Sri Lanka tour & beach holiday

“15 day tailor made trip for those who want both cultural and beach bliss. With highly rated driver guides, stay at equally highly rated eco resort. Great for families. ”

Highlights

Award-winning eco resort accommodation | Sigiriya | Polonnaruwa | Minneriya National Park | Kandy | Temple of the Tooth | Geoffrey Bawa hotel, Dambulla

Description of Sri Lanka tour & beach holiday

Lush, tropical Sri Lanka is packed full of culture, history, wildlife and natural beauty, especially given its diminutive size. In fact, explorer Marco Polo once described it as "undoubtedly the finest island of its size in the world". This Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday will take you on an unforgettable journey to the country’s beaches, heritage sites and National Parks.

This holiday is based at two different beachside hotels depending on the prevailing monsoon season: Jetwing Sea on the west coast from November to April and Trinco Blu by Cinnamon on the east coast from May to October.

Jetwing Sea is a contemporary coastal resort that blends the finest of tropical luxury with traditional Sri Lankan hospitality on the buzzing beach strip of Negombo. The hotel is committed to several sustainable initiatives which empower the local community, harness the potential of the surrounding environment, and deliver a fulfilling experience of responsible tourism.

Trinco Blu by Cinnamon is located in Uppuveli just north of Trincomalee on a protected white sandy beach on the island's east coast. The resort opens directly onto the beach to the shallow calm clear waters of the Indian Ocean from its private grounds, which include an infinity swimming pool, two restaurants and a bar. A variety of water sports are available, including a PADI-certified dive centre.

As well chilling out on the beach, you’ll also get to explore the Cultural Triangle, visiting Kandy, the Dambulla cave temples, the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa and Lion Rock at Sigiriya, all World Heritage Sites. A jeep safari in Minneriya National Park is also on the agenda, and here you’ll see a myriad of birds and beasts including elephants, leopards, toque macaques, purple faced langurs, sloth bears, sambar and spotted deer.

Sri Lanka lies just north of the equator so temperatures remain almost constant throughout the year (around 27C around the coast). The best time to visit the west coast and the Cultural Triangle is from November to April after the southwest monsoon has finished, while the east coast is best from May to October.

However, even during the monsoon season the rain passes through quickly, although the sea is rougher than during the dry season. The advantage is that there are fewer tourists on the island, and the traditional and generous Sri Lankan welcome is always there!

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements although we do not offer trips for under 10 days
Our top tip:
Go en famille. Co-founder Pathi is a family man who knows all the island's secret wonders.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
Award winning eco-resort, heritage hotel in Damballa, one night in Kandy homestay.
Included:
Flights from UK, half-board accommodation, a/c transport with chauffeur guide, fees, activities.
Meals:
Half board, but for lunches the food is delicious wherever you go, with street food lunch £1-1.50.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Reducing water consumption
Sri Lanka, like many countries around the world, suffers from acute water shortages at certain times of the year. Even though the island experiences two monsoons a year, the reservoirs and tanks are not of sufficient capacity to supply the country’s requirements. This not only causes water shortages in villages and towns – in some areas they are limited to only one hour’s supply a day during these periods – but also contributes to power cuts since much of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power. Reducing water consumption while travelling in Sri Lanka will contribute directly to conserving essential water supplies. Much of the Sri Lankan population wash in rivers and lakes and so supplied fresh water is used mainly for cooking and drinking.

Please share our concern for the environment - SAVE WATER.

Eco facts:
• Less than 20% of the world's water is fresh water.
• Acute water shortage has become a recurring problem in many parts of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.
• Conservation is the greatest resource when it comes to water supply.

Limiting non-degradable waste production
In previous times many of the goods and products sold in Sri Lanka were packaged in natural biodegradable materials. Today, however, much of the packaging is non-degradable and this waste pollutes the environment, particularly when it is not disposed of correctly. Limiting the amount of non-degradable waste generated helps to preserve the environment and reduces the potential negative impact on wildlife.

• Try to buy goods and products in biodegradable packaging. For example, many pharmacies in Sri Lanka dispense medicines in paper bags rather than plastic bags.
• Limit the number of plastic carrier bags acquired when shopping by putting your purchases directly into your own bag without extra packaging.
• Reduce the number of plastic water bottles used by storing your drinking water in a re-usable water container. (Bringing a water filter, potable iodine solution or water purification tablets with you will help limit the number of water bottles required.)
• Always dispose of non-degradable waste carefully since it can have a detrimental effect on the environment and wildlife.

Transportation
Our small group sizes (up to 8 persons) allows us to use cars, small vans or jeeps when travelling around the island and when visiting rural areas and national parks, where use of larger vehicles in such areas often results in widening and ‘blacktopping’ of rural paths for coach access. The resulting effect on the environment can be devastating. We feel that our small group sizes also lead to less impact both on the environment and the people that we visit as well as allowing for more supervision, advice and explanations with the high ratio of guides to travellers.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

We actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka. By working closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development.

Jetwing Sea
Jetwing Sea has implemented a number of initiatives designed to simultaneously harness and preserve the strength of the surrounding communities and environment.

The hotel features an onsite biomass boiler that runs on sustainably harvested cinnamon wood. The boiler meets the entire hot water requirement of the property during the night, while solar-thermal panels produce hot water during daylight hours. Overall, the entire hot water demand of Jetwing Sea is met through a centralised system that operates entirely on renewable energy. The staff cafeteria also uses both biogas and biomass stoves, which are also operated using sustainably harvested cinnamon wood.

The 15 kW off-grid roof mounted photovoltaic solar array generates electricity primarily towards room lighting; an in-room indicator shows when solar or grid electricity is being used.

Jetwing Sea also features a rainwater harvesting system where water collected from the top of the property is filtered and later used to supplement the freshwater requirement for the swimming pools.

The onsite effluent treatment plant processes 100% of wastewater generated by the property, and utilises both aerobic and anaerobic biological treatment methods, the end product of which is used for irrigation of the coastal gardens.

Food waste from the kitchens and restaurants is added to a biogas digester on a daily basis, which then produces a methane-rich output gas that helps fuel modified stoves in the staff kitchen. The digester also features a heating jacket with a dedicated solar array, which helps speed up the digestion process.

Joining the collective sustainable commitment of other Jetwing hotels in the area, Jetwing Sea collaboratively maintains a ward that serves a number of patients from local communities that visit the Negombo Teaching Hospital.

Jetwing Sea maintains a thriving organic garden amidst the limited coastal greenery found on the property, maximising its use by growing a variety of local fruits and herbs when possible, and later using them in meals prepared by the hotel kitchens. Furthermore, all glass water bottles used throughout the property are sourced from the bottling plant located at Jetwing Blue nearby.

Guides
We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

Accommodation
We actively promote locally owned hotels that employ local workers, particularly accredited eco-friendly accommodation. This policy contributes directly to the local economy and provides local employment while enhancing the visitor’s experience of Sri Lanka.

Restaurants
Embracing local cuisine is an essential part of any holiday if the visitor is to understand the country’s culture and savour its culinary delights. We encourage travellers to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food.

Community-led projects
The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (an independent charitable organisation) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every holiday booked.

Climate

7 Reviews of Sri Lanka tour & beach holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 27 Feb 2018 by

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


All the parts of the holiday were good

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


Remember you cannot travel quickly on the roads

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


In some aspects, yes

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2016 by

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


This was a trip organised by our tour operator where I had asked for a mix of beach and wildlife, where visited five different locations in Sri Lanka - and they
were all different! We had our own driver to take us to our next destination and he was great - knowledgeable and full of fun. It was all exciting really from
the beautiful beachside hotels to the wildlife parks. At Palagama beach the food was amazing especially when I was shown their own vegetable garden and we
picked fresh vegetables that were cooked as individual curries for my dinner that evening. The people just wanted to please.

In the wildlife parks we saw two leopards, a sloth bear and elephants including a baby so close you could have touched them. The wildlife there is fabulous even outside the parks especially the birds with peacocks turning up unexpectedly. I took up the option of a yoga session at Unawatana - it was just bliss the teacher was so calm and the location magical. The tree house at Willpattu where I wished I had taken a sound recorder to take home memories of being in jungle they were so special. The total relaxation I felt at our hotel in Mirissa at the end of our stay was perfect.

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


I asked Rosy at Responsible Travel to recommend a tour operator for this trip and that was the start of my successful trip. Do liaise with the tour operator to
tweak your trip - they do know the country and the locations especially on distances to travel between locations. There is so much to see in Sri Lanka your
trip can be tailor made.

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


From hotels growing their own vegetables and supplying local traders to hotels that trained young people from the local area and recycled water used in
showers to water their gardens you can see how people are trying to use their resources to the maximum.

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


Brilliant. We learnt so much about the country by travelling this way. I felt as if I had been away for at least a month - I had seen and done so much in that
two weeks.

Reviewed on 15 Jan 2016 by

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


The people , the food, the scenery and the culture

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


Don't worry about travelling third class on the trains, you experience the real Sri Lanka.

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


Yes

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 06 Mar 2014 by

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


There were many memorable moments - we loved the incredible bird life especially seeing them close-up in the bird sanctuary.

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


Don't forget to travel inland to experience the varied landscapes.

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


Certainly - all the hotels we stayed in employed staff from the community; wherever we stayed enjoyed meals cooked from local produce .

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


We were keen to combine relaxation with seeing the country and experiencing what it had on offer. We were rarely disappointed and loved the experience travelling on this glorious island.

Reviewed on 20 Mar 2013 by

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


Leopards in Yala.

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


Budget for an extra day's rest at the end - two days wasn't enough.

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


Yes.

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


Brilliant.

Reviewed on 30 Nov 2012 by

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


The jeep safari to see the elephants in the wild. We did not realise Sri Lanka had such an abundance of elephants, water buffalo and a wonderful array of birds. We also enjoyed the cultural part of our trip to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves and Polunawara.

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


Talk to John about your expectations and be as specific as possible, that way he can tick as many boxes as possible and you will have a great time.

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


The hotels recommended by Tikalanka Tours are eco friendly and look to minimise the harm on the environment. I feel they achieved this as much as it possible to do so in the modern world.

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


We had a great time, we mixed cultural interest with wildlife experience and finished up with a beach flop.

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2010 by

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


It was actually the sort of thing you could never plan for. On leaving our room at Serendip which led out straight onto the front veranda (Serendip is basically a guest house) we saw that the garden was full of fireflies. We were then led to our table out the back by the plunge pool where we would be eating dinner. The manager had arranged and lit dozens of tea lights around the garden. Priceless.

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


Do some research particularly in regards to weather as different parts of the island can differ in weather patterns. If you plan to visit any wildlife parks research these too. The NP's of Sri Lanka vary in wildlife and they have a lot to learn from their African peers.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Other than obvious benefits such as providing local employment it wasn't immediately apparent what other benefits were being gained by local communities. I then met the owner of one the guest house come hotels that we stayed in and he told me that one of the assistants that we had a met, a young lad of maybe 17or so, had spent three years in a refugee camp after fleeing the Tamils in the north when the troubles were occurring. Someone had recommended him for employment to this owner and he's been under his employ ever since and has even taken A levels. This appeared to be as a direct result of tourism so I can't think of a better example than that of benefiting the local community.

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


Very good. The service we received from John was first rate and his knowledge of the island and the destinations available was in depth. After describing our brief and what we were looking for the initial itinerary was pretty much spot on so it took all the work out of having to research ourselves. That was either luck or John had listened to the brief and delivered the goods! Just a couple of minor tweaks and we had an itinerary full of variety as well as relaxation. Considering the long haul destination and the fact we had a private chauffeur/guide it was very good value too.

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