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Discover Sri Lanka
tripDetail_slider_img1 MOBILE

12 days

from $2,699 AUD

trip_detail module icon Journeys trip_detail hint icon

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

Casual trip_detail hint icon

Casual trips offer immersive travel experiences at an unbeatable value with free time and plenty of choices built into the itineraries. Accommodations are comfortable, well-located, and modest. Trips are led by dynamic local guides, some meals and activities are included, and transportation is provided for included excursions.

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Expedition Overview

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Trip Details
EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Explore four UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Sigiriya rock fortress, the Dambulla Cave Temple, and the sacred cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura.
  • Learn about tea harvesting in the charming colonial town of Nuwara Eliya, and enjoy a tea tasting at a G Adventures–supported café.
  • Get a glimpse of rural life in the village of Habarana, meeting some of the local residents and exploring the area on a traditional bull cart.
  • Join a ranger on safari in Wilpattu National Park, home to a thriving leopard population, and visit an elephant rehabilitation center in Udawalawe National Park.
Itinerary

Sri Lanka was known by early Arab trades as “Serendib,” a name which gave rise to the English word “serendipity.” Set out on an adventure through this serendipitous Indian Ocean isle, exploring stunning palaces, ancient cities, and intricately decorated Buddhist temples. Take a stroll through fragrant spice gardens and lush tea plantations, tasting world-renowned Ceylon tea right at the source, and look out for elephants and leopards on safari in two celebrated national parks.

Day 1: Colombo

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2: Colombo/Wilpattu National Park

Begin the day with a visit to a coconut plantation. Coconut is one of Sri Lanka’s major exports, and many local industries utilize coconut-based by-products. Continue north to Wilpattu National Park, one of the oldest parks in the country and home to a significant leopard population. Explore the park on a 4x4 with a local expert, hearing about conservation efforts and the issues of human encroachment on wildlife reserves, and keep an eye out for elephants, wild boar, sloth bear, spotted deer, and of course, leopards. Spend the night at a safari camp located just outside the park.

Day 3: Wilpattu National Park/Anuradhapura

Travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura, an ancient capital of Sri Lanka dating to the third century B.C. Take your time to wander the palaces, gardens, Buddhist temples, and monasteries of this splendid UNESCO World Heritage site, and opt to explore the ruins by bike with a professional cycling guide.

Day 4: ANURADHAPURA/HABARANA/DAMBULLA

Venture to the thriving village of Habarana, where we’ll get a chance to glimpse daily rural life. Explore the area by traditional bull cart, visiting lush vegetable fields and rice paddies. Take a stroll through town and meet some of Habarana’s residents. Float in a canoe down a picturesque lake, and sit down for a lunch of local specialties. Later, continue to Dambulla for the evening.

Day 5: Dambulla

This morning, discover one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic sights—the striking fortress of Sigiriya, or the Lion’s Rock. This royal city and UNESCO World Heritage site was built in the fifth century on the slopes and summit of an imposing granite peak. Climb up a series of steep steps to reach the top, and encounter beautiful gardens, caves, monasteries, and palaces adorned with frescoes. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle, and return to Dambulla for some free time around town.

Day 6: Dambulla/Kandy

Set out to explore the impressive Dambulla Cave Temple, the largest and best-preserved collection of cave shrines in Sri Lanka. Admire stunning Buddhist murals and a trove of Buddha statues, including a spectacular reclining Buddha carved out of solid rock. Then visit a spice garden in Matale to learn about the therapeutic uses of local spices. Continue to Kandy and enjoy a tour of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, an important pilgrimage site which houses a tooth of the Buddha. This evening, we’ll take in a performance of traditional music at a cultural show.

Day 7: Kandy

Kandy served as the last capital of Sri Lanka’s Sinhala dynasty before the British took complete control of the island in 1815. Spend the day exploring the city, visiting the breathtaking Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya, once accessible only to the royal family. Afterward, stop by Sthree Craft Shop and Café, a G Adventures–supported social enterprise that works to empower local women and youth. View a handicraft demonstration and hear a talk about the enterprise before enjoying a tasting of local teas, accompanied by scones and pastries. Later, opt for a stroll through the city and around Kandy Lake, or enjoy a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage.

Day 8: Kandy/Nuwara Eliya

Travel through scenic mountains to the town of Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of Sri Lankan tea country. Visit a tea plantation to gain insight into the cultivation and production of this beloved beverage, and savour a cup of perfectly blended Ceylon tea. Then head out on a tour of Nuwara Eliya and its lush surroundings, once governed by English and Scottish planters, following cool, misty roads through blankets of tea bushes. This afternoon, opt to take high tea at the colonial-era Grand Hotel, originally the holiday home of Sir Edward Barnes, the fifth Governor of Ceylon.

Day 9: NUWARA ELIYA/HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK/UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK

Venture out early this morning into Horton Plains National Park, a protected natural area encompassing high altitude grasslands and hilly cloud forest. Enjoy a picnic breakfast, and culminate your trek at a point known as World’s End—a majestic drop that provides incredible views over the verdant plains and coastline to the south. Then continue to our tented camp on the border of Udawalawe National Park. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration by the camp chef, learning about local specialties.

Day 10: UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK

A sanctuary for large herds of elephants, Udawalawe National Park is one of the best places in the world to observe these majestic pachyderms. Embark on a jeep safari through the park seeking out the abundant wildlife, including water buffalo, jackals, and various species of deer. Afterward, visit the Elephant Transit Home, a refuge and rehabilitation center for orphaned elephants. Watch the resident elephants as they feed, play, and mingle with each other, and hear from one of the facility’s conservationists.

Day 11: Udawalawe/Negombo

Drive to Negombo and spend the day at leisure. This small port town has seen Portguese, Dutch, and British rule—reflected in the architecture of the old quarter—and used to be a centre of the cinnamon trade. Choose to visit the Old Dutch Fort, step into one of the town’s ornate Catholic churches, or enjoy a stroll on the beach.

Day 12: Negombo

Depart at any time.

PRICES & DATES

  • date 03 Aug 2020 - 14 Aug 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,699 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,008 AUD Per Person

  • date 07 Sep 2020 - 18 Sep 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 21 Sep 2020 - 02 Oct 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 28 Sep 2020 - 09 Oct 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 05 Oct 2020 - 16 Oct 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 28 Dec 2020 - 08 Jan 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

  • date 04 Jan 2021 - 15 Jan 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

  • date 11 Jan 2021 - 22 Jan 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

  • date 01 Feb 2021 - 12 Feb 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

  • date 15 Feb 2021 - 26 Feb 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

  • date 01 Mar 2021 - 12 Mar 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 15 Mar 2021 - 26 Mar 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 05 Apr 2021 - 16 Apr 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 19 Jul 2021 - 30 Jul 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,699 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,008 AUD Per Person

  • date 02 Aug 2021 - 13 Aug 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,699 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,008 AUD Per Person

  • date 30 Aug 2021 - 10 Sep 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,699 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,008 AUD Per Person

  • date 13 Sep 2021 - 24 Sep 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 27 Sep 2021 - 08 Oct 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 04 Oct 2021 - 15 Oct 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 18 Oct 2021 - 29 Oct 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 01 Nov 2021 - 12 Nov 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 29 Nov 2021 - 10 Dec 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,819 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,128 AUD Per Person

  • date 06 Dec 2021 - 17 Dec 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

  • date 20 Dec 2021 - 31 Dec 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $2,929 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $5,238 AUD Per Person

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy or single occupancy unless otherwise noted, are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. Optional activities are at an additional cost.

  • Accommodation: Hotel/lodges (9 nts), tented camp (2 nts).
  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Transport: Private vehicle, boat, 4x4
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Wilpattu Safari and Conservation Talk, Wilpattu National Park
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Agricultural Village Experience, Habarana
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: High Tea and Handicrafts, Kandy
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, Udawalawe
  • Your G for Good Moment: Sthree Craft Shop and Café, Kandy
  • Your Hands-On Moment: Visit a Coconut Plantation, Colombo
  • Your Foodie Moment: Sri Lankan Cooking Demonstration, Udawalawe
  • Arrival transfer
  • Tour of Anuradhapura ruins
  • Tour the Sigiriya rock fortress
  • Dambulla cave temple visit
  • Visit a Matale spice garden
  • Tour the Temple of the Tooth
  • Cultural show
  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Tour Nuwara Eliya area and a Ceylon tea plantation
  • Hike in Horton Plains National Park
  • Safari drive in Udawalawe National Park
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Any activity not described in What's Included
  • Meals on your own
  • Gratuities

My Own Room

During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

My Own Room Option: From $3,678

ABOUT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC JOURNEYS

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

Age Requirement:12+

All travelers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.