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Sri Lanka Hidden Treasures of the Pearl

  • Off the beaten track
Travel away from Sri Lanka’s typical tourist routes and discover more remote and exclusive destinations. Meet the incredible people working on sustainable eco-initiatives and participate in volunteer opportunities ranging from organic agriculture, Fairtrade textile manufacturing to nature preservation. Go off the beaten track to find hidden treasures of the past in form of well-preserved ruins of ...

Travel away from Sri Lanka’s typical tourist routes and discover more remote and exclusive destinations. Meet the incredible people working on sustainable eco-initiatives and participate in volunteer opportunities ranging from organic agriculture, Fairtrade textile manufacturing to nature preservation. Go off the beaten track to find hidden treasures of the past in form of well-preserved ruins of ancient palaces, temples, bathing pools, murals and statues. Enjoy a homestay experience that will bring you closer with the local culture, and take a cooking class from the hosts to learn how to make that delicious Sri Lankan curry. Head for a truly authentic experience!

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Customizable tour itinerary

This tour idea is fully customizable

This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Fairtrade Weavers' Community in Kurunegala

Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport. Meet your driver and drive to Kurunegala.

On the way, admire the landscapes, along paddy fields, palm trees and beautiful hills. Outside of weekends and holidays, you can visit a textile factory, a local community organization specializing in artisanal textiles.

Learn about the production techniques, but also witness the weavers at work. This project is based on principles of fair-trade and employs primarily women. Depending on the time, you can also visit a toy-making factory and try your hand at weaving.

Continue to the town of Kurunegala, bustling with life under the watchful gaze of a giant Buddha statue seen high above in the distance.

Visited:
Bandaranaike International Airport Kurunegala District
Accommodation
Littlemore estate bungalow (Colombo)

Day 2: Ancient Ruins with Spectacular Views in Pidurangala

In the morning, travel to the cultural triangle. On the way, visit an ancient fortress in Yapahuwa, where nature and man-made structures unite to create a site of rare beauty.

Continue to Sigiriya, where you can climb the famous Sigiriya rock or “Lion’s Rock” with its magnificent frescoes, gardens, natural caves and ruins of the royal palace, dating back to the 10th century.

Otherwise, go for a hike in the beautiful Pidurangala valley, still unknown to mass tourism and holding great archeological significance. From the top of the hill, witness a beautiful vista with a view of an ancient monastery, the “Lion’s Rock”, the national park of Minneriya, some caves and Buddha statues. Continue the road to Polonnaruwa.

Visited:
Kurunegala District Yapahuwa Sigiriya Polonnaruwa
Accommodation
Night at The Lake Hotel (Polonnaruwa)

Day 3: Polonnaruwa's Monkeys and Wawgamuwa National Park

Early in the morning, start with a guided tour of the area’s on-site primates. Join your naturalist guide for an explanation of the four different types of monkeys inhabiting this protected natural zone, which was also the location for the famous Monkey Kingdom film.

Then continue to Gal Vihara, a group of four marvelous Buddhas carved in granite stone. Rent a bike and go for a fun ride around the area then get on the road to the natural zone of Wasgamuwa National Park for an exciting afternoon jeep safari. This park is the lesser visited natural protected zone in the country, and you can observe a variety of animals including elephants, crocodiles, buffalo, deer, giant lizards, and a multitude of aquatic birds. The park is equally interesting for its landscapes, lakes and wetlands.

Visited:
Polonnaruwa Wasgamuwa
Accommodation
Farcry Boutique (Wasgamuwa)

Day 4: Volunteering With a Wild Conservation Society

Embark on an experience of a lifetime with a wild conservation society that will take you on an exciting early-morning sunrise hike through the area’s natural habitats and complex ecosystems. Reach the field house, where you will take breakfast and receive a briefing on the activities to follow.

Then, board the field transect for a data gathering expedition to collect information on elephant foraging, dung counts, analysis and trail mapping.

Observe nature looking for signs of leopard, sloth bear and other wild animals. Return to the conservation center facilities for lunch and an engaging discussion on the events of the day.

After, take the road to Batticaloa, a remote but charming town on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

Visited:
Batticaloa
Accommodation
Night at Dilu's Homestay (Batticaloa)

Day 5: Sri Lankan Hospitality in Batticaloa

In Batticaloa, enjoy the hospitality of a Sri Lankan homestay. You can choose to spend the day with your host family and learn how to prepare a proper Sri Lankan curry. Help the children with their daily chores or homework. Challenge yourself and find original ways of communication at times when language may present a barrier.

Also explore the surrounding areas of Batticaloa Fort and lagoon. Sri Lankan folklore states that during certain times of the year, one can hear the lovely melodies of the “singing fish” in the nightly waters of the lagoon.

Visited:
Batticaloa
Accommodation
Night at Dilu's Homestay (Batticaloa)

Day 6: Indigenous Veddha Tribes in Gal Oya

In Gal Oya, relax at the charming Eco Lodge or go for a nature walk to the Monkey Mountain. This area features a beautiful lake, mountains and easily observable wildlife all around.

In the afternoon, meet the indigenous people of Veddha, a hunting tribe, working to preserve their ancient ways of life. They are essentially hunter gatherer forest dwellers who have been allowed to hunt legally across designated forest areas.

Return to your Eco Lodge and enjoy a beautiful sunset overlooking a natural setting.

Visited:
Batticaloa Gal Oya
Accommodation
Gal Oya Lodge (Gal Oya)

Day 7: Scenic Train Journey and Trekking in Uva's Tea Country

After a drive through the mountainous area of Gal Oya, embark on a scenic train journey from the main station of Badulla town. Your driver picks you up at the Bandarawela station, a busy hill town in the prime tea plantation area of Uva province. Here you stay at an organic farm and tea estate, perched in a valley surrounded by the infinitely lush tea plantations and mountains.

You have a number of hiking routes to choose from, ranging from a waterfall trek to the Rawana falls, the Ella Rock or Lipton’s Seat. Before sunset, hike to the summit of Little Adam’s Peak to enjoy spectacular views of the valley.

Visited:
Gal Oya Bandarawela
Accommodation
Night at Amba Estate (Ambadandegama)

Day 8: Organic Farming and Artisanal Tea Cultivation

A leisurely day at the estate bungalow. Built more than 100 years ago by one of the first local families to support sustainable agriculture practices in the area, the farmhouse exudes rustic charm.

For your meals, enjoy delicious organic food grown on the farm. The estate produces a range of artisanal teas, coffees and spices, and they work with the local community to support a variety of educational, economic and environmental initiatives.

The historic estate bungalow offers the opportunity to its guests to learn more about organic farming and artisanal tea cultivation. Join the estate workers and learn how to pluck the tea bushes, then observe the process of maturation of the tea leaf to achieve that signature Ceylon tea flavor.

Visited:
Bandarawela
Accommodation
Night at Amba Estate (Ambadandegama)

Day 9: Outdoor Activities for Everyone

Today, leave the greenery of the tea country to get on the road to Buttala, where you reside in unique architectural style, a definite hit among the younger as well as the grown-up crowds. This place is truly unique in Sri Lanka! Here you can go for walks suspended among the trees, rafting, or swimming in the river.

A large variety of activities are available to you on location. As an option, you can go for a fun afternoon jeep safari in the immense Yala National Park, home to a variety of animals such as leopards, elephants, crocodiles, bears, mongooses, monkeys, spotted deer and an abundance of birds.

Visited:
Bandarawela Yala National Park Buttala
Accommodation
Night at Kumbuk River (Buttala)

Day 10: Katharagama's Pilgrimage Site and Hambantota Salterns

In the morning, stop at the colourful Katharagama Temple, one of the principle pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka. Visit this multi-religious sacred city, which contains mosques, but also Buddhist and Hindu temples.

Then, continue South toward the coast. Visit the Hambantota salt deposits that produce more 50,000 metric tons of salt per year. Continue on the road to reach your beach stay location.

Visited:
Buttala Hiriketiya
Accommodation
Night at Esperanza Beach (Hiriketiya)

Day 11: Hummanaya Geyser and Turtles in Rekawa

Day at leisure on the beach. Admire the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean and look for small creeks where you can swim in safety. In the evening, visit the nearby beach of Rekawa, where you can witness the turtles lay their eggs. Rekawa is an important site for Sri Lanka’s marine ecology, with 5 of its 7 turtle species coming ashore to make their nests.

As an option, you can visit the site of the Hummanaya geyser, the second largest blow hole in the world. The South coast is lined with a great number of natural wonders, including the giant blue whale. Enjoy a deliciously grilled fish in one of the local beachfront restaurants.

Visited:
Hiriketiya
Accommodation
Night at Esperanza Beach (Hiriketiya)

Day 12: Colonial History of Galle Fort and Colombo

Explore the Southern coast of Sri Lanka and its hidden wonders lining the turquoise waters and caramel-coloured sands.

Arrive in Galle and explore the colonial era fort built by the Portuguese and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through the lanes of shops, designer boutiques and jewelers.

Continue your journey to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s main metropolis bustling with activity. As a suggestion, you can visit the Dutch fort and museum, or discover the busy Pettah neighborhood, its markets and the mosque.

Enjoy some last-minute shopping in charming boutiques and even stop by to meet your local travel agent! Take a walk on Galle face green during the sunset hours, a true meeting point of families and lovers. Transfer to the airport depending on your flight schedule.

Visited:
Hiriketiya Galle Fort Colombo

Bandaranaike International Airport Kurunegala District Yapahuwa Sigiriya Polonnaruwa Wasgamuwa Batticaloa Gal Oya Bandarawela Yala National Park Buttala Hiriketiya Galle Fort Colombo

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. $1,980 / 12 days
Excluding international flights
2 People 4 People 6 People
Price per Person in a Doule Room $1,970 $1,380 $1,320
Single Supplement $920 $580 $580

Included in price:

  • Private transport and transfers with AC vehicle (by car or minivan)
  • Services of an English speaking chauffeur-guide
  • Overnight hotel in double room (subject to availability)
  • Meal plan based on the hotels (subject to availability)
  • Half-day jeep safari in the national park of Wasgamuwa
  • A scenic train journey from Badulla to Bandarawela
  • A fair trade welcome gift
  • Government taxes (please note that in the event of the Sri Lankan Government increases or introduces new taxes we will be compelled to increase our rates accordingly)
  • Colombo office assistance 24/7

Not included in price:

  • International Air tickets and Visa fees (check online http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/)
  • Lunch and dinner, unless otherwise specified
  • All beverages during meals, tips and expenses of personal nature
  • Visits and activities not mentioned in the “inclusive” section
  • Photo / video camera permits

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