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Highlands of Sri Lanka

Highlands of Sri Lanka

1-800-267-3347

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  • Holiday type
    Guided walking
  • Duration
    14 nights
  • Accommodation
    hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • From $2449per person, tour only
  • Departures
    Selected Saturdays if Flight Inclusive/Sundays for Tour Only from 20 Oct '19 to 15 Aug '21
  • What's Included?
  •  All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Key Information
  • This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • 13 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night full-service camping
  • 8 full and half-day walks
  • Full porterage throughout
  • Maximum altitude 2243m

Sri Lanka:

Highlands of Sri Lanka

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Walking through rice paddy fields and tea plantations
  • Exploring parts of Sri Lanka rarely seen by other Westerners
  • Visit the beautiful lakeside town of Kandy
  • Sunrise on Adams Peak (except between May-November)
  • Searching for a Leopard in Yala National Park
  • Maldives extension available

Behind the dazzling beauty of Sri Lanka’s world famous beaches is an island of lush jungle, spice gardens, ancient Buddhist temples and an abundance of wildlife - all of which makes for a unique trekking experience. Our adventure begins in Sigiriya with a visit to the stunning Lion Rock. From here the trekking begins in earnest, through the unspoilt World Heritage conservation area of the Knuckles Mountain Range, past rice paddies and brushing the vibrant, emerald-green tea plantations of Dickoya. After this we tackle the challenging Adam's Peak (2243m) and then enjoy the spectacular 1000m cliff drop of World's End.



We're here to help

If you have any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Typical holiday itinerary

Walking information

This trek is graded level 3 (Moderate) with some day walks and some half day walks.

There will be a backup vehicle making all the walking optional (except for the treks through the forest areas). Some days there will be options of easier and more challenging walks. Most of the walks are between 4 and 6 hours, with one longer 7 hour walk. The trails are fairly well made and used by locals. If it rains some of the trails can get slippery and there can be leeches. It can be hot and humid on the lower walks.

The drives to the start of the walks and from the end of the walks to the hotels are sometimes on narrow winding roads. Most of the accommodation is comfortable with two nights spent in simple hotels and one night spent in a fixed camp.



We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 , or email usa@exodustravels.com

Day 1: Start Dambulla.

The group flight arrives at Colombo's Katunake Airport and we transfer to our hotel at Dambulla (160km, 4hrs drive). Those not flying with the group can meet us at the hotel or the airport in time for the transfer.Please be aware if you are meeting the group at the airport for a transfer you might need to purchase a ticket outside to enter the arrivals hall.

Pelwehera Village Resort or similar

Day 2: Visit Dambulla Caves, village walk towards Sigiriya; afternoon visit to Lion Rock Fortress.

After breakfast we visit the magnificent Cave Temple at Dambulla, one of the most impressive sights in Sri Lanka. There are colourful and very well preserved paintings and statues of Buddha inside the caves, which date back to the 1st century BC. We then have a short, gentle, warm up walk which takes us through villages and rice paddies and on towards Sigiriya, where we have lunch. In the afternoon we visit the imposing 5th century rock fortress, which rises 180m from the plains overlooking the surrounding countryside giving far-reaching views. Used as a safe haven from invaders, the route to the top is up a series of steep steps and gangways. From the base, where a moat surrounds impressive water gardens, we ascend 200m and pass an overhanging rock under which superb portraits of native maidens holding flowers and temple offerings still adorn the walls. Crowning the flat-topped summit are extensive remains of the King's Summer Palace from where there are breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The descent is much easier and we have a final 35 minute drive back to our hotel in Dambulla.

Approximate walking distance 6km. Alt. gain 395m, Alt. loss 395m

Pelwehera Village Resort or similar

Day 3: Drive to Illukkumbura; walk the Manigala Trail in the Knuckles Range.

The next two days takes us across the famous Knuckles Mountain Range. We start early with a three hour drive to the start of our walk, from where we begin with an easy descent past rice paddies and through the villages of Pitawala Patana and Etanwala. Descending to the river we cross a small bridge and start to climb up through more farmland. Finally emerging at the top of an escarpment we are rewarded with great views of the surrounding countryside. An easy trail takes us along the top of the escarpment to Manigala Top at 1115m, the high point of today. Next we descend to the Mahalakotuwa village area which leads to the main road and then it’s a 20 minute walk to our campsite by the river where we can bathe in the cool, refreshing water. Today is the longest walk and is approx. 7 hours walking, 15KM, Alt gain 900m, alt loss 100mAlt. gain 240m, Alt. loss 450m (Please note – occasionally due to high water levels we use an alternative campsite. The alternative campsite is about 40 minutes’ drive from Illikumbura).Camping at Knuckles with Eco Team or similar

Day 4: Walk through forests to Meemure; transfer to Orutota

We begin with a short half hour drive to the Narangamuwa Temple at Ranamuregama. We then pass rice paddies and coconut groves before entering a heavily forested area. The trail climbs gently for an hour and then levels out before undulating though this lush forest. The only sound we can hear is the birdsong all around us. Emerging from the forest in the village of Meemure, make sure to look back for a spectacular view of the peaks of Lakegala. Passing farms growing pepper and other spices, we come to a small tea shop where we have lunch. After lunch, we take a truck or rickshaws for a bumpy 90-minute ride to Corbetts Gap, a famous viewpoint. Our bus will meet us here for the 1.5hr drive to our hotel at Orutota overlooking the Victoria Reservoir.

Oruthota Chalets or similar

Day 5: To Kandy; visit the Temple of the Tooth.

A relaxing morning to enjoy the garden and pool at the hotel. Mid-morning we have a short 18km drive to Kandy and have the afternoon to explore. The town is located around a small lake and we can walk round to hopefully spot several varieties of water birds and large water monitors. Later we visit the Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic - The Tooth of Buddha, which was taken from the funeral pyre in India in 543 BC and only found its way to Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD. There are literally hundreds of worshippers who visit the temple each day and in July/August the most spectacular ceremony takes place.

Hotel Hilltop or Royal Kandyan or similar

Day 6: Ascend Adams Peak (2243m).

This morning we drive to Dickoya (3 hours), where we stay for two nights in simple colonial tea planters bungalows, with wonderful view of the Castlereagh Reservoir. On a clear day we can see the outline of Adams Peak in the distance. In the pilgrim season (December-May) we have the day to relax or you can take a short walk around the lake (approx. 6km). We leave around midnight for the walk up Adams Peak (approx. 14km). This will take around 4 hours and we should reach the top, with the many pilgrims at sunrise. In the off season (May – November) we spend Day 6 (Day 7 Ex London) at Dickoya and can walk around the lake and on Day 7 (Day 8 Ex London) we will climb Adams Peak during daylight hours. Total accent 1211m, decent, the same. (Day 6: B) (Day 7: B,L)Glencarin Bungalows or similar

Day 7: Drive to Nuwara Eliya; optional walk to explore the town

This morning we have a wonderful drive through tea plantation districts to Nuwara Eliya. This was the favourite hill station during the British era, situated in the cool highland air at 1890m and has a very British feel. Known locally as 'Little England' it is dotted with British style houses, hotels and a racecourse. There will be an optional walk into the hills around the town and also time to explore the bazaar.

Windsor Hotel or similar

Day 8: Early morning to Horton Plains; walk to World's End viewpoint; to Ella by train.

Today we drive to Horton Plains, a large plateau over 2,000m above sea level, overlooked by the second and third highest peaks in Sri Lanka. The scenery is beautiful and is best explored on foot. We trek through the rolling grasslands, seeing forest and unusual wildlife, such as the sambar deer and purple faced monkey, all the way to 'World's End', one of the most stunning sights in Sri Lanka. Here the ground drops 1050m to the plains below. We then catch the train from the highest railway station in the country; within two hours we’ve dropped from 1889m to 1097m. The train travels through the cloud forest into the tea plantations, the views are spectacular; we disembark at Ella.Hotel Country Comfort or similar

Daywalk around Ella; visit the Ravana Waterfalls and Ella Gap.

We drive to Kithalaella and climb up to a rocky area to enjoy stunning views of the waterfalls. Continuing on to Ella Gap, we have dramatic views of the coastal plain nearly 1,000m below. Almost the whole of the southern part of the island is in view and on a particularly clear day the shimmering silver of the ocean is visible (approx. 12km walk). We return in the late afternoon to our hotel in Ella.Hotel Country Comfort or similar

Day 10: Drive to Yala National Park; afternoon game drive.

We now head south out of the hills to Tissamaharama down the plains stopping en route to visit the spectacular Ravana Waterfalls as well as the Kataragama Temple. This is a pilgrimage place for both Hindus and Buddhists, who come to worship here in the early mornings and evenings. Colourful and noisy, the temple is always busy. Tissamaharama will be our base for visiting Yala National Park. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has become well known for leopard. The park, which is primarily shrub jungle with several salt and fresh water lagoons, has one of the highest concentrations of leopard per square kilometre in the world. We will have a game drive in the afternoon. (Please note that the sanctuary may be closed for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the animals. In this instance we will go to an alternative area close by, usually the Udawalawe National Park).Chandrika Hotel or similar

Day 11: Visit Kataragama Temple and walk around Tissamaharama lake; transfer to the coast.

This morning we drive to the beautiful Tissamaharama Lake where we walk for approximately 3.5 hours (approx. 5km). This is an opportunity to see the day to day life of the local people as well as a range of birdlife. In the late afternoon we drive for approximately 4 hours to the coast.

Insight Resort or similar

Day 12: Free day to relax on the beach or optional activities including whale watching (Nov to April).

Free day to relax on the beach or by the pool. There are also numerous optional activities including a boat ride through mangrove swamps to a cinnamon plantation, or from November to April you can go whale watching off Dondra Head. This is one of the best places in the world for seeing Blue and Sperm whales.Insight Resort or similar

Day 13: To Galle; transfer to Colombo.

We set off today and drive along the coastal road to the historic port of Galle, which dates back to the 17th century, and now a UNESCO world heritage site. On the way we stop at a small folk museum inspired by the local writer Martin Wickramasinghe. The museum is a typical house from the Koggala region and is set amongst beautiful gardens. We continue along the expressway to Colombo reaching our hotel in the late afternoon (the drives takes around 2-3 hours, plus stops).

Hotel Mirage or similar

Day 14: End Colombo.

If you are travelling on the group flight we will have a morning transfer to the airport for the daytime flight to London. The arrangements for those not flying with the group ends after breakfast.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.

To find out more call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Hotels & Camping

You will stay 13 nights in hotels all of which have en suite facilities; all hotels have twin bedded rooms with attached bathrooms. There will also be 1 night of full service camping. The tents have two camp beds with bedding. There is a toilet tent with sit down toilet and a shower tent. A cook team will prepare meals which are usually served outside. Wi-Fi is available at the majority of places, either in the rooms or the communal areas.

Single supplements are available on request (not available for 3 nights).

Please  note paying the  single supplement may not mean that you receive a double or twin room for sole use. The room you are allocated may differ from hotel to hotel , and on some nights a  smaller room for ‘one person’ may well be allocated.


Meals

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 dinner is included.

We suggest allowing about GBP10-15 (approx. . USD16-24) per day for all other meals and drinks. Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Despite (or perhaps because of) these influences, Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to as simply ‘Rice and Curry’. This is the staple dish in most restaurants and is usually a serving of rice accompanied by assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles, ‘sambols,’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free. Please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home. Spicier food can be avoided easily and lots of the hotels will serve Western options alongside traditional food.

Drinking water is provided in large containers where available so you need only bring a re-usable bottle to top up along the way.

Travel

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Transfers

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Transportation

We use an air-conditioned minibus but depending on the size there may be two. The back up vehicles will drop us at the start of the walks and meet us again at th end, transporting all our luggage. In Yala National Park we use smaller jeeps. On the train to Ella, seats cannot be reserved in advance, so we just sit where we can on the day.

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Sri Lankan Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up-to-date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting in Dambulla and ending in Colombo

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Dambulla in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. Accommodation check-in times are normally from around 12 noon.

Reviews

Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. As this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available from our customers, but here are the comments that have been received from previous Exodus travellers.

This was a wonderful trip with an excellent guide Neelanka made this an amazing trip His English and knowledge of nature and local culture was very good His efficiency in allocating room keys was one of the best - very important after a long drive We did not need to touch our luggage from exiting the airport to arriving back Our strap broke and within half an hour it was repaired!!!! Water was freely available from large containers that we could fill our reusable bottles or containers and complimentary Sigiriya and the Lion Rock Fortress was an amazing visit Unfortunately we did not get to the summit of Adams Peak due to the masses of mainly local people. However I did feel the experience was something like I have experienced before with family carrying the frail and old, babies being carried and some only in flip flops or barefeet Leech socks used and needed

A first class holiday experience with all the hall marks we have come to love from Exodus holidays. An efficient engaged leader with a real love of his country and ability to show us so many insights into the nuances of Sri Lanka..... even though the weather was changeable we had a fantastic trip made up of interesting walks, wild life and getting to know the local culture and people of the highlands.

A first class holiday experience with all the hall marks we have come to love from Exodus holidays. An efficient engaged leader with a real love of his country and ability to show us so many insights into the nuances of Sri Lanka..... even though the weather was changeable we had a fantastic trip made up of interesting walks, wild life and getting to know the local culture and people of the highlands.

This was an amazing tour. It was very well organised. The walking was good. The countryside and people were fantastic and the guide himself was very personable and knowledgeable. It was totally enjoyable. I would recommend going up Adam's peak on a Monday-Thursday evening to avoid the crowds, but that is the only thing I would have changed.

Sri Lanka is a very beatiful island with loads of natural and cultural highlights, The tour is descrfibed as walking and treking. If you read the detailed notes it's fair to say that, yes there are walks, but nothing that I would describe as treking. The walks are comparatively gentle; the jungle walks a bit like Lakeland walks underfoot - but in forest. The climb up Adam's Peak certainly got the heart pumping, although with the crowds of pilgrims all around there were plkenty of enforced spots where you rested. There was a lot of travel time in vehicles. All as described in the trip details -

Well organised tour and great tour leader and with plenty of activities and reasonable accommodation. Offers lovely scenery and some challenging hikes, recommended!

The trip was extremely well organised! The day walks were challenging but beautiful and climbing Adams Peak is a must! Our leader Ruwan was exceptional. He really helped us connect with the locals and showed us the culture of Sri Lankan villages. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is curious to see what Sri Lanka has to offer.

A thoroughly enjoyable and well planned trip. Our guide Sujan was great. Hotels of good standard. Good bunch of people.

Two weeks walking tour in Sri Lank. through cultural hotspots, mountain ranges, tea plantations, national parks. An excellent programme for a first discovery of the Country, its traditions, its people and its wildlife.

Good walking and sight seeing and experience of Sri Lanka. Adequate/good hotels.

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.

Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

This 14 night guided walking holiday includes:

 All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 dinner included

All accommodation (see below)

All transport and listed activities

Tour leader throughout

Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)


How to book:

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

  • Oct 2019
  • Nov 2019
  • Dec 2019
  • Mar 2020
  • Apr 2020
  • Jul 2020
  • Aug 2020
  • Oct 2020
  • Nov 2020
  • Dec 2020
  • Jan 2021
  • Feb 2021
  • Mar 2021
  • Apr 2021
  • Jul 2021
  • Aug 2021
DepartingTour only Availability
20th Oct US$2749 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
24th Nov WAS US$2715
US$2449
Save US$266
Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
15th Dec US$2799 Check availability
29th Dec WAS US$2785
US$2649
Save US$136
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DepartingTour only Availability
15th Mar US$2649 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
5th Apr US$2649 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
19th Jul US$2649 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
16th Aug US$2649 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
11th Oct US$2649 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
15th Nov US$2649 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
20th Dec US$2799 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
24th Jan US$2779 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
7th Feb US$2779 Check availability
21st Feb US$2779 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
14th Mar US$2779 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
4th Apr US$2799 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
18th Jul US$2799 Check availability
DepartingTour only Availability
15th Aug US$2799 Check availability

The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Key information

This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus

13 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night full-service camping

8 full and half-day walks

Full porterage throughout

Maximum altitude 2243m

Transfers

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Transportation

We use an air-conditioned minibus but depending on the size there may be two. The back up vehicles will drop us at the start of the walks and meet us again at th end, transporting all our luggage. In Yala National Park we use smaller jeeps. On the train to Ella, seats cannot be reserved in advance, so we just sit where we can on the day.

Joining instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Sri Lankan Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up-to-date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting in Dambulla and ending in Colombo

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Dambulla in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. Accommodation check-in times are normally from around 12 noon.



Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Highlands of Sri Lanka. Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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