Delve Deep: Sri Lanka
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Negombo, Sri Lanka
Touch down at Bandaranaike Airport, scan the crowd for your airport transfer (they'll be holding the sign with your name, obvs) and take a load off - this is the start of 11 days' in-depth, flavour-filled fun. Catch some coastal vibes with an optional visit to the local fish market. Watch the locals paddle their fishy oruvas (canoes) into the lagoon and tuck into some fresh AF seafood while you're at it. If you've got time, give any jet lag the flick with a cycle around the Dutch-style canals and Buddhist temples. And tonight? Time to meet your fellow explorers over an included dinner. Cheers to that.
Day 2 - Negombo to Sigiriya
Down your breakfast and wave goodbye to the sea (for now) – we’re headed to Sigiriya: the ancient rock star of Sri Lanka. FACT: this place was built by the short-lived King Kasyapa over 1600 years ago. Lace up your Nikes and prep yourself for a climb as we tackle Pidurangala Rock. A popular spot for sunrise and sunset, the top of this baby sports 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys and Sigiriya Rock – so the trek is 100% worth it. BTW you don’t have to choose between the two – we've penciled in enough time to catch the sunset and a sick sunrise tomorrow too. Thank us later.
Day 3 - Sigiriya
Step away from the snooze button – today's early start is worth it. Promise. We’ll try to beat the heat and head up the dramatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya for sunrise. It’s a decent climb, but this is the stuff you came for, right? Tuck into breakfast at the top and take some time to explore the magnificent rock fortress and views of the surrounding plains. Then, we’ll discover Dambulla Cave Temple – a World Heritage–listed monastery that’s been a pilgrimage site for over 2000 years. Later: there’s an optional jeep safari through Minneriya National Park on the cards – aka a wildlife lovers' wet dream.
Day 4 - Sigiriya to Kandy
You want Kandy? That’s lucky, we’re off to the second largest city in Sri Lanka this morning. In the arvo, we’ll head to Dalada Maligawa – that’s Temple of the Tooth to you and me. Tooth Temple got you WTF-ing? Well you read right, this temple houses a relic of Buddha’s tooth so it’s kinda important. Then: jump on board a tuk-tuk for a (nail-biting) ride around the city and picturesque lake. And tonight? Time to spice up your life and get sampling the best curries E-V-E-R. Hot tip: opt for some pol sambol (coconut relish) and wambatu moju (pickled eggplant). BTW when we said hot tip, we meant literally.
Day 5 - Kandy to Ella, via Nuwara Eliya
Today's letter is T. We'll stop in at Nuwara Eliya en route to Ella to check out a working tea plantation and immerse ourselves in the sweet aromas of Sri Lankan tea culture. Soak up some beaut views of the lush rolling hills, and try a cup or two of the world-famous Ceylon. Then, it's all aboard a scenic train ride to Ella. Forgot your camera? You're going to regret that.
Day 6 - Ella
Get your feed of pani pol (Sri Lankan pancakes) at breakfast because we’ve got a day of hiking mapped out for you. Walk through tea plantations and rocky mountain paths along Little Adam’s Peak – you’ll be rewarded for all your hard work with some pretty spesh views. Grab a quick snap of the famous Nine Arch Bridge before heading back to the hotel. Then: lunchtime! We’ll be welcomed into a local home for a masterclass in cooking traditional Sri Lankan curries and desserts from the pros. Afterwards, spend the afternoon walking off the deliciousness with a jaunt around town. Need recs? Your expert Trip Leader’s got ‘em.
Day 7 - Ella to Udawalawe
Been practising your best David Attenborough impersonation? We hope so. Today, we’re headed to Udawalawe National Park for more wildlife than you can point a camera lens at. On our jeep safari you’ll have plenty of time to search for lounging leopards, creepy-looking crocs, sloth bears, and wild elephants grazing across the savanna. If birds are more your thing, there’s a heap of them too. We’re spending tonight under the stars at an awesome-AF big game camp (Google it, trust us). Tuck into dinner with the crew and share holy sh*t moments of the day around a crackling campfire.
Day 8 - Udawalawe to Mirissa
Enjoy a sleep in this morning before we make our way to the coastal town of Mirissa (see, told you we’d be back). This is your chance to sit back and lap up all the palm-fringed, white-sand vibes – so crack open a fresh coconut, find yourself a hammock and let the island life soak in. You could build up an appetite with an optional surfing lesson along Mirissa Beach or lap up the sunset views from the coconut farm up the road. Either way, make sure you hunt down some hoppers for dinner this eve – bowl-shaped pancakes filled with egg or veggies. Dad joke alert: you’ll be hopping mad if you miss out.
Day 9 - Mirissa
Oh what’s that? A whole free day to get your explore on? Awesome. If you’re here between November and April, we recommend jumping on an optional whale watching tour to spot the migrating blue whales off the shore. Largest animal in the world, you know. Otherwise: throw some shakas at Weligama. Visit Coconut Island (watch your head). Or top up the tan along Marissa Beach. Tonight, pull up a pew at a candlelit beach bar and take it all in. This is what you came for.
Day 10 - Mirissa to Galle
Get up early for a sunrise stroll on the beach before we move on to the historic city of Galle. We’ll swap six wheels for two as we cycle around the surrounding local villages – taking in the green fields, peaceful lakes, and meeting some of the locals getting on with their day-to-day. With over 400 years of rich history, exploring the perfectly preserved colonial township of Galle is a must. Later, it’s off to Galle Dutch Fort for an evening walk around this UNESCO Heritage–listed site before we say farewell over one last supper with the gang.
Day 11 - Galle to Negombo
You tried the food. You met the locals. You said yes to culture. Yes to history. Yes to the new and the exotic. But now our Sri Lankan adventure has drawn to a close. Sad face. If you’re heading off after breakfast, we’ve got your airport transfer sorted. Caught the travel bug bad? Check out our other Delve Deep trips around Asia. You know you want to...
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