Natural and cultural delights of Sri Lanka
Ancient Buddhist shrines, tea plantations, wildlife reserves where elephants roam the beach---thes are the wonders of tropical Sri Lanka.
Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Arrive:||Colombo, Sri Lanka|
|Depart:||Colombo, Sri Lanka|
|Lodging:||12 nights in hotels|
|Meals:||All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner|
|Activity:||Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History|
A mix of easy to moderate walks and hikes
- Full moon festival in Colombo, complete with elephant processions
- Evocative Anuradhapura, where Buddhist shrines date to the 3rd century BC
- Colonial Nuwara Eliya and the highland tea estates
- Wildlife viewing in Yala National Park, with its wild elephants
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.
Early Arab traders who happened upon the teardrop-shaped isle of Sri Lanka called it Serendib, from which we get the English word serendipity, or the making of happy discoveries by chance. This storied isle has always charmed travelers, and it is full of treasures, from rainforests where elephants roam to 2,000-year old ruined royal cities. On this WT Expedition with Trip Leader Ivan Somlai, we explore the glorious legacy of an early Buddhist civilization, walk in rainforest reserves, visit with tea planters, meet young Buddhist monks in their saffron robes, sample the curries, savor the teas—among the best in the world—and visit beautiful Yala National Park, with its extraordinary birdlife and elephant herds. Colorful festivals are a wonderful part of Sri Lanka’s heritage, and our departure witnesses the vibrant Navam Maha Perahera festival, celebrated on the full-moon day of February.
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Colombo / Sri Navam Maha Perahera Festival
In charming Colombo, we explore the local bazaar and attend Navam Maha Perahera, a spectacular pageant held during the full moon each February, complete with elephant processions.
Habarana / Anuradhapura / Sirigiya / Polonnaruwa
We enjoy a jeep safari in Habarana, habitat for Sri Lanka’s incredible biodiversity, including herds of wild elephants. At Anuradhapura, we see the island’s oldest Buddhist shrines, some dating back to the 3rd century BC, and at Sirigirya, we explore the famed rock fortress of King Kashyapa (477-495 AD), with its pavilions and pleasure gardens. We also visit Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s lovely medieval capital.
Temples of Dambulla /Kandy / Elephant Orphanage / Nuwara Eliya
After a sunrise hike to the village of Hiriwaduna, we explore the ancient cave temples at Dambulla, then head to Kandy, with its golden-roofed 16th century Temple of the Tooth, where a tooth of the Buddha is said to be preserved. We visit the Pinnewela Elephant Orphanage en route to the highlands to the beautiful colonial town of Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by mountains and tea plantations.
Yala National Park
Descending to the coast at Yala National Park, we enjoy a game drive to search for painted storks, troops of monkeys, and herds of elephants. Our beachside hotel has nature trails and an inviting pool.
Yala National Park / Galle / Hikkaduwa
After a safari in the park, we head for the ancient trading post of Galle, a World Heritage Site on the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka. Here we stroll past the Dutch church, the Governor’s house, spice warehouses, court square, the lighthouse, and city ramparts, and the next day, enjoy a boat cruise in the mangrove waterways. We also visit the eco-friendly Handugugda Tea Estate, with its acclaimed Virgin White Tea, deemed the purest tea of all. Depart via Colombo on Day 13.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
What the Trip is Like
This trip is rated 2+, easy to moderate. Accommodations are in hotels. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended and occasionally we must take off shoes to visit temples. There are nature walks and hikes at archaeological sites throughout the itinerary.
Departures & Leaders
Feb 14-26, 2014 Ivan Somlai
Prices are for 2014
Per person, based on double occupancy
$4995 (13-15 members)
$5295 (10-12 members)
$5595 (5-9 members)
Single supplement: $975
Forced single supplement: $775
more on pricing
Trip Cost Includes:
- Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
- Accommodations in hotels
- All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
- Tea and coffee at all meals
- Ground transportation and entrance fees
- Group airport transfers for passengers arriving Day 1 and departing Day 13
Trip Cost Does Not Include:International airfare, meals not specified after each itinerary day (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, hotels en route to or on return from Colombo or additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, individual arrival/departure airport transfers, visa fees, cost of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, bottled water laundry, etc.).
Trip Payment Schedule
At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance
Ivan Somlai, educated in Europe, Canada, and Asia, holds an MA in Culture and has postgraduate qualifications in International Management. He was one of only three foreigners granted a scholarship from the Nepalese government to undertake postgraduate studies in that country. A former Olympian, he has explored on numerous alpine expeditions, taught mountaineering leadership courses, and guided heli-skiing in his home country of Canada. Ivan also spent two decades working in Nepal, where among his projects he taught mountaineering at the Nepal Mountaineering School and established the Himalayan Rescue Post at Manang. In his Canadian university career, Ivan coordinated collaborative projects in various sectors around the globe, including China, Mongolia, Indonesia, and Russia, to facilitate training programs for public service. In his present work as Director of Global Collaboration, Ivan continues participatory project development. Since some of his recent activities include co-coordinating a multinational effort to garner resources for a health sciences university in Nepal and governance work in northern Pakistan. Ivan has been a WT Trip Leader since 1987, guiding in Asia, Europe, and North America, and has a passion for sharing culture, mountains, and everything that goes with them.
Ivan is an extraordinary leader. His kind and gentle yet firm, steadfast leadership made this trip a most memorable one.Alba L., Ridgewood NJ
Mongolia: The Altai Mountains Trek
Ivan was a great Trip Leader. He was very good at keeping the group organized and he was interesting and fun to be with.Hanni D., Santa Monica CA
Ivan was an outstanding Trip Leader. He worked very hard to make the trip a great experience for all.Tom M., Fairfax VA