Sri Lanka Escape
12 days from £1,349
Safari, beaches and culture, from Negombo to Mirissa
With endless golden beaches, atmospheric ruins, and elephants and leopards galore, Sri Lanka packs a big punch for a small island. This tropical adventure takes you through the best of the country, from the soaring heights of Sigiriya Rock, and Kandy’s sacred temples, to the hill country’s rolling tea plantations and the pristine sands of Mirissa and Talalla. You’ll learn to surf, meet the locals in a rural village, take the most beautiful train journey in the world, see elephants on a sunrise jeep safari, and chat with the monks in a Buddhist monastery. What’s more, we’ve put together a selection of stylish stays from a luxe eco-retreat on an unspoilt beach, to a modern city centre hotel with stunning views over the urban skyline.
Day 1: Negombo
Land in Colombo where we'll be waiting to whisk you off to our beachfront hotel in the laid-back beach town of Negombo. Relax by the pool, cool off in the Indian Ocean, or grab a smoothie and kick back in the shade of a palm tree. Tonight, head out for your first taste of Sri Lankan cuisine.
Day 2: Tuk Tuk Tour
Hop in a tuk tuk and explore Negombo's colonial architecture, bustling fish markets, and beautiful beaches. Then head north to Sigirya where we'll be staying in a tranquil hotel set in lush tropical gardens. Take a refreshing dip in the pool, ahead of ice-cold sundowners with lake views.
Day 3: Sigiriya & Local Life
Visit the spectacular Sigiriya Rock Fortress this morning, climbing the towering monolith for breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape. Then learn about rural life with a visit to a local village, before taking a river cruise with an on-board cooking demonstration from the villagers.
Day 4: Spices & Temples
Head to the captivating city of Kandy today, stopping on the way at a spice garden to learn about how everything from cardamom to cloves are grown. In Kandy, pay a visit to the golden-roofed Temple of the Tooth, said to hold a sacred relic of the Buddha.
Day 5: Tea & Trains
Travel through emerald green hill-country landscapes before stopping at a tea plantation to see how the crop for one of our favourite drinks is grown. Then hop on the train to sleepy little Ella. As one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world, you'll want a window seat for this one.
Day 6: Ella Hike
Spend the morning exploring Ella's cosy cafes, artisan shops and tropical jungle landscapes. This afternoon we'll hike to Little Adam's Peak for misty mountain views that'll take your breath away.
Day 7: Nine Arch Bridge
Our first stop this morning is the famous Nine Arch Bridge, a spectacular feat of engineering, rising out of dense forest. Snap some epic selfies before continuing to Udawalawe, where we'll check into our boutique hotel on the fringes of the park in time for an afternoon by the pool.
Day 8: Sunrise Jeep Safari
Rise with the sun for a jeep safari in Udawalawe. With vast grasslands, shimmering reservoirs, and dense forests, it's a haven for wildlife including elephants, buffalo and leopards. Then head to our luxe eco-retreat in Talalla, stopping for the afternoon at the paradise bay at Hiriketiya.
Day 9: Beaches & Yoga
With golden sands, swaying palms, and a holistic vibe, there's little to do in Talalla but relax. Luckily, that's exactly what we're doing. Pad down the secluded beach, join a gentle yoga session, or indulge in a massage. Tonight, enjoy dinner under the stars with the sound of the ocean as your soundtrack.
Day 10: Surf Lesson
Learn to ride Sri Lanka's big rollers today with a surf lesson on Welligama Beach. Then travel to the charming coastal town of Mirissa, with a stop at Coconut Hill for sea views and superb photo opportunities. Check into our chilled out beach club and hit the beach for sundown.
Day 11: Monastery Visit
Channel your spiritual side today with a visit to a Buddhist monastery, where you'll meet some of the student monks and get an insight into their unique way of life, and peaceful belief system. Tonight we've lined up a delicious farewell dinner on the sands, to round off your adventure.
Day 12: Goodbye Sri Lanka
The time has come to say your goodbyes and head home, or continue your travels in Sri Lanka. Better start planning the next trip!
Accommodation & Meals
This trip features a carefully curated selection of stylish stays, from a luxe yoga and surf retreat on an unspoilt beach, to a modern city centre hotel with rooftop pool and stunning views over the urban skyline.
Lots of our travellers are solo travellers, so when you book with us, we’ll pair you up with a like-minded roommate of the same sex. Our trips are great for couples or friends as well - just let us know you’re together, so we can be sure to put you in the same room.
Negombo (1 night): Funky hotel with a colourful 70s vibe, rooftop bar, wooden decked pool, and lush tropical gardens opening onto Negombo Beach (twin/double rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
Sigiriya (2 nights): Simple hotel with tropical gardens, generous pool, and tranquil lake views (twin/double rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
Kandy (1 night): Large, modern hotel with great views of the city and a rooftop pool and bar (twin/double rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
Ella (2 nights): Small hotel set in the mountains with sun terrace, stunning, flower-filled gardens and views of Ella Peak (twin/double rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
Udawalawe (1 night): Boutique hotel with pool and poolside restaurant on the border of Udawalawe Elephant Park (twin/double rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
Talalla (2 nights): Luxury eco-retreat set amongst the palm trees on a pristine beach with freshwater lap pool, yoga pavilions, Ayurvedic spa, and a gourmet open air restaurant (twin/double/ triple rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
Mirissa (2 nights): Laid back beach club on Mirissa Bay, with private beach area, large pool right on the beach, and restaurant with Indian Ocean views (twin/double rooms with en suite, Wi-Fi and air con).
The above information is only intended to be used as a guide, giving you a flavour of some of our accommodation providers, and the style of accommodation you may be staying in. Please note that all nights are subject to change.
11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners are included on this trip. You’ll have the freedom to eat wherever and whenever you like the rest of the time.
Similar to South Indian food, yet with its own distinct flavours, Sri Lankan cuisine is one of the world’s most underrated. Making use of local ingredients from coconut and jackfruit to fresh seafood and an array of spices, Sri Lankan cooking delivers incredible dishes influenced by years of colonisation. From sour fish curry, hoppers (Sri Lanka’s answer to the pancake), and comforting dhal to roti and lamprais (meat, rice, and chilli sauce wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed), you’ll find that the food is diverse, delicious, and very affordable.
Dates & Prices
To get a flight quote use the buttons below or call our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037.
Most expensive: £950 December, 2023
Fly into Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) on day 1, where one of our team members will be waiting to transfer you to our starting accommodation in Negombo.
The trip ends on day 12 in Mirissa. Return airport transfers are not included but your tour guide can help you book any onward travel. There is a free bus which takes you back to the starting hotel in Negombo. It leaves in the morning and arrives in Negombo around 2pm. A taxi from there to the airport is approximately £10. Alternatively, you can book a taxi direct from Mirissa to the airport for around £60-£70. We recommend you book an evening flight or fly home the following day.
The maximum group size is 16.
This trip is designed for travellers aged 18-39.