Tea hills and temples: a classic trip to Sri Lanka

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    See wild elephants in Yala National Park | Travel Nation
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    Kandy is the cultural capital of the island and a UNESCO world heritage site

    Kandy is the cultural capital of the island and a UNESCO world heritage site

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    Take the train through the tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya
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    Chill out on the beach at Mirissa

    Chill out on the beach at Mirissa

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    Discover the untouched coastline at Tangalle

    Discover the untouched coastline at Tangalle

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    Visit the historic Dutch fort at Galle

    Visit the historic Dutch fort at Galle

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    Mirissa is famous for blue whale watching tours

    Mirissa is famous for blue whale watching tours

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    Tuck in to the delicious local food

    Tuck in to the delicious local food

Tailor-made holidays

Duration(in days): 16

From: UK

To: Sri Lanka



Inc. International flights (pp - based on 2 adults, 2 children)

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See more ideas for: Sri Lanka

    Take a classic trip to Sri Lanka, from the tropical beaches along the pretty coast to the lush green hills where the tea leaves grow. This 16 day holiday gives you a glimpse into life on the island of Sri Lanka. 

    With a driver to escort you, your trip begins by heading south along the coast – it’s a pretty drive and you’ll be able to enjoy stops at the coastal towns of Galle, Mirissa and Tangalle before visiting the Yala National Park to spot wildlife. Heading north you’ll reach sleepy Ella, before boarding the train for the lovely journey winding through the countryside to ‘little England’, Nuwara Eliya. This is the home of the tea plantations so make sure you buy some delicious Ceylon tea here! After a day at the wonderful Horton Plains (and the most spectacular breakfast setting you’ll see) you will journey to the UNESCO site of Kandy, which is famous for its sacred religious relic at the ‘Temple of the Tooth’.   Finish your time in Sri Lanka here by enjoying the lake and taking in a cultural show.

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

    This Sri Lanka holiday includes

    • International flights
    • A private car and driver throughout
    • All accommodation in boutique, 4* properties
    • Daily breakfast
    • Train journey from Ella to Nuwara Eliya
    • Blue Whale watching excursion from Mirissa
    • Late night turtle watching excursion in Tangalle
    • Game drives at the Yala National Park
    • Full day trip at Horton Plains



    • Enjoy palm trees swaying and the sea glittering at your side as you hug the coastline heading south
    • The cuisine – fresh fish, spicy curries and light, refreshing tea
    • Exploring the colonial Dutch fort in Galle
    • Spot Blue Whales in their natural habitat
    • Enjoy the magical experience of turtle watching at night (sightings not guaranteed but are likely!)
    • Searching for elephants and the elusive leopards at the Yala National Park
    • Taking breakfast at the Worlds End lookout at Horton Plains – spectacular scenery!
    • Walk around the lake in Kandy, a centrepiece of this cultural hub
    Sri Lanka: Beaches to Buddha | map
    Sri Lanka


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 1 night Negombo
    • 2 nights Galle
    • 2 nights Mirissa
    • 2 nights Tangalle
    • 1 night Yala National Park
    • 1 night Ella
    • 2 nights Nuwara Eliya
    • 2 nights Kandy
    • 1 night Negombo


    Day 1: Depart UK

    Depart the UK from your chosen airport. You’ll fly overnight, landing into Colombo Airport the following day.

    Included: International flight

    Day 2: Arrive Sri Lanka

    After landing in Colombo you’ll be met by your driver and taken to the beach town of Negombo (the airport is actually closer to Negombo than to the capital city of Colombo.) Get your first glimpse of the ocean and relax with a drink before retiring for the night.

    Included: Private car with a driver to trip duration, hotel

    Day 3: Negombo to Galle (Approx 157kms, 2hrs)

    After breakfast you will begin the picturesque journey along the south coast – whilst your destination is the historic Galle Fort, you’ll make a stop along the way at Bentota which is a lovely beach area.

    The Fort itself is just under 60kms from Bentota so after a few hours at the beach or the nearby turtle hatchery or gardens, you will make your way to the colonial fort where you’ll check in to your hotel for 2 nights.

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 4: Free day in Galle

    This pretty Dutch colonial Fort is a lovely place to wander – within the ramparts you’ll find cobbled street and some pretty buildings. There is a museum full of artefacts, some great places to eat and splendid views from the surrounding sea wall, upon which you can walk.

    Nearby is the beach area of Unawatuna – take a tuk tuk in just 10 minutes and watch the sunset with some freshly caught fish or a delicious Sri Lankan curry for dinner. Bliss!

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 5: Galle to Mirissa (Approx 40kms, 30 minutes)

    Mirissa is a laid back, quiet beach town known for its boat trips out to spot Blue Whales – an awesome sight! The short drive along the coast will take you past spice plantations and local fisherman on their stilts – it’s a lovely laid back part of the world and you’ll be greeted by smiling faces throughout.

    After you’ve arrived the rest of the day is at leisure.

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 6: Whale watching

    It’s an early start today as you join your boat and head out onto the ocean to go Blue whale watching – don’t forget your camera, spotting blue whales in the wild is absolutely magnificent and something you won’t forget!

    Included: Hotel, breakfast and Whale watching excursion

    Day 7: Mirissa to Tangalle (Approx 50kms, 1hr)

    The last stop on your few days of south coast beach hopping is at Tangalle, a lovely untouched part of the coastline. Turtles are known for laying their eggs on nearby beaches so we’ve included an evening excursion to see if you can view this, it’s a really magical experience.

    Included: Hotel, breakfast and evening turtle excursion

    Day 8: Free day in Tangalle

    Day at leisure – spend the day as you wish. It’s a nice quiet spot so take a book, play cards with the locals, hit the surf or walk along the wild stretch of beach.

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 9: Tangalle to Yala National Park (Approx. 88kms, 1.5 – 2hrs)

    The Yala National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including spotted deer, sambar, wild buffalo, sloth bears, jackals, mongoose and crocodiles. The highlight, however, are the elephants and the elusive leopards. Enjoy a game drive at your leisure – we’ve included one that you can take either on the day of arrival, or early the following morning (morning is a good time for game drives).

    Included: Hotel, breakfast, private jeep safari with tracker at Yala

    Day 10: Yala to Ella (approx. 105kms, 2 hrs)

    Today’s journey takes you north-east and into the hills of central Sri Lanka. Ella is a pretty town surrounded by rolling hills and temples. Gentle hikes are available (try Little Adam’s Peak if you have time) and there are plenty of Ayurvedic treatments on offer to warrant a relaxing massage after a day of exploring!

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 11: Ella to Nuwara Eliya by train

    This is a popular journey to take by train and rightly so, because it’s very picturesque. Nuwara Eliya itself is known as ‘Little England’ – and it really does feel like you’ve arrived back in the UK! The valley is often shrouded in a light mist and it is tea country so there are plenty of plantations to go and look around. The lush greenery is dotted with ladies plucking the leaves. Don’t forget to buy some Ceylon tea as a souvenir!

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 12: Horton Plains day trip

    Horton Plains is the highest plateau in the country. It is home to some unique vegetation and has many rare and endemic highland birds (remember your binoculars!). After an early start and a walk through the National Park you will come to the escarpment that falls 880m to the lowlands of the south coast – this spot is known as the ‘Worlds End’ view and is a spectacular spot to sit and eat your packed breakfast. It’s like no-one else exists, a truly wonderful moment!

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 13: Nuwara Eliya to Kandy (approx. 90kms, 2hrs)

    After breakfast it’s back in the car for your onward drive to Kandy, the cultural capital of the island and a UNESCO world heritage site. You’ll find the lake is the town centrepiece, and the pink painted ‘Temple of the Tooth’ is a must for any visitor with its famous relic, the tooth of Buddha.

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 14: Free day in Kandy 

    You’ll find that Kandy is a great place to pick up souvenirs – batik artwork and paintings by local artists along with masks and statues. Spend the day exploring the highlights and make a trip to the Kandyan Arts and Cultural Centre to catch a show of traditional dance (not included but can be booked if required). Another popular spot is the Botanical Gardens, which house rare and indigenous flora.

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 15: Kandy to Negombo (Approx. 103kms, 3hrs)

    Your penultimate day will take you back to Negombo for the last night, however en-route you’ll get the chance to break the journey at the Elephant Freedom Project. See how they help these wonderful, gentle giants and rehabilitate those who have previously been captured and kept in terrible conditions and used for tourism and logging (entrance not included, this stop is optional)

    Included: Hotel, breakfast

    Day 16: Depart Sri Lanka

    After a fabulous two weeks you will today head back to the airport for your return journey to the UK. Flights land back in the UK on the same day due to the time zones crossed.

    Included: Breakfast


    The most popular time to visit the south coast is from November to March, during which time you'll find lovely warm weather and the least rainfall.  Temperatures rise from April and through the summer months with the arrival of the monsoon rains from May to August.  During this time you'll find the better weather along the east coast, making Sri Lanka a good year round option.

    This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • International flights
    • Return airport transfers
    • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
    Not included

    Any meals not mentioned

    • Personal expenses
    • Tips & gratuities

    14 nights in 4* standard accommodation.

    Hotels in this standard include;

    • Galle Fort Hotel

    • Lantern, Mirissa

    • Cinnamon Wild, Yala National Park

    • 98 Acres, Ella

    • Kandy House, Kandy