Family Discovery

11 Nights 12 Days | Private Guided Tour | 3 – 6 Persons

The Perfect Family Holiday to Sri Lanka. Ideal for the one’s looking for fun and adventure, exploring this mystic tropical island full of great activities to do as a family.

What to Expect

Naturally gorgeous, culturally captivating and steeped in mysticism, Sri Lanka makes for a wonderful introduction to both travel and the Indian subcontinent. Discover temples carved from cliffs in Dambulla and fortresses built on boulders in Sigiriya. Cycle through peaceful scenes of village life and tour working tea plantations in the hill country around Bandarawela. Visit the country’s most significant religious relic, the Temple of the Tooth, in Kandy, safari through Udawalawe National Park in search of leopards and monkeys, see baby elephants up close at a rescue centre and chill out by the beach in Mirissa. Educational, active and leisurely paced, this trip is everything you could want in a family getaway.

Take in sweeping vistas of the outlying terrain from Sigiriya’s rock-top fortress. Spy elephants in their natural habitat at Uda Walawe National Park and see rescued infants up close at the onsite Elephant Transit Home. Learn the steps of traditional Kandyan dance during lessons with the locals. Soak up some beach time along the pristine, palm-fringed sands of Mirissa.

Though its equatorial position means fairly constant year-round temperatures, the summer months in Sri Lanka are very hot with short, sharp monsoons in the south-west of the country. Be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water. We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 01 - Airport - Negombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka! Known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the island offers travellers palm-studded beaches, rolling plantations, and sacred sights steeped in spirituality. There are no activities planned today until your group welcome meeting at 6 pm. We’ll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these with you. If arriving in Negombo earlier, spend some time poolside at the hotel, or head out to explore the neighbourhood.

Hotel: Jetwing Blue • Meals: Open (Not Included)

Day 02 - Negombo - Dambulla

Begin the adventure by heading out to Dambulla, located at the end of a moderate 4-hour drive from Negombo. This town plays home to some of the world’s most spectacularly decorated cave-temples and serves as a great starting point to trek into nearby natural wonders and historic sights. Upon arrival, you‘ll have the option to visit the Dambulla vegetable wholesale market. This huge labyrinth of shops and stalls sitting south of the centre of town offers a fascinating look at the vast range of produce grown in Sri Lanka. Items you see being carted about with manic energy will be sold in Colombo tomorrow.

Hotel: Water Garden Sigiriya • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 03 - Dambulla

Today’s adventure takes you from Dambulla to Sigiriya, a colossal stone monument hosting a ruined fortress at its peak. Let the kids burn off some energy with a climb to the top of enormous Sigiriya rock and its ancient fortress. If you’re lucky, you should be able to take in sweeping views of the thick forests below before descending once more. We recommend once you return to Dambulla, take the family for a pleasant bike ride around the town. The numerous temple complexes and religious monuments are well worth a visit if you get the chance.

Hotel: Water Garden Sigiriya • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 04 - Dambulla - Kandy

Say farewell to Dambulla in the morning and take a 3-hour drive towards beautiful Kandy, often recognised as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. The verdant hills surrounding the city along with the tranquil lake in the centre creates the perfect scenery for family photo opportunities, and the old shops and restaurants will keep you busy for hours. Spend the afternoon basking amongst rows of flowers and towering palm trees in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The garden plays home to more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and various trees. It’s a leisurely walk, full of colour.
We will also visit the Spice Gardens to learn about Sri Lankan spice plants and herbs.

Hotel: Elephant Stables • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 05 - Kandy

This morning you’ll visit Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Tooth), which houses the country’s most sacred relic: a tooth said to be the Buddha’s. Pilgrims have been coming to pay homage at this site since the 16th century. We visit a local family for dinner and learn the steps to traditional Kandayan dancing during some lessons from local performers.

Hotel: Elephant Stables • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 06 - Kandy - Bandarawela

After breakfast we hit the road by private bus past lush green hills to Nuwara Eliya (3 hrs) In Nuwara Eliya we have a quick visit of this old British hill station is the heart of the tea growing industry and full of colonial charm. Built entirely during the 19th century, its old world architecture reflects what you might normally expect to find in an English country village. Once referred to as ‘Little England’ by British colonialists, it’s a fascinating mix of water buffalo and brick Victorian buildings, golf courses and tea plantations

We then board the train to board the a local train to Bandarawela (2hours) and head to our accommodation and enjoy the views across the hills and tea plantations.

Note: the local train is often booked out, in the event this happens the group will continue by private transport to Bandarawela.

Hotel: Melheim Resort • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 07 - Bandarawela

After a few days on the road, today runs at a bit of a slower pace. Bandarawela is an unhurried, unpretentious hill-country town that exists to supply the needs of the tea plantation workers and their families. The people of Bandarawela enjoy a simple way of life, where school children and grandparents work together harvesting their crops and tending their livestock. Another distinctive feature of Bandarawela is the colonial flavour still preserved in the many old buildings, including the Bandarawela Hotel and the old Cargill’s Supermarket. Enjoy a leisurely morning walk through the countryside, past tea pickers plucking the tips of the plants and throwing them into the baskets on their backs. The afternoon is free for your enjoyment – you could always get the family together and challenge some of the locals to a friendly game of cricket.

Hotel: Melheim Resort • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 08 - Bandarawela - Udawalawe

After a hearty breakfast and 8:30am checkout, drive to Uda Walawe National Park (approximately 3 hours). This park has an amazing array of animal and birdlife, with more herds of wild elephant than anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Following lunch, discover how this majestic creature has been part of Sri Lankan culture for centuries during a visit to the nearby Elephant Transit Home. Run by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation, ETH provides shelter for orphaned or abandoned baby elephants with the aim of releasing them into the wild. Arriving at a viewing platform at feeding time ensures you’ll get to see the elephants only metres away! Once feeding is over, hop in a jeep for a safari inside the park. Wildlife regularly spotted here includes macaques and larger monkeys, spotted deer, crocodiles and sometimes even leopards. This is a real safari experience, nothing like a zoo or safari park – truly an adventure for all ages!

We check into our campsite around 6pm after a full day of adventure.

Hotel: Mahoora Luxury Camp • Meals: Breakfast, unch & Dinner

Day 09 - Udawalawe - Mirissa

After starting the day with a hearty meal, we travel to the chilled-out beach town of Mirissa and settle in for the night. Mirissa, a stunning crescent beach, dotted with palm trees, ocean waves and local spots to eat authentic Sri Lankan food. You will have free time to discover one of the best spots in Sri Lanka!

Mirissa is a great place to go whale and dolphin watching during the months from November to April.

Hotel: Casa Colombo Collection Mirissa • Meals: Breakfast, unch & Dinner

Day 10 - Mirissa

Take a change of pace this morning with a bit of free time. Relax around Mirissa’s lovely waterfront or take in some of the local sights. The waters are clear and inviting if you’d like to go for a splash in the Laccadive Sea, or you could follow the fresh fish coming in from shore and perhaps grab a bite to share with the family. Consider gathering the family and heading (by tuk-tuk or bicycle) to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring fresh fish to sell along the shore. The local cottage industry of lace products is also well worth a look. In the evening, visit the Dutch Fort in Galle for a spot of kite flying. If the colours of the kites don’t get you excited, the kaleidoscopic hues of the sunset surely will.

Hotel: Casa Colombo Collection Mirissa • Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 - Mirissa - Colombo

Check out of the hotel and head towards Colombo. Once you arrive, take a bit of time to wander through the bazaar, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the bustling market. Afterwards, enjoy a bit of free time. You’re in the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, so there’s more than enough things to do to while away the day. The waterfront is full of life, sights and stalls which makes for an excellent starting point. Regroup in the afternoon and head to Galle Face Green – 5 hectares of ocean-side park bliss. The kids can play a spot of cricket or fly kites while you sit back on the grass before getting together for a final farewell dinner afterwards..

Hotel: Galle Face Hotel • Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 - Colombo - Airport

Today, depending on your departure flight time, you can either relax or check out of the hotel. Don’t forget to recollect the memories of your trip with your chauffer and write your feedback.

Meals: Breakfast

Best time to Travel

This is an all-year-round trip.

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