Sri Lanka and Maldives
Dates: 07 – 22 October 2023
Length: 16 Days | 15 nights
Small group: Min 6 | Max 12 guests
Price: $10390 – your own room
Sri Lanka offers some of the best wildlife encounters. And you won’t miss a thing as you join us on a boat safari, bird watching, 4 x 4 Jeep safaris through various national parks, and more.
Experience the natural beauty of tea country as you embark on one of the world’s most scenic train journeys. There’s an opportunity to vist a tea plantation and enjoy tea tastings.
You’ll visit ancient capitals, the Polonnaruwa Archeological site, and climb the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Plus enjoy the Kandy cultural show, cooking classes and visits to the local spice plantations.
Enjoy 3 nights of pure relaxation at the gorgeous Sun Siyam Olhuveli with all meals included (package upgrade options available)
Day 1: 7 October
Upon arrival at Colombo airport, you’ll be met by a private driver and transferred to your hotel in Negombo.
The town of Negombo is a seaside resort town on the west coast of Sri Lanka, just a short drive from the nation’s capital, Colombo. It has been an important trading port for both the Dutch and Portuguese throughout Sri Lanka’s history. Its palm tree-lined streets, the natural beauty of the beaches, and it’s less crowded than Colombo make it the perfect first stop to embark on your Sri Lanka adventure.
Overnight: Pegasus Reef Hotel or similar (D)
Day 2: 8 October
Negombo – Pinnawala – Habarana
This morning you’ll embark on a 2-hour private Muthurajawela boat safari. Enjoy the tranquillity as you cruise around these beautiful, wildlife-rich wetlands. Explore the mangroves and inlets and learn about its fragile ecosystem. You’ll watch the herons, water monitors, birds and crocodiles, and may have the opportunity to visit a local fishing village for a glimpse of local life.
Later, you’ll travel onwards to Habarana with a stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Home to approximately 60 Elephants (of which around 50 are just babies) found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared for and fed by the local wildlife authority. There is an opportunity to see them being bottle-fed and bathing in the nearby river.
You’ll arrive in Habarana in the afternoon. This small city in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka provides a great base to explore the country’s historical sites and famous ruins.
Overnight: Habarana Village by Cinnamon (3 nights) (B, D)
Day 3: 9 October
Habarana – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya – Habarana
This morning you’ll visit the Polonnaruwa Archeological site. This world heritage-listed site was once the nation’s capital in the 11th – 13th centuries. This site contains some of the best p[reserved and spectacular statues. Lankatilake, Tivanka and Thuparama are the most beautiful image houses. Tivanka has some of the best examples of frescoes of the Polonnaruwa period. While Rankoth Vehera and Kirivehera are well-preserved large stupas, Gal Vicar (a rock shrine) has four Buddha statues.
Later, you’ll embark on a 4 x 4 jeep safari through the Minneriya National Park. Estimated at 8889 hectares, this large national park is a designated wildlife protection area. Most well known for its Elephant populations, it’s not uncommon to see large herds of 100 – 150 Elephants roaming and gathering around the lake.
Overnight: Habarana Village by Cinnamon (B, D)
Day 4: 10 October
This morning take a sunrise visit at Pidurangala Rock. Pidurangala Rock is adjacent to Sigiriya Rock and is the best viewing spot of Sigiriya Rock as it is only slightly lower. Pidurangala is a popular spot for sunrise as you can enjoy 360-degree views of not only the valleys but also Sigiriya Rock.
Return to the hotel for breakfast before continuing to the 5th-century Sigiriya Rock Fortress. A world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). There is the opportunity to climb the rock. The ”Lion Rock” is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters (just over 1200 steps) from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70-hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ”Heavenly Maidens” of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.
Leaving Sigiriya you’ll take part in a Sri Lankan cooking lesson that promises an authentic experience as well as a delicious lunch.
After lunch, enjoy the Hiriwadunna Village Tour. The tour starts off with a ride on a bullock cart (Ox cart) along a dirt track and through rice paddies down to the picturesque Hiriwadunna Lake. The adventure continues with a traditional Catamaran Ride on the lake with its large variety of dry zone bird life and views of the surrounding forest, marshland and vegetable plots of local farmers. The tours end with a Tuk-Tuk ride up to the main road from the gravel roadsides of the lake.
Overnight: Habarana Village by Cinnamon (B, L, D)
Day 5: 11 October
Habarana – Matale – Kandy
This morning you’ll visit the Dambulla Cave Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and dates back to the 1st century BC. Originally it was the refuge of King Walagamba, and the caves were later converted into a rock temple. It has five caves under a vast overhanging rock, the ceilings of the caves are painted with complex patterns of religious images. The caves are considered to be the finest storehouse of Sinhala art and sculptures consist of an imposing 15-metre long reclining Buddha, 150 statues of the Buddhist order, statues of Kings and Hindu deities etc.
From Dambulla, you’ll head towards Kandy with a stop at the Matale Spice Gardens. You’ll be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed. A processing and training unit has been set up in the area and farmers are grouped in a cooperative to ensure fair prices where you’ll also be able to purchase spices. Here you’ll also enjoy an authentic lunch on the spice plantation.
Kandy is the last capital of Sri Lanka. It is amongst hilly terrain and the centre of the city houses the most charming Kandy Lake. The city lies at an elevation of 465 meters above sea level. Kandy was the last home for Kandyan Kings of the 19th century and a fountain for all music, arts, crafts and culture in the country.
Upon arrival in Kandy, transfer to the hotel for a chance to refresh before an evening at the Kandy Cultural Dance Show. A colourful display of Sri Lankan Arts, Dance & Cultural Heritage that is a must-see for any visitor who visits the historic city of Kandy.
Overnight: Cinnamon Citadel (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 6: 12 October
This morning you’ll visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. This temple houses a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha and is consequently considered one of Sri Lanka’s most holy shrines. Although you may not view the actual tooth itself, the casket within which it is said to be is displayed twice a day.
Later visit Kandy Cricket Stadium. Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, in Kandy, was established in 2009 with a capacity of 35000. The stadium is located at about a half an hour driving distance from Kandy. The stadium has been the home of some of the greatest cricketing memories for Sri Lankan cricket and is the favourite den of many Sri Lankan cricket legends.
The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight: Cinnamon Citadel (B, D)
Day 7: 13 October
Kandy – Nuwara Eliya
This morning, sit back and enjoy the scenery on the drive to Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya -The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls and Tea Plantations. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of the British influence, houses like country cottages or Queen Ann-style mansions.
Enjoy Tea Plucking and Tasting Session in Heritance Tea Factory.
Heritance Tea Factory is an ultimate colonial-style stay experience enhanced by the tea plantation and the misty mountains. Tea tasting is the process in which a trained taster determines the quality of a particular tea. Due to climatic conditions, topography, manufacturing process, and different clones of the Camellia sinensis plant (tea), the final product may have vastly different flavours and appearances. These differences can be tested by a trained taster to ascertain the quality prior to sale. The flavour characteristics and indeed leaf colour, size and shape are graded using a specific language created by the tea industry to explain the overall quality.
Overnight: Jetwing St Andrews (B, D)
Day 8: 14 October
Nuwara Eliya – Ella
This morning is a real treat as you enjoy the scenic train ride from Nano Oya to Ella – one of the most picturesque rail journeys in the world. Your journey by local train rolls through the mountains which are a carpet of velvety green tea plantations, interspersed with gushing streams and tumbling waterfalls.
Ella is a small town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka governed by an Urban Council. It is in the east of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 1,041 metres (3,415 ft.) above sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity, dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Ella is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. The town has a cooler climate than the surrounding lowlands, due to its elevation. The Ella Gap allows views across the southern plains of Sri Lanka.
You’ll visit the famous Nine Arches Bridge located in Demodara, between Ella and Demodara railway stations. The surrounding area has seen a steady increase in tourism due to the bridge’s architectural ingenuity and the profuse greenery on the nearby hillsides. Popular rumours suggest that when construction work commenced on the bridge, the Great War began between the empires of Europe and the steel assigned for this site was reallocated to Britain’s War-related projects at the battlefront. As a result, the work came to a standstill, leading the locals to build the bridge with stone bricks and cement, but without steel.
Upon arrival in Ella, transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore this quaint town.
Overnight: 98 Acres Resort and Spa (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 9: 15 October
Early morning enjoy Bird Watching in the resort with an experienced Naturalist.
Bird lovers will be delighted to observe that the resort provides 63 species of the resident birds of Sri Lanka, including 6 precious species endemic to the country. All these birds are reported to be forest birds and their existence is naturally protected within the environs in this 98-acre tea cultivation and 10-acre forest reserve. Out of those 63 bird species, birds such as Woodpeckers, Babblers, Barbets, Flycatchers, Minivit, Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters and Hill Mynas are the types of birds commonly seen in this location.
Later, visit Little Adams Peak.
Little Adams Peak is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura and 32 km southwest of the city of Hatton. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve, housing many species varying from elephants to leopards, and including many endemic
Species. A fairly easy walk with good paths and stairs, it takes approximately 2 hours.
The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight: 98 Acres Resort and Spa (B, D)
Day 10: 16 October
Ella – Yala
This morning you’ll transfer to Yala.
Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s most renowned national park and is famous for elephants, Leopard, bears, Crocodiles and Wild Boar. Claims have subsequently been made that Yala National Park has the world’s highest concentration of leopards per square kilometre. This park is primarily a shrub jungle with several salt and freshwater lagoons. The areas popular with leopards are rock-strewn hillocks with dense shrubs in which the animals hide. In the afternoon you’ll go on Jeep Safari in Yala National Park.
Tonight enjoy a special Barbeque dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Cinnamon Wild Yala (B, D)
Day 11: 17 October
Yala – Galle
After breakfast, travel to Galle.
Galle said to be the famous Tarshish of the Bible, is the Port where the Portuguese first landed in Sri Lanka. Fortified by the Dutch who ruled maritime Sri Lanka in the 17th and 18th centuries, the city still retains the air of old Holland. Old Dutch Churches and monuments with armorial bearings, well preserved Fort and ramparts, imposing crested and monogrammed gateway dated 1669, and many well-preserved Old Dutch houses and narrow alleys still bearing Dutch names. Stone seawalls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. As for souvenirs, one may make a pick of exquisite hand-made lace, Ivory carvings, moonstone jewellery and beautiful translucent tortoiseshell ware, including bracelets, trinket boxes, and combs – sometimes inlaid with silver.
The rest of the day is at leisure to relax at this gorgeous seaside resort.
Overnight: Radisson Amari Galle (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 12: 18 October
Today, you’ll enjoy the Tuk Tuk Ride in Galle city. You’ll visit the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. The fort is a living monument, inhabited by a bustling community, within the great ramparts, massive bastions and pepper pot towers. The once sleepy Galle Fort is now a dynamic area with a distinctively Mediterranean atmosphere.
You also visit Jungle Beach, Hindu Temple, Rock Temple & Turtle Farm. Plus you’ll be taken to see stick fishermen before ending the tour with a visit to the local market and a short stroll through the city centre with plenty of shopping options.
Overnight: Radisson Amari Galle (B, D)
Day 13: 19 October
Galle – Colombo – Male
Today we bid farewell to Sri Lanka. You’ll transfer to Colombo for a final meal at Paradise Road Tintagel. A world-renowned boutique hotel that is a former colonial residence. A heritage building of national importance that was previously home to three of Sri Lanka’s political leaders. Tintagel Colombo was selected as the chosen hotel to host His Royal Highness
Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness Duchess of Cornwall.
Later, a transfer to Colombo International Airport to board a flight for the Maldives. Upon arrival in the Maldives, you’ll be transferred by speed boat to your resort.
Overnight: Sun Siyam Olhuveli (3 nights) – Full Board meals included (package upgrade options available)
Day 14 & 15: 20 & 21 October
Enjoy two full days at your leisure to relax and unwind in this gorgeous resort. A range of activities is available at the resort. Please note – additional charges may apply for some activities.
Day 16: 22 October
Morning transfer to Male International Airport to board your flight for onward destination.
- SoloMade hosted tour
- Small group (minimum 6 | maximum 12 guests)
- 15 nights’ accommodation in your own room
- Daily sightseeing, excursions and entrance fee as per the itinerary
- Meals as listed
- Services of English Speaking National Guide throughout the program in Sri Lanka
- Services of Air Conditioned Mini Coach throughout the program in Sri Lanka
- Airfare in economy class from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Male, Maldives
- Return speedboat transfer from Male airport to the Sun Siyam Island Resort
- Accommodation in the Maldives is based on Deluxe Room with all meals – see upgrade options below
- Airport assistance upon arrival and departure
- All currently applicable taxes.
- International airfares
- Travel Insurance
- Meals not listed in the itinerary
- Tipping and gratuities
- Items of a personal nature
Maldives Optional Upgrade
Your package is based on a Deluxe room at the Sun Siyam Olhuveli. The package includes a full board meal plan.
You may add an inclusive beverage package for $260 (includes alcohol but some conditions and exclusions apply)
Room upgrades are available on request and are subject to availability at the time of booking:
Water Villa + $600
Deluxe Water Villa + $800
The prices quoted are the total for 3 nights. Other room types by request