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Highlights of Sri Lanka
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Mixed Groups

7 Days / 6 Nights Trip to Sri Lanka

Highlights of Sri Lanka

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
    7 Days
  • Starting From
    $1,337
    /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
Climb Lion's Rock at sunrise
Highlight #2
Climb Lion's Rock at sunrise
The ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya is called the ‘Eighth Wonder Of The World’.
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

Join trip in Negombo

Arrive in Negombo, the famous coastal town famous for its fishing industry and golden sands. This relaxing beach resort is a short distance from Sri Lanka's capital city, and is the perfect place to spot locals bringing in the day's catch and watch the sunset.

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 Negombo 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 (CMB), which is 40 minutes' drive from our 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 there is the option to head to the beach or make use of the hotel facilities which features a swimming pool and gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean.

In search of leopards in Wilpattu National Park

Leaving Negombo we travel north following the coastal road via the small towns of Chilaw and Putalam before reaching the entrance to Wilpattu National Park. Here we will leave our bus and change to jeeps for an afternoon safari through the park hoping to spot Sri Lanka's most elusive resident, the leopard. Despite Wilpattu National Park's location in Sri Lanka's dry zone, it boasts nearly 60 lakes and is renowned for leopard, elephant and sambar deer spottings. We choose to visit this park, rather than Yala National Park further south because we believe it offers our customers a better experience. The same animals can be seen here as in Yala and despite being busy in places it is overall less crowded, making our visit more enjoyable and responsible. It is also worth noting that wildlife is unpredictable and therefore sightings cannot be guaranteed. Leaving the park, we drive to nearby Anuradhapura, where we will spend the night.

Climb Mihintale for fabulous views en route to the coast

We start this morning with a visit to the mountain peak of Mihintale. It is believed that this was the site of a momentous meeting between the monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa, introducing Buddhism to the country. Exploring Mihintale involves climbing a flight of 1,840 shallow stone steps leading to the summit of the Missaka Mountain. There are excellent views from the top looking back to Anuradhapura.

After the exertions we board our bus and drive to Trincomalee on the east coast of the island. We visit the Koneswaram Temple, which dates back to the 3rd century BC and the ornate design is similar to that of the coloured carved temples of Madurai in South India. After exploring the temple we make our way to the beach and the rest of the day is free to relax.

Free time to explore Trincomalee

Today is left free for you to relax on the beaches of Trincomalee. The waters on the east coast are particularly calm and shallow, in some areas you can walk almost 100 metres in to the sea with the water only being waist height. Alternatively you could take a short tuk tuk ride in to the town and explore the fort area, built in 1623 by the Portuguese and then captured by the Dutch less than twenty years later.

Explore cave temples and take lunch with the locals

Today we leave the coast and head inland. We swap our bus for a bullock cart and make our way slowly through a small village on the outskirts of Habarana. Reaching the lake we change seats again and use dugout canoe style boats - adapted with seats for a more comfortable ride! - to cross the short distance across the lake to Hiriwaduna Village where we are met by the villagers and treated to a traditional Sri Lankan lunch. Here we will enjoy various different curries and fluffy rice and after our meal and spending time in the village we make our way to Sigiriya, stopping on the way to visit Dambulla, where a great series of caves have been turned into temples dating from the 1st century BC. This World Heritage Site still attracts scores of worshippers. We will visit five separate caves, which contain a large number of Buddha images and sculptures of Hindu Gods.

Climb Lion's Rock at sunrise. Drive to Kandy

An early start this morning as we plan to climb Sigiriya Rock ahead of the crowds and whilst it is cool. The ruins of this 5th century Sky Fortress are one of Sri Lanka's major attractions, a stupendous sight to behold and a feat of consummate engineering skill. Built in just seven years as a fortified palace to protect the reign of merciless King Kassapa, who had assassinated his father and deposed his brother, it is seen as one of the world's best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. Unfortunately for the king, despite its impregnable reputation, he was defeated here by his brother after a reign of just 18 years. A switchback series of steps and steel stairways ascend to the top. Halfway up, tucked beneath a sheltering overhang of rock, are the famous frescoes - the Sigiriya Damsels, their colours still glowing. Before our final ascent to the summit, we pass between a set of enormous lion paws carved out of the rock - all that remain of an ancient gateway that gave Sigiriya, the Lion's Rock, its name. Once at the 200 meter summit, magnificent views can be enjoyed of the surrounding jungle and countryside. This afternoon, a two-hour drive takes us to Kandy. On arrival the time is free to explore this historic town. Perhaps visit the Temple of the Tooth, situated on the shore of the lake or take a short tuk tuk ride out to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens which alongside beautiful displays of Sri Lanka's finest flowers is home to thousands of flying foxes.

Drive to Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport where our trip ends

Departing Galle this morning we drive along the coastal road back to Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) where we will arrive at about 10am and this is where our trip ends. The earliest your flight can depart is 12:45pm.

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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