This Sri Lanka holiday offer is the perfect escape for those wanting to explore beautiful Sri Lanka with just the right mix of R&R, cultural experiences, beautiful landscapes and stunning beaches.
Highlights: Stunning boutique hotels, local experiences, colonial Galle and time on the remote beaches of the south
Sri Lanka Holiday Offer dates and prices:
01 November 2021 – 15 December 2021: £2,085 per person (save £165 per person)
08 January – 27 March 2022: £2,285 per person (save £350 per person)
Duration: 11 days
Offer includes: International flights, accommodation, transfers, private tours
Dive in to the adventure that awaits you below….
Day One – Fly to Sri Lanka
The overnight flight from London to Sri Lanka is a fairly long one at around 11 hours. But the beauty, culture and sights that await you at the other end are more than worth the air-time.
Day Two – Negombo
Spend your first night in the beautiful Notary’s House, a luxury 6 bedroom boutique hotel. Located conveniently close to the airport and only a short drive from the coastal town of Negombo, it’s the perfect base for your adventures the next morning. The boutique hotel has a swimming pool, tropical gardens and even its own coconut grove! Plus, all of the air conditioned rooms have a spacious balcony overlooking the nearby lake. We love it and think it is an ideal place to relax at the start of your Sri Lanka holiday.
Negombo is a little fishing town located just 20 minutes from the airport. It’s got decent beaches, a pretty lagoon, canals, and Dutch architecture to explore. There’s a selection of good value restaurants serving freshly caught seafood to give you your first taste of delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. In Negombo town you’ll find an effervescent fish market, which is worth exploring if you have time, along with a selection of colourfully adorned fishing boats that make fantastic photographs.
We’ve included a free nature trail or village cycling excursion at the Notary’s House with this Sri Lanka holiday offer. Take off on either two wheels or two feet and get a feel for the area, meet local people and settle into the Sri Lankan way of life.
Day Three – Backwaters of Negombo Boat Trip
Today, after a delicious included breakfast, you’ll head off on a very special cruise along the historic Hamilton Canal through the heart of old Negombo town. You’ll have the chance to observe the day to day life of the local folk as you float along, giving you a perfect introduction to the Sri Lankan culture and lifestyle. You will get a close up view of the crucially important local fishing industry as you pass by the fish markets and thousands of fishing boats of all sizes. Your guide will share the stories of our traditional lifestyle and explain the natural environment as you drift past a wilderness of coconut palms, mangrove forests and all sorts of birds and marine life.
Let us know if you’d like to take this cruise at sunset! If so, you might be lucky enough to catch the traditional prawn fishermen setting their nets for the night’s work ahead.
Day Four – Private Transfer to the South Coast
Sri Lanka’s south coast is mostly less developed than its west coast (with some exceptions!). But that means there are some beautifully peaceful beaches awaiting you.
Just look at this one for starters!
Day Five – Galle Fort Walking Tour and Tea Plantation Visit
Today you’ll enjoy a walking tour of Galle Fort with a chauffeur guide. Perched on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, the UNESCO town of Galle can at first glance appear colourless, more like a commercial centre than a World Heritage Site. However, as you pass through the Fort gates prepare to be transported back in time and into Sri Lanka’s best-preserved colonial landscape. UNESCO describes it as ‘the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and Southeast Asia’ and we don’t disagree. You’re in for a treat here.
Galle illustrates a fantastic marriage of European architecture and South Asian traditions, not only from the 16th to 19th century, but also today as there’s a vibrant community still living and working within Galle Fort. The 36-hectare fort was built in 1663 as has been heavily influenced by Dutch, Portuguese, and later by the British. The low-rise wide streets are lined with colonial villas; each with its own garden or veranda is testament to its European heritage. There’s surprisingly not a huge amount to do in Galle, apart from a few museums and boutiques. It’s best enjoyed by ambling through the streets, sipping a cup of coffee in one of the trendy coffee shops, and enjoying views of the ocean from its ancient ramparts.
The Handunugoda Tea Estate
This afternoon we’ve included a tour of Handunugoda Tea Estate, a family-owned tea plantation near Koggala, in your Sri Lanka holiday offer.
Tea is big business in Sri Lanka. Since 1867, the production and selling of black tea has shaped the lives of the Sri Lankan people. With around 5% of the population work in the tea industry, either picking leaves in the tea hills or working in the plantation factories, processing, packaging and getting the black tea ready for sale.
The Handunugoda Tea Estate is not a mass producer of tea but makes very small quantities of excellent quality tea and is famous for the ‘Virgin White Tea’, a tea untouched by hand which attracts attention from tea enthusiasts all over the world.
Day Six – Sri Lankan Cooking Class
We’d argue that you’ve not really enjoyed the wonders of Sri Lanka until your taste buds have sampled the spicy flavours of the local food. Think traditional rice with freshly ground coconut sambol, fish curry made from the catch of the day, lentils, young jackfruit curry, and the freshest greens.
This morning a local Sri Lankan chef will teach you how to cook Sri Lankan dishes for yourself. There’s something very special about learning how to combine the flavours of your travels into tantalising dishes to eat for yourself. What’s more, you’ll leave this wonderful country with the skills needed to travel back to Sri Lanka from your own kitchen once home.
Day Seven – Shinagawa Beach and Tsunami Community Centre
Today your private guide will pick up up and drive you towards the stunning beach retreat of Shinagawa Beach. Your discounted half board rate stay is included, along with our favourite part: a round of cocktails daily! That’s our kind of hotel stay.
Shinagawa Beach is a bit of a rare find in this part of Sri Lanka’s coast; it’s small (only 26 rooms), secluded and also pretty good value. The hotel lies on the southern end of a beautiful, sandy and secluded beach. It’s a beautifully quiet part of the coast, but there is enough around to keep you busy if you fancy a trip out one day.
Overall, we love this property and would always recommend it if you want the boutique feel, a peaceful location and a great beach.
Tsunami Community Centre
En route we recommend stopping off at the Tsunami Community Centre to learn about the devastating impact the natural disaster in 2004 had on this area of the country. Run by the community, this is a sobering opportunity to learn about the impact that day had on Sri Lanka and its people. Some of the pictures are very graphic so it’s not for the faint hearted, however the most harrowing images are behind a curtain so you can choose how much you wish to see. There are also memorials for the victims of the disaster for you to pay your respects at. All in all, this is a humbling and important visit and one we’d always recommend to learn more about this remarkable country.
Here at HA, we truly value the importance of authentic, local experiences on your travels. Speaking to and learning from the local people in the places you visit, really is one of the most rewarding and eye-opening parts of a holiday.
Day Eight – Visit Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery
This morning you’ll head to the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project, for a short tour of this pioneering project that started in 1988. The local staff and volunteers here collect vulnerable turtle eggs (or purchase them from local people!) and hatch them back at their headquarters in Kosgoda. This is with the aim of safely releasing them back to the ocean within three days. Five species of marine turtle are found in Sri Lanka: the ridgeback, hawksbill, green turtle, olive ridley and loggerhead. With any luck you will be able to see one or more of these being looked after at the hatchery.
Spend the afternoon at leisure enjoying whatever takes your fancy. Spend some time lazing on the beautiful beach, take a dip in the pool or simply enjoy the beautiful Sri Lankan sunshine.
Day Nine – Bawa’s Lunuganga Gardens
Today we’ve included a tour of Geoffrey Bawa’s old house and gardens. Geoffrey Bawa was a very famous Sri Lankan, considered to be the best architect the country has ever produced.
Bawa has created his own tropical Eden, featuring elements inspired by Italian Renaissance gardens, English landscaping, Japanese gardens and the ancient Sri Lankan water gardens. Precise, orthogonal lines give way unexpectedly to baroque, serpentine contours. Lunuganga is an experience of almost overwhelming aesthetic pleasure, and remains Bawa’s most extravagant creation and testament.
The entire estate has been preserved as Bawa left it at the moment of his death, and is now run as a country house boutique hotel offering an unparalleled opportunity to experience the architect’s vision as he intended: by inhabiting it.
Day Ten – Beach time
A final day to enjoy the beautiful beach and stunning surroundings of Shinagawa Beach before your private transfer back to the airport tomorrow.
Day Eleven – Time to fly home
All good things must come to an end, but our hope is you’ll be beautifully relaxed and bursting at the seams full of happy holiday memories, sure to keep you company on the flight home. We can’t wait to hear all about it!
It’s so rare we do offers here at HA as we’re always working our hardest behind the scenes to ensure we’re offering the very best price possible to you. However, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, we’ve been able to work closely with our ground agents to secure this fantastic Sri Lanka holiday offer. The availability is very limited, so we recommend getting in touch as soon as you can to chat to Rebecca or Sophie, our Sri Lanka specialists, more about this holiday if it tickles your fancy! Give us a call on 01242 253 073 or email [email protected] or [email protected]lidayarchitects.co.uk if you want to chat more about it!