Sri Lanka in Retrospect

11 Nights 12 Days | Private Guided Tour

Explore the wonderful wilds of Sri Lanka on this unforgettable luxury family adventure. A venture back to the good old days of Sri Lanka. Drive through the mystical jungles and amazing tea fields in search of true Sri Lankan hospitality.

What to Expect

Your 13 day trip begins with a night in colonial Galle Fort on the southern coast, heading into the rural hinterland for an authentic taste of everyday life here. You’ll then follow the shoreline round to Yala National Park and two days of safari in search leopard, elephants and more in this vast protected area, staying at an immersive camp with excellent guides.

Next venture inland to the rolling plantations of Sri Lanka’s Tea Country for a hike among the hills and pickers from the wonderfully relaxing Ceylon Tea Trails, before two more days safari in Gal Oya National Park, a truly off the beaten track wilderness which you’ll have virtually to yourselves.

Return to (ancient) civilisation in Kandy and the Cultural Triangle, including two nights at the eco-chic Vil Uyana, from where you can head out at night to spot wide-eyed Loris in the trees, witness the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants in Minneriya National Park and meet the monkeys of Polonnaruwa’s 8th century ruins.

All in all your tour comes with luxury accommodation, safari’s through Yala National Park, Gal Oya National Park and Minneriya National park and the complete experience with some amazing accommodation all through out the country.

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 01 - Airport - Galle

As you land, your chauffeur will welcome you to our precious island and take you on a 3 hour drive southward to Galle

Spend an evening soaking up the unique atmosphere of Galle, a stunning town at the southern edge of Sri Lanka with fascinating colonial history evident at every turn through its eclectic assemblage of architecture. It’s walls and everything inside them are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with beautiful Dutch fusion architecture, a commanding Victorian lighthouse, grand churches and mosques, all in a sultry tropical setting

Hotel: Amangalla • Meals: Dinner

Day 02 - Galle - Yala

Experience the diversity and beauty of rural Galle. This stunning part of the island is best known for its Fort and beaches but in Galle’s hinterland areas the jungle, rice paddy, and quaint mud roads that make up the small villages surrounding the town are an attraction in their own right.

Your journey begins with a boat ride down the Kapu Ela River accompanied by a local naturalist, who will point out wildlife as you pass local village hamlets and cinnamon plantations. Next, take a leisurely 9km (5.5 mile) ride through rural Galle, its paddy fields, small villages and markets, ending with refreshing herbal tea.

Later proceed to Yala and relax

Hotel: Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safari • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 03 - Yala

Occupying the south-eastern corner of the island, the vast Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s second largest national park and also its most popular. The park itself is divided into five blocks, two of which, Ruhuna and Kumana, can be explored on guided game drives, and stretches from the sea inland, encompassing some 979 square kilometres (378 square miles) of forest, wetlands and savannah. This varied landscapes provides a vital home for hundreds of Sri Lankan elephant, sloth bear, crocodile and rare wild water buffalo, as well over 200 bird species.

But it is the leopard, found here in perhaps the highest concentration in the world, that are iconic of the park. Their secretive nature means spotting Sri Lanka’s top predator is still a challenge, but accompanied by a skilled guide and a little luck, there a few better places in the world to find these enigmatic cats.

Hotel: Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safari • Meals: All Inclusive

Day 04 - Yala - Nuwara Eliya

Undulating hills blanketed in green plantations, Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is the world’s fourth largest producer of tea. You’ll see the hills dotted with women quickly but meticulously harvesting leaves by hand, baskets slung across their backs. Skillful workers deftly pluck the most flavorsome and aromatic parts of the bushes – the topmost leaves and buds – which are then sent to nearby factories to be dried and processed.

The first tea plantations were established in Kandy in the 1860s and now most of the scenic central region’s elevated slopes are covered in contoured rows of painstakingly maintained plants.

Hotel: Ceylon Tea Trails • Meals: All Inclusive

Day 05 - Nuwara Eliya

A leisurely walk or an adventure trek is a delightful way to experience the varied landscapes, exotic flora, abundant birdlife and the relaxed rhythm of life here. Take in vistas of mountain lakes, manicured tea gardens, forests and doll’s house villages. A guide can be provided or self walk on marked trails which are selected for varying levels of ability.

Hotel: Ceylon Tea Trails • Meals: All Inclusive

Day 06 & 07 - Gal Oya

Gal Oya National Park is something of a hidden gem, one of Sri Lanka’s least visited national parks due to its remoteness, yet it is a place of beautiful landscapes home to vibrant wildlife. Centred around the vast Senanayake Samudra reservoir, the park is covered in evergreen forest and swathes of savannah, while the lake itself is peppered with islands which were once hilltops. It is one of best places in the country to see elephants, who can sometimes be spotted swimming between the islets on boat safaris, following the routes of their traditional migration 60 years after the waters rose.

Other animals in the park include Sri Lankan leopard, langur, toque macaque, sloth bear, wild boar, mugger crocodile, water buffalo and deer, as well as some 150 bird species which can be seen in flocks numbering in the thousands by the water. There is also a rich cultural aspect to the region, with the ancient Brahmi inscriptions in Henebedde Cave and sacred shrine at Dighavapi, said to have been sanctified by the Buddha during his third visit to Sri Lanka, as well as being home to the indigenous Vedda people.

Hotel: Gal Oya Lodge • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 08 - Kandy

A world of ancient kings, ornate temples, lush gardens and vibrant traditions, Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka and its cultural capital. Nestled in the midst of hills and surrounded by tropical paddy fields and tea plantations, the town is the home of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), the country’s most important religious shrine. Browse the bustling market places with bright, fresh produce, local delicacies and fragrant spices, or spend the day exploring the opulent temples and learning about the city’s rich history. The dense downtown area is surrounded by tropical rainforest, so look out for exotic monkeys swinging overhead.

Spend the evening leisurely.

Hotel: Kandy House • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 09 - Kandy - Sigiriya

The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest of the botanical gardens of Sri Lanka and one of the finest in Asia. In the Mediterranean climate of Kandy, the gateway to the central highlands, the Gardens lies at an elevation of 460 meters above sea-level, tightly bounded on three sides by the loop of the River Mahaweli. Your expert botanist guide will take you on a leisurely walk around, sharing interesting and insightful stories about this place and Sri Lanka.

Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa were the three great Sinhalese capitals, and together they form an area known as the Cultural Triangle. The heart of Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisation, this historic region is crammed full of temples and monuments and its ruined cities are fascinating places to explore.

Hotel: Jetwing Vil Uyana • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 10 - Sigiriya

Made famous by Disney’s Monkey Kingdom movie, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa is home to a vast monkey population – purple-faced leaf monkeys, toque macaque, and the grey langur – living among the impressively preserved 8th century ruins. The Smithsonian Primate Research Cente has been conducting conservation and scientific research in the area for almost half a century and a researcher will show you around the site and give you an upclose insight into the lives and social structures of these amazing primates. You have the option to continue to explore Polonnaruwa by yourself after the tour.

Minneriya National Park’s ‘Gathering’ is the largest assembling of Asian Elephants at any given time, a unique phenomenon during the dry period from May to October when the waters of the ancient Minneriya Tank reservoir recede exposing fresh green grass which is a favourite of the elephants. Herds from all of the North Central Province head here to eat, socialize and bathe in the waters which is surrounded by varied habitats of wetlands, grasslands and scrub jungle and it is not unheard of to see hundreds of animals on a single safari. Other wildlife to be spotted here include langur, macaques, buffalo, deer, crocodiles and, if you are particularly lucky, leopard and sloth bear. Hundreds of bird species can also be seen.

Hotel: Jetwing Vil Uyana • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 11 - Sigiriya - Colombo

Return to Colombo today. In the afternoon, embark on a historic walking tour with a Colombo native. Experience Pettah Bazaar, and visit the Old Dutch Museum, former home to Count August Carl Van Ranzow.

Hotel: Uga Residence • Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 - Colombo - Airport

Today’s activities will depend on your departure flight time. We recommend choosing an evening flight out of Colombo so you can experience a bit of Colombo today. If time permits, do a bit of shopping or try out a few restaurants which we could happily recommend.

Meals: Breakfast

Best time to Travel

This trip is available all year round.

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