7nights Escorted Small Group Tour

Ideal for those new to Sri Lanka, this leisurely-paced tour takes you from the coast to Hill Country of central Sri Lanka and then north into the heart of the Cultural Triangle via spice gardens, tea plantations and some of the island’s most famous historic sites. There’s plenty of time free to explore or join one of the hand-picked optional excursions, perfect for those looking for a busier itinerary.

• Mount Lavinia: 1 night
• Kandy: 2 nights
• Habarana: 2 nights
• Negombo: 1 night

7nights Escorted Small Group Tour
 
 
ITINERARY

Stay longer

Sri Lanka east coast beach 4 nights
Sri Lanka west coast beach 3 nights

Relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches. We recommened visiting the island's east coast during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring and summer months when the weather in this region is at its best. For the west and south coasts, December to April is the best time to visit.

Maldives 3 nights

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

Day 1: UK to Mount Lavinia Depart from the UK on your overnight flight.

Day 2: Mount Lavinia On arrival, transfer to your hotel, the iconic Mount Lavinia where you’ll have free time to relax. The hotel, which was once the home of British Governors, is famed for its colonial charm and amazing location. It overlooks a stretch of private beach, oozes old world elegance and has a high level of service as well as excellent food. This evening, there’ll be a welcome dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant. Approx. journey time: 1¼ hours, 32 miles. Stay: Mount Lavinia (or similar). D.

Day 3: Mount Lavinia to Kandy Your day starts with a drive inland towards the city of Kandy. The country’s second city and the capital of its last kingdom sits in the mist-clad Hill Country. Kandy is a cultural heavyweight with temples, shrines museums and gardens, and exploring its busy centre is a great introduction to Sri Lankan life. On arrival, there’ll be time to find somewhere to get some lunch (payable locally) before setting off on an introductory tour which includes a visit to a local market. The must-see spot in town is the legendary Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which you’ll visit once the sun has set and the white-stone walls of the temple have been beautifully lit. As the name suggests, this UNESCO-listed temple is home to what is believed to be the tooth of Buddha. Wander around the exterior walls before heading inside to see the elaborately decorated halls and visit the room where the revered relic is hidden away in a lavishly adorned golden casket. Approx. journey time: 3¼ hours, 85 miles. Stay: Golden Crown Hotel (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Kandy The day begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the Kandyan suburb of Peradeniya. These beautiful gardens, which were established in the mid-19th Century, partly with flowers brought over from Kew in London, are home to a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a famous orchid collection. The Hill Country of Sri Lanka is a celebrated tea growing region where rolling valleys are coved by sprawling plantations. Following lunch at the Kandyan Arts Residency, your group will stop off at the Giragama Tea Factory, one of the oldest plantations in the country. Take a tour of the fields and the factory, learn how they process the tea from plant to packing and sip on a cup of world-famous Ceylon tea. Stay: Golden Crown Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Kandy to Habarana Alongside tea, Sri Lanka is famed for its fragrant spice gardens. For centuries, quality spices such as cloves, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon have been grown throughout the island and exported far and wide. Today, you’ll visit one of these gardens and discover a more about the endemic varieties grown and the importance of the spice trade to the economy and culture of the island. Your tour of the spice garden at Euphoria will be followed by a delicious lunch created using home-grown seasoning. Soon after lunch, you’ll arrive at your Habarana hotel where you can spend the afternoon relaxing poolside. The focus of the tour changes from the island’s culture to its wildlife if you choose to join this afternoon’s highly-recommended optional excursion, a game drive in Minneriya National Park (pre-bookable at extra cost). This small park is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants, particularly if you’re travelling between July and September; this when ‘the gathering’, one of the region’s most incredible wildlife displays, takes place. During the dry season and periods of drought, the water dries up elsewhere leading elephants to migrate in vast numbers to the edge of the Minneriya reservoir. Approx. journey time: 2¾ hours, 72 miles. Stay: Cinnamon Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 6: Habarana Following an early breakfast, you’ll head out to a local village for a nature ‘trek’ in the village of Hiriwadunna. Hop on board a paddy farmer’s tractor and trailer which will take you through a shaded forest to the edge of a man-made reservoir that is covered with pretty lily pads. Cross the water on a traditional boat before continuing on foot and learning about the everyday lives of Sri Lanka’s rural population. This afternoon, there’s another chance to unwind at your hotel but there’ll also be the option to visit and climb Sigiriya Rock – one of the island’s true icons – on an optional excursion. In AD477, King Kashyapa built his palace and fortress upon the top of the 200-metre high rock and moved the capital of Sri Lanka here after deposing his father as King of Sri Lanka. He was later defeated by his brother and now all that remains are the ruins of his palace and city. We strongly recommend that you only embark on the ascent if you are fit, healthy and do not mind heights as there are approximately 1200 steps of varying steepness and difficulty levels. This is undoubtedly a tough physical challenge, however, once you are admiring the views over the jungle and ruins of the ancient city below, you’ll realise the climb is well worth the effort. Back down at the base of the rock, there are a collection of gardens, known as the water, boulder and terrace gardens. Tonight, there will be a farewell dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant. Stay: Cinnamon Lodge (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Habarana to Negombo Your day begins with a drive south to the Dambulla Cave Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most incredible sights in Sri Lanka featuring over 150 statues of Buddha and intricately-painted murals that cover the walls and roofs in five of the rock’s 80 caves. Later, travel back to the west coast and the resort town of Negombo, possibly stopping for lunch at a local restaurant on the way (payable locally). If you choose to extend your holiday with a stay on the southwest, south or east coasts, you’ll transfer to your chosen hotel today. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours, 100 miles. Stay: Jetwing Sea (or similar). B.

Day 8: Negombo to UK Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

Sri Lanka east coast beach 4 nights
Sri Lanka west coast beach 3 nights

Relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches. We recommened visiting the island's east coast during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring and summer months when the weather in this region is at its best. For the west and south coasts, December to April is the best time to visit.

Maldives 3 nights

Find 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?

We recommend this tour to those who wish to take in the most popular regions of Sri Lanka at a very relaxed pace before perhaps spending some time on the beach.

Good to know

• For guests over
• Average group size of 7 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag.

What to expect

• The Sigiriya optional experience is for physically fit and energetic guests. We recommend taking plenty of water, a hat and sun cream if you opt to join this excursion
• Road journeys in Sri Lanka can be lengthy and are often on narrow and winding roads, particularly in the Hill Country.

Accommodation on tour

We’ve handpicked largely centrally-located hotels so you can use your free time to easily explore at your own pace. In the Cultural Triangle, you’ll stay at the Cinnamon Lodge which sits on the shore of Habarana Lake and is surrounded by acres of forest. The hotel’s gardens are rich with wildlife and you’ll easily find somewhere quiet to relax between excursions.

Single travellers

Sole-use room from £2403

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2020 Jan 12, 26; Feb 16; Mar 08; Apr 05; May 07; Sep 20; Oct 18; Nov 23

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Small groups
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• 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 £2691 per person

Excursions

Day 6: Elephant Safari in Minneriya National Park from £89 per person
Day 5: Sigiriya Rock from £89 per person.

Special offer

SAVE UP TO £500 PER COUPLE
  • London Heathrow

  • Quality accommodation

  • 7 Nights

  • May

  • Selected meals

Insightful local tour leader, porterage & guide tips included. Also available as a private tour.

Fly with SriLankan Airlines from London Heathrow

from £1595 £

Price Per Person

Essential Sri Lanka

Kuoni highlights

Kuoni highlights

This is a great-value tour that includes visits to the Cultural Triangle and the Hill Country. There’s plenty of time to explore at your own pace but we have also provided a selection of typical experiences such as a visit to the Dambulla Rock Cave, Kandy’s Royal Botanical Gardens, a tea factory and a spice garden. At just seven nights, the tour is easily combinable with beach break in Sri Lanka or the Maldives.