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Sri Lanka Organised Trips

Anuradhapura Kingdom Ruins (Car & Driver excursion)

Dating back as far as 377BC, this ancient kingdom is an essential stop on any tour of Sri Lanka. Established as the first capital city of the island by King Pandukabhaya, it survived 119 successive kings for over 1500 years before becoming one of the world’s most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Regarded as the cradle of Buddhism, the sacred site is home to a vast network of temples and monasteries which can be explored at leisure during this four-hour tour. Discover the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree which is said to have grown from a cutting from the tree in India under which Buddha attained enlightenment, marvel at the preservation of the Twin Ponds and soak up the impressive history at the onsite museum housed within one of the ancient monasteries which is filled with ornate trinkets dating back to the pre-Christian era.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama and Sigiriya hotels

Good to know
Legs and shoulders must be covered, and shoes will need to be removed when exploring the temples.

Duration:

Half day

Bundala Bird Watching Safari (Car & Driver excursion and stay-put excursion)

The first wetland to be declared as a RAMSAR site in Sri Lanka, Bundala National Park is a must do for bird enthusiasts. The UNESCO designated biosphere reserve hosts 197 species and is one of the best places to observe both migrant and resident birds which use the parks five shallow lagoons as feeding sites. Delight in the impressive bird song as your personal tracker guides you through the six different types of wetland where you’ll spot the likes of Black Headed Ibis, Painted Storks and Terns along with other small mammals, reptiles and butterflies from the comfort of your own private jeep.

• Daily departures
• Operates between October and March
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Hambantota, Tangalle, Udawalawe and Yala
• Available for guests staying at hotels in Tangalle and Hambantota

Good to know
Due to the early start time of the morning excursion, we’d recommend an afternoon visit for those staying further afield.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 5.30am or 2.30pm
End time: 9am or 6pm

Ceylon Tea Picking Experience (Car & Driver excursion)

The story of Ceylon tea begins over 200 years ago when Sri Lanka was still a British colony. With its alchemy of land, sun and rain the island provides the ideal climate for its cultivation. For those looking to delve deeper into the cultivation process and history of Sri Lanka’s greatest export, this immersive tea picking experience is not to be missed. A good cup of tea starts in the field and you’ll begin by observing the fine art of tea plucking before heading back inside and learning all about tea processing with a thorough factory visit. Much like wine, each batch of tea must be taste-tested, and you’ll get a quick masterclass on what to look for from your knowledgeable guide. After all that learning, end the day with a refreshing cup of Ceylon Tea straight from the plantation and a newfound appreciation for the hard work that goes into every cup.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Nuwara Eliya and Kandy

Good to know
This is a great half day trip for those travelling between Nuwara Eliya and Kandy or vice versa, due to its location between the two.

Duration:

Half day

Dambulla Cave Temple (car & driver and stay-put excursion)

A fantastic stopping off point when travelling between Habarana or Kandalama and Kandy, the famous cave complexes of Dambulla are a haven for those interested in Sri Lanka’s rich history. Dating back to the first Century BC, this ancient cave temple has been a pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus for 22 centuries and is still a place of holy importance to this day. There are over 80 documented caves at the site, but with around an hour to explore, this excursion will guide you through the major highlights which are spread over just five of them. Adorned with statues of Gautama Buddha and ornate ceiling paintings, the iconic temple is brimming with artefacts depicting the island’s glorious past and is not to be missed.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama, Kandy and Passikudah hotels • Available as a day trip for guests staying at hotels in Negombo

Good to know
Legs and shoulders must be covered, and shoes will need to be removed when exploring the temples.

Duration:

Half day

Highlights of Colombo In A Day

Bustling Colombo is packed with unmissable sights and you’ll discover the most compelling of them on this private full-day visit. The well-thought-out itinerary includes a blend of historic sites and contemporary attractions, along with some that are both, such as the Dutch Hospital, the oldest building in the Colombo Fort area, which has been repurposed as a stylish shopping and dining destination. Other highlights include the Galle Face Promenade, which runs the length of the city’s celebrated seaside park; Sambodhi Chaithya, a Buddhist shrine that’s a fascinating example of 1950s architecture; and Nelum Pokuna Art Street, a colourful open-air market where local artists showcase and sell their work. Just behind Art Street is the National Museum, where you can feast your eyes on everything from the crown jewels of the last King of Kandy to vividly painted demon masks.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Duration:

Full day

Historic Galle & Turtle Conservation (Car & Driver excursion and stay-put excursion)

The southern shores of Sri Lanka provide a soft nesting ground for five different species of endangered Sea Turtle and are dotted with conservation projects doing vital work. Run by local people with the help of international volunteers, you’ll start with a visit to the pioneering Kosgoda project which has been on a mission to raise awareness and protect the turtles fragile nesting sites since 1988. During this hands on guided tour you’ll discover why turtle conservation is so important, the devastating effects of plastic in our oceans and how the project are increasing the survival rate of each species. A short drive further south, the afternoon will be spent exploring the historic city of Galle, a delightful UNESCO World Heritage Site where you’ll find a rich fusion of European and Asiatic cultural heritage. Brimming with Dutch-colonial architecture and ancient mosques and churches the Galle Fort and National Museum are not to be missed.

• Tuesday to Saturday departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Galle
• Available as a day trip for guests staying at hotels in Colombo, Bentota, Galle/Koggala, Negombo, Udawalawe, Weligama and Tangalle

Good to know
Fantastic day trip for all and ideal if staying along the southern coast.

Duration:

Full day

Hot Air Balloon Flight (Car & Driver excursion)

Embark on this unforgettable adventure activity and experience the serenity of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle from the sky. Revel at the views as the sun rises and you gently glide across dense forests, ancient ruins and grassy plains, witnessing the stunning landscapes from a whole new perspective. The perfect addition to any honeymoon or those celebrating a special occasion, after landing your flight will be toasted with a glass of champagne or juice.

• Daily departures
• Operates between November and April
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Kandalama, Dambulla, Habarana and Sigiriya

Good to know
Not suitable for those under 16 years of age, pregnant passengers or those with heart conditions.

Duration:

1.5 hours

Start time: 5.30am
End time: 7am

Kandy’s Highlights (car & driver and stay-put excursion)

Whether time is of the essence or you’re after an introduction to this vibrant city that’s brimming with history and culture, this half day excursion will ensure you don’t miss any of Kandy’s major attractions. Discover one of Buddhism’s most sacred shrines at the golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth, where the relic tooth of Buddha is housed and explore the spectacular Royal Palace complex – the perfect backdrop for some holiday snaps. Dating back to 1821, finish your trip with a meander through the delightful Royal Botanical Garden where you’ll find over 100 endemic plants before exploring the rest of the city at leisure or returning to your hotel to unwind.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya and Kandy hotels • Available as a day trip for guests staying at hotels in Beruwela, Kalutara, Bentota & Negombo

Good to know
This trip is suitable for all, but legs and shoulders must be covered, and shoes will need to be removed when entering the temple.

Duration:

Half day

Minneriya Jeep Safari (Car & Driver excursion)

If observing elephants in their natural habitat is on your to do list while in Sri Lanka, Minneriya National Park should be top of your list. While elephants can be spotted all year round in huge numbers, during the dry season, between April and October, the park plays host to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world: The Great Elephant Gathering. As the Minneriya Tank dries up and gives way to a lush grass plain, 300 or more elephants gather in the late afternoon to feed offering visitors an unforgettable spectacle. Home to a host of other wildlife from two endemic monkey species to the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, the endangered Grey Slender Loris and elusive Sri Lankan Leopard can also occasionally be spotted.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama and Kandy

Good to know
Depending on the time of year, guests may be taken to the Hurulu Eco-park (Jan to May) or Kandulla National Park (Nov to Dec) as elephant migrations interchange between all three parks.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 3pm
End time: 6pm

Polonnaruwa Kingdom Ruins (Car & Driver excursion)

Brush off your explorer hat as you traverse the ancient second capital of the island and discover the monumental ruins of this glorious garden-city. Dating back to 1070 A.D, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is brimming with history and the on-site museum will soon have you up to speed. The ancient compact city is easy to navigate and filled with impressive architectural structures from the enormous Royal Palace that stands seven stories tall to more personal relics such as the King’s private swimming pool. During this five-hour tour you’ll have the opportunity to explore many of the city’s highlights including the beautiful white Kiri Vihara Dagoba which archaeologists found when clearing the area from jungle in perfect condition after 700 years. From evocative temples and shrines to the serene Sea Of Parakrama, this is one of the best -preserved sites in Sri Lanka and sure to create lasting memories for years to come.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama, Passikudah and Trincomalee hotels

Good to know
Legs and shoulders must be covered, and shoes will need to be removed when exploring the temples.

Duration:

Half day

Sigiriya Rock Fortress (car & driver and stay-put excursion)

One of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks, Sigiriya Rock is a sight to behold, towering 200 metres above the surrounding jungle. Formed from magma of an extinct volcano, the fortress was created over 1500 years ago by King Kashyapa and is considered one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, discover the vast history of the plateau at the onsite museum before making the climb up the vertiginous staircases to the summit passing impressive frescoes and the famed Mirror Wall and colossal Lions Platform as you go. From the top, explore the ruins of the ancient civilisation through the remnants of the palace and vast gardens and soak up the panoramic vistas of the jungle covered central plains.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Sigiriya, Kandalama, Kandy and Trincomalee hotels
• Available as a day trip for guests staying at hotels in Negombo

Good to know
For the most pleasurable experience we recommend organising this excursion first thing in the morning or after 4pm to avoid the heat of the day. While suitable for all, the climb to the summit requires a good degree of physical fitness.

Duration:

Half day

Sri Lankan Cooking Class (Car & Driver excursion)

There’s no better souvenir than mastering the art of Sri Lankan cooking, providing you with instant access to the island’s rich flavours once home. Since the Dutch, Portuguese and British settlers began trading spices they have become an important commodity in Sri Lankan cuisine and are the key to mastering the perfect dish. Your class will begin with a guided spice tour where you’ll discover the country’s rich herbal heritage, from harvesting and processing through to the health benefits of the most popular flavours. Set in a restaurant adjacent to a cinnamon plantation, you’ll get busy preparing a traditional Sri Lankan curry with a recipe that’s been inherited over generations before tucking into your own delicious creations over lunch.

• Daily departures
• year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Kandalama, Dambulla, Habarana and Kandy

Good to know
This class is ideal for those travelling between Habarana or Kandalama and Kandy or vice versa due to its location between the two.

Duration:

Half day

Udawalawe 3-hour Jeep Safari (Car & Driver excursion)

If you’ve already had the pleasure of exploring the Udawalawe National Park and would like some additional time observing the abundant wildlife in their natural habitat, this is the excursion for you. As you head back into the vast park it won’t be long before you stumble across a herd of elephants strolling alongside the track or water buffalo and deer congregating by a watering hole. Your knowledgeable driver will be on hand to point out the local flora and fauna from soaring eagles to prehistoric looking monitor lizards and will ensure you discover the best secluded spots.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Udawalawe, Galle, Hambantota, Tangalle and Yala

Good to know
Suitable for all, if not staying in the vicinity of the national park we’d recommend an afternoon safari due to the early start of the morning excursion.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 6am or 3pm
End time: 9am or 6pm

Udawalawe Jeep Safari & Elephant Transit Home (Car & Driver excursion and stay-put excursion)

Founded in 1995, the Elephant Transit Home is a haven for orphaned or injured elephant calves who are rehabilitated back to full health before being returned to the wild. Great lengths are taken to minimize contact between the baby elephants, their caregivers and visitors but you can enjoy watching them stamp their feet impatiently as they wait for their food and relish in the fact that once old enough to survive alone, they’ll be free to roam the national park once more. After a delicious lunch in a local restaurant, hop into your private jeep and get ready to explore the Udawalawe National Park, a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of nearby Udawalawe Reservoir. Infamous for its large population of elephants, have your camera at the ready as you spot herds of these majestic creatures feeding, playing and bathing in waterholes as well as an abundance of other mammals, reptiles and birds.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Udawalawe, Hambantota, Tangalle and Yala
• Available for guests staying at hotels in Tangalle, Hambantota, Galle, Koggala and Weligama

Good to know
This unforgettable trip is suitable for all ages.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: Midday
End time: 6pm

Whale Watching Cruise (car & driver excursion and stay put excursion)

Embark on this once in a lifetime trip in search of whales on this thrilling cruise across the Indian Ocean and discover the multitude of marine life off the coast of Sri Lanka. As your expert skipper and crew sail through areas frequented by whales, look out for sperm, killer, humpback and pilot whales in the tropical waters as well as acrobatic spinner dolphins racing alongside the boat. Home to the largest Blue Whale colony in the world, there’s a good chance you’ll spot these enormous mammals during your excursion offering some incredible photo opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.

• Daily departure
• Operates between October and March
• Group experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama and Kandy

Good to know
A great experience for those looking to explore Sri Lanka’s marine life however as these are wild animals, sightings can’t be guaranteed.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 6.30am
End time: 11.30am

Wilpattu 3-hour Jeep Safari (Car & Driver excursion)

Much quieter than Sri Lanka’s other popular national parks, Wilpattu offers a genuine sense of wilderness with scientific research on the bio-diversity of the park still in its infancy. This ‘Land of Lakes’ is dotted with water-basins and hidden in the dense forests you’ll find an array of wildlife from sloth bears and spotted deer to elephants and crocodiles. Little is known of the large population of leopards who reside in the park, but next to Yala in the south. this is the second-best place to spot them in Sri Lanka. With an intimate knowledge of the area, your guide and driver will navigate the day based on their experience giving you the best chance to catch a glimpse of the abundant wildlife in their natural habitat.

• Daily departures
• between February and October
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama and Sigiriya

Good to know
Suitable for all, for those staying further afield and those who can’t commit to a day trip, we’d recommend an afternoon visit.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 6am or 3pm
End time: 9am or 6pm

Wilpattu Jeep Safari full day (Car & Driver excursion)

Much quieter than Sri Lanka’s other popular national parks, Wilpattu offers a genuine sense of wilderness with scientific research on the bio-diversity of the park still in its infancy. This ‘Land of Lakes’ is dotted with water-basins and hidden in the dense forests you’ll find an array of wildlife from sloth bears and spotted deer to elephants and crocodiles. Little is known of the large population of leopards who reside in the park, but next to Yala in the south. this is the second-best place to spot them in Sri Lanka. With an intimate knowledge of the area, your guide and driver will navigate the day based on their experience giving you the best chance to catch a glimpse of the abundant wildlife in their natural habitat.

• Daily departures
• Operates between February and October
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Kandalama and Sigiriya

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 6am
End time: 6pm

Yala 3-hour Jeep Safari (Car & Driver excursion and stay-put excursion)

If you’re short on time or simply want to add in a safari trip while staying in a resort along the serene southern coast, this three-hour excursion is just the ticket. With your own private guide, it won’t be long before you’re spotting herds of elephants walking across the grassy plains and buffaloes and deer cooling off by a watering hole. Spot monkeys playing in the treetops, crocodiles popping up for air and eagles soaring in the sky above – the park is teeming with life. With one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, Yala is a prime location to encounter these elusive creatures in their natural habitat and bird enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either with a huge collection of migratory and endemic species to spot.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round except September to mid-October
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Hambantota, Tangalle, Udawalawe and Yala
• Available for guests staying at hotels in Tangalle and Hambantota

Good to know
If not staying in close vicinity to the national park, we’d recommend the afternoon excursion due to the early start of the morning option.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 6am or 3pm
End time: 9am or 6pm

Yala Full Day Jeep Safari (Car & Driver excursion)

Explore Sri Lanka’s most famous national park and experience the sanctuary’s rich wildlife from the comfort of your own private jeep on this epic full day excursion. As the sun begins to rise and the parks inhabitants begin to emerge from their slumber, your experienced guide will drive you through the grassy plains and light forest in search of elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes, monkeys and more. With one of the highest densities of leopards in the world and a full day to explore, there’s a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures too. A haven for bird watchers, the park is brimming with both migratory and endemic bird species and dotted with important ancient ruins and temples dating back to the 5th century B.C.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round except September – mid-October
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Yala

Good to know
This experience is designed for those staying in close vicinity to the park due to the early start. Please note that during the height of the drought season between September and mid-October, the park will be closed.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 6am
End time: 6pm