Tailormade tour Southern Sri Lanka luxury tour Sri Lanka

14 nights /15 days

Colombo • Ceylon Tea Trails • Yala National Park • Tangalle • Galle • Bentota

Explore the magic of Tea Country, camp in luxury under the stars, swim in your private plunge pool and stroll along Indian Ocean beaches. This luxurious tour is perfect for a honeymoon or pure indulgence and a superb way of spending ample time getting to know the southern part of the country with its varied landscape and wildlife.

Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £5,320 per person.

Luxury touring holiday of southern Sri Lanka with driver-guide staying in luxury boutique hotels and luxury safari camp at Yala

This 14-night tour takes you first from London to Colombo. Spend your first night in Colombo at the Uga Residence, before your private chauffeur-guide takes you south-east into Tea Country. Spend three nights amongst the stunning rolling plantations at Ceylon Tea Trails, and then continue on to the Yala National Park on Day Five. Seek out the elusive Sri Lankan leopards at Leopard Trails, and then continue west to Tangalle, a beautiful beachfront resort that provides you with sun, sand, and peaceful seclusion. Then, on Day Ten, move on to the historic Dutch Fort of Galle, and spend two nights inside the fort itself. Explore the area’s history, and then move on to the popular south-west beach resort of Bentota, final home of architect Geoffrey Bawa to spend your last three nights of the tour here.

Highlights

Colombo • Nuwara Eliya • Ceylon Tea Trails • Uda Walawe National Park • Yala National Park • Tangalle • Galle • Bentota

Day by day

On arrival in Colombo, you will be met by your English-speaking chauffeur guide who will accompany you throughout your tour of Sri Lanka in an air-conditioned vehicle. You will be transferred to your hotel (approximately 1 hour) and spend the rest of the day exploring the island’s commercial capital. Colombo is the mecca for smart shopping malls and Sri Lankan designer shops, and Sri Lanka’s thriving garment industry means you can find international designs at very favourable prices!

Head east from Colombo into the cooler mountains to the heart of Tea Country (approximately 5 hours’ drive). This area is wonderfully scenic with stunning mountain and valley vistas at every turn, carpeted with emerald green tea bushes. See the curious ‘Little England’ hill station of Nuwara Eliya, with its racecourse, golf course, lake and British colonial buildings. Continue, and stay for 3 nights in one or more of the beautifully furnished, colonial-era Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. Dinner and drinks are included during your stay here.

Follow the trails of the planters of old Ceylon and watch the tea pluckers. The staff at Ceylon Tea Trails will recommend circular routes from 2kms upwards or you can follow a trail one way and arrange to be transported back. For a few days of pleasant hill walking, follow the Tea Trail from one bungalow to the next, staying a night or two at each place.

A visit to a tea factory reveals how the leaves are dried and processed. Tea Trails’ resident Tea Planter will show you first hand the tea-making process, ending with a tasting of different grades of the great brew.

Today you will depart for Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most visited national park, where you will stay for 2 nights. Enjoy the mountain scenery on your journey and witness these mountains dramatically drop down to the plains of the south, continuing to the south-east coast. En route you can visit Uda Walawe National Park (approximately 4 to 5 hours’ drive). Uda Walawe is best known for its elephants and you are virtually guaranteed to see elephants in the wild with a population of around 400. This is mostly hot, dry terrain where the watering holes are a magnet for wildlife. There is an Elephant Transit Home near the entrance to the national park (separate fee), where you can see young elephants roaming free in a large field and flocking into the feeding enclosure for meal times.

Begin early this morning for a wildlife safari by jeep. A variety of wild animals are seen in the grounds, such as monkeys, wild boar and the occasional elephant. Yala is most famous for its leopards and has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, offering the best chance to see them in the wild. This is a very dry terrain with little shade, bordered by a beautiful coastline and interspersed with watering holes. Daytime temperatures reach around 30°C, so it is a dry heat with little rainfall. You will see that Sri Lanka is blessed to have the opportunity to showcase a huge amount of fascinating wildlife, all of which you will experience during your safaris. Because of the high density of leopards in Yala, the lack of other carnivores means that the leopard is the top predator, so adults and cubs can be remarkably relaxed during the day. Young males seem to have no fear of the jeep which can lead to some excellent photographic opportunities. On an afternoon safari, watch out for crocodiles basking in the evening sun.

In the morning, depart for Tangalle (approximately 2 hours’ drive). The coastline here is made up of long stretches of sand and hidden coves, bordering dense coconut plantations and tropical forest. Southern Sri Lanka uncovers a world of historic Dutch forts, magnificent beaches and sleep villages, hidden away in the palms behind the wide sandy bays and sheltered coves. You will stay in Tangalle for 3 nights.

The coastline around Tangalle is one of long stretches of sand and hidden coves, bordering dense coconut plantations and tropical forest. Tangalle is a quaint little town, with lovely views out over the coast. Here spend lazy days in the pool or spa or stroll along the beach and sample delicious cuisine.

Your final full day in Tangalle gives you the chance to indulge in authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Sri Lankans prepare innumerable curries, delicately flavoured with spices such as saffron, chillies and the indigenous cinnamon and cloves. While you are on the coast, make sure you try some of Sri Lanka’s famous fish dishes, with multi-cultural influences bringing an array of mouth-watering dishes.

Today you will head along the coast to historic Galle, approximately 2 hours’ drive. Galle, on the south-west corner of the island, is a reminder of the Dutch presence on Sri Lanka. The new town may have the usual urban bustle, but the Dutch Fort, built in 1663, retains a timeless air. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site; sections of the wall offer the best free view of the delightful cricket ground (where Sri Lanka rarely lose) during Test Matches. You can walk along part of the ramparts with views out to sea and restoration work is underway to make the underground tunnels open to visitors.

Today you will have time at your leisure to explore Galle. A must is the fascinating Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle also has a cultural museum in a Dutch colonial warehouse and a newly-opened Maritime Museum. The small streets within the Fort are fascinating for the architecture and there are now some stylish small boutiques and restaurants. The National Crafts Council handicrafts centre and an intriguing row of brightly painted fishing boats and market sellers lie between the old entrance to the Fort and the sea. In the newer town outside the ramparts, there is a lively market area with a whole pavilion dedicated to fish. It is also worth venturing inland from Galle, maybe encountering water monitors on a boat trip along a river or on Koggala lake or driving through lush tropical scenery to one of the nature reserves, such as Hiyare or Kottawe. The villages around Galle are full of artisans – lace makers, jewellers, woodcarvers, painters and people making things out of coir, rush and reed. Those interested in organic farming will find a visit to Samakanda fascinating, set up and run by British journalist and environmentalist Rory Spowers. You can go for walks around the valley and learn about organic farming practices. They also serve delicious, organic, Sri Lankan lunches, cooked on a traditional stove.

Depart Galle and head north along the coast to Bentota (approximately 1 hour’s drive) and check-in to the elegant Saman Villas for three nights. Whilst here you may wish to take optional trips to Bentota for water sports or visiting the Brief Garden.

Transfer to the airport (approximately 1.5 hours’ drive) for your departure.

We were incredibly impressed by our guide/driver. He helped make the trip. The holiday exceeded our expectations.
Mrs A, January 2019

Holiday price guide From about £5,320 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code SLDG08

Luxury touring holiday of southern Sri Lanka with driver-guide staying in luxury boutique hotels and luxury safari camp at Yala

On arrival in Colombo, you will be met by your English-speaking chauffeur guide who will accompany you throughout your tour of Sri Lanka in an air-conditioned vehicle. You will be transferred to your hotel (approximately 1 hour) and spend the rest of the day exploring the island’s commercial capital. Colombo is the mecca for smart shopping malls and Sri Lankan designer shops, and Sri Lanka’s thriving garment industry means you can find international designs at very favourable prices!

Head east from Colombo into the cooler mountains to the heart of Tea Country (approximately 5 hours’ drive). This area is wonderfully scenic with stunning mountain and valley vistas at every turn, carpeted with emerald green tea bushes. See the curious ‘Little England’ hill station of Nuwara Eliya, with its racecourse, golf course, lake and British colonial buildings. Continue, and stay for 3 nights in one or more of the beautifully furnished, colonial-era Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. Dinner and drinks are included during your stay here.

Follow the trails of the planters of old Ceylon and watch the tea pluckers. The staff at Ceylon Tea Trails will recommend circular routes from 2kms upwards or you can follow a trail one way and arrange to be transported back. For a few days of pleasant hill walking, follow the Tea Trail from one bungalow to the next, staying a night or two at each place.

A visit to a tea factory reveals how the leaves are dried and processed. Tea Trails’ resident Tea Planter will show you first hand the tea-making process, ending with a tasting of different grades of the great brew.

Today you will depart for Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most visited national park, where you will stay for 2 nights. Enjoy the mountain scenery on your journey and witness these mountains dramatically drop down to the plains of the south, continuing to the south-east coast. En route you can visit Uda Walawe National Park (approximately 4 to 5 hours’ drive). Uda Walawe is best known for its elephants and you are virtually guaranteed to see elephants in the wild with a population of around 400. This is mostly hot, dry terrain where the watering holes are a magnet for wildlife. There is an Elephant Transit Home near the entrance to the national park (separate fee), where you can see young elephants roaming free in a large field and flocking into the feeding enclosure for meal times.

Begin early this morning for a wildlife safari by jeep. A variety of wild animals are seen in the grounds, such as monkeys, wild boar and the occasional elephant. Yala is most famous for its leopards and has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, offering the best chance to see them in the wild. This is a very dry terrain with little shade, bordered by a beautiful coastline and interspersed with watering holes. Daytime temperatures reach around 30°C, so it is a dry heat with little rainfall. You will see that Sri Lanka is blessed to have the opportunity to showcase a huge amount of fascinating wildlife, all of which you will experience during your safaris. Because of the high density of leopards in Yala, the lack of other carnivores means that the leopard is the top predator, so adults and cubs can be remarkably relaxed during the day. Young males seem to have no fear of the jeep which can lead to some excellent photographic opportunities. On an afternoon safari, watch out for crocodiles basking in the evening sun.

In the morning, depart for Tangalle (approximately 2 hours’ drive). The coastline here is made up of long stretches of sand and hidden coves, bordering dense coconut plantations and tropical forest. Southern Sri Lanka uncovers a world of historic Dutch forts, magnificent beaches and sleep villages, hidden away in the palms behind the wide sandy bays and sheltered coves. You will stay in Tangalle for 3 nights.

The coastline around Tangalle is one of long stretches of sand and hidden coves, bordering dense coconut plantations and tropical forest. Tangalle is a quaint little town, with lovely views out over the coast. Here spend lazy days in the pool or spa or stroll along the beach and sample delicious cuisine.

Your final full day in Tangalle gives you the chance to indulge in authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Sri Lankans prepare innumerable curries, delicately flavoured with spices such as saffron, chillies and the indigenous cinnamon and cloves. While you are on the coast, make sure you try some of Sri Lanka’s famous fish dishes, with multi-cultural influences bringing an array of mouth-watering dishes.

Today you will head along the coast to historic Galle, approximately 2 hours’ drive. Galle, on the south-west corner of the island, is a reminder of the Dutch presence on Sri Lanka. The new town may have the usual urban bustle, but the Dutch Fort, built in 1663, retains a timeless air. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site; sections of the wall offer the best free view of the delightful cricket ground (where Sri Lanka rarely lose) during Test Matches. You can walk along part of the ramparts with views out to sea and restoration work is underway to make the underground tunnels open to visitors.

Today you will have time at your leisure to explore Galle. A must is the fascinating Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle also has a cultural museum in a Dutch colonial warehouse and a newly-opened Maritime Museum. The small streets within the Fort are fascinating for the architecture and there are now some stylish small boutiques and restaurants. The National Crafts Council handicrafts centre and an intriguing row of brightly painted fishing boats and market sellers lie between the old entrance to the Fort and the sea. In the newer town outside the ramparts, there is a lively market area with a whole pavilion dedicated to fish. It is also worth venturing inland from Galle, maybe encountering water monitors on a boat trip along a river or on Koggala lake or driving through lush tropical scenery to one of the nature reserves, such as Hiyare or Kottawe. The villages around Galle are full of artisans – lace makers, jewellers, woodcarvers, painters and people making things out of coir, rush and reed. Those interested in organic farming will find a visit to Samakanda fascinating, set up and run by British journalist and environmentalist Rory Spowers. You can go for walks around the valley and learn about organic farming practices. They also serve delicious, organic, Sri Lankan lunches, cooked on a traditional stove.

Depart Galle and head north along the coast to Bentota (approximately 1 hour’s drive) and check-in to the elegant Saman Villas for three nights. Whilst here you may wish to take optional trips to Bentota for water sports or visiting the Brief Garden.

Transfer to the airport (approximately 1.5 hours’ drive) for your departure.

We were incredibly impressed by our guide/driver. He helped make the trip. The holiday exceeded our expectations.
Mrs A, January 2019

Holiday price guide From about £5,320 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code SLDG08

Our prices include ● Return scheduled flights with British Airways or Sri Lankan Airlines to Colombo in economy class
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in Colombo
● 3 nights’ accommodation and all meals and drinks at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows
● 2 nights’ accommodation and all meals and drinks at Leopard Trails
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Tangalle
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Galle
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Bentota
● Private English-speaking chauffeur-guide in an air-conditioned Japanese car throughout the itinerary
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Visas (A visa is a requirement for entry to Sri Lanka and can be obtained on line from www.eta.gov.lk)
● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, payable locally to the hotel
● Camera fees where applicable
● Optional excursions – to be pre-booked and at a supplement

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour
Colombo
Uga Residence

The Uga Residence is an exclusive boutique hotel in an excellent central location, that oozes character, opulence and a sense of history. Delicious cuisine and luxurious accommodation make this an excellent haven from the bustle of Colombo.

Deluxe room

Tea Country
Ceylon Tea Trails

Ceylon Tea Trails is an exclusive luxury boutique resort nestled amongst the natural beauty of high Tea Country. Gourmet dining, luxury amenities including butler services and the local tea farms afford guests a truly secluded, tranquil experience.

Luxury room

Yala National Park
Leopard Trails

Leopard Trails is an exclusive 5-star resort offering luxury safari camping in a beautiful rural location. A curated local dining experience, authentic accommodation and excellent guided safari experiences afford guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience wild nature.

Luxury tent

Tangalle
The Last House

The Last House is an exclusive, vibrant small luxury boutique hotel with traditional charm, character, and colourful, eclectic interiors in a superb beachfront location. An excellent example of Bawan design, this property offers a luxury home-from-home on the Indian Ocean.

Large double bedroom

Galle
The Fort Printers

The Fort Printers Hotel is a charming, exclusive small boutique hotel in a fantastic central location. Excellent cuisine, luxurious accommodation and a serene walled garden with pool make this the ideal haven from the bustle of Galle.

Standard room

Bentota
Belmond La Samanna

Belmond La Samanna is a luxury 5-star hotel in a beautiful beach-front location. Extensive spa facilities, delicious cuisine and a wide array of water-based activities offer guests a truly tropical retreat.

Superior suite

We were incredibly impressed by our guide/driver. He helped make the trip. The holiday exceeded our expectations.
Mrs A, January 2019

Holiday price guide From about £5,320 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code SLDG08

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