maintenance as the seat Stephen was sitting on broke off and motor stopped a couple of times. We saw a crocodile, Elephants, Deer and various birds. The evening visit to the Kandy Temple of the Tooth was very interesting, learning the history about the journey of the Buddha’s tooth and the famous Elephant Raja. The ceremony was entertaining and viewing all the beautiful artefacts and statues.
Hotel Suisse was a lovely place with lots of character, the dinner and the evening entertainment was very enjoyable. We took the opportunity in Kandy to have clothes washing done by a local laundry service. Cheaper than the hotel. A busy day with a visit to a tea factory which was interesting, and we all enjoyed our complimentary tea (including our non-tea drinker children having their first cup of tea). We went to a silk shop and tried on a sari, very nice things and bought a gift. Went to a wood carving place, excellent workmanship, however the salesman was too pushy. Really enjoyed learning about the different gemstones.
The Kandy Royal Botanical Garden was definitely worth a walk around. We had an hour to discover & wonder around this beautifully maintained estate. We could have spent more time here but with all the other activities on the day this was not possible.
We enjoyed our walk around Kandy lake (saw our first land monitor lizard) from our accommodation on the way to the cultural dance show – We all enjoyed the show with the very colourful performers and the drummers were fantastic as well as the dancers and firewalkers.
The Hotel dining rooms were being set up for a large wedding function the next day so dinner was outside which provided a wonderful atmosphere with the surrounding gardens & fairy lights. We enjoyed our stay at Hotel Suisse, such a grand old building and it was very professionally run, clean and in a good location. We met the manager who was very keen on our feedback.
We all had fun white-water rafting, but unfortunately the river wasn’t as high as it would normally have been as it was a religious day and the water hadn’t been released. The rafting instructor was professional, friendly and good fun. Would recommend this company to other travellers. Lunch stop was nice with a scenic view over the river.
The drive to Nuwara Eliya was very picturesque with waterfalls, tea tree plantations and the Hindu celebrations happening along the sides of the road. Nuwara Eliya had plenty of character with the London architecture. We settled into our accommodation before taking a look around the town and at the Pink Post office and a market.
The Galway Heights Accommodation was very good & would highly recommend it. Clean, well maintained establishment, with home-made baked goods in our rooms for us as a welcome gift and the staff were very friendly and the food was excellent. The only suggestion to improve the stay would be requesting rooms further away from the foyer area as the evening entertainment was very loud, especially when we were keen to have an early nights rest prior to an early rise the next morning to Horton Plains.
A very early start 5.30am with a packed breakfast and off to Horton Plains National Park, with the many other tourists. The sunrise was magnificent. It was very cold with a heavy frost, lucky we soon warmed up hiking. The scenic views of Adams Peak, and surrounding views from Worlds End was amazing. Bakers falls were beautiful, and the hike was a good moderate level. We were lucky enough to see a Samba deer, some mongoose and different types of birds.
On the way down from Horton Plains Sanjeewa stopped on bought us some local yogurt which was really yummy. We had a delicious lunch at a café restaurant in the centre of town in the garden’s. Would highly recommend. After lunch we had a look through a fruit market, checked out the golf course, Gregory lake, and had a look around the town. Mid-afternoon we went back to our accommodation for a rest and some billiards before another tasty dinner.
After a lovely breakfast and checking out it was off to the train station to catch the train to Ella. We really enjoyed the trip the views were beautiful. (While waiting on the platform Stephen, Joseph and Sanjeewa made the local news – Sanjeewa’s mother saw him and sent him the link which was funny). Sanjeewa made sure we got our seats then set off to meet us in Ella. Would highly recommend the train journey & pre purchasing 1st class tickets to ensure a seat.
When we reached Ella, Sanjeewa was waiting and took us to our accommodation at the Oak Ray Hotel. The Hotel was in a really good location and was clean. The furniture was a little dated but overall it was clean & good. We had lunch at local restaurant overlooking the main street which we enjoyed as we watched people go by. This was a very busy & popular area particularly for tourists.
In the evening we went back to the train station and walked to the 9-arch bridge along the train line which was a pleasant walk and a very impressive bridge. We waited till the train came, before walking back to the station and back to the hotel for dinner.
Again dinner was very nice and the service very good. In the morning we hiked up Little Adams Peak, which had beautiful panoramic views of the High country, so worth the effort. Would recommend doing this in the morning due to the heat & humidity. We went zip lining which we all enjoyed, in particular our teenage kids. Lunch was at a restaurant with amazing views of the valley and the hills. We then checked out Rawana Ella Falls, which was very busy but beautiful. You could easy spend more time at the falls exploring. When returning to our accommodation we went for a swim (pool very nice and clean) before having a leisurely wonder around the town. This was a good opportunity to carry out some souvenir shopping along the local shopping strip. Prices seemed reasonable compared to other towns.
Sleep in this morning before a buffet breakfast (the Restaurant we ate at while staying in Ella was very nice). The morning was a pleasant drive to Tissamaharama. There is always something interesting to be looking at out the windows. We arrived at our accommodation early and we were able to gain an early check in. In the hotel foyer we took part in a special ceremony where we each had to light a candle. We went to a local restaurant for lunch before relaxing back at the hotel for the afternoon by the beautiful pool. Pool was much appreciated as weather was hot & humid & had a panoramic view of nearby rice fields. Very interesting watching the peacocks run through the rice paddy fields.
Dinner was lovely and we had a choice of dishes rather than a buffet which was a good change. The Kithala Resort was very clean, with very good facilities and service, a lovely place to chill by the pool, read a book and just relax. We arranged a takeaway breakfast for the next morning as we had a big drive planned.
With a packed breakfast we headed off on a 4-hour drive to the Kumana National Park for our 3-hour safari. There was plenty to see along the way which made things interesting and we really enjoyed the Safari. The 3 hours went really fast. The highlight was seeing a Leopard and her cub as well as many other animals (including Jackals, wild boar, buffalos,
elephants, crocodiles, spotted deer, Land monitors, many birds including peacocks doing their mating dances). We only saw a couple of other jeeps on our way out which made us feel like we had the park to ourselves, it was amazing. We had a lovely lunch at a café at Arugam Bay, it would have been nice to have had more of a look around this beach village. The safari company was good with the driver stopping frequently & at our request. Would recommend a little vehicle maintenance & clean windows when looking out to the front of the vehicle. Would highly recommend Kumana NP for overall wildlife viewing.
We suggest it would be much better to travel from Ella to somewhere closer to the Kumana National Park doing the Safari and spending the night in Arugam Bay, then head to Tissamaharama for a night the next day and relaxation before doing the second Safari at Udawalawa National Park the next day. This would reduce the driving time on the travel days, as it was a massive day for our driver and us with the 8-hour return trip and the 3-hour safari. Also, it would be better not doing the safaris on consecutive days.
Buffet breakfast was nice, then it was off to Udawalewa, on the way we visited a temple and then it was straight to our accommodation and dropped off our luggage, before going to the Elephant Transit home. It was interesting to see so many baby elephants being bottle fed and checking out the information centre. This was worth the visit. At the Athgira River Camp when had the unique experience of enjoying our Lunch down on the riverbank. Then we played some badminton and cards.
Mid-afternoon we were picked up by our safari jeep and guide and headed off to the Udawalewa National Park. A lot of jeeps after being spoilt after the previous day having the Kumana National Park virtually to ourselves. We did see lots of Elephants and their calve. It was lovely seeing how they socially interact with each other. There were also lots of birds and buffalo. This was also an enjoyable safari and the guide was a keen bird spotter.
We enjoyed Athgira River Camp immensely, making the most of the pool and relaxing in our very cool tent, it was clean, with terrific staff and a great atmosphere and we all enjoyed our stay very much.
A breakfast on the banks of the river really is a lovely way to start the day. We travelled to Galle and enjoyed lunch on the balcony of a restaurant overlooking the fort wall and the ocean, very picturesque. We spent some time walking round the Galle fort before continuing on to Hikkaduwa. The location of the Hotel was terrific, and the view along the beach was beautiful. With interesting walks in both directions. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the Hotel Citrus Hikkaduwa which although a little older was clean and facilities very good. Staff were very friendly and provided a good service.
Sleep in and a relaxing day at the resort. We did go snorkelling; however, it wasn’t very good conditions for snorkelling as the waves were going over the snorkels, there were plenty of fish, but Michelle did get seasick and took 5 hours before she felt well enough to eat. I felt the group we used was not very professional and for novice snorkellers were not very helpful to be able explain how to do it. It was pricey for the standard of the equipment. In hindsight we may have been better to do it through the hotel.
Relaxing on the beach and enjoying the pool and beach walks was a relaxing way to spend the rest of the day. The evening was enjoyable with a lovely meal, listening to the live music and enjoying cocktails on the beach. This was an excellent place to stay for beach activities & marine life experiences as very close to shore and wading with the turtles.
Again a lovely breakfast overlooking the beach. Before checking out a very interesting walk along the beach enjoying the friendly green turtles (amazing they come up and they are happy to be patted), we also saw 3 grey coloured eels and 2 spotted eels and other marine life. A swim in the lovely clean pool before packing and checking out.
We stopped at a Tsunami museum which was very interesting and confronting. Although expecting how horrific the devastation was, we would recommend that some warning signs be put up when you enter before going through the museum. The images are very graphic and may cause distress to some people in particular children. But definitely worth the visit.
Next stop was a Turtle hatchery which we all enjoyed. We were surprised with how hands on they allowed us to be picking up a turtle. The guide as very informative and the experience was educational. The drive to Colombo was an experience with the busy & congested traffic making it a long journey. We checked into the Fairway Colombo and had some down time before going on an evening tour of the city. Some very impressive buildings and very hectic traffic. Terrific view from the top of the Fairway Hotel building. Dinner was lovely and lot of music and entertainment in the street.
The Fairway Hotel although the staff didn’t seem as friendly as the smaller hotels, they were very professional, and the facilities were excellent. Also, a very central location for the night life.
Nice breakfast before checking out. We proceeded to finish our city tour of Colombo, visiting the Colombo Gangaramya temple the wealthiest Temple in Sri Lanka which included an amazing museum with so many relic’s and donations that you couldn’t get around them all – very impressive (a cross between a Sunday market and an Art Museum). We also went to the Seema Malaka Temple).
Then it was off to Negombo, having lunch at the Container, which was a quirky café set up in shipping containers run by a couple of French people, food very nice. Checked into the Beacon Hotel for our final night, lucky enough to have another room with a view of the breach (a room with a view of the beach is definitely a must for this).
Spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the pool and watching the sunset. Meal at Hotel was again was consistent with our first night in Sri Lanka and was very nice.
After a lovely sleep in, a final walk along the beach, we again enjoyed the panoramic view while having breakfast from the top floor of the hotel. We spend some time in the morning looking around Negombo including the market, buying some last-minute souvenirs having lunch at a local restaurant. We spent the rest of the day at the hotel swimming and relaxing before checking out (the late checkout was great). We had a thankyou / farewell dinner with Sanjeewa. Prior to being dropped off at the airport with plenty of time prior to departure.
Overall comment: - Reg – You provided excellent service in putting our trip together and accommodating all of our requests. Your regular checking in was very reassuring. We want to thank you so much for a wonderful experience and we will be recommending your services to everyone we speak too 😊 George Steuart Travel – Excellent, also checked in to see how we were doing. Gave us some lovely box of tea bags as a gift as well.
Driver – Sanjeewa was excellent, polite & looked after us very well and was a pleasure to be around. Was informative, good English (occasional different interpretations but overall very good) & always put our needs & well-being first. The little things like stopping along the roads and buying us coconuts, cashews, corn cobs, yogurt was all part of the fun. Vehicle – very good – but would be better if there were safety belts for all passengers.
Accommodation – All very good – have made some comments above. Please let us know if you need further review. We did complete a rating sheet for all the accommodation for George Steuart Travels. Food – Really enjoyed the food. Provided variety for everyone including fussy teenagers.
Sri Lanka – Beautiful country with some many amazing things to see and do. People very friendly. Loved it 😊, Definitely a great place to visit and has something to offer for all ages. THANK YOU HEAPS REG 😊