- Explore Sri Lanka on an epic 10-day tour
- Visit Negombo, Ella, Galle and Mirissa
- Climb the UNESCO World Heritage Sigiriya rock fortress
- See the Buddhas of Dambulla
- Pick tea with the local tea pickers in the mountains
- Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
- Go whale watching in Mirissa (seasonal: June to September)
- Climb Little Adam's Peak at sunset
- Get up close with elephants on a private safari and learn about baby turtles at a turtle sanctuary
- Camp in Udawalawe National Park surrounded by wildlife
- Travel on one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world from Nuwara Eliya to Ella
- Airport pickup on day 1 included
- All accommodation included
- All transport including private vans, tuk-tuks, and buses included
- Welcome dinner included
Please note, accommodation for this tour is multi-share/dorm accommodation. Double/twin upgrades available for $2255 per person.
Why do we love this
This tour is absolutely jam packed with action, which is something we love at Backpacker Deals. You'll explore Sigiryia Rock, take a jungle safari, explore sprawling tea plantations, and take an insane train journey - all in just 12 days! Oh, and theres even time for some whale watching and beach relaxing.
WHAT TO EXPECT
From mountainous towns to beachside streets and national parks, this tour gives you more than just a taste of Sri Lanka. Bite into 12 days of stunning train journeys, mountain hikes, beachside retreats and cultural vibes.
Please note, accommodation for this tour is multi-share/dorm accommodation. Double/twin upgrades available for $2255 per person.
Day 1 - Negombo
Welcome to Sri Lanka! After you arrive today, you'll be greeted at the airport by your tour guide. Load your luggage into a tuk-tuk and take a thrilling trip through the tree-lined streets and sunbaked streets of Negombo to your first hotel.
Once you settle in, the day is yours. Explore the canals and the lagoons or get your tan on at the beach. Negombo is a stunning city full of smiling places and stunning sights, so take your time to explore it all.
In the evening, meet the rest of your tour group and hit the town for a welcome dinner and drinks. Chat with your fellow travellers and get to know some new friends.
Day 2 - Sigiriya
Enjoy a delicious breakfast in the hotel before boarding a private bus for a quick tour around Negombo’s famous market and lagoon. Learn all the stories and secrets of Sri Lanka from your local tour guide as you travel.
You'll then drive to the heart of the island, Sigiriya, where you'll stop off for a delicious buffet lunch before checking into your stunning hotel. Sigiriya is the jewel of the Cultural Triangle and is full of fascinating historical, ancient sights and of course, famous Sigiriya Rock.
Spend the afternoon swimming in the pool or head out and walk the dusty streets.
In the evening, meet with the group to explore the Dambulla Caves. This caves are a World Heritage Site and are filled with magnificent wall paintings and stone Buddha statues.
Day 3 - Sigiriya Rock
It's an early start today as you set put to explore Sigiriya's biggest attraction, Sigiriya Rock.
An ancient rock fortress, protruding out of the ruins of a grand palace, this is one striking sight. Wander through the stony surrounds and marvel at the ancient wall paintings, the Sanskript marked mirror wall and the huge stone lion paws that guard the path to the summit.
Next, it's time to climb. The views from the top of Sigiriya Rock are unparalleled, and you'll catch glimpses of the land far below, through towering trees and clouds.
After taking your time to admire the summits vistas, head back down to the ground for some more exploring. Visit the quiet Buddhist monastery of Pidurangula and take in a fantastic, unobstructed view of the rock you've just climbed. From here you can also see the national parks of Minneriya and Kaudulla where elephants and leopards roam the land. This afternoon, you can head to either and explore the stunning nature and wildlife they are home to.
Once you've worked up an appetite, stop by the home of a local family who will prepare a traditional feast. Afterwards, take a well-deserved rest in the afternoon sun.
Day 4 - Kandy
It's time to goodbye to Sigiriya today and embark on your next adventure! Today, your heading south to Sri Lanka’s second largest city, Kandy.
Stop at a spice garden along the way to learn about Sri Lankan spices and flavours.
From there, drive along the winding, hilly track and catch stunning views of the beautiful Kandy Lake.
Tonight you're staying in a funky hostel, and once you've arrived and checked in, its time for the Kandy action to begin!
Head to a village to take a Sri Lankan cooking class, and learn the secret to a perfect Sri Lankan curry. The local chef will teach you how to make 4 different curries, as well as poppadoms and coconut sambal. Careful - it's hot!
In the evening take a stroll around the lake and observe the sights and sounds of this bustling city. The lake was created in 1807 by Sri Wickrama Rajasinha, the last ruler of the kingdom of Kandy and is actually artificial!
Day 5 - Ella
Eat your breakfast overlooking the hills of Kandy before heading 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!
Afterwards, it's time to jump on a bus for another hilly adventure. Travel through Sri Lanka's famous tea plantations and stop by a functioning tea factory to learn how the tea is processed. You'll learn how 7 different types of teas are made from the same plant.
Next, it's time for the ultimate train trip from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. Dubbed as one of the best train journeys in the world, this trip boasts 180-degree views of tea plantations, waterfalls, lakes and local villages. Travel through lush forests and take in all the magical sights as you travel along the tracks cut into the mountainside. There's delicious milky tea on board, so grab a cup, chat with the locals and take pictures to make you the envy of all your friends back home.
Once you arrive in Ella, check in to your hotel before heading out for delicious dinner and drinks in the towns winding main street.
Day 6 - Explore Ella
The morning is yours to explore! Ella is home to some of the best Ayurveda massage parlours in Sri Lanka, so take some time to relax and refresh after yesterday's journey.
Meet with your fellow travellers in the afternoon to explore the hidden gems of Ella, such as the 9 Arch Bridge and Ella Gap.
In the evening, hike up Little Adam’s Peak for sunset. Bring a drink or two, you’ll want to toast the magnificent view!
Day 7 - Safari Time
Today, continue the journey way down south to Uda Walawe National Park. Your camp for tonight is only 45 minutes away from this stunning natural oasis.
Your hosts will greet you with welcome drinks and a delicious Sri Lankan buffet lunch whilst you take a well-earned dip in the river.
After lunch, jump into jeeps and head out on a safari. Drive through the wilderness in search of herds of elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, monkeys, eagles and if you’re lucky, leopards. This is a one in a lifetime experience to see some of Sri Lanka's incredible wildlife.
Once, your safari drive is over, it's time to head back to camp for a tasty BBQ dinner. What a way to end an amazing day!
Day 8 - Beach Day
Get up early today and head out for a wander with your personal local guide. Learn about the flora and fauna in the area, and watch for monkeys, elephants and peacocks that roam the fields around the campsite.
After breakfast, hit the road along the South West Coast, next stop, Mirissa. A place of incredible beauty, where foaming waves hit the clean white sand and turtles inhabit the water, this is the spot to relax. Grab an ice cold beer and kick back - after a week in the hill country, this is exactly what you need.
Day 9 - Whale Watching and Hikkaduwa
It's another early start today as you head on board a boat ready for a morning of whale watching! Watch as huge blue whales, jump, swim and dive around you, circling and playing with the boat. The waters around Mirissa are home to some of the largest whale and dolphin colonies in the world, so you're guaranteed to see some ocean action.
After an hour or two on the boat, head back to shore and relax for a while before heading to your next stop. Don't worry, there's more beach action to come! Your next destination is seaside town Hikkaduwa!
Please note the whale watching is seasonal from June to September. If you're here at an alternate time, you'll still get some nature action with another exciting safari.
Day 10 - Galle Fort
After a tranquil breakfast by the beach, drive down to stunning Galle, for a taste of history. A city encased in walls, with Dutch, Portuguese and British Colonial buildings galore, this spot is really something special.
Start your adventure here with a bike ride through local villages and rice fields. Stop to learn how coconut rope is made, and drink a fresh king coconut in a secluded tropical garden. Yum!
Afterwards, spend some time to take photos of the area or buy some souvenirs from one of the many boutique stores.
Galle is also the perfect place to write a postcard home, telling your family and friends all about your incredible adventure.
Day 11- Turtle Sanctuary and Colombo
After breakfast, pack your things ready for the 2-hour drive along the coast to Sri Lanka's bustling capital city of Colombo.
On the way stop off at a small turtle sanctuary, where baby turtles learn to take their first swim and injured adults are rehabilitated back into the wild.
Across the road, you can explore the humbling 2004 Tsunami Memorial. Here you can listen to survival tales and view pictures of the event.
Afterward, hit the road again to get to your boutique hostel in Colombo.
You'll have some free time in Colombo tonight to visit the national museum or art gallery close by, or take a tuk tuk and explore the crazy streets of the Pattah Markets.
You'll meet your group for a final dinner together before partying the night away on one of the cities glitziest rooftop bars.
Day 12 - Goodbye time
It's time to say your final goodbyes to your new friends and Sri Lanka.
Take a last wander through the Colombo city streets, or perhaps pick up some last minute souvenirs before your flight home.
This is a 12-day tour, starting in Negombo and finishing in Colombo.
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance on all One Life Adventures trips is compulsory. Our group leader will be taking care of you from the moment you arrive, though things can happen which are out of our control. This is why we require everyone who travels with us to have their own travel insurance by the time they depart for the trip. You will have a much more enjoyable trip knowing that you are covered no matter what happens! When you are choosing your insurance policy, it’s important to make sure it covers the following things:
- Adventure activities included in the tour
- Medical expenses
- Personal belongings (in cases of lost luggage or theft)
- Missed flights
Will I need a visa?
You will always need a visa to visit Sri Lanka and it must be organised before you arrive.
There are plenty of sites offering online visas and payments can be done easily online and you’ll receive confirmation within 48hrs. Easy! Just remember – your passport has to be valid for at least six months from the day of arrival. You will also need to have proof of onward travel (flight tickets out of the country).
We advise you to check with your local Sri Lankan consulate or embassy to get the most up-to-date conditions. One Life Adventures cannot apply for your visa for you, so please make sure you have sorted it by the time you arrive!
What about money and tips?
The currency in Sri Lanka is the Rupee and AUD$1 is roughly R115. When you join a One Life trip we like to keep extra costs at a minimum and include as much as possible to make it easier for you to budget. Luckily, Sri Lanka is a cheap country for most things! You will be able to feast on the freshest seafood and homemade curries for just a few dollars and buy fresh coconuts on the beach for pennies. An average local meal of rice and various curries will set you back around AUD$4. The local beer called Lion is delicious and costs around AUD $2 per pint.
Spending money all depends on the kind of person you are. Each person knows their own likes/dislikes and spending habits. You may like to drink cocktails in hip lounges by the beach or crack open a local beer under a palm tree on the sand.
Tips are expected in Sri Lanka. They are not compulsory, but there is very much a tipping culture for hotels and restaurants for around 10% of the bill. We usually find it easier if your group leader says how much the tip should be and everyone can pitch in together.
Visa restrictions can vary depending on your nationality and we advise you check which conditions apply to you as soon as possible. You will always need a visa to visit Sri Lanka and it must be organised before you arrive. Just remember your passport has to be valid for at least six months from the day of arrival. You will also need to have proof of onward travel (flight tickets out of the country).
What to bring
We do a fair bit of moving around during the trip, including buses, vans, flights and boats. This is why we highly recommend traveling light and with a backpack rather than a suitcase. Trust us, jumping off a fishing boat onto an island beach camp with a 25kg suitcase is not an easy task.
It is a mandatory requirement for you to have the necessary basic personal insurance cover in order to participate on any of our tours. Travel insurance on all One Life Adventures trips is compulsory. Our group leader will be taking care of you from the moment you arrive, though things can happen which are out of our control. This is why we require everyone who travels with us to have their own travel insurance by the time they depart for the trip. You will have a much more enjoyable trip knowing that you are covered no matter what happens!
If you need to cancel your booking with One Life Adventures you will need to notify us in writing (by mail or e-mail). If you cancel your booking the following charges will apply:
• Cancelation fee $300 (AUD) per booking.
• For cancellations received less than 30 days prior to departure full payment will be lost.
No cancellation fees will be waived as a result of the following:
• Injury or sickness.
• Unexpected incidences at home.
• Delayed, rescheduled or missed flights.
• Climatic, social or political problems.
Cancellations by One Life Adventures
One Life Adventures may cancel a trip at any time prior to departure if, due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events which make it difficult or unsafe to run the tour. If we cancel your trip, you can transfer amounts paid to an alternative start date or in circumstances where cancellation is due to external events outside our reasonable control, refunds will be given less any unrecoverable expenses such as domestic flights booked already booked by One Life Adventures. We are not responsible for any incidental expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your booking including, but not limited to, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance excess or non-refundable flights.
There could be times where we do not make the minimum passenger numbers to run the tour. If this occurs, One Life Adventures will notify customers as far before departure as possible. We will give each passenger the option to transfer their booking to another available departure date. If you are unable to join another tour, then you will be fully refunded. If this occurs you shall not be entitled to make any claim for loss arising as a consequence of cancellation or curtailment in these circumstances. These include but are not limited to non-refundable flights and future flight disruption.