Essential Sri Lanka

Essential Sri Lanka

From $ 1,500 AUD


On this trip we’ve taken Sri Lanka, boiled it like the tea leaves the country is famous for and strained out the most delicious stuff. Wandering past barracuda at the Negombo Fish Market, searching for elephants in Yala, munching a spicy curry in Ella and getting horizontal on the beach in Unawatuna, this 11-day tour is a Sri Lanka snapshot.

Trip Name
Essential Sri Lanka
Last Updated
  • Cruise around in a 4WD on a wildlife safari, searching for elephants and leopards, then relax lakeside at tranquil Tissa.
  • Shark, squid, barracuda and hundreds of things with fins that nobody knows the name of – visit the sensational Negombo Fish Market.
  • Learn the benefits of washing down a spicy curry with piping-hot Ceylon tea during lunch in a lush mountain village near Ella.
  • Leave the imprint of you face on the train window as you stare out wide-eyed from Kandy to Ella – it’s basically a 6-hour movie of amazing scenery.
  • Two days (and nights) on Unawatuna's golden, palm-lined beaches can cure almost all of life’s problems, including any residual tightness in your photo-taking finger.


ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Negombo
Welcome to Negombo, Sri Lanka. There are are no activities planned today so you're free to arrive at any time. Your adventure kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. Although Colombo is the commercial capital and by far the largest city in Sri Lanka, it's still relatively small. You won't be staying in the capital itself, but in a place by the beach. There are plenty of beach bars, pubs and restaurants available close by.
Day 2 - Kandy
Head to the fish market in Negombo this morning. This can be quite an intense affair, but the variety of fish being presented by the locals is a great experience. From here, begin your journey by private vehicle to Kandy and visit a spice garden on the way, which should take around three hours in total (120 kilometres). On arrival to Kandy, there's an optional visit to the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa), the most important shrine in the country. It's also worth attending a cultural show while in town - the Kandyan dance performances are awesome. The Royal Botanical Garden is just ten minutes away from your accommodation and there is access to the swimming pool of Kandyan Residencies (next door). Your evening is free to do as you wish.
Day 3 - Kandy
Today is a free day to explore Kandy or perhaps organise a day trip to visit both Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Dambulla Caves Temple. The World Heritage-listed temple has been a pilgrimage site for 22 centuries and for good reason, these interconnected caves offer ancient Buddhist cave art. At Sigiriya, also on the World Heritage list, you can scale the remains of an ancient fortress carved into the magnificent rock that juts from the low-lying plains. Chat to your leader and fellow travellers about organising and booking optional activities while in Kandy.
Day 4 - Kandy
Feeling a little worse for wear? If you’re looking to relax you might want to book an Ayurvedic massage to relax those weary muscles. Or if you haven't had a chance to visit the Royal Botanical Garden yet, then why not take a stroll around it today.
Day 5 - Ella
This morning, say goodbye to Kandy as you hop on a train for around 6 hours to Ella. It’s a kinda long trip, but you can buy all sorts of yum treats from the onboard sellers. On arrival to Ella, check in to your accommodation which is within walking distance of the station. Once you've dropped off your luggage, perhaps head out for a visit to a local tea factory. If this doesn't take your fancy, go for dinner in one of the many local restaurants and bars.
Day 6 - Ella
Venture out on an included half day trek to Ella Gap this morning. We'll stop in a small mountain village for a spicy curry lunch and a pot of Ceylon tea. This is an awesome way of getting to know the area and a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals. The rest of the day is then free to do what you want.
Day 7 - Tissamaharama
Head out of Ella in a private vehicle for around three hours to Tissamaharama. Once settled, you'll head out on a jeep safari where you'll come across the area's native wildlife such as elephants, leopards and aquatic birds. This is an amazing experience that you'll never forget.
Day 8 - Unawatuna
Journey west in a private vehicle for around three and a half hours to Unawatuna. This fantastic stretch of beach has plenty of local restaurants and bars to relax in. There are no included activities today, so you'll have plenty of free time to explore Unawatuna and its surrounds.
Day 9 - Unawatuna
Life’s a beach, so spend the day on one. With a book and a cocktail and a bottle of sunscreen. Possibly head out early on an optional whale watching tour or take a day trip to visit the Galle Royal Dutch Fort. Walk around the fort for free or 'bikesplore' the lesser known areas of the city on an Urban Adventure. You'll be staying at a guest house on the beach tonight, so make use of the many beach restaurants and bars that line the shore.
Day 10 - Colombo
Leave Unawatuna behind and make the short journey to Galle, where you'll jump on a train to Colombo (approximately four hours). On arrival to Sir Lanka's capital, why not head out on an optional city walk with your leader? If you'd rather pick up some last-minute shopping, then pay a visit to the mass amounts of shops that are available. Tonight is free but your leader will suggest a spot for an optional final group dinner.
Day 11 - Colombo
Have string hoppers and a super-black coffee for breakfast, then pull your saddest face as our trip comes to an end.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
20-03-202230-03-2022AUD $ 1,605-
10-04-202220-04-2022AUD $ 1,605-
15-05-202225-05-2022AUD $ 1,545-
05-06-202215-06-2022AUD $ 1,545-
03-07-202213-07-2022AUD $ 1,545-
24-07-202203-08-2022AUD $ 1,545-
21-08-202231-08-2022AUD $ 1,545-
11-09-202221-09-2022AUD $ 1,545-
25-09-202205-10-2022AUD $ 1,545-
09-10-202219-10-2022AUD $ 1,605-
30-10-202209-11-2022AUD $ 1,605-
20-11-202230-11-2022AUD $ 1,605-
11-12-202221-12-2022AUD $ 1,635-
18-12-202228-12-2022AUD $ 1,670-
25-12-202204-01-2023AUD $ 1,670-
22-01-202301-02-2023AUD $ 1,500-
12-02-202322-02-2023AUD $ 1,500-
12-03-202322-03-2023AUD $ 1,500-
19-03-202329-03-2023AUD $ 1,500-
09-04-202319-04-2023AUD $ 1,500-
14-05-202324-05-2023AUD $ 1,500-
04-06-202314-06-2023AUD $ 1,500-
02-07-202312-07-2023AUD $ 1,500-
23-07-202302-08-2023AUD $ 1,500-
20-08-202330-08-2023AUD $ 1,500-
10-09-202320-09-2023AUD $ 1,500-
24-09-202304-10-2023AUD $ 1,500-
08-10-202318-10-2023AUD $ 1,500-
29-10-202308-11-2023AUD $ 1,500-
19-11-202329-11-2023AUD $ 1,500-
10-12-202320-12-2023AUD $ 1,500-
17-12-202327-12-2023AUD $ 1,500-
24-12-202303-01-2024AUD $ 1,500-


Hotel (10 nights)


Public bus,Train,Private vehicle