Sri Lanka adventure holiday

“Small group tour featuring outdoor adventures and overland travel around Sri Lanka's mountain foothills, tea estates and most important Buddhist landmarks. Snorkelling in the Indian Ocean ends this trip in style.”


7km trek in Makandawa Forest Reserve | Tea estates and paddy fields | Early morning (1am) climb to Adam’s Peak | Temple of the Tooth, Kandy | Knuckles Mountain Range | Wildlife watching in Wasgamuwa National Park | 50km bike ride to UNESCO city of Polonnaruwa | Sigiriya rock fortress | Kalpitiya beach resort with pool |

Description of Sri Lanka adventure holiday

This two week small group tour of Sri Lanka invites travellers to learn more about the island’s cultural and colonial heritage as well as enjoying an amazing array of outdoor adventures

From jungle trekking and bird watching within Makandawa Forest Reserve to an early morning climb up the steps to the top of Adam’s Peak; this is an active holiday and hiking boots are certainly required so as to make the most of this trip.

More amazing adventure activities await as you tackle the rapids of the Kelani River and trek past paddy fields and onwards to the waterfalls and reservoirs to be found within the foothills of Manigala Mountain and the Knuckles Mountain Range.

Swapping two feet for two wheels you’ll be invited to cycle 50kms to the ancient ruined city of Polonnaruwa where huge Buddhist temples, stupas and sculptures remain captured in time.

The Sigiriya rock fortress provides one final cultural precursor prior to completing this small group tour on the soft sands of Kalpitiya one of Sri Lanka's top snorkelling sites and the perfect place to catch some sun before heading for home.

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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka adventure holiday

Accommodation and meals:
On this trip, we will spend the nights in locally owned hotels, where most of them employ local staff and use local produce wherever possible. When meals are not provided, our local guide will encourage and recommend clients to visit local restaurants and cafes to try local specialties. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of staples like rice usually accompanied with assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles, ‘sambols’ and a handful of tiny poppadum. One of our lunches will be at a rural house that is specifically developed for Exodus groups by a team of tour leaders who took the initiative to build it from a once thatched house to a small brick house.

Local craft and culture:
There is so much culture and history to be discovered and explored during the trip. We get to explore the UNESCO city of ancient Polonnaruwa filled with temples, palaces, huge Buddhist stupas and sculptures dating from a thousand years ago. And also visit one of the most iconic sights in Sri Lanka, the UNESCO Ancient city of Sigiriya, where this fifth century rock fortress shows one of the best examples of ancient urban planning. In beautiful lakeside town, Kandy, we visit the temple of tooth which houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic followed by a city tour of the town.

There are plenty of opportunities to explore local arts and craft especially in Kandy town. Clients can learn more about Sri Lankan craft, how they are made and possibly purchase something as a form of support. Even though the sale of items made from endangered species are strictly prohibited in Sri Lanka, there still ornaments made of sea-shells (shell fish) openly sold on the island. Hence, our local guides are sure to advice clients on what can be bought and what to avoid.

Following the disastrous tsunami back in 2004, our local operator founded the “Back to Life” project to raise funds for the disaster. With the funds we provided, they were able to financially co-sponsor the project which has enable 25 families to be rehoused and for two schools to be equipped with toilets, running water and outdoor swings. Additionally, they collaborated with a German operator and the village temple to contribute 10 large water tanks and an eye clinic to a remote village with a donation of 200 pairs of glasses. They also provided assistance in the development of a day care and a school for children in the hill country.

Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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