Expeditions
Phone : +61 3 9598 8581

Sri Lanka Adventure East Coast Beaches (May-Oct)

Background

There's a reason why Sri Lanka was voted by "Lonely Planet" as the number one country to travel to in 2019. 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. Sri Lanka is home to eight 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.

 

Sri Lanka really does have something for everyone. Drink in the stunning views, be intoxicated by the scent of the nations rich flavours and indulge yourself in one of the world's leading wellness destinations when you travel to this enchanting island nation.

 

Highlights

"Taste the Spirit of Adventure"

  • Push bike ride through the Ancient Ruins at Polonnaruwa
  • Go on safari, watch herds of wild elephants as they graze on the forest edge and head to the large lakes to bath and drink.
  • See Samba Deer, water buffalo and several different species of monkeys in their natural environment.
  • Travel by train through the cool high country as it meanders through the tea carpeted hills and plantations.
  • See tea being hand picked, visit a tea factory to see how it is processed before tasting rich pure Ceylon Tea. 

"Eat- Pray- Explore- Relax.........Repeat"

  • Taste authentic traditional local cuisines with bold influences from the Dutch and Portugese shared history.
  • Stay overnight and experience life in a Buddhist Monastery. Learn meditation and the fundamentals of their philosophy from the Monks themselves. Eat as they eat and join them or listen to them in prayer.
  • Explore the ancient ruins of Kings Palaces and the Royal Kingdoms, treks to Adams Peak and visit " The End of the World" at World's End.
  • Rejuvenate at some of the countries best 4 Star resorts in pristine locations and enjoy traditional local Ayurvedic spa treatments.
  • Chill out and relax by the pool or join one of the many short side trips on offer during the designated rest days.

Overview

Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, herds of elephants, rolling surf, tea carpeted hills, arguably the world's most famous tea and flavoursome food. This is the Sri Lanka you will discover on this fully guided tour.

 

Spiritual & Cultural Heritage:

With a history expanding over 3000 years, Sri Lanka has some of the world’s ancient cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla. The once glorious townships, palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theatres intricately carved and modelled out of stone now lay abandoned and forgotten with time. 

Of all the ancient cities of Lanka, the most famed and exquisite is the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. It was Sri Lanka’s third and longest serving capital, from the Fourth Century BC up to the turn of the eleventh Century. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka and is considered sacred to the Buddhist world. 

 

Drive your own tuk tuk to Sigiriya, a fifth century AD fortress and a water garden displays 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 irrigation systems that are far superior to those of today and they still supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. 

Sri Lanka’s last kingdom, the Kingdom of Kandy, is often known or referred to as the "cultural capital" and 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 historic 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.  It may be surfing, 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 southwestern coast sunny with calm seas from November to March. The south-west winds make the East Coast waters idealistic with plenty of sunshine from April to October.

 

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 been long discovered by the international traveller, the east coast is yet to be fully discovered. The most known among the Eastern beaches and the heart of the surf scene is Arugam Bay, with a long right break for surfing enthusiasts. Once a mere rumour, Uppuveli beach is also open to the sun seekers after a three decade-long civil war.

Galle Face Green, a half a kilometre stretch between Galle Road and the Indian Ocean is the playground of the Colombians.

 

Adventures galore:

Despite its small size, Sri Lanka boasts 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 engage the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiasts 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 has 20 endemic species while another 80 species have developed distinct Sri Lankan races, compared to their cousins in Indian mainland.

 

Climb Mini Adams Peak and watch the sunset. 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.

 

Serendipity
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 and it soon became a major industry. 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 enchanting 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.

Itinerary

Day 1: Airport / Colombo 40km / 1hr
Day 2: Colombo / Yapahuwa – 160kms – 4hrs30mis | Yapahuwa / Sigirya - 85km / 2hrs
Day 3: Sigiriya / Minneriya Safari /Sigiriya
Day 4: Sigiriya / Anuradhapura - 80kms - 2hrs one way / Sigiriya / Ayurvedic Treatment
Day 5: Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa / Passekudah - 152kms - 3hrs45mins
Day 6: Passekudah
Day 7: Passekudah / Arugam Bay - 155kms - 3hrs30mins
Day 8: Arugam Bay
Day 9: Arugam Bay / Ella - 135kms - 3hrs
Day 10: Ella / Bandarawela / Temple Stay - 13kms - 30mins
Day 11: Bandarawela / Nanu Oya - by train /Nanu Oya / Kandapola - 20kms - 30mins / Kandapola /Nuwara Eliya - 14kms - 30mins
Day 12: Nuwara Eliya / Horton Plains - 36kms - 1hr10mins (one way) / Nuwara Eliya / Kandy - 75kms - 2hrs30mins
Day 13: Kandy
Day 14: Kandy / Kegalle - 40kms - 1hr / Kegalle / Mirissa - 210kms - 4hrs (long drive)

Day 15: Mirissa / Galle - 40kms - 1hr (one way) / Mirissa
Day 16: Mirissa -Airport - 180kms -3hrs

Expedition Dates 

This expedition is open between May and October for group sizes of 2 or more. If advertised dates do not suit, please contact the office on 03 9598 8581. 

Routes

Day 1: Airport / Colombo

Arrive at Bandaranayake International Airport.

Assistance on arrival by a representative of Connaissance de Ceylan (our in-country partners). Enjoy a welcome drink at your hotel in Colombo.

Join Colombo City Walks for an interesting guided walk through Colombo Fort and Pettah area exploring architecture and history of the merchant city.

Dinner and overnight at Ramada Colombo (D).

 

Day 2: Colombo / Yapahuwa / Sigirya 

After breakfast, leave for Sigiriya visiting Yapahuwa en route.

Yapahuwa, which was the seat of Government in the 13th century, is situated 5 kilometres east of Maho. The southern and south eastern parts of the land at the base of the rock are protected by two moats and ramparts. Within the fortifications are the remains of many ancient structures.

Proceed to Sigiriya. Arrive and check-in at Aliya Resort and Spa, relax for dinner and overnight stay (B,D).

 

Day 3: Sigiriya / Minneriya Safari

After an early breakfast, leave to visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress by Tuk Tuks.

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 included caved temples, bathing pools, lovely ponds and Asia's oldest surviving landscaped gardens. Today, Sigiriya is famous for its frescoes painted in the pocket of the rock. The "Lion stairway", the "mirror wall" and the "water gardens" are its other highlights.

Return to the hotel for lunch. 

Mid-afternoon, depart for Minneriya National Park for an elephant safari

Dinner and overnight at Aliya Resort and Spa (B,D).

 

Day 4: Sigiriya / Anuradhapura / Sigiriya 

After breakfast, proceed to Anuradhapura. Anuradhapura was the first ancient capital of the country of kings for about 1400 years. In the pinnacle of its' glory, the city extended over a surface of 52 sq. km and the population amounted to several tens of thousands. Its magnificent monuments, refined sculptures and paintings are testimony to a veritable and original Sri Lankan culture. 

Scheduled Ayurvedic Treatment for each guest. (Full body massage + steam bath)

Sri Lankan Traditional Dinner and overnight at Aliya Resort and Spa (B,D).

Day 5: Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa / Passekudah 

After breakfast, leave for Polonnaruwa and visit the ancient capital by bicycles with a guide.

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 and a dozen rules, it has far more completely preserved ruins than Anuradhapura. Visit the ancient ruins and Gal Vihara complex, where 3 gigantic Buddha statues are carved out of a single rock.

Proceed to Passekudah. Check in for leisure, dinner and overnight at Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa (B,D).

 

Day 6: Passekudah 

Wake up early morning to catch the sunrise and enjoy the spectacular view of the dawn.

Optional – walk to the close-by village to watch local fisherman in action the traditional way.

Return to hotel.

After breakfast, take part in a cooking class hosted by the hotel Chef. Go to the market with him / his representative to buy the rations and spices needed for your cooking class.

Rest of the day relax at the hotel.

Dinner and overnight at Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa (B,D)

 

Day 7: Passekudah / Arugambay

This morning have a late breakfast and a relaxed start to the day.

Late afternoon arrive at Arugambay for surfing/leisure.

Dinner and overnight stay at Bay Vista (B,D)

 
Day 8: Arugambay

After breakfast enjoy the beach and surf. 

Dinner and overnight at Bay Vista (B,D).

 

Day 9: Arugambay / Ella

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Ella.

Check into the hotel. Evening visit to Mini Adam's Peak to trek and witness the beautiful sunset.

Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight at Heavens Edge (B,D).

 

Day 10: Ella / Bandarawela -/ Temple Stay

After a late breakfast, proceed to Bandarawela.

Arrive and proceed to the Temple; includes a short walk (~1.5kms) from the main road to the Temple which cannot be reached by vehicle.

3.30 PM      - Arrive at the Temple

5.00 PM      - Conversation with Monks.

5.30 PM      - Buddha Puja

Two types of meditation

Samatha or Tranquility – Meditation trains the mind to concentrate on only one object.

Vipassana or Insight – Meditation trains the mind to observe the many objects coming in to awareness through the six sense doors in order to develop the wisdom to eradicate the defilements in the mind and be freed from suffering.

7.00 PM      – Dinner

10.00 PM    - Rest in Nature

Accommodation will be floor style sleeping arrangements and during your stay, you are asked to wear (recommended) baggy trousers and shirts/ blouses/ waist coat. It’s cold in the morning and evening times.

Overnight Temple stay (B,D).

 

Day 11: Bandarawela / Nanu Oya / Kandapola / Nuwara Eliya

5.30 AM  - Wake Up

6.00 AM  - Walking meditation program                                   

7.00 AM  - Breakfast.

8.00 AM - Farewell monks.

Leave Bandarawela by train to Nanu Oya Station.

 

Arrive at Nanu Oya station and proceed by road to Kandapola. Visit Liddesdale Tea Factory and Plantation at Kandapola and enjoy a picnic packed lunch (let us know of any dietary requirements).

The Ceylon tea is acclaimed as the best tea in the world. The influence of climatic conditions imparts to the product a variety of flavours and aromas, synonymous with quality. The cultivation and manufacture of tea is presently a highly skilled, scientific and technical process, with Sri Lanka producing some of the most fragrant teas in the world.

Check into Araliya Green Hills Hotel for dinner and overnight (Deluxe)(B,D).

 

Day 12: Nuwara Eliya / Horton Plains / Kandy

Leave early morning for trekking (approx. 3 hrs) at Horton Plains. Packed breakfast to enjoy en route.

Located on a high windswept saddle at 2134 metres elevation, these plains are hard to reach. Many visitors come to see “World’s End” situated on these plains which is considered to be the finest view in Sri Lanka. In the early morning, the Indian Ocean rims the horizon, 80 km away.

Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest and most isolated plateau discovered by Sir Thomas Farr in the 1900's and named after the then British Governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Horton. It is the only place where you could see the bear monkey. This is one of world’s best nature tracks and home to certain plant species, birds and insects that you see only at Horton Plains. Nature lovers will enjoy this wide, patna-grass-covered plain, the haunt of several wild yet harmless animals and the home of many species of birds. Bridle paths through the plain will take you to the precipice, popularly referred to as “ Worlds End “; a sheer drop of 1050 metres. Lie on your stomach and peep over the ridge. When it is clear of mist, the view is simply magnificent!

Return to the hotel and check out. Transfer to Kandy.

Check into Golden Crown for dinner and overnight (B,D).

 

Day 13: Kandy

After breakfast visit to the City of Kandy and the Temple of the Tooth Relic. 

Sri Lanka's second city is Kandy, a beautiful historical city in the citadel of the country. It is not only known for its great kings who ruled the city for almost 225 years independently until the British took over in 1815, but it is also the place where the Sacred Tooth of Lord Buddha is laid in a magnificent temple. The incomparable Perahera celebration, a procession of more than 100 elephants, is held here every August.

Evening visit to Kandy to explore the market.

Return to Golden Crown for dinner and overnight (B,D)

 

Day 14: Kandy / Kegalle / Mirissa

After breakfast, travel to Mirissa via the Millennium Elephant Foundation visiting the Elephant Dung Paper factory.

Arrive and check into Marriott Weligama for dinner and overnight (B,D).

 

Day 15: Mirissa / Galle / Mirissa                  

After breakfast, drive to explore Galle.

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 hotel and relax. Dinner and overnight at Marriott Weligama (Superior Ocean View)(B,D).

 

Day 16: Mirissa / Airport

After breakfast, depending on flight departure times, either transfer to the airport, or to Colombo for a shopping experience or your guide can assist with an optional itinerary addition such as a speedboat ride on Madu River in a world heritage wetland site. This is not included in the itinerary price and the cost of any activity after leaving the hotel in Mirissa would need to be met by each guest. 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 / refreshments stops and other unpredicted disturbances on the road.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not provided at the hotels on Full Moon Poya Days.

 

Sri Lanka Tourist Visa

Visa applications for Sri Lanka is a quick and simple online process with applications usually processed within 24 hours. Cost is approximately $35 USD. Passport and flight details are required to lodge an application.

Click here to link to the Visa Application

Inclusions

  • Welcome assistance and transfers on arrival and on departure. Departure transfer will leave the hotel at 1100 am. If this time does not suit your return flight, an alternate transfer can be arranged for an additional cost to the guest. 

  • Accommodation on Half Board basis through-out.

  • Transport in an air conditioned vehicle with an English speaking guide.

  • Visits / activities according to the program.

  • Entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the above itinerary.

If you are travelling alone and do not want to share accommodation, a Single Supplement will apply. Please ask us before booking.

Exclusions

  • International Airfares
  • Airport Tax
  • Travel Insurance for your trip
  • Tips
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Lunch’s during the tour
  • Hiking equipment / water / etc
  • Photo and video camera permits at some sites
  • Visa
  • Any activities after leaving the hotel in Mirissa (eg: Madu River Speed Boat Ride).

Maps