Large arugam

Sri Lanka Summer Surf Family Holiday

A 14 day family summer holiday in glorious Sri Lanka, with a surfing focus. Stay in surfing idyll, Arugam Bay, which from May to September boasts excellent conditions for all levels of surfer, from beginner to advanced. Additional highlights include historic Kandy, a train journey through iconic Tea Country, and elephant encounters in leafy national parks. Enjoy scenic bike and boat excursions interspersed with stays in stylish boutique hotels, colonial guesthouses, and tranquil eco-lodges.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

'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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Tourdust is rated 5.0 out of 5 stars


…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....

Missing Matthew McSweeney. See all Reviews

Itinerary

Overview


  • 14 night Sri Lanka summer surfing holiday

  • World class waves in iconic Arugam Bay

  • Superb surfing for all abilities including beginner

  • Visit Tea Country, ancient Kandy and atmospheric Galle

  • Elephant spotting at Uda Walawe National Park

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVE SRI LANKA AND TRANSFER TO KOTUGODA (0.5HRS)
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.
Accommodation: The Wallawwa

DAY 2: TRANSFER TO KANDY (4HRS)
It is a 4 hour road transfer to Kandy. On arrival, spend an afternoon at leisure. Kandy has been a sacred destination for Buddhist pilgrims for thousands of years and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The gateway to Tea Country, it’s a small but buzzing city which sits at a lower altitude than tea country, thus offering warmer temperatures and lower rainfall.
Accommodation: Clove Villa

DAY 3: KANDY - BOTANICAL GARDENS AND TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH
This morning, 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. Do remember to bring a hat and sun cream, as well as a camera! Lunch is at the Empire Café, followed by a 1 hour walking tour of the bustling markets and streets of vibrant Kandy town. 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.
Accommodation: Clove Villa

DAY 4: TRAIN JOURNEY TO THE TEA COUNTRY (3HRS)
After breakfast, depart from Kandy and embark on a scenic 3 hour train ride into Sri Lanka’s ‘Tea Country’. Climbing to 2,000 metres above sea level, this atmospheric journey reveals majestic mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls, lush, emerald tea plantations, and aromatic cyprus and eucalyptus woodlands. The climate here is cooler and more temperate, so dress accordingly, and bring a camera and money for a drink or snack as the train does not have a restaurant carriage.
Train tickets are strictly subject to availability. Purchasing train tickets remains one of the most challenging parts of organizing a tour in Sri Lanka, purely due to the very high demand for seats. Seat availability is limited as only three trains run per day, of which only a few carriages offer reserved seating. Therefore, train tickets are strictly subject to availability, and can be confirmed only 10 days prior to the date of the journey. By default, we try to reserve seats on the First Class Carriage for all our travellers, unless you specifically request a different carriage. Unfortunately, due to the very high demand, this is not always possible. In such instances, we will try our best to reserve any and all possible alternative tickets.
Accommodation: Amba Estate

DAY 5: VISIT A TEA FACTORY
Today you will visit a historic tea factory to observe processing methods, followed by the opportunity to enjoy a tea tasting. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea with a roaring industry that dominates the island’s central highlands. Introduced to the country by British planter James Taylor in 1867, tea irreversibly changed the topography, and even the demography, of the country. In the wake of Sri Lanka’s coffee blight, British planters were quick to discover that tea was a more lucrative industry. As the number of tea estates rose, there was an increased need for human labour. The production of tea involves a tedious procedure of plucking, withering, rolling, oxidizing and drying – a process that requires heavy machines and plenty of manpower. Workers were shipped over from Tamil Nadu in India to maintain the plantations, and these people, an often overlooked ethnic minority in Sri Lanka, are still the main employees in the tea industry today. A visit to a tea factory has become a staple of every Sri Lanka travel itinerary, and for good reason! If you look past the crowds of tourists and the sometimes amusingly gimmicky tours on offer, you’ll find a fascinating subject matter – the epic story of the tea industry, a central theme to the story of not only Sri Lanka, but also the post-industrialized world.
Accommodation: Amba Estate

DAY 6: DRIVE TO ARUGAM BAY (3HRS)
It is a three hour drive from the Tea Country to Arugam Bay, or ‘A Bay’ as it is affectionately known. Arugam Bay is a mecca for surfers from May to October with reliable waves, great weather and a relaxed vibe in town. Accommodation is mostly small and relatively simple guesthouses, the pick of which have modest pools and pleasant gardens. During the peak May to October period, whilst the West Coast beaches are pounded by monsoon surf, A Bay enjoys cracking weather and waves, drawing surfers from all over the world. If you are not a surfer, then you would be best heading further up the East Coast to Pasikuda Bay or the Trincomalee area, but for surfers, and those looking to learn, Arugam Bay is heaven. There are several surf schools in town as well as board rental companies.
Accommodation: Hideaway Arugam Bay

DAYS 7 - 10: ARUGAM BAY
Free days to relax, enjoy the beach and surf.
Accommodation: Hideaway Arugam Bay

DAY 11: DRIVE TO UDA WALLAWE NP (3HRS). AFTERNOON GAME DRIVE
Enjoy a scenic 3hr drive from Arugam Bay to Uda Walawe National Park. After lunch, enjoy a late afternoon game drive in the National Park. This is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see elephant, with a population of 500 elephant living in the park. It is also comparatively free of tourist traffic, making for a peaceful wildlife experience. Other animals that you may see include deer, wild buffalo, water monitors, and crocodiles.
Accommodation: Kalu's Hideaway

DAY 12: TRANSFER TO GALLE (3HRS)
Sri Lanka’s oldest city, 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. Beyond Galle – largely south of the town where Galle's influence is at its strongest – is a glorious collection of beaches.
Accommodation: Mango House

DAY 13: GALLE COUNTRYSIDE CYCLING
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 a lot 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 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: Mango House

DAY 14: DEPART (3HRS)
Transfer to Colombo Airport 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 3

- Close to central Kandy
- Peaceful location
- Good facilities

Amba Estate

Tea Country

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Farm-stay on peaceful tea estate
- Rural setting with splendid views
- Simple, rustic accommodation
- Hiking, cycling, estate tours

Hideaway

Arugam Bay

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Friendly, family run guesthouse
- Central location close to beach
- Tropical gardens, pool, restaurant, bar
- Excellent for surfing

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Charming eco-friendly rural retreat, 14 rooms
- On site birdwatching and complimentary bikes
- Near Uda Walawe national park
- Pool, volley ball, games room, fishing lake

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Intimate, stylish boutique hotel
- Historic property with lovely garden
- Excellent central location

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

Price is a guide price for 2 people sharing (or for the family price, the average per person price for a family of 4 in 2 rooms). The quoted price includes accommodation (B&B basis), a private driver guide throughout, guided activities, and entrances for locations mentioned in the itinerary.

When is best?

Note: the surf and weather conditions in Arugam Bay are at their best from May to October. Accordingly, this itinerary is ideal for families seeking an exotic surf holiday during the Western summer months of July and August.
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.

Is it for me?

This 14 day itinerary will appeal to reasonably active families who are surfers or keen to learn, and want to combine Sri Lanka’s excellent surf with some of the country’s key attractions. Arugam Bay boasts world class surfing during the summer months and its waves are suitable for all levels, from novice to advanced. The itinerary also features relaxed cycling and boat trips, a train journey through iconic Tea Country, cultural Kandy and Galle, and wildlife spotting in Uda Walawe National Park. Accommodation is in friendly boutique hotels and guesthouses, a tea plantation and a tranquil eco-lodge.

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 501 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • We had a wonderful time! Our transfers (besides a bit of a wait when we arrived) were smooth. The gentleman that drove us to and from the airport also drove us to our hike and he was very nice and helpful, clean car and very accommodating.
    Our tour guide on the first day, Mandy, was charming and insightful. It was a slow day in the markets but we appreciated the space and gave us a chance to hear all about the Souks. The gentlemen who was with her was a wealth of knowledge and both did a very nice job!
    Our hike was awesome and our guide was great- he even took us to a cool waterfall and took great care of us; lunch in the mountains was delicious!
    The hotel was so lovely and the staff was very accommodating and helpful. The food was great and the rooms very comfortable!
    I did a good amount of damage in the market (often accused of being Berber;) and truly hope to be back next Spring... maybe a girls trip or perhaps I’ll bring my kiddos!
    Thank you for organizing such a nice getaway for my husband and I; we will confidently recommend Tourdust to our friends!!

    MissingJennifer H reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 12 June 2019

  • We had an amazing trip. Everything was well thought out and so much fun. What a great way to truly see the country and learn the culture.

    Joseph was the perfect guide. Very kind, professional, knowledgeable and patient. The kids loved Joseph and keep asking when will they meet him again. He found the Big 5 for us which was unforgettable! Please pass along our appreciation to Joseph.

    Maji Moto was also another incredible experience. They had great customer service and we loved experiencing their culture.

    Sunbird was absolutely beautiful and I wish we had more time there. We loved the view of the lake!

    One suggestion to make the trip even better for other guests in the future would be to have a cooler with drinks and snacks in the Jeep at all times because a ton of driving is involved and it would be helpful to have a cold drink and snacks during the long trip.

    Thanks again for organizing this experience of a lifetime for us!

    MissingBrandon H reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 12 June 2019

  • Both hotels were excellent. Sari Konak is in a superb location for visiting all the iconic sights. Our family suite was spacious, newly decorated and very clean. There was a separate room for our son and a kitchenette with ‘fridge and kettle. Good choice at breakfast and served on lovely roof terrace. Great views of Bosphorus. One evening, we caught the commuter ferry to Kadikoy for an evening meal. A great option if there isn’t time to fit in a Bosphorus cruise. Also recommend The Old House restaurant which is very close to the hotel. We were in Istanbul during Ramadan so there was a family atmosphere in the city late into the night.

    Esbelli Evi was delightful; a huge cave suite, great character, two bathrooms, sitting room and kitchenette with a fridge well stocked with beers and soft drinks. Private, quiet courtyard with gate to communal areas. Breakfast choice was really good and plenty of outdoor seating. Easy walk into village. Favourite options for dinner were Ziggys (stylish outdoor roof terrace) and Urgup Pide (popular with locals).

    Really must mention owner Suha Ersoz and his staff - all of whom are extremely kind and helpful.

    All our transfers went smoothly. Our driver and guide (Gaia) in Cappadocia were excellent and our itinerary was fast paced and interesting. Lunch options were great, especially on the river at Ilhara. A highlight for me was spitting a wild tortoise!

    Balloon flight with Kapadokya Balloons was well worth the money and well organised.

    MissingTim S reviewing Istanbul & Cappadocia Family Holiday on 07 June 2019

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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.

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Adults from $6,707 pp plus flights

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

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

Families from $5,999 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 $1,008 per person economy class from London

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Families from $2,803 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 $1,008 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.

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'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 $1,511 per person economy class from London

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