Family holiday in Sri Lanka, Forts & Monkeys

Description of Family holiday in Sri Lanka, Forts & Monkeys

On this unique family holiday just for you, you'll take in some great examples of Sri Lanka's colonial past, starting off with exploring a 'living fort' in Galle, on the south west coast. You'll experience a lot of wildlife, seeing wild elephants, crocodiles, exotic birds and, if you're lucky, elusive leopards in Yala National Park. You'll also see cheeky monkeys in practically every place you stay, from langurs to macaques, some are more mischievous than others!

Our local people and guides will help you make the most of every place you visit, be they historic forts, national parks or tea plantations. We want you to experience the real Sri Lanka and we know just how to help you do that.

You'll also have time to relax, whether it's in the hills or by the sea. When you're hungry you'll feast on home-cooked meals and in local restaurants.

We've added an extra element to round off your family holiday in Sri Lanka- you can choose between visiting ancient Sigiriya (Lion Rock) or exploring Colombo's fort and old town - so you can tailor your trip to your family's interests. Both choices are presented in the itinerary below, on days 13 and 14.

We've worked closely with our local contacts in Sri Lanka to create this family holiday and we're sure it's one you'll all remember for years to come. We're a UK-based operator, with local people in Sri Lanka and we hope that our love and deep knowledge of Sri Lanka is evident in this hand-crafted itinerary.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Fly from the UK to Colombo with a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Day 2:One of our drivers will pick you up from the airport and drive you south on the new expressway through the country's lush green interior. Watch out of the window on the way for wildlife and birds like peacocks. On arrival in historic Galle, there's time to settle into your intimate boutique inn on a hill and enjoy the pool. You should spot the neighbourhood cheeky monkeys (langurs) in the garden!
Day 3:Visit an old British market with one of our local guides and then you're off to one of the best preserved forts in the world. Originally Portuguese, then Dutch, then British. You can walk around most of the fort on the ramparts and if there's a cricket match on in Galle's famous stadium, you can even watch it from there. Later on, you'll take a boat trip around some small islands in a lake and visit a temple and a cinnamon smallholding. As the day cools, you should see some beautiful birds on the lake. (Breakfast included today.)
Day 4:Off to a rustic resort near Yala National Park today, which is famous for having the highest density of leopards in the world. Your driver will take you there and then you'll have to settle in and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and pool. In the evening, have dinner at the resort or ask your driver to take you to a little restaurant we like to support nearby. (Breakfast included today.)
Day 5:Up early today to explore Yala National Park! The early bird should see spotted deer, crocodiles, elephants and later on, lazy leopards (from a jeep – these are wild animals). We'll pace the day to your family, so if you see lots of animals early on and want to relax by the pool, you can, or you can choose to stay in the park until nightfall. (Breakfast included today.)
Day 6:Off to Bandarawela today, a charming market town in the lower end of the hill country (so not too chilly). You'll be driven through spectacular scenery, and stop at the legendary Rawana waterfalls on the way. On arrival you'll have a welcome lunch at a spacious private home where you will enjoy warm hospitality. Settle into your rooms (all ensuite) and relax in the beautiful garden. Just watch out for the cheeky monkeys – they like to throw avocados at unsuspecting guests! (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included today.)
Day 7:A special experience today – your host, a retired tea planter, will take you to see a tea plantation. He'll also show you the Demodara Loop on the train line that winds through the hill country, a feat of British engineering. After a late lunch you can take relax for the rest of the day or take a tuk-tuk into town. Bandarawela was a major hillstation during British times and quirks include the pink post office (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included today.)
Day 8:Explore the hidden gems of Bandarawela today with one of our expert local guides. You'll walk visit smallholdings growing exotic vegetables and fruit – exotic for Sri Lanka, that is – carrots and cauliflowers! You'll also see a tea estate from a different point of view, seeing how the workers live and meeting the young children. Then it's off by train to nearby Ella on a train line that is one of the few that runs the British Tyer's Tablet system, dating back to the late 1800s. Here you'll climb Little Adam's Peak (more of a walk than a strenuous climb) for the spectacular views. (Breakfast and dinner included today.)
Day 9:Time for some sun and sea – you're off to the east coast. Your driver will take you to Passikudah Bay, arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. You'll be staying in the Maalu Maalu boutique resort, which was based upon a traditional Sri Lankan fishing village. It is fittingly named too – 'maalu' is the Sinhala word for fish and 'maalu maalu' is the cry of fishermen selling their day's catch. Settle in and have a swim in the infinity pool or in the sea; the water is lovely and warm and calm. (This is the best part of the island for a beach stay from March to October - if you're travelling at other times of the year, we will change this section to the west coast). (Breakfast included today.)
Day 10:Day at leisure to enjoy the pool or beach. If you'd like to go snorkelling, you can do so on a boat. (Breakfast included today.)
Day 11:Day at leisure. (Breakfast included today.)
Day 12:Choose between a day at leisure or ask your driver to take you to the nearby town of Batticaloa. This was an important bastion on the eastern coast during the time of Portuguese rule, but was the first fort to be captured by the Dutch and was also used by the British. The fort is tiny, so it's only a short walk to go all the way round the well-preserved ramparts. The town is a great place to eat lunch, where the food will be different to the parts of Sri Lanka you've visited so far. (Breakfast included today.) Now choose option a) Colombo Fort, or b) Sigiriya for your next two-day adventure.
Day 13a:Watch the scenery go by while you're driven to Colombo today, or take the train instead for a change of pace. You'll be staying in a small boutique hotel in the greener (yet central) part of this small city. (Breakfast is included today.)
Day 14a:Guided tour around 'Slave Island' and Colombo fort. Then you'll have free time to explore or shop. In the evening, we recommend dinner in the oldest building in the fort, the recently-restored Old Dutch Hospital. This is home to new cafés and restaurants like Ministry of Crab, centered around the country's high-quality crabs, previously only exported to Singapore. Garlic crab, pepper crab, chilli crab, anyone? You may even see someone famous, as the restaurant is part-owned by one of Sri Lanka's national cricketers. (Breakfast is included today.)
Day 13b:Your driver will take you to Sigiriya rock in the centre of the country. The 'Lion Rock' is thought to have been a much older (5th century AD) type of fort and can be seen from miles around. You'll be driving through Polonnaruwa historical park so you can stop to explore, or make as good time as you can and relax by the pool. (Breakfast included today.)
Day 14b:An early start today so you can climb Sigiriya. Even young children can manage this, as you set your own pace. Watch out for the macaques! If you'd prefer not to climb, the gardens and museum are worth a visit in their own right. Spend the afternoon at leisure – your driver will be happy to take you to Dambulla's caves or further afield to Minneriya National Park and help you organise an extra safari (it's a great place to see wild elephants). (Breakfast is included today.)
Day 15:This morning you'll be driven to the airport for your flight home.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family holiday in Sri Lanka, Forts & Monkeys

Environment

The accommodation in this tour has been created with relatively-low impact to the environment. It comprises:
- historic family home with wing converted into a boutique inn
- rustic beach huts built sensitively with the environment (you may have a tree in your bathroom!)
- an old planter's bungalow used as a family home
- 2 new hotels built to modern environmental standards, with a relatively-low footprint.

Although we use a private van for your family on this tour (rather than expect you to take public transport), we've also included exploration by boat and Victorian-era train and the most environmental of transports, a bit of foot.

Whilst we think for comfort, we should have hot water and air-conditioning where it is possible, we do ask our clients think about water and energy use and provide tips in our customer packs.

We think it's best to see animals in the wild and Sri Lanka offers unique opportunities. This trip includes a visit to Yala National Park, arguably the place with the most dense population of leopards in the world, as well as different eco systems and a plethora of animals living their lives in the wild.

Community

We look for and work with people who don't work in the tourism industry. (We don't want the only people you meet to be people who are driving you or 'serving you'!) This gives our customers an insights they wouldn't usually gain and our local friends benefit making new friends. This also puts money in pockets which don't usually benefit from tourism.

We look and help guides from local areas. We pay any guides and drivers fair market rates. We encourage the development of jeep drivers and wildlife guides. (all of these are particular challenges in Sri Lanka where most local companies are set up to use one 'chauffeur guide' from the big city of Colombo, we feel it's worth it).

We look for micro projects to support. We also support Project Colombo in the UK, an initiative to help Sri Lankan school children with access to ICT. Ask us for details or look it up online.

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