Simply Sri Lanka

Our Simply Sri Lanka holiday gives you the perfect in-depth introduction to the country, ensuring you don't miss a thing while still allowing plenty of downtime. Immerse yourself in the Cultural Triangle, wander around Kandy’s sacred sights, trek to Tea Country’s cooler climate, and track wildlife in Yala National Park’s untamed landscape.

At a glance
  • See families of elephants on a Minneriya NP safari
  • Picnic at Sigiriya rock fortress & enjoy its spectacular views
  • Witness a sacred relic revealed to waiting pilgrims
  • Catch a train through rolling green Tea Country
  • Enjoy a cuppa, fresh from the source
  • Drive through Yala NP at dusk as leopards wake to hunt
  • Stroll Galle’s historic walls above bustling streets and the Indian Ocean
  • Kick back on the warm sands of Sri Lanka’s stunning west coast
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Cultural Triangle - 3 nights

Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle stretches from Anuradhapura at its northern point, to Polonnaruwa in the east and Kandy in the south. The region covers approximately one thousand square miles, incorporating five of the country’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, with the Sigiriya rock fortress and the cave temple of Dambulla at its heart. Explore scores of temples, ruins and dagobas scattered throughout the region, and roam through the Minneriya National Park, which hosts the largest annual gathering of Asian elephants in the world, finding wonder in a new wilderness.

Day 1 - Arrive Colombo, drive to the Cultural Triangle

On arrival in Sri Lanka, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel in the Cultural Triangle.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park safari

Includes:

Spend your morning exploring the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa: built over a thousand years ago alongside carefully-engineered reservoirs that provide the region's water to this day. As you stroll around the ruins, you’ll get a feel for what Polonnaruwa was like during its heyday as a thriving commercial and religious centre. There will be time to relax back at your hotel before heading out in the late afternoon on a safari drive through Minneriya National Park, home to 24 species of mammal and approximately 160 species of bird. The star of the show is the elephant, with approximately 200 living in the park. Wardens monitor the elephants' whereabouts on a constant basis, ensuring a high chance of spotting them during your safari.

Day 3 - Sigiriya Rock, Rural Experience

Includes:

After breakfast visit the rock fortress of Sigiriya – one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. This immense rock dominates the surrounding landscape, rising 650 feet above the ground, and the view from the flattened summit is spectacular. Those without a head for heights can stroll around the ramparts and pleasure gardens, or take in the famous Sigiriya frescoes found partway up the rock, as your guide tells you some of the legends surrounding the site. In the late morning you will have the chance to experience traditional, rural life, away from the ruins and try your hand at preparing Sri Lankan food. In a small village close to Sigiriya you will be welcomed into the modest, mud-walled home of one of the families, where you will assist your host in the preparation of a typical Sri Lankan lunch, using authentic cooking methods and traditional clay pots. After lunch, return to your hotel for a relaxing afternoon.

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Kandy - 1 night

Kandy, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital, is home to the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, and host to the most important festival in Sri Lanka's calendar; the Esala Perahera. Nestling within a steep, and strikingly picturesque valley, descending into the town for the first time feels pretty special. Stop en route to visit the Buddhist pilgrimages site at the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, before taking an afternoon visit to the Dalada Maligawa, or Temple of the Tooth Relic. Wait with bated breath as the golden casket, which Buddhists believe holds a tooth of Lord Buddha, is revealed to a frenzy of prayers.

Day 4 - Dambulla Caves, drive to Kandy, Temple of the Tooth Relic

Includes:

Morning departure for the sacred city of Kandy, stopping en route at the 1st century BC Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. Legend tells that during an invasion from South India, the Sinhalese king took refuge in these caves and, through meditation, gained the strength to drive away invaders. Having declared the caves as a sacred area, he built the first temple, with others added by later rulers. Wonder at the spiritually significant caves before continuing on to Kandy. In the late afternoon, visit Kandy's most famous site - the Temple of the Tooth Relic - where Buddhists believe a tooth of the Lord Buddha is enshrined.

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Ella - 2 nights

Once a small sleepy village, Ella is steadily growing, with new places to stay and eat opening each year. It remains a friendly, laid back base for exploring the central Sri Lankan hills, with perfect views through Ella Gap; a picturesque valley which cuts through the hills. On one side of the valley, the steep slopes of Ella Rock stretch towards the sky; to the other, Little Adam’s Peak offers hikers of all abilities the chance to explore the forested landscape. Whilst in Ella enjoy a tea factory tour and maybe embark upon a challenging trek or gentle hike at your own pace.

Day 5 - Tea Country train to Ella

Includes:

Hop aboard the train for a scenic ride through Sri Lanka’s hill country to Ella. From the comfort of your carriage, you’ll pass many tea plantations and forested mountains, reliving the spirit of travel’s Golden age, before arriving at Ella train station. Having met your guide, the remainder of your day is at leisure to explore this small, sleepy village. Although there is a steadily growing handful of shops and guesthouses, and more opening frequently, it remains a close-knit, laid back place with perfect views through Ella Gap: a picturesque valley that cuts through the hills and far into the distance.

Day 6 - Tea factory visit, Little Adam's Peak trek

Includes:

Meet your guide for a tour of a nearby tea factory to learn about the history and modern-day production methods of the region's most valuable commodity. Return to your hotel where there will be time to relax in the cool shade, drinking as much of the region’s world-class tea as you can! Late afternoon stretch your legs on a hike to Little Adam’s Peak and soak up the scenic views.

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Yala National Park - 1 night

Yala National Park covers an area of around 129,700 hectares, with Yala West (or Ruhuna) National Park believed to have the world’s highest density of leopards, with about 35 believed to reside within the park's boundaries. Other animals in the park include elephants, sloth bears, deer, monkey, mongoose and crocodile, as well as over 130 recorded bird species at Yala East. Early risers may have time to hike to Little Adam's Peak and back before breakfast, then it’s time to leave the cool hill country and descend to the arid lands of Yala National Park. Check into your lodge, just outside the boundaries, and join your guide and tracker for a dusk drive through the park, just in time to see leopards leaving their rocky outcrops to hunt. As darkness falls, return to your nearby lodge to share stories of the day's sightings.

Day 7 - Drive to Yala National Park, dusk safari

Includes:

After breakfast depart the hills to the more arid lands of the south east and, in particular, Yala National Park. Having checked in to your lodge there will be time to freshen up before joining your guide & tracker for a dusk safari through the park.

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Galle - 2 nights

The historic colonial fortifications of Galle form another of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, with signs of its time under Portuguese, French and British occupation evident in the architecture and extravagant interiors throughout Old Galle. New Galle, outside the walls, is reminiscent of a miniature Delhi or Mumbai, with its markets tempting you to explore. Stroll around the ramparts, looking over the streets and cricket ground and out to sea, as you chat with the locals who are up there with you enjoying breathtaking views of their town.

Day 8 - Dawn safari, drive to Galle

Includes:

Rise early for a dawn drive through Yala National Park searching for wildlife as the park's inhabitants noisily greet the new day. Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast before departing for Galle. Having checked into your hotel, the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Day 9 - Galle Fort tour

Includes:

After a morning at leisure, head out with your guide to explore the Old Town of Galle and the impressive fortifications at Galle Fort, where a warren of narrow streets are surrounded by ramparts that overlook the ocean. Stroll around the old walls as your guide points out places of interest, and see how the area has transformed over the centuries to now include boutique shops, art galleries and cafes that sit alongside, and within, the historic buildings. Continue exploring independently,and ask your guide to recommend a restaurant where you can enjoy dinner amid the Galle evening hum.

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Bentota - 3 nights

Sri Lanka's west coast is better known for its natural wonders than its urban thrills, with miles of gorgeous curving coastline and northern wilderness. Bentota is one of the island's most established beach resorts, known for golden sands and wild seas that get wilder depending on the season. There are fantastic opportunities for watersports, and plenty of beautiful beaches to wander upon as you while away the hours gazing towards the horizon. Just inland, placid Dedduwa Lake is surrounded by swampy forest and stilt huts, and the small, leafy town itself has many spas offering blissful Ayurvedic treatments

Day 10 - Drive to Bentota via Lunuganga & Brief Gardens

Includes:

Follow the coastline northwards, stopping at two beautiful tropical gardens - Lunuganga and Brief - designed by renowned landscapers, the Bawa brothers. After strolling through the contrasting, visually stunning gardens, continue the short journey to Bentota where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Days 11 & 12 - Enjoy a few days R&R

Includes:

Your days will be at leisure to relax and reflect on your experiences.

Day 13 - Depart Colombo

Includes:

Transfer to Colombo airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £1,904US$2,494 £1,620US$2,123 £1,521US$1,992

Hotel Sigiriya

As you’re handed your welcome drink on the terrace of the Sigiriya Hotel, glance skywards and you'll know what your visit is all about…what a view... See more

OZO Kandy

If you’re looking for a convenient, central Kandy location, then the OZO Kandy certainly ticks that box: being close to the lakeside and within walking distance of the Temple of the Tooth. The design is more modern and sleek... See more

98 Acres Resort & Spa

Built on (not coincidentally) 98 acres of historic tea estate with mind-blowing views across waves of emerald Ceylon tea towards Little Adam’s Peak... See more

Chaarya Resort & Spa

Chaarya Resort is the perfect base for wildlife enthusiasts...

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Deco on 44

As its name suggests, Deco on 44 is located in an outstanding Art Deco-style property that has been refurbished throughout to ensure your stay is as comfortable... See more

Avani Bentota

Inspired by an 18th century Dutch village, the Avani benefits from a wonderful beachside location, as well as all the dining and entertainment options that the popular town of Bentota has to offer... See more
Superior £2,205US$2,889 £1,920US$2,515 £1,819US$2,383

Aliya Resort & Spa

With its astonishing view of Sigiriya Rock, this contemporary hotel is superbly placed for exploring what is known as Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle... See more

Cinnamon Citadel

A lovely modern property with amazing views over the Mahaweli River as it winds through Kandy’s lush wooded outskirts, the Cinnamon Citadel Kandy is relaxed, comfortable and stylish... See more

98 Acres Resort & Spa

Built on (not coincidentally) 98 acres of historic tea estate with mind-blowing views across waves of emerald Ceylon tea towards Little Adam’s Peak... See more

Cinnamon Wild Yala

With its game-lodge style luxury bungalows and excellent location, tucked against the border of Yala National Park and next to one of the area's distinctive villu lakes, Cinnamon Wild is ideal for wildlife lovers... See more

The Fort Printers

The utterly charming Fort Printers hotel was originally a school house, later a print house before being turned into its latest reincarnation: a boutique-style hotel... See more

Rock Villa

A 170-year old heritage house, recently converted into a boutique beach retreat, Rock Villa offers a more personalised and private alternative to the sprawling run-of-the-mill beach hotels... See more
Deluxe £3,787US$4,961 £3,502US$4,588 £3,402US$4,456

Water Garden Sigiriya

Offering fantastic panoramic views of the mighty Sigiriya Rock, the Water Garden Sigiriya is located just 6km from the historic site and is conveniently close to the Cultural Triangle cities of Dambulla, Anuradhapura...

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Stone House

Suave and sophisticated, the Stone House wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of an interior design magazine. Couple this with personalised service and attention to detail... See more

Nine Skies

Named after the ‘nine skies’ which can be seen through the arches of the famous Demodara Nine Arch Bridge, Nine Skies is perfectly placed for those looking to admire one of Sri Lanka’s iconic views... See more

Jetwing Yala Resort

Located just 10 minutes from the Yala National Park entrance, Jetwing Yala Resort is one of the closest properties to the park. Infact with no barriers between the resort and the park there is the very real possibility of wildlife wandering through... See more

Taru Villas - Rampart Street

An elegant combination of colonial charm and modern amenities, The Taru Villas - Rampart Street also boasts an enviable location in Galle's Old Town... See more

Reef Villa and Spa

Reef Villa, with its seven marvellous suites, sits in three acres of tropical gardens beside peaceful, golden Wadduwa beach on Sri Lanka’s South West coast... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • Rather than stay in a lodge near Yala National Park, why not overnight on the border of the park at a luxury tented camp - the ultimate wildlife experience!
  • Depending on the month of travel, you may wish to switch for an alternative beach resort to make the most of Sri Lanka's year round sunshine - your consultant will be happy to advise.
  • You can extend your stay in Tea Country with a few days at an original tea estate, set high in the hills and well away from the trail.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: Sri Lankan hotel contracts are extremely seasonal in comparison to most of their Asian counterparts and therefore you should expect surcharges at various times of the year, not just festive periods. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned saloon car / minivan (for small group). Please ask for vehicle upgrade supplement if required.
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You may require a visa to enter Sri Lanka. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides

You'll typically have your own private guides throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.