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The Best of Sri Lanka for Families - Luxury

A luxurious 15 day guided journey for families presenting the very best of Sri Lanka, with stays in Sri Lanka's finest boutique hotels, colonial retreats and deluxe beachside resorts. Explore sacred sites and ancient treasures within the ‘Cultural Triangle’. Visit the vibrant UNESCO world heritage sites of Kandy and Galle. Enjoy scenic game drives within national parks and explore stunningly picturesque ‘Tea Country’. Savour the golden sands and turquoise waters of the idyllic south coast.

Tailor-made Luxury 15 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,008 per person economy class from London

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Itinerary

Overview


  • 15 day luxurious guided journey for families revealing Sri Lanka’s scenic and cultural treasures

  • Explore the iconic ‘Cultural Triangle’ and take a breath-taking train ride into ‘Tea Country’

  • Enjoy idyllic tropical beaches and verdant national parks

  • Private cookery classes, cultural visits and guided excursions

  • Superior accommodation in deluxe hotels and exclusive resorts

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT BANDARANAIKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND TRANSFER TO KOTUGODA
On arrival at the airport you will be greeted by a chauffeur and make the brief 30 minute transfer to your hotel in Kotugoda. Spend a restful night in a garden suite at the stylish Wallawwa Hotel, a delightful boutique property with tropical gardens, a spa, and a lovely pool for the children to enjoy.
Accommodation: The Wallawwa Hotel, Kotugoda
Journey time: 30 minutes

DAY 2: TRANSFER FROM KOTUGODA TO ANURADHAPURA IN SRI LANKA’S ‘CULTURAL TRIANGLE’
Enjoy a scenic 4 ½ hour transfer through meandering roads and villages to the famed Cultural Triangle. This fascinating area, rich in temples, holy sites and evocative ruins of once powerful ancient cities, provides a fascinating glimpse into Sri Lanka’s vibrant history. Arrive for a three night stay at the select Ulagalla Resort in Anuradhapura, set in an exclusive 58-acre estate. Spend the afternoon at leisure enjoying the hotel’s facilities, which include riding stables, bicycles, nature trails, a spa, and a superb pool. Dinner is served at the hotel restaurant, or opt to dine privately, either in your chalet or within the tranquil gardens.
Accommodation: Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura
Journey time: 4 ½ hours

DAY 3: EXPLORING THE CULTURAL TRIANGLE, WITH VISITS TO ANURADHAPURA AND MIHINTALE
After breakfast, embark on a 3 hour private guided excursion to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s earliest capital city. Dating back to the 4th century BC, this ancient settlement was once home to 10,000 monks, and features numerous atmospheric monasteries and archaeological sites. Light clothing, a hat, and sunscreen are recommended. While children might not follow the guide’s commentary, there is plenty of space for them to run around in. Enjoy lunch at Tissawewa Rest House, followed by a guided visit to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Mihintale. This majestic mountain peak is revered as the location where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka. It is a straighforward 20 minute walk up the mountain, although younger children may need assistance. Do wear light clothing, a hat, and sensible walking shoes. Return to the hotel in time for a well-earned dinner.
Accommodation: Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura

DAY 4: VISIT TO THE RUINS OF RITIGALA
Today, enjoy a private guided excursion to the ancient Buddhist monastery of Ritigala. These isolated ruins, located deep within jungle on a densely wooded mountainside, date back to 400 BC. The excavations evoke a sense of mythology and mystery; children will enjoy exploring the wilderness jungle setting. Light clothing, a hat, and sunscreen are recommended, along with mosquito repellent. Afterwards, spend an afternoon of leisure at the hotel. Dinner is served in the restaurant, or guests may opt to dine privately.
Accommodation: Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura

DAY 5: TRANSFER FROM ANURADHAPURA TO KANDY, WITH A VISIT TO DAMBULLA
After breakfast, depart from Anuradhapura for a private guided visit to the 2,000 year old Buddhist cave temples at Dambulla, Sri Lanka’s largest and best preserved cave complex famed for its numerous ancient Buddhist paintings and statues. The resident monkeys are bound to be a hit with the kids! For religious reasons, visitors should cover knees and shoulders (shawls are provided). Afterwards, continue on to the Buddhist pilgrimage city of Kandy, passing the popular Matale spice gardens. Arrive at the elegant Bougainvillea Retreat for a two night stay. In a peaceful hillside setting above bustling Kandy Town, this boutique hotel boasts superb panoramic views, along with a spa, cinema, library, and a glorious infinity pool to keep the children entertained. Before dinner, enjoy a private cultural visit to the home of a celebrated local artist and musician. Refreshments will be served, and do remember to bring a camera to take pictures of the artist and their work. Return to the hotel for a relaxing dinner.
Accommodation: Bougainvillea Resort, Kandy
Journey time: 3 ½ to 4 hours (1 hour to Dambulla, then 2 ½ to 3 hours to Kandy)

DAY 6: EXCURSIONS TO PERADENIYA BOTANICAL GARDENS AND KANDY TOWN
This morning, enjoy a private, leisurely 1 ½ hour guided walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, accompanied by an expert botanist. Sri Lanka’s largest botanical gardens have acres of open spaces for children to explore. A hat, sunscreen, and light clothing are recommended. Lunch is at the Empire Café, followed by a one hour walking tour through the bustling markets and streets of vibrant Kandy Town, a UNESCO world heritage site and gateway to the ‘Tea Country’. Note that children may need supervision amidst the throngs of pedestrians. Afterwards, enjoy a refreshing cup of tea at the illustrious Queens Hotel. Before dinner, visit the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, a sacred pilgrimage destination going back thousands of years, and renowned for housing the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Dinner is served back at the hotel.
Accommodation: Bougainvillea Resort, Kandy

DAY 7: SCENIC TRAIN TRANSFER FROM KANDY TO HATTON IN THE ‘TEA COUNTRY’
Today, depart Kandy and embark on a spectacular 3 hour train journey into Sri Lanka’s ‘Tea Country’. This breath-taking route traverses rugged mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls, emerald tea plantations, and scented eucalyptus and cyprus woodlands. As the train climbs to 2,000 metres above sea level the temperature cools, so do dress accordingly. Bring your camera and money for a drink/snack as the train does not have a restaurant carriage. Arrive at Ceylon Tea Trails Castlereagh, in Dickoya, for a delightful two night stay. This historic former tea planter’s bungalow sits by a picturesque lake surrounded by woodland, and its facilities include in-room spa treatments, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a croquet lawn. Enjoy a relaxing lunch served on the bungalow’s veranda, followed by an afternoon at leisure. Explore the beautiful gardens and pool, hike along the tea trails, or take a boat ride on the lake before dinner is served.
Accommodation: Ceylon Tea Trails Castlereagh, Dickoya
Journey time: 3 hours

DAY 8: VISIT TO A TEA FACTORY
After a leisurely breakfast, head for a guided visit to a local tea factory. Accompanied by a resident planter, learn about the production methods that go into our daily ‘cuppa’. Children will love seeing the machinery in action. After lunch back at the bungalow, spend the afternoon at leisure, with a chauffeur and car at your disposal. Numerous activities are available including mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and white water rafting. Return to the hotel for a relaxing dinner.
Accommodation: Ceylon Tea Trails Castlereagh, Dickoya

DAY 9: TRANSFER FROM DICKOYA TO YALA
Today, leave Tea Country and transfer to Yala on Sri Lanka’s south coast. Your driver will be happy to make a number of rest stops along this stunningly picturesque 6 hour route. Yala is Sri Lanka’s most visited National Park, with a diverse terrain of rocky outcrops, verdant jungle and secluded beaches. Famed for its abundant wildlife, the park is home to one of the highest leopard densities in the world, along with buffalo, crocodile, seasonal elephant, wild boar, and monkey. On arrival at Yala, check into Chena Huts for a two night stay. This exclusive resort, set in 7 tranquil acres of private grounds fringed by the ocean, boasts excellent service, a spa, and a swimming pool. Guests have the option of an evening game drive into Yala National Park, before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Accommodation: Chena Huts, Yala
Journey time: 6 hours

DAY 10: GUIDED GAME DRIVE IN YALA NATIONAL PARK
Today, enjoy a thrilling 2 ½ hour game drive into Yala National Park, accompanied by a driver and knowledgeable trekker. Be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable shoes, and bring a camera to snap the abundant wildlife. Morning game drives depart at approximately 5.30 am (a packed breakfast is supplied), whilst the afternoon drive departs at around 3.30 pm. Lunch and dinner will be served back at the resort, with the remainder of the day spent at leisure enjoying the superb beach and hotel facilities.
Accommodation: Chena Huts, Yala

DAY 11: TRANSFER FROM YALA TO TANGALLE
Today take a 2 hour transfer along the south coast from Yala to Tangalle, arriving for a 2 night stay at the upmarket Amanwella Resort, nestled in a coconut grove beside turquoise seas. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, exploring the resort’s golden sands, hotel spa, and infinity pool, before dinner is served in the hotel restaurant.
Accommodation: Amanwella Resort, Tangalle
Journey time: 2 hours

DAY 12: DAY OF LEISURE IN TANGALLE
Enjoy a day of recreation on Tangalle’s glorious sands. Numerous activities are on offer, including surfing, scuba diving, sailing, and deep sea fishing. Visitors during December to April can enjoy whale and dolphin watching. Take an excursion to the atmospheric cave temple at Mulkirigala, with its Buddhist statues and paintings, or observe traditional stilt fisherman silhouetted against the ocean at Weligama. Indulge in a treatment at the hotel spa. Or simply enjoy the turquoise waters and stunning beach before dinner is served at the hotel.
Accommodation: Amanwella Resort, Tangalle

DAY 13: TRANSFER FROM TANGALLE TO GALLE
After breakfast, take a 2 hour transfer to the historic port of Galle. Sri Lanka’s oldest city is a dynamic fusion of European and Arabic culture, having hosted Persian, Arab, Chinese, and Indian traders over the centuries, followed by Dutch, Portuguese and British colonialists. Today Galle’s cobblestoned alleyways thrive with shops and restaurants, numerous art galleries and literary events. Check in at the Amangalla, a chic boutique hotel with architecture dating from the 1600s. This evening, enjoy a 1 ½ to 2 hour guided walk around 17th century Galle Fort, a renowned UNESCO world heritage site. Wear cool clothing, and bring a hat and water. There are numerous dining options this evening, either at the hotel, or at one of the many recommended restaurants nearby.
Accommodation: Amangalla, Galle
Journey time: 2 hours

DAY 14: TRADITIONAL COOKERY CLASS AND VISIT TO A CINAMMON PLANTATION
This morning, enjoy a hands-on traditional Sri Lankan cooking experience. After visiting a nearby market to purchase ingredients, take a short boat trip to a local chef’s home. Here, learn the secrets of Sri Lankan cuisine whilst preparing a delicious lunch: eight authentic dishes such as lentil dahl (parippu), caramelised aubergine (brinjal pahi), and coconut and chilli salad (pol sambola). Note aprons are not provided, so wear cool clothing which can get dirty if necessary. Later on, take a private guided excursion around a local cinnamon plantation and factory, led by a local planter. Cinnamon is one of Sri Lanka’s major exports, its unmistakeable aroma used internationally in both cooking and medicine. We recommend light clothing, a hat, and sunscreen. This evening, either dine at the hotel or visit one of the local restaurants.
Accommodation: Amangalla, Galle

DAY 15: TRANSFER FROM GALLE TO BANDARANAIKE AIRPORT FOR DEPARTURE
Today, make the 2 ½ hour chauffeured transfer from Galle to Bandaranaike International Airport at Colombo, in time for your onward journey.
Journey time: 2 ½ hours

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

The Wallawwa

Colombo & Around

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Characterful, historic manor house
- Day trips to Colombo
- Close to Negombo beach
- Elephant sanctuary visits

Ulagalla Resort

Cultural Triangle

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Luxurious, eco-friendly resort 
- Access to Cultural Triangle
- Wide range of hotel-based activities

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Set in elegant golf course grounds
- Peaceful location near Kandy
- Great facilities

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Luxury property with sumptuous, colonial feel
- Pool, tennis courts, mountain bikes
- Tea plantation tours and nearby lake
- White water rafting, sea plane trips

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Close to Yala National Park
- Great wildlife, possible leopard sightings
- Quiet property with spacious guest cabins
- Lots of exciting day trips

Amanwella

The South Coast of Sri Lanka

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Exclusive beachfront resort
- Spacious suites with private plunge pools
- Spa, pool and several dining options

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Elegant, historic hotel
- Excellent central Galle location
- Spa, pool, and beautiful gardens

Details

Getting there

From the UK
Flights from the UK to Sri Lanka tend to be overnight on the way out to Sri Lanka and day time on the way back. Only Sri Lankan Airlines currently offers direct flights between the UK and Sri Lanka with a 10-11hr flight time. Indirect lights with one stop and an approximate 13-14hr overall flight time are available with Emirates, Qatar and Oman Air. Flights typically cost between £500 and £1000 per person depending on seasonality and demand. Please get in touch for a detailed quote including International Flights from the UK.

From the US
There are no direct flights from the US to Sri Lanka and the best options tend to have one stop in the Middle East with Qatar, Kuwait or Emirates with prices between $1,000 - $1,500 per person and an overall flight time of around 18-22 hours. From the West Coast there is also the option of flying via Singapore with Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines again with prices between $1,000 - $1,500 per person and an overall flight time of around 21-22 hours. Please get in touch for a detailed quote including International Flights from the US.

Price includes

The quoted price includes a private driver and vehicle in Sri Lanka along with all accommodation (varying board basis) and guided tours mentioned in the itinerary.

Flight prices vary significantly and guidance is given separately on their costs. Please get in touch for an accurate quote.

When is best?

JANUARY - APRIL
Hot and Dry Peak Season
January to April is peak season with hot, sunny and dry weather throughout. It is a perfect time of year for the Coast, and the higher altitudes of the hill country offer a cool respite from the heat. April in particular can be very hot.

MAY - JUNE
SW Monsoon
Monsoon Season in Galle & SW Sri Lanka. During May and June, the South West ofo Sri Lanka (e.g. Colombo, Galle, Tangalle) are affected by monsoon rains during this period. Not as severe as the name suggests, rainfall tends to be short and heavy and passes through quickly.

JULY - AUGUST
Hot and Mostly Dry High Season
Falling between the two monsoon seasons, July and August tend to be hot and dry with the odd shower and after January - April, the next most popular time of year to visit Sri Lanka. West and South Coast beaches tend in the main to be too rough for swimming at this time of year.

OCTOBER, NOVEMBER & DECEMBER
NE Monsoon
The monsoon from the North East affects the whole of Sri Lanka with often heavy rain, albeit rather unpredictable in timing and intensity. The least popular time for visiting Sri Lanka. The monsoons have usually receded come December and it can be a pleasant time of year to visit with sparkling green scenery.

See our guide to the weather on Sri Lanka's Coast for detailed information on the climate and sea state on different areas of the Sri Lankan Coastline during the different seasons.

Is it for me?

This itinerary is most suited to families looking to stay in Sri Lanka's finest luxury accommodation. For those on a more modest budget, we have several itinerary suggestions staying in good quality character lodges (4* equivalent).

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 496 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

  • We had a wonderful trip to Morocco. What a fascinating country. Thank you so much for all of your help making things smooth and less stressful!

    Here are a few things we wanted to pass on:

    Dar Housnia was absolutely delightful. It was like an entire wing of a house to ourselves with perfect Moroccan decor. The private area where we ate was so cute, the riad staff so accommodating. I loved waking in the cozy space with our family and hearing both call to prayer as well as roosters. Just perfect.

    I was a little unclear how to ask what time we were being picked up etc, but your office promptly replied to my emails - even on weekends- when we had these questions about transport times. Once, we met our guide in Imlil these details we not problematic as our guide “Abraham” totally took care of us. Abraham was awesome. You should definitely request him again in the future. He was young (29)and energetic. He had a ton of hiking experience in Imlil as he was from there. He also seemed to know everything else about morocco, the desert, the culture, etc, etc. He was approachable, kind, patient, great with our kids and answered SO MANY of our questions.

    The hike was lovely - after rain the day prior in Marrakech - there was snow in the mountains. It was gorgeous. We may have been up for a longer hike up Mt Taboukel if I had known this was a realistic option for families ( I thought from reading that it was too technical for us). Yet not sure we had enough days for all these things always since getting in the desert was a priority.

    The mountain house, Dar adar, was just as described… very basic. The wifi was broken (which was a nice break when you have pre-teens addicted to phones, plus my husband called no wifi an amenity to not be available by email for his work!)). There was no heat and the fireplace helped a tad - but was so very cold in the rooms. My husband loved the rustic space, I may have gone up one step in niceness of mountain accommodation if I had to do it over again. Yet, meeting the other families in this Dar Adar (including another Tourdust family from England) made this house very memorable.

    We were then joined by our driver for the next several days, Jamal. What a fun guy and a perfect driver. He could joke with my kids, he had a fun smile, and he had worked with Abraham before so they were a great team. The drive to desert was long as I knew it would be. It was nice to have the stop on way there near Ait Ben Haddu. The drive back from desert was long. It was more near 10 hours of driving (plus 1 hour at lunch = 11 hours) but I wouldn’t have made any different choices.

    The luxury desert camp was far and away the highlight of our trip. The tents were adorable, I was sufficiently warm even at night inside the tent. We loved the camel riding, the ATV vehicles at a nearby camp, sunsets on the dunes, music around the camp fire, meals with others at the camp and more.

    The last night was at Riad Jona. This was so very very lovely. The food was amazing - such a good idea to eat here after our long drive back to Marrakech. They had a small dining pool plus a hot tub which was delightful. It was almost more of a boutique hotel as it had several rooms.

    MissingGwyneth R reviewing Luxury Family Desert Holiday on 11 December 2018

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam Kearns reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Perfectly balanced relaxing and indulgent 2 week holiday in Sri Lanka with a focus on the wildlife, Tea County and the Coast and plenty of time for fun and relaxation by the pool and beach.

Tailor-made Classic 13 days

Families from $2,759 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

Combine the best of both worlds with a week exploring adventurous Sri Lanka and a week relaxing in a family friendly resort in the Maldives.

Tailor-made Classic 15 days

Families from $3,660 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,532 per person economy class from London

2 week holiday in Sri Lanka with a focus on the Cultural Triangle, the Tea County and the Galle Coast. Designed with a nice balance of guided activities and pool / beach time and perfect for families.

Tailor-made Classic 13 days

Families from $2,689 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

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