Best of Sri Lanka

Intrepid Travel Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
15 days
From: $ 2,227 $ 148 / day
Checking price


Highlights (Bullets)

  • Ride around the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura on a bike tour, cycling through the jungle to see the dagobas, palaces, and pools of a city abandoned over 1000 years ago.
  • Climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya to the ancient ruins that lie atop the 200-metre-high summit and get panoramic views over the surrounding wilderness.
  • Explore the divine city of Kandy, mingling with pilgrims at the Temple of the Tooth, touring a tea factory, and taking in the views of this lush lakefront town.
  • Fall in love with Sri Lankan food and get to know locals during experiences like lunching with a Tamil tea worker and a home-cooking demonstration.
  • Unwind on the sandy beaches of Mirissa, where the waters are clear and warm, and monkeys play in the swaying palms that line the shores.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Zero Plastic. Donations help them educate Sri Lankan communities about the impact of plastic on the environment and reduce plastic pollution in the UNESCO-listed Sigiriya.

Short Description

This tour eliminates guess work and immerses you in the must-sees, must-tastes and must-meets of this beautiful country. In other words, the best stuff. Like summiting Lion Rock in Sigiriya, cycling through sprawling ancient city ruins in Anuradhapura and touring massive granite Buddha carvings in Polonnaruwa. But the best doesn’t just mean the biggest. The best is also having lunch with a Tamil tea worker in their home, relaxing with a cold beer and your feet in the sand in Mirissa and hiking between plantations and villages in Haputale. In fact, we think the best is doing all that and more in one 15-day tour.

Style Small group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Negombo
End City Colombo


Sri Lanka

Attractions & Cities Visited

Colombo Dambulla Kandy Mirissa Negombo Polonnaruwa Sigiriya

Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement


No Single Supplement
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Day 1 Negombo

Ayubowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to the international airport. There are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Those who arrive early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.

Day 2 Anuradhapura

You will leave Negombo after breakfast, and along the way visit the Negombo Fish Markets. Your private vehicle takes you to ancient Anuradhapura via the small town of Chilaw. Those keen on history and archaeology might like to visit Mihintale, the sacred birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism, a recommended optional activity. The price of this will depend on the number of people sharing the vehicle.

Day 3 Anuradhapura

A guided bicycle tour of the city will take place today. Among the ruins, you'll see the sacred old Bo Tree, a spiritual reminder of the beginnings of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and the inspiration for Anuradhapura's great buildings. The ruins themselves are spread over quite an area, some in woodland settings and others appearing park-like with columns and ponds dotted about.

Day 4 Polonnaruwa

Travel on to Polonnaruwa, the capital of the Indian Chola Dynasty after Anuradhapura was conquered in the late 10th century. These ruins are close together and generally in much better repair than those you have just seen. Cycling amid the remains of 1000-year-old Polonnaruwa is once again the best way to get around. Once the heat of the day has eased you'll visit more palaces, temples, and stupas. A likely highlight will be the massive stone Buddhas: 14-metre-high granite carvings of the iconic reclining Buddha which represent the zenith of Sinhalese rock carving. You'll also visit the well laid-out museum, which has scale models of many of the buildings to show how they would have existed in their time.

Day 5 Dambulla

Depart Polonnaruwa this morning and travel to Dambulla by private vehicle. Explore the amazing Dambulla Cave Temples which are located high on a stone cliff face, with numerous steps to enter. Some 150 Buddha images adorn the five caves, with fascinating frescoes and paintings on the walls and roofs. In the afternoon, you may like to relax by the hotel pool or take an optional wildlife jeep safari to Minneriya, Kaudulla, or Eco National Park where you might spot some wild elephants with a bit of luck. Which park is available to visit depends on the season, but both Minneriya and Kaudulla are within easy reach of Dambulla. 

Day 6 Sigiriya – Kandy

Early this morning, before the heat is too intense, head to Sigiriya. This ruined fortress is one of Sri Lanka's premier sights. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with astounding views. Make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear, as this is a very steep climb with some uneven slopes. Those unable to climb to the top can explore the gardens at the base of the rock and still get some fantastic shots of the fortress from below. Return to the hotel to freshen up before heading to Kandy. On the way, there's the option of stopping at one of the region's wonderful spice gardens for lunch and to learn about the medicinal properties of ingredients used in cooking and treatments. In beautifully located Kandy, visit the Dalada Maligawa (aka Temple of the Tooth), Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist site, and mingle with the white-clad pilgrims who come here to worship. Time permitting, you'll have the option of visiting the National Museum or the world-class Botanical Gardens.

Day 7 Kandy

Today you will visit a nearby tea factory and take a guided tour to learn about the production of Sri Lanka's best-known beverage. Of course, you will also sample some of the delicious varieties while you're here.  Your hotel in Kandy, located far from the noise and bustle of the city, is a great place to unwind with lovely views over the town.

Day 8 Bandarawela

Start your day with a scenic train journey to Bandarawela, passing through tea plantations and winding along mountains into the highlands. Once in Bandarawela, you will visit a local home for a cooking demonstration to learn some secrets of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Enjoy the delicious meal afterward.

Day 9 Haputale

Drive to the starting point for our walk today. This hike takes you through picturesque tea plantations and small Tamil villages. Lunch will be arranged at Tamil tea worker’s house. Tonight's accommodation is in a comfortable local lodge. Total walk distance: 12km Time: 4-5 hours

Day 10 Udawalawe Jungle Camp

Embrace an early start this morning and take the train to Idalgashinna. Take a walk to explore more of the beautiful surroundings of Sri Lanka's Hill Country (walk will take approximately 4.5 hours). Enjoy this chance to meet the tea pickers along the way and stop for an included lunch in Haldummulla. After eating, make the drive to tonight’s jungle camp accommodation at Udawalawe, stopping en route at Diyaluma Falls. Your accommodation this evening is a lake-facing camp that backs onto a forest reserve where many herbs used in ayurvedic medicine are grown. When you arrive, you can choose to go on a short tour of the local village.

Day 11 Mirissa

There’s a chance this morning to take an optional excursion to Udawalawe National Park to look for elephants, just keep in mind that participating will require a wake-up call of around 4.30 am. Alternatively, you could sleep in and then choose to visit a local home to watch curd being made, or head to a nearby ayurvedic medicine manufacturing centre. Speak to your leader about these optional activities in advance for details. Later, set off to Mirissa by private bus. This is your paradise for two days of relaxation, with your comfortable accommodation just metres from the water.

Day 12 Mirissa

Enjoy a day of beach splendour in Mirissa. The beach itself is a long curve of sand with lovely clear waters for swimming – a great spot to watch the sunset. Consider taking a bicycle ride or tuk-tuk to nearby Weligama, where colourful fishing boats bring fresh fish to sell along the shore or Explore the UNESCO World Heritage coastal city of Galle by bicycle. From September to April there is an optional whale-watching excursion. Please ask your leader as you'll need to book at least one day in advance.

Day 13 Galle

Head further down the coast. Arrive in Galle, home to an impressive World Heritage-listed Dutch fort with extensive walls and many interesting old buildings. Along the way to drop into a centuries-old Buddhist temple and meet our local artisan friend Mr Sunil. A traditional woodcarving expert, he will take you through a practical demonstration of the craft and encourage you to give it a go yourself. In the evening, enjoy a stroll around the historic fort and watch the sunset from the ramparts.

Day 14 Colombo

Leaving Galle, we travel on to Colombo by train, the nation's capital. Stop by some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament, and past the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fairtrade Store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. If you are lucky enough to be in Colombo on a Saturday, visit Good Market, a local market full of stalls showcasing social enterprises and responsible businesses. Tonight there's an optional final group dinner to celebrate your journey together.

Day 15 Colombo

Your trip comes to an end today, with no activities planned. If you'd like to stay longer, just speak to your booking agent.


Checking price
Price From $ 2,227
Price Per Day: $ 148 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceAvailability 
Sep-22-2023Oct-06-2023$ 2,227Sold Out Reserve
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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

4,320 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,248
Great 675
Average 140
Disappointing 77
Terrible 180

Best of Sri Lanka

I gace this score because if people

I gace this score because if people are looking for in terms of culture travel and accomoodation then this would be the one I would recommend

Our guide was fantastic and very informative

Our guide was fantastic and very informative nothing was a problem, we were all different and he tried to please us all without any problems

The Tour was great for persons our

The Tour was great for persons our age (60+). Physical commitment, new experiences and a wonderful tour leader and country, Sri Lanka, to visit. The Tour had everything as expected , trains, bikes, buses, trekking and great food. Well scheduled.
Read more

The Tourleader did his best job and

The Tourleader did his best job and tried to make our time in Sri Lanka as beautiful as it was.

It was great trip, could not have

It was great trip, could not have asked for more.

I have been on 5 Intrepid trips

I have been on 5 Intrepid trips now all over different places in the world but Indika is by far the best guide I have ever had!


Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private vehicle,Public Bus,Train,Bicycle

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12


Hotels (12 nights),Guesthouse (1 night),Permanent Tented Camp (with basic facilities) (1 nt)


All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Fairway Colombo
  • No. 07, Hospital Street
  • Colombo 01
  • Colombo
  • Phone: +94 112153153

Trip ID#:


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