SHORTLIST

Premium Sri Lanka in Depth

Discover a country that radiates warmth – from its glorious sunshine and scorching cuisine to the incredibly kind people, this is Sri Lanka. This 14-day Premium adventure through ‘the Teardrop of India’ will take you straight to the heart of the country. Explore the ancient ruins of past civilisations, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya, search for rare and beautiful animals like elephants and leopards, relax on palm-fringed beaches and soak up the hospitable welcome from the locals. From the spicy food scene to the Exclusive cooking class and high tea, this adventure sees all the best bits or Sri Lanka in style.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
3. Tourism in Sri Lanka is booming, and with it has come a huge increase in visitors to Yala National Park. In order to reduce our impact on wildlife and the environment we are trialling visiting a less touristed section of Yala. Should we determine that tourist numbers here also make it difficult to visit responsibly, we will change our itinerary to visit Udawalawe National Park.
4. Yala National Park is closed in September and October for infrastructure development and rejuvenation. During these months we visit Udawalawe National Park.
5. Train tickets are in very high demand. We always try our best to secure tickets, but on the rare occasion that we cannot book them, you will continue your journey by private vehicle.
6. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
7. Twin bedded rooms at the hotel in Galle will be adjacent. If you prefer more space, you may request a rollaway bed when booking.

Tour details
Tour Provider Intrepid Travel
Price From
$4,656
Number of Days
14
Start Location
Negombo, Sri Lanka
End Location
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
1 to 12
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Adventure
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Itinerary Open all
Day 1: Negombo
Ayubowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. When you arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, you’ll be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel in nearby Negombo. Here, you’ll meet your leader and fellow travellers at a 6 pm welcome meeting. If you arrive early, maybe take some time to relax on the beach under the blue sky. After your welcome meeting, your leader will take you to a local restaurant for a seafood dinner. Sri Lankan food is famous for its rich scents, spices and flavours, and this evening you’ll find out why as you sample some local favourites like pol sambol (a tasty coconut dish) and roast paan (crispy roasted bread).
Day 2: Dambulla / Sigiriya
Rise early this morning for a visit to the Negombo fish market. Morning is the best time to visit the market – your leader will help you navigate the organised frenzy of vendors displaying things like crabs, lobsters and squid. Then, say goodbye to Negombo and make the drive to Dambulla, where you'll spend the next three nights. Settle into your hotel and in the late afternoon, head out for one of the highlights of any visit to Sri Lanka – the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site of the palace of Sigiriya (Lion Rock). This dramatic rocky outcrop, rising from the surrounding plains, is topped by a ruined palace. It's a good workout to get to the top, but the sight makes it well worth it. Your leader will share stories of the ancient civilisation who once lived atop the rock as you climb. In the evening, return to Dambulla for a Sri Lankan style barbecue. Tuck into a delicious array of fresh grilled fish, meat and vegetables, and watch a demonstration on how to make chilli and coconut sambol, so you can recreate the taste of Sri Lanka at home.
Day 3: Dambulla / Anuradhapura
Today, you‘ll head to Anuradhapura, the northern point of Sri Lanka’s ‘cultural triangle’, which also contains Polonnaruwa to the east and Kandy to the south-west. This area is bursting with stunning temples and sites of cultural and religious importance. The city of Anuradhapura is one of the country’s most historically significant places and its first ancient capital. Take a step back in time as your leader guides you through the giant stupas of Ruwanweliseya and Jetawanaramaya, and ponder the rise and fall of ancient civilisations as you explore crumbling temples and ruins. Pay a visit to the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree Temple – home to a sacred bodhi tree planted in 236, believed to be the oldest human-planted tree in the world. Stop by the ancient temple of Isurumuniya and see its beautiful carvings that tell stories that are thousands of years old. Return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.
Day 4: Dambulla / Polonnaruwa
After breakfast, you’ll make your way to Polonnaruwa to continue your explorations of the cultural triangle. Following Anuradhapura as the Sinhalese and Chola capital in the 10th century, the area is strewn with ancient riches. Discover well-preserved temples, tombs and stupas in Polonnaruwa’s Quadrangle complex – it’s not hard to imagine what this place looked like in all its former glory. Visit the remains of the seven-story palace built by King Parakramabahu, the rock temple of Gal Vihara, the giant stupa of Rankot Vihara and the ancient Buddha image house of Lankatilaka, covered in intricate carvings and housing a towering statue of Buddha. Stop by the incredible statue of Parakrama I, at 100 m tall this is a truly impressive sight. Later in the afternoon, head back for a final evening in Dambulla, where you may like to enjoy a drink by the lake.
Day 5: Kandy
This morning, you’ll take a short drive to the incredible Dambulla Cave Temple. Here, you’ll discover five caves filled with around 150 beautiful statues and paintings of Buddha – some as many as 2000 years old. Explore the magical cave complex as your leader explains why this World Heritage-listed site has been a place of worship for thousands of years. In the afternoon, start your journey to Kandy. Along the way, stop off in the city of Matale where you will visit a local spice garden and learn about the spices that have played such an important role in Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage. Continue to Kandy where you’ll have a free evening to explore. Though it’s the second-largest city in the country, Kandy maintains a laidback atmosphere. Maybe take a peaceful stroll around the city’s centrepiece lake or ask your leader where you can get your hands on a tasty Sri Lankan curry.
Day 6: Kandy
This morning, meet with a local botanist for their expert insight as you take a guided tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Your guide will help you spot Yellow Fronted Barbets, Layards Parakeets and Sri Lankan Hanging Parrots, and introduce you to an unbelievable array of orchids. You’ll also visit the gem museum and lapidary, where you can learn about the history of gem mining in Sri Lanka and see how gems are turned into beautiful pieces of jewellery. Today’s lunch is particularly special as you dine at Hela Bojun – a social enterprise founded by the Sri Lankan government to empower, train and employ women from rural communities. In the afternoon, you’ll be welcomed into the home of a local dancer where you’ll have the unique opportunity to watch an exclusive cultural performance in an intimate environment. This evening, visit the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic. Located in the heart of town, this is the most important shrine in the country, housing a relic of a tooth of Buddha taken from his funeral pyre. Arrive in time and you may have the chance to witness the pooja – a small ceremony of reverence involving drummers and dancers.
Day 7: Nuwara Eliya
Depart Kandy and board a morning train bound for Nuwara Eliya. Situated deeper into tea plantation country, Nuwara Eliya sits at an elevation of 1800 m, making it one of the coolest regions in Sri Lanka. Once favoured by the Scottish and the English, remnants of the past can be seen in sculpted gardens and manor homes decorating the city. When you arrive, explore the charming town at your own pace before heading to your accommodation. Tucked away among tea plantations and scenic hills is the Grand Hotel – a gorgeous National Heritage Property first established in 1891 and your Feature Stay for the next two nights. A nod to the region's history, rooms are classically decorated with all modern amenities. At its core is the hotel’s sustainable practices – they’ve eliminated single-use plastic and are striving for a zero-waste future. This afternoon, enjoy a high tea experience at your hotel. Converted from the former home of a British governor, the hotel now offers an impressive selection of tea paired with finger food and confectionery. This evening, maybe explore the hotel’s palatial gardens or settle in for a first-class dining experience at the on-site restaurant.
Day 8: Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast, head to the sky-scraping Single Tree temple and embark on a short 40-minute hike to Single Tree Hill viewpoint to witness spectacular views of the surrounding hills and tea fields. After your hike, head to a nearby tea factory. This fascinating factory still features some original pieces of machinery. You’ll have a new appreciation for your humble morning brew after learning about the production process and discovering how the finest tea leaves are transformed into Ceylon black tea. If touring the factory inspires a thirst, you’ll have the chance to sample some of the final product yourself. Head back to the city to sit down for a well-deserved lunch at the prestigious Nuwara Eliya Golf Club – one of the oldest golf clubs in Asia.
Day 9: Yala National Park
This morning, make your way to the sacred town of Kataragama. On the way there, make a stop at a beautiful small town in the highlands – Ella – and visit Ella Gap which offers beautiful vistas out across the plains. In the evening, head to Yala National Park – Sri Lanka's premier wildlife reserve. Here, you’ll board a 4WD for a safari through open grasslands, lush forest and lagoons. Your guide will carefully listen out for the rustling of concealed animals that would go unnoticed by those not in the know. There's a good chance of spotting crocodiles, elephants, monkeys and buffalo and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a leopard – the park is considered one of the best places in the world to see these elusive big cats. After a day of wildlife spotting, retire to your resort for dinner. Located near the less-visited back gate of Yala National Park, your accommodation offers quick access to wildlife without the large coaches frequently found at the front gates.
Day 10: Yala National Park
Today, you’ll enjoy another safari in Yala National Park. As Sri Lanka’s second largest national park, there’s so much to uncover here. Maybe take the chance to do some birdwatching – Yala is home to some 215 bird species, including the Sri Lanka wood pigeon, painted stork and Crimson-fronted Barbet. Keep an eye out for prideful peacocks strutting their way through the park. If Yala is closed today, the group will visit the fantastic Bundala National Park instead. Enjoy an included dinner at your resort this evening.
Day 11: Galle
Take an optional visit Kataragama Temple this morning to see the shrine dedicated to Kataragama Deviyo (the resident god). Later, you’ll transfer to Galle – a beautiful seaside town near Sri Lanka's southernmost tip. Settle into your hotel, then head to Galle Fort, where you’ll meet your local artisan friend Mr Sunil. A traditional woodcarving expert, he will take you through a practical demonstration of the craft and encourage you to give it a go yourself. Then, follow your leader on a walking tour through the best-preserved Dutch town in Sri Lanka. At its core lies a fort surrounded on three sides by the ocean with a treasure trove of ancient mosques and churches, museums, boutiques and more on its streets. Uncover Galle’s glory as your leader shares tales from its past through to the present day.
Day 12: Galle
This morning is yours to spend at your leisure. Maybe visit a cinnamon plantation just outside of Galle to learn about the process of making the spice. Bird watchers may wish to explore the Hiyare Rainforest Reservoir on the outskirts of the city. As always, you can speak to your knowledgeable leader for information on how to book or access these activities. In the evening, you’ll join your leader who will take you to the local markets to learn about all the fresh ingredients that make up Sri Lanka’s flavoursome and fragrant recipes. After perusing the colourful market stalls, head to your local host’s home and take part in a Sri Lankan cooking class followed by a delicious dinner. Get a behind the scenes look at Sri Lankan cuisine as you conjure up some Ambulthiyal fish curry, lentil dhal, eggplant curry and something sweet for dessert.
Day 13: Colombo
Bid farewell to Galle and make your way to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s bustling capital city. When you arrive, head to a courtyard restaurant in the former home of a family from Jaffna and sit down for a northern Sri Lankan lunch. In the afternoon, head out on a leader-led orientation walk. Make a stop at the Pettah fruit and vegetable market where you’ll be fully immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of Colombo as you watch vendors and shoppers go about their business. Visit the striking candy cane coloured Red Mosque and its soaring minarets that can be seen from across the city. Further explorations will reveal Dutch and British influenced architecture, a hangover from the city’s past. This evening you may like to join your leader and fellow travellers for a final group dinner to see out your Sri Lankan adventure.
Day 14: Colombo
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you’d like to extend your stay in Colombo, just get in touch with your booking agent ahead of time to organise additional accommodation.
Inclusions
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners.
  • Transport: Private vehicle, Train.
  • Accommodation: Hotels (11 nights), Feature Stay (2 nights).
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer.
  • Negombo - Welcome Dinner.
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock Fortress Visit.
  • Negombo - Fish market.
  • Dambulla - Local BBQ dinner.
  • Anuradhapura - Bodhi Tree Temple.
  • Anuradhapura - World Heritage Site of ancient kingdom ruins.
  • Anuradhapura - Isurumuniya Temple.
  • Anuradhapura - Ruwanweliseya Stupa.
  • Anuradhapura - Jetawanaramaya Stupa.
  • Polonnaruwa ancient ruins.
  • Polonnaruwa - Statue of Parakramabahu I.
  • Polonnaruwa - Rankot Vihara.
  • Polonnaruwa - Quadrangle.
  • Polonnaruwa - Lankatilaka.
  • Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara.
  • Matale - Spice Garden.
  • Dambulla - Cave Temples.
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens.
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth.
  • Kandy - Lunch at Hela Bojun.
  • Kandy - Gem museum & lapidary workshop visit.
  • Kandy - Private Cultural Dance Performance.
  • Nuwara Eliya - High Tea.
  • Kandy - Scenic train ride to Nuwara Eliya.
  • Nuwara Eliya - Visit to Tea State & Tea Factory.
  • Nuwara Eliya - Single Tree Hill hiking.
  • Nuwara Eliya - Lunch at Nuwara Eliya Golf Club.
  • Ella - Ella Gap view point.
  • Yala/Bundala National Park - Wildlife safari.
  • Yala/Bundala National Park - Wildlife safari.
  • Galle - Galle Fort Walking tour.
  • Galle - Traditional Sri Lankan Wood Carving - demonstration and participation.
  • Galle - Farmer's market and home cooking class.
  • Colombo - City walking tour.
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
28 Jul 2024 10 Aug 2024 8 $4,656
08 Aug 2024 21 Aug 2024 6 $5,238
11 Aug 2024 24 Aug 2024 3 $6,340
25 Aug 2024 07 Sep 2024 3 $6,225
01 Sep 2024 14 Sep 2024 8 $4,656
08 Sep 2024 21 Sep 2024 4 $5,935
15 Sep 2024 28 Sep 2024 5 $5,880
22 Sep 2024 05 Oct 2024 6 $5,770
29 Sep 2024 12 Oct 2024 9 $5,600
13 Oct 2024 26 Oct 2024 5 $5,770
27 Oct 2024 09 Nov 2024 4 $5,880
05 Nov 2024 18 Nov 2024 9 $5,600
07 Nov 2024 20 Nov 2024 7 $5,770
14 Nov 2024 27 Nov 2024 8 $5,600
17 Nov 2024 30 Nov 2024 5 $5,825
21 Nov 2024 04 Dec 2024 10 $5,820
24 Nov 2024 07 Dec 2024 4 $6,225
28 Nov 2024 11 Dec 2024 8 $5,820
08 Dec 2024 21 Dec 2024 4 $6,465
15 Dec 2024 28 Dec 2024 9 $6,045
19 Dec 2024 01 Jan 2025 8 $6,045
26 Dec 2024 08 Jan 2025 8 $6,045
29 Dec 2024 11 Jan 2025 1 $6,825
02 Jan 2025 15 Jan 2025 10 $6,410
05 Jan 2025 18 Jan 2025 8 $6,410
09 Jan 2025 22 Jan 2025 12 $6,410
12 Jan 2025 25 Jan 2025 6 $6,530
16 Jan 2025 29 Jan 2025 7 $6,530
19 Jan 2025 01 Feb 2025 4 $6,590
23 Jan 2025 05 Feb 2025 10 $6,410
26 Jan 2025 08 Feb 2025 5 $6,410
02 Feb 2025 15 Feb 2025 6 $6,590
06 Feb 2025 19 Feb 2025 6 $6,410
09 Feb 2025 22 Feb 2025 4 $6,590
13 Feb 2025 26 Feb 2025 12 $6,410
16 Feb 2025 01 Mar 2025 11 $6,410
20 Feb 2025 05 Mar 2025 8 $6,175
23 Feb 2025 08 Mar 2025 9 $6,175
27 Feb 2025 12 Mar 2025 12 $6,175
02 Mar 2025 15 Mar 2025 8 $6,175
06 Mar 2025 19 Mar 2025 8 $6,175
09 Mar 2025 22 Mar 2025 10 $6,175
16 Mar 2025 29 Mar 2025 3 $6,640
20 Mar 2025 02 Apr 2025 12 $5,935
23 Mar 2025 05 Apr 2025 11 $6,175
27 Mar 2025 09 Apr 2025 12 $5,935
30 Mar 2025 12 Apr 2025 10 $6,175
03 Apr 2025 16 Apr 2025 12 $5,935
06 Apr 2025 19 Apr 2025 10 $6,175
10 Apr 2025 23 Apr 2025 10 $6,175
13 Apr 2025 26 Apr 2025 12 $6,175
17 Apr 2025 30 Apr 2025 12 $6,175
20 Apr 2025 03 May 2025 12 $6,175
24 Apr 2025 07 May 2025 12 $6,175
27 Apr 2025 10 May 2025 12 $5,935
29 Apr 2025 12 May 2025 12 $5,935
11 May 2025 24 May 2025 12 $5,935
25 May 2025 07 Jun 2025 12 $5,935
15 Jun 2025 28 Jun 2025 12 $5,935
06 Jul 2025 19 Jul 2025 12 $5,935
20 Jul 2025 02 Aug 2025 12 $5,935
27 Jul 2025 09 Aug 2025 12 $5,935
03 Aug 2025 16 Aug 2025 10 $5,935
17 Aug 2025 30 Aug 2025 12 $5,935
24 Aug 2025 06 Sep 2025 12 $5,935
28 Aug 2025 10 Sep 2025 12 $5,935
07 Sep 2025 20 Sep 2025 12 $5,935
14 Sep 2025 27 Sep 2025 12 $5,935
21 Sep 2025 04 Oct 2025 12 $5,935
25 Sep 2025 08 Oct 2025 12 $5,935
28 Sep 2025 11 Oct 2025 12 $5,935
12 Oct 2025 25 Oct 2025 12 $5,935
26 Oct 2025 08 Nov 2025 12 $5,935
02 Nov 2025 15 Nov 2025 12 $5,935
06 Nov 2025 19 Nov 2025 12 $5,935
09 Nov 2025 22 Nov 2025 12 $5,935
13 Nov 2025 26 Nov 2025 12 $5,935
16 Nov 2025 29 Nov 2025 12 $5,935
20 Nov 2025 03 Dec 2025 12 $5,935
23 Nov 2025 06 Dec 2025 12 $6,175
27 Nov 2025 10 Dec 2025 12 $5,935
30 Nov 2025 13 Dec 2025 12 $6,175
04 Dec 2025 17 Dec 2025 12 $5,935
07 Dec 2025 20 Dec 2025 12 $6,410
11 Dec 2025 24 Dec 2025 12 $6,410
14 Dec 2025 27 Dec 2025 12 $6,410
18 Dec 2025 31 Dec 2025 12 $5,935
21 Dec 2025 03 Jan 2026 12 $6,410
25 Dec 2025 07 Jan 2026 12 $6,410
28 Dec 2025 10 Jan 2026 12 $6,410
01 Jan 2026 14 Jan 2026 12 $6,190
04 Jan 2026 17 Jan 2026 12 $6,190
08 Jan 2026 21 Jan 2026 12 $6,190
11 Jan 2026 24 Jan 2026 12 $6,190
15 Jan 2026 28 Jan 2026 12 $6,190
18 Jan 2026 31 Jan 2026 12 $6,190
22 Jan 2026 04 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
25 Jan 2026 07 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
01 Feb 2026 14 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
05 Feb 2026 18 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
08 Feb 2026 21 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
12 Feb 2026 25 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
15 Feb 2026 28 Feb 2026 12 $6,190
19 Feb 2026 04 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
22 Feb 2026 07 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
26 Feb 2026 11 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
01 Mar 2026 14 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
05 Mar 2026 18 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
08 Mar 2026 21 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
15 Mar 2026 28 Mar 2026 12 $6,190
19 Mar 2026 01 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
22 Mar 2026 04 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
26 Mar 2026 08 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
29 Mar 2026 11 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
02 Apr 2026 15 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
05 Apr 2026 18 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
09 Apr 2026 22 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
12 Apr 2026 25 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
16 Apr 2026 29 Apr 2026 12 $6,190
19 Apr 2026 02 May 2026 12 $6,190
23 Apr 2026 06 May 2026 12 $6,190
26 Apr 2026 09 May 2026 12 $6,190
10 May 2026 23 May 2026 12 $6,190
24 May 2026 06 Jun 2026 12 $6,190
14 Jun 2026 27 Jun 2026 12 $6,190
05 Jul 2026 18 Jul 2026 12 $6,190
19 Jul 2026 01 Aug 2026 12 $6,190
26 Jul 2026 08 Aug 2026 12 $6,190
02 Aug 2026 15 Aug 2026 12 $6,190
16 Aug 2026 29 Aug 2026 12 $6,190
23 Aug 2026 05 Sep 2026 12 $6,190
27 Aug 2026 09 Sep 2026 12 $6,190
06 Sep 2026 19 Sep 2026 12 $6,190
13 Sep 2026 26 Sep 2026 12 $6,190
20 Sep 2026 03 Oct 2026 12 $6,190
24 Sep 2026 07 Oct 2026 12 $6,190
27 Sep 2026 10 Oct 2026 12 $6,190
11 Oct 2026 24 Oct 2026 12 $6,190
25 Oct 2026 07 Nov 2026 12 $6,190
01 Nov 2026 14 Nov 2026 12 $6,190
05 Nov 2026 18 Nov 2026 12 $6,190
08 Nov 2026 21 Nov 2026 12 $6,190
12 Nov 2026 25 Nov 2026 12 $6,190
15 Nov 2026 28 Nov 2026 12 $6,190
19 Nov 2026 02 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
22 Nov 2026 05 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
26 Nov 2026 09 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
29 Nov 2026 12 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
03 Dec 2026 16 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
06 Dec 2026 19 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
10 Dec 2026 23 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
13 Dec 2026 26 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
17 Dec 2026 30 Dec 2026 12 $6,190
20 Dec 2026 02 Jan 2027 12 $6,190
24 Dec 2026 06 Jan 2027 12 $6,190
27 Dec 2026 09 Jan 2027 12 $6,190