Expeditions
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Sri Lanka Beaches and Safaris Family Adventure (May-Oct)

Background

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 guides (Stewart and Peter) will host an expedition and these are clearly identified next to the expedition and its dates.

Highlights

  • White water rafting
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Sigiriya Rock
  • Cooking demonstration
  • Rock Cave
  • Minneriya Safari
  • 4 Beach days

Overview

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 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 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 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 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 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 metre (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. 

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, 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. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Airport / Colombo - 40km - 1hr
Day 2: Colombo 
Day 3: Colombo / Kitulagala 90km / 03hrs
Day 4: Kitulgala / Kandy 60Kms / 02hrs
Day 5: Kandy
Day 6: Kandy / Passikudah 190Kms / 04hrs 30mins
Day 7: Passikudah
Day 8: Passikudah
Day 9: Passikudah
Day 10: Passikudah / Polonnaruwa 68Kms / 01hr 15mins, Polonnaruwa / Sigiriya 55km / 01hrs 30mins
Day 11: Sigiriya / Habarana 17km / 30mins – one way
Day 12: Sigiriya / Dambulla 17km / 30mins – one way, Dambulla / Minneriya 30Kms / 30mins, Minneriya / Sigiriya 20Kms / 30mins
Day 13: Sigiriya / Rambukkana 95km / 02hrs 30mins, Rambukkana / Airport 75Kms / 02hrs

Routes

Day 1: AIRPORT / COLOMBO

Airport / Colombo 35km / 40mins

AM / PM
Arrive at Bandaranayake International Airport.
Assistance on arrival by a representative of Connaissance de Ceylan
Proceed to Colombo. (early check in is subject to availability– official check in time 13H 00).
Check into hotel and overnight stay. (Dinner not included Day 1)

Day 2: COLOMBO

AM
Breakfast at the hotel and the morning is at leisure at the hotel.

PM
Enjoy a city tour of Colombo including Pettah Market. Shops suggested visiting: Barefoot, Paradise Road (both) & Odel.
Formerly the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo remains the commercial hub of the Island. Situated on the West coast of the Island, Colombo has one of the largest artificial harbours in the world and is a principal port of the Indian Ocean. Colombo is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do. If shopping is on your agenda, this is the best place to get it done. For clothing, you can take your pick from one of the larger shopping malls like Crescat Boulevard, Majestic City and Liberty Plaza or departments stores like ODEL and House of Fashion.
Evening return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3:  COLOMBO / KITULGALA
Colombo / Kitulagala 90km / 03hrs

AM
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Kitulgala. Expérience white water rafting on Kelani River. (Depends on the water level).

PM
Check into hotel. Stay at leisure, dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4:  KITULGALA/KANDY
Kitulagala/Kandy 60km / 02hrs

AM
After breakfast, visit the Sacred city Kandy.

PM
Check into hotel. Relax for the evening, dinner and overnight stay.

Day 5: KANDY

AM
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 visit Kandy city - explore the Kandy Market, Gemological museum & wood carving centre.

PM
In the evening, visit the Sacred Temple of Tooth Relic.
The Kandy Temple, which houses the famous tooth relic of the 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 hotel, dinner and overnight stay at hotel.

Day 6: KANDY / PASSIKUDAH
Kandy / Passikudah 190Kms / 04hrs 30mins

AM
After breakfast, leisurely check out of the hotel and head to Passikudah.

PM
Arrive at Passikudah in the evening. Check into hotel, relax, dinner and overnight stay at hotel.

Day 7: PASSIKUDAH

AM/PM
Stay and relax at the resort or sunbathe on the beautiful beach (on Half Board basis).

(Vehicle and Chauffeur / National Guide will not be available for use).

Day 8: PASSIKUDAH

AM/PM
Stay and relax at the resort or sunbathe on the beautiful beach (on Half Board basis).

(Vehicle and Chauffeur / National Guide will not be available for use).

Day 9: PASSIKUDAH

AM/PM
Stay and relax at the resort or sunbathe on the beautiful beach (on Half Board basis).

(Vehicle and Chauffeur / National Guide will not be available for use).

Day 10: PASSIKUDAH / POLONNARUWA / SIGIRIYA
Passikudah / Polonnaruwa 68Kms / 01hr 15mins

Polonnaruwa / Sigiriya 55km / 01hrs 30mins

AM
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa. Tour the city by bicycles.
Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, and today it is one of the most beautiful centres of our 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.

PM
Evening arrival at Sigiriya. Relax the for evening, dinner and overnight stay.

Day 11: SIGIRIYA / HABARANA / SIGIRIYA
Sigiriya / Habarana 17km / 30mins – one way

AM
After breakfast leave for 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. This well-planned monastic complex includes caved temples, bathing pools, lovely ponds and Asia's 39th oldest surviving landscaped gardens. Today Sigiriya is famous for its frescoes painted in the pockets of the rock. The "Lion stairway", the "mirror wall" & the "water gardens" are its other highlights.

PM

In the afternoon, 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. The finale of this excursion will be a traditional canoe ride on a lake in Habarana. 
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.

Day 12: SIGIRIYA / DAMBULLA / MINNERIYA /SIGIRIYA

Sigiriya / Dambulla 17km / 30mins – one way
Dambulla / Minneriya 30Kms / 30mins
Minneriya / Sigiriya 20Kms / 30mins

AM
After breakfast, 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 monument to evolving artistic styles of the ancient Ceylonese.

PM
In the afternoon, drive to Minneriya National Park (Kaudulla / Eco Park) for an elephant safari.
The orphanage was established in 1975 with just four orphaned baby elephants and is now home to the largest captive group of elephants in the world. From newborns to elderly matriarchs, the orphanage is home to both orphaned elephants and those that have been injured in the wild. Visitors should make sure they stay around for meal time and bath time, as this is the perfect time to witness the elephants at their playful best.
Evening return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 13: SIGIRIYA / RAMBUKKANA / AIRPORT
Sigiriya / Rambukkana 95km / 02hrs 30mins
Rambukkana / Airport 75Kms / 02hrs

AM
After breakfast, leisurely check out of the hotel and drive to the Millennium Elephant Foundation at Rambukkana; visiting the Elephant Dung Paper factory (entrance fee by guest direct payment).

PM
Stop for dinner (at your expense and pay directly) at a restaurant en route to Katunyaka.
Afterwards, leave for the airport and your departure.

Inclusions

  • Welcome assistance on Arrival and on departure
  • Accommodation on Half Board basis except Day 1 (no meals) & 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. (Vehicle and Chauffeur / National Guide not available for use on Days 7-9)
  • Visits/activities according to the program.
  • Entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the above itinerary (except a visit to the Millenium Elephant Foundation)

Exclusions

  • Lunches during the tour
  • Dinner on Day 1 (arrival day) & 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
  • Vehicle and Chauffeur / National Guide will not be available for use Days 7-9 inclusive
  • Price does not include services other than those specified.