Discover Sri Lanka

15 days
from
$2,975 AUD
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 180 reviews >
Trip code: 
AIL
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
4–18
Min age:
16

Spend two weeks exploring the delights of this diverse and inspiring island

Lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a natural paradise with a landscape of verdant mountains, rainforests, paddy fields, tumbling waterfalls and sweeping gorges. From ancient Buddhist temples, the fortress of Sigiriya, the towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in the hill country, the wildlife of Yala National Park (which has one of the highest concentrations of leopards in the world), to the idyllic palm-fringed beaches of the south coast, this small island offers incredible variety, made extra special by its laid back atmosphere and hospitable people.

Highlights

  • The magnificent cave temples at Dambulla

  • Cycle through rice paddy fields

  • Take a train journey through tea plantations

  • Search for leopard in Yala National Park

  • Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya for breathtaking views

Key information

  • 14 nights comfortable hotels, all en suite
  • Travel by private bus
  • Additional travel by train, bicycle and jeep
  • Some long drives

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

 

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Veyangoda.

    The group flight arrives at Colombo's Bandaranaike Airport and we transfer to our hotel approximately 30 minutes away. Those not flying with the group will meet us at the hotel.
    The Covanro or alternative accommodation in the area

  • Day 2

    Visit cave temples at Dambulla; to Sigiriya.

    We depart after breakfast for the drive (approx. 4 hours) through lush green countryside (a mix of coconut palms, paddy fields and banana plantations) through Kurunegala to Dambulla. Here we visit the magnificent Cave Temple, for some, the most impressive sight in Sri Lanka. There are colourful, well preserved paintings and statues of Buddha inside the caves, which date back to the 1st century BC. After lunch we continue to Sigiriya where we stay for the night. From our hotel we can see Lions Rock rising up from the plains (occasionally we may stay nearer to Dambulla due to hotel availability).
    Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Morning climb to the rock fortress; optional afternoon game drive.

    This morning we drive to the foot of the Lions Rock at Sigiriya. The imposing 5th century rock fortress of Sigiriya rises 600 feet from the plains overlooking the surrounding countryside and giving far-reaching views. Used as a safe haven from invaders, the route to the top goes via a series of steep steps and gangways. From the base, where a moat surrounds impressive water gardens, we ascend 200m, passing an overhanging rock under which superb portraits of native maidens holding flowers and temple offerings still adorn the rock wall. Crowning the flat-topped summit of the rock are extensive remains of the King's Summer Palace.

    During the afternoon there is a chance to enjoy an optional game drive in either Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park or the Hurulu Eco Park to see elephants in their natural habitat. For those who don’t want to take part, there is time to relax at the hotel.
    Hotel Sigiriya or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    To Giritale; bike ride through country villages.

    This morning we have a short drive to Giritale where our usual hotel overlooks the scenic Giritale Tank. The island’s early inhabitants solved the dual problem of heat and lack of water in this dry area by constructing large tanks to act as reservoirs and cool the warm breeze. Nowadays they provide an important habitat for bird life, particularly from August to April. Today we take to bikes and cycle at a leisurely pace through a series of small villages and lakes (if you do not wish to participate you can hire a tuk tuk locally for approximately £10 per tuk tuk and follow the group but not cycle). We should see plenty of bird life including Egrets, Brahmany kites, Kingfishers and Bulbuls. Stopping for lunch in a traditional village will break up the journey. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel in Giritale.

    Giritale Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Visit ancient capital of Polonnaruwa; drive to Kandy via spice garden.

    After breakfast we take a short drive to the 10th century capital of Sri Lanka; Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of the Sinhalese. Here there are many Buddhist relics and ruins dating from a thousand years ago when Sinhalese culture reached its zenith. The city flourished in the 12th century after the decision was made to move the capital from Anuradhapura, so it was further away from incursions from Southern India. The ruins are therefore younger and better preserved than those at Anuradhapura. We visit many of the temples, palaces, huge dagobas (Buddhist stupas) and remarkable Buddhist sculptures. After lunch we head into the hills to the picturesque town of Kandy. On the way we stop at a spice garden near Matale where we can see various spices and herbs growing, and there is a chance to stock up on massage oils, spices and Ayurvedic medicines. This is a long but fascinating day and we arrive at Kandy in the early evening.
    Hotel Thilanka or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 6-7

    Free time in Kandy to explore or relax.

    Kandy is located by a small lake and we spend two full days in and around the town. On the first day we will visit the Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic. The Tooth of Buddha was taken from the funeral pyre in 543 BC and only found its way to Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD. There are literally hundreds of worshippers who visit the temple each day and in August the most spectacular ceremony takes place. Some of our trips in August should coincide with the Kandy festival, but the exact dates, decided by priests, are not known until 5 months prior to the event. After our visit we drive to a beautiful viewpoint over Kandy overlooked by a huge Buddha, and visit a gem museum where you can see the products of the traditional methods of gem extraction. Another highlight is the vast Peradeniya Botanical Garden with species of orchid that are endemic to Sri Lanka. In the evening we may have the chance to attend a performance of dancing and fire walking.

    The second day is free to explore this wonderful town. The surrounding hills are wonderful, offering fantastic views of the town below and there are many handicraft stores and antique shops in which to browse.
    Hotel Thilanka or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Nuwara Eliya via Kitulgala; optional Adams Peak climb (Dec-Apr only).

    Leaving Kandy early, we have a spectacular drive through the countryside on the way to Kitulgala. Here we have the opportunity of going on a walk through the jungle or local villages followed by an optional white water rafting excursion. The rafting costs extra (see the Optional Excursions section), lasts a maximum of 1.5 hours and there is a choice of gentle or wild water (grade 3 rapids) depending on your preference. Those of us who do not wish to go rafting will be able to freshen up and relax by the water until the rafters return in time for lunch. Afterwards we will drive to our hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

    (Please note that from the full moon day of December to the full moon day of May it is possible to climb Adams Peak. This is optional and you need to be very fit to attempt this. You would leave Nuwara Eliya at 11pm on day 8 and drive to the base of the peak. From here it is a strenuous 4 hour climb to the top in time for sunrise. We then return to Nuwara Eliya to join the group for lunch on day 9).
    Hill Club Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Free morning in old colonial hillstation of Nuwara Eliya. Visit tea factory in afternoon.

    This morning we will have free time to explore the beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya was a popular hill station during the British era and is situated in the cool highland air at 1890m. Known locally as 'Little England' it is dotted with British style houses and parks and features a golf club and a racecourse! Following lunch we will visit a nearby tea factory and learn about the process of tea production.
    Hill Club Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Early morning to Horton Plains; walk to World's End viewpoint; to Bandarawela by train.

    We have an early start this morning and take a 30km drive south to Horton Plains, a large plateau over 2,000m high, overlooked by the second and third highest peaks in Sri Lanka. The scenery is beautiful and the best way to explore is on foot. We take a guided walk through the rolling grasslands where we hope to see such as the Sambur and Purple Faced monkey. We also visit 'World's End' which is one of the most stunning sights in Sri Lanka where the ground drops 1050m to the plains. Following this we catch a train from the highest railway station in the country - within an hour and a half we drop from 1889m to 1097m. The train travels through the cloud forest into the tea plantations, with breath-taking views of the lush valley below. Although the train can be very busy on occasion, this is still a great experience. We get off at Bandarawela, a town relatively untouched by tourism.
    Orient Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Scenic drive through Ella Gap to Kataragama; game drive in Yala N.P.

    Today we continue on to Ella Gap where we have spectacular views of the coastal plain nearly 1,000m below. Almost the entire southern part of the island is in view and on a particularly clear day the shimmering silver of the Indian Ocean is visible. Heading south out of the hills we travel to Kataragama on the plains; this is our base for visiting Sri Lanka's best known national park, Yala. The park is popular for elephant, leopard, bear, crocodile and Wild boar. At 97,800 hectares, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka's national parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has also become better known for leopard. The park, which is primarily shrub jungle with several salt and fresh water lagoons, has one of the highest concentrations of leopard per square kilometre in the world. (Please note that the sanctuary may be closed for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the welfare of the animals. We therefore go to an alternative area close by, usually Udawalawe National Park).
    Mandara Rosen or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Drive to Tangalle and walk through rice paddies; coastal drive to Ahangama; optional lunch at Tsunami house.

    Today we leave for the coast, with its beautiful palm fringed bays. Stopping on the way at Hambantota and walking to a nearby farm house where you be offered tea in a coconut shell along with a local snack. We will mix with real Sri Lankan life and take part in some traditional Sri Lankan games, returning to our bus in tractors used by the farmers. We have the option of enjoying lunch at one of the houses that we built for Tsunami victims; this may be one of the best curries of your trip! Continuing on to Ahangama in the afternoon we arrive at our coastal hotel and you can relax for the rest of the day.
    Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day to relax on the beach or optional activities including whale watching (Nov to April).

    Today is a free day to relax on the beach or by the hotel pool. There are also optional activities during the day including a boat ride through mangrove swamps to a cinnamon plantation or, from November to April you can go whale watching off Dondra head, one of the best places in the world for seeing Blue and Sperm whales. Huge pods of dolphins are also often seen playing alongside the boats.
    Insight Resort or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To Galle; visit old fort; transfer to Colombo.

    We set off today and drive along the coastal road to the historic port of Galle, which dates back to the 17th century, and now a UNESCO world heritage site. On the way we stop at a small folk museum inspired by the local writer Martin Wickramasinghe. The museum is a typical house from the Koggala region and is set amongst beautiful gardens. We continue along the expressway to Colombo reaching our hotel in the late afternoon.

    Hotel Mirage or alternative accommodation in the area

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Colombo.

    The trip ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be taken to the airport in time for their flight home.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Post-trip Extensions

Maldives

If you are keen to end your holiday on a very relaxed note we can arrange a visit to the Maldives for you.

The flight from Colombo is around 1 hour and upon arrival you will be transferred by speedboat (approximately 20mins) to the Paradise Island 4* resort. Paradise Island is a beautiful coral island with a total land area of 178,900 square metres, covered with lush tropical vegetation, numerous palm trees, surrounded by a wide sandy beach and the crystal clear waters of an azure lagoon.

 You can choose to add on as many extra nights to your trip as you wish; your time on the island will be at leisure for you to do as you wish. The accommodation used has a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, room service and all rooms are air‐conditioned and have en suite facilities. As well as the modern amenities of the resort there is also access to scuba diving and snorkelling or for the less active the chance to swim in these wonderful, calm waters. Either way it is a veritable paradise and a memorable end to the trip.

 If you choose to take advantage of this opportunity then we can arrange flights for you to Malé as well as booking the hotel and speedboat transfer to the island.

Essential Info

Visas

Sri Lanka

A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. If you do not hold a British passport, please check the visa requirements with your local Sri Lankan Embassy or the ETA website www.eta.gov.lk. Passengers should also be aware of local laws and customs in Sri Lanka (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/local-laws-and-customs). The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is an offence; please note that people have been refused entry to Sri Lanka because of visible tattoos of Buddha.

Vaccinations

Sri Lanka

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 lunch is included.

We suggest allowing about £15-£17 (approx. US$24 - US$27.50) per day for all other meals. Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Despite (or perhaps because of) these influences, Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to as simply ‘Rice and Curry’. This is the staple dish in most restaurants and is usually a serving of rice accompanied by assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles, ‘sambols,’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free. Please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home. Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels will serve Western options alongside traditional food.

Weather

Generally, you should expect rain at some time but with plenty of sunshine. On the plains, day and night time temperatures are warm to hot with Colombo having an average daytime temperature of 30ºC. The temperatures drop as we go higher into the hills and especially at Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains where daytime temperatures are between 10º - 15º C and night time temperatures will be chilly (about 8º C minimum) and a warmish jacket will be needed.

Kandy

Is this trip for you?

This is not a demanding trip although there are a few long drives, on bumpy and twisty mountain roads. The buses that we use are comfortable and air-conditioned. Temperatures can vary between the tropical heat of the coast to the cool of the mountains.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 14 nights in en suite hotels. Hotels on this trip are generally of a good standard, most with swimming pools and good facilities. The standards and styles of the hotels do vary however and some of our selections are based on location and what is available in the area or the character and atmosphere at the premises.

The Hill Club in Numara Eliya was originally set up as a private  members’ club. Some traditions are still in place and so occasionally rooms  are blocked off for a members’ conference.  It might be that on some dates we are not able to secure rooms at the hill club. If this is the case we will accommodate your group in a similar standard hotel in Nuwara Eliya, though the hotel may not have the same kind of ‘old style’ character.

The hotel that we typically use on the south coast for two nights has been selected because it has a good beach location, where it is possible to swim in the sea most of the time, there are good photo opportunities with the stilt fisherman nearby and it is within close proximity to the optional excursions. Although service at the hotel can sometimes be rather slow it is a small property so the staff and management are flexible and cater for our group’s needs.

Please note that hotels in Sri Lanka are becoming increasingly busy and occasionally we have to find alternatives to the ones that we usually use. We will endeavour to find the nearest alternative that provides a similar standard of rooms.

Single accommodation available on request.

Please  note paying the  single supplement may not mean that you receive a double or twin room for sole use. The room you are allocated may differ from hotel to hotel , and on some nights a  smaller room for ‘one person’ may well be allocated.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed February 2019
    Peter & Liz Rooke

    Discover Sri Lanka review

    This is an enjoyable trip with a good variety of activities. If you have been to India before you will find Sri Lanka surprisingly different. If this is your first trip to the sub-continent it is an excellent introduction. We didn’t climb Adam’s Peak, but the other activities on the trip were all good, including the traditional Sri Lankan games that we had been apprehensive about, but which were great fun. The accommodation was generally good apart from the Giritale Hotel which is undergoing building work and our initial room was unfinished. At Nuwara Eliya the group didn’t stay at the Hill Club, but at the Mirage King’s Cottage, which was very pleasant and a little way out of town with lovely fresh air and gardens. The food on the trip was fine, we particularly liked the midday meal on the cycle ride day. Exodus arranged for the group to refill our water bottles from a large container on the minibus, which worked well and helped minimise plastic waste.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a lot of good moments on the trip. The ones that particularly stand out are: climbing Lion Rock, white water rafting and the Temple of the Tooth ceremony. Also, we enjoyed the cave temples at Dambulla and the optional boat ride through mangrove swamps.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was a lovely chap who got everyone smiling. Douglas, our driver, and Amal, the Driver’s Assistant, were both excellent too. Nalaka was very caring and dealt with any issues promptly and effectively. He made us aware of the need to be courteous to hotel staff and the beach ladies at the Insight Resort; many of the staff are boys from local farms who are doing their best to be helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insect repellent isn’t listed under Essential Equipment in the Trip Notes, but you need to take some. Binoculars aren’t listed either, and these are very useful for the wildlife trips. Horton Plains: the walk is harder than it sounds, it’s partly on uneven ground and involves some ascents and descents. We were fine, but a couple of people in our group really struggled and ended up missing lunch and nearly missing the train too. Whale watching: we paid a bit extra to have a private boat just for the group and this was well worth it. The boat pitches and rolls quite a lot out once out at sea and we recommend you take sea sickness pills. The cycle ride was good fun, easy going on level ground, but do take time at the start to find a bicycle that suits you both in the height and length of frame – some are more adjustable than others. Lastly, we found some of the hotel bathroom and shower floors were very slippery – take care!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take an open mind and try all the activities, this trip covers a wide range of activities, and some of the ones we weren't wild about were other group members' highlights. If you've been to India, Sri Lanka is similar but different: generally cleaner, with less hassle and more organised. If you haven't visited the area before then this trip provides and excellent introduction. Oh, and although we saw lots of elephants and other wildlife we didn't see a leopard, remember, it's not guaranteed.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Margaret Lawson

    Exceeded all expectations

    Loved this trip, made extra special by our tour guide, Ruwan, whose thoughtful additions to the standard trip made the whole experience even more memorable. There was a good balance of visits to temples, encounters with local people, walking, information about Sri Lanka, its history and culture and seeing wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a leopard and lots of beautiful green bee-eaters in Yala NP.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstandingly good - well organised, gave us just the right amount of information, thoughtful, always available and clearly proud of his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Chris Murray

    Sri Lanka a delightful discovery

    The tour leader Sujee; the driver Madhawa and assistant Kalinda made this 15 day holiday and experience never to be forgotten. I for one will never forgot the moments when the bus would suddenly stop to speak to the ladies picking tea, the farmers drying the sweet corn on a road; visiting the potter and his wife; buying and trying fruit from a young lass who was watching the stall for her father, who wants to go to university; to watching the wild life and views. Listening to Sujee telling us about the country, the people, the wonderful education system, the rural areas, the cities and the religions. Stopping on route to get lunch from a local person or place, simple and lovely. Visiting Temples, walking up to Lions Rock early in the morning going through the water gardens. Going to Hurulu Eco Park, on an Elephant Safari, fabulous well worth paying that little extra. The walks, just brilliant, particularly the Horton Plain, worlds end 6 mile walk, down ravine like paths, waterfalls, views and yes it was warm. It did take me a few minutes to realise I had to pace myself as the air goes get bit thinner at 14,000 feet. The cycle ride along the rivers, seeing people working, stopping off for tea etc; Kandy was lovely and we did get free time to wander and enjoy the sights ourselves including a ride on Tuk Tuk and 'fried' ice cream (wow). Oh and the Spice and Herb Garden with back massages at the end! Up into the highlands of Sri Lanka and the stay at a rather quaint old colonial gentlemans club. Then down the Indian Ocean for a couple of days swimming and relaxation. Finally the food, just fabulous mind you we were catered for and they did dumb down the chilli, beautiful flavours and the Samosa we had in a tiny place in the middle of no where was one I will never forget A highly recommended trip and no I didn't do Adams Peak, I enjoyed my nights sleep instead:)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the people, enjoying the scenery and being able to bring those memories home

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sujee was very good and passionate about his country and all it has to offer. He was also grateful that people visit his country and the benefits it brings to the people. And believe me we saw plenty of evidence of this on our trip..

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice would be to have a certain level of fitness for the walking and cycling. You do need to be fit for Adams Peak.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Parker

    Fantastic experience

    What a wonderful way to experience the wonders and beauty of Sri Lanka. Days spent visiting cultural sites, wildlife safaris were we got up close to elephant, sadly we didn't see the elusive leopard. Visits to isolated villages were we enjoyed local food cooked and eaten in the Sri Lankan way Cycling through the countryside seeing the local way of life. So many experiences that made sure you never had a dull moment. Plus a guide, Nalaka, who gave us such wonderful insight into the cultural past and the present way of life in Sri Lanka. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the island then this is the trip for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Basically too many to pick from it s difficult to pick one they just kept coming every day. From cycling through the countryside to playing traditional Sri Lankan games, what a plethora of mind blowing days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was excellent , he was so passionate and knowledeable about his beautiful island. His care and attention he gave to all the 16 tourists in his care was exemplary making sure we were always safe and that the activities were within the capabilities of all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about buying a plug adapter as all the hotels have sockets which take the english three pinned plug. Sterling can be exchanged everywhere as well as the airport and several places would accept sterling as payment. ATMs are available and reliable in all the destinations used.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to be blown away with the beauty of the island and the friendliness of the people. Be prepared to meet wonderful people in the most remote areas visited.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    James Clarke

    A Sri Lankan Odyssey

    A good mix of cultural and historical experiences with a beach holiday thrown in for good measure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sri Lanka is a calmer version of India; the cultural and historical sites are as grand but the hassle is much less. The caves at Dambulla with their frescos and statues, the climb to Sigiriya and the remains at Polonnaruwa are spectacular; Kandy is probabaly the most frantic of all the stops but interesting all the same with the visit to the Temple of the Tooth and the Botanical Gardens.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tirikiri was caring and considerate if a little slow on picking up on group members needs e.g. money exchange, appropriate footwear but overall a nice enough chap and quite willing to share his obvious love for Sri Lanka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Two things: 1. The cycling was more of a challenge than expected; female members of the group found the universal bikes hard to manage - do not be afraid to take advantage of the support vehicle to follow the cyclists. 2. The Horton Plains experience was of mixed value. The paths were not all easy with deep ruts, serious roots and steep inclines - appropriate footwear is essential. The views at World's End were obscurred by cloud mist inspite of an early start to avoid it and the absence of any wildlife rather negated the reason for the trek. Following the trek the train journey to lower levels proved to be a really challenging experience; crushed onto a train, standing in confined spaces with open doors for 90 minutes was not fun and no chance to see the much vaunted views of the cloud forest and tea plantations rather defeated the purpose of this part of the trip.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Brian Harris

    challenging, but great

    great mix of types of activities. culture, geography, local colour and adventure. some aspects quite physically demanding. needs a couple of extra days to make a bit more relaxed

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    temple caves at Dambulla,, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. also white water rafting

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic! very organised, caring and knowledgeable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    get more info on Horton Plains - its tougher than it sounds - plain is far from flat and the route is rough pathways. I only made it with extra support from the tour leader!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    overall very good, but a bit rushed in places. Hotels are generally excellent, but most isolated so no option than eat dinner in the hotels. would be good to be able to eat more local
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Laura and Gavin Jones

    Sensational Sri Lanka

    This trip is very varied and introduces the highlights of Sri Lanka. There was a great mix of culture, nature and adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment of my trip was seeing a leopard laying on the bank of a waterhole in Yala National Park. I also loved the walk in Horton Plains and the visit to Sigiriya.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roshan was truly exceptional. His english was excellent. He had a great sense of humour. He was extremely knowledgeable and very enthusiastic. He made the trip special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nuwara Eliya and its surroundings are slightly cooler than the other places so taking a fleece is helpful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was busy in places but also gave some "down time" in the late afternoons. It was lovely to be able to sit on a balcony or by the pool, read and relax - not something we are used to doing so very welcome!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Catherine Larkin

    15 day Discover Sri Lanka trip from Sun 30 Dec 18 to Sun 13 Jan 2019

    An absolutely fab holiday. It exceeded all my expectations. Top top top class Sri Lankan tour guide was one of the highlights. Very well paced. Fantastic variety of activities , often x 2 per day, as well as plethora of places to visit .Activities sometimes meant being organized to get up at 6am to climb up a beautiful rock or spent walking three hours to the ‘world’s end’ , to cycling, water river rafting under the bridge built in 1956 for the movie ‘Bridge over the river Kwai, to taking a train journey from a height of nearly 2,000 meters to just under 1,000 M. Whale spotting, beach side hotel to relax in, a long day on Safari seeing everything BUT the elusive Leopard. We had x 3 days in the lovely town of Kandy and saw their splendid Botanic gardens as well as visiting a gem shop to learn about their famous Sapphires from a gemologist - Princess Di’s ring came from here. Interesting diversion to an Aryuvedic herbal clinic where we had an interesting talk from a long qualified herbalist as well as neck, shoulder and face massages,, Got to sample locally made Sri Lanka curries made by a family almost in the middle of the jungle. Also had a meal in one of the houses that Exodus built for people who lost homes in the 2004 Tsunami when 50,000 Sri Lankans perished. I almost forgot - a trip to a tree plantations/factory is also organised and yes, you will definitely wish to bring some home - prices v reasonable! Very comfortable bus to ride on and all 9 hotels, bar 1, were top class. Our tour guide was immensely informative on all aspects of Sri Lankan life, culture, history as well as past and current politics. He was also extremely kind and attentive and looked after each person,s needs, no matter how diverse or demanding!! Yes, a trip I shall have fond memories of for many a year. I highly recommennd it if you relish adventure, activity and good fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many, may....every day was special so cannot say....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Dilepps Fernanda, deserves a gold medal for his guidance of our trip. His in-depth knowledge of his country and its customs was superbly matched by his ever willingness to deliver it. Added to that his kindness and consideration foreac and every single member of our group made our trip one of top class. I have been on many other Exodus, Explore, Travel Department (Irish co) and also,other travel companies organised holidays in Europe and worldwide and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have never before experienced the charm, expert care, guidance and consideration of a guide that marches this person’s. You are very lucky to have him as an employee, in my view. His sense of humour was a delight and further added to our enchantment with this superbly organised and delightful adventure. Congratulations all round but specifically to Dilepps who deserves the Best Exodus Leader of the year and by a very long shot!!! He is a wonderful asset for the Exodus company!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a wonderful, activity-fueled and adventurous holiday. Leave all of your worries at home and be present for every day of this spectacular holiday. Bring lots of skin Factor, Mosquito repelllanr, a sun hat and extra cash. The small print mentions rewarding your guide and coach driver and his aide. (Well deserved) Not everyone on our trip was prepared for this eventuality.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was so glad that the trip lasted 15 days. I usually take 1 week-10 day hill walking trips with Exodus/Explore. After my experience on this one I shall only partake in two+ week breaks from now on. Congratulations Exodus. I take my hat off to you for puttting together this 15 days of excitement, fun and adventure. Thank you very much!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Rachael Meadows

    WOW!

    This was our first Exodus tour and it certainly won’t be our last. We saw so much of the country and had an amazing guide (Sujan) who was passionate about not only his job but more importantly his country. Seeing wild elephants (not only in the national parks) was our highlight of the whole trip. One negative was the gem factory visit, where the staff were quite pushy in gaining a sale. Be warned - you can get the same jewellery in the hotel shop at a much better price.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the wild elephants. When whale watching we saw dolphins, a blue whale AND a killer whale - what an experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    AMAZING. So passionate about his job and country. Nothing we asked was too much trouble for him and he made slight changes to timings/order of events so that we got the most out of each activity.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beware of the pushy gem factory workers who are keen for a sale.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Amrit Panesar

    amazing trip, full of surprises

    a great, well organised trip - The hardest thing i needed to do was to wake up on time - everything else was taken care of. Loved the safaris, bird watching, village walks/cycling, train journey, whale watching and more. Hotels were great too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Elephant safari was my highlight- so exciting getting close (but not too close) to the elephants. A totally majestic animal. I also loved the cycling through the village, meeting locals along the way- taking photos of breathtaking scenery along the way. To top it off, we had the most amazing food in the village, sitting in the open surrounded by trees and plants. Food was absolutely amazing, best meal of the tour - and the family was so friendly. They were so happy for us to dine at their home. was a total pleasure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A Legend. Sujaan, looked after us throughout the trip and would make sure that we didn't miss out . on anything, including eating fresh fruits and local delicacies - not to mention teaching us how to make coconut daal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will be dining a lot in hotels- mostly buffets which is not great if you are vegetarian- i did feel that i was eating more western food, as i wanted to try out the local food. Apart from that, Sri Lanka has everything to offer. I felt very safe, being a solo traveller and a women.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would have been great if the tour leader had more of a say as to where we should eat, rather than taking us to "exodus recommended restaurants". when in kandy and "little britain" Sujaan suggested dining at "Aroma" and "Grand hotel" - both amazing places to dine, with great food and local selections. The rest of the places were okish-

Dates & Prices

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Maldives Extension

If you are keen to end your holiday on a very relaxed note we can arrange a visit to the Maldives, just 1 hour flying time from Colombo

For more details on this particular extension please go to page 4 of the Trip Notes. Alternatively, you can call one of our Sales team, who will be happy to assist you.

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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