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 the serene Unawatuna Beach. Explore Sri Lanka with a group of new friends and you’ll never want to travel solo again.
Sri Lankan lunch at a local village. Spice garden visit. Tea plantation tour. Trekking through Bandarwela region. Orientation walk in Colombo. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Trek through luscious green hills, journey by train through Sri Lanka’s most breath-taking scenery, sample local cuisine at a village meal, inhale local flavours at a spice garden, explore southern Sri Lankan beaches.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, avg 12.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels/guest houses (11 nts).
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
The airport in Colombo (Katunayake) is around 32km north of Colombo center. Taking a cab is the most convenient way to get to your hotel in Negombo. Taxi drivers are famous to overcharge, so we recommend to use the prepaid taxi service offered at the airport – you can make the arrangements at designated counters outside the baggage-claim area after passing through several Bank Counters.
You will be able to change money into the local currency (Sri Lanka Rupee) at exchange counters open 24 hours at the airport. The Airport Taxi service, supervised by the Airport & Aviation Services, operates a counter in the arrival lobby and accept Sri Lanka Rupees. Please hire the vehicle from this counter & make the full payment. They will provide you an official receipt. Unfortunately scammers have set up similar services, so make sure the counter is operated by The Airport & Aviation Services. Your destination, the time of your arrival and the amount of luggage determine the rate, which you pay in advance at the counter, but should be between SLRS 2000 to 3000 to Negombo. A person will escort you to the designated taxi. If the driver demands more rupees, politely refuse, if they have driven safely you may like to tip him around SLRS 100.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera, playing cards or other favourite games, reading/writing material, binoculars, snorkel gear (highly recommended – although we do provide snorkelling gear on the boat, please ensure you send us your fin size)
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Towel and swim wear
- Sun hat
- pair of long trousers
- Sport sandals
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Purification tablets or filter
- Pocket knife
- First-aid kit (should contain motion sickness medication, lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD20-30 per person, per week can be used.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our CEO are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia, pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our group CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Planeterra is G Adventures’ non-profit foundation created to make a positive difference in the communities where G Adventures takes travellers. Planeterra supports sustainable social and environmental solutions in destinations travellers love to visit.
As travellers, it’s natural to want to give back to the places we’ve come to love. But to truly impact poverty, we work to build self-sufficiency, not dependency.
Planeterra partners with grassroots organizations with firsthand knowledge of local culture and true community needs. This ensures that solutions come from the people we support. Then G Adventures brings travellers to visit, fuelling sustainable local income in these communities. This model is helping many rural and marginalized communities on their way to self-sufficiency because they are harnessing the power of the tourism industry as a force for good. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit planeterra.org.
MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT
Fifty percent of our planet lives on less than $2/day. For the price of a coffee, you can make every day of your trip count by giving back to the communities you visit through Planeterra.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking).
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.
Allow USD175-230 for meals not included.
11 breakfasts, 1 lunch
PRODUCT_LINE: ASNC, ID: 23669
Day 1 Negombo
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Negombo/Polonnaruwa (1B)
Opt to explore Negombo in the morning before transferring inland to the Dambulla Province.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Polonnaruwa (1B, 1L)
Meet locals and share a meal in a local village. Enjoy free time to go on safari or explore nearby ruins.
Local Lunch and Village Visit
Day 4 Polonnaruwa (1B)
Enjoy a free day to explore more of the region. Opt to visit Sigiriya Fortress, Polonnaruwa Temple, or Dambulla Caves.
Day 5 Polonnaruwa/Kandy (1B)
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.
Spice Garden Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Kandy/Nuwara Eliya (1B)
Travel by train and tuk tuk to stunning Nuwara Eliya. Visit a tea plantation and opt to explore the nearby hills on foot.
Tea Plantation Visit
Local train (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 7 Nuwara Eliya/Bandarawela (1B)
Opt to trek the trails of Horton Plains NP in the early morning, then travel to Bandarawela.
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours)
Day 8 Bandarawela (1B)
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.
Day 9 Bandarawela/Unawatuna (1B)
Set off towards the southern coast and finish the day’s journey oceanside.
Local bus (5.00 hour(s))
Day 10 Unawatuna (1B)
Enjoy a free day to bliss out seaside, go on a whale or dolphin watching tour, or take a day trip to the colonial port town of Galle.
Day 11 Unawatuna/Colombo (1B)
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 Unawatuna and nearby beach towns. The Colombo airport can be reached by taxi for approximately USD100, or there are train and bus connections from nearby Galle for much less.
Pettah Bazaar Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 12 Colombo (1B)
Depart at any time.