Sri Lanka – Local life tour
11 days from £1,167* per person Saving you £195 per person*
This itinerary isn’t set in stone. Pick, mix, swap however you like – your trip will be totally tailor made for you.
Day 1 Airport – Negombo
Your guide will welcome you at Bandaranaike International airport and accompany you to your hotel in Negombo. The rest of your day will be free for you to relax after your flight and take advantage of the hotel facilities.
Day 2 Negombo
Set off early for the Lellama fish market in Negombo. You’ll be accompanied by your hotel chef, who will talk you through the varieties of fish brought fresh off the boats and into the market. Choose your favourite fish and head back to the hotel where the chef will deliver a masterclass in cooking a typical Negombo fish curry.
You’ll have the rest of the day free to relax, explore, or indeed, digest.
Day 3 Negombo – Sigiriya
Your hotel breakfast will set you up for the trip from Negombo to Sigiriya.
Spend your afternoon meeting the locals in Hiriwadunna village, where you can join in with village life by helping with the farming or cooking. Enjoy a tractor ride through a banana plantation, tasting ripe bananas on the way. Then board an ‘oruwa’ (traditional boat) and cross a scenic reservoir to visit a chena cultivation, where you can witness the traditional agricultural methods still used here.
Day 4 Sigiriya – Ritigala – Sigiriya
Take a morning drive to Ritigala, an ancient Buddhist monastery and the highest mountain in Northern Sri Lanka, 2,513 feet above sea level. Monks found Ritigala’s caves ideal for living out their ascetic existence, and more than 70 caves have been discovered here. It was abandoned following the Chola invasions in the 10th and 11th centuries, after which it lay deserted until it was rediscovered by British surveyors in the 19th century.
Afterwards, visit a wood-carving factory for a lesson in how to make a wooden ornament – a perfect souvenir to take away with you.
Day 5 Sigiriya – Matale
After breakfast you’ll be taken to your hotel in Matale where you’ll have the afternoon to unwind. In the evening, you’ll be whisked away to artist Rahju’s isolated hilltop cottage overlooking the Hunas Range. Here you’ll be treated to an evening of contemporary art, philosophy and reflection, meeting Rahju himself and getting insider access to his private studio.
Day 6 Matale – Knuckle’s Range – Matale
After an early breakfast, you’re off on a trail through the Knuckle’s range. This major eco-tourism spot has been declared a conservation area and features a great diversity in its forest cover: dry evergreen forests, montane forests, sub-montane forests, dry and wet pathana, savanna and more. Twenty percent of the plants here are endemic to Sri Lanka and a wide range of hardwood and herbal plants can be found here.
Day 7 Matale – Dambana
Today you’ll be taken to Dambana, the home of ‘Veddhas’, the tribal men of Sri Lanka. Spend the day with the Veddhas, who will teach you how to make a simple animal trap and how to take honey out of a beehive.
Day 8 Dambana – Hambantota
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll travel Down South to your beach hotel and spend the afternoon settling in.
Day 9 Hambantota
Today’s the day you learn how to make curd. You’ll be taught by locals in a village that specialises in making this tasty product – start by visiting the farm where the cows are milked then watch the curd-making process unfold.
Spend the afternoon relaxing at your hotel.
Day 10 Hambantota – Colombo
After breakfast, proceed to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city. On the way, you’ll stop off at a cinnamon plantation and learn about this exotic spice and its medicinal values. A cinnamon-infused lunch will follow.
In the afternoon, watch toddy tappers in Wadduwa as they move from one coconut tree to another to extract toddy (palm wine). Sound like a good opportunity to try some, too.
Day 11 Farewell to Sri Lanka (for now)
Time to head back to the airport to catch your flight home.
*Prices are based on private arrangements (not lower priced escorted tours with set dates). Quality three star accommodation is quoted here (unless mentioned otherwise), with breakfast included and other meals where mentioned. Mostly private transfers with an English speaking driver/guide and all activities mentioned, with top guides, are included. Domestic flights and transport all included from Day 1 to end point. Can be tailored to your needs, so prices could be lower for budget arrangements or higher for luxury.
International flight is not included