Sri Lanka Adventure (Escorted)
(Ex Negombo) - Sat 24th August 2024

Max Participants:
16
Location:
(Ex Negombo) Sri Lanka  
Date:
Sat 24th August 2024
Start Time:
5:00pm
End Time:
12:00pm approx
Duration:
14 Days
Meals:
11 Dinners 13 Breakfasts 9 Lunches 1 Afternoon Teas
Non-Member Cost:
$5090.00 per person
Member Cost:
$4990.00 per person
Deposit Required:
$500.00
Single Supplement:
From $1190.00 per person
Tagged:
culture
MAKE A BOOKING

Sri Lanka has so much to offer as a holiday destination... come with us and you'll see why! Palm fringed beaches, World Heritage Sites, Colonial-era architecture, food bursting with flavour and super friendly locals.  One of our longstanding Adventurous Women Tour Hosts will escort you on this trip and together with their Sri Lankan Guide and private driver, they will take you on a journey of discovery throughout this beautiful island. 

 

Culture, ancient ruins, lush tea plantations, stunning waterfalls, amazing food, great hikes, rolling hills, tropical beaches & national parks teeming with wildlife will have you surprised at every turn.  We explore ancient cities, small towns, temples, monuments, and delve into history and marvel at architecture dating back to the colonial period - Highlighting the Best!


Gallery

Train crossing the 9 Arch Bridge in Sri Lanka
Tea pickers at work in Ella
Elephants on the move at Minneriya NP
Tuk Tuk's - heaps of fun
Boats moored in Trincomalee
Boats moored in Trincomalee
On the train from Ella
World's End - Horton Plains
Streets of Galle Fort
Jeep Safari
World Heritage Sites
Train crossing the 9 Arch Bridge in Sri Lanka

Location

Please note map locations and route are approximate only

Highlights

● Learn about tea at an operational tea plantation in Ceylon, the home of the finest...

● Explore a vibrant Hindu temple, perched on a headland, next to a 17th century, Dutch fort in Trincomalee

● Climb the Lion Rock Fortress for views out over the plains and hear ancient stories of conquest and grand failure

● Visit the place where it is believed that Buddhism was seeded in Sri Lanka

● Sample the authentic and diverse food, made all the more possible by taking the backroads through the rural areas

● Hike through tea plantations set on rolling hills in the shade of towering eucalypts and watch colorfully dressed tea pickers at work.

● Travel by Jeep through Yala and Lunugamvehera National Parks, looking out for Elephants and Leopards

● Take in the unique ambiance of Galle Fort, built from coral and inhabited by families that can trace their lineage back to the Persian, Arabian and Chinese traders of long ago.

Itinerary

On arrival at Colombo Airport, it is just a short, 20 minute drive to our meeting point hotel in Negombo. Airport pickups can be pre-booked for a modest fee, or taxis are available on a pre-paid basis at the airport from the taxi counter.

Being one of the major tourist beach resorts of the island, this lively town called Negombo is mainly inhabited by the fisher-folk. It's located along the picturesque Negombo lagoon, along which hundreds of fishing boats and catamarans can be seen at any one time. The town is dotted with several churches, some dating from the earliest colonial times and is home to a substantial catholic community in Sri Lanka, hence why it's quietly known as "Little Rome".

Upon check in, take a stroll on the beach, relax poolside or enjoy a cold drink at one of the little cafes nearby. A group meeting will be held at 5pm in the Lobby of the hotel where you'll meet your Adventurous Women Host, local guide and fellow travellers. Afterwards we'll enjoy our first dinner together.

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Goldi Sands Hotel, Negombo

Departing right after breakfast, we actually cross the island today, but doing so at its least mountainous point means that it will take about 6 hours road travel on a well made road. It's a nice way to ease into the country. We'll make a few stops along the way to introduce you to some Sri Lankan specialities like the King Coconut drink and delicious samosas.

Our destination for today is Trincomalee, a city whose recorded history dates back to the early 17th century when the Portugese established a trading port. The Dutch followed and the city still features intact built examples from that time, surrounded by a picturesque harbour, headlands and beautiful beaches. The city was part of the conflict zone during the civil war years, but since the cessation of hostilities, it has regained its vibrancy.

Once we have checked in, we take a walk of the headland down by the harbour to see Fort Frederick and the Hindu temple, or Thirukoneswaram Kovil Shaktipeeth. Our timing should be perfect to see the sun set from the headland and we then return to the resort for dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Trinco Blu by Cinammon or similar

We make an early start for our activity. We board a flotilla of small boats (usually 5 to a boat) and explore the harbour. We'll make a stop at Sober Island which is now a nature sanctuary and contains and quirky old tunnels. A local community member will show us around the island on a light hike. We'll see if we can spot any turtles and then come back around to the port. By early afternoon you can kicking back on a day bed by the pool,

There are also some great, optional activities:

Whale Watching - The sea just off Trincomalee is a well established migratory route for whales and dolphins and particularly at this time of year, Sperm Whales tend to be passing. The cost of this activity is $185 per person and can be booked as late as the day before.

Snorkelling - Pigeon Island sits just off the cost and is a national park which is under regeneration. It is a popular spot for snorkelling and there is a high likelihood of seeing turtles and small Reef Sharks. The coral here is somewhat degraded, but it's still a nice spot and it is popular with Sri Lankans and visitors alike, so it's a good way to get amongst it. The cost for this activity is $95 and can be booked as late as the day before.

Regardless of how you spend your afternoon, we will convene for dinner and exchange stories of a day well spent.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Trinco Blu by Cinnamon or similar

We leave the coast today and head inland to an area that is often referred to as the Cultural Triangle. This is because three historically and culturally important areas sit in the central north of the country. We will visit two of these in the coming days and we start with Anuradhapura, or more specifically, Mihinthalaya Rajamaha Viharaya. This is thought to be the place at which Buddhism seeded in Sri Lanka. Here, a Buddhist monk, the son of Emporer Ashoka of India met King Devanampiyatissa and it this led to the founding of Therevada Buddhism in Sri Lanka which is now the observed religion of the majority, Sinhalese ethnic group. The site is a massive boulder that we will climb and our guide will tell us all about this important story.

We top off a cultural binge day with a visit to a famous site, the Dambulla Cave Temple. In this cave, are many sculpted likeness of the Buddha and it is considered a very special place for adherents.

Our home for the night is a charming location in nearby Harbarana where we dine together.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Habarana Village by Cinnamon or similar

An early start today sets us up for an unforgettable hike as we climb the Lion Rock Fortress. This iconic landmark graces the covers of magazines, brochures and postcards, but the real thing is really impressive. From the manicured lawns and water features at ground level, to the twisting, winding paths and staircases that take you to the top, it's really quite an ancient engineering feat.

The views as you climb are good, but the view from the top is outstanding. You can take them in and catch your breath while our guide tells us the fascinating, somewhat tragic, somewhat puzzling tale of the prince you built the fortress.

We move on and in the afternoon find ourselves in a landscape that is a real opposite of the one that we started out in this morning. The dry, scrubby flatlands have given way to rolling hills and deep valleys, blanketed with tea plantations. The heat of the flatlands has become a pleasant walking climate and a local tea plantation worker who knows the trails like the back of his hand wants to take us on a short walk. This is a nice way to break up the drive and stretch the legs before we continue on to Kandy.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Citadel by Cinnamon or similar

After breakfast we undertake a City Tour including the Upper Lake Drive - a place where one could have a bird's eye view of the city below, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha - by far the most important place of worship for Buddhists world over, the Royal Botanical Gardens - one of the best of its kind in Asia with more than 5000 species of different varieties of flora which incidentally was the Headquarters of Lord Louis Mountbatten - the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during the 2nd World War.

The afternoon is free for you to spend as you see fit. If you still have the energy, our Sri Lankan Guide will be happy to take you to see a gem museum and a silk workshop.

In the evening, we will convene to see a show of the Kandian Dancers. This show is a well established highlight for tourists and even if it does run every night, it's still well worth a look, especially for the fire walking!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Citadel by Cinnamon or similar

After breakfast we leave for Nuwara Eliya. Trains in Sri Lanka are a legacy of the British and when it comes to the mountainous regions, a valuable national asset, allowing people in otherwise very remote places to reach commercial centers inexpensively. This particular train journey is one of the best as the train weaves its way up through the tea plantations and forests, through tunnels and over viaducts with waterfalls tumbling out of far off clifftops. You'll almost certainly get into conversation with some of the locals who love a chat, especially if you are into Cricket.

There isn't actually a station in Nuwara Eliya, so we have just a little stint in the van when we leave the train and that brings us into Nuwara Eliya AKA "Little England". It really does feel like an English town complete with a golf course and some Tudor houses. A late afternoon walk is a good way to stretch the legs after the train and get a feel for this quaint town.

Our hotel is a cozy abode for the evening, usually with a hot cup of soup available in the lead-up to dinner. Not a bad thing as the fog start to roll in and the temperature drops. Who would have thought we were on a tropical beach a week ago?

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Jetwing St. Andrews or similar

A pre-dawn departure. Yes, that's right. It may sound extreme, but if you want to be standing at Worlds End Lookout with a clear view as the clouds roll in at your feet, there aren't many alternatives to the early start.

This morning we're bound for Horton Plains, the only National Park situated in the Hill Country and Sri Lanka's highest and most isolated plateau at an elevation of more than 2000 metres.

This 3,162- hectare National Park is a natural playground and is a watershed of tremendous importance containing the second and third highest mountains in Sri Lanka within its precincts. It's widely spread Patna grass-covered plains are the haunt of many species of flora and fauna among which are found leopards, sambur, deer, slender loris, purple monkeys, eagles and some 247 species of butterflies, also seen are rare orchids, rhododendron trees and exotic mosses. Bridle paths through the plains head to the precipice known as the World's End, a sheer drop of 1,050 meters and the famous Baker's Falls. We hike on a well defined trail to visit the World's end, where on a clear day we'll enjoy amazing views, afterwards we continue on to visit pristine Baker's Falls.

If hiking is not for you, there are a couple of options - walk part of the way with the group to enjoy mother nature and stop when you're ready, turning around to follow the path back to where the walk begins, or alternatively come armed with a book, drawing pad, crossword book or hobby and simply find a shady place to sit and enjoy some downtime. The hike is approximately 9kms and generally takes the group 4 hours including stops and lunch break along the way.

We then continue on to Ella. En route we visit a Tea Factory and Plantation to witness the manufacturing process of world famous "Ceylon Tea" and to taste a pure unblended cup of factory fresh tea, before it's sent to the Tea Auctions in Colombo leading to Export.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Morning Dew Hotel or similar

Today we have a couple of options on offer. The hike is the official one, but the other options are easily arranged and relatively inexpensive.

A recent initiative sponsored by the European Union's development arm, USAID and backed by the national tourism body, has created a 22 stage, epic hiking trail, covering 300km. It's OK, relax. We aren't about to walk 300km, but what we can do, is walk the 9km section that makes up stage 16. It's a hike to blow your mind. Tea covered landscapes, punctuated by natural forest full of birdlife, deep gorges, one with the famous 9 arch railway bridge and all the while, waterfalls and streams popping out from everywhere. It is a one-way hike, so the van will pick us up from the end point and return us to the hotel in Ella.

Walk/Photography - 9 Arches Railway Bridge - Pleasant 30 minute walk from Ella Train Station to this stunning piece of architecture highlighting colonial-era railway construction. You can return by Tuk Tuk if you wish or walk back, alternatively Tuk Tuk both ways!

Spiritual - Attend a Meditation Session at the Rakkitha Kanda Jungle Monastery

Relaxation - Ayurvedic Massage or Treatment - A few options scattered around beautiful Ella!

Whichever path you choose, the group will meet for afternoon tea. We haven't included the meal this evening so that if you wanted to, you could wander off and do your own thing. There are a number of options in Ella. Your host being a sociable person, would love for as many people as possible to join her for dinner, so that's always an option too.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea

Accommodation: Morning Dew Hotel or similar

It's time for us to bid farewell to the green landscapes of the high country and to descend to the southern flatlands. We will do this by road. We'll make a late morning start, so you have some time to update the travel journal. Lunch will be had on the way and we aim to arrive at the hotel by 3pm. A quick check-in and it's then time to enjoy our first Jeep Safari.

Lunugamvehera Nationa Park is the lesser known of the parks down south, but it is a very important one. It is a watershed for Yala and Bundalla National Parks and a corridor for Elephant migration between Udawalawe and Yala. There is quite a high probability of an Elephant sighting and later in the day, Samba Deer can be seen quite easily. There are some others that are harder to see, like Civets and the White Bellied Sea Eagle.

We return to our lakeside hotel for another delicious meal.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Kithala Resort or similar

Before we hit the road, we are going to do another safari, this time into Yala National Park. Yala is very well known and for good reason. Asides from the Elephant population, it has the highest Leopard population density of any park in the world. We won't say that you are guaranteed to see a Leopard, but if you don't, we would be surprised.

We'll head back to the hotel for a shower before setting off along the coastal road for Galle. We'll make a few stops along the way to get a feel for Sri Lanka's southern coastline.

Galle, asides from being on the Cricket fixture, contains Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which still after more than 423 years, maintains its polished appearance due to extensive reconstruction work done by the Archaeological Department in Sri Lanka. We take an introductory wander of the fort before finding a cold drink to prime ourselves for the evening meal.

We will dine in the fort tonight and may get to try some cuisine that has a bit of different flavor. Afteral, the fort is home to an eclectic mix of ethnic groups from the days when it was still a trading port.

We spend the next two nights at a hotel aptly named Lady Hill. It sits just above the city and is just 10 minutes by tuk tuk to the fort in case you fancy having an aimless wander in what is a seriously beautiful and atmospheric place.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Lady Hill Hotel or similar

This morning is for those who love to dig deep into a good story and that story is of Galle Fort. Our Guide will take us on a walk of the fort and tell the stories about how it came to be built and some intriguing insights into the construction methods used by its inhabitants for their houses. We may have the good fortune to meet some of the people who call the Fort home. Many of the fort's inhabitants are descendants of Arabian and Persian traders and thrive in this microcosm.

The afternoon is for you to enjoy as you see fit and dinner is not arranged so that you can have some independence in this lovely spot.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Lady Hill Hotel or similar

The morning is free to relax, take stock, get a massage, go and see the locals hauling fish out of the ocean along the foreshore. It's our last full day in Sri Lanka. In the early afternoon, we will make the drive up to Colombo and spend the late afternoon exploring the Colombo Fort, the downtown area and the area along the foreshore called Galle Face. It's a bit confusing, but it is named as such because it faces Galle, although good luck trying to see it.

Colombo may not be the most enchanting city, but it is the capital and it is home to an increasingly dynamic population who are participating in the global economy in a big way. Sri Lankans, whether you meet them in the tea plantations, on the beaches, in the ancient forts or on the streets of Colombo are a warm, welcoming bunch.

Before we head out for dinner, we convene for a sundowner and an opportunity for some closing speeches. An authentic dinner is included in a local eatery where the food is great, but conversation can be a little challenging on account of the many patrons. Nevermind. You will have made new friends from among the group and the shared experience of your journey through Sri Lanka will be worth talking about for some time.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Cinammon Red or similar

There are no activities planned for the final day, as the trip concludes, so you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. Transfers to the airport can be pre-booked with us at a modest charge, or arranged with the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast

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Includes

Adventurous Women® Tour Escort throughout the trip

Services of a bilingual, local Guide

Accommodation based on twin share basis (you will be roomed with another lady in the group)

Note, optional single rooms are available for $1190

All Breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners

Transport in Air-Conditioned Vehicle

Entrance Fees to all sites stated in itinerary

Jeep Hire with an accompanying Naturalist at the National Parks

Train Fare

Trail finder guides during high country hike

Tips for hotel and restaurant staff

All in-country Taxes

11 Dinners

13 Breakfasts

9 Lunches

1 Afternoon Teas

Excludes

International Airfares

Arrival airport pickup & departure airport drop-off (available on request for a modest additional charge)

Drinks other than water

Any visas required

Services not mentioned in the itinerary

Late check out at hotels

Meals not mentioned in the itinerary

Tips for Leader, Guide & Driver

Expenditure of a personal nature

Personal Travel Insurance (compulsory)

Optional activities as detailed in the itinerary

What To Bring/Wear

- Detailed Trip Notes will be provided well in advance of your departure, to help you plan & prepare.

No Princess Policy

Princess crossed out

Our No Princess Policy is just a way of suggesting that our Adventurous Women travellers adapt a 'Go with the flow' mind set when travelling in a foreign country and as part of a group. This is so that everyone in the group enjoys their experience - ie: We suggest earplugs if you're a light sleeper, or pay the extra $$ for a single room, be considerate of your fellow travellers and if things don't always go to plan, try and embrace the challenge with an open mind etc. When it comes to rooming, we mix it up as most of our travellers are solo - you get to share with a different lady from the group every evening which designed to bond the group, while alleviating any potential annoyances that may come about by sharing with the same person the whole time on a tour ... this has worked really well for us and our guests in the past.

Cancellation & Refunds

If you cancel some or all portions of your booking the cancellation terms set out below will apply. A cancellation will only be effective when we receive written confirmation from you that you wish to cancel. If you cancel a trip:

a)  61 days or more prior to departure, your deposit will be forfeited;

b)  between 31 and 60 days prior to departure, we charge a cancellation fee of 70% of the total booking cost;

c)  between 15 and 30 days prior to departure, we charge a cancellation fee of 90% of the total booking cost; or

d) 14 days or fewer prior to departure, we charge a cancellation fee of 100% of the booking cost.