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Family Sri Lanka and Maldives Adventure
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Mixed Groups

15 Days / 14 Nights Trip to Sri Lanka

Family Sri Lanka and Maldives Adventure

Explore the natural, cultural and spiritual splendours of this island paradise, with a fun group of international travellers who love travel and adventure as much as you do!
Together, you’ll enjoy a holiday that is like the perfect Sri Lankan curry: colourful, full of flavour and remarkably good for you. Explore charming cities and revered temples, shop in local markets, eat lots of curry, and enjoy the company of your new friends throughout.
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  • Duration
    15 Days
  • Starting From
    $2,868
    /person
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    Explore
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Explore Colombo
Highlight #1
Explore Colombo
Wander a crazy, chaotic, colourful jumble of mosques, temples and shops selling everything from  heaps of fierce-looking chillies to cut-price gems
Hold baby turtles in your hands!
Highlight #2
Hold baby turtles in your hands!
At the Hikkaduwa turtle hatchery, see adorable baby turtles just hatched from their eggs and endangered older turtles too.
Visit Udawalawe national park 
Highlight #3
Visit Udawalawe national park 
The park is one of the best places in the world to see wild elephants.
Video

Sri Lanka | Virtual Vacation in 4K

Sri Lanka is one of the world's most fascinating island destinations. It's tropical, filled with elephants and jungle, unspoiled beaches and buddhas and should be on your top travel destination bucket list!

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Itinerary

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Colombo at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Colombo's Bandaranaike International airport (airport code CMB), which is 26km, between 30 and 45 minutes from the hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.If your flight arrives earlier in the day, relax after the flight at the hotel which features a swimming pool and gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Join trip in Colombo

After breakfast in Hendala Wattala depart for Anamaduwa, driving along the old coastal road north, passing small fishing communities and the old dutch canal. En route we make a stop at the fish markets in Negombo.Our accommodation today is an eco-friendly Mud House which is a unique property where accommodation is in a series of well designed huts - all have outdoor showers, indoor bathrooms, a dining and lounge area and hammocks where you can relax. There is no electricity on site thus lighting is provided by candles and lanterns. When arriving at the Mudhouse, we have a walking tour of the property and farm area, have lunch and then cycle to Paramakanda Temple in the afternoon which is a rocky outcrop with spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding area before returning for dinner at The Mud House.

Drive to Anamaduwa and stay in the eco-friendly Mud House

We spend the whole day at the Mud House with the opportunity to participate in a range of activities including bird watching before breakfast to view the 100 species of migratory and endemic birds that reside in the area, kayaking and swimming at Uriyawa (which we get to by either cycle or tuk tuk), a cooking lesson after lunch and then time to relax in a hammock or enjoy the numerous nature trails that have been designed to explore the various different habitats in and around the surrounding area. One trail identifies the different species of trees and plants along the pathway and looks in more depth at the overall concept and landscaping on the area. Dinner is by the campfire this evening where you can reminisce about the day's events.

Activities at the Mud House

Boarding our minibus, we drive inland to Habarana where we take a short tuk-tuk and bullock cart ride to a nearby village. We then board our canoes and visit a local farm and return back to the village to meet a local family for lunch and a cooking demonstration. We continue to Giritale after our adventure.

Travel by tuk-tuk, try a canoe ride and have a cooking lesson before travelling onto Giritale

In the morning we use the most common and versatile mode of transport used by the villagers of nearby farming communities, a 'Land Master' (a two wheeled tractor with a trailer). We visit a nearby village to experience the day to day life of a typical rural Sri Lankan. This afternoon, we explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa by bike (with the option to travel in our bus). The site has many interesting and spectacular buildings and monuments including the Royal Palace Group with its audience hall, bathing pool and quadrangle which is a very compact collection of ruins. Close by is the Circular Relic House, a curious round structure with a beautifully preserved 'moonstone' carved at the foot of a flight of steps. Another famous feature of the deserted city is the group of carved images of the Buddha known as Galvihara. Here there are four colossal figures, all of which are hewn out of solid granite. The Reclining Buddha is no less than 14m long!

In Giritale; explore the nearby countryside and villages

We drive to Sigiriya for a morning climb up to the Sky Fortress. The ruins of this 5th century fortress are one of Sri Lanka's major attractions, a stupendous sight to behold and a feat of consummate engineering skill. A switchback series of steps (sometimes very steep) ascends to the top. Halfway up, tucked beneath a sheltering overhang of rock, are the famous frescoes - the Sigiriya Damsels, their colours still glowing. Magnificent views can be enjoyed from the summit of the rock palace (200m high). On our descent we board the bus for a short drive to Giritale. In the afternoon we visit nearby Minneriya or Kaudulla National park where we take a jeep safari on the look-out for wild elephants in their natural habitat.

Drive to Sigiriya; visit Sky Fortress

Leaving Giritale in the morning we drive to Kandy via Peradeniya which is located just outside the city. We wander through the lush Royal Botanical Gardens which boasts more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, medicinal plants and palm trees. Afterwards, we travel by tuk tuk to the University complex before joining our tour leader for a walking tour of Kandy which will include visiting the town's narrow streets lined with old buildings and colourful and interesting markets. You may wish to continue shopping at the Kandyan Art Association's workshops, which has plenty of brassware, batik, lacquer work and other craft items which make excellent souvenirs or presents. The town was captured by the British in 1815, and is known more for its cultural and spiritual importance rather than its history. Buddhists from all over the world come to this delightful old highland town specifically to visit the Temple of the Tooth, the Dalada Maligawa.

Drive to Kandy via the botanical gardens at Peradeniya. Walking tour of lake side town of Kandy

This morning we head off across the highlands visiting a working tea factory en-route to the hill station of Nuwara Eliya. We take a look around this little town, known as 'Little England', which is famous for its lake, golf and race course and well-manicured gardens. We then take a train through the mountains and around green rolling hills covered in tea plantations arriving in the late afternoon at the hill town of Ella.

Visit a tea factory in Nuwara Eliya and catch a train to Ella

We journey to the lowlands, offering fantastic views of the plains and the mountains above us, to Belihuloya which is a picturesque hamlet situated about 160km east of Colombo. The area experiences a specific climate linking the wet and dry zones with the hill country and the low country, all combining to make this an area of the country with a wide range of bio-diversity. We explore the surrounding villages on foot (a very easy walk), travelling through paddy fields and down to the nearby lake. On return to Belihuloya we may have time to bathe in the natural rock pool and have lunch. This is a unique place where the Belihuloya and Galagamaoya streams meet which creates a natural swimming area with clear unpolluted water. We leave in the early afternoon and drive to our camp on the Eastern border of the Udawalawe National Park stopping on the way to visit the orphaned elephants at the Elephant Transit Home.Designated a national park in 1972, Udawalawe covers some 31,800 hectares and is surrounded by mountains, a mix of rolling grasslands, teak plantations, rainforest and scrub. Renowned for its large herd of elephants (this is in fact one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see them), the park is also home to deer, wild boar, buffalo, jackal and even the odd leopard. The resident bird population is also second to none, including a magnificent collection of birds of prey, chief amongst them being the impressive white bellied sea eagle. This afternoon we will drive into the National Park to take a game drive by jeep. Whilst it cannot be guaranteed, we hope to see some of the animals which can be found here including, of course, elephants. We finish off the day with a relaxing BBQ and campfire under the stars.

Visit Elephant sanctuary and game drive in Udawalawe National Park

Today we drive along the scenic southern coastal road until arriving at Galle. Here we explore an ancient Dutch Fort, which is a World Heritage site, complete with its well preserved ramparts that were built during the 1800s. We then proceed to Hikkaduwa where we stop for the night. In the evening we will visit a turtle hatchery in nearby Kosgoda to see the breeding process of the endangered sea turtles. It may be possible to even release some little baby turtles in to the sea. If you are lucky you might get a chance to see the mother turtles coming on to the beach to lay eggs later in the evening. Our hotel is located on the beach in Hikkaduwa, which is famous for it's marine sanctuary, and if we're lucky we may get to see turtles and other marine life just off the beach.

Visit Turtle Hatchery; drive to Hikkaduwa

Today we leave Sri Lanka and drive back to Negombo for an early afternoon flight to the Maldives. Transferring to our traditional Dhoni boat, we will travel along the remote atolls of the Maldives for the next four days. After settling into the cabins, the crew goes through the safety brief before cruising for a few hours to Gulhi, an island in the South Male Atoll. Dinner is served on-board.

Fly to the Maldives and join our Dhoni cruise boat

The boat departs early in the morning to cruise for a few hours to Kudhi Boli with a traditional Maldivian breakfast being served on-board. Kudhi Boli literally means small shells and is famed for its very beautiful reef with a small strip of beach emerging with each low tide. We then take our first snorkelling lesson in the clear turquoise waters with the chance to view the marine life of the Maldives or you can sunbath and relax on the white sandy beaches of the island. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy with a light lunch being served on board. We visit the Island of Fulidhoo this afternoon where we have a tour of the idyllic island. Dinner is served on-board and we are entertained tonight by locals who perform on the famous Boduberu (traditional big drums).

Cruise to Kudhi Boli, tour of the island and snorkelling

After breakfast we cruise to Rihiveli with the chance to prepare a traditional Maldivian dish taught by the boat cook. Further snorkelling opportunities are available throughout the day over the beautiful coral reefs and we also have time on the beach. Lunch is on-board our boat with further time in the afternoon for more snorkelling, swimming, fishing or to become acquainted with some local board games. During the course of our Maldives cruise we have on occasions arranged a football match with local kids from the islands. The day will end with a wonderful beach barbecue if weather permits.

Cruise to Rihiveli, cooking lesson and beach BBQ

After breakfast will set sale for the South Male Atoll for a morning of snorkelling at Turtle Reef, near Rihiveli Boduveli. We have one final snorkelling opportunity at the Laguna sand bank (around 45 minutes away) with lunch served on board.Late afternoon we return to the capital, Male for city tour of this thriving city with its mix of lively markets, old harbour and ornate architecture. We start with a tour of the Hukuru Miskiiy also known as the Friday Mosque, with its beautiful architecture and magnificent golden dome. The mosque can hold up to 5,000 worshipers and dominates the skyline of Male.Our next stop is the fish market (via the Presidential Palace). The fish market is one the most exciting places to visits in Male, bursting into life in the afternoon when dhoni's or the local fishing boat start arriving with their catch.A little further to west of the fish market is the aptly names Local Market, consisting of a series of stalls that stocks the producer of islands from all over the Maldives, we have time to do some shopping for souvenirs before heading back to our boat.This evening we will have a special farewell Maldivian dinner prepared for you by our chef, anchored at Hulhu Male Lagoon.

Cruise to Hullhu Male with visits to Male's markets

Sailing as close to Hulhule Island in the North Male Atoll as possible, we transfer to a smaller boat for the short transfer to Male's International airport (airport code MLE) where our trip ends. The earliest your flight can depart is 9am.

Trip ends in Male

Inclusions

 Meals 

 Accommodation

 Guides 

 Transport

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

 International Flights and Visa Fees

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This Trip Is Operated By Explore

At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Our authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Our average group tour size is just 12; perfect for meeting new people and getting to the heart of our destinations.

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