The jewel of the Indian Ocean with its ancient sites, beautiful beaches, pristine wilderness, fascinating culture and delectable cuisine – Sri Lanka has it all! This fascinating journey includes some of the island’s better-known sites, as well as some of its more off-beat locations, with authentic dining experiences along the way.
Begin your 21-day journey of the Backroads of Sri Lanka at the beautiful Hoakelle Estate. Roam the lush tropical gardens or simply relax by the pool. Sample local curries on your guided exploration of rural Horakelle. Stay at a secluded eco retreat set amidst six acres of remote wilderness and tranquil lakes located at the foot of the Rock Temple in Anamaduwa.
Travel to Sri Lanka’s north and take a boat to the former Portuguese settlement of Delft Island – best known for its population of wild horses. Feast on a variety of Sri Lankan curries as you dine with your host family in Jaffna. Enjoy a unique boat safari at Gal Oya National Park to spot wildlife drinking on the waters edge. Visit the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Take the scenic rail journey to Ella passing lush tea plantations and mist shrouded mountains along the way. Indulge in a private and secluded beach house stay at Matara. Bicycle tours in Jaffna & Kandy. A 21-day journey that will give you memories for a lifetime.
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Day 1: Arrive Colombo
Upon arrival in Colombo you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Horakelle Estate is the ideal place to start your Sri Lankan adventure. Enjoy a walk around the lush gardens, or swim in the pool.
Day 2: Horakelle
Begin your exploration of the small villages nearby with a locally guided tuk tuk ride on quiet roads of rural Horakelle. Stops are made along the way to sample the local curries that this area is famous for. Afternoon is at your leisure.
Day 3: Anamaduwa
Proceed to Anamaduwa – a sprawling 2,000-year-old archaeological treasure. Check in to The Mud House, a secluded eco retreat nestled at the foot of the ancient Rock Temple in Anamaduwa. Set amidst six acres of remote wilderness, tranquil lakes and abundant fauna and flora, there is plenty to see and do for the more adventurous.
Day 4: Anamaduwa
Steeped in myth and legend, the Paramankanda Rock Temple is said to hold mysterious powers found behind its trap doors and its rumored underground tunnel network. At ground level, the temple has a number of fascinating shrine rooms found under the overhanging rock and offers incredible views from atop its stone staircase. Later enjoy a lake swim or explore the surrounding villages.
Day 5: Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura – the city of Kings – was once the seat of power in Sri Lanka before being abandoned in search of a new capital after numerous invasions. Today Anuradhapura’s sacred Bodhi tree stands as majestic as it did during the reign of King Tissa – over 2,000 years ago.
Day 6: Jaffna
Travel by train to Jaffna – a city of attractive palm-shaded colonial-era suburbs and intriguing temples and churches. After meeting your host family, embark on an extensive guided city tour travelling like the locals, by bike. Later your host family will share with you a traditional Sri Lankan meal of various soups, curries and tropical fruits.
Day 7: Jaffna
Start this morning at the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, the city’s most important Hindu temple. Later, explore the city’s major sights including Kayts jetty, Hanuman temple, Kantharodai Buddhist miniature pagodas, Keerimalai pond and Naguleswaram temple. Lunch will be taken at a village home served on banana leaf in traditional Jaffna style. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax on the peaceful Casuarina beach.
Day 8: Delft Island
Delft Island is about as remote as it gets in Sri Lanka. A small and isolated island that due to civil war remained off limits from tourism for many years. The island is perhaps best known for its population of wild horses, which were left by the Portuguese and remain an iconic feature of the rural life here. Tour the islands other attractions before enjoying a seafood lunch at a local home on the island.
Day 9: Habarana
En route to our next destination – Habarana – we enter Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and continue onto the Ritigala Forest Monastery. Ritigala has the feel of an undiscovered world and archaeologists have uncovered various structures and implements dating back to the 4th century B.C. – proof of a once extensive monastic complex. The stone meditational pathways snaking through the jungle seem from another world. Spend the next few nights at Elephant Watch Hut – and as its name suggests, it is not unusual to be awoken in the wee hours by an elephant strolling by your stilted hut.
Day 10: Habarana
Visit Sigiriya. Rising over the dry and baron plains is the magnificent Rock Fortress of Sigiriya – also known as Lion Rock. Later a short journey north brings you to Pidurangala – a massive rock formation offering magnificent views of the lush forests below.
Day 11: Kandy
Proceed to Kandy, the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings and a city still in touch with its colonial past. Wander around the city’s lake and streets and explore the local markets. Located in the Royal Palace complex, also visit the revered Temple of the Tooth that houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha.
Day 12: Kandy
A great way to see Kandy at a slower pace is by bicycle. A guided tour on an older style Lumala bike will show you the backroads and narrow laneways of Kandy, travelling much as they did in Ceylon in the 1920’s. Along the way visit some interesting cottage industries, explore the tiny shops and pause for a snack break at a picturesque location.
Day 13: Ella
A train journey today will take you high up into the hills passing lush tea plantations and mist shrouded mountains before reaching the town of Ella. Here the air is cooler and the vegetation is lush. This is one of Sri Lanka’s prime hiking destinations yet at the same time is the perfect spot to unwind for a few days. Stay at a homestay where you can experience the genuine hospitality of the local families.
Day 14: Ella
An early morning optional leisurely hike to Little Adam’s Peak will be rewarded with stunning views across the valley of the surrounding hills.
Day 15: Gal Oya
Gal Oya is an unexplored treasure in Sri Lanka – a national park surrounded by water and islands. Safaris are conducted by boat giving you the opportunity to observe wildlife at close range as they gather at the water’s edge. Herds of elephant can often be seen swimming from one island to another – one of the many highlights this park has to offer. You can also join one of the resident naturalists for a walk to discover the beauty and birdlife around the lodge.
Day 16: Matara
Today proceed to Matara where you will spend two days at a secluded beach house. Enjoy walks along the beach, swim in the pool, and stroll along the tropical garden.
Day 17: Matara
A full day to relax and enjoy your surroundings and the facilities of your secluded and private beach house.
Day 18: Galle
Continue onto the coastal town of Galle – a town of great beauty where colonial architecture meets lush tropical vegetation and the glimmering sea. Galle Fort is a living-breathing city within a city complete with boutique shops, cafes and hotels. Take a walk and enjoy the views of the sunset from the ramparts of the fort – a short way from your accommodation.
Day 19: Galle
Morning at leisure. Later, visit Galle’s major sights. Spend time exploring the inner sanctum of Galle Fort where time seemingly has stood still for hundreds of years and marvel at the fortifications that resemble those in the coastal areas of Portugal. Dine tonight in a local home trying the many exotic curries this city is famous for.
Day 20: Depart Colombo
Your tour concludes today. Transfer to Colombo for international departing flight.
|2020 Dates & Prices||Twin Share||Solo Traveller|
|Departs Colombo daily:||From $6,400.00||Price on Application|
|Meals:||20 breakfasts, all meals at Anamaduwa and Jaffna, 1 dinner|
|Transport:||Airport transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle|
|Rail:||Train Ticket: Anuradhapura - Jaffna / Kandy - Ella|
|Accommodation:||20 nights accommodation|
|Guide:||Local English Speaking Guide|
|Entrance Fees & Touring:||Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary|
* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.