From £1,963 pp incl. UK flights
Day 1: Depart on a choice of flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Arrive Colombo. Private transfer into tea country (Hatton or Nuwara Eliya) for 2 nts
Day 3: Private guided tour to tea plantation & scenic train Ride
Day 4: Private transfer to Udawalawe National Park for 2 nts. Elephant Transit Home visit
Day 5: Private afternoon Udawalawe National Park Jeep Safari
Day 6: Private transfer to Yala National Park for 1 nt. Afternoon private jeep safari
Day 7: Morning private jeep safari. Afternoon transfer to your choice of beach hotel for 7 nts
Days 8-13: 4 days to relax and enjoy your beachside setting.
Day 14: Private transfer back up to Colombo in time for your flight home.
Day 15: Arrive home.
Day 1: UK Airport / Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Colombo. Direct flights are with Sri Lanka Airlines from Heathrow, otherwise there are a range of one stop options with such airlines as British Airways, Qatar and Emirates.
Day 2: Arrive Colombo - Transfer to Nuwara Eliya / Hatton Tea Country
Depending on your arrival time and energy levels you may like to break your journey for 1 night before taking the 4 hour private transfer out to Nuwara Eliya, but as a starting point we’ve transferred you straight out. This can be amended and suggestions can be made.
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred straight out to Hatton or Nuwara Eliya (approx. 4 hours). The transfer is a beautiful route leaving the flat coastal strip behind as you rise up into the hills that are famous for Sri Lanka’s majestic tea plantations. You’ll soon see why as tea bushes seem to cover every square inch, to create mile upon mile of perfectly manicured tea terraces that are systematically swept of their tender top leaves by gangs of pickers. On arrival check-in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. The rest of the day’s free to recover from the journey.
Day 3: Nuwara Eliya / Hatton Tea Country (B) - Tea Plantation & Train Ride
Nuwara Eliya is colloquially known as ‘Little England’ and does have a lot of Colonial character, with a village post office, an English church & the St Andrew’s golf club, along with the race course. This morning combine a private guided tour of the town with a tour of a tea factory to learn more about the processes that go into manufacturing some of the best tea in world.
Lunch with be in a local restaurant (own expense), then swap the car for the train that travels through the hills to Ella. Travelling by train allows you to immerse yourself more into Sri Lankan life and from Nuwara Eliya to Ella riding the rails offers the best views of the tea estates, forests, waterfalls and village life. The journey takes about 4 hours as you follow the beautiful curves and ridges of the hill country landscape. Your guide will continue on to Ella and will transfer you back to your hotel for the evening.
Day 4: Nuwara Eliya / Hatton (B) - Udawalawe National Park - Elephant Transit Home
This morning it’s time to leave the hills behind for the 3 hour drive south to Udawalawe. The changes in scenery are stunning as you start up amongst the tea plantations and then head down through jagged hills along winding roads that dramatically drop away from you to reveal amazing views. Once at the bottom tea bushes are replaced by coconut and paddy fields as you’ve dropped back into the tropics. The day will give you a full sense of the variety Sri Lanka has to offer. On arrival check in to Kalu’s Hideaway for 2 nights, a lodge like hotel on the banks of the Walawe River.
Time to settle in then re-join your guide for a short drive past the Udawalawe Reservoir to the Elephant Transit Home. On the way keep your eyes out for the “beggars”, adult elephants from the park who skirt the reservoir and beg for food over the fence. The Elephant Transit Home is sponsored by the Born Free Trust and was established in 1995 with the primary objective of the rehabilitation of orphaned baby elephants and their release back to the wild. There’s no riding or real interaction with the babies, just the pure joy and anarchy of feeding time. The elephants are largely free to wander around the grounds of the home and because it’s just across the lake to the national park it’s a much easier transition when they’re ready to join the herd. A scene setter for tomorrow’s jeep safari.
Day 5: Udawalawe (B) - Afternoon Udawalawe National Park Jeep Safari
This morning’s free to relax by the pool and take time out from touring, but we could add an extra morning jeep safari into Udawalawe National Park.
After lunch join your guide for a late afternoon safari through Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe National Park is an area of 31,800 hectares, which was declared a protected sanctuary with full national park status in 1972. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland, which of all Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, best rivals the Savanna of Africa and shrub jungle. Teak plantations, water holes and two important factors make this park special - the large Udawalawe Reservoir and the Walewe River, which ensure a supply of water for the fauna within. Internationally renowned for its large herd of elephants, the park is also known for several species of deer, wild boar, buffalo, jackal and very rare sightings of leopard. Back at hotel early evening.
Day 6: Udawalawe (B) - Yala - Private Jeep Safari
After breakfast check-out and transfer with your private guide south east to Yala, Sri Lanka’s iconic national park. The wide flat coastal plain soon changes to the harsh scrubland that epitomizes the “Dry Zone” around Yala, on arrival check-in to your choice of accommodation for 1 night.
Time to settle in and enjoy lunch (own expense) then join your private guide for an afternoon jeep safari. First established as a hunting reserve Yala has come a long way as now established as the place to see leopards. Yala is unique within Sri Lanka because of the range of habitats it offers from dense to scrub jungle, open savannah to semi-arid areas, rock pools, ravines and fresh water lakes strewn with prominent rocky outcrops, all bordered by a snaking coastline.
It’s not just about leopards; the park is teeming with an incredible variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, sloth bears and diverse tropical birdlife. Back at the hotel as the sun sets.
Day 7: Yala (B) - Morning Jeep Safaris - Transfer to Beach
Up early this morning to re-enter the park and enjoy another 3 hour safari through Yala. Hopefully you spotted a leopard yesterday, but if not fingers’ crossed today. If you’d like to spend longer here there’s the option to upgrade the tour to a full day tour. This is the best way to escape the crowds as between 12 and 4 you’ll have the park largely to yourselves, although you will park up to enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch.
Back to the hotel for a late breakfast and then the touring section of your holiday ends as you’re transferred out to the beautiful coastline and 7 nights (or more / less) nights on your choice of beach on the south or west coast.
If you’re interested in birds, on the way to the beach you could spend the afternoon in Bundala National Park, a park off the main tourist trail that’s also good for crocodiles, wild boar, mongoose, monitor lizards, monkeys and elephants.
Sri Lanka boasts an incredible range of resorts and hotels and so we’ll offer a selection of suggestions that we hope will fit the mark. If you’ve time a 5 minute conversation can often help us refine the choice to fit in with the style, budget and position you’re looking for.
Days 8-13: Beach Days (B)
3 full days to enjoy your beachside location and perhaps explore a bit further. Dolphin and whale watching tours are particularly popular off the south coast, as is a visit to Galle.
Day 14: Beach (B) / Home
Day free until your airport transfer and overnight flight home.
Day 15: Arrive home
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas International airport departure taxes if payable locally
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is synonymous with tea, don’t miss the chance to travel by train to get the best views.
Hotels Around Udawalawe National Park
One of the most beautiful parks centred on a large lake around which elephants and other wildlife thrive.
Hotels Around Yala National Park
World famous for its leopard population, Yala is Sri Lanka’s number one wildlife destination.
Hotels on the South Coast Beaches
The continuous ribbon of bays offers a wide selection of hotels from large developments, through hideaway luxury resorts down to colonial style villas. The most popular beach destination during our winter months.
Hotels on the West Coast Beaches
The West Coast boast as string of established beach resorts that offer a fantastic range of luxury beach hotels with good water sport facilities.