Sri Lanka

An Insider’s Journey into the Island of Serendipity


Join veteran Trip Leader Annie Hawkins to discover the golden temples, terraced tea plantations, and 2,000-year-old culture of Sri Lanka. We’ll explore the 12th century temple-ruins of Polonnaruwa, hike up the stone steps of King Kashyapa’s fortress at Sigiriya, visit cool green highlands where tea is cultivated, sample the famous fish curries, and look for wildlife at Yala National Park, haunt of elephant and leopard. Annie’s deep local connections bring us into the heart of Sri Lanka as we meet a wonderful array of people, from tea planters to art collectors to monks who follow the traditions of Theravada Buddhism, introduced to the island in the 3rd century BC.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-5
Colombo / Anuradhapura / Polonnaruwa / Sigiriya

After a visit to Colombo’s markets, we head to our lovely resort hotel near Sigiriya. Here we’ll explore by jeep to look for herds of wild elephants, then visit the three royal cities of ancient Sri Lanka: the garden pavilions of Anuradhapura, the graceful pagodas of 10th century Polonnaruwa, and King Kashyapa’s impressive citadel of Sigiriya. All three are World Heritage Sites. We’ll also be welcomed at a local school and in the historic village of Angampora, where we can watch students at a martial arts academy perform angampora, the ancient Sri Lankan fighting art.

Galle Face Hotel
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Aliya Resort
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Days 3 to 5 (3 nights)
Days 6-10
Dambulla / Kandy / Nuwara Eliya / Ella

After a climb up to the great cave-temple complex at Dambulla, we’ll be welcomed for a private lunch in the home of a local professor and art collector. In Kandy, the hill capital and last stronghold of the Sinhala kings, we’ll see the famous 16th century Temple of the Tooth, and from our heritage hotel above colonial Nuwara Eliya, walk through tea plantations and learn the fine art of “tasting” tea. A short rail journey brings us to the peaceful town of Ella, where we can enjoy a village bike ride and a lesson in preparing Sri Lankan cuisine.

Cinnamon Citadel Hotel
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
Heritance Tea Factory
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Day 8 (1 night)
Jetwing Kaduruketha
Wellawaya, Sri Lanka
Days 9 to 10 (2 nights)
Days 11-13
Yala National Park / Galle

In Yala, we look for fabulous bird life, troops of monkeys chattering in the trees, and herds of wild elephant. After walking the ramparts of the historic seaside trading post of Galle, founded as a Dutch fort, we depart on Day 13 via Colombo.

Jetwing Yala
Tissamaharana, Sri Lanka
Day 11 (1 night)
Lighthouse Hotel Galle
Galle, Sri Lanka
Day 12 (1 night)



Explore Anuradhapura, where Buddhist shrines date to the 3rd century BC, colonial Nuwara Eliya, and the Buddhist cave temples of Dambulla
Charming accommodations, from seaside hotels to chalets set among rice paddies
Be welcomed into Sri Lankan culture, meeting monks, tea planters, artists, and students


Length: 13 days
Cost From: $7195  
Arrive: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Lodging: 12 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

A mix of easy to moderate walks and hikes, cultural explorations