This Sri Lanka holiday offer is the perfect escape for those wanting to explore beautiful Sri Lanka with the perfect mix of culture, R&R and wildlife encounters you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Highlights: Stunning boutique hotels, local experiences, wildlife wonders, colonial Galle and time on the remote beaches of the south
Travel dates: 1 November 2021 – 15 December 2021
Duration: 12 days
Sri Lanka Holiday Offer price: £2720 per person (includes 20% saving of £680 per person)
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 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 – Travel to Kahanda Kanda boutique hotel
Today your private guide will pick you up and drive you two and a half hours south to the stunning Kahanda Kanda boutique hotel. Although it’s only a short drive from the beautiful colonial town of Galle, this indulgent all-suite boutique is so wonderfully nestled in the jungle that you’ll really feel like you’re getting away from it all. Plus, the hotel is an experience in itself, with many activities to enjoy including yoga on their magical terrace.
Kahanda Kanda is perfectly perched on a ridge above a palm fringed jungle and Koggala Lake. It sits within a private working tea estate and is just 15 minutes from the beach. The tranquil and fragrant gardens are a glorious display of colour, and sitting within them is a cool glassy pool. Eating is a relaxed affair; you can dine by the pool, in the open sided dining pavilion, or in one of the garden gazebos. The property feels like a private villa but all eight suites are booked independently. They are all absolutely glorious and are arguably some of Sri Lanka’s most spoiling and artistic retreats. Each suite is slightly different, filled with an eclectic range of antiques, fine furniture and indulgent fabrics. They are all stand-alone buildings apart from the Garden and Tea Suites; these provide a sense of privacy and tranquility. The property has a strong design focus; it is owned and managed by George Cooper, a successful and charismatic interior designer. He goes out of his way to makes every guest feel very welcome and at home.
We’re fairly certain you’ll want to spend the rest of your day soaking up the calming beauty and surroundings of this stunning hotel. Take a yoga lesson, dive in the infinity pool for a dip, or simply eat some delicious Sri Lankan food and enjoy the atmosphere.
Day Five – Tea factory visit
Included in your Sri Lanka holiday offer is a tour of the Handunugoda Tea Estate, a family-owned tea plantation near Koggala.
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 – Travel to Yala National Park, farmer’s lunch with locals in Tissamaharama
Today your private guide will pick up up and drive you East towards the wildlife haven of Yala National Park. After two hours you’ll reach the village of Tissamaharama, where we’ve arranged for a very special local experience.
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.
We’d also argue that you’ve not really enjoyed the wonders of Sri Lanka until your taste buds have sampled the spicy local fare of the local food. Traditional rice with freshly ground coconut sambol, fish curry made from the catch of the day, lentils, young jackfruit curry, and the freshest greens. We have arranged for you to have a ‘Farmer’s Lunch’ in Tissamaharama village as part of this Sri Lanka holiday offer. This is your opportunity to taste the very best of country cooking, with a sumptuous farmers banquet lunch prepared before your eyes.
To work up your appetite, you could choose to join our resident naturalist on a short trek through the surrounding area for some fascinating bird watching before lunch.
You’ll be staying at the wonderful Flameback Eco Lodge, a spectacular hotel nestled amidst a bird sanctuary near the tranquil Weerawila lake. The luxury tented lodge offers an eco-friendly glamping experience, with all the home comforts alongside a true safari feel. It is located a short drive away from all the southern national parks, including Udawalawe and Yala, so it lends itself well to clients who would like to visit more than one national park from one base.
Day Seven – Safari in Yala National Park
Wildlife lovers will be in there element for this section of your Sri Lanka holiday. Yala National Park is the second biggest national park in Sri Lanka and arguably its most rewarding. With a varied ecosystem made up of moist and dry monsoon forests, grasslands, sandy beaches as well as fresh water and marine wetlands, Yala can’t help but produce incredible wildlife sightings.
It’s an expansive area dappled with trees and brackish lakes, attracting the most remarkable bird life, insects and mammals. Mostly famed for leopard, Yala is said to be home to one of the highest concentrations of these illusive cats in the world. So, keep your eyes peeled! They’re known to be fairly good at hide and seek.
During your jeep safari inside Yala National Park, your guide will point out numerous species of bird, as well as going in search of larger mammals such as leopard and elephant. If you are fortunate enough you may get to see sloth bear, wild boar, land monitor, crocodile, water buffalo and sambar deer!
Yala isn’t short of wildlife wonders to uncover, so make sure your camera is handy!
Day Eight – Bird Watching Nature Trail in the Weerawila Bird Sanctuary & private transfer to beach
Start your last day in the area, with a bird-watching nature trail at Flameback Eco Lodge. Your guide will be on hand to help you spot colourful members of Sri Lanka’s huge population of exotic birdlife. With many of them endemic to Sri Lanka, these sightings will feel very special for sure!
After a morning of looking to the skies, you’ll transfer back to Tangalle for some R&R over your last few days. 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!
You’ll be staying at beautiful KK Beach, on of our favourite hotels on the coast close to Galle. About 20 minutes east of Galle itself, KK Beach occupies a great position directly on the spectacular Habaraduwa Beach and its cool white elegance and calm atmosphere provide the opportunity for some serious relaxation. With only 10 rooms (all facing the ocean), an excellent restaurant and plenty to do nearby, it really is boutique perfection.
Plus, with free half-board and room upgrade on check-in (subject to availability) included in this Sri Lanka holiday offer, what’s not to love.
Day Nine – Traditional Sri Lankan cooking class and lunch
This morning you will visit a local market to gather fresh ingredients to use for your traditional Sri Lankan cooking class. There’s something really special about walking around a local food market. The sights, sounds, smells and colours really serve as a fantastic reminder that you’re far from home and experiencing something wonderful. What’s more, with a cooking class, you learn the skills needed to travel back to Sri Lanka from your own kitchen once home.
Learn all about the locals’ cooking techniques and gain some recipes to take home with you and recreate back home! At the end of the lesson enjoy the home-cooked meal you helped to create!
Day Ten – Galle Fort Walking Tour
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.
Day Eleven – Private Guide
A day completely at leisure to do whatever takes your fancy. Your private chauffeur guide will be on hand to drive you up to 80km, should you want to venture out and see any more of this wonderful coastline. Tangalle has quiet beaches and is home to the Mulkirigala Temple and Hummanaya Blowhole. Nearby Weligama is one of the prettiest towns on the south coast and is scattered with surf schools and diving centres, whereas Koggala is one of the best places to see the iconic stilt fishermen and is home to Koggala Lake and the Koggala Turtle Hatchery. Hikkaduwa on the west coast is also fantastic for swimming with turtles, traditional mask making and the Tsunami Community Museum. All of this is close enough to explore if you wish!
Day Twelve – Private Guide
Today you will be driven back up to Colombo for your flight home after a wonderful journey through Sri Lanka.
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, our Sri Lanka specialist, more about this holiday if it tickles your fancy! You can give her a call on 01242 253 073 or email her [email protected] if you want to chat more about it!