SRI LANKA: HILL COUNTRY AND SOUTHERN BEACHES
14 days, from £1,100 per person, based on a family of 4 sharing.
Plus international flights from £450 per adult.
Recommended for travel between December-April and July-September.
Travel Style: Guided.
A family adventure full of variety. With the Hill Country's cloud forests and tea plantations, Uda Walawe's elephants and the southern coastlines stunning and varied beaches, you may never want to leave! You’ll travel by car, train, boat and bullock-cart enjoying the best of Southern and Central Sri Lanka.
Experience rural Sri Lanka on a working coconut plantation.
Sip Ceylon tea and walk through the Hill Country to hidden waterfalls.
Ride the world's most spectacular train journey.
Pick from a range of adventure activities in Ella.
Track down elephants and leopards at Udawalawe NP.
Spot stilted fishermen and go whale watching on beautiful south coast beaches.
THE BORING (BUT NECESSARY) BITS
Average flight time from UK: 10.5 hours (direct) 12.5 hours (indirect)
Total drive time: 14.5 hours
Longest drive: 3.5 hours
Scenic train journey: 4 hours
Short Stay Visa required for UK passport holders (apply online).
Days 1 - 3 Sri Lankan Countryside
You’ll transfer just 45 minutes from the airport but feel like you’ve driven hours into rural Sri Lanka as your adventure begins on a working coconut plantation. Enjoy bullock-cart rides around the organic farm and trips to local markets where old-fashioned balance scales meet weird and wonderful local produce. A quick dip in the swimming pool should leave you and the little-ones refreshed and ready to enjoy your first taste of homemade Sri Lankan cuisine, using fresh ingredients that you may well have picked earlier that day!
Days 3 – 5 Hill Country and Kandy
Take a scenic drive through Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, as you travel over endless hillsides carpeted green with tea plantations stretching as far as the eye can see. Your Tribe will be staying in the Knuckles Mountains north of Kandy, in luxurious canvas lodges, on a working tea estate. Enjoy early morning breakfasts to the sound of birdsong, fabulous treks through the stunning countryside, and educational walks around the estate to see how the perfect cup of Ceylon tea is made. There are numerous waterfalls that can be incorporated into any trail and the kids will love cooling off with a dip in the freshwater pools. Evening yoga sessions and cooking classes will keep everyone entertained and you can also visit several sustainable, community-led development programs in the area.
Your final day here will be spent exploring the city of Kandy. The hill country’s capital is a colourful colonial treat, with a beautiful lake centre-piece and excellent botanical gardens that provide an ideal playground for big and little adventurers alike.
Day 5 – 7 Ella
It’s an early start the following day as you embark on a journey that is a Sri Lankan rite of passage. You’ll take the train through the hill country from Kandy to Ella (often described as the world’s most beautiful rail journey). The whole family will love the on-board atmosphere as you share your traditional wooden cabin with a mixture of local Sri Lankan's and tourists. Your viewing will be split between the organised chaos inside, as hawkers pace up and down laden with spicy samosas and delicious roti’s, and the breath-taking views outside as the early morning mist lifts to reveal tea green peaks, rushing waterfalls and gaping ravines.
It's then time to kick-back and enjoy two days in the timeless British colonial village of Ella. There's a range of family friendly activities on offer including hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and climbing, all enjoyed in stunning natural surroundings. A gentle morning hike up Little Adam’s Peak is a fantastic family-friendly excursion, with fabulous views over Ella Gap, while a walk to picture perfect nine arch bridge is also highly recommended. For the more adventurous, the main Adam’s Peak trek is a challenge and well worth it for the breath-taking view-points along the trail. Ella can also lay claim to some of Sri Lanka’s finest home-cooking and your Tribe will be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where to eat at the end of a busy day.
Day 7 - 9 Uda Walawe National Park
A short drive southward takes you to Uda Walawe National Park, where you’ll pick up an expert local guide and spend the day exploring. The park is an animal lover's paradise, where the elephant is the undisputed king, and an abundance of grassland means you're very likely to enjoy some close encounters. There are excellent watering holes throughout the park and you’d be unlucky not to see some large family gatherings where baby elephants will duck and dive between parent’s legs, splashing and spraying at the water’s edge. Throw in crocodiles, sloth bears, monitor lizards and the occasional leopard and adventurers of all sizes will be utterly transfixed.
You’ll also be able to spend time at an orphanage which cares for young elephants until they can be re-integrated into their natural habitats. This provides a wonderful opportunity for younger adventurers to interact with these grand animals, in a safe and relaxed environment, while also helping to support a Born Free affiliated local project.
Days 9 – 14 South Coast Beaches
Continue south until elephant rich grasslands give way to golden sands and deep blue seas, and you’ve arrived at Sri Lanka's stunning southern coastline. The beaches are plentiful and varied, with each offering a little something different. From Unawatuna's effortless class to the funky vibes of Mirissa and the Robinson Crusoe coves of Dikwella; it's time to dig out the bucket and spades, crack open the coconuts and enjoy.
You’ll have a fabulous boutique cottage in Unawatuna to call home for the next 5 days. The main palm-lined beach is just a 5-minute walk away with gorgeous turquoise waters and an excellent selection of shack-like cafes and restaurants at the back of the sand. For those that want a more rugged experience, Jungle Beach is a half hour trek through the jungle, while the headlands to the west are dotted with tiny coves, ready to be explored by moped or kayak. The historic city of Galle is just a 20-minute drive away, when certain family members need a break from the sand and sun.
On your final day, your driver will transfer you back to Negombo airport for your flight home.