Spices of Ceylon

The 'Temple of the Tooth' in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sacred City of Kandy
Old British hill station of Nuwara Eliya
The rock-carved Buddha statues of UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient city of Polonnaruwa
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Dambulla Rock Temples
Chaotic Colombo
The World’s End at Horton Plains
  • Start your trip in Negombo, swing past the best ancient sites (ie sacred bodhi tree). Next up is Cave Temples and Kandy. Then Nuwara Eliya and World’s End for trekking, Ahangama and Galle for beach times, and Colombo for feasting.


    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed in Kandy. While they were there an elephant ate one of the actresses red dresses, so… keep an eye on your frocks ladies. 



    Day 1 - Negombo/Marawila

    Ken says his favourite Sri Lankan breakfast is a big plate of hoppers. No, not the jumping kind. They're wafer thin, cup-shaped pancakes made from rice flour, coconut milk and a splash of palm toddy. Don't leave without trying them.

    • If arriving early in the day, perhaps consider a taxi ride into Colombo
    • Pre-departure meeting in the evening, as well as an optional group dinner
    Sanmali Hotel Marawila or similar

    Day 2-4 - Ancient sites

    Best bits:  walking 1840 steps to the birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism, looking at (but not climbing) the world's oldest known tree and biking around the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.

    Day 2

    • Stop by Mihintale - the birthplace of Sri Lankan buddhism
    • Walk up the 1840 granite steps of Mihintale for awesome views
    • In the afternoon explore the ancient (3rd century BC) city of Anuradhapura, home to the sacred bohdi tree, supposedly the oldest living tree in documented history
    • Take in the sights of the Brazen Palace, the enormous Ruwanveliseya Dagoba, the seated Samadhi Buddha and the ruins of various temples and palaces


    Day 3

    • Stop at Habarana for a village safari and lunch in a local family home
    • Visit the extraordinary Sigiriya (Lion Rock) rock fortress
    • Proceed to Polonnaruwa


    Day 4

    • Hire bikes and set off to explore Polonnaruwa, another ancient city
    • Time permitting, embark on an optional jeep safari in Minneriya National Park
    The Village or similar

    Day 5-6 - Dambulla - Kandy

    If you were a Buddhist hermit in the 3rd century BC, where would you live? The answer is one of 80 spacious caves in Dambulla. Explore markets, gardens and the intriguingly named Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.

    Day 5

    • Check out the Dambulla Cave Temples
    • Travel onwards to Kandy, via the Matale Spice Garden
    • Pay a visit to the Temple of the Tooth
    • Watch a cultural show in the evening

    Day 6

    • Guided tour around Kandy, taking in the botanical gardens and local market
    • Plenty of free time to get to know this pretty town
    Devon Hotel or similar

    Day 7-9 - Nuwara Eliya - World's End - Ella

    Sri Lankan food facts: they love spices, the seafood is amazing and they're not afraid of a little deep frying. Walk it off on a trek to the World's End, where you can see the Indian Ocean over 50km away.

    Day 7

    • Stop off in Nuwara Eliya, known as 'Little England' because of its British-influenced cottages and mansions
    • Enjoy Sri Lankan delicacies, prepared by a local cook
    • Spend the night in a rest house

    Day 8

    • Visit the Hortons Plains Nature Reserve
    • Embark on a guided walk through forest and grassland to 'World's End'
    • Spend the night in a rest house in the hill region of Belihul Oya
    • Take a dip in rock pools

    Day 9

    • Enjoy a scenic trip to Ella, a town boasting amazing coastal views
    Lesuire Village or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 10-11 - Ahangama - Galle

    If you've finished all your books and your iPod's gone flat why not try surfing? Nobody will laugh when you fall off (maybe). And even if you're terrible, surfing works up an appetite so those fresh fruit smoothies will go down a treat. 

    Day 10

    • Descend from the altitude to the beaches of the south coast
    • Pass seaside villages and sweeping bays before arriving at the funky beach town of Ahangama

    Day 11

    • Laze on the beach, check out the famous stilt fishermen or visit historic Galle
    Insight Resort or similar

    Day 12-13 - Colombo

    Not to be confused with the one-eyed homicide detective, the capital of Sri Lanka is full of things to do. Visit Gangaramaya Temple, Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam Kovil Hindu (try saying that three times fast), grab some street food at Galle Face and drink from an orange coconut.

    Day 12

    • Make the most of a free afternoon to explore Colombo
    • Enjoy an optional final dinner with the group

    Day 13

    • The trip ends this morning after breakfast
    Concord Hotel or similar
  • What's Included

    • • Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughlout the tour, and local site guides at some sites.

      • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): ancient city of Anuradhapura; Dambulla Cave Temples; and Matale Spice Garden.

      • Walks to Mihintale – the birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism, Sigiriya (Lion Rock) rock fortress, and to 'World’s End’ in Horton Plains Nature Reserve.

      • Bike ride around the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.

      • Two nights in Kandy including a visit to the Temple of the Tooth to witness the daily Thewawa ceremony.

      • A night in a rest house in Nuwara Eliya, with our own cook preparing Sri Lankan delicacies.

      • A night in a rest house in Belihul Oya with access to a rock pool and a nature walk.

      • Time to relax on the beaches of Unawatuna and free time to explore Colombo.

      • Train from Haputale to Ella.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, local payments, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, all other meals, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature, laundry and flights unless specified. Some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your city guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
    04 Jan 2015 - 16 Jan 2015 Fully Booked US $2,070 Contact us
    15 Mar 2015 - 27 Mar 2015 Available US $1,665 Book Now
    19 Apr 2015 - 01 May 2015 Available US $1,600 Book Now
    21 Jun 2015 - 03 Jul 2015 Available US $1,775 Book Now
    05 Jul 2015 - 17 Jul 2015 Available US $1,775 Book Now
    27 Sep 2015 - 09 Oct 2015 Available US $1,775 Book Now
    25 Oct 2015 - 06 Nov 2015 Available US $1,845 Book Now
    22 Nov 2015 - 04 Dec 2015 Available US $1,990 Book Now
    27 Dec 2015 - 08 Jan 2016 Available US $2,095 Book Now
    03 Jan 2016 - 15 Jan 2016 Available US $2,095 Book Now
    31 Jan 2016 - 12 Feb 2016 Available US $2,095 Book Now
    28 Feb 2016 - 11 Mar 2016 Available US $2,015 Book Now
    13 Mar 2016 - 25 Mar 2016 Available US $2,015 Book Now
    03 Apr 2016 - 15 Apr 2016 Available US $1,940 Book Now
    17 Apr 2016 - 29 Apr 2016 Available US $1,940 Book Now
    19 Jun 2016 - 01 Jul 2016 Available US $1,940 Book Now
    03 Jul 2016 - 15 Jul 2016 Available US $1,940 Book Now
    25 Sep 2016 - 07 Oct 2016 Available US $2,015 Book Now
    23 Oct 2016 - 04 Nov 2016 Available US $2,015 Book Now
    20 Nov 2016 - 02 Dec 2016 Available US $2,095 Book Now
    25 Dec 2016 - 06 Jan 2017 Available US $2,095 Book Now
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Spices of Ceylon

    Stephen - Australia, 4 Feb, 2104
    Overall Rating

    The trip was fantastic giving a great sense of Sri Lanka's past and present. The first week was particularly busy to the point that I'd suggest a little more free time.

    Spices of Ceylon

    Mary - United States, 20 Jan, 2014
    Overall Rating

    This was my first 'big bus' tour. It was so well organized, Sujee was a fantastic and funny guide, and I was happy with all but two of the accommodations, which is why I said good instead of excellent. I loved that we had a bit of free time, especially at the beach, and that once inside the monuments we could venture off on our own or stay with Sujee. I felt we were given plenty of time to enjoy the sites, except when we went to Galle. I could have spent all day there, or at least another hour. Our bus driver and the assistant, Nisa, were fantastic. Ready with umbrellas when needed. It was nice to sit back and relax and let someone else take care of the details. One of my favorite things were the roadside cafes where we ate. They were cheap and delicious, spicy, vegetarian. Loved this and the meal the local family cooked for us especially. And Sujee? Sujee is the man. There is no problem he cannot solve.

13 days
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