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.
Accommodation: Sanmali Hotel Marawila or similar, Negombo
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.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts
Accommodation: The Village or similar, Polonnaruwa
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.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Devon Hotel or similar, 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.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Accommodation: Lesuire Village or similar, NuwaraEliya
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.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Insight Resort or similar, Ahangama
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.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Concord Hotel or similar, 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.
• 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.
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.
Local Emergency Contacts In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact Gecko’s Sri Lanka office on +94 11 256 4584 during business hours or after hours on +94 716 105 296
Please note that if you have paid for a single supplement, this does not apply for nights 3 and 4 in Polonnaruwa, as this is a home stay and facilities do not allow for single rooms.
Tickets for the scenic train journey on Day 9 from Haputale to Ella cannot be purchased in advance. Your tour leader will purchase them on the morning of Day 9 and tickets are subject to availability.
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Geckos does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available here.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
24 July 2014