Get yourself to a destination that's long been a culture-loving backpacker's dream, on this affordable 12-day whirlwind tour of the southern half of Sri Lanka. Discover beautiful ruins, hike through tea plantations, tour a spice garden, and then chill out on Hikkaduwa Beach. Explore Sri Lanka with a group of new friends and you'll never want to travel solo again.

Itinerary

Day 1Negombo

Arrive at any time.

There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

1h

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

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Optional Activities - Day 1

Welcome Dinner

You've arrived! Why not share a meal and a drink with your new travel mates?

Accommodation

Hotel J Negombo (or similar)

Hotel

Day 2Negombo/Polonnaruwa

Opt to explore Negombo in the morning before transferring inland to the Dambulla Province.

 

Free Time

NegomboMorning

Head out to discover the area.

Private Vehicle

Negombo – Polonnaruwa5h

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

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Optional Activities - Day 2

Accommodation

Hotel Sudu Araliya (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 3Polonnaruwa

Meet locals and share a meal in a local village. Enjoy free time to go on safari or explore nearby ruins.

 

Local Living: Local Lunch and Village Visit

Visit a village to meet the locals and share a Sri Lankan meal together. 

Free Time

PolonnaruwaMorning

Get out and explore.

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Optional Activities - Day 3

Sigiriya Rock Fortress Visit

Sigiriya2h-3h15-20km

30USD per person

Be mesmerized by this rock fortress, which captivates every visitor with its well-laid out gardens, caves, monasteries, and palaces adorned with beautiful wall motifs. Start at the water gardens and climb more than 1,200 steps to reach the top. Pass caves with frescoes and boulders to find the ruins of a palace on the flat surface of the old volcanic magma rock. The rock rests 370m (1,213 ft) above sea level with a shear drop on all sides.

Accommodation

Hotel Sudu Araliya (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch

Day 4Polonnaruwa

Enjoy a free day to explore more of the region. Opt to visit Sigiriya Fortress, Polonnaruwa Temple, or Dambulla Caves.

 

Free Time

PolonnaruwaFull Day

Get out and explore the region.

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Optional Activities - Day 4

Accommodation

Hotel Sudu Araliya (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 5Polonnaruwa/Kandy

Visit a spice garden en route to Kandy. Opt to visit the Temple of the Tooth, take in a cultural show, or watch a cricket match.

 

Private Vehicle

Polonnaruwa – Kandy2h

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Spice Garden Visit

Kandy

Visit a herbal centre where students of Ayurveda learn the traditional medicinal uses of various spices for massages and treatments. Enjoy demonstrations and learning about the different plants and their uses.

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Optional Activities - Day 5

Accommodation

Hotel Hill Top (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 6Kandy/Nuwara Eliya

Travel by train and tuk tuk to stunning Nuwara Eliya. Visit a tea plantation and opt to explore the nearby hills on foot.

 

Local train

Kandy – Nuwara Eliya2h-3h

Climb aboard, take your seat, and get around like the locals do.

Tea Plantation Visit

Nuwara Eliya1h-1h30m26km

The town of Nuwara Eliya produces the finest Orange Pekoe Ceylon tea, and is inhabited mainly by tea planters and plantation workers. Pay a visit to one of the factories to learn all about tea production.

Accommodation

Royal Hills Hotel (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 7Nuwara Eliya/Bandarawela

Opt to trek the trails of Horton Plains NP in the early morning, then travel to Bandarawela.

 

Private Vehicle

Nuwara Eliya – Bandarawela1h30m-2h

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

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Optional Activities - Day 7

Horton Plains Trek

Horton Plains Nature Reserve4h-4h30m9km

25USD per person35USD per group

Get close to nature and stunning scenery on this Horton Plains Trek. Hike 9km (6 mi) into the Horton Plains and walk through the clouds to discover a majestic drop that provides amazing views over the plains into the sea.

Accommodation

Orient Bandarwela (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 8Bandarawela

Set out on a hike through the cooler hills cloaked in tea bushes, and opt to take a cooking class or visit the local market during free time.

 

Hill Hike

Bandarawela

Set out on a hike through the lush, cool hills cloaked in tea bushes.

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Optional Activities - Day 8

Cooking Class

Refine your culinary skills with an optional cooking class. Discover the secrets of the delicious local cuisine.

Accommodation

Orient Bandarwela (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 9Bandarawela/Hikkaduwa

Set off towards the southern coast stopping en route for a walking tour of Galle Fort. Finish the day's journey oceanside on the beaches of Hikkaduwa.

 

Private Vehicle

Bandarawela – Galle4h-5h

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Galle Fort Tour

Galle

Visit the Galle Fort, a 16th-century fort first built by the Portuguese, and later occupied by the Dutch. The ramparts are still standing even after being battered by Mother Nature, including the 2004 tsunami.

Private Vehicle

Galle – Hikkaduwa30m

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation

Hikkaduwa Beach Hotel (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 10Hikkaduwa

Enjoy a free day to bliss out on the beach or go on a whale or dolphin watching tour.

 

Free Time

Hikkaduwa

Enjoy a free day to do as much or as little as you'd like.

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Optional Activities - Day 10

Dolphin Watching Tour

Unawatuna

Set off on a tour to spot these playful creatures. 

Accommodation

Hikkaduwa Beach Hotel (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 11Hikkaduwa/Colombo

Travel to the capital, Colombo. Enjoy an orientation walk of the fort area and Pettah Bazaar.

 

If you would prefer to leave the tour a day early and finish at the beach, there is ample accommodation both in HIkkaduwa and nearby beach towns. The Colombo airport can be reached by taxi for approximately USD80-90, or there are train and bus connections from nearby Galle for much less.

Private Vehicle

Hikkaduwa – Colombo2h-3h

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Orientation Walk

30m-1h

Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Pettah Bazaar Visit

Colombo1h-1h30m15-20km

Visit the Pettah district of Colombo and wind your way through a series of open-air bazaars and markets. The area is home to Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, one of the oldest and most visited mosques in Colombo, and also hosts Kayman's Gate, Colombo Town Hall, and the Khan Clock Tower.

Optional Activities - Day 11

Farewell Dinner

Enjoy a meal with your new found friends and reminisce about the fantastic adventure you've all had. 

Accommodation

Hotel Sapphire (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 12Colombo

Depart at any time.

COST

Contact ben@photographerswithoutborders.org for pricing.

What's Included

  • Local Living: Local Lunch and Village Visit, Polonnaruwa
  • Spice garden visit
  • Tea plantation tour
  • Trekking through Bandarwela region
  • Galle Fort tour
  • Orientation walk in Colombo
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Hotels/guest houses (11 nts).

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Allow USD175-230 for meals not included.

Transportation

Private vehicle, train, tuk tuk, walking.

Staff & experts

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.

My Own Room - From $639.00

If you're travelling solo and would prefer to have your own private room throughout your trip, select this option during the online booking process.