SRI LANKA EXPEDITION
This amazing tour through the cultural triangle gives you a first hand insight to Sri Lanka’s well preserved culture and heritage. Starting with Kandy and its colonial structures followed by Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Temple, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura which are all renowned UNESCO World Heritage Sights. This coupled with a lovely safari through the Minneriya National Park offers you a great array of activities throughout your tour.
Trip Summary: Sri Lanka | 7-10 Days
Next Group Trip: Year Round
Group Size: Max 16 persons
Price From: $3600 per person
Dates & Prices:
Trip Price $3600
Single Room Supplement + $300
4 Day Extension + $1,600/person
*Extensions are not eligible for discounts or promotions.
All inclusive package including accommodation for all nights, in-country transport by private bus, train, or flight, lecture and instruction materials from our expert guides, all activities, and meals as listed on the itinerary. *International Airfare and Visa Fees are not included.
This Acanela Expedition © is the perfect fusion between comfort & adventure. Embark on this small group exploration and have hands-on encounters with local peoples and cultures, while experiencing all the historical & culinary highlights along the way.
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Itinerary | 7 Days
Arrival Airport: Colombo International Airport (CMB)
Day 1 | Dambulla: Arrive at Colombo International Airport. Here, you will be met by a designated chauffer guide. After the formalities at the airport you will be escorted to your air conditioned car and proceed to Pinnwala and visit Elephant Orphanage. (Travel Time – 2 to 2 ½ hrs). Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is the home for young elephants who have been displaced or lost from their natural habitat, located at Pinnawala village in Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is the best place for an up close and personal experience with the world’s largest land mammals! Today with 70 elephants herein, Pinnawela has become the home to the largest captive group of elephants in the world. Afterwards, proceed to Dambulla and visit Cave Temple (Travel Time - 2 to 2 ½ hrs). Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. Accommodation: Amaya Lake Sigiriya or Aliya Resort Dambulla
Day 2 | Dambulla: After breakfast at the hotel, visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. (Travel Time – 20 to 30 mins). Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where the King Kasyapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, 'the Lion Rock'. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Walk through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past. After, proceed to Minneriya and go on a lovely jeep safari in Minneriya National Park. (Travel Time – 30 to 40 mins). This safari takes you on a ride through the Minneriya National Park. Enjoy the sight of over 150 elephants congregating in one place during the famous Great Elephant Gathering, which happens in the dry season between May to October. In addition to elephants, get a chance to also see many mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in the scrublands, forests and other areas. Accommodation: Amaya Lake Sigiriya or Aliya Resort Dambulla
Day 3 | Kandy: After breakfast at the hotel check out and proceed Kandy. En route make a stop at Matale and visit the spice and herbal garden in Matale. (Travel Time – 1 ½ to 2 hrs.) Take a guided tour of a spice and herbal garden, where you learn about spices, such as coriander, chili, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg; and their uses. Thereafter, continue to Kandy and check in to the hotel. (Travel Time – 1 ½ to 2 hrs.) Later, go on technical tours related to the arts such as gem crafting, woodcarving and batiks. And watch the Kandyan Cultural Show with its colorful traditional dances and delightful music. The Kandy Cultural Show gives an opportunity to experience some of the traditions of Sri Lanka. Enjoy this hour long extravaganza as some of the most popular art forms of the island take to the stage. Be wowed by fire dancers and sword dancers. Watch the colorful Kandyan dancers take to the air to the thrumming primal beat of the drums. Accommodation: Earl's Regency Resort Kandy or Similar
Day 4| Kandy to Nuwara Eliya: After breakfast at the hotel, check out and visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. (Travel Time –10 to 20 mins). The Temple of the Tooth Relic is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built in the 16th century as the place of veneration and protection for Lord Buddha’s sacred tooth. Walk through the beautifully embellished passageways and elaborately painted halls, done in red, cream and black. Lounge against delicately carved pillars and be amazed by the beautiful golden statues. This is an unforgettable experience in history and art. Visit Ramboda Falls, which is the 11th tallest waterfall in the country. Get a guided tour through Mackwoods Tea Estate and learn more about the varieties, processing methods and qualities of tea. (Travel Time –1 to 1 ½ hrs). See how the world’s famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. In 1824 a tea plant was brought to Ceylon by the British from China and was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya for non-commercial purposes. James Taylor was a British citizen who introduced commercial tea plantation in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). He arrived to Sri Lanka in 1852 and settled down in Loolecondera estate in Kandy. Today even people who have never heard of Sri Lanka are familiar with Ceylon tea, which is known for its quality. Later on, proceed to Nuwara Eliya, check into the hotel and relax. (Travel Time – 50 to 60 mins). Toward the evening, go explore the city of Nuwara Eliya. Visit the highland city that was the premium holiday resort town of the British in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Enjoy walking through the streets with their pretty little cottages, quaint villas and beautiful mansions. Make a memory in the old red-bricked postoffice as you purchase a postcard to take home or send to your friends. Relax at Queen Victoria Park or on the shores of Lake Gregory. Accommodation: Jetwing St. Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya or Similar
Day 5 | Nuwara Eliya / Elle: After breakfast at the hotel, check out and proceed to misty Ella. (Travel Time – 2 to 4 hrs.) Explore the city of Ella and its most interesting places. Pass through bright green tea fields, tough stretches of rock, and get to see the magical views of Little Adam’s Peak. Walk over the history seeped Nine Arches Bridge and listen to the story of its construction. End your hike at the Demodara Railway station with its unique loop-over track design. Accommodation: Jetwing St. Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya or Similar
Day 6 | Nuwara Eliya / Elle: After breakfast at the hotel go on a lovely trek in Ella Rock. (Travel Time – 2 to 4 hours). This picturesque a three-hour hike takes you up to Ella Rock, which is one of the highest viewpoints in the area. Watch the distant Namunukula Range and Little Adam’s Peak along the way. Get to see some stupendous early morning views of the landscape from the top of the rock. Some of the identifiable landmarks that can be seen are the Bandarawala Range, Poonagala Hills, Narangala, the Ella Gap and the Badulla train tracks. Accommodation: Jetwing St. Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya or Similar
Day 7 | Elle to Colombo: After you last delicious breakfast, pack your bags, check out of your hotel and continue onwards to Colombo International Airport to catch your flights back home (please note that this is a long 5-7 hour drive so you should purchase a flight that departs in the evening).
Departure Airport: Colombo International Airport (CMB)
Optional 4-Day Extension:
Day 7| Elle to Yala: After breakfast at the hotel, check out and go on an educational tour ton how to make buffalo curd. If you have ever wondered how the local buffalo curd or even normal yoghurt is made; this is the ultimate experience for you. Go on a guided tour of the farmhouses in Tissa Village. Watch the buffalos be milked. Let the experts teach you the process of converting milk to curd. Try your hand at curd making with the assistance of your tutors. Finish up by tasting this delicious dessert topped with kithul treacle. Afterwards, proceed to Yala and check in to the hotel. (Travel Time – 2 ½ to 3 hrs). Later, go on lovely jeep safari in Yala National Park. This amazing three-hour Safari offers the opportunity to visit Yala National Park, the second largest on the island based off the Southeastern coast of Sri Lanka. Get the chance to see the famous Sri Lankan leopards, indigenous wild water buffalo, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and large herds of Sri Lankan Elephants. The park is also home to many other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Proceed to Galle, enroute pause at Rekawa and visit Rekawa Turtle hatchery. (Travel Time – 1 ½ to 2 hrs). The Rekawa Turtle Hatchery is on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Learn more about the five endangered sea turtle species that come to the shores of Sri Lanka to nest. Learn how the Kosgoda Turtle Care Program helps protect the nests until they hatch and increases the chances of survival for the babies. Get a chance to see, touch and feed baby turtles; or even injured adult turtles that the Turtle Hatchery cares for. Once finished at the hatchery, proceed to Galle and check in to the hotel. (Travel Time – 2 to 2 ½ hrs) Accommodation: Galle Hotel
Day 8 | Galle: After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Handungoda Tea Factory. (Travel Time- 30 to 40 mins). The Handunugoda Tea Factory is also known as the Virgin White Tea Factory. Learn the history of the tea that this factory produces. Find out how the famous Virgin White Tea is plucked and processed while completely untouched by human hands. Engage in a tasting session with a delicious cup of tea and scrumptious chocolate cake and purchase some tea leaves as a souvenir! Thereafter, watch the captivating sight of fishermen of Koggala as they perch on stilts in the waters along the coast of Koggala. Hear the stories of how stilt fishing came to Sri Lanka, from the mouths of the fishermen who have practiced the craft for generations. Learn how stilt fishing is done in detail and marvel at the level of skill that goes into it. Capture some amazing photographs of the fishermen silhouetted against the shoreline at sunset. Later, proceed to Galle and visit the Old Colonial City. Explore the secrets of Galle where the Portuguese and Dutch made their headquarters. Visit the Galle Fort which is one of the best preserved fortifications in Asia. View the museums of Galle and the lighthouse. Walk through the cobblestoned streets with their Dutch names and listen to your guide tell their stories. Relax with a king coconut or a cup of tea caressed by a breeze of the tropics. When you finish, return to the hotel and enjoy a relaxing evening. Accommodation: Galle Hotel
Day 9 | Galle to Colombo: After breakfast at the hotel, go on a lovely boat safari in the Madu River with its flourishing ecosystem. (Travel Time – 1 to 1 ½ hrs). Journey through the secretive passages created by the mangroves. See basking crocodiles and water monitors. Visit one of the small islands with its cinnamon harvesting natives. Enjoy the restorative qualities of the famous fish massage. Observe the waterbirds in their natural habitats. Then, proceed to Hikkaduwa and spend a leisurely evening at Hikkaduwa beach. Walk down one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka; embraced by the warmth of the sun, the softness of the sand and the cool sea breeze. Experience the romance of the beautiful ocean at sunset. Relax in one of the luxury hotels that cluster on the beach. Watch the turtles come to nest from the sea. Enjoy the adrenaline rush of water sports like jet-skiing, windsurfing and more (water sports at own expense). After an adventurous day, return to the hotel and relax. (Travel Time – 2 to 2 ½ hrs). Accommodation: Colombo Hotel
Day 10 | Colombo to Airport: After breakfast at the hotel, check out and proceed to Colombo and go on city and shopping tour in the Commercial City of Sri Lanka. Experience the colorful lights and bright life of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. Visit historic monuments such as the Old Lighthouse, the Old Parliament, Galle Face Hotel, Galle Face Green, Gangarama Temple, the National Museum and more. Enjoy the malls of Independence Square or the Race Course. Visit boutique shops and designer stores. When you finish exploring, proceed to the airport after spending a memorable time on this beautiful island.