Large leopard in yala national park

Relaxed Sri Lanka for Families

This is one of our favourite recommendations for families in Sri Lanka. Taking the less is more approach, we've designed this itinerary with plenty of time for relaxing and having fun around the pool, we've gone light on the historical sites (which don't always go down so well with everyone in the family!) and focused more on the experience with game drives in Yala National Park, the beautiful Tea Country and atmospheric Galle Fort. Finish off in style with a relaxing stay at a luxury resort on the Tangalle Coast.

Tailor-made Classic 13 days

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Itinerary

Overview

This itinerary is designed with a wildlife focus and relaxed pace, including Yala National Park but not including the historic sites cultural triangle to save on driving time.



  • 13 Day tailor-made Sri Lanka holiday

  • Private car & driver allows you to explore at your own pace

  • Stay in a gorgeous luxurious country estate in Kandy

  • Visit a historic tea plantation

  • Explore the beaches and historic fort of Galle

  • Game drives in Yala National Park

  • Family friendly beach resort with superb facilities in Tangalle

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVAL AND RELAXING OVERNIGHT IN KOTUGODA (30MINS DRIVE)
On arrival at the airport you will be met by a chauffeur and make the brief 20-30 minute transfer to your hotel in Kotugoda. Spend a night in the luxurious family suite at the Wallawwa hotel, a delightful country house property with well-manicured gardens, croquet and a lovely swimming pool.
Accommodation: The Wallawwa

DAY 2: KOTUGODA - POOL DAY
Start your holiday in style with a a day of relaxation in this stunning country house retreat. Grab a book, play croquet or take a swim in the pool. The beach is only 30 minutes by car or we can arrange a private guided tour by kayak through the pretty bird-filled Muthurajawela Wetlands.
Accommodation: The Wallawwa

DAY 3: KANDY (4HRS DRIVE) - BOTANICAL GARDENS AND TEMPLE
It is a three - four drive today to Kandy. We'll stop in Kandy and enjoy a private, leisurely 1 ½ hour guided walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, accompanied by a botanist. Sri Lanka’s largest botanical gardens have acres of open spaces for children to explore. After lunch we include a short 1 hour walking tour of the bustling markets and streets of vibrant Kandy town, a UNESCO world heritage site and gateway to the ‘Tea Country’. Afterwards, enjoy a refreshing cup of tea at the historic Queens Hotel. Before dinner, visit the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, renowned for housing the relic of the tooth of Buddha, and as such a sacred destination for pilgrims for thousands of years. From Kandy it is a 60 minute drive onto your hotel in the hills surrounding Kandy.
Accommodation: Taylors Hill

DAY 4: KANDY COUNTRYSIDE - POOL DAY
Around a 60-90 minute drive south west outside of Kandy, Taylors Hill is a spectacularly sited family -friendly boutique hotel set in acres of landscaped gardens. With just five bedrooms, this century old former planters residence feels like a family home and comes with a TV room, a snooker room, a kids play area, extensive gardens and plenty of outdoor activities such as tennis, badminton, croquet and swimming. There are bicycles for exploring the locality, walking trails and a dedicated nature guide.
Accommodation: Taylors Hill

DAY 5: KANDY COUNTRYSIDE - LOOLECONDERA TEA ESTATE
Learn all about tea production and its history here in Sri Lanka a the Loolecondera Tea Factory. Loolecondera is the country’s first tea factory, set up by James Taylor, its estate a beguiling and unique experience for visitors, representing the important and vital history of tea in Ceylon from its inception. Tea became such a key product for Sri Lanka in the mid-19th century. James Taylor had an impressive career at Loolecondera Tea Factory Sri Lanka, commanding the respect of the estate’s employees after arriving in the Ceylon in 1852. At his death the coffin was carried by 24 men for 34km to the Cemetery near Kandy, and many others followed calling him “Sami Dorai” (the Master who is God).
Accommodation: Taylors Hill

DAY 6: GALLE FORT (5.5HRS DRIVE)
Drive today from Kandy to the Coast and Sri Lanka’s oldest and most charming city, Galle. Galle has played host to Chinese, Arab, Persian, and Indian traders over the centuries, along with Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonialists. Today it is a thriving hub of European and Arabic culture, boasting art galleries, literary events and a host of shops and restaurants within its atmospheric, cobblestoned alleyways. Discover the history of Galle Fort with your host, who has an intimate knowledge of its colonial past, as well as details of the part the fort played in connecting Sri Lanka with the early Persian, Greek, Roman and Arab traders, and an interest in architecture in Sri Lanka. The tour winds through the Dutch Fort’s cobblestoned streets, passing historical buildings sitting side-by-side with modern restaurants, as your host points out the interesting heritage architecture of the colonial buildings and shares thrilling tales of historic battles once fought for control of this key seaport.
Accommodation: Galle Fort Hotel

DAY 7: GALLE COUNTRYSIDE - BOATS & BIKES
Galle’s inner landscape is covered in patches of jungle, rice paddies, cinnamon plantations, lowland tea fields and quaint mud roads joining small villages, and is home to beautiful tropical plants and lots of Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Begin your journey with a peaceful boat ride down the Kapu Ela (river), accompanied by a light-hearted, entertaining local naturalist who is very knowledgeable about the area’s bird and reptile life. Float slowly along canals, passing local village hamlets, rubber and cinnamon plantations and tea fields, and watch as grey fish eagles soar through the air and water monitor lizards haul themselves out of the river and cling to the low branches along the bank. Disembark from the boat and mount your bikes for a 9km cycle along the narrow mud lanes between the villages, passing picturesque paddy fields and small villages with markets selling vibrant local fruits and vegetables. Stop along the way in a wattle-and-daub hut for a cup of herbal tea and traditional hoppers cooked over a fire, before getting back on your bike and cycling to the pick-up point. If you are tired, you can be driven from here.
Accommodation: Galle Fort Hotel

DAY 8: YALA NATIONAL PARK (4HRS DRIVE)
It is a 4 hour drive East to Yala National Park , Sri Lanka's premier game reserve, home to a dense population of leopards, elephants and sloth bears. On arrival, enjoy an optional evening game drive. Cinamon Wild is a good value option outside the park with a good pool, but if budget allows, we recommend an upgrade to an authentic safari camp (upgrade cost approx £300 per person for a two night stay).
Accommodation: Cinnamon Wild

DAY 9: YALA NATIONAL PARK
Enjoy a fascinating private game drive with an experienced guide in renowned Yala National Park, home to 44 species of mammal plus phenomenal birdlife including peacocks, hoopoes and bee eaters. Game drives take place either morning or evening; the morning drive leaves at 5.30 am, and a packed breakfast will be provided. Alternatively, the evening drive departs at approximately 3.30 pm. Wear cool, light clothing, hats and sunscreen. This is a wonderful excursion for keen photographers and wildlife lovers of all ages.
Accommodation: Cinnamon Wild

DAY 10: TANGALLE BEACH (2HRS DRIVE)
We recommend finishing your holiday in relaxing style on the Southern Coast beaches of Tangalle. Anantara Peace Haven is a luxurious resort set in a coconut plantation overlooking the Ocean. Facilities include swimming pool, gym, spa, tennis and badminton courts, kids’ club, teens’ club and library.
Accommodation: Anantara Tangalle

DAY 11: TANGALLE BEACH
Accommodation: Anantara Tangalle

DAY 12: TANGALLE BEACH
Accommodation: Anantara Tangalle

DAY 13: DEPART (3HRS DRIVE)
It is a three hour journey back to Colombo for your flight home

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

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Contemporary boutique hotel
- Picturesque and peaceful hillside location
- Tennis court, badminton, croquet, billiards
- Lovely infinity pool

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Stunning boutique hotel with 12 rooms
- Central Galle location - UNESCO heritage site
- Swimming Pool

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Delightful jungle and beach chalets
- Adjacent to Yala National Park
- Great for animal lovers

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Large, exclusive resort
- Stunning beachfront location
- 4 restaurants, pool, spa, tennis courts

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 is one of our favourite recommendations for families in Sri Lanka. Taking the less is more approach, we've designed this itinerary with plenty of time for relaxing and having fun around the pool, we've gone light on the historical sites (which don't always go down so well with the kids!) and focused more on the experience with game drives, tea plantations and atmospheric Galle.
The big compromise with this itinerary is missing out the Cultural Triangle and Sigiriya. This is a shame, but it does save significant driving time (around 4-5 hours) and whilst we love Sigiriya, the tough climb up in the unyielding sun definitely does not work for all families.

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.

Luxurious 15 day guided family trip exploring Sri Lanka’s treasures, including the ‘Cultural Triangle’, ‘Tea Country’, glorious beaches and ri Lanka's finest lodges.

Tailor-made Luxury 15 days

Adults from $6,603 pp plus flights

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

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

Families from $5,906 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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