DAY 1 – WELCOME TO THE PEARL OF THE SOUTH SEAS – SRI LANKA!
Arrive on day one and be greeted at the airport by your tour guide, who will load your luggage into a tuk tuk as you ride through the tree lined and sunbaked streets of Negombo to your first hotel. Today is your day, explore the canals, the lagoons or get your base tan on the beach, for in the evening we meet as a group and hit the town for your welcome dinner and drinks.
DAY 2 – TODAY THE ADVENTURE REALLY BEGINS!
Fill up on a delicious breakfast in the hotel before we hop on a private bus to start our journey to Sigiriya. On the way we will stop off to explore the magnificent Dambulla Caves, history and religion bounce off every painted wall and stone Buddha statue, leaving you with an unrivalled sense of spirituality. Then we'll continue on to check into our stunning hotel in Sigiriya, the jewel of the Cultural Triangle. We will finish our epic day with a sunset climb to the quiet Buddhist monastery of Pidurangala, to get an open and unobstructed shot of what it is we'll be climbing in the morning!
DAY 3 – SIGIRIYA ROCK
An early wake up time today as we put on our hiking shoes, grab our camera and head out to climb the incredible Sigiriya Rock. Protruding produly out of the earth, ruins of a grand palace provide evidence all around the grounds of a once violent and noble Sri Lankan history. View the ancient wall paintings, the sanskript marked mirror wall and the huge stone lion paws guarding the ascent to the summit. The views from the top are unrivalled as you travel through time examining the ruins. This afternoon you have the option to go on an extra safari in Minneriya national park, where elephants patrol the land. To fill those hungry bellies, we stop by a local family for lunch who will prepare a traditional feast for us before taking a well-deserved rest on a lounger in the afternoon sun.
DAY 4 – LETS TRAVEL SOUTH – KANDY AND COOKING CLASS
Today we say goodbye to Sigiriya and embark on our travels down south towards Sri Lanka's second largest city, Kandy. We will stop at a spice garden on the way to learn about where our favourite spices come from and have a cooking class where we'll learn the secret to a perfect Sri Lankan curry! Here, our local chef will teach you how to make dhal and chicken curry as well as fried cashew coconut sambal and poppadoms. Then we'll continue our drive to Kandy, check in to our next accommodation and take in the sights and sounds of this bustling city with a Tuk Tuk tour!
DAY 5 – TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH & TRAIN INTO THE MOUNTAINS
Eat your breakfast overlooking the hills of Kandy before we head into town to visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth. This is a religious shrine which is said to house the tooth of Buddha himself. We then jump on the bus and travel through the mountainous region of the hill country. The hills are ablaze with small green tea plants which Sri Lanka is famous for. We stop by a functioning tea factory to learn how the tea is processed and ends up in your cup at home, whilst actually learning how 7 different types of tea are made all from the same plant! A trip to Sri Lanka is not complete without experiencing life on the train and the journey from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is dubbed as the best journey in the world. 180 degree views of tea plantations, waterfalls, lakes and local villages pass on by as your train traverses the tracks cut into the mountainside. Try the sweet milk tea on board, converse with friendly locals and take pictures to make you the envy of all your friends back home. After we check into our hotel, we'll head into Ella for dinner and drinks in everyone's favourite mountainous town.
DAY 6 – FREE DAY IN ELLA
Today is yours to do as you please. Ella plays host to some of the best Ayurveda massage parlours in Sri Lanka. A thousand year old technique which removes any aches or pains you may have, or simply as an excellent way to relax. Your tour guide will let you know what other activities you can do in the area.
DAY 7 – SAFARI TIME
Today we will rise early to explore some of the hidden gems of Ella, such as the 9 Arch Bridge and Little Adam's Peak. Afterwards we will continue our way down South and check into our epic campsite, just 45 minutes away from the stunning Uda Walawe National Park! Our hosts will greet us with welcome drinks and a delicious Sri Lankan buffet lunch. After we've eaten we jump into jeeps and go on safari, searching the wilderness for herds of elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, monkeys, eagles, hawks, peacocks, mongoose and if you're lucky, leopards. Truly a once in a lifetime experience, your day in the national park will be a tough one to beat. After driving round the park, we'll head back to camp where our hosts will have a BBQ dinner waiting for us, the best way to end an amazing day.
DAY 8 – IT'S TIME FOR THE BEACH
Leave the campsite and head down to the beach in Mirissa! You have a free afternoon to rent a surf board, or sit back and catch some rays before heading over to coconut tree hill for sunset!
DAY 9 – WHALE WATCHING - FREE TIME
Today is your day to savor and indulge in the beauty of Mirissa.
If you booked Whale Watching:
Today we wake up early and head to the beautiful golden sand beach. We jump on board one of THE best boats in the area to view the largest animals in the world. Watch as blue whales, jump, swim and dive around you and be blown away by their size. After a morning on the boat, we head back to relax for a while before heading to our accommodation in Mirissa.
DAY 10 – Mirissa: Galle Bike Tour with Local School Visit & Galle Fort
Start the day with a 12km cycle through the lush southern Paddy Fields, stopping at a local school en-route. In the afternoon, walk around the old Dutch Fort in Galle, buy some souvenirs and taste some of the best ice cream in Sri Lanka!
DAY 11 – Mirissa: Tsunami Memorial & Turtle Sanctuary
Spend the morning on the beach before heading to the memorial for the 2004 Tsunami. Afterwards, head over to the Turtle Sanctuary to see some super cute and freshly hatched turtles! We then drive to Colombo for our final night.
DAY 12 – TIME TO SAY GOODBYE!
Time to say our final goodbyes with the friends you have just made over the course of an incredible 12 days. Whatever your next destination may be, we hope we have educated you on a country that provides so much, that possesses incredible variation in exploration and we hope we have inspired you to explore more.