Adventures with Purpose: Sri Lanka

Suggested Itinerary

14 Days From £5,195

Overview

This extraordinary journey through the cultural and historic heartlands of Sri Lanka presents a wonderful mix of conservation, community and crafts. Staying at some ground-breaking eco resorts, camps and hotels, as well as enjoying a truly unique hosted stay with a local Sri Lankan family, you’ll experience a side of the country that few visitors ever see. Add to that a chance to visit many of the island’s most iconic heritage sites and you have an adventure that really is fit for ...

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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stay with a local family in Kandy who will introduce you to daily life in the region and let you experience true Sri Lankan hospitality
  • Discover and support a world of artists and artisans with visits to thimble workshops, Dumbara weavers, puppeteers, Kandyan dancers and much more
  • Spend time in the world’s first Analogue Forest and take part in organic farming, planting and garden design, concepts that have helped this project be such a success
  • Learn about education efforts throughout the country and help support the UN World Food Programme as well as visiting a number of conservation projects
  • Enjoy private tours of some of the properties you stay in, learning about their responsible tourism efforts and sustainable forms of hospitality
  • Cleanse mind and body with a visit to a local Ayuvedic doctor and a private meditation session with a hermit monk, as well as taking part in an almsgiving ceremony

Suggested Itinerary

This is a suggested itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes, or build a trip from scratch.

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: ARRIVE NEGOMBO

DAY 1: ARRIVE NEGOMBO

On arrival in Colombo you will be met and transferred the short distance by car to the nearby city of Negombo, located on Sri Lanka’s western coast at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon. Once checked in, you can pay a visit to a local thimble workshop run by the Villa Hundira and set up to help empower women from the local area. The stunning tapestries that adorn the villa were also produced by these talented women.

Villa Hundira

DAY 2: NEGOMBO - ANURADHAPURA

DAY 2: NEGOMBO - ANURADHAPURA

Departing Negombo after breakfast, the journey continues with a four-hour drive on to the village of Thirappane, lying close to the ancient capital of Anuradhapura. The drive passes by the village of Puttalam, where you’ll break the journey to visit the small community locally referred to as the ‘Ceylon Africans’. Originating from around Mozambique and Tanzania on Africa’s eastern coast, this somewhat unique community arrived on the island sometime around the end of the 19th century, primarily as slaves and soldiers under the yoke of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonists. Numbering less than 500 today, they have retained many of their original customs, including a penchant for brightly-coloured dress, and the visit affords an opportunity to learn more about their traditions and stories. Continuing on to Thirappane in time for lunch, later this afternoon you will take a short walk out to the Ruwanveliseya Stupa and the Sri Maha Bodhi tree. Sacred to the Lord Buddha, it is one of the oldest surviving trees in the world.

Uga Ulagalla
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 3: ANURADHAPURA

DAY 3: ANURADHAPURA

The day begins with a visit to one of the projects headed up by the UN World Food Programme. Partnered with FEED, it aims to address food shortages amongst school children living on (and under) the poverty line. The rest of the morning will then be spent enjoying a tour of the magnificent remains of Anuradhapura itself, home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Touring the site by bicycle provides an opportunity to truly absorb the size and atmosphere of this impressive ancient city. Following lunch back at the hotel, this afternoon you tour the property in the company of the resident manager, learning more about its responsible tourism policy as you explore the solar farm and organic gardens. The day then ends with a visit to the sacred grounds of Mihintale, the cradle of Sri Lankan Buddhism, where you will join a hermit monk for a private meditation session before climbing this impressive peak for some stunning views.

Uga Ulagalla
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4: ANURADHAPURA - SIGIRIYA

DAY 4: ANURADHAPURA - SIGIRIYA

No better way to begin your day than with an exclusive consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor and a chance to participate in a private almsgiving ceremony. From here drive to the famed Rock Fortress of Sigiriya. After checking in to your hotel, you can then enjoy a tour of the property, a stunning project that saw an abandoned wasteland turned into an exclusive sanctuary that today is home to man-made wetlands, indigenous forests and over 140 species of birds. Then to finish off the afternoon you will pay a visit to the stunning citadel of Sigiriya, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning anywhere in the world. This evening you can then enjoy a nocturnal wildlife experience with a resident naturalist guide.

Jetwing Vil Uyana
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5: POLONNARUWA & MINNERIYA

DAY 5: POLONNARUWA & MINNERIYA

Help support the property’s efforts by planting a tree this morning, before visiting a local community school to learn more about Sri Lanka’s efforts at rural education, and how they manage the transition from community to large cities. This is followed by a drive on to the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, which rose to fame between the 10th and 12th centuries. Another of Sri Lanka’s abundant collection of World Heritage Sites, it can trace its origins back to the second oldest of all Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms. Touring it by bicycle you’ll explore its Royal Palace and Quadrangle and the spectacular Gal Vihara complex. Meet with a local rice farmer who will give you an insight into rice production, before enjoying a traditional home-cooked meal with a local family. This afternoon you are then introduced to the stunning Minneriya National Park on a game drive.

Jetwing Vil Uyana
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: SIGIRIYA - KANDY

DAY 6: SIGIRIYA - KANDY

Visit the famous Dambulla Cave Temple to discover the richly painted frescoes that date back over 2,000 years. A wonderful mix of sculptures and paintings, this astonishing complex is filled with depictions of the life of Buddha and the history of the Sinhalese people. Lunch today will be taken at a private spice garden, where you’ll not only learn more about the vast array of spices for which Sri Lanka is famed, but also be able to help prepare lunch in a cookery class. From here you move on to Kandy. Beautifully located amongst the thickly forested mountains of the central interior, its impressive Botanical Gardens provide a wonderful respite from the heat of the day, lying as they do some 460 metres above sea level. You’ll also pop into Hela Bojun Hala, a spacious open-air food court set up with the aim of not only providing delicious Sri Lankan food at subsidised prices, but also providing employment opportunities for local women. The real highlight over the next couple of nights will be the chance to stay with a local family, experiencing the genuine pleasure and warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality and family life.

Chami's Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: KANDY

DAY 7: KANDY

Spend time with a local artist this morning to learn more about some traditional arts and crafts, and the attempts being made to keep them alive against the threat of urbanisation and modern lifestyles. The artistic theme is then continued with visits to the Gadaladeniya Temple, a community of artisan craftsmen and the remarkable Suriyakantha Centre for Arts and Culture. Occupying an 18th century village chieftain’s house and inspired by quintessential Dutch architecture, Suriyakantha is home to a fascinating collection of ancient books, Buddhist manuscripts and traditional furniture and paintings. Lunch here is then followed by a visit to a guru of the ancient Kandyan art of dancing and drumming, before you return to Kandy by way of a handloom weaving workshop that still follows the principles of ‘Dumbara weaving’, a traditional craft that has been recognised by UNESCO.

Chami's Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: KANDY - BELIPOLA ARBORETUM

DAY 8: KANDY - BELIPOLA ARBORETUM

Proceeding to the Kandy Railway Station this morning you’ll board an early train on to the town of Bandarawela, set amongst the glorious hill country of Badulla District. An engineering marvel, the track negotiates its way through some of the most picturesque countryside imaginable, ascending past tumbling waterfalls and into the famed hills of Ceylon’s lush tea plantations. Disembark and continue your journey to Belipola Arboretum, an ecological man-made forest. Described as the world’s first Analogue Forest, once you’ve checked in and freshened up there will an opportunity to learn more about this ground-breaking concept.

Belipola Arboretum
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: BELIPOLA ARBORETUM

DAY 9: BELIPOLA ARBORETUM

There is an array of programmes on offer today, from an introduction to Analogue Forestry to opportunities to participate in organic farming, planting and garden design. This really is a rare chance to learn first-hand how to create something quite extraordinary, literally from the ground up. Later this evening there will also be a chance to connect with the Belipola management team to further enhance any ideas or objectives and answer any questions you might have.

Belipola Arboretum
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: BELIPOLA ARBORETUM – YALA NATIONAL PARK

DAY 10: BELIPOLA ARBORETUM – YALA NATIONAL PARK

This morning we head for Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka's premier wildlife destinations. Staying at a private tented camp, the next two days provide opportunities for some truly unforgettable wildlife encounters, as you head out in the company of experienced guides to enjoy some of the rarest habitats of flora and fauna on earth. Meet with one of the owners of Ceylon Wildlife Safaris, known as one of the best rangers in Sri Lanka for leopard conservation, and set off together on an afternoon jeep safari. Back at the camp you will enjoy comfortable surroundings, locally sourced food and the satisfaction of a sustainable environment that includes a no plastics policy and solar power to reduce its carbon footprint.

Ceylon Wild Safaris
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: YALA NATIONAL PARK

DAY 11: YALA NATIONAL PARK

Spend the day in a world populated by elephants and leopards, mangrove swamps, tropical forests and some 255 species of birds, including lesser flamingos, paradise flycatchers and crested hawk eagles. Wake up at dawn to explore this exciting wilderness at one of the most interesting times of day, before enjoying some downtime at the camp and another park exploration later in the afternoon.

Ceylon Wild Safaris
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: YALA NATIONAL PARK - GALLE - UNAWATUNA

DAY 12: YALA NATIONAL PARK - GALLE - UNAWATUNA

After an opportunity for one final wildlife safari this morning, you’ll depart the park and head towards Galle, on the southwestern tip of the island. Stop en route to take a walk through a cinnamon plantation and learn about the celebrated Ceylon Cinnamon, before enjoying a guided walk around Galle Fort this afternoon. Historically a fortified township, this magnificent UNESCO Site was the outcome of successive incursions by the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial powers. Its great ramparts protect a meandering network of narrow streets, lined with old Dutch-style houses and pillared verandahs. A living, breathing town, life goes on behind its towering walls, rubbing shoulders with old spice warehouses, court squares and the reminders of its colonial heritage amongst the ancient frangipani trees. From here, continue on to your exclusive island eco-hideaway in Unawatuna.

Kaju Green
Breakfast

DAY 13: PUPPETRY & TURTLE CONSERVATION

DAY 13: PUPPETRY & TURTLE CONSERVATION

A morning at leisure provides a chance for some whale watching, or a visit to the local fish market. Alternatively you might prefer a cycle ride through the southern countryside. This afternoon you will then be introduced to another traditional art form under threat of modern amusements. Puppetry is one of the oldest and most popular forms of entertainment in the rural countryside and you will meet with one of the most prominent puppeteers in the country, part of a family that for three generations has been keeping the tradition going and relevant. You can also visit the well-known mask factory in the area. From here you get the chance to visit a world-renowned turtle conservation project that is operated with the help and involvement of the local community. Originally founded by Victor Hasselblad, the Swedish inventor and photographer more renowned for his lenses than his conservation efforts, to date the hatchery has released nearly four million turtle hatchlings into the sea. This evening you will add to that total as you enjoy a picturesque sunset on the beach.

Kaju Green
Breakfast

DAY 14: DEPART COLOMBO

DAY 14: DEPART COLOMBO

Breakfast

SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

GUIDELINE PRICE & WHAT’S INCLUDED

14 days from £5,195

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE

Flexible booking conditions regarding transfers and cancellations

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Book With Confidence

We understand that flexibility is now a key factor when booking a holiday, and we believe our Covid Promise and Covid Viable Test provide that.

We believe these terms and conditions for making a booking are amongst the most generous in the travel industry right now, and we hope they will give you the confidence, when you feel ready, to go ahead and book your next adventure.

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is per person, based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

WHEN TO GO

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

Meet the expert, Shalmali

Shalmali is our Indian Subcontinent expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Shalmali by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

Early morning hike to Sigiriya rock, train journey from Kandy to Ella, walk with the Vedda in Gal Oya, visit a working tea factory, food walk in Colombo, leopard tracking in Wilpattu, visit Anuradhapura at night, best beach stay in Tangalla

OTHER ITINERARIES IN SRI LANKA