Trip reference number: 103865
Trip Operator: Wexas Travel
With the services of a private driver throughout, this curated itinerary showcases the highlights of Sri Lanka. Sweeping along the country’s beach-fringed coastlines and plunging into the jungled interior, you’ll take in everything from colonial towns and rolling tea plantations to cave temples, the lost city of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya – an ancient rock fortress. You’ll even head out on a trio of safaris, spotting elephants and the world’s densest population of leopards. Indeed, it’s all brought to life by private tours, including the likes of dance shows, spice plantations and tea plantations. You’ll also stay in luxury throughout, enjoying nights in colonial manor house, where a personal chef will treat you to full-board dining, before you end with four nights by the beach in an ultra-luxury resort.
Day 1: Depart UK
Begin your trip in style with complimentary airport-lounge access before you fly out to Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Negombo
Arriving in Sri Lanka, you'll be met at the airport by your private driver, who'll see you inland to Negombo. Here, you'll settle in to your luxury hotel – a colonial manor house whose four-poster beds and acres of landscaped gardens are perfect for some post-flight relaxation. For those who want to explore, Negombo is a town packed full of history, with the Dutch and Portuguese leaving their marks in pretty churches and an imposing fort. You'll also be able to watch the local fishermen coming in with the day's catch, sold in the town's bustling markets.
Days 3-4: Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa & Minneriya National Park
Today, your private driver will bring you along palm-lined roads into the country’s jungled interior for a stay in a luxury stilted cottage, enjoying spa treatments among the bright-green paddy fields. You’ll also be brought to next-door Sigiriya – a spectacular fifth-century rock-top fortress. Climbing to its summit rewards with a fascinating palace complex and views over the Sri Lankan countryside. The next day, your private touring begins with the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, a 12th-century archaeological park blessed with everything from tombs and temples to statues and stupas. In the afternoon, you’ll be brought to a safari in Minneriya National Park, whose rolling grasslands host elephants, leopards and an astonishing array of bird life.
Days 5-6: Kandy
Your private transfer today will see you to Dambulla’s cave temples, where Hinduism first gained a foothold in Sri Lanka – something evidenced by beautiful carvings of Vishnu. You’ll then visit a series of beautiful spice gardens and pause at a batik print factory, before ending the day in a 19th-century palatial manor house, complete with antiques, four-poster beds and private terraces. The next day, you’ll be treated to a private city tour of jungle-fringed Kandy – the last capital of Sri Lanka’s ancient kings. Indeed, alongside its botanical gardens and quaint colonialism, you’ll take in its sacred Buddhist temples and a traditional dance show. Think fire dancers and thumping drummers.
There's also the option of taking a super-scenic train ride, either the classic original or a brand-new luxury version – the Ella Odyssey. Equipped with first class, air-conditioned seating, it makes a series of stops along what is Sri Lanka's most famous stretch of railway, including St. Clair Falls, Great Western Railway Station, Algin Waterfall and Demodara Nine Arch Bridge. You'll have time to step off in each, taking in the views and capturing some photos, too.
Days 7-8: Hatton: Sri Lanka's tea country
After breakfast, your private driver will bring you south into Sri Lanka’s central highlands, watching as the tropical climate and palm trees give way to cool, plantation-dotted hills. Here, you'll stay in the country’s first and only Relais & Châteaux hotel, bedding down in a colonial-era bungalow, enjoying gorgeous valley views and sensational dining. Each cottage comes with its own chef, who'll treat you to included, full-board meals of local delicacies and just-baked pastries. The next day you’ll be brought out to explore, with the resident tea planter taking you through the tea-making process from fields to factory to cup. After a tasting, your private guide will bring you to the mountain station of Nuwara Eliya, taking in its 19th-century British architecture and beautifully terraced slopes.
Days 9-10: Yala National Park
Your private transfer today, winding through the tea plantations, will see you to the Elephant Transit Home in Uda Walawe National Park. Recognised as one of the finest animal rehabilitation centres the world over, it offers the chance to spot everything from leopards and a myriad of bird species to sloths, bears and, yes, elephants. You’ll then continue to the south coast, where you’ll stay among its white sands with a beach villa or luxury forest tent. You’ll also be right on the border of Yala National Park, which you’ll explore the next day in the company of an expert guide. Its light forest and grassy plains are home to 215 species of bird and the world’s densest population of leopards.
Days 11-14: Galle
Sweeping along the coast, your private driver will see you to Galle for four nights of golden-sands relaxation. You’ll stay in a boutique, beachfront resort just outside Galle Fort, enjoying spa treatments, infinity-pool luxury and private-balcony views of the ocean. It’s no surprise that it’s a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Alongside the iconic fishermen who cast their lines from single stilts flung out among the waves, there’s also plenty of cultural intrigue in nearby Galle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an old trading port, home to everything from Dutch-colonial buildings and ancient mosques to grand mansions and stylish artists' cafés.
Day 15: Depart for UK
After breakfast, a final private transfer will see you to the airport for your flight home, arriving the same day.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown
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