Sri Lanka South West Family Holiday (Nov-Apr)
Voted by "Lonely Planet" as the number one country to travel to in 2019 and set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.
Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning and varied landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres, lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies and a culture that extends back over 2,500 years. Drink the views, smell the nations rich diversity of flavours and indulge yourself in one of the world's leading wellness destinations when you travel to this enchanting island nation.
This is an island of magical proportions, previously known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. This land has been rediscovered by two of our Sri Lankan born guides, who migrated to Australia as infants. They returned to the country of their birth and put together an amazing adventure guided tour that will form eternal memories for you, your friends and your families.
No Roads Expeditions / Connaissance De Ceylan Partnership
No Roads Expeditions are extremely fortunate to have Connaissance De Ceylan as our in-country partners. Through a strong family connection of one of our guides, a bond has been created between these two companies that share similar values in relation to the environment, creating sustainable eco-tourism and supporting local economies.
Your hosts are hand-picked, carefully trained local Sri Lankan guides and drivers, who are passionate about creating great memories for guests and extremely proud of their amazing country. On occasions, No Roads guide Stewart will host an expedition and these are clearly identified next to the expedition dates.
- White water rafting
- Sigiriya Rock
- Cooking demonstration
- Rock Cave
- Minneriya Safari
- 4 Beach days
Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, herds of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, tea carpeted hills producing arguably the world's most famous tea and flavoursome food describe Sri Lanka as you will see it on this fully guided tour.
Why I Love Sri Lanka
By Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Writer
"My fascination with Sri Lanka began when I read Paul Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar" as a child. His wonderment at the island's endless contradictions stayed with me. In 2004, I was in the west and south in the weeks after the tsunami. I was struck by the stories of the survivors and deeply moved by their efforts to rebuild. In the years since I have been endlessly amazed by the Sri Lankans' ability to overcome disaster, war and myriad other challenges as they work tirelessly to make their country match its potential, while remaining some of the most charming people on the planet".
Spiritual & Cultural Heritage:
With a history expanding over 3000 years, Sri Lanka holds some of world’s ancient cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla; their once glorious townships, palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theatres intricately carved and modelled out of stone lay abandoned and forgotten with time amidst the soaring jungles.
Of all the ancient cities of Lanka, the most famed and exquisite is the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka’s third and longest serving capital and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is also one of the most sacred cities of World Buddhists. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the Fourth Century BC up to the turn of the Eleventh Century and was one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia.
Drive your own tuk-tuk to Sigiriya, a fifth century AD fortress and a water garden display with some of the most futuristic elements of landscaping and some of the oldest murals recorded in the country.
Polonnaruwa (toured on bicycles), the second most ancient kingdom of the country boasts of irrigation systems that are far superior to those of today and they still provide irrigation water to the farmers in and around Polonnaruwa. Digamadulla, the eastern kingdom of Sri Lanka was the agricultural and spiritual capital of the country during the Anuradhapura kingdom.
Sri Lanka’s last kingdom, the Kingdom of Kandy is a testament to the Sri Lankan’s ability to pick up and rise from ashes. After being burned and ravaged more than thrice by the invading Portuguese, the Kandyan Kingdom still holds beautifully carved and built houses, palaces and temples preserved for nearly 500 years.
There are few expeditions that offer you the chance to eat, sleep, meditate and reflect in a Buddhist monastery and converse with Buddhist monks. This experience will touch your soul.
Relax and enjoy:
With nearly 1600 km of palm-fringed coastline baked to perfection surrounding the country, Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for beach lovers worldwide. Whether it's windsurfing, kayaking, yachting, water skiing, scuba diving or just lazing around for the perfect tan, Sri Lanka offers it all.
The two monsoon winds providing rain to the two corners of the country at various periods makes Sri Lanka’s beach holiday a year round prospect. The north east winds make the south western coast sunny and the sea calm from November to March. The South West winds make the East Coast waters quiet with the constant sunshine happily in agreement.
The best of the Southern beaches include Unawatuna, which is a short drive from the city of Galle and was voted in the "top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world" by the Discovery Channel and Mark Ellingham, the founder of 'Rough Guides'.
Although Sri Lanka’s southern beaches have long been discovered by the international traveller, the east coast is yet to be fully discovered. The most known among the Eastern beaches is Arugam Bay, especially amongst surfing enthusiasts’ in the region. Once a mere rumour, Uppuveli beach is also open to sun seekers after a three decade long civil war.
Galle Face Green, a half a kilometre stretch between Galle Road and Indian Ocean is the playground of the Colombians.
Despite its small size, Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world whether in plants or animals and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Of the ninety-one species of mammals found in Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bear, leopards, sambar and wild buffaloes engages the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiast and the elephant safari to Minneriya National Park is a highlight for many of our guests.
Meanwhile, the ocean around Sri Lanka is home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching in the world.
Despite the mighty elephants and rare amphibians found in the country, birds are the glory of Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Boasting nearly 433 bird species of which 233 are resident, Sri Lanka holds 20 endemic species while another 80 species have developed distinct Sri Lankan races, compared to their cousins in Indian mainland.
Climb Adams Peak / Sri Pada and watch the sunrise. A 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well-known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition held to be the footprint of Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim tradition that of Adam. Get up early and enjoy a beautiful walk to "World's End" where you will enjoy an uninterrupted view to the coast from a ledge 880 metres from the valley floor.
Rich in gems, spices, natural resources and rare species of flora and fauna, Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is located in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Dubbed "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean" it was a major trading hub for the Dutch, Arab and Portuguese traders for many centuries. The fertile soils and temperate conditions were found to be perfect for growing tea which soon became a major industry and the demand for "Ceylon Tea" saw it exported worldwide as it still is today. Sri Lanka later became a part of the British Colony and it finally obtained its independence in 1948.
In the mid 1900's, Sri Lanka became a popular tourist destination due to its amazing scenery, ancient history, architecture, nature reserves and culinary delights. It attracted adventure seekers from around the world, but in the 1970's the advent of the civil war meant travelling freely throughout Sri Lanka was no longer possible and tourism quickly declined.
Finally, the end of a 30 year civil war and the rebuilding efforts since the 2004 Tsunami has opened Sri Lanka up once again as a destination that offers a multitude of diverse locations and activities allowing people to explore some of the 8 world heritage UNESCO sites throughout the country including nature reserves, ancient cities / ruins and temples.
Experience a blend of ancient Sri Lanka's old world charm and modern day culture, as the country once again grows into a holiday destination that many people will want to see for themselves.
Day 1: Airport / Colombo - 35km - 40mins
Day 2: Colombo
Day 3: Colombo / Dambulla - 150km / 03hrs 30mins Dambulla / Sigiriya - 18km / 25mins
Day 4: Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa 55km / 01hrs 30mins
Day 5: Sigiriya / Matale 65km / 01hrs 30mins Matale/ Kandy 30Kms / 01hr
Day 6: Kandy
Day 7: Kandy /Nuwara Eliya 75Kms / 02hrs 30mins Nuwara Eliya / Ella 55Kms / 01hrs 45mins by vehicle
Day 8: Ella
Day 9: Ella / Tissamaharama 90km / 02hrs
Day 10: Tissamaharama / Ahangama 140km / 03hrs
Day 11: Ahangama / Galle 25Kms / 45mins one way
Day 12: Ahangama
Day 13: Ahangama / Balapitiya 65Kms / 01hr 45mins Balapitiya / Colombo 81Kms / 03hrs Colombo / Airport 35Kms / 40mins
This expedition is open between November - April for all group sizes of 2 or more. If the advertised dates do not suit, please contact the office on 03 9598 8581 so we can create some dates that do suit you.
Day 1: Airport/Colombo
AIRPORT / COLOMBO
Airport / Colombo 35km / 40mins
AM / PM
Arrive at Bandaranayake International Airport.
Assistance on arrival by a representative of Connaissance de Ceylan / No Roads Sri Lanka.
Proceed to Colombo. (early check in is subject to availability– official check in time 13H 00).
Check into hotel and overnight stay. No meals included.
Day 2: Colombo
Breakfast and the morning is at leisure.
In the afternoon, enjoy a city tour of Colombo including Pettah Market.
In the evening, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3: COLOMBO / DAMBULLA / SIGIRIYA
Colombo / Dambulla 150km / 03hrs 30mins
Dambulla / Sigiriya 18km / 25mins
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Sigiriya. On your way, visit Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. The Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla was founded in the 1st century by King Valagamba. Ancient sculptures and paintings of Buddha and various Hindu deities are located in five central caves. The original sculptures and paintings have gained additions throughout the centuries and stand as a monument to evolving artistic styles of the ancient Ceylonese.
Arrive in Sigiriya and check into hotel.
Relax, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: SIGIRIYA / HABARANA / POLONNARUWA /SIGIRIYA
Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa 55km / 01hrs 30mins
After breakfast, visit and experience a real traditional Sri Lankan rural village in Habarana, where you can participate in a traditional cooking demonstration at a local house and experience an authentic Sri Lankan lunch. You will travel in a bullock cart through lush green paddy fields and see how the local farmers protect their crops from the wild animals as well as experience traditional cooking methods being demonstrated.
In the afternoon, drive to visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa which you will explore by bicycle. Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka and today it is one of the most beautiful centres of cultural heritage. With its comparatively brief history, its ruins are far more completely preserved than those of Anuradhapura. Visit the ancient ruins and Gal Vihara complex, where 3 gigantic Buddha statues are carved out of a single rock.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5: SIGIRIYA / MATALE / KANDY
Sigiriya / Matale 65km / 01hrs 30mins
Matale/ Kandy 30Kms / 01hr
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to visit the famous Sigiriya Lion Rock.
Sigiriya, a massive rock in the green scrub jungle, is perhaps the most memorable place for visitors to Sri Lanka. The site was known from ancient times as a hermitage for Buddhist monks. A well-planned monastic complex includes caved temples, bathing pools, lovely ponds and Asia's oldest surviving landscaped gardens. Today, Sigiriya is famous for its frescoes painted in the rock.
Afterwards, drive to Kandy via Matale and visit Matale Spice Garden. For centuries, spices have been one of Sri Lanka's celebrated exports. Spices are mostly grown in home gardens (as a home industry) and used not only to flavour food but also in medicine and cosmetics. Visit a Spice Garden and sample scents and flavours such as cinnamon, ginger, pepper, vanilla, cardamom etc.
Arrive in Kandy in the evening. Check in to the hotel and relax.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6: KANDY
After breakfast, drive to the Royal Botanical Garden at Peradeniya.
The Royal Botanical Garden at Peradeniya was established in 1821 and now covers 140 acres, smuggled in a loop on the Mahaweli River, the longest river in Sri Lanka. Its primary purpose was the testing and acclimatizing of plants for commercial use in Sri Lanka. Today, the gardens have one of the largest collections of flora from sub tropical climates around the world.
Afterwards, drive to Kandy city to explore the Kandy Market, Gemological museum & wood carving centre.
In the evening, visit the Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic.
The Kandy Temple, which houses the famous tooth relic of Buddha, is the star attraction of the city.
Puja ceremonies (Thevava) are held every morning, noon and evening to honour the relic and visitors may view the casket where the sacred tooth relic is held within the chamber during these times. Observing these ritualistic proceedings to the accompaniment of traditional drums, is a must for any traveller to the sacred city of Kandy.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7: KANDY / NUWARA ELIYA / ELLA
Kandy /Nuwara Eliya 75Kms / 02hrs 30mins
Nuwara Eliya / Ella 55Kms / 01hrs 45mins by vehicle
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Nuwara Eliya. On your way, stop at a tea plantation and factory where you can learn about the procedure for manufacturing tea.
Drive to Nanu Oya station to take the train to Ella.
Meet your transport at Ella station.
Check into the hotel.
Dinner is at your own expense here and we suggest you try Café Chill Ella.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 8: ELLA
AM / PM
At leisure at the hotel on half board basis (breakfast and dinner included).
Optional visits – Visit and hike Mini Adam’s Peak (trek approx. 01 ½ hr) / Ella Rock (trek approx. 04hrs)
Dinner at hotel and overnight stay.
Day 9: ELLA / TISSAMAHARAMA
Ella / Tissamaharama 90km / 02hrs
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and leave for Tissamaharama with a beautiful en route vista. On your way visit Rawana waterfall.
In the afternoon, visit Yala National Park on a jeep safari. The Yala National Park is situated in the south eastern corner of the island. It is mainly thorny scrub forest, reminiscent of the African bush and provides visitors with the best chance of seeing animals. Animals such as elephants, deer species, wild buffalo, wild boar and monkeys can be seen in herds and packs. Other varieties of species such as crocodile and peacock can be seen and if you are lucky, you may even see bear and leopard.
Check into the hotel in the evening for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 10: TISSAMAHARAMA / AHANGAMA
Tissamaharama / Ahangama 140km / 03hrs
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Ahangama.
Check into the hotel. Have some leisure time at the beach before dinner and overnight stay.
Day 11: AHANGAMA / GALLE / AHANGAMA
Ahangama / Galle 25Kms / 45mins one way
After breakfast, leave to visit the Dutch Colonial town of Galle, including the Galle Dutch Fortress.
Galle is the south coast’s major city, whose oldest landmark is the massive 17th century Portuguese and Dutch Fort in which the central city is contained. As you walk through the streets, you can see strong Dutch influences in the architecture along with some old British residences and various mosques with Arabic touches.
Return to the hotel. Maybe have some leisure time at the beach again.
Dinner is at your own expense here and an opportunity to try a local restaurant.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 12: AHANGAMA
A day of leisure after breakfast (Breakfast only included). (Driver/ National Guide will not be available).
Lunch & dinner is at your own expense here and an opportunity to try a local restaurant.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 13: AHANGAMA / BALAPITIYA / COLOMBO /AIRPORT
Ahangama / Balapitiya 65Kms / 01hr 45mins
Balapitiya / Colombo 81Kms / 03hrs
Colombo / Airport 35Kms / 40mins
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and leave for an optional boat tour on Madu River (any entrance and boat fees are to be paid directly and are not included).
Take a magical speed-boat ride down the beautiful Madu River, a wetland estuary spreading over 900 hectares of which 770 hectares is covered with water and inhabited with 64 islands. The boat ride is a wonderful way to take a closer look at this complex wetland ecosystem; a world heritage site protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands being one of the last wetlands in Sri Lanka to contain a pristine mangrove forest.
Afterwards, drive to Colombo for dinner at a restaurant (payment / reservation is not included and needs to be paid directly).
Afterwards, leave for the airport and your departure.
- Please note that you have to be at the Airport 3 hours prior to the departure flight.
The above-mentioned timings between cities are approximate and subject to change in adverse weather/traffic conditions/refreshment stops and other unpredicted disturbance on the road.
- Alcohol beverages are not provided at the hotels on Full Moon Poya Days
- Welcome assistance on Arrival and on departure
- Accommodation on Half Board basis, except Day 1 (no meals), Day 7 & Day 13 is on breakfast only (B/B) basis as per the itinerary
- Transport in an a/c car for 2 pax with an English speaking chauffer / in an A/C Van from 3 – 6 pax with an English speaking chauffeur / in Mini Coach for 7 - 10 Pax with an English speaking National Guide / in 33 seater for 11- 25 Pax with an English speaking National Guide. (except use of driver and guide Day 12 and as noted in itinerary)
- Visits / activities according to the program.
- Entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the above itinerary (except a visit to the Millenium Elephant Foundation and Madu River Boat Ride)
- International Flight's
- Travel Insurance
- Lunch during the tour
- Dinner on Day 1 (arrival day), Day 7 & Day 13 (departure day)
- Photo and video camera permits at the sites.
- Early check in / Late check out
- Mineral and Alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratitude’s
- Tourist visa
- Price does not include services other than those specified.