SHORTLIST

Pure Sri Lanka

Say Ayubowan to Southeast Asia's gem, Sri Lanka. This adventure is going to take you all over – from national parks to beaches to ancient fortresses and temples, we’ve squeezed in all the highlights & a few lesser-known secrets to create the perfect 11-day trip. With hand-picked inclusions and extra free time add-ons, this trip delivers the best Sri Lanka has to offer.
Tour details
Tour Provider Contiki
Price From
$2,672
Number of Days
11
Start Location
Negombo, Sri Lanka
End Location
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Age Range
18 to 35
Group Size
20 to 45
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
No specific theme
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Itinerary Open all
Start Negombo
Our Sri Lankan adventure begins in Negombo. Find your feet in this diverse & laid-back town with coastal beaches, local fish markets and a working Dutch-style canal system. This evening you'll meet up with your Trip Manager and your team for a full brief of the travels about to unfold, before heading out for the first taste of some local delicacies.
Negombo to Sigiriya
This morning we'll drive inland to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress town in the Matale District.
Home to palace ruins set on a giant ancient lava rock, and surrounded by ancient relics of gardens and reservoirs, Sigiriya is a hotspot of historical significance here in Sri Lanka. After checking in to our accommodation, we'll begin our explorations with a guided visit to Hiriwadunna village, a spiritually important site where Prince Siddhartha was said to have attained Buddhahood. We'll sit down for an authentic Sri Lankan lunch here at the village, surrounded by greenery and wildlife. After waving goodbye to Hiriwadunna, we'll head back to our hotel where we'll join together for an included dinner tonight.
Sigiriya
We couldn't visit Sigiriya without exploring the incredible Sigiriya Rock Fortress that's been dominating the skyline ever since we've arrived, and morning is the best time to visit. After our included breakfast we'll take a trip to the fortress to check out the UNESCO-listed 'Lion's Rock', with it's 5th-century buildings, painted rock frescs and massive pair of lion paws at the entrance. We're back on the road, this time to visit the nearby town of Dambulla where you'll have the chance to find your own lunch. Here we'll find another World Heritage Site, the sacred Dambulla Cave Temple, the largest best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka complete with five inner sanctuaries, 150 gilded Buddha statues, and Buddhist murals.
Sigiriya to Kandy
Feel like a morning adventure? You'll have the opportunity to explore the Pidurangala Rock –a rite of passage for Sigiriya first-timers – on a sunrise trek. Otherwise, catch some extra sleep and save your energy for later. Awed by our time brushing with the ancient world in Sigiriya, it's time to move on to the vibrant cultural scene in Kandy.
Today we're gathering to watch history and mythology explode into colour & rhythm at a traditional Kandyan Folkdance show. Then tonight, you can choose to tuck into some local street food on a tuk-tuk food tour. Ever tried a 'Hopper'? We promise you've never eaten a curry like this before, and you haven't really tried Sri Lankan street food until now.
Kandy to Ella
Today we head further into the hill country on the train, passing lush green hills & waterfalls en route to Nuwara Eliya. This small town is found in the heart of Sri Lanka's famous Ceylon tea industry, so it'd be rude not to visit a tea plantation (& sample some of the best) before continuing on to our next destination of Ella.
We've arrived at Ella where new adventures await!
Ella
The day is yours to explore the beautiful countryside and laid-back backpacker hub of Ella, nestled among green cloud forests and tea plantations. In the early morning, feel free to head to Horton Plains National Park and walk to "World's End", one of the highlights here. Or spend the day in Ella doing the local walks that show off the incredibly insta-worthy views down through the Ella Gap, including the cascading waterfalls this small town is famous for. If you're lucky, you might even get to meet one of the locals: the leaf-eating Langur monkey.
Ella to Udawalawe National Park
As our journey continues south towards lush jungle & rich wildlife, we'll stop en route at the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home before heading to our accommodation for the night: riverside glamping at The Udawalawe National Park. Next morning we'll jump aboard our Safari Jeep to explore the park's wildlife. You're free to spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool, or hire a bike for your own cycle adventure.
Udawalawe National Park to Unawatuna via Galle
Say goodbye to the wilderness as we head along the South West coast to Unawatuna, here we'll take a trip to explore the UNESCO-listed fort city of Galle & in the evening you can learn the ways of Sri Lankan cooking with locals. At Mirissa, why not head out whale watching for an unmissable up-close encounter. The afternoon is yours to unwind on the beach or opt in for a surf lesson at nearby Weligama Bay.
Unawatuna
The Southern tip of Sri Lanka is a favourite hangout spot for some of the most majestic creatures in the world: whales. We're heading to Mirissa, considered to be the best place to get a glimpse of the blue whale, sperm whale and dolphins, and this morning is your chance to head out whale-watching for an unmissable up-close encounter. After the morning's excitement, the afternoon is yours to unwind on the tropical palm-studded beach with clear turquoise waters, or opt in for a surf lesson at nearby Weligama Bay.
Unawatuna to Colombo
Today we'll reach our final destination, the bustling capital city of Colombo. En route we'll make a stop to learn about the traditional art of balsa-wood mask painting, followed by a visit to the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation centre.
Once we hit Colombo, the best way to continue is with a sightseeing tour of this sprawling, richly multicultural city. Marvel at the atmospheric temples & showstopping mosques, check out the rose-tinted colonial buildings and, if you're brave enough, pick up some hot cobra chillies or souvenirs from the truly authentic (and famously chaotic) Pettah Bazaar. Tonight you can put on your party pants, because we've already sussed out the best rooftop bars and we're going out in style - the perfect way to cap off the last incredible 10 days with your Sri Lanka crew.
End Colombo
Your Contiki trip finishes this morning in Colombo. Hold back the happy tears as you say goodbye to your newest life-long friends & plan a meet up somewhere in the world soon.
Inclusions
  • 10 Breakfast (B)
  • 1 Lunch (L)
  • 2 Dinner (D)
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
07 Oct 2024 17 Oct 2024 Available $2,821
03 Nov 2024 13 Nov 2024 Available $2,672
02 Dec 2024 12 Dec 2024 Available $2,672
30 Dec 2024 09 Jan 2025 Available $3,074
13 Jan 2025 23 Jan 2025 Available $3,028
27 Jan 2025 06 Feb 2025 Available $2,869
24 Feb 2025 06 Mar 2025 Available $2,869
24 Mar 2025 03 Apr 2025 Available $2,869
07 Apr 2025 17 Apr 2025 Available $2,869
03 Oct 2025 13 Oct 2025 Available $3,134
17 Oct 2025 27 Oct 2025 Available $3,134
31 Oct 2025 10 Nov 2025 Available $3,134
07 Nov 2025 17 Nov 2025 Available $3,134
14 Nov 2025 24 Nov 2025 Available $3,134
21 Nov 2025 01 Dec 2025 Available $3,134
28 Nov 2025 08 Dec 2025 Available $3,134
05 Dec 2025 15 Dec 2025 Available $3,314
12 Dec 2025 22 Dec 2025 Available $3,519
19 Dec 2025 29 Dec 2025 Available $3,314
26 Dec 2025 05 Jan 2026 Available $3,604
02 Jan 2026 12 Jan 2026 Available $3,294
09 Jan 2026 19 Jan 2026 Available $3,115
16 Jan 2026 26 Jan 2026 Available $3,299
23 Jan 2026 02 Feb 2026 Available $3,299
06 Feb 2026 16 Feb 2026 Available $3,299
20 Feb 2026 02 Mar 2026 Available $3,299
06 Mar 2026 16 Mar 2026 Available $3,299
20 Mar 2026 30 Mar 2026 Available $3,299
03 Apr 2026 13 Apr 2026 Available $3,299
17 Apr 2026 27 Apr 2026 Available $3,299