Sri Lanka highlights holiday

“A two week, tailor made holiday of Sri Lanka, with national parks, wildlife, railways, great archaoleogical sites and amazing food. And, of course, beaches. ”

Highlights

Negombo | Sigiriya | Polonnaruwa | Dambulla| Kandy | Nurwara Eliya | Ella | Yala National Park | Overnight stay in safari tents | Unawatuna beach | Galle | Colombo | Private chauffeur guide

Description of Sri Lanka highlights holiday

This two week, Sri Lanka holiday is a tailor made trip and so this is only our suggested itinerary, which of course we can adapt according to your interests. Although we believe it captures many of Sri Lanka’s highlights, both cultural and coastal, national parks and wildlife. Driven by your own driver and expert local guide, you will stay at a carefully selected mix of locally owned accommodations.

Starting in Colombo, we take you straight to the beach at Negombo on the west coast to be revived after your journey and to slowly but surely adapt to the laid back lifestyle of Sri Lanka. Moving on to the cultural segment of your tour, you will spend several days in Sri Lanka’s famous Cultural Triangle, based in a hotel in Polonnaruwa, an ancient kingdom with an incredible array of 10th century temples and palace ruins. From here, you will also visit Sigiriya’s incredible rock fortress and the cave rock complex at Dambulla.

The middle section of your trip is when we recommend you take in the centre of Sri Lanka, staying in the ancient city of Kandy, famous and revered for the Temple of the Tooth. And from this busy spot into the cooling hill stations and tea plantations. Similarly cooling is Horton Plains National Park, further south, where you can hike into mountainous, mist covered forest, with stunning waterfalls en route. Followed by more tropical wonders at Ella, which you can reach by train, and where you can hike up to Ella’s Rock or Little Adam’s Peak for the most stunning views.

Heading further south, one of the highlights of this trip for many is Yala National Park where a jeep safari will take you deep into the habitats of elephants, sloth bear, wild buffalo, sambhar elk and deer. And, most famously, leopard, with Yala boasting the highest, concentrated leopard population in the world. Although sightings are rare.

You will certainly have earned your few days at Unawatuna beach where you will stay just a quick walk from the shore. We also recommend one final stop at Galle, the magnificent 16th century fort town built by the Portuguese and now a buzzing hub of culture, markets and fine cuisine.

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

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way.
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka highlights holiday

Environment

When you embark on this itinerary you get several chances to spot wild animals, including elephants. We support the protection of the Sri Lankan environment by only visiting national parks which are responsible, and are in fact protecting the Sri Lankan wildlife. This includes the Minneriya National Park, Kaudulla National Park and Yala National Park. When in the Yala National Park you stay in tented accommodation which has little impact to the local environment. At the beginning of this itinerary when met by our local partner, our clients are also briefed on protection of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage.

Our local partner in Sri Lanka also shares the same values as us in terms of using as little energy in the office and also recycling. We both use minimal paper in our offices and have all paper used recycled. They also have strict times at which they use the air-conditioning in their office.

Community

During this itinerary you will be staying in a mix of authentic small-scale accommodation including a family-run hotel in Kandy. By using this type of accommodation we support local families and local people who are employed by these hotels.

Throughout the trip you will be travelling around with your private driver. Our drivers are trained by our local partner and then given a permanent contract offering reliable work which earns them a wage higher than the national average.

Our local partner also runs a lot of charity projects in Sri Lanka and supports many local communities. In 2008, they provided emergency lights and installed lights at a girls home in Nugegoda. In 2013 our local partner bought 40 new mattresses for an retirement home near Colombo. Other projects that they have funded include providing food and rations to local charities, helping restore the homes of some of Sri Lanka's most needy, and paying for cancer drugs for patients at some local hospitals.

4 Reviews of Sri Lanka highlights holiday

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 09 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Safari in Willapatu and seeing elephants, leopard and a sloth bear.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To take plenty of insect repellent and take extra money for tips.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes our travels defiantly helped support local people by seeing and doing activities along our trip and buying things along the way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We had an excellent honeymoon from start to finish. Great country full of lovely friendly people and awesome wildlife everywhere. We would definitly go back in the future.

Reviewed on 16 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Going to visit Trincomalee and all the places my parents lived many years ago. The Temple of Sacred Tooth, the Perahara Festival, The elephant Safari - all amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Give yourself some relaxation time at Trincomalee beach or another beach depending on time of year. Remember the road journeys will take time / far more than you realise.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I felt that by having a local guide we benefitted enormously as we learnt so much about the history, culture and local customs. We also stopped off at additional places, at our request. It was good to support the monuments and World Heritage sites and I have no issues with paying for that from a conservation perspective. As someone who has travelled extensively and lived abroad I am not keen on being taken to wood carving places and getting the sales patter. I felt uncomfortable; I appreciate some may like it but personally I liked going to local shops in smaller villages to spend my money. The visit to the spice farm was good and I did not feel the hard sale there. Loved going for the farmers lunches - great idea but could not do the food justice as was still full up from breakfast. There were so many safari trucks at the game reserve; is it controlled ? Not sure seeing all the younger tourists on hired motor bikes reduces environmental impact ? It is a real dilemma to be honest - going to Ella took me back to Thailand in the early 80's - you see all the development for tourists but there is a concern about what it does to prices for the local population. So many of the food places cater for Western /European food tastes. There is no doubt the hospitality industry provides employment - but there is a concern about the large hotel groups taking over and I am interested in how well they pay staff. It is clear wages are very low for many in Sri Lanka - the benefit of having a driver with extensive knowledge meant we had the chance to stop off at different places that were less touristy as well. To be honest it is a difficult dilemma - as one who contributed to the Tsunami fund I am concerned about how much money gets to local people that need it - it is clear that some monies is filtered off and there are corruption issues. The mixture of hotels is good.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fabulous !!

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


On our second day we climbed Lion Rock (Sigiriya) which we'd read about - but it's nothing compared to when you get there. The view from afar is amazing,
the climb is tough, but broken up enough that you never felt completely exhausted and the views at the top are breathe taking.

When you pair that with the history and stories behind the fortress, it is mind blowing and an incredible place.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you head to the right places depending on the time of year you go. Our advisor was brilliant, and we booked our beach stay on the East coast, as it
was raining down South - but in other months this can be reversed. So always check if you're looking for the sunshine!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our tour guide was local, and we definitely felt like using his company was of real benefit to him, and he also took us to restaurants and places he felt were
responsible and helped the local economy.


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Amazing - beautiful country, brilliant tour guide. A bit of everything, from beach and cultural sites, to trekking and stunning mountain views.

Reviewed on 17 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Difficult to choose one - probably the visit to Sigiriya rock - unlike anything I have seen anywhere else. Probably followed by seeing the local fishermen
working on the beach at Negombo.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make the most of any opportunities to look around, take part in things, talk to the local guide to tell them what you are interested in. (For instance we talked
about food, and ended up spending an evening at a cookery demonstration, which was very interesting). Also be aware that entrance charges, (including
national parks) are not cheap, and tipping adds up.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It seemed that most of our spending etc. was going to support the local economy, so benefiting local people, the time in the national parks helped with
conservation. Don't think flying out, then driving round helped reduce environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We had a great time, having a dedicated guide meant that we could relax and let him do the organisation.

Read the operator's response here:

Hello Christine,

I am so glad you had a great time in Sri Lanka and that you mostly enjoyed visiting the famous Sigiriya Rock and also watching the fishermen working in Negombo. The cooking demonstration that you did sounds amazing, I would love to do that myself.

Thank you so much for your good review, it was lovely helping you organise your trip and great news you had a wonderful time.

With Kind regards,

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