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PRIVATE TOUR

Sri Lanka

Spellbinding Sri Lanka

14 NIGHTS FROM £6,990 per person

Discover the many sides of this captivating country – from its historic cities and leopard-filled national parks, to remote Buddhist cave complexes, misty tea terraces and the beautiful southern coast – with various immersive experiences on this tailor-made Sri Lanka tour.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS expand_more

Explore Colombo with Mark Forbes, a curator, researcher, photographer and wildlife enthusiast

Keep your eyes peeled for elusive leopards on safari in Wilpattu National Park

Meet Sri Lankan elephants on a sustainable, conservation focused encounter

Take one of the most scenic train rides in Asia from Kandy to the tea country of Hatton

Through A Local Lens

While in Anuradhapura, meet with a Buddhist monk at the fascinating, mountain-top cave complex that he calls home. He will share the story of his spiritual journey and the principle elements of Buddhism, before leading you in an authentic meditation session.

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Spellbinding Sri Lanka

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TOUR DETAILS

    DAY DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    TRANSFERS

    • Type:
    • Summary:
    • Feature:
    • Rooms:
    • Location:
    • Star rating:
    MEAL BASIS

    DAY 2-4 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Your Sri Lankan sojourn begins in Colombo, a city of leafy boulevards and colonial architecture. Visit Geoffrey Bawa Number 11, a unique house-turned-museum lived in by the renowned architect during the 1960s. After lunch at a chic café, meet your host Mark Forbes for an engaging walking tour of Colombo Fort and the Pettah markets. In the evening, enjoy authentic Sri Lankan cuisine on a culinary Ceylon experience you won’t forget, with each dish carefully explained by a local food expert.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a private car transfer to Leopard Trails, Wilpattu, a luxury tented camp.

    Maniumpathy
    • Summary: This historic boutique hotel was originally built in 1906
    • Feature: A team of 13 staff for just 8 rooms ensures immaculate attention-to-detail
    • Rooms: 8 rooms
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY 4-6 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Head out on two safari drives across the wonderfully remote Wilpattu National Park – the largest in the country – with an expert ranger from Leopard Trails. Keep your eyes peeled for wondrous wildlife, including barking deer, sloth bear and the elusive leopard, as well as exploring the archaeological ruins of Thambapanni. On your last afternoon, opt for another safari, guided bushwalk or culinary experience.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a private car transfer to Ulagalla by Uga Escapes.

    Leopard Trails Wilpattukeyboard_arrow_right
    • Type: Luxury Tent
    • Summary: An authentic camping experience in Wilpattu National Park
    • Feature: View leopards, sloth bears and more on guided safaris
    • Rooms: 6 tents
    • Location: Wilpattu National Park, , Sri Lanka
    MEAL BASIS

    All-Inclusive

    DAY 6-9 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Stay amid the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Meditate with a Buddhist monk at a secret, sacred, spiritual location, before exploring the sacred Maha Viharaya Complex in the evening. Experience another side to the ancient city by daylight, taking a guided tour and visiting the impressive Aukana Buddha statue. Your final day here includes a climb up 1,200 steps to the famed Sigiriya rock fortress, surrounded by stunning scenery.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a private car transfer to Kings Pavilion, Kandy. On the way, stop at the village of Kap-Ela for a sustainable, responsible and unforgettable elephant encounter, bathing and feeding these gentle giants. You will also stop at a private spice garden for a guided tour, authentic cookery demonstration and lunch.

    Ulagallakeyboard_arrow_right
    • Type: Luxury Hotel
    • Summary: Luxury boutique resort in a serene, ecological setting
    • Feature: Located in the heart of Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle
    • Rooms: 20 villas
    • Location: Anuradhapura, , Sri Lanka
    • Star rating: Member of 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World'
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY 9-11 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    A huge part of any trip to Sri Lanka is meeting its wonderful people. Upon arrival in Kandy, meet with an eccentric local named Rajhu for tea at his home, talking about art, music and life. You will then join another Kandy resident, Mike Johnson, for a guided walking tour of the city. Pay a visit to a local dance troupe that practices a unique style, before heading to the Sooriyakantha Centre for Arts and Culture. Here, meet with Professor Jacques Soulie to explore the collection of ancient books, manuscripts and paintings.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a private car transfer to the station for your train to the tea country of Hatton. This scenic route takes you past lush tea plantations, dramatic waterfalls and mist shrouded peaks. Disembark and take a private car transfer to the Ceylon Tea Trails.

    Kings Pavilion Kandykeyboard_arrow_right
    • Type: Boutique Hotel
    • Summary: A hillside boutique hotel overlooking Hunnasgiriya Mountain
    • Feature: Less than two kilometres from Kandy's bustling town centre
    • Rooms: 9 rooms and suites
    • Location: Kandy, , Sri Lanka
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY 11-13 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Tea is an integral part of Sri Lankan culture and, as well as staying in a restored tea planter residence, you will visit a tea factory to learn about the process and taste it for yourself. The area also features pockets of forest that house elusive Sri Lankan leopards. Visit the Leopard Conservation Project research station, learning more about these fascinating animals and the programmes in place to protect them.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a private car transfer to Cape Weligama.

    Ceylon Tea Trailskeyboard_arrow_right
    • Type: Luxury Hotel
    • Summary: An authentic heritage experience
    • Feature: Follow in the footsteps of the tea planters of old Ceylon
    • Rooms: 5 unique bungalows
    • Location: Bogawantalawa, , Sri Lanka
    • Star rating: Member of 'Relais & Châteaux'
    MEAL BASIS

    All-Inclusive

    DAY 13-15 DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    Spend the first day in coastal Weligama at your leisure. While here, you will also visit a unique stilted fishing site, trying out the traditional method for yourself! Enjoy a guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort. Surrounded by ancient walls, the charming narrow streets are home to old Dutch-style houses, churches, spice warehouses, ramparts and the Governor’s House.

    TRANSFERS

    Take a private car transfer to Colombo Airport for your flight to the UK.

    Cape Weligamakeyboard_arrow_right
    • Type: Boutique Hotel
    • Summary: Luxurious suites and villas atop a striking headland
    • Feature: An Adventure Centre offers a wealth of outdoor pursuits
    • Rooms: 39 suites & villas
    • Location: , Sri Lanka
    • Star rating: Member of 'Relais & Châteaux'
    MEAL BASIS

    Breakfast

    DAY DETAILS ACCOMMODATION

    TRANSFERS

    • Type:
    • Summary:
    • Feature:
    • Rooms:
    • Location:
    • Star rating:
    MEAL BASIS

DAY ACCOMMODATION

TRANSFERS

  • Type:
  • Summary:
  • Feature:
  • Rooms:
  • Location:
  • Star rating:
MEAL BASIS

DAY 2-4ACCOMMODATION
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Your Sri Lankan sojourn begins in Colombo, a city of leafy boulevards and colonial architecture. Visit Geoffrey Bawa Number 11, a unique house-turned-museum lived in by the renowned architect during the 1960s. After lunch at a chic café, meet your host Mark Forbes for an engaging walking tour of Colombo Fort and the Pettah markets. In the evening, enjoy authentic Sri Lankan cuisine on a culinary Ceylon experience you won’t forget, with each dish carefully explained by a local food expert.

TRANSFERS

Take a private car transfer to Leopard Trails, Wilpattu, a luxury tented camp.

Maniumpathy
  • Summary: This historic boutique hotel was originally built in 1906
  • Feature: A team of 13 staff for just 8 rooms ensures immaculate attention-to-detail
  • Rooms: 8 rooms
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY 4-6ACCOMMODATION
Wilpattu, Sri Lanka

Head out on two safari drives across the wonderfully remote Wilpattu National Park – the largest in the country – with an expert ranger from Leopard Trails. Keep your eyes peeled for wondrous wildlife, including barking deer, sloth bear and the elusive leopard, as well as exploring the archaeological ruins of Thambapanni. On your last afternoon, opt for another safari, guided bushwalk or culinary experience.

TRANSFERS

Take a private car transfer to Ulagalla by Uga Escapes.

Leopard Trails Wilpattukeyboard_arrow_right
  • Type: Luxury Tent
  • Summary: An authentic camping experience in Wilpattu National Park
  • Feature: View leopards, sloth bears and more on guided safaris
  • Rooms: 6 tents
  • Location: Wilpattu National Park, , Sri Lanka
MEAL BASIS

All-Inclusive

DAY 6-9ACCOMMODATION
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Stay amid the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Meditate with a Buddhist monk at a secret, sacred, spiritual location, before exploring the sacred Maha Viharaya Complex in the evening. Experience another side to the ancient city by daylight, taking a guided tour and visiting the impressive Aukana Buddha statue. Your final day here includes a climb up 1,200 steps to the famed Sigiriya rock fortress, surrounded by stunning scenery.

TRANSFERS

Take a private car transfer to Kings Pavilion, Kandy. On the way, stop at the village of Kap-Ela for a sustainable, responsible and unforgettable elephant encounter, bathing and feeding these gentle giants. You will also stop at a private spice garden for a guided tour, authentic cookery demonstration and lunch.

Ulagallakeyboard_arrow_right
  • Type: Luxury Hotel
  • Summary: Luxury boutique resort in a serene, ecological setting
  • Feature: Located in the heart of Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle
  • Rooms: 20 villas
  • Location: Anuradhapura, , Sri Lanka
  • Star rating: Member of 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World'
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY 9-11ACCOMMODATION
Kandy, Sri Lanka

A huge part of any trip to Sri Lanka is meeting its wonderful people. Upon arrival in Kandy, meet with an eccentric local named Rajhu for tea at his home, talking about art, music and life. You will then join another Kandy resident, Mike Johnson, for a guided walking tour of the city. Pay a visit to a local dance troupe that practices a unique style, before heading to the Sooriyakantha Centre for Arts and Culture. Here, meet with Professor Jacques Soulie to explore the collection of ancient books, manuscripts and paintings.

TRANSFERS

Take a private car transfer to the station for your train to the tea country of Hatton. This scenic route takes you past lush tea plantations, dramatic waterfalls and mist shrouded peaks. Disembark and take a private car transfer to the Ceylon Tea Trails.

Kings Pavilion Kandykeyboard_arrow_right
  • Type: Boutique Hotel
  • Summary: A hillside boutique hotel overlooking Hunnasgiriya Mountain
  • Feature: Less than two kilometres from Kandy's bustling town centre
  • Rooms: 9 rooms and suites
  • Location: Kandy, , Sri Lanka
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY 11-13ACCOMMODATION
Hatton Tea Country, Sri Lanka

Tea is an integral part of Sri Lankan culture and, as well as staying in a restored tea planter residence, you will visit a tea factory to learn about the process and taste it for yourself. The area also features pockets of forest that house elusive Sri Lankan leopards. Visit the Leopard Conservation Project research station, learning more about these fascinating animals and the programmes in place to protect them.

TRANSFERS

Take a private car transfer to Cape Weligama.

Ceylon Tea Trailskeyboard_arrow_right
  • Type: Luxury Hotel
  • Summary: An authentic heritage experience
  • Feature: Follow in the footsteps of the tea planters of old Ceylon
  • Rooms: 5 unique bungalows
  • Location: Bogawantalawa, , Sri Lanka
  • Star rating: Member of 'Relais & Châteaux'
MEAL BASIS

All-Inclusive

DAY 13-15ACCOMMODATION
Weligama, Sri Lanka

Spend the first day in coastal Weligama at your leisure. While here, you will also visit a unique stilted fishing site, trying out the traditional method for yourself! Enjoy a guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort. Surrounded by ancient walls, the charming narrow streets are home to old Dutch-style houses, churches, spice warehouses, ramparts and the Governor’s House.

TRANSFERS

Take a private car transfer to Colombo Airport for your flight to the UK.

Cape Weligamakeyboard_arrow_right
  • Type: Boutique Hotel
  • Summary: Luxurious suites and villas atop a striking headland
  • Feature: An Adventure Centre offers a wealth of outdoor pursuits
  • Rooms: 39 suites & villas
  • Location: , Sri Lanka
  • Star rating: Member of 'Relais & Châteaux'
MEAL BASIS

Breakfast

DAY ACCOMMODATION

TRANSFERS

  • Type:
  • Summary:
  • Feature:
  • Rooms:
  • Location:
  • Star rating:
MEAL BASIS

TOUR MAP

TOUR EXCURSIONS

Geoffrey Bawa Number 11

While in Colombo, pay a visit to the former home of late architect Geoffrey Bawa, that he originally bought back in 1958. Much of this striking three-storey villa remains unchanged in his memory, showcasing his signature architectural features, courtyards and verandas, as well as his stunning vintage Rolls Royce and Mercedes Coupe cars. Bawa’s bedroom and office room have been kept in their original state, still featuring his private collections of Sri Lankan art and sculpture, as well his personally designed furniture and light fittings.

Culinary Ceylon
Dining Experiece

One of the best ways to connect with a country’s culture, history and people is through its cuisine. On this culinary experience near Colombo's historic Old Dutch Hospital, begin by ‘breaking bread’ with a local, before an impressive degustation menu of homecooked local food made using generations-old family recipes. Much more than just an ordinary restaurant experience, your curator will carefully explain the origin of each dish, sharing stores of the delicious Sri Lankan food you will enjoy.

Meditation with a Buddhist Monk in Anuradhapura
1 Hour Experience

While in Anuradhapura, meet with a local Buddhist monk, who will lead you through the forest to the fascinating, mountain-top cave complex that he calls home. Mediated by your bilingual guide, he will share the story of his spiritual journey to becoming a monk and the principle elements of Buddhism. He will then explain the various features of meditation and its benefits, before leading you in a short, spiritual and simply unforgettable meditation session of your own.

Anuradhapura by Night
Evening Private Tour

Ancient cities don’t get much bigger than Anuradhapura, once a powerful kingdom that outlasted ancient Egypt and Rome. Dating back to the fourth century BC, this Sri Lankan city was the spiritual and academic capital of the island for well over a millennium. At its height, it was dotted with monasteries, which were used as education centres and home to over 10,000 monks. Many of these monasteries and colossal dagobas can still be seen today. On top of this, it was also the home to the Sri Lankan dynasty which prevailed at that time; amongst the ruins, their ancient palaces, pleasure gardens, meeting rooms and bathing ponds still remain visible. The story of Anuradhapura is shrouded in mystery and enchantment, and visitors to the sacred site have been said to feel a fascinating stillness in time. Visiting at night ensures less tourists and cooler temperatures, as well as the opportunity to view locals visiting after work and school to engage in their spirituality and devotion.

Anuradhapura by Day
Guided Tour

The city of Anuradhapura is proud home to more than a dozen archaeological sites, which are spread across a considerable area. Among the most significant are the three largest stupas in Sri Lanka, striking mound-like buildings that contain sacred relics and are used for meditation. They were, at the time of the pyramids of Egypt, the second largest man-made structures in the world. Intriguingly, the points at the top of these stupas point to the Orion’s Belt constellation, as do the pyramids of Egypt. Another highlight of Anuradhapura, Sri Maha Bodhi is a sacred fig tree and the oldest living human-planted tree in the world, under which Lord Buddha was said to have gained enlightenment. Altogether, a visit to this enchanting Sri Lankan city can range from a half day to full day activity, all depending on how deep you want to explore it. Typically, one moves from site to site either by bike or road vehicle. 

Avukana Buddha Statue
Guided Visit

Just over an hour's drive from Anuradhapura, visit the magnificent Avukana Buddha statue, an ancient archaeological site that, according to legend, was sculpted during the reign of Dhatusena in the 5th century. The Buddha’s pose, ‘ashiva mudra’, signifies blessings, while the burst of fire above his head represents the power of total enlightenment. Boasting the title of the tallest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, it has been incredibly well preserved over the years and is a true marvel to behold.

Kep Ela Elephant Experience
Private Tour, Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Elephants are central to Sri Lankan culture and these incredible animals are one of the many reasons people around the globe visit the country. The concept at the “Kep-Ela” experience is based on respecting tamed elephants, offering a close yet entirely ethical encounter with these amazing and majestic animals. Your experience starts with a walk through the narrow roads of a remote village to an awaiting catamaran, which will take you along the Kandalama Lake. The catamaran ride is a brief experience but gives you the essence of how typical villages use them for fishing, transportation and for picking up water lilies. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by two elephants bathing in the river, being washed and scrubbed by the experts that care for them. Next, the elephants are taken to the shore, where you will have the opportunity to meet and feed them their favourite tropical fruits. Finally, bidding adieu to the elephants, you will leave behind the beauty of the Kandalama Lake, taking along the memories of encountering these incredible creatures in the most respectful manner.

Tea with a Kandy Local

In Kandy, take a tuk tuk to the hillside home of local eccentric Rahju and his daughter Rudrani. Expect a wonderfully warm Sri Lankan welcome from the two of them, before being led into their beautiful garden for afternoon tea and spellbinding views. Spend some time just absorbing the tranquillity of his home and gardens, chatting about art, music and life, before a glimpse of Rahju’s studio. You may even purchase any pieces of art that take your fancy and they can be shipped back to your home for a long-lasting reminder of your Sri Lankan adventures.

Kandy Walk with Mike Johnson
Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Meet Mike Johnson, a resident of Kandy, who will accompany you on an unmatchable walking tour of this Sri Lankan city, giving his own perspective on the streets he grew up in. Discover the heritage of Kandy through its people, who carry on the traditions of the Kandyan Kingdom - from the keeper of a Buddhist temple, to a lady selling coconuts. As well as introducing you to these incredible people and their stories, Mike will talk of growing up in the city, taking you to backroads and treasures that only a local would know. The walk will end up in a local pub for a cold beer. Should Mike not be available due to unforeseen circumstances, the visit will take place with a one of Mike’s collaborators.

Visit a Traditional Kandy Dance Troupe

Enjoy a day filled with spectacular Sri Lankan culture as you visit a local Kandy dance troupe that practices dance techniques and styles unique to the country. According to legend, the origins of Kandyan dance lies in an exorcism ritual known as the Kohomba Kankariya, which was originally performed by Indian shamans who came to the island, from which the locals adopted the dance. Traditional Kandyan dances include the cobra dance, mask dance and impressive fire walking, accompanied by percussion instruments and with performers flaunting elaborate costumes. Try on the traditional attire for a photo opportunity, as well as learning the basics of dancing and drumming from the local dancing master.

Sooriyakantha Centre for Arts and Culture
Visit with an Expert

Located in an 18th century walawwa (colonial manor house), pay a visit to the Sooriyakantha Centre for Arts and Culture in Kandy, housing a fascinating collection of ancient books, Buddhist manuscripts, photography, traditional furniture and wall paintings. Here, meet with Professor Jacques Soulie, a French national and co-founder of the centre, who has been residing in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. He will personally welcome you to the establishment and proudly show you the various areas and artefacts within the house, giving you a fascinating glimpse into Sri Lankan history. Then, enjoy a lovely light lunch here.

Sri Lankan Tea Factory
Tour and Visit

Sri Lanka is renowned for its mist-shrouded tea country and worldwide tea production, so where better to visit a working tea factory to learn more about the art of creating the perfect brew? The resident planter will take you through the entire process – from the drying of the green leaf, to the packing and distribution.

Sri Lanka Leopard Conservation Project
Guided Visit

The Hatton Tea Country features pockets of forest that house elusive Sri Lankan leopards. Visit the Leopard Conservation Project research station, that has been set up to support the work of the Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT), whose founders are pioneering research on this incredible species. Meet with a resident naturalist here, learning more about the threatened leopards and the programmes in place to protect them.

Sri Lankan Stilt Fishing

Stilt fishing, termed as ritipanna, is a traditional fishing method practiced by fishermen along the southern coast, mainly in areas like Welipenna, Koggala, Kumbalgama, Aranwala, Midigama, Thalarambe and Kathaluwa. These are the fisher folk who engage in fishing from a narrow pole tied to a stick installed on the sea bed. Visit a stilt fishing site, getting to know the fishermen and learning more about their lifestyle. You will also be invited to get on the stilts and have a go at fishing for yourself. If you are successful, there is a good chance a smiling fisherman might bargain for the fish you caught.

Galle Fort on Foot
Walking Tour

Take a walk to Galle Fort, where you will be met by your engaging host for a fascinating tour of this historical site. The World Heritage fortified township was originally an essential port of call for Chinese, Persian, Arab and Indian traders, followed later in history by the Javanese and Sumatrans, as well as Marco Polo in 1299 AD. The Portuguese arrived in the 1500s and built a settlement with a fort of palm trees and mud. This was captured by the Dutch (and finally the British) who added great ramparts and bastions to protect their presence. Today, charming narrow streets are lined with old houses displaying Dutch architecture and impressive pillared verandas. Government offices remain in use and the community is a bustle with daily life – a living breathing town, hidden within fortified walls of this ancient, maritime citadel.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

Sri Lanka is a year-round destination with consistent warmth and sunshine, with showers possible at any time. The western and southern regions experience monsoon rains from May to September, making this tour best between December and March.

  • JAN
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  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Best

14 NIGHTS FROM £6,990 per person

Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.

REQUEST A QUOTE

Independent Reviews

Although our awards and long history stand testament to our success, independent reviews from our clients via Feefo further support our unrivalled travel experiences.

Elegant Resorts have achieved an average score of 4.9 / 5 based on 395 independent reviews.

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