Feefo - Independent reviews
  Contact Us

Request a Brochure | Newsletter

Discover Sri Lanka - Premium

Discover Sri Lanka - Premium

1-800-267-3347

Email us
  • Holiday type
    Guided walking
  • Duration
    14 nights
  • Accommodation
    hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • From $3049per person, tour only
  • Departures
    Selected Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departures from 12 Jan '20 to 14 Nov '21
  • What's Included?
  • All breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • 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
  • 14 nights premium hotels, all en suite
  • Travel by private bus
  • Additional travel by train, bicycle and jeep
  • Some long drives

Sri Lanka:

Discover Sri Lanka - Premium

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • The magnificent cave temples at Dambulla
  • Cycle through rice paddy fields
  • Search leopard in Yala National Park
  • Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya for breathtaking views

Lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a natural paradise with a landscape of verdant mountains, rainforests, paddy fields, tumbling waterfalls and sweeping gorges. From ancient Buddhist temples, the fortress of Sigiriya, the towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in the hill country, the wildlife of Yala National Park (which has one of the highest concentrations of leopards in the world), to the idyllic palm-fringed beaches of the south coast, this small island offers incredible variety, made extra special by its laid back atmosphere and hospitable people.



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



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 Negombo.

The group flight arrives at Colombo's Bandaranaike Airport and we transfer to our hotel approximately 30 minutes away. Those not flying with the group will meet us at the hotel.

Jetwing Lagoon or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 2: Visit cave temples at Dambulla; to Sigiriya.

We depart after breakfast and for approximately 4 hours drive through lush green countryside (a mix of coconut palms, paddy fields and banana plantations) through Kurunegala to Dambulla. Here we visit the magnificent Cave Temple, for some, the most impressive sight in Sri Lanka. There are colourful, well preserved paintings and statues of Buddha inside the caves, which date back to the 1st century BC. After lunch we continue to Sigiriya where we stay for the night. From our hotel we can see Lions Rock rising up from the plains (occasionally we may stay nearer to Dambulla due to hotel availability).

Aliya Resort & Spa or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 3: Morning climb to the rock fortress; optional afternoon game drive.

This morning we drive to the foot of the Lions Rock at Sigiriya. The imposing 5th century rock fortress of Sigiriya rises 600 feet from the plains overlooking the surrounding countryside and giving far-reaching views. Used as a safe haven from invaders, the route to the top goes via a series of steep steps and gangways. From the base, where a moat surrounds impressive water gardens, we ascend 200m, passing an overhanging rock under which superb portraits of native maidens holding flowers and temple offerings still adorn the rock wall. Crowning the flat-topped summit of the rock are extensive remains of the King's Summer Palace.

During the afternoon there is a chance to enjoy an optional game drive in either Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park or the Hurulu Eco Park to see elephants in their natural habitat. For those who don’t want to take part, there is time to relax at the hotel.

Aliya Resort & Spa or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 4: To Giritale; bike ride through country villages.

This morning we have a short drive to Giritale where our usual hotel overlooks the scenic Giritale Tank. The island’s early inhabitants solved the dual problem of heat and lack of water in this dry area by constructing large tanks to act as reservoirs and cool the warm breeze. Nowadays they provide an important habitat for bird life, particularly from August to April. Today we take to bikes and cycle at a leisurely pace through a series of small villages and lakes (if you do not wish to participate you can hire a tuk tuk locally for approximately £10 and follow the group but not cycle). We should see plenty of bird life including Egrets, Brahmany kites, Kingfishers and Bulbuls. Stopping for lunch in a traditional village will break up the journey. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel in Giritale.

Deer Park Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 5: Visit ancient capital of Polonnaruwa; drive to Kandy via spice garden.

After breakfast we take a short drive to the 10th century capital of Sri Lanka; Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of the Sinhalese. Here there are many Buddhist relics and ruins dating from a thousand years ago when Sinhalese culture reached its zenith. The city flourished in the 12th century after the decision was made to move the capital from Anuradhapura, so it was further away from incursions from Southern India. The ruins are therefore younger and better preserved than those at Anuradhapura. We visit many of the temples, palaces, huge dagobas (Buddhist stupas) and remarkable Buddhist sculptures. After lunch we head into the hills to the picturesque town of Kandy. On the way we stop at a spice garden near Matale where we can see various spices and herbs growing, and there is a chance to stock up on massage oils, spices and Ayurvedic medicines. This is a long but fascinating day and we arrive at Kandy in the early evening.

Grand Kandyan Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 6: Free time in Kandy to explore or relax.

Kandy is located by a small lake and we spend two full days in and around the town. On the first day we will visit the Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic. The Tooth of Buddha was taken from the funeral pyre 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 August the most spectacular ceremony takes place. Some of our trips in August should coincide with the Kandy festival, but the exact dates, decided by priests, are not known until 5 months prior to the event. After our visit we drive to a beautiful viewpoint over Kandy overlooked by a huge Buddha, and visit a gem museum where you can see the products of the traditional methods of gem extraction. Another highlight is the vast Peradeniya Botanical Garden with species of orchid that are endemic to Sri Lanka. In the evening we may have the chance to attend a performance of dancing and fire eating.

The second day is free to explore this wonderful town. The surrounding hills are wonderful, offering fantastic views of the town below and there are many handicraft stores and antique shops in which to browse.

Grand Kandyan Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 7: To Nuwara Eliya via Kitulgala; optional Adams Peak climb (Dec-Apr only).

Leaving Kandy early, we have a spectacular drive through the countryside on the way to Kitulgala. Here we have the opportunity of going on a walk through the jungle or local villages followed by an optional white water rafting excursion. The rafting costs extra (see the Optional Excursions section), lasts a maximum of 1.5 hours and there is a choice of gentle or wild water (grade 3 rapids) depending on your preference. Those of us who do not wish to go rafting will be able to freshen up and relax by the water until the rafters return in time for lunch. Afterwards we will drive to our hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

(Please note that from the full moon day of December to the full moon day of May it is possible to climb Adams Peak. This is optional and you need to be very fit to attempt this. You would leave Nuwara Eliya at 11pm on day 8 and drive to the base of the peak. From here it is a strenuous 4 hour climb to the top in time for sunrise. We then return to Nuwara Eliya to join the group for lunch on day 9).

St Andrew's Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 8: Free morning in old colonial hillstation of Nuwara Eliya. Visit tea factory in afternoon.

This morning we will have free time to explore the beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya was a popular hill station during the British era and is situated in the cool highland air at 1890m. Known locally as 'Little England' it is dotted with British style houses and parks and features a golf club and a racecourse! Following lunch we will visit a nearby tea factory and learn about the process of tea production.

St. Andrew's Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 9: Early morning to Horton Plains; walk to World's End viewpoint; to Bandarawela by train.

We have an early start this morning and take a 30km drive south to Horton Plains, a large plateau over 2,000m high, overlooked by the second and third highest peaks in Sri Lanka. The scenery is beautiful and the best way to explore is on foot. We take a guided walk through the rolling grasslands where we hope to see such as the Sambur and Purple Faced monkey. We also visit 'World's End' which is one of the most stunning sights in Sri Lanka where the ground drops 1050m to the plains. Following this we catch a train from the highest railway station in the country - within an hour and a half we drop from 1889m to 1097m. The train travels through the cloud forest into the tea plantations, with breath-taking views of the lush valley below. Please note that at times, particularly in peak season, the train may be extremely busy and as a result we cannot guarantee that the group will be allocated seats together for this train ride. We get off at Bandarawela, a town relatively untouched by tourism.

 

Bandarawela Hotel or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 10: Scenic drive through Ella Gap to Kataragama; game drive in Yala N.P.

Today we continue on to Ella Gap where we have spectacular views of the coastal plain nearly 1,000m below. Almost the entire southern part of the island is in view and on a particularly clear day the shimmering silver of the Indian Ocean is visible. Heading south out of the hills we travel to Kataragama on the plains; this is our base for visiting Sri Lanka's best known national park, Yala. The park is popular for elephant, leopard, bear, crocodile and Wild boar. At 97,800 hectares, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka's national parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has also become better 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. (Please note that the sanctuary may be closed for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the welfare of the animals. We therefore go to an alternative area close by, usually Udawalawe National Park).

Mandara Rosen or alternative accommodation in the area

Day 11: Drive to Tangalle and walk through rice paddies; coastal drive to Ahangama; optional lunch at Tsunami house.

Today we leave for the coast, with its beautiful palm fringed bays. Stopping on the way at Hambantota and walking to a nearby farm house where you be offered tea in a coconut shell along with a local snack. We will mix with real Sri Lankan life and take part in some traditional Sri Lankan games, returning to our bus in tractors used by the farmers. We have the option of enjoying lunch at one of the houses that we built for Tsunami victims; this may be one of the best curries of your trip! Continuing on to Ahangama in the afternoon we arrive at our coastal hotel and you can relax for the rest of the day.

Amari Galle or similar

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

Today is a free day to relax on the beach or by the hotel pool. There are also optional activities during the day including a boat ride through mangrove swamps to a cinnamon plantation or, from November to April you can go whale watching off Dondra head, one of the best places in the world for seeing Blue and Sperm whales. Huge pods of dolphins are also often seen playing alongside the boats.

Amari Galle or similar 

Day 13: To Galle; visit old fort; 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.

Ramada or similar accommodation 

Day 14: End Colombo.

The trip ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be taken to the airport in time for their flight home.

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

You will spend 14 nights in premium hotels. We use a  range of 4 -star hotels, or the local equivalent. These offer more comfort and  the rooms and services are of a higher quality than on standard  Exodus trips. Most  have pools and  excellent facilities as well as restaurants serving a range of  local specialities and international dishes.

Please note that hotels in Sri Lanka are becoming increasingly busy and occasionally we have to find alternatives to the ones that we usually use. We will endeavour to find the nearest alternative that provides the same standard of rooms.

Single accommodation available on request.

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 and 1 lunch is included.

We suggest allowing about £15-£17 (approx. US$24 - US$27.50) per day for all other meals. 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.

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 Headwater 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 or coach depending on the size of the group. Jeeps in Yala National Park and jeeps or a microbus to drive to Horton Plains.

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 Negombo and ending in Colombo

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Negombo 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 2 pm.

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.

From tropical beaches, through steaming jungles to Scottish moorlands Sri Lanka has it all. Where else can you grow where they grow pineapples, coconuts and cashew nuts a few miles down the road from tea, potatoes and leeks? Fantastic scenery, great food and wonderful people.

A tour to be thoroughly recommended, covering all aspects of Sri Lanka and it’s lovely people. Busy, lots of early starts and some long journeys but so worth it. The trip notes were accurate and we were also able to see sights at their most opportune moments, I.e. climbing Lion Rock before breakfast and before the crowds, Temple of the Tooth while a ceremony with drumming was on, Horton Plains early before the heat and the mists descended. Having lunches cooked by villagers and our guide stopping and buying us bananas, watching curd (yogurt) making and tasting it, eating freshly sliced Jack fruit at the roadside. We enjoyed every minute.

Without going into the interesting detail of the trip notes, this tour was well lead by Sujan who was very funny and knowledgeable. Compared to other Exodus holidays it is quite laid back with more time off on most days and reflects the laid back feel of Sri Lanka. The elephant safaris were wonderful and we saw 60 elephants in all.....a bit of excitement!!! had when one rammed the jeep in front, whale watching was fabulous too with 17 sightings of Blue Whale and some mating turtles. The cycling was very relaxed seeing plenty of interesting village life along the river. The hotels were mostly luxurious, always a welcome drink, barely had to move a suitcase as porters dealt with them all, most with pools and a feast for breakfast. Although it was very often only an omelette and fries or club sandwich option for lunch. Most evenings the dinners were in the hotels so this meant you could eat and go to bed when you felt like it. In Late March with 38 degrees and great humidity it was boiling but the air conditioned coach helped tremendously and there were no mosquitos. Do take an umbrella for sightseeing to keep out the sun as a hat didn’t feel enough. Drives that were set to be three hours turned out to be interesting stop and start drives as things were pointed out along the way, A trip I can recommend.

Deservedly one of the top selling trips to a country that prides itself in welcoming visitors. The design of the trip includes much of the green and exciting scenery which highlights the Buddhist nature of the people. The simple act of picking up a caterpillar from the path to avoid killing it, simple but touching. Excellent hotels chosen for their location were another great feature.

This holiday met my expectations and more, It really does live up to its title of ‘Discover Sri Lanka’. The itinerary is comprehensive and varied. In two weeks it looks at the culture and history of this truly beautiful island as well as there being many opportunities to observe its bird and wild life, The hotels on this trip are comfortable and it was good to have a number of stays lasting more than one day. Although I was unable to take part in some of the activities, thiose who did thoroughly enjoyed them. The tour leader was excellent.

Two weeks packed with variety of scenery, wildlife, culture on this beautiful island. The itinerary is well balanced to enable you to experience so many highlights yet still have relaxation time. The hotels, apart from the Orient, were a very high standard and in great locations. I travelled on my own yet always had an enormous double/twin room and felt safe. Our guide Nala and the driving crew were superb, everything was well organised yet flexible enough to allow us to enjoy 'local experiences' which added to our fun. You will return from this trip with so many happy memories.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with very friendly people. We experienced so many different things and visited so many places that gave us an insight into life in Sri Lanka. It was very well organised and it would be hard to see as much as we did without such a tour

Very much recommend this trip to people who like a huge variety of experiences on holidays. The trip notes are very accurate and you will travel through, walk through and stay in many different scenic places ranging from small villages, paddy fields, national parks, hill plantations and beach locations. You have opportunities to see and get close to a range of wild animals, bird life and to have contact with local people and their lives during walks and other activities. There are UNESCO world heritage sites and a range of towns to explore. Above all, there are the lovely, smiley Sri Lankan people to meet.

The holiday was an excellent mix of activities - walking, cycling, exploring wildlife and looking at cultural sights. The hotels, with the exception of the Sevonra Garden, were excellent with good service and helpful staff. The food was great across the hotels, again with the exception of the Savonra Garden, with plenty of Sri Lankan dishes to explore. The changes I would make would be to have longer in Galle as it was such an interesting town and we only had a couple of hours there which was not long enough. Also to factor in less time in the woodcarving shop.

This was my first Exodus trip and was booked to celebrate a big birthday and make wonderful memories and I certainly did that! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as a single traveller but the holiday was fantastic, I needn’t have worried - I was in safe hands with our wonderful guide Ruwan and surrounded by a lovely group of friendly travellers. We did such a lot! Everyday was packed with new experiences from climbing Lion’s Rock to whitewater rafting to watching a snake try to eat a bat!

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 and 1 lunch

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.

  • Jan 2020
  • Mar 2020
  • Jul 2020
  • Sep 2020
  • Oct 2020
  • Nov 2020
  • Dec 2020
  • Jan 2021
  • Feb 2021
  • Mar 2021
  • Jul 2021
  • Sep 2021
  • Oct 2021
  • Nov 2021
DepartingTour only Prices  
12th Jan 2020 WAS US$3255
US$3049
Save US$206
Tour only: Now US$3049 (was US$3255) Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
8th Mar 2020 US$3179 Tour only: US$3179 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
12th Jul 2020 US$3099 Tour only: US$3099 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
20th Sep 2020 US$3049 Tour only: US$3049 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
18th Oct 2020 US$3049 Tour only: US$3049 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
15th Nov 2020 US$3099 Tour only: US$3099 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
13th Dec 2020 US$3349 Tour only: US$3349 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
10th Jan 2021 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
14th Feb 2021 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
7th Mar 2021 US$3349 Tour only: US$3349 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
11th Jul 2021 US$3279 Tour only: US$3279 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
19th Sep 2021 US$3179 Tour only: US$3179 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
17th Oct 2021 US$3179 Tour only: US$3179 Check availability
Check availability
DepartingTour only Prices  
14th Nov 2021 US$3279 Tour only: US$3279 Check availability
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

14 nights premium hotels, all en suite

Travel by private bus

Additional travel by train, bicycle and jeep

Some long drives

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 Headwater 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 or coach depending on the size of the group. Jeeps in Yala National Park and jeeps or a microbus to drive to Horton Plains.

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 Negombo and ending in Colombo

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Negombo 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 2 pm.



Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Discover Sri Lanka - Premium. 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.

We are ATOL registered We are an ABTA member
Independent customer reviews and ratings







If you would like to subscribe to our emails in accordance with our Privacy Policy, please tick this box.

+ Add More Passengers

We can often obtain preferential rates with our travel partners. We can often obtain preferential rates with our travel partners.

We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. During busy periods we cannot always guarantee a specific call time but we promise to try our very best.

By clicking the 'Enquire now' button, you confirm that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy and consent to our use of your information.