Ultimate Ceylon

Ultimate Ceylon

Explore Sri Lanka’s distinctive culture on this relaxed trip that not only takes in some of the best historical sights, beaches and wildlife reserves but gets you up close and personal to understand what makes Sri Lanka tick. Meet the Veddahs, the original tribe who call this tiny island home, get out and about in the bustling streets and markets of capital Colombo, and explore the quiet, simple beauty of everyday Lankan village life.

Meet warm and friendly locals, visit some exceptional ‘off the beaten track’ locations to enjoy nature and wildlife in solitude, and stay in some sumptuous properties in this great all-rounder of an itinerary.

14 DAYS
FROM £3225
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Moderate
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

On arrival at Bandaranaike International airport, you will be warmly greeted and transferred to your hotel in Colombo.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Dinner
Day 2: Colombo

What better introduction to the island than taking in the colours and flavours of Colombo on a tuk tuk, market and culinary adventure?

Journey the narrow streets of Pettah by tuk tuk before wandering the Spice Street on foot. Here, master chefs and housewives alike shop through mounds of spices to create their signature curry blends.

Stop at a tea wholesaler and sip Ceylon bazaar style. Board a train at Fort Railway Station and enjoy coastal scenery on your short journey to Dehiwela where you will end your excursion with a traditional cooking lesson at Namma’s home.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3: Northern Wetlands

After breakfast, a drive of around 4.5 hours north towards Wilpattu National Park awaits. Enroute, you’ll explore the Anawilundewa wetlands and enjoy a spot of birdwatching, and relax in the natural environs on leisurely walks.

Although today you’ll cover a long distance, there will be leisure stops along the way at your convenience to ensure you arrive in great shape.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4: Wilpattu National Park

Today, you’ll enjoy a full day safari in Wilpattu National Park. Although equally beautiful and teeming with the same iconic wildlife species as Yala National Park, Wilpattu is less visited than Yala, allowing you to enjoy your wildlife exploration with greater solitude.

The biggest draws in Wilpattu are Leopards and Sloth bears. Alongside these, it is possible to see Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Asiatic Buffalo and Mugger Crocodiles. Endemic birds include the Ceylon Junglefowl, Browncapped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Black-capped Bulbul in riverine habitats. Muntjac or Barking Deer are more easily seen in Wilpattu than any other national park. Butterflies recorded include the Great Eggfly, Great Orange Tip, Glad-eye Bushbrown, Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Common Rose and Crimson Rose.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Grey Slender Loris

After breakfast leave for Habarana (2 hour drive) and check into your hotel. Relax in the hotel gardens or the pool.

Late afternoon, you’ll travel to Jetwing vil Uyana loris conservation site to see the Grey Slender Loris, among the rarest and unique creatures on this island. The private biosphere of this property shares a habitat with the elusive Grey Slender Loris, a nocturnal primate hidden in the scrublands . Known for its protruding eyes and nimble limbs, the loris scavenges for insects and berries above the trees on a moonlit trail that has been carefully designed for you to observe the rare creature in its natural habitat.

Accompanied by the resident naturalist, a quiet evening walk takes you through the streams and bamboo bridges of this lush forest ecosystem to the Loris Information Centre and Conservation Site. Equipped with harmless red light emitting headlamps that reflect off the characteristic eyes of the resident loris population.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Sigiriya & Minneriya

This morning, begin with a visit and climb up the Sigiriya Rock Fortress which dominates the landscape and was both a military refuge as well as an aesthetic refuge for king who was a patron of the arts. Sigiriya became world famous for the frescos found on the western surface of the rock about 100mt above the ground level. Ancient gardens from the 5th century survive at the foot of the rock.

In the afternoon, enjoy a safari at Minneriya National Park, which is dominated by the Minneriya tank. The tank, surrounding flood plains, forest and wooded hills are listed as Asian wetlands of international importance. The tank provides water to acres of paddy fields and is thriving with fresh water fish. You’ll have a very good chance to spot Elephants and other wildlife here.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: Meet the Veddahs

After enjoying your breakfast, leave for Gal Oya for a truly unique cultural experience. This is a four hour drive, but there will be chances to rest and stretch your legs along the way.

The Gal Oya region is steeped in history and culture of the Veddahs (aborigines), the true owners of the island. It is also rich in Wildlife. When you reach the entrance to the campsite the staff together with the Veddah chief of the area will then escort you to light a traditional oil lamp and offer a small prayer to bless your stay at this wonderful property.

Check in and a scrumptious meal will be followed by a nature walk to a nearby forest patch. Your guide will be none other than the chief of the Veddah tribe who’s in-depth knowledge of the forest is a treat to anyone to listen to.

The walk will start off with a visit to a cultural center for the Veddah people to share their stories and way of life with visitors. The forest too is special, for it is said to have been grown with various medicinal plants and trees by one of Sri Lanka’s ancient Kings.

Later, a chance to relax at the hotel and enjoy your dinner.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Gal Oya National Park

On your second day at the luxurious Wild Glamping Gal Oya, explore the natural wonders of the region.

The Gal Oya region is a great destination for bird watchers and the highlights are the Painted Francolin and the Yellow Footed Green Pigeon. Together with your very own naturalist head off on a 4km bird watching trail that takes you through the properties organic farms
towards a beautiful lake. Stop and take in these fantastic sights while your naturalist explains the birds and plant life that you come across.

In the evening you then take an hour’s drive to reach a section of Gal Oya National Park that connects to the Sennanayaka Samudraya (Samudraya Mean Ocean in Sinhalese). This is the largest man made reservoir in the country and it not only provides water to people for irrigation but also to numerous wildlife such as elephants and crocodiles.

You hop on a boat and head out in the waters of the reservoir in search of the famous swimming elephants of Gal Oya and also various species of water birds and large crocodiles. Your naturalist will be on hand to answer all your questions and interpret the sights and sounds you see.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Village Tour

After breakfast, leave for Wellawaya (3 hours drive).

After a short break head out to explore the local village. Here you get to meet the friendly and welcoming locals going about their daily lives. Once again, an opportunity to engage in local cultures and soak in the unique ambiance of local life. Another highlight of your visit will be a home cooked meal full of customary Sri Lankan flavours, followed by hot tea and sweets.

The rest of the day is at leisure at your hotel.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Tea Country Trek

Begin your day by taking a beautiful morning drive through the verdant green hills of the Tea Country to visit Diyaluma Waterfall.

Diyaluma is the second highest waterfall in the country and cascades a shimmering 220 meters down a sheer, steep cliff. A meandering hour long walk leads through the hills to the top of the falls from the road below. You can also reach the apex by driving up and trekking down through rambling rocks and trees. Once on top, you can cool off by taking a dip in one of the immense natural rock pools and take pictures of the gorgeous scenery below. The views of the surrounding area perfectly capture the breath-taking beauty of the Hill Country.

Remainder of the day at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Uda Walave National Park

After breakfast, leave for Udawalawe (2 hour drive).

Enjoy an afternoon safari at Udawalawe national park, where you can focus on Sri Lanka’s most famous inhabitants – the elephants! Located just south of the verdant green hills of the Tea Country, Uda Walawe offers a savanna-like environment surrounding a great reservoir with fantastic vantage points free of jungle and woodlands.

Uda Walawe National Park is situated south of the Sri Lankan Hill Country, between Sinharaja Reserve and Lunugamwehera National Park. Because of its stark, dry zone terrain of grasslands and low scrub, it is probably the best place on the island to view elephants in large numbers without the forested obstruction found in other parks. Originally established to protect the Uda Walawe Reservior, which it surrounds, the park is regularly home to at least six hundred elephants that migrate between Uda Walawe and Lunugamwehera. Water buffalo can also be found in great numbers here along with spotted deer, sambur, crocodiles, and macaque and langur monkeys.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Hikkaduwa

After breakfast, leave for Hikkaduwa (2.5 hours drive) where luxurious beach and cool sea breezes await your arrival.

Enjoy the day on one the best beaches on the south coast.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Colombo

After breakfast leave for Colombo (2.5 hours drive) and spend the final day on this paradise island.

An optional stop at the Victor Hasselblad Turtle Conservation Centre gives you a chance to learn about the threats to turtles and how the organisation has been helping with conservation for several decades. You can observe the small hatchlings and rescued injured turtles in the tanks at the centre.

After a busy week of traveling, you’ll enjoy being close to the sea at your Colombo hotel as you reflect on your time in Ceylon and watch your last glorious sunset over the Indian Ocean this evening.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14: Departure

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your last day of your family holiday.

You’ll be driven to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.

Breakfast
Day 1: Arrival

On arrival at Bandaranaike International airport, you will be warmly greeted and transferred to your hotel in Colombo.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Dinner
Day 2: Colombo

What better introduction to the island than taking in the colours and flavours of Colombo on a tuk tuk, market and culinary adventure?

Journey the narrow streets of Pettah by tuk tuk before wandering the Spice Street on foot. Here, master chefs and housewives alike shop through mounds of spices to create their signature curry blends.

Stop at a tea wholesaler and sip Ceylon bazaar style. Board a train at Fort Railway Station and enjoy coastal scenery on your short journey to Dehiwela where you will end your excursion with a traditional cooking lesson at Namma’s home.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3: Northern Wetlands

After breakfast, a drive of around 4.5 hours north towards Wilpattu National Park awaits. Enroute, you’ll explore the Anawilundewa wetlands and enjoy a spot of birdwatching, and relax in the natural environs on leisurely walks.

Although today you’ll cover a long distance, there will be leisure stops along the way at your convenience to ensure you arrive in great shape.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4: Wilpattu National Park

Today, you’ll enjoy a full day safari in Wilpattu National Park. Although equally beautiful and teeming with the same iconic wildlife species as Yala National Park, Wilpattu is less visited than Yala, allowing you to enjoy your wildlife exploration with greater solitude.

The biggest draws in Wilpattu are Leopards and Sloth bears. Alongside these, it is possible to see Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Asiatic Buffalo and Mugger Crocodiles. Endemic birds include the Ceylon Junglefowl, Browncapped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Black-capped Bulbul in riverine habitats. Muntjac or Barking Deer are more easily seen in Wilpattu than any other national park. Butterflies recorded include the Great Eggfly, Great Orange Tip, Glad-eye Bushbrown, Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Common Rose and Crimson Rose.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Grey Slender Loris

After breakfast leave for Habarana (2 hour drive) and check into your hotel. Relax in the hotel gardens or the pool.

Late afternoon, you’ll travel to Jetwing vil Uyana loris conservation site to see the Grey Slender Loris, among the rarest and unique creatures on this island. The private biosphere of this property shares a habitat with the elusive Grey Slender Loris, a nocturnal primate hidden in the scrublands . Known for its protruding eyes and nimble limbs, the loris scavenges for insects and berries above the trees on a moonlit trail that has been carefully designed for you to observe the rare creature in its natural habitat.

Accompanied by the resident naturalist, a quiet evening walk takes you through the streams and bamboo bridges of this lush forest ecosystem to the Loris Information Centre and Conservation Site. Equipped with harmless red light emitting headlamps that reflect off the characteristic eyes of the resident loris population.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Sigiriya & Minneriya

This morning, begin with a visit and climb up the Sigiriya Rock Fortress which dominates the landscape and was both a military refuge as well as an aesthetic refuge for king who was a patron of the arts. Sigiriya became world famous for the frescos found on the western surface of the rock about 100mt above the ground level. Ancient gardens from the 5th century survive at the foot of the rock.

In the afternoon, enjoy a safari at Minneriya National Park, which is dominated by the Minneriya tank. The tank, surrounding flood plains, forest and wooded hills are listed as Asian wetlands of international importance. The tank provides water to acres of paddy fields and is thriving with fresh water fish. You’ll have a very good chance to spot Elephants and other wildlife here.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: Meet the Veddahs

After enjoying your breakfast, leave for Gal Oya for a truly unique cultural experience. This is a four hour drive, but there will be chances to rest and stretch your legs along the way.

The Gal Oya region is steeped in history and culture of the Veddahs (aborigines), the true owners of the island. It is also rich in Wildlife. When you reach the entrance to the campsite the staff together with the Veddah chief of the area will then escort you to light a traditional oil lamp and offer a small prayer to bless your stay at this wonderful property.

Check in and a scrumptious meal will be followed by a nature walk to a nearby forest patch. Your guide will be none other than the chief of the Veddah tribe who’s in-depth knowledge of the forest is a treat to anyone to listen to.

The walk will start off with a visit to a cultural center for the Veddah people to share their stories and way of life with visitors. The forest too is special, for it is said to have been grown with various medicinal plants and trees by one of Sri Lanka’s ancient Kings.

Later, a chance to relax at the hotel and enjoy your dinner.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Gal Oya National Park

On your second day at the luxurious Wild Glamping Gal Oya, explore the natural wonders of the region.

The Gal Oya region is a great destination for bird watchers and the highlights are the Painted Francolin and the Yellow Footed Green Pigeon. Together with your very own naturalist head off on a 4km bird watching trail that takes you through the properties organic farms
towards a beautiful lake. Stop and take in these fantastic sights while your naturalist explains the birds and plant life that you come across.

In the evening you then take an hour’s drive to reach a section of Gal Oya National Park that connects to the Sennanayaka Samudraya (Samudraya Mean Ocean in Sinhalese). This is the largest man made reservoir in the country and it not only provides water to people for irrigation but also to numerous wildlife such as elephants and crocodiles.

You hop on a boat and head out in the waters of the reservoir in search of the famous swimming elephants of Gal Oya and also various species of water birds and large crocodiles. Your naturalist will be on hand to answer all your questions and interpret the sights and sounds you see.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Village Tour

After breakfast, leave for Wellawaya (3 hours drive).

After a short break head out to explore the local village. Here you get to meet the friendly and welcoming locals going about their daily lives. Once again, an opportunity to engage in local cultures and soak in the unique ambiance of local life. Another highlight of your visit will be a home cooked meal full of customary Sri Lankan flavours, followed by hot tea and sweets.

The rest of the day is at leisure at your hotel.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Tea Country Trek

Begin your day by taking a beautiful morning drive through the verdant green hills of the Tea Country to visit Diyaluma Waterfall.

Diyaluma is the second highest waterfall in the country and cascades a shimmering 220 meters down a sheer, steep cliff. A meandering hour long walk leads through the hills to the top of the falls from the road below. You can also reach the apex by driving up and trekking down through rambling rocks and trees. Once on top, you can cool off by taking a dip in one of the immense natural rock pools and take pictures of the gorgeous scenery below. The views of the surrounding area perfectly capture the breath-taking beauty of the Hill Country.

Remainder of the day at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Uda Walave National Park

After breakfast, leave for Udawalawe (2 hour drive).

Enjoy an afternoon safari at Udawalawe national park, where you can focus on Sri Lanka’s most famous inhabitants – the elephants! Located just south of the verdant green hills of the Tea Country, Uda Walawe offers a savanna-like environment surrounding a great reservoir with fantastic vantage points free of jungle and woodlands.

Uda Walawe National Park is situated south of the Sri Lankan Hill Country, between Sinharaja Reserve and Lunugamwehera National Park. Because of its stark, dry zone terrain of grasslands and low scrub, it is probably the best place on the island to view elephants in large numbers without the forested obstruction found in other parks. Originally established to protect the Uda Walawe Reservior, which it surrounds, the park is regularly home to at least six hundred elephants that migrate between Uda Walawe and Lunugamwehera. Water buffalo can also be found in great numbers here along with spotted deer, sambur, crocodiles, and macaque and langur monkeys.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Hikkaduwa

After breakfast, leave for Hikkaduwa (2.5 hours drive) where luxurious beach and cool sea breezes await your arrival.

Enjoy the day on one the best beaches on the south coast.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Colombo

After breakfast leave for Colombo (2.5 hours drive) and spend the final day on this paradise island.

An optional stop at the Victor Hasselblad Turtle Conservation Centre gives you a chance to learn about the threats to turtles and how the organisation has been helping with conservation for several decades. You can observe the small hatchlings and rescued injured turtles in the tanks at the centre.

After a busy week of traveling, you’ll enjoy being close to the sea at your Colombo hotel as you reflect on your time in Ceylon and watch your last glorious sunset over the Indian Ocean this evening.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14: Departure

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your last day of your family holiday.

You’ll be driven to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.

Breakfast

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Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)