Simply Sri Lanka 13 Days / 12 Nights
Our Simply Sri Lanka holiday gives you the perfect in-depth introduction to the country, ensuring you don't miss a thing while still allowing plenty of downtime. Immerse yourself in the Cultural Triangle, wander around Kandy’s sacred sights, trek to Tea Country’s cooler climate, and track wildlife in Yala National Park’s untamed landscape.
- See families of elephants on a Minneriya NP safari
- Picnic at Sigiriya rock fortress & enjoy its spectacular views
- Witness a sacred relic revealed to waiting pilgrims
- Catch a train through rolling green Tea Country
- Enjoy a cuppa, fresh from the source
- Drive through Yala NP at dusk as leopards wake to hunt
- Stroll Galle’s historic walls above bustling streets and the Indian Ocean
- Kick back on the warm sands of Sri Lanka’s stunning west coast
Cultural Triangle, Minneriya National Park, Kandy, Ella, Yala National Park, Galle, West Coast Beach
On arrival in Sri Lanka, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel in the Cultural Triangle.
Spend your morning exploring the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa: built over a thousand years ago alongside carefully-engineered reservoirs that provide the region's water to this day. As you stroll around the ruins, you’ll get a feel for what Polonnaruwa was like during its heyday as a thriving commercial and religious centre. There will be time to relax back at your hotel before heading out in the late afternoon on a safari drive through Minneriya National Park, home to 24 species of mammal and approximately 160 species of bird. The star of the show is the elephant, with approximately 200 living in the park. Wardens monitor the elephants' whereabouts on a constant basis, ensuring a high chance of spotting them during your safari.
After breakfast visit the rock fortress of Sigiriya – one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. This immense rock dominates the surrounding landscape, rising 650 feet above the ground, and the view from the flattened summit is spectacular. Those without a head for heights can stroll around the ramparts and pleasure gardens, or take in the famous Sigiriya frescoes found partway up the rock, as your guide tells you some of the legends surrounding the site. In the late morning you will have the chance to experience traditional, rural life, away from the ruins and try your hand at preparing Sri Lankan food. In a small village close to Sigiriya you will be welcomed into the modest, mud-walled home of one of the families, where you will assist your host in the preparation of a typical Sri Lankan lunch, using authentic cooking methods and traditional clay pots. After lunch, return to your hotel for a relaxing afternoon.
Morning departure for the sacred city of Kandy, stopping en route at the 1st century BC Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. Legend tells that during an invasion from South India, the Sinhalese king took refuge in these caves and, through meditation, gained the strength to drive away invaders. Having declared the caves as a sacred area, he built the first temple, with others added by later rulers. Wonder at the spiritually significant caves before continuing on to Kandy. In the late afternoon, visit Kandy's most famous site - the Temple of the Tooth Relic - where Buddhists believe a tooth of the Lord Buddha is enshrined.
Hop aboard the train for a scenic ride through Sri Lanka’s hill country to Ella. From the comfort of your carriage, you’ll pass many tea plantations and forested mountains, reliving the spirit of travel’s Golden age, before arriving at Ella train station. Having met your guide, the remainder of your day is at leisure to explore this small, sleepy village. Although there is a steadily growing handful of shops and guesthouses, and more opening frequently, it remains a close-knit, laid back place with perfect views through Ella Gap: a picturesque valley that cuts through the hills and far into the distance.
Meet your guide for a tour of a nearby tea factory to learn about the history and modern-day production methods of the region's most valuable commodity. Return to your hotel where there will be time to relax in the cool shade, drinking as much of the region’s world-class tea as you can! Late afternoon stretch your legs on a hike to Little Adam’s Peak and soak up the scenic views.
After breakfast depart the hills to the more arid lands of the south east and, in particular, Yala National Park. Having checked in to your lodge there will be time to freshen up before joining your guide & tracker for a dusk safari through the park.
Rise early for a dawn drive through Yala National Park searching for wildlife as the park's inhabitants noisily greet the new day. Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast before departing for Galle. Having checked into your hotel, the remainder of your day will be at leisure.
After a morning at leisure, head out with your guide to explore the Old Town of Galle and the impressive fortifications at Galle Fort, where a warren of narrow streets are surrounded by ramparts that overlook the ocean. Stroll around the old walls as your guide points out places of interest, and see how the area has transformed over the centuries to now include boutique shops, art galleries and cafes that sit alongside, and within, the historic buildings. Continue exploring independently,and ask your guide to recommend a restaurant where you can enjoy dinner amid the Galle evening hum.
Follow the coastline northwards, stopping at two beautiful tropical gardens - Lunuganga and Brief - designed by renowned landscapers, the Bawa brothers. After strolling through the contrasting, visually stunning gardens, continue the short journey to Bentota where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.
Your days will be at leisure to relax and reflect on your experiences.
Transfer to Colombo airport for your onward flight.
English speaking, local guide
All accommodation listed
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
All meals listed
International airport departure taxes
Any meals not listed in the itinerary
Drinks, other than water on activity days
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
All other services not listed in 'inclusive'
Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.