Large sri lanka train kandy to tea country

Sri Lanka Highlights - Value

A 13-day budget friendly, privately guided itinerary exploring Sri Lanka’s fascinating culture and stunning landscapes. Highlights include the historic Cultural Triangle, an atmospheric train journey through Tea Country and elephant spotting in Uda Wallawe National Park. Wander the ancient cobbled streets of Kandy and Galle, and explore tranquil countryside and bucolic waterways by bike and boat. Enjoy stays on a tea estate and in charming, independent boutique guesthouses.

Tailor-made Classic 13 days

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

Flights are typically an additional $974 per person economy class from London

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

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Itinerary

Overview


  • 13-day privately guided Sri Lanka holiday

  • Train journey through scenic Tea Country

  • Explore the Cultural Triangle and Sigiriya

  • Rural cycling and elephant spotting

  • Great value, independent guesthouses

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVE SRI LANKA AND TRANSFER TO KOTUGODA
On arrival at the airport you will be greeted by your 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 THE CULTURAL TRIANGLE (4HRS DRIVE). CLIMB SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS
Enjoy the scenic 4 ½ hour transfer through meandering roads and villages to the Cultural Triangle. Steeped in ancient history, this area is home to the remnants of powerful ancient cities established thousands of years ago by Sri Lanka’s many kings, with plenty of temples and holy sites to observe en route. In the cool of the evening, enjoy an informative, privately-guided excursion to the impressive Sigiriya. Note that it is a steep 30 minute to one hour climb up, and 30 minutes back down again (depending on walking speed). It is certainly do-able for anyone with a good level of fitness, and is well worth the effort; the views from the top are magnificent. Light clothing, sun cream, lots of water, and a hat are recommended.
Accommodation: The Other Corner

DAY 3: CULTURAL TRIANGLE - ANCIENT CITY OF POLONNARUWA
Spend the morning enjoying a privately-guided tour around Polonnaruwa. This once thriving religious and commercial centre boasts ruins, statues, and stupas rising majestically out of the dense jungle, and houses an informative archaeological museum. Explore the site by vehicle or on foot, and do come prepared for the heat. In the afternoon, relax and enjoy the pool at your hotel.
Accommodation: The Other Corner

DAY 4: TRANSFER TO KANDY (4HRS) VIA DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE
En route to Kandy today, visit Dambulla Cave Temple. Dambulla first gained significance when it was used as a refuge for King Valagambahu in 1st century BC. Concealed here by the local monks upon returning from exile to his throne at Anuradhapura, Valagambahu showed his gratitude by building a magnificent cave temple for them, which consists of a complex of wonderful Buddhist image houses. The temple’s rock ceiling is one large sweep of colourful frescoes depicting Buddhist mythology and the tales of the Buddha's previous births, some of which date back over 2,000 years. This cave temple has the largest number of Buddha statues housed together in one place, and houses a colossal, 14-metre-long figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock. The climb from the base takes approximately half an hour and although there are approximately 200 steps, it is not strenuous and can be done at a leisurely pace. Your guide will pay your entrance fee and make the climb with you, and note that the best time to go up is in the early morning or the late afternoon to avoid the heat. You will need to cover your knees and shoulders – and access the inner chambers barefoot or with socks.
Accommodation: Clove Villa

DAY 5: KANDY - BOTANICAL GARDENS & 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, a UNESCO world heritage site and gateway to the beautiful ‘Tea Country’. Afterwards, enjoy a refreshing cup of tea at the historic Queens Hotel. Before dinner, there’s a visit to the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth which is renowned for housing the relic of the tooth of Buddha, and as such has been a sacred destination for pilgrims for thousands of years.
Accommodation: Clove Villa

DAY 6: 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 stunning ‘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 do dress accordingly, and bring a camera and money for a drink or snack as the train does not have a restaurant carriage.
Purchasing train tickets remains one of the most challenging parts of organizing a tour in Sri Lanka, purely because the very high demand for seats coincides with limited availability of seats as there are only three trains per day, and what’s more, only a few carriages on these three trains allow reserved seating! Accordingly, 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 they specifically request a different carriage. Unfortunately, please note that due to the very high demand, we are sometimes unable to obtain First Class tickets. In such instances, we try our best to get any and all possible alternative tickets.
Accommodation: Amba Estate

DAY 7: VISIT A TEA FACTORY
Today there’s a visit to a historic tea factory to observe the 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 tea industry that dominates the island’s central highlands. Introduced to the country by British tea 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. 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. As the number of tea estates rose, there was an increased need for human labour and 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 tea 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 8: GUIDED WALKS IN THE TEA PLANTATION
The climate in the hills is warm during the day, yet fresher and cooler at night, and is therefore ideal for long walks. Scenic hikes through the tea fields are a highlight of a stay at the Amba Estate and there is a good selection of walking trails on and around the property.
Accommodation: Amba Estate

DAY 9: DRIVE TO UDA WALLAWE NP (3HRS). AFTERNOON GAME DRIVE
Relax during a scenic 3-hour drive down from the Tea Country to Uda Wallawe National Park. After lunch, enjoy a late afternoon game drive around the park – a large population of some 500 elephants lives here, making this one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see these wonderful animals. The National Park is also comparatively free of tourist traffic, which means a relatively peaceful wildlife experience. Other animals that may be spotted include deer, wild buffalo, water monitors, and crocodiles.
Accommodation: Kalu's Hideaway

DAY 10: TRANSFER FROM TEA COUNTRY TO GALLE (5HRS)
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, is a glorious collection of beaches.
Accommodation: Mango House

DAY 11: GALLE COUNTRYSIDE CYCLING
Galle’s inner landscape comprises 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. The journey begins 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. Enjoy floating slowly along canals, passing local village hamlets, rubber and cinnamon plantations and tea fields, and watching 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 villages, passing picturesque paddy fields and small settlements with markets selling vibrant local fruits and vegetables. Stop along the way at 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. For anyone who’s tired by the cycling at this point, there’s the option to be driven from the hut back to base.
Accommodation: Mango House

DAY 12: GALLE - DAY AT LEISURE
Today, you are free to explore Galle and its surrounding beaches at your own pace.
Accommodation: Mango House

DAY 13: DEPART
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

The Other Corner

Cultural Triangle

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Spacious and tranquil eco-resort
- Verdant grounds, pool, restaurant
- Great location for Cultural Triangle

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

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 to Sri Lanka and day time on the way back. Only Sri Lankan Airlines currently ooffers direct flights between the UK and Sri Lanka with a 10-11hr flight time. Indirect flights 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 $1000 - $1500 per peron and an overall flight time of around 18-22h. 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 pp an an overall flight time of 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 (BB basis), a private driver guide throughout, guided activities and entrances for locations mentioned in the itinerary.

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 great value, 13-day itinerary is aimed at reasonably active travellers looking to explore Sri Lanka’s fascinating culture, diverse wildlife, and stunning scenery. Involves some easy cycling and hiking, with characterful accommodation in small, independent guesthouses.

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 508 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Hi - now back.
    In short it was a great holiday with very very little to fault. Location on Lopud was perfect for family and accommodation was exactly as you said ‘simple’ clean and comfortable hosted by a wonderful friendly local family ...all 1min walk from the front. Great breakfast that was straight from the garden in part and always abundant.
    Our guide Nina was excellent always putting our safety first and adapting the itinerary to suit weather. She was a great host with the two families in our group and went out her way to keep us informed and even take photos to share when we were out on the water.
    Transport arrangements were spot on - always there waiting at airport or ferry! Slight confusion that it wasn’t a TourDust sign but that was quickly solved.
    Kayaking was a great adventure and a challenge some days but worth it for the stops on other islands and opportunities to swim, dive and explore caves. I suspect it could be a long day if your child is too young or not such a ‘water baby’ as once your in the kayak your in it! It is also a hefty bit of exercise on a two person kayak if the child in front isn’t up for paddling! I was fine except on one or two occasions where it was a bit of a struggle and I had to persuade him to do some more paddling for me.
    Finally, your service has been great since we got in touch especially as it was a last minute decision for us to go. The speed in responding to queries on a personal basis and quickly was really great (very unusual these days!)
    All in all a great holiday - my 11 year old had a great adventure he will talk about for years! So will I....
    M. Cameron

    Missingmurdoch C reviewing Family Sea Kayaking Holiday in Dubrovnik on 08 August 2019

  • We had a fabulous holiday thank you! Everything went very smoothly - accommodation was good, breakfast fantastic! The kayaking was great - really well thought out schedule with plenty of rests and time to relax. Lovely meals out.

    Just wanted to add that our guide Nina was excellent. She worked really hard to ensure the whole trip went smoothly and that we were all happy with the pace, including giving the boys plenty of opportunities for jumping in off the cliffs!!

    All in all a great trip! And all the admin side of things has been very efficient throughout.

    Thank you so much!!

    Kate T

    MissingKate T reviewing Family Sea Kayaking Holiday in Dubrovnik on 05 August 2019

  • Hi, just back home now as stayed in London last night. It was fab! We loved it! Amazing all round- Thankyou. Best holiday ever!!!

    Accommodation great at both places, guides lovely, staff great. We saw more animals than ever expected: giraffes, lion, elephants, water hog, wilder beast, impala, white rhino, crocodiles, hippos in lake Sybia, monkeys in trees at Tonga.

    Beach beautiful, but a bit windy, waves v rough but didn’t deter my boys. We snorkeled which was fab but too rough on day we booked to do ocean experience.

    My boys swam in all pools!!!

    Weather better than we expected!

    Must go and do some laundry, but hope that helps?

    Best Nicola

    MissingNicola B reviewing South Africa Luxury Safari & Beach Holiday on 24 July 2019

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Speak to a specialist

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Call 855 686 7694 9am and 6pm GMT Monday to Friday

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Enquire

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 $6,535 pp plus flights

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

Flights are typically an additional $974 per person economy class from London

Families from $5,846 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 $974 per person economy class from London

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 $2,731 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 $974 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 $3,621 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 $1,461 per person economy class from London

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