13-Day Best of Sri Lanka: Heritage, Tea Plantation & Wildlife Safari
Tour Style: Tailor-made tour
ItineraryShow/Hide all days
- Day 1
Welcome to Sri Lanka, the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'! On arrival at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, you're met by your private chauffeur guide and driven to your hotel in Negombo, a seaside town which is only 20 minutes away from the airport. Rest of the day is at your leisure.
- Day 2
In the morning, start your exploration of Negombo, this historical commercial centre surrounded by a fascinating network of canals teeming with rural life. Wake up early and catch the action at the Negombo Fish Market.
In the afternoon, drive inland to Dambulla (approximately 5 hours), home to vibrantly decorated cave temples and a great base to explore the wide array of natural wonders and historic sites in this fascinating area.
- Day 3
In the morning, start with a visit to the landmark of this country, the 5th-century legendary sky citadel of “Lion Rock” - arguably the most impressive site in Sri Lanka; although a steep climb is requested, the story behind the monument, and the panoramic view of Dambulla seen on the top are definitely worth the effort.
In the afternoon, continue your exploration in the rural village of Hiriwadunna. Travel into the lush Sri Lankan countryside by a jeep or a tuk tuk. Hop into a bullock cart alongside paddy fields and rural vegetable plantations. At dusk, take a boat ride and sail to the other side of a lake, enjoying the fantastic sunset view, and looking out for birds, butterflies, as well as the villagers fishing or washing clothes at the periphery of the lake.
- Day 4
Today, get started with the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, home to many magnificent Buddha images and rock painting dating back to 2nd century BC. Later, head for Kandy, Ceylon's old capital, en route stop for an interesting visit to learn a wide range of spices at one of spice garden, a 15-minute complimentary Ayurveda Massage is recommended.
After arriving in Kandy (approx. 3.5 hrs by road), appreciate a vivid and traditional Cultural Dance (Kandyan Dance) before walking to the nearby Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic - Sri Lanka's most sacred Buddhist shrine, the Puja Ritual held in the temple with all the fanfare, drums, trumpets and brightly colored Monks definitely shows you how special and spiritually important the temple means to Sri Lanka.
- Day 5
In the morning, take an interesting visit to Royal Botanical Garden of Peradeniya which boasts 300+ varieties of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees at. This afternoon is at your leisure. You could either rest at your lovely hotel or explore the city with your chauffeur, e.g. walking around Kandy Lake in city centre or go some shopping in the downtown markets.
- Day 6
After breakfast, set off for Nuwara Eliya by train (subjected to availability), a picturesque journey packed with beautiful mountains, waterfalls and tea plantations. The train takes about 4 hours. Upon your arrival at Nanu Oya Railway Station, your chauffeur guide will pick you up and escort you to your Nuwara Eliya hotel, rest of the day is at your leisure after check-in.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya
- Day 7
Get up in the early morning and head to Horton Plains National Park, where you take 3-4 hours easy trek and see sambar deers, waterfall, diverse flora & fauna, and the stunning views over World's End.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to a tea plantation and a tea factory, where the world's best Ceylon Tea is produced. After learning about the process of manufacturing tea, get hands-on experience of tea picking, and don't forget to sip a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya
- Day 8
Check out after breakfast and head for Yala (approx. 3 hours by road), en route enjoys the beautiful scenery of Ella. Upon arrival at Yala, check in the hotel and have a rest before your afternoon jeep safari at Yala National Park, home to a diverse range of wildlife including elephants, leopards, wild buffalo, sambar deer, musk deer, black bears, macaques, jackals and a numerous variety of birds. The park is renowned as the best park in the world to observe and shoot pictures of leopards.
Note: Yala National Park keeps closed during September, if so we will use alternatives (e.g. Bundala National Park).
- Day 9
This morning, you will take a second jeep safari in Yala National Park. The afternoon is left for relaxation. If possible, don't forget to taste the seafood at one of the local restaurants here, which is so popular among locals and travelers.
- Day 10
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive around the south coast towards Galle (approx. 4 hours), en route you might see the iconic stilt fishermen at the beach.
Upon arrival at Galle, a colonial port fortified by Portuguese first then Dutch, spend your time at the Galle Dutch Fort, regarded as one of the best-preserved fortresses in Sri Lanka.
In the late afternoon, drive to Hikkaduwa beach nearby and unwind at the beach hotel in the next 2 days.
Hikkaduwa Beach is 40 minutes' drive from Galle. One of the most popular beaches on the West coast, and also, a reef-protected beach which is suitable for bathing, swimming, creation and water sports. You could also stay at a hotel inside in Galle City if you prefer.
- Day 11
Today is free for you to relax on the beach or enjoy the facilities at your hotel. Hikkaduwa offers plenty choices of water sports. Feel free to ask your hotel if interested.
- Day 12
Today is free to relax on the beach or enjoy the facilities at your hotel. In your hotel or Spa center at Hikkaduwa, you could try ayurvedic spa inspired by Sri Lankan herbs and essential oils. Restore your inner youth with a revitalizing body treatment.
- Day 13
Today, you will be picked up from the hotel and transferred to Colombo (approx. 2.5 hours by road). Upon arrival in Colombo, take a guided city tour to explore Colombo's colonial legacies including the Independence Square, Gangarama Temple of Colombo, mile-long promenade of Galle Face Green and Colombo's National Museum etc. Stop for taking pictures when drive by the former British Administrative Center etc.
In the late afternoon, you will be escorted to CMB airport (1-hour drive from Colombo city) for your onward flight.
Reviews about This Tour
This tour rating 4.9 out of 5 based on 16 reviews.
D, as he asked us to call him, was a primary reason that the trip was such a success. From the moment he met us and assured us that he “was there for us,” we felt confident that we were in good hands.
Each day in Sri Lanka featured an unforgettable experience: seeing the elephants being bathed at the “orphanage” in Pinnawela, struggling with the climb to Lion Rock, riding an elephant through a village and stream with monkeys all around us, marvelling at the Buddhas in the Cave Temple, and visiting the tea plantation, the botanical gardens, the Tooth Relic Temple. The jeep safaris were great fun, and the Perahera was definitely the highlight of the whole trip. We were seated across from the President's box and saw more than three hours of performing groups and costumed elephants directly in front of us. At all times, D was available to us, and he even helped to make the very long rides tolerable. Every detail enhanced our time; D helped to plan a cake at the hotel and high tea to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday. If we were younger, we would be planning another trip to Sri Lanka!
Thank you Odyssey for making this possible and a special thank you to Josie who stayed with us during the preparations..and for following up later during the trip!
It was truly a trip to remember!
Our final itinerary also included a stay in Marissa so that we could include a whale watching trip and at the last minute we decided to extend our stay so that we could have a few days relaxing on the beach before we returned home.
Don took all these changes in his stride and ensured that our final itinerary truly met our requirements.
As arranged, we were met at the airport by Navin our appointed driver/guide. He took excellent care of us throughout our trip and added the personal element to an already exciting itinerary. Nothing was too much trouble. When we were faced with the prospect of staying in a remote hotel which unexpectedly was unable to prove a dinner service (due to the fact the chef has been rushed into hospital), Navin arranged to pick us and take us to an excellent local restaurant he knew. When torrential rain interfered with our planned Jeep safari, this was immediately rescheduled for the following day. Throughout the whole of our tour Navin was able to give us an insight into Sri Lankan life and pointed out items of interest. He even stopped and brought us some Jack fruit form a seller on the side of the road when he discovered we did not know or recognise this fruit.
He accompanied us on our pre arranged itinerary tours and with the exception of the whale watching trip ensured that we had a private vehicle/guide at each event - a fact which was greatly appreciated when we visited the river delta and observes 20+ tourists in each boat. Navin arranged for us to have one to ourselves and this ensured that we had uninterrupted views throughout the trip.
We shared some very good time with him and really appreciated his care, consideration and companionship through our visit.
Don arranged everything to meet our requirements and expectations and Navin made the trip come alive. Together they delivered an excellent service from start to finish and we cant praise them enough.
We have recommended India Odessey tours to several of our friends and have already looked at the service they provide in other areas of Asia. It is encouraging to know that Don will remain as our contact in all our future ventures as has he already shown himself to be very efficient and has an insight into the type of activities we like to undertake.
What People Say
- Lion Rock
- Hiriwadunna Village safari
- Nuwara Eliya Tea
- Peradeniya Train Station
- Galle Dutch Fort
- Fishing Harbor
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