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The Best of Sri Lanka

DURATION

12 days

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

Trip Difficulty
DIFFICULTY
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LOCATION

Asia, Sri Lanka

MEETING POINT

Bandaranaike International Airport

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Welcome to The Bucket List Company’s Best of Sri Lanka Trip! This is an incredible opportunity to explore the sights, sounds, and flavours of one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From ancient temples to lush tea plantations, this trip is designed to give you a taste of everything that Sri Lanka has to offer.

Our adventure begins in the bustling capital city of Colombo, where we’ll have the chance to explore the city’s vibrant markets, museums, and historic landmarks. From there, we’ll head to the stunning Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 5th century AD.

Next, we’ll journey into the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country, where we’ll visit a tea plantation and learn about the process of growing, harvesting, and processing tea. We’ll also have the chance to sample some of the world’s finest teas and enjoy breathtaking views of the rolling hills and verdant valleys that make up this stunning landscape.

Our adventure continues with a visit to the ancient city of Kandy, home to the famous Temple of the Tooth, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world. We’ll also have the opportunity to witness traditional Kandyan dance performances and explore the city’s colourful streets and markets.

From Kandy, we’ll head south to the picturesque coastal town of Galle, where we’ll explore the historic Dutch Fort and soak up the sun on some of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches.

Throughout the trip, we’ll be staying in some of Sri Lanka’s amazing accommodations, including hotels and traditional guesthouses. Our expert guides will provide insider knowledge about the country’s culture, history, and natural wonders, ensuring that you have an unforgettable experience.

So what are you waiting for? Join us on The Bucket List Company’s Best of Sri Lanka Trip and cross this amazing destination off your bucket list!

sri lanka map

What is 'The Best of Sri Lanka' like?

The Best of Sri Lanka Gallery

What's Included In Our The Best of Sri Lanka

All Activities Mentioned In The Itinerary All Activities Mentioned In The Itinerary

Max 16 Travellers Per Group Max 16 Travellers Per Group

3* Hotels & Guest Houses (Twin Share) 3* Hotels & Guest Houses (Twin Share)

Private Transport Private Transport

11 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners 11 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners

Expert Guides With You Throughout The Trip Expert Guides With You Throughout The Trip

The Best of Sri Lanka Itinerary

  • Day 1: WELCOME TO SRI LANKA!

    WELCOME TO SRI LANKA! Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in nearby Negombo. Here you will meet your leader and fellow travellers during a 6 pm welcome meeting. If you arrive early, perhaps take some time to relax on the golden-sand beach under a canopy of blue sky.

  • Day 2: NEGOMBO - WILPATTU

    NEGOMBO - WILPATTU Rise early this morning for a visit to the Negombo fish market. Morning is the best time to visit the market – your leader will help you navigate the organised frenzy of vendors displaying delicacies like crab, lobsters, and squid. Say goodbye to Negombo and make the drive to Wilpattu National Park. Enjoy the afternoon Jeep Safari at the Wilpattu National Park. Discover the charm of the tropical wilderness of Sri Lanka at its best on a Wilpattu National Park safari. Ride along in a jeep with a driver and spot the glory of the untamed wildlife — a must for lovers of tropical wildlife. After an exciting day of wildlife spotting, retire to your campsite for dinner.

  • Day 3: WILPATTU - ANURADHAPURA - SIGIRIYA

    WILPATTU - ANURADHAPURA - SIGIRIYA Today you will head to Anuradhapura, the northern point of Sri Lanka’s ‘cultural triangle’, which also contains Polonnaruwa to the east and Kandy to the southwest. This area is bursting with stunning temples and sites of cultural and religious importance. The city of Anuradhapura is one of the country’s most historically significant places and its first ancient capital. Take a step back in time as your leader guides you through the giant stupas of Ruwanweliseya and Jetawanaramaya, and ponder the rise and fall of ancient civilisations as you explore crumbling temples and ruins. Pay a visit to the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree Temple – home to a sacred bodhi tree planted in 236, believed to be the oldest human-planted tree in the world. Stop by the ancient temple of Isurumuniya and see its beautiful carvings that tell stories that are thousands of years old. In the afternoon proceed to Sigiriya and check in to your hotel.

  • Day 4: SIGIRIYA - POLONNARUWA - SIGIRIYA

    SIGIRIYA - POLONNARUWA - SIGIRIYA Early this morning, before the heat is too intense, head to Sigiriya. This ruined fortress is one of Sri Lanka's premier sights.  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. In the afternoon you will make your way to Polonnaruwa to continue your explorations of the cultural triangle by bicycle. Following Anuradhapura as the Sinhalese and Chola capital in the 10th century, the area is strewn with ancient riches, and in better condition than the ruins of its predecessor. Discover well-preserved temples, tombs, and stupas in Polonnaruwa’s Quadrangle complex – it’s not hard to imagine what this place looked like in all its former glory. Visit the remains of the seven-storey palace built by King Parakramabahu, the rock temple of Gal Vihara, the giant stupa of Rankot Vihara, and the ancient Buddha image house of Lankatilaka, covered in intricate carvings and housing a towering statue of Buddha. Stop by the incredible statue of Parakrama I; at 100 metres tall this is a truly impressive sight. In the evening return to your hotel in Sigiriya.

  • Day 5: SIGIRIYA - MATALE - KANDY

    SIGIRIYA - MATALE - KANDY Leave Sigiriya and head onwards to Kandy, the last capital of Sri Lanka’s ancient kings’ era. As you continue on, a stop in at a spice garden might yield scents of cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, vanilla and more as you learn the secrets of cultivating these palate pleasers. After arriving in Kandy, visit the temple that holds a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. Aptly named Temple of the Tooth, it is one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred places and no matter your spiritual inclination, the hush of the temple and the atmosphere of reverence is incredibly powerful. Later, enjoy the late afternoon with free exploration of the city. Perhaps take a walk around the beautiful lake in the centre of town. This evening, join your group for a traditional dance performance set to traditional music with percussive rhythms.

  • Day 6: KANDY - NUWARA ELIYA - ELLA

    KANDY - NUWARA ELIYA - ELLA After breakfast hit the road by private vehicle past lush green hills to Nuwara Eliya (3 hours), a former colonial hill station built entirely during the 19th century. The old-world architecture reflects what you might expect to find in an English village, and the town is a fascinating mix of water buffalo and brick Victorian buildings, golf courses, and tea plantations. From here board a train to Ella (Approx. 2.5 hours). Enjoy views across the hills and tea plantations from your accommodation this evening.

  • Day 7: ELLA

    ELLA Today we will have a full-day Village Tour in Udawadiya (Ella). With the sunrise, you will be picked up from Ella town by Safari Jeep and after a 1-hour drive will arrive at the beautiful, unpolluted, hidden village of Udawadiya. Sit in the glorious paddy fields that will provide different vistas depending on the time of the year. Enjoy a meal that can be vegan or vegetarian, or mix it up as part of a full English fry-up with all the trimmings. Later visit a place where Kithul Treacle and Toddy were manufactured. Toddy is a local alcoholic drink made by fermenting the sap of the coconut flower or Kithul’s Flower. As the sun rises over the Udawadiya waterfall you can see a spiral of smoke from the little mud and daub hut that stands sentry right at the edge of the cliff. You will enjoy a Village Lunch. There you can see how the villagers weave Palmyrah Leaf baskets and “Thawalama” which were used as the method of goods transportation using bulls, especially for business purposes through difficult jungle roads.

  • Day 8: ELLA - YALA/TISSAMAHARAMA

    ELLA - YALA/TISSAMAHARAMA This morning enjoy a hike to Ella Rock. Climb up to the sky and stand suspended over the white clouds enjoying the beauty of scenic Sri Lankan highlands. Regarded as the world's best walks, Ella Rock is a superb hiking spot in Ella with stunning views of magnificently vegetated hillsides. The trekking trail of Ella Rock is quite interesting with its challenging existence and unmatched scenery. Upon completion proceed to Yala and in the afternoon, head to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka's premier wildlife reserve. Here you’ll board a 4x4 and embark on a safari through open grasslands, lush forest and tranquil lagoons. Your guide will carefully listen out for the rustling of concealed animals that would go unnoticed by those not in the know. There's a good chance of spotting crocodiles, elephants, monkeys and buffaloes and if you are lucky, you may even spot a leopard – the park is considered one of the best places in the world to see these ever-elusive beauties. After an exciting day of wildlife spotting, retire to your resort for dinner. Located near the less-visited back gate of Yala National Park, your tranquil accommodation offers quick access to wildlife, without the large coaches frequently found at the front gates.

  • Day 9: YALA/TISSAMAHARAMA - GALLE

    YALA/TISSAMAHARAMA - GALLE Start your day with a short drive (approximately 2.5 hours) to the small town of Unanwitiya, your jumping-off point for an exciting day kayaking down the Gin River. After instruction from our expert guides, cruise down the clear waters of the river as it winds its way downstream on a mixture of occasional white but mostly flat water. Paddle past dense forests, huge sandbanks, tea plantations and rice paddy fields while keeping an eye out for monitor lizards, colourful birds and the occasional troop of monkeys. After the kayaking, head to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage coastal city of Galle. Once the main port for the cinnamon trade, this former Portuguese then Dutch colonial city features a maze of rambling streets, colonial buildings, mansions, ancient churches, a characterful lighthouse, and its crowning jewel, the imposing 17th-century fort. Surrounded on three sides by the ocean, this is surely one of the most dramatic structures in all of Sri Lanka. Start your exploration on an afternoon cycling tour of Galle Fort, then get to know the city more intimately on a walking tour along the ramparts and winding streets of the Fort. Head to relaxed Galle in the evening for a well-earned rest after an active day.

  • Day 10: GALLE

    GALLE Full Day at Leisure!

  • Day 11: GALLE - COLOMBO

    GALLE - COLOMBO Bid farewell to Galle and make your way to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s bustling capital city. Follow your leader through the buzzing streets of the Colombo Fort on a walking tour. Make a stop at the Pettah fruit and vegetable market where you’ll be fully immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of Colombo as you watch vendors and shoppers go about their business. Visit the striking candy cane-coloured Red Mosque and its soaring minarets that can be seen from across the city. Further explorations will reveal Dutch- and British-influenced architecture, a hangover from the city’s colonial past. In the afternoon you are free to do some shopping in Colombo.

  • Day 12: COLOMBO - DEPARTURE

    COLOMBO - DEPARTURE This marks the end of your Sri Lankan adventure.

  • Day 1

    4* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 2

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  • Day 3

    4* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 4

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  • Day 5

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  • Day 6

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 7

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 8

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  • Day 9

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 10

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  • Day 11

    4* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 12

    Flight
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The Best of Sri Lanka Dates & Availability

Our Trailblazer trips

Trailblazer trips are our first run-throughs of our trips. Get the benefits of a Bucketlister+ Trip at the cost of a Bucketlister and all we’ll ask for in return is your feedback!

For more information click here!

Trailblazer trips are our first run-throughs of our trips. Get the benefits of a Bucketlister+ Trip at the cost of a Bucketlister and all we’ll ask for in return is your feedback!

For more information click here!

Our Bucket Lister Trips

Bucketlister trips are our standard for all our incredible trips. When you book a Bucketlister trip we will organise everything for you from the first to the last location on your adventure and you’ll have a local guide with you every step of the way. All you’ll need to organise is your own flights and transfers. (Additional Options for Land Only Transfers)

Bucketlister trips are our standard for all our incredible trips. When you book a Bucketlister trip we will organise everything for you from the first to the last location on your adventure and you’ll have a local guide with you every step of the way. All you’ll need to organise is your own flights and transfers. (Additional Options for Land Only Transfers)

The Best of Sri Lanka Reviews

The Best of Sri Lanka Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need a visa to travel to Sri Lanka?

    Yes, all visitors to Sri Lanka require a visa. You can apply for an e-visa online before your trip, or obtain a visa on arrival at the airport.


  • What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

    The best time to visit Sri Lanka is between December and March, when the weather is dry and sunny in most parts of the country. However, Sri Lanka can be visited year-round, with different regions experiencing different weather patterns.


  • What is the official language of Sri Lanka?

    The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil, but English is widely spoken and understood in most parts of the country.


  • What currency is used in Sri Lanka?

    The currency used in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR). You can exchange foreign currency at banks and currency exchange counters throughout the country.


  • What plug adapter do I need for Sri Lanka?

    The plugs used in Sri Lanka are Type D, M, and G, so it’s a good idea to bring a universal adapter.


  • What should I wear in Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka is a conservative country, and visitors are expected to dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and other religious sites. It’s a good idea to bring lightweight, breathable clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.


  • Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka is generally a safe country for travelers, with a low crime rate and friendly locals. However, as with any travel destination, it’s a good idea to exercise common sense and take precautions to stay safe.


  • What are some must-see attractions in Sri Lanka?

    Some of the must-see attractions in Sri Lanka include the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, the beaches of Mirissa and Unawatuna, and the Yala National Park.


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