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  • When?March 2015
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Home / Explore - Sri Lanka
Explore - Sri Lanka
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Explore - Sri Lanka

  • 13 Night Holiday
  • B&B
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Discover the rich history and the unique culture of the island nation of Sri Lanka on this 13-night small group tour with a difference.

Admire its beautiful landscapes, ancient cities and temples, amazing wildlife and idyllic beaches, as you get to know the people and places of this fascinating country, with like-minded individuals. 

With wonders at every turn, you will take in a selection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Dambulla Cave Temple and the spectacular Lion's Rock fortress in Sigiriya.

Immerse yourself in local life as you visit regional villages and markets, sample local cuisine and enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan cultural performance. Marvel at the country’s incredible wildlife on a safari game drive in the Udawalawe National Park, where elephants, leopards, water buffalo, and sambar deer are among the inhabitants. And to top it all off, you will enjoy some relaxation time on one of the island’s stunning but lesser known sandy beaches.

 

 

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Sri Lankan Rupee
Local Time
Irish and UK time +5.5 hours.
Airport
Bandaranaike International Airport is located approximately 30minutes drive from your hotel in Negombo.
Climate
The diverse topography of Sri Lanka means that parts of the country experience different climatic conditions at the same time. Upland areas are generally cooler and more temperate, while coastal areas are warmer, although cooled by sea breezes. 
Passport/Visa
EU Citizens require a tourist visa to enter Sri Lanka. Clients need to apply for an ETA. Clients complete this online https://eta.gov.lk/etaslvisa/etaNavServ?payType=1 for a fee of $35 dollars, or 65 euro if completed by Travel Department.
Vaccination Information
Vaccinations may be required before your departure - please consult with your GP or Tropical Medical Bureau.
Malaria and Dengue fever
Malaria and Dengue fever are risks in Sri Lanka. Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by covering up and using mosquito repellents.
Food and Drink
Sri Lankan cuisine can be quite hot – sometimes on a par with Thai, and Indian cooking. The staple dish is rice and curry, at its finest a miniature banquet whose contrasting flavours – coconut milk, chillies, curry leaves, cinnamon, garlic and “Maldive fish” (an intensely flavoured pinch of sun-dried tuna) – bear witness to Sri Lanka’s status as one of the original spice islands.
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 313 Rs
  • Beer: 300 Rs
  • Glass of wine: 350 Rs
  • Meal: 1,550 Rs 
  • Soft Drink: 73 Rs
  • Bottled Water: 77.00Rs
  • (1 Rs - €0.006)
Packing List
  • Your valid passport
  • Sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • A small backpack
  • A light coat
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Camera
Recommended Reading

The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

The Road from Elephant Pass by Nihal de Silva

Colombo: A Novel by Carl Muller

Holiday highlights

Polonnaruwa 
Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
Sigiriya 
The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa I (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 370 m high (the 'Lion's Rock', which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.
Dambulla Cave Temple 
A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka.
Galle 
Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia.

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Sri Lankan Rupee
Local Time
Irish and UK time +5.5 hours.
Airport
Bandaranaike International Airport is located approximately 30minutes drive from your hotel in Negombo.
Climate
The diverse topography of Sri Lanka means that parts of the country experience different climatic conditions at the same time. Upland areas are generally cooler and more temperate, while coastal areas are warmer, although cooled by sea breezes. 
Passport/Visa
EU Citizens require a tourist visa to enter Sri Lanka. Clients need to apply for an ETA. Clients complete this online https://eta.gov.lk/etaslvisa/etaNavServ?payType=1 for a fee of $35 dollars, or 65 euro if completed by Travel Department.
Vaccination Information
Vaccinations may be required before your departure - please consult with your GP or Tropical Medical Bureau.
Malaria and Dengue fever
Malaria and Dengue fever are risks in Sri Lanka. Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by covering up and using mosquito repellents.
Food and Drink
Sri Lankan cuisine can be quite hot – sometimes on a par with Thai, and Indian cooking. The staple dish is rice and curry, at its finest a miniature banquet whose contrasting flavours – coconut milk, chillies, curry leaves, cinnamon, garlic and “Maldive fish” (an intensely flavoured pinch of sun-dried tuna) – bear witness to Sri Lanka’s status as one of the original spice islands.
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 313 Rs
  • Beer: 300 Rs
  • Glass of wine: 350 Rs
  • Meal: 1,550 Rs 
  • Soft Drink: 73 Rs
  • Bottled Water: 77.00Rs
  • (1 Rs - €0.006)
Packing List
  • Your valid passport
  • Sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • A small backpack
  • A light coat
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Camera
Recommended Reading

The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

The Road from Elephant Pass by Nihal de Silva

Colombo: A Novel by Carl Muller

Trip Itinerary - Day by day

Day 1 - Travel to Sri Lanka

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Travel to Sri Lanka

Depart Dublin on your overnight flight to Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka.

Day 2 - Colombo

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Morning

Colombo

Upon your early morning arrival in Colombo you will be met by our local representative before being transferred to your hotel in Colombo by coach.

Afternoon

Colombo City Tour

In the afternoon, you will embark on a city tour of Colombo with your local guide. Later on, get to know your group during a welcome meal at your hotel.

Day 3 - Dambulla

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Morning

Dambulla

Travel from Colombo to your hotel in Dambulla, with a visit to Dambulla Cave Temple en route. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. Explore the ancient drawings, rock towers and murals that are contained within this World Heritage Site.

Afternoon

Local Village Visit

Experience a local village visit to observe their rural lifestyle and immerse yourself in traditional culture. Take a ride on a bullock cart through a banana plantation, cross the Lake Habarana by canoe ride.

Day 4 - Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya

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Morning

Sigiriya

After breakfast visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya. The spectacular ‘Lion’s Rock’ fortress, is a large ancient rock palace surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens. Spend the morning on an exhilarating climb up Sigiriya rock. The climb is strenuous but not difficult with approximately 1200 steps to the summit. A sheer 200m tall magma plug leftover from an eroded volcano jutting out of a flat rain-forest covered plain.

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Afternoon

Polonnaruwa

This afternoon, enjoy an excursion of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. This UNESCO World Heritage site includes the Royal Palace complex and Gal Vihara rock temple of the Buddha. Explore this wonderful site by bike and discover the many stone monuments that lie within.

Day 5 - Kandy

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Morning

Spice Garden

After breakfast, depart for Kandy, visiting a spice garden in Matale en route. You will have the chance to witness a cooking demonstration of local Sri Lankan cuisine.

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Afternoon

Kandy

Upon arrival in Kandy you will have the remainder of the day at leisure to explore the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, famed for its setting beside a lake and cradled by hills.

Day 6 - Kitulagala & Nuwara Eliya

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Morning

White Water Rafting

After breakfast depart Kandy for Kitulagala. Experience White Water rafting as you travel down the Kelani River, covering 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids over a distance of 5kms.

Nuwara Eliya

Afternoon

Continue from Kitulagala to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya. Enjoy some sightseeing of the area with your guide before having the remainder of the day at leisure to explore further independently.

Day 7 - Udawalawe

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Morning

At Leisure

After breakfast you will transfer to Udawalawe National Park. With herds of elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards, Udawalawe National Park is the Sri Lankan national park that best rivals the savannah reserves of Africa. The park is lightly vegetated but it has a stark beauty and the lack of dense vegetation makes game-watching easy.

Afternoon

Jeep Safari

Partake in an afternoon jeep safari before retiring to your camp for the night, where you will enjoy dinner with your group.

Day 8 - Hikkaduwa

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Morning

Hikkaduwa

After breakfast, depart Udawalawe for Hikkaduwa, a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Relax and enjoy a full day at leisure in delightful Hikkaduwa Beach surroundings.

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Evening

Dinner

Enjoy dinner at your hotel in Hikkaduwa, before spending the remainder of the evening as you wish.

Day 9 - Hikkaduwa & Galle

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Morning

Local Market

This morning visit a nearby market to purchase fresh ingredients with the help of a local cuisine expert. Back at your hotel, you will use these ingredients during a cooking lesson designed to teach you some authentic Sri Lankan culinary styles.

Afternoon

Galle

In the afternoon enjoy a tour of the Galle Fort with your tour guide. Galle Fort, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The city of Galle has a very colourful history and this famous fort has remained a hive of activity until this day. You will experience some of the scenic sights of Galle city, with free time to explore at your leisure.

Days 10 - 12 - Hikkaduwa at Leisure

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At Leisure

You will have three full days at leisure in the delightful surroundings of Hikkaduwa Beach. Enjoy the warm sunshine and clear blue seas, sit and watch the surfers or snorkel the impressive coral reef just off the shore. Your local guide will be happy to suggest activities to suit your interests.

Day 13 - Colombo & Return Home

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Morning

Hikkaduwa

Enjoy one final morning soaking up the atmosphere in Hikkaduwa.

Afternoon

Transfer to Colombo

Transfer from Hikkaduwa to Colombo for your overnight flight home.

Day 14 – Arrive Home

Morning

Arrive Home

Arrive back into Dublin airport in the early morning after your once in a lifetime adventure in Sri Lanka.

* Please note that the order of your excursions on the itinerary above is provisional and subject to change

Customer reviews

Hotel & accommodation available for this trip

Hotel Galle Face 4

Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, the Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green.One of the oldest hotels east of the Suez, the Galle Face Hotel embraces its rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to ... read more read more read more

Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, the Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green.

One of the oldest hotels east of the Suez, the Galle Face Hotel embraces its rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to create engaging, immersive experiences that resonate with old and new generations of travelers alike. 

No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without staying at this majestic hotel, built in 1864 and recently restored back to its former glory.

Hotel address
Hotel Galle Face
2 Galle Road, Colombo 3
Sri Lanka

View available dates for this hotel

Paradise Resort & Spa 4

The Paradise Resort & Spa is located deep within the ancient city of Dambulla, in central Sri Lanka. Guests can enjoy the hotel's facilities which include an outdoor swimming pool, a spa, a shopping arcade, 4 restaurants and a bar. Rooms are air-conditioned and are equipped w... read more read more read more

The Paradise Resort & Spa is located deep within the ancient city of Dambulla, in central Sri Lanka. Guests can enjoy the hotel's facilities which include an outdoor swimming pool, a spa, a shopping arcade, 4 restaurants and a bar. Rooms are air-conditioned and are equipped with a TV and en suite bathroom with shower. Several key attractions are located nearby, including Sigiriya Rock and the Golden Temple of Dambulla which are both a short drive from the resort.

Hotel address
Paradise Resort & Spa
Dambulla
21100

Sri Lanka
View available dates for this hotel

Thilanka Hotel Kandy 3

Hotel Thilanka sits majestically in the city of all cities - Kandy . Surrounded by the mist-veiled Hunnasgiriya mountains and the lush Udawattaekelle natural reserve, it overlooks the great city of Kandy . Hotel Thilanka is a tapestry of colours, like a rich, vibrant, Kandyan pai... read more read more read more

Hotel Thilanka sits majestically in the city of all cities - Kandy . Surrounded by the mist-veiled Hunnasgiriya mountains and the lush Udawattaekelle natural reserve, it overlooks the great city of Kandy . Hotel Thilanka is a tapestry of colours, like a rich, vibrant, Kandyan painting. Adorned in hues of ruby reds, brilliant yellows, warm oranges and subtle temple motifs, it's like a page out of the Mahavansa . Elements of Kandyan tradition and culture, precious antiques, local arts and crafts, and glass bowls of fresh lotus flowers make up its regal interiors. 

Hotel address
Thilanka Hotel Kandy
Sangamitta Mawatha
Kandy
Sri Lanka
View available dates for this hotel

Big Game Camps and Lodge Udawalawe 3

By staying at a Big Game Camp Undawalawe you will have easy access to the Udawalawe Park. The comfortable tents provide you with the best blend of luxury and outdoor camping experience. The campsite overlooks a small lake and is set in semi wilderness so that guests can truly e... read more read more read more

By staying at a Big Game Camp Undawalawe you will have easy access to the Udawalawe Park.

The comfortable tents provide you with the best blend of luxury and outdoor camping experience. The campsite overlooks a small lake and is set in semi wilderness so that guests can truly enjoy a secluded getaway. The lake is popular with elephants so that the guests can enjoy an up close and personal experience. 
Hotel address
Big Game Camps and Lodge Udawalawe
20/63, Fairfield Garden
Colombo 08
Sri Lanka
View available dates for this hotel

Citrus Hikkaduwa 3

Discover idyllic bliss amidst the sun kissed beaches of Hikkaduwa.Citrus Hikkaduwa provides guests easy access to explore the surrounding countryside as well as the colorful and vibrant nightlife of Hikkaduwa. Providing you with the perfect accommodation for your beach vacation t... read more read more read more

Discover idyllic bliss amidst the sun kissed beaches of Hikkaduwa.Citrus Hikkaduwa provides guests easy access to explore the surrounding countryside as well as the colorful and vibrant nightlife of Hikkaduwa.

Providing you with the perfect accommodation for your beach vacation to relax and unwind, there is no better place to experience the enchanting city than at Citrus Hikkaduwa.

Famed for its shallow fringing reef, Hikkaduwa is perfect for water sports such as snorkelling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat rides. A wonder-spot for those who love the water.

Hotel address
Citrus Hikkaduwa
Citrus Hikkaduwa. No 400, Galle Road,
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

View available dates for this hotel

Oak Ray Summer Hill Breeze 3

The Oak Ray Summer Hill Breeze hotel is located in Nuwara Eliya. The hotel is close to several attractions including Gregory Lake, Galway's Land and Hakgala Botanical Garden which is a short drive from the property. Guests can enjoy the hotel's facilities which include an on-site... read more read more read more

The Oak Ray Summer Hill Breeze hotel is located in Nuwara Eliya. The hotel is close to several attractions including Gregory Lake, Galway's Land and Hakgala Botanical Garden which is a short drive from the property. Guests can enjoy the hotel's facilities which include an on-site restaurant, bar and terrace.

Hotel address
Oak Ray Summer Hill Breeze
No.49/1, Unique View Road, 22200 Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka


View available dates for this hotel

OZO Colombo 3 Star Superior

Ozo Colombo boasts simple yet cosy rooms, complete with Sri Lankan charm. This property is conveniently located within walking distance to the beach. Sample local cuisine in the onsite restaurant or relax in the outdoor swimming pool. In the evening, you can enjoy a cocktail or a... read more read more read more

Ozo Colombo boasts simple yet cosy rooms, complete with Sri Lankan charm. This property is conveniently located within walking distance to the beach. Sample local cuisine in the onsite restaurant or relax in the outdoor swimming pool. In the evening, you can enjoy a cocktail or a glass of beer at the hotel’s bar which is popular with tourists and locals alike.

 

Hotel address
OZO Colombo
No. 36-38, Clifford Place
Colombo

Colombo
View available dates for this hotel

*Some hotel facilities are seasonally operated and may not be available at the time of your stay. Charges may apply for certain facilities.

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