Backroads of Sri Lanka

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.

Planning your holiday is easy, or speak to our friendly Consultants.

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 & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs Colombo daily:From $6,400.00Price on Application

Inclusions 
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.

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Handpicked Sri Lanka

From Colombo to Sigiriya, southern beaches to the tea plantations, Kandy to the national parks – you’ll love Ceylon! From the ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and impressive Sigiriya Fort – Sri Lankan culture spans more than 2,000 years, still remaining vibrant and alive today. Trek through lush tea plantations, indulge in seafood feasts in quaint fishing villages and dip your toes in the calm, clear waters off the beach at Mirissa on this all-encompassing adventure for those seeking a unique travel experience.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Colombo – Negombo

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Negombo – Habarana

After breakfast, experience the delectable cuisine of Sri Lanka with a local cooking class. Sample a selection of delicious dishes while learning the art of cooking with Sri Lankan spices. Continue on to Habarana. En route, visit Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, which has been a centre of Sri Lankan rule since the 1st century B.C. Dambulla Rock Temple houses a series of unique drawings in five magnificently constructed cave temples flanking the golden temple of Dambulla, lining walls that shelter 150 statues of Buddha. An enormous gold Buddha statue is the centrepiece of the Rock Temple complex, which still attracts worshippers today. After your visit to Dambulla, travel onwards to Habarana.

Day 3: Habarana

After breakfast, visit the World Heritage listed Sigiriya fortress and climb the rock. The 5th century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage Site is a wonder of ancient engineering & urban planning, with its gigantic ‘Lion Paws’ guarding the staircase to the upper prock platform and overlooking the symmetrical royal gardens below. Surrounded by ramparts and moats, the Lion Rock is painted in frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in Ajanta caves of India. This afternoon there is an option to visit the 11th century capital of Polonnaruwa and explore its stupas, reclining Buddha statues, irrigation canals and carved Hindu sculptures. Return to the hotel in Habarana.

Day 4: Habarana

After breakfast depart for a half-day city tour of Anuradhapura. With its rich heritage, Anuradhapura was the first ancient capital of the kingdom of the same name. The rest of the day will be at leisure.

Day 5: Habarana – Kandy

After breakfast, proceed to Kandy via Matale. An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale is renowned for its many plantations including tea, rubber, vegetables and spices. Visit a spice garden to learn about the therapeutic values of spices and enjoy a refreshing cup of herbal tea. Travel onwards to Kandy for a city tour. Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe – before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy – the World Heritage Site & last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings – has a waelth of culture, history and heritage. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. This afternoon, take a walking tour of the city and enjoy an evening cultural show.

Day 6: Kandy

This morning take part in a market visit and cooking class and learn some of the secrets of Sri Lankan cuisine. After lunch, drive the short distance to Peradeniya and see the magnificent royal botanical gardens.

Day 7: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya

Travel to charming Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of tea country. This afternoon, enjoy a complimentary High Tea at the Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya.

Day 8: Nuwara Eliya – Ella

Another scenic drive through the hills brings you to beautiful Ella, a quaint hillside village. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 9: Ella – Uda Walawe National Park

This morning take a scenic train ride to Haputale. Continue by road to Uda Walawe and take an afternoon safari into the national park, famous for its elephant herds

Day 10: Uda Walawe National Park – Galle

This morning visit the Elephant Transfer Home, where orphaned and injured elephants are rehabilitated. Take a scenic drive to charming Galle, the beautifully-preserved for town overlooking the Indian Ocean

Day 11: Galle

Take a walking tour of the Galle Fort with its wonderful fusion of Dutch, Portuguese, Moorish and British architecture. There is plenty of free time to explore the cobbled streets and cafes at your leisure

Day 12: Galle – Colombo

Depart Galle and stop at Lunuganga Estate, the former home of architect Geoffery Bawa.

Day 13: Depart Colombo

Transfer to the airport after breakfast.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs Colombo Daily:From $2,707.00Price on Application

Inclusions 
Meals: 12 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Transport:Airport transfers & Air-conditioned vehicle
Rail:Train Ticket: Ella - Haputale
Accommodation:12 nights accommodation
Guide:English-speaking driver-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.

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