Ideal for first-time visitors to Sri Lanka, this leisurely-paced small group tour introduces you to the key sights and experiences unique to Sri Lanka. You’ll seek out wildlife in Minneriya National Park, explore the cultural heart of Central Sri Lanka and experience those quintessential experiences such as tea plucking and afternoon tea.

• Negombo: 1 night

• Habarana: 2 nights

• Kandy: 2 nights

• Nuwara Eliya: 2 nights

• Mount Lavinia: 1 night

9nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Negombo Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Sri Lanka.

Day 2: Negombo On arrival you will transfer to your hotel, the stylish Jetwing Sea, which offers a warm welcome, amazing food, and an excellent beachfront location. In the evening you’ll get to meet your local tour leader and the rest of your group at a welcome dinner at Lords Restaurant. Stay: Jetwing Sea. D.

Day 3: Negombo to Habarana Your day begins with a drive inland towards Habarana, stopping en route for lunch at Saruketha, a local restaurant in the town of Kurunegala. Your first afternoon of exploration takes you on a game drive into Minneriya National Park, one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 115 miles. Stay: Cinnamon Lodge. B, L, D.

Day 4: Habarana Today you will have the choice of two optional excursions. The first of these is a visit to the iconic Sigiriya rock, our recommended excursion for guests who are active and willing to climb to the summit of this granite peak. Approximately 1200 steps of varying steepness and difficulty levels take you to the top. This is undoubtedly a tough climb, however it is well worth the effort once you get to witness the views over the jungle and ruins of the ancient city below. The second optional sightseeing tour – perfect for those who wish for less of a physical challenge – takes you to Polonnaruwa, the striking ruins of the second Sri Lankan capital. Of course there is also the option to spend the day at the Cinnamon Lodge, which sits on the edge of a lake and features a spa and offers a variety of experiences. Stay: Cinnamon Lodge. B, D.

Day 5: Habarana to Kandy Continue your exploration of central Sri Lanka, departing Habarana for the city of Kandy. Sri Lanka is famed for its spice gardens, where many quality spices have been grown for centuries and exported far and wide throughout the world. Today, as you make your way south you will have the opportunity to visit one of these gardens and discover a little more about the varieties grown and the importance of the spice trade to the economy and culture of the island. Following lunch at one of the local spice gardens, you’ll continue on to Kandy which sits to the north of Sri Lanka’s hill country. There’s a slight change of pace this afternoon with an introductory tour of Kandy, which is one of the country’s busiest cities. During the tour you’ll discover a bit more of the nation’s spiritual side with a visit to the 14th-Century Embekka Temple, which lies in the countryside to the south west of the city. Marvel at the beautiful wood carvings, beams and pillars. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 87 miles. Stay: Cinnamon Citadel. B, L, D.

Day 6: Kandy The most famous of Kandy’s attractions has to be the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is said to house an ancient relic of Lord Buddha himself, and a visit here is the highlight of your time in the city. You’ll then head out of the city to visit two of the region’s most important Buddhist temples, Gadaladeniya and Lankathilaka. Lunch is included at the roof-top restaurant of the Kandyan Arts Residency. There will be some free time this afternoon, allowing for further exploration of the city, or a chance to enjoy the fantastic riverside setting and facilities of your hotel. Stay: Cinnamon Citadel. B, L, D.

Day 7: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya Today begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. You’ll find a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a renowned orchid collection. Then it’s onwards deep into the island’s beautiful hill country as you travel towards Nuwara Eliya. This region of Sri Lanka is the heart of Sri Lanka’s renowned and historic tea producing industry, a subject you will learn more of during the day’s experience. You will head to a local plantation and factory where you can learn the skill of tea plucking, and how the leaves make their way from the plant to your cup. The tea picking will be followed by lunch at the Glenloch Tea Factory before continuing on to your hotel. The Blackpool Hotel is located in the verdant countryside approximately two hours from Nuwara Eliya. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 62 miles. Stay: The Blackpool. B, l, D.

Day 8: Nuwara Eliya A morning of sightseeing takes you to the historic and beautifully tended Hakgala Botanic Gardens, and the nearby Seetha Amman Temple where legend has it, the Hindu Goddess Sita was held captive by Ravana, the King of the Demons. As well as tea, the Nuwara Eliya is also known for its many strawberry fields, one of which you can visit this morning. Alternatively, active guests can opt for the Horton Plains optional excursion. A three hour trek, over relatively challenging terrain takes you to the renowned World’s End precipice where you can enjoy incredible views over the surrounding countryside. Later the whole group will take high tea at The Grand Hotel – a quintessential Sri Lankan experience. Stay: The Blackpool. B, D.

Day 9: Nuwara Eliya to Mount Lavinia Travel west to Colombo and stop for lunch at The Plantation Hotel in Kithulgala. Alternatively, if you are transferring to a Sri Lankan beach resort on the west or south coast, or onwards to the wildlife parks of southern Sri Lanka, you will transfer to your chosen accommodation this morning. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 102 miles. Stay: Mount Lavinia. B, L, D.

Day 10: Mount Lavinia to UK Transfer to the airport (approx. journey time: 1 hour, 40 miles) for your flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

Sri Lanka’s National Parks 4 nights (available Oct-Apr following North to South itinerary)

This four-night extension provides you with the opportunity to spot more of the island’s wildlife with a visit to two national parks – Yala and Udawalawe.

South Coast Beaches 3 nights (available Oct-Apr following North to South itinerary)

If on the north to south itinerary why not kick back on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.

East Coast Beaches 4 nights (available May-Sep following South to North itinerary)

If you take this itinerary from south to north you can hop across to beautiful Trincomalee or Passikudah, our east coast beach resorts.

Maldives 5 nights

Relax in paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.

Stay longer

Sri Lanka’s National Parks 4 nights (available Oct-Apr following North to South itinerary)

This four-night extension provides you with the opportunity to spot more of the island’s wildlife with a visit to two national parks – Yala and Udawalawe.

South Coast Beaches 3 nights (available Oct-Apr following North to South itinerary)

If on the north to south itinerary why not kick back on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.

East Coast Beaches 4 nights (available May-Sep following South to North itinerary)

If you take this itinerary from south to north you can hop across to beautiful Trincomalee or Passikudah, our east coast beach resorts.

Maldives 5 nights

Relax in paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

If you are short on time, yet wish to see the best of what Sri Lanka offers this tour is a fantastic choice. Although relatively laid-back in pace you can add more energetic optional experiences.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 7 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests.

What to expect

• The Sigiriya and Horton Plains optional experiences are for physically fit and energetic guests
• This itinerary runs south to north from May-Sep to take advantage of the drier weather on the east coast extension.

Single travellers

Dedicated departures recommended for single travellers: 20 Mar; 13 Nov 2017 Single room supplement on other dates from £349

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

All departure dates are guaranteed to operate

2017

North to South: Jan 09, 23; Feb 06, 20; Mar 06; Apr 03, 17; Oct 02, 16, 30; Nov 27; Dec 04
South to North: May 15; Jun 12; Jul 23; Aug 07; Sep 04, 18

2018
North to South:
Mar 05

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £266 per person, ref IO0781.

Excursions

Day 4: Sigiriya from £59 per person or Polonnaruwa from £55 per person; Day 8: Horton Plains from £50 per person

Highlights of Sri Lanka Ceylon Tour

Why Kuoni?

Throughout this itinerary you’ll not only experience the island’s key sights, but you will be able to delve into its culture too. It’s the beautiful hill country of central Sri Lanka where this tour really comes in to its own, with experiences such as tea picking, a traditional afternoon tea at one of the region’s grandest hotels and a visit to a strawberry farm on offer.

Why Kuoni?