Providing you with the opportunity to take in the very best of what Sri Lanka has to offer, this in-depth small group tour digs a little deeper into the island’s culture and history, as well as seeking out its famous wildlife species in two national parks as you travel from the west and south coasts.

• Negombo: 1 night
• Kandalama: 3 nights
• Kandy: 2 nights
• Nuwara Eliya: 2 nights
• Yala: 2 nights
• Galle: 1 night

12nights Escorted Small Group Tour
12nights Escorted Small Group Tour

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

Day 2: Negombo On arrival, transfer to your hotel in Negombo where you have some time to relax. This evening there will be a welcome dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant. Approx. journey time: 20 minutes, 6 miles. Stay: Jetwing Sea (or similar). D.

Day 3: Negombo to Kandalama Head away from the west coast and into the cultural heartland of Sri Lanka where rocky outcrop-dotted plains are scattered with the relics of ancient Sinhalese kingdoms. Stop for lunch at the Tropical Village restaurant in Dambulla before climbing up to the Dambulla Cave Temple complex. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most incredible sights in Sri Lanka and features over 150 statues of Buddha as well as intricately-painted murals that cover the walls and roofs in five of the rock’s 80 caves. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 105 miles. Stay: Heritance Kandalama (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 4: Kandalama This morning you’ll visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Throughout Sri Lanka’s second capital you can see well-preserved ancient temples, tombs and monuments. This afternoon, the focus shifts from history to wildlife as you head out on a game drive into Minneriya National Park, one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. Stay: Heritance Kandalama (or similar). B, D.

Day 5: Kandalama Begin the day with a visit to the ruins of the once-glorious Sacred City of Anuradhapura, the island’s first capital. Set over a vast area there are dagobas and temples that are over a thousand years old, some of which are still used as places of worship to this day. The afternoon is free to relax. There’s also the opportunity to visit the iconic Sigiriya Rock on an optional excursion. We recommend that you only embark on the ascent to the top if you are fit, healthy and do not mind heights as there are many steep steps and narrow walkways. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours, 125 miles. Stay: Heritance Kandalama (or similar). B, D.

Day 6: Kandalama to Kandy Following an early breakfast, head out on 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. Cross the water on a traditional boat before continuing your village exploration on foot. 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, as you travel south, you’ll visit one of these gardens and discover more about the endemic varieties grown. Your tour of the spice garden at Euphoria will be followed by lunch created using home-grown seasoning. This evening, watch a Kandyan dance and cultural show. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 75 miles. Stay: Earls Regency (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 7: Kandy Today begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya where you’ll find a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a renowned orchid collection. Following your visit to the gardens, explore the city on your own. Later in the afternoon, head to the most famous of Kandy’s attractions, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Stay: Earls Regency (or similar). B, D.

Day 8: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya This morning it’s onwards deep into the island’s beautiful Hill Country towards Nuwara Eliya. The Nuwara Eliya region of Sri Lanka sits at the heart of Sri Lanka’s historic tea producing industry, a subject you will learn more about during a tour of the Glenloch Tea Factory. This will be followed by a hands-on tea picking experience out in the fields. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 68 miles. Stay: Heritance Tea Factory (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Nuwara Eliya Following a leisurely morning, travel out to the beautiful Hakgala Botanic Garden which features a collection of orchids, a typically English rose garden and a herbarium. As well as tea, Nuwara Eliya is known for its many strawberry fields and after your visit to the gardens you will continue on to one of the area’s farms. There’ll also be an opportunity to visit the town’s incredible central market where locals go to buy their fruit, vegetables and spices. Alternatively, active guests can join the Horton Plains optional excursion. There’s an early start for this three-hour trek over relatively challenging terrain that leads you to the World’s End precipice where you can enjoy incredible views. Later, the whole group will take high tea at The Grand Hotel – a quintessential Sri Lankan experience. Stay: Heritance Tea Factory (or similar). B, D.

Day 10: Nuwara Eliya to Yala The morning will be spent travelling south through rural Sri Lanka towards the south coast and Yala National Park. The park is known locally as leopard country as it has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world. Late this afternoon, head out on a game drive and experience one of the best chances you’ll have to see one of these elusive creatures in the wild. Other animals you may spot include elephants, sloth bears and saltwater crocodiles, as well as a wide variety of bird species. Approx. journey time: 6 hours, 125 miles. Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, D.

Day 11: Yala Today will be entirely free for you to relax at your hotel. If you want to explore Yala a little further, you can take another game drive into the park this afternoon (bookable and payable locally). Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, D.

Day 12: Yala to Galle Following breakfast, set off on your journey along the south coast to Galle. On arrival in this beautiful walled city, find somewhere to eat lunch before heading out on a tour. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours, 130 miles. Stay: Jetwing Lighthouse (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 13: Galle Transfer to the airport (approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 97 miles) for your return flight to the UK. B.

Stay longer

Sri Lanka beach 3 nights

Kick back and relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.

Maldives 3 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 beach 3 nights

Kick back and relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.

Maldives 3 nights

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


Is this for you?

We recommend this tour if you want a comprehensive exploration of Sri Lanka, combining culture, history and wildlife.

Good to know

• For guests over 16
• 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.


Tour dates

2020 Jan 13; Feb 17; Mar 23; Apr 13; May 04; Jun 08; Nov 09

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 £4505 per person.


Day 5: Sigiriya Rock climb from £89 per person
Day 9: Horton Plains National Park trek from £59 per person.

Kuoni highlights

This comprehensive itinerary visits the main sights of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle and allows you to take part in a few typical Sri Lankan experiences. It also takes you to the charming plains of the southern part of the island. We’ve included a day free in Yala allowing you the opportunity to relax or treat yourself to an extra game drive in the national park.

Kuoni highlights