Tour Details at a glance
11 - 28 September 2022 11 - 28 September 2023
18 days / 17 nights
From USD TBA twin share From USD TBA including Optional Single Supplement
Minimum 5, Maximum 10
17 nights Hotels
Private air-conditioned minibus 1 day train
17 breakfasts 1 lunch 11 dinners
Arrival and departure transfers; Entrance fees to all sights as per the itinerary; Guide fees; Tips and gratuities
Incredible Sri Lanka Tour
Sri Lanka, the ‘Wonder of Asia’, has something to offer everyone, and this trip has it all. Ancient ruins, tea plantations, wildlife safaris, UNESCO World heritage sites, natural beauty, amazing beaches, fabulous food, spices and ayurveda, not to mention standout shopping.
We meet up at the beach resort town of Negombo before exploring the ancient capital of Annuradhapura and checking out the wildlife in Wilpathu National Park. We then head over to the east coast for 2 nights, experiencing some of the stunning beaches of Sri Lanka. Heading back to the ancient cities of Sigiriya and Dambulla we take a trip into the Elephant reserve of Minneriya National Park before exploring the hills and tea plantations around Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. Heading south, we have a night at a beach resort on the South Coast before checking out the colonial history in charming Galle Fort. We finish up our journey in Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, full of fabulous sights and amazing shopping. With many more hidden surprises, our travels around Sri Lanka will bring you face to face with fascinating culture, a beautiful people, fabulous food and an ancient and varied history just waiting to be discovered.
Experience Incredible Sri Lanka on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within Sri Lanka by a western female tour manager and local full time tour guide.
• explore the Dutch canals and fishing village in Negombo
• keep your eyes peeled for wild leopards in Wilpattu National Park
• discover the ancient city of Anuradhapura
• snorkel the pristine Pigeon Island reef off the coast of Nilaveli
• be on the lookout for herds of wild elephants in Minneriya National Park
• climb the unique monolithic rock fortress at Sigiriya
• enjoy a traditional lunch during a village tour near Sigiriya
• be amazed at the interiors of the remarkable Buddhist cave temples at Dambulla
• explore the charming city of Kandy
• wander the hills and tea plantations around Nuwara Eliya
• recharge your batteries on a south coast beach in Tangalle
• ramble through the quaint narrow streets of Galle Fortress
• shop till you drop in the outlet stores in Colombo
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Negombo
Arriving at Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be met and driven to nearby Negombo and our hotel by the beach to spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Hotel: Goldi Sands Hotel or similar
Day 2 Negombo
Today we visit the Muthrajawela Lagoon and take a boat trip along the dutch canals, before exploring the fish markets, and some of the sights around Negombo including the fort and churches in what is known as Little Rome.
Hotel: Goldi Sands Hotel or similar
Days 3-4 Anuradhapura
Driving north to Anuradhapura – the old capital, we spend the afternoon visiting some of the remarkable sights, including the Sri Maha Bodhi, the oldest documented planted tree in the world.
Day 4 we take an early morning safari in Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka’s largest national park, home to elephants, leopards, deer, sloth bears and more. In the late afternoon we will explore some of Anuradhapuras awe-inspiring temples, stupas and dagobas (some dating back well over 2000 years).
Hotel: Palm Garden Village Hotel or similar
Days 5-6 Nilaveli
This morning we depart Anuraradhapura and visit the stunning Mihintale holy mountain, where the King was introduced to Buddhism by a monk from India. A morning drive east to Nilaveli, near Trincomalee where we spend the afternoon relaxing. On day 6 we visit the pristine Pigeon Island sanctuary, excellent for some reef snorkeling.
Hotel: Nilaveli Beach Hotel or similar
Days 7-8 Sigiriya
We head back inland to Sigiriya today via Trincomalee's Fort Fredrick and the fascinating Koneshwaram Hindu temple.
This afternoon we visit Minneriya National Park, a haven for huge herds of elephants, regularly spotted around the enormous water tank (lake) and even on the roads nearby. In August and September, the elephants gather in great numbers - often between 100 and 200 as they dig up sweet grasses newly sprouted in the mud from the receding waters of the lake.
On day 9 we make an early morning climb up the legendary “Lion Rock”, probably the most impressive sight in Sri Lanka. Half way up are the Celestial Maiden frescoes and a little more effort to get to the top is well worth it for the views and ruins. We also take a village tour and enjoy a typical Sri Lankan lunch.
Hotel: Sigiriya Village Hotel or similar
Days 9-10 Kandy
Driving today into the hills, we visit first the beautiful Dambulla Cave Temples which house hundreds of Buddha statues, many carved out of the rock itself. Continuing on we come to the old capital of Kandy where we’ll catch the evening ceremony at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and take in a traditional dance performance. We will take a guided tour of Kandy city, enjoying free time for exploring or shopping (Kandy is famous for its gemstones and batik) and visit the stunning 60 hectare botanical gardens.
Hotel Suisse Hotel or similar
Days 11-12 Nuwara Eliya
We spend the day heading high into the hills (one one of the most picturesque train journeys in the world), through the tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya. Visiting a tea factory we also explore the colonial hill station and have a morning trek to ‘Worlds End’, with some of the best panoramic views in Sri Lanka.
Hotel: St Andrews or similar
Day 13 Tangalle
Heading south today, we stop for lunch at the friendly little village of Ella before driving down through Ella Gap to the south coast where we stop for the night on the stunning Sri Lankan south coast beaches near Tangalle.
Hotel: Green Parrot Beach Resort or similar
Days 14-15 Galle
Today we drive eastwards along the South Coast to Galle, enroute passing by the Stilt Fishermen around Koggala. Galle City, the major port on the south coast has the charming 17th century Fort, with Portuguese, Dutch and English heritage. You have a free day to explore the ramparts and buildings and wandering through the quaint streets steeped in history, not to mention fabulous boutiques, bars and cafes.
Hotel: The Heritage Galle Fort or similar
Day 16 Colombo
We have a leisurely drive north towards Colombo. On the way we stop off at Balapitiya and take a boat ride on the Madu Ganga river, famous for its Mangrove tunnels and birdlife. We also visit a Turtle hatchery in Kosgoda, set up to save and conserve the turtle population. Four of the five endangered species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka.
We then continue on to Colombo, arriving in time for an afternoon drink at our hotel by the sea.
Hotel: Galle Face Hotel
Day 17 Colombo
We have a full day to explore the sights and the shopping in Colombo, including the Gangaramaya Temple and the markets of Pettah. Sri Lanka has a large clothing export industry and many of the seconds find their way into the outlet stores in Colombo. There are also many other wonderful buys, from homewares and textiles to gems and of course, Sri Lankan souvenirs.
Day 18 Departure Day
There are no activities today. You can depart at any time.
Minimum 5, maximum 10
18 days / 17 nights
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as specified
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Meals as specified
Bottled drinking water (2 x litres per person per day)
Gratuities for hotels, drivers and guides
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
17 nights hotels
Optional Single Supplement
If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travellers. If we are unable to match you up with another traveller of the same sex, we will pay your single supplement for you. Should you not wish to share accommodation at all, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of USD TBC will be payable.
Private air conditioned minibus, Jeeps in Wilpattu National Park and Minneriya National Park, Boat ride on the Muthrajawela Lagoon and Madu Ganga River, Boat trip to Pigeon Island, Trincomalee, Train ride to Nuwara Eliya
The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
Muthrajawela Lagoon boat ride, Fish Markets, Town tour (Negombo)
Ancient City, Wilpattu National Park, Mihintale (Anuradhapura)
Pigeon Island, Trincomalee Fort (Nilaveli/Trincomalee)
Mineriya National Park, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Village Tour and lunch, Dambulla Cave Temples (Sigiriya)
Botanical Gardens, Dance Program, Temple of the Tooth Relic, (Kandy)
Tea Factory, Hortons Plains National Park, Town walk (Nuwara Eliya)
Stilt Fishermen, Town Walk (Galle)
Boat Cruise, Turtle Hatchery (Madu Ganga/Kosgoda)
Gangarama Temple, Independence Square, Pettah Markets (Colombo)
17 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 11 Dinners
Travelling with Incredible Indian Tours we ensure that you will experience a vast array of the gustatory treats available in Sri Lanka. Many hotels we stay are a little away from the town, and when this is the case, we have included dinner in the hotel, which is usually buffet style. Where there are a choice of eating options nearby we have not included dinner. This allows you to choose where, and what to eat. More often than not however we eat together as a group.
Exchange rates as at March 2021
AUD1 = 151 INR
CAD1 = 157 INR
EUR1 = 235 INR
GBP1 = 274 INR
NZD1 = 139 INR
USD1 = 198 INR
There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro debit cards and Visa and MasterCard) throughout Sri Lanka. This is a safe and convenient way to access money, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash ($100) in case there are times that ATMs are not available. The major currencies, including AUD and CAD are no problem in general to exchange. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in hotels, major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities.
Although entrance fees to specified sites are included in the tour price, there are additional sights that you may like to visit.
Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when allowing for drinks, shopping, and optional activities
You will need to allow enough money for the following:
Meals – USD200 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities – USD50 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.
Tipping is an integral part of life on the Subcontinent and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier we cover tips for hotel porters, guides and for drivers of private transport we use. This does not cover restaurant tips (allow 10% on top of your restaurant bill).
Physical rating 2/5
There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites, which due to the hot climate of Sri Lanka will make general sightseeing a little more strenuous.
Culture shock rating 2/5
Conditions in Sri Lanka are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You will be exposed to some poverty and chaotic road traffic. Bargaining is a way of life in Sri Lanka, so come prepared.
Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst traveling to the Indian Subcontinent and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours.
All foreign nationals require an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to enter Sri Lanka. For information and to apply, visit the following website:
We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements .
The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
Most of our hotels will have Wifi. You can also purchase a local prepaid sim card (for unlocked cell phones) easily and inexpensively in Sri Lanka. We recommend you purchase a sim card at the airport on arrival. Dialog and Mobitel are both recommended.
Your tour manager & tour guides
Your tour manager is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. They will introduce you to their local friends and recommend great local restaurants and experiences. They will have a broad general knowledge of Sri Lanka, so do feel free to tap into their wisdom.
We also have a full-time national tour lecturer with us for the entire duration of our tour.
We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do’s and don’ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.
Joining hotel and arrival instructions
Goldi Sands Hotel
Porutota Road, Negombo, Sri Lanka
Ph: +94 31 227 9021
Your airport transfer pickup will await you holding a sign with your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall. There may be large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer.
Negombo is a popular beachside retreat situated just minutes away from the International Airport. It boasts some of the finest beaches in the country. The Muthurajawela Marshes are home to many varieties of fauna, flora and birds. The 100km long canal network, the Dutch Fort and the second largest fish market in the country and nearby Whale & Dolphin watching provide much to see and do here.
Our hotel is situated on the beach with a pool, watersports, an excellent restaurant and an ayurvedic spa. Rooms contain a refrigerator, tea & coffee making facilities, hair dryer and electronic safe.
Early arrival information
If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation is available at Goldi Sands from USD TBA Single/Double per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as this hotel can be booked up well in advance.
Galle Face Hotel
2 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 254 1010
If you are staying on in Colombo after the tour, extra accommodation is available at Galle Face Hotel from USD TBA Single/Double per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as this hotel can be booked up well in advance.
What to take
We will be on the move a lot, so try to pack as lightly as possible. Additionally you will want to leave space in your bag for shopping.
Sri Lanka is conservative and we ask that you dress accordingly. Although locals are used to seeing tourists wearing skimpy clothing we would ask that you do not wear short shorts and strapless tops. Unless we are visiting temples, shorts or skirts above the knee are suitable attire. For visits to temples, you will need to have your knees and upper arms covered. Socks are useful to save walking barefoot on rough and hot pavements around some of the temples/stupas.
Laundry facilities will be available in locations we have a two night stay.
The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temperatures will be warm to hot, in the range 23-35oc and humid. Bring an umbrella and also sun protection and a hat.
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don’t forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash (for emergencies)
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Mosquito repellent (good repellent can be hard to find in Sri Lanka)
Ear plugs can be useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your bag or suitcase
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash. Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you. Most hotels we use have safety deposit boxes.
Upon booking, you will receive a full tour info pack including a suggested packing list an other helpful information on preparing for your trip to Sri Lanka.