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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Naturally gorgeous, culturally captivating and steeped in mysticism, Sri Lanka makes for a wonderful introduction to both travel and the Indian subcontinent for children and adults alike. Embark on a 12-day family tour and discover temples carved from cliffs, fortresses built on boulders and wildlife-rich parks. Expose your family to different ways of life while cycling through peaceful villages and touring working tea plantations. Wonder at wildlife when you go safari in search of wild elephants, deer and crocodiles. Chill out by the beach in Mirissa while the kids are playing with other young travellers on the tour. Educational, active and leisurely paced, this trip is everything you could want in a family getaway.

Day 1: Negombo
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the island offers travellers palm-studded beaches, rolling plantations, and sacred sights steeped in spirituality. There are no activities planned today until your group welcome meeting at 6 pm. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these with you. If arriving in Negombo earlier, spend some time poolside at the hotel, or head out to explore the neighbourhood.

Day 2: Dambulla
Begin the adventure by heading out to Dambulla, located at the end of a moderate 4-hour drive from Negombo. This town plays home to some of the world’s most spectacularly decorated cave-temples and serves as a great starting point to trek into nearby natural wonders and historic sights. Upon arrival, you‘ll have the option to visit the Dambulla vegetable wholesale market. This huge labyrinth of shops and stalls sitting south of the centre of town offers a fascinating look at the vast range of produce grown in Sri Lanka. Items you see being carted about with manic energy will be sold in Colombo tomorrow.

Day 3: Dambulla
Today’s adventure takes you from Dambulla to Sigiriya, a colossal stone monument hosting a ruined fortress at its peak. Let the kids burn off some energy with a climb to the top of enormous Sigiriya rock and its ancient fortress. If you’re lucky, you should be able to take in sweeping views of the thick forests below before descending once more. Once you return to Dambulla, take the family for a pleasant bike ride around the town. The numerous temple complexes and religious monuments are well worth a visit if you get the chance.

Day 4: Kandy
Say farewell to Dambulla in the morning and take a 3-hour drive towards beautiful Kandy, often recognised as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. The verdant hills surrounding the city along with the tranquil lake in the centre creates the perfect scenery for family photo opportunities, and the old shops and restaurants will keep you busy for hours. Spend the afternoon basking amongst rows of flowers and towering palm trees in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The garden plays home to more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and various trees. It’s a leisurely walk, full of colour.

Day 5: Kandy
This morning you’ll visit Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Tooth), which houses the country's most sacred relic: a tooth said to be the Buddha's. Pilgrims have been coming to pay homage at this site since the 16th century. Visit the magnificent Peradeniya Botanical Gardens with its immense fig tree and impressive orchid collection. Considered among the finest botanical gardens in all of Asia, this is a great spot for the kids to run around in. Next up, visit a local family for dinner and learn the steps to traditional Kandayan dancing during some lessons from local performers.

Day 6: Bandarawella
Tuck into breakfast before hitting the road once more, travelling via private vehicle into the evergreen hills of Nuwara Eliya. After 3 hours on the road, take a quick visit of this old British Hill station and get a feel for the colonial charm of this mecca of Sri Lanka’s tea growing industry. The 19th century architecture reflects what you’d come to expect from an English country village, so it may come as no surprise that it was once referred to as ‘Little England’ by its former British hosts. Try to spot roaming water buffalo, brick Victorian-era buildings, tea plantations or the odd golf course.

Day 7: Bandarawella
After a few days on the road, today runs at a bit of a slower pace. Bandarawela is an unhurried, unpretentious hill-country town that exists to supply the needs of the tea plantation workers and their families. The people of Bandarawela enjoy a simple way of life, where school children and grandparents work together harvesting their crops and tending their livestock. Another distinctive feature of Bandarawela is the colonial flavour still preserved in the many old buildings, including the Bandarawela Hotel and the old Cargill’s Supermarket. Enjoy a leisurely morning walk through the countryside, past tea pickers plucking the tips of the plants and throwing them into the baskets on their backs. The afternoon is free for your enjoyment – you could always get the family together and challenge some of the locals to a friendly game of cricket.

Day 8: Udawalawe
After a hearty breakfast and 9am checkout, drive to Uda Walawe National Park (approximately 3 hours). This park has an amazing array of animal and birdlife, with more herds of wild elephant than anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Following lunch, discover how this majestic creature has been part of Sri Lankan culture for centuries during a visit to the nearby Elephant Transit Home. Run by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation, ETH provides shelter for orphaned or abandoned baby elephants with the aim of releasing them into the wild. Arriving at a viewing platform at feeding time ensures you'll get to see the elephants only metres away! Once feeding is over, hop in a jeep for a safari inside the park. Wildlife regularly spotted here includes macaques and larger monkeys, spotted deer, crocodiles and sometimes even leopards. This is a real safari experience, nothing like a zoo or safari park – truly an adventure for all ages!

Day 9: Mirissa
After starting the day with a hearty meal, hit the bird trail in the nearby the park. Take the road and head towards the Elephant Transit Home. Supported by the Born Free Foundation, this home helps support and rehabilitate elephants before resettling them within the national park. Watch these gentle giants as they feed with their carers, then take a jeep safari into the park itself to hopefully spot other elephants in their natural environment. Afterwards, travel onward to the chilled-out beach town of Mirissa and settle in for the night.

Day 10: Mirissa
Take a change of pace this morning with a bit of free time. Relax around Mirissa’s lovely waterfront or take in some of the local sights. The waters are clear and inviting if you’d like to go for a splash in the Laccadive Sea, or you could follow the fresh fish coming in from shore and perhaps grab a bite to share with the family. Consider gathering the family and heading (by tuk-tuk or bicycle) to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring fresh fish to sell along the shore. The local cottage industry of lace products is also well worth a look. In the evening, visit the Dutch Fort in Galle for a spot of kite flying. If the colours of the kites don’t get you excited, the kaleidoscopic hues of the sunset surely will.

Day 11: Colombo
Check out of the hotel and head towards Colombo. Once you arrive, take a bit of time to wander through the bazaar, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the bustling market. Afterwards, enjoy a bit of free time. You’re in the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, so there’s more than enough things to do to while away the day. The waterfront is full of life, sights and stalls which makes for an excellent starting point. Regroup in the afternoon and head to Galle Face Green – 5 hectares of ocean-side park bliss. The kids can play a spot of cricket or fly kites while you sit back on the grass before getting together for a final farewell dinner afterwards.

Day 12: Colombo
Your Sri Lankan family holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. Additional accommodation is available through your booking agent at the time of booking your trip.

Countries Visited

Sri Lanka

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Inclusions

  • Dambulla - Cave Temples
  • Sigiriya - Bike ride
  • Sigiriya - Lion Rock
  • Kandy - Botanical Gardens
  • Kandy - Temple of the Tooth entrance
  • Bandarawela - Country side trek
  • Bandarawela - Tea Plucking Experience
  • Udewalawe National Park - Wildlife safari
  • Mirissa - Kite Flying

Meals
11 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
2 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (10 nights), Camping (1 night)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
3
Accommodations
3
Itinerary
5
Professional Staff
1
Repeat with Operator
3
Value for Money
3

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Ratings based off 1 reviews - currently showing 1 reviews with comments only

Unfortunately the tour guide we had was not as expected. His condescending attitude and the way he spoke to some guests (myself included) was completely unacceptable. When we spoke to him about this he became very defensive and was unable to reflect and adjust his practices. Towards the end of the trip he was not responding appropriately when asked a question, he would not look at the person asking the question and would face others to tell them the answer (usually with his back to the original questioner). He did not speak one word to the 7 of us who were on an 8 hr whale watching trip!!!! Although the tour itself was ok, his attitude and actions make me hesitant to book another tour with Intrepid again.


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