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A Journey Through Ceylon

from £2325
18 days exploring the colour, history, culture and wildlife of Sri Lanka.
  • Product Code 47350
  • Holiday Type Pioneer Holidays, Sightseeing And Walking Holidays
  • Grade Grade 2
  • Holiday Duration 16, 17 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays - Explore Ceylon On Foot

An emerald teardrop falling from the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka speaks to your senses. Be captivated by the sight of elephants playing in Udawalawe National Park, listen to exotic birds calling in the rainforest, run your hands across vibrant, green tea leaves as you walk through sweet smelling plantations and breathe in the fresh ocean air from a sunset walk on the beach.

We fly into Colombo with time for rest before heading north to visit the sacred archaeological sites at Polonnaruwa and magnificent Sigiriya, places which developed under Buddhism in the years before Christ.

Kandy’s exotic streets are full of interest, with bazaars and temples including the Temple of the Tooth, one of Buddhism’s holiest sites.

We head south again to the mountain region of Nuwara Eliya: 19th century colonial Britain transposed to Ceylon. This is the centre of tea production and we’ll visit a plantation. Continuing south through the mountains we travel to Udawalawe for a game drive in the National Park, where you can see elephants. We take in local walks including a visit to one of the last remaining regions of natural rain forest.

Continuing we include a visit to the colonial city of Galle (pronounced ‘Gaul’), a fascinating and beautifully situated city with lunch in a colonial hotel included. We have time at a beach hotel to enjoy a little R&R after a busy and fascinating itinerary.  Our final night in Sri Lanka is spent in Colombo and we have plenty of time to see the highlights of the capital.

We have chosen a range of hotels, such as the colonial style Hotel Lavinia in Colombo, for their facilities and atmosphere. Many have pools and some have gardens which are beautifully maintained. This is an intriguing, spectacular and welcoming country  - enjoy its many wonders.

On two days the walks will be longer and over more demanding terrain.


Holiday Highlights

  • Immersing oneself in more archaeology and culture than you can shake a stick at.
  • Viewing elephants in the wild at Udawalawe National Park.
  • Strolling amongst tea plantations.
  • Enjoying Galle, a relaxed colonial town by the sea.
  • Unwinding at our beach hotel towards the end of the holiday.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights London to Colombo via Istanbul (Turkish Airlines).
      Airport transfers.
      Half board en-suite accommodation.
      All transport to complete the itinerary.
      A local guide to enhance your experience.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 2

  1. Day 1

    We depart from London Gatwick to Colombo via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines.

  2. Day 2

    On arrival in Colombo Airport we take the short drive to our beach hotel at Marawila to check in and relax.

  3. Day 3

    We drive north (3½ hrs) to Sigiriya for 3 nights. On arrival we can enjoy a highlight of the holiday, climbing the rock fortress here, a UNESCO world heritage site.

  4. Day 4

    A full day visit to the well preserved ancient site of Polonnaruwa, including an impressive group of monuments of Buddha carved out of the granite.

  5. Day 5

    We have a short transfer from the hotel to Hiriwaduna followed by a 2 hour stroll around a local reservoir. This is an excellent place to enjoy the birdlife. On occasions crocodiles can be spotted in the water. Also keep an eye out for monkeys. We will have to walk through streams so bring some suitable footwear. Later we arrive at a banana plantation which we visit by bullock cart. In the village we get a chance to  visit a rice plantation where we can enjoy a local lunch. Late afternoon we have the opportunity to visit Dambulla Caves. A highlight here is the rock carving of the Buddha 14m long.

  6. Day 6

    We then continue to Kandy for 2 nights, stopping en route for a short walk on the Riverstone Plateau. The undulating grassy plateau is home to one of the highest densities of butterflies in the country. Lunch is included today and will be taken at the historic Sir Johns Bungalow with its superb view of the mountains.

  7. Day 7

    We visit the botanical gardens at Peradeniya – the largest in Sri Lanka. We have a city tour of Kandy, former capital and UNESCO world heritage site. The highlight here is a visit to the Temple of the Tooth where a relic purported to be Buddha’s tooth is kept. It is Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist shrine.

  8. Day 8

    From Kandy we drive to our next centre, Bandarawela for 4 nights. We’ll visit a tea plantation and tea factory en route. You will be told the best tea in the world is grown here. Anticipate being given a cup so you can decide for yourself. We continue to Bandarawela and should have time for a stroll around town before dinner at the hotel.

  9. Day 9

    We start with a short journey to Pattipola and continue for a half-day walking excursion out to Horton Plains to explore the grasslands and forests leading to the escarpments and spectacular views from the big and small ‘World’s Ends’.

  10. Day 10

    A day visit to Mini Adams Peak sacred area with a walk through the mountains. We will pass various waterfalls on the way.

  11. Day 11

    We have a morning walk to Lipton’s seat. The Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton used to survey his burgeoning empire from here. We will then return to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure.

  12. Day 12

    A long drive brings us to Udawalawe to spend 2 nights in the foothills of the central highlands. There may be possibility of an evening walk along the shore of Udawalawe lake.

  13. Day 13

    We enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and the first half of the day relaxing at the hotel pool. In the afternoon we experience a game drive in the Udawalawe National Park before returning to the hotel for dinner. We have a good chance of spotting wild elephants in the park.

  14. Day 14

    En route to Wadduwa (2 nights) we stop briefly at Mulkirigala Rock Temple. Next to Galle on the south coast to enjoy the seaside and the atmospheric city centre. We will have lunch at the Rampart Hotel. A fine old colonial building, before continuing to our beach hotel.

  15. Day 15

    We have a day of rest and recuperation by the sea. A good time to write the postcards, take a dip and discuss the experiences with your fellow travellers.

  16. Day 16

    We transfer to Colombo with time for a sightseeing tour of the capital and overnight in our city centre, seafront, colonial hotel.

  17. Day 17

    Later in the day we will return to Colombo airport for our overnight flight to the UK.

  18. Day 18

    Arrive in the UK

Travel Details

  • Arrival transfer by road (c1hr).
  • Flights: Gatwick-Colombo via Istanbul, 31Oct Heathrow (c14hrs + en-route stop in Male), Turkish Airlines.        
  • We can offer regional flight options and often there will be up to two transfer vehicles (which may include coaches, minibuses or taxis) from the airport to the hotel and vice versa which will minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport.
  • UK add-on flights and/or upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights Premium Economy, Business or First Class may be possible, please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required. 

Trip Map

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Club Palm Bay

The Club Palm Bay is in a secluded area of the country and has its own section of private beach, as well as accommodation overlooking a peaceful lagoon bordered by lush greenery. A large outdoor swimming pool that caters to all abilities with various depths is available for a cool break from the warm weather. Friendly staff are on hand to make your stay a pleasant one, whether you are taking a drink at the bar or ordering at the restaurant. Spacious and clean rooms are decorated in warm tones and have views of the lagoon or garden. They also come with TVs, safes and en-suite bathrooms.


Mount Lavinia Hotel

The Mount Lavinia Hotel stands out for its special colonial heritage (read about its intriguing history here) and its unique setting on a rocky promontory that juts out from the coast. Colonial era charm combines with exceptional service, where you can easily wander on to the beach for a stroll. It is located 12km from central Colombo, and as a result benefits from a quieter more tranquil environment. Rooms have hints of old world charm, with antique furniture and understated elegance. They come with en-suite facilities, mini bar, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities and satellite TVs. The hotel also comes with a range of facilities including, a shopping arcade selling everything from Sri Lankan garments to jewellery, gym, spa, restaurants, bar and outdoor swimming pool that has terraces overlooking the Indian Ocean.


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