Pearl of the Indian Ocean


Embark on an exciting discovery of Sri Lanka, including beautiful beaches, ruins lost in the jungle, unique wildlife, tea plantations and stunning waterfalls. One of the highlights of this land is its gracious people and a rich abundance of surprises on offer.

tour duration 16 Days from
tour price 3,190pp
tour type Group Tour

Places Visited

UK - Negombo (2N) - Sigiriya (2N) - Kandy (2N) - Nuwara Eliya (2N) - Udawalawe National Park (1N) - Ahungalla (1N) - Bentota (2N) - Colombo (2N) - UK

Tour Highlights

See the ruins of Ritigala Jungle Monastery
Sip freshly-plucked ceylon tea in Nuwara Eliya
Gaze on the magnificent St Clair's Falls
Meet rehabilitated elephants in Udawalawe National Park
Watch the stilt fishermen catch their fish dinner

Days 1-2 Fly to Colombo
Fly overnight to Colombo. On arrival you will be met by your expert tour guide and transferred to your hotel in the coastal town of Negombo, a short drive from Colombo. The rest of the day is yours to explore.
Days 1-2 Fly to Colombo
Day 3 Negombo
Embark on a tour of Negombo, beginning with a visit to the fish auctions down by the beach. Continue to the Dutch Fort and a local Catholic church. Later, take a boat trip through the river delta and tour a farm where you can taste the local brandy.
Day 3 Negombo
Day 4 Ancient Sigiriya
Rise early and drive to Ritigala Jungle Monastery, where you will explore the ancient ruins. Continue to Sigiriya. This afternoon is at your leisure to relax or explore.
Day 4 Ancient Sigiriya
Day 5 Explore Polonnaruwa
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the heart of King Kassappa’s kingdom between 477 and 495AD. Climb to the top of the fortress for spectacular views. Visit the Heavenly Maiden’s frescoes before driving to the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa, also a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Tour the ruins of the Royal Palace and Gal Vihara, a 12th-century rock temple.
Day 5 Explore Polonnaruwa
Day 6 Dambulla Rock Temple
Travel to Dambulla and tour the Dambulla Rock Temple, dating back to the 1st century BC, the temple is made up of five cave sanctuaries, containing around 150 Buddha statues and colourful frescoes. Continue to Kandy, a sacred Buddhist city, visiting a spice garden in Matale en route.
Day 6 Dambulla Rock Temple
Day 7 Discover Kandy
This morning explore the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, which were created as leisure gardens for a Sinhala king. Later visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world. Afterwards, visit the National Museum then wander a local market, a gem museum and an arts and crafts centre. This evening you will watch a cultural dance performance before dinner.
Day 7 Discover Kandy
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya
Leave Kandy this morning and travel by train to the lush hillside town of Nuwara Eliya, known as the ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka. Visit a tea plantation and tea factory en route.
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya
Day 9 St. Clair's Falls
This morning visit St. Clair’s Falls, one of the most unique waterfalls in Sri Lanka. You can view the waterfalls from the road above or walk 500 metres along a trail that winds through tea plantations to take a closer look. Afterwards, tour a local tea plantation.
Day 9 St. Clair's Falls
Day 10 Udawalawe National Park
Drive to Udawalawe National Park, famous for its elephant population. While here you will be taken on safari in an open top four-wheel drive.
Day 10 Udawalawe National Park
Day 11 Elephant Transit Home
Rise early to participate in the early morning feeding of the elephants at the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, which provides care and rehabilitation to orphaned or displaced elephants. Continue on to Ahungalla, stopping along the way at Weligama to see the unique stilt fishermen, an old tradition practiced by around 500 fishing families in the region.
Day 11 Elephant Transit Home
Day 12 Sri Lankan Cuisine
Tour the colonial port town of Galle including the fort, lighthouse, Dutch Museum and Dutch Reformed Church. Learn the secrets of Sri Lankan cuisine during a cooking class, with the chance to enjoy a street food walking tour before sampling some popular Sri Lankan dishes. Travel to Bentota, Sri Lanka’s most popular beach destination. En route visit the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, home to Sri Lanka’s pioneering sea turtle conservation project.
Day 12 Sri Lankan Cuisine
Day 13 Madu Ganga Wetlands
Journey by boat through the Madu Ganga Wetlands which consists of 23 islands including two main islands which are home to more than 200 families. Sail past traditional fishermen, local farms and small cottages and visit a cinnamon farm before returning to Bentota.
Day 13 Madu Ganga Wetlands
Day 14 Travel to Colombo
Drive to Colombo and tour the Fort District and the surrounding merchant streets before enjoying some shopping at the Pettah Market.
Day 14 Travel to Colombo
Day 15 Explore Colombo
This morning explore Colombo further, visiting Kelaniya Buddhist Temple, a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists, a Hindu temple, the historic Dutch Wolvendaal Church, Natural History museum and the Dewatagaha Mosque.
Day 15 Explore Colombo
Day 16 Fly Colombo to UK
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, arriving home the same or following day.
Day 16 Fly Colombo to UK

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking local guides in each destination

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

17-Mar > 01-Apr - £3,190 BOOK NOW
20-Oct > 04-Nov - £3,190 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Based on London Heathrow departures
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £2,590 (Colombo-Colombo)
Single room from £820
Tipping paid locally US$80

16-Mar > 31-Mar - £3,490 BOOK NOW
19-Oct > 03-Nov - £3,490 BOOK NOW

Additional Price Information:

Based on London Heathrow departures
Flight upgrades available on request
Land only from £2,590 (Colombo-Colombo)
Single room from £820
Tipping paid locally US$80

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are growing in popularity and you will find good coverage. There are active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and Sri Lanka is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size, and services used during the trip.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be fun and entertaining, especially in local markets all over Sri Lanka where souvenirs can be purchased for next to nothing. However all passengers must realise that the authenticity and value of goods is always questionable. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Some shopping is made up of copied brand items and reproduced antiques.
 
In keeping with most people’s interest whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities in local shops and government factories. This may vary depending on local conditions, and should never interfere with your itinerary’s included sightseeing.
 
Each region has its own specialty; a traditional handicraft perfected by the locals over centuries, a climate that encourages rich spices to grow, or a type of wood, stone or precious jewel in abundance nearby. Textiles are a popular souvenir, including silk brocades, tie-dyed cottons, saris, hand woven Tibetan carpets or the woollen shawls.
 
If you prefer set prices, head to the government-run shops, usually called “cottage industries” or “emporium” which sells quality but reasonably priced goods. The more up market tourist shops will also have fixed prices. Markets, street stalls, and local shops can be noisy, crowded, and confronting, but this remains one of the most rewarding experiences of travelling in Sri Lanka. If your itinerary includes some free time and you would like to go shopping, ask either your National Escort/Guide or the hotel staff for advice on how to best get there. They should be able to tell you if you need a taxi or a rickshaw, how much you should pay for the journey and provide you verbal or written directions to give to the driver. Remember to take a hotel business card with you to find your way back!

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is served in the hotel and includes a combination of western and local dishes. As traditional in this region, lunch and dinner are served in a banquet style, so you can try the variety of specialty dishes. The amount of food served is more than ample for the whole group.
 
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people so dishes are not too spicy or unusual in their taste. One of the great myths about India and Sri Lanka is that the food is of poor quality and always hot and spicy. This is definitely not the case! In fact, North Indian dishes whilst often very rich and indeed spicy don’t contain as much chilli as South Indian dishes. Indian cuisine is predominately vegetarian; however more meat (chicken and lamb) dishes are available in the North. On our group tours, we use a variety of local and hotel restaurants, which provide variety in both the dishes and methods of cooking. If you like Indian food from home, you will have no problems with the real Indian food as it is similar, only more flavoursome. You’ll love it; though don’t expect to lose weight on your holiday, Indians love to eat and eat big. In tourist centres, some restaurants and hotels may also serve western dishes to provide variety. You may also prefer to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Drinks will be at each tour member’s own expense. Beer is widely available and cheap. Wine lovers should remember that western style wine is very expensive to import into India, so is not stocked except by upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice, fruit juices, or lassies (yoghurt based sweet or salty drinks) from a trusted restaurant; where they will use boiled or bottled water to prepare ice and drinks.
 
Tea is very popular and Sri Lankans simply love visiting the many street stalls which brew chai (also known as masala), a sweet, spiced tea brewed with boiling milk. Hotels will usually serve tea and instant coffee at breakfast or other meals – you can usually request the chai or masala style tea as well.

What's Included

International flights and current taxes
All meals
Domestic transportation
Accommodation
Touring with guides and entrance fees
Visa fees for UK & EU passport holders

Why Book This Tour?

This tour is suitable for those with a reasonable amount of time and are looking for a tour of Sri Lanka which visits the main sights of the country. This tour is based on land transfers and does not include any internal flights.

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