50 Shades of Green

Trip description

Are you ready to jump on a plane for an unforgettable trip to the island of a thousand colours? Admire the giant Buddhas on your way, meet the clever monkeys at the exit of the temples, go and observe the hundreds of dolphins in the Indian Ocean, take a bath with the elephants, enjoy the magnificent white sandy beaches where the turtles come to lay their eggs during the night, meet the smiling children in the tea plantation villages. There is no shortage of opportunities to have fun. There is something for everyone! Young and old alike will enjoy a warm and entertaining experience in Sri Lanka, the island of a thousand smiles. 
This wellness tour will allow you to relax completely, to experience a complete change of scenery and to leave with a new energy. Because you are unique, so is your trip!

Agency photo

Discover the agency :
Seasons Worldwide (Pvt) Ltd.

20 days

From : €1,555*


Highlights of your trip

  • Elephant Freedom Project 
  • Golden Temple at Dambulla
  • The Lion Rock at Sigiriya 
  • The ancient city of Polonnaruwa
  • Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
  • The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
  • A train ride through the mountains
  • Kandy Dancing in Kandy
  • Discovery of Galle by bike 
  • Tuk tuk safari through the tea plantations
  • Safari in Yala National Park
  • Safari in Mineriya National Park
  • Safari in Maduru Oya National Park
  • Climbing Adam's Peak 
  • Meeting with the indigenous people of Sri Lanka
  • Rathna Waterfalls
  • Lipton Seat
  • Travel by train through the mountainous region
  • Discover the city of Colombo
  • Ravana Falls

Services included:

  • Transport in private air-conditioned vehicle with English speaking driver guide
  • Breakfast included
  • Government taxes
  • 24 hour staff assistance
  • Half day jeep safari in Minneriya National Park
  • Double room accommodation (subject to availability)
  • Parking fees for petrol and tolls; driver's accommodation and meals
  • Visa and PCR test
  • Safari in Minneriya National Park
  • Udawalawe National Park 

Benefits not included:

  • International flights
  • Tours and activities not mentioned in the "included" section
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Lunches and dinners not mentioned in the "included" section
  • Drinks during meals

Day 1: International Airport - Negombo

Day 2: Negombo - Yapahuwa - Anuradhapura

Day 3: Anuradhapura - Aukana - Ritigala - Sigiriya

Day 4: Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla - Sigiriya

Day 5: Around Sigiriya

Day 6: Sigiriya - Mahiyanganaya

Day 7: Around Mahiyanganaya

Day 8: Mahiyanganaya - Kandy

Day 9: Kandy - Kegalle - Kandy

Day 10: Kandy - Maussawa

Day 11: Maussawa

Day 12: Maussawa - Dalhousie

Day 13: Dalhousie - Train journey - Ella

Day 14: Half day trek in the mountainous region

Day 15: Ella - Udawalawe

Day 16: Udawalawe - Elephant Transit Home - Mirissa

Day 17: Mirissa

Day 18: Mirissa - Galle

Day 19: Galle and its surroundings

Day 20: Galle - Colombo - Colombo International Airport

Day 1 : International Airport - Negombo

Negombo Beach ©ian jones from Flickr

 "Ayubowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka".

You are greeted by your driver on arrival in Colombo at 9.20am. You have arrived in the tropics, with Negombo as your first stop.  Close to the airport, Negombo is ideal for a rest after a long flight. 

You can still see many colonial monuments and churches, such as St. Mary's Church, built between 1874 and 1922. With a large Catholic community, the city is known as "Little Rome". 

Depending on when you arrive, we suggest a walk along the Dutch Canal, which is misnamed because it existed two centuries before the Dutch colonisation. This is a great way to start the day... an encounter with nature... to be done to enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Free dinner and overnight stay

Day 2 : Negombo - Yapahuwa - Anuradhapura

Mihintale Temple ©Arnaud Loiseau from Flickr

In the morning, we advise you to discover early the city of Negombo and the fish market. It is located north of the Fort on the waterfront. This market is considered to be one of the biggest in Sri Lanka. Very popular and authentic, it takes place every morning on the sandy lagoon of Negombo. At dawn, the boats come ashore with their catch. Don't miss the return of the prawn fishermen pulling their nets onto the beach before carrying their catch to the fish market. The activity is in full swing between 6am and 10.30am: sorting the fish, cutting and salting them, auctioning them and negotiating... A spectacle as amazing as it is instructive.

Take the road towards the cultural triangle, you will cross all types of landscapes made of coconut trees, rice fields, jungle....

On the way, visit the ancient kingdom of Yapahuwa. A little off the beaten track, Yapahuwa is the granite fortress that once housed the tooth of Buddha, now kept in Kandy. After climbing the many steps of the fortress, you will be rewarded with a superb 360° view of the surroundings!

Before sunset you can also visit Mihintale, located about 15 km from Anuradhapura and considered as an entry point to Buddhism, in this village perched on a hill where you will climb 1800 steps to get there. It is here that Mahinda, the disciple of Buddha, came to settle down to spread the word of his master. Once at the top, the landscape is worth the effort. 

Continue to the town of Anurahapura.

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 3 : Anuradhapura - Aukana - Ritigala - Sigiriya

Avukana Buddha Statue ©sumudu shakila from Flickr

Anuradhapura was one of the ancient capitals of the cultural centre, a unesco World Heritage Site. On the outskirts of the new town, the many remains of Sri Lanka's ancient capital (between the 4th and 10th centuries) stand proudly on miles of greenery. Here you can cycle, walk or take a tuk tuk to see the most impressive stupas, the most sacred temples and the most adored ruins. A real journey through time that allows you to touch the past splendour of this city. 

Then you take the road to Sigiriya, on the way you could make a small detour to see the statue of the Aukana Buddha located west of the large lake of Kalawewa, which at 12 meters, is one of the highest of the country, but also one of the oldest and best preserved. It is the result of a competition between a master sculptor and his apprentice.

You could visit the Ritigala Nature Reserve, which houses an ancient Buddhist monastery. These ruins, dating from the 2nd century BC, are in the middle of the jungle, which makes the walk very pleasant. Your driver will accompany you for this visit. Check-in at your hotel in Sigiriya. 

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 4 : Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla - Sigiriya

Dambulla Cave Temple ©Sri Lanka Tourism

In the morning, visit Polonnaruwa, an ancient city which was the royal capital of Sri Lanka during the 11th and 12th centuries, and covers an area of about 10 km2. You can visit the ruins of palaces, temples, but especially Kalu Gal Vihara, a set of 4 Buddha statues carved in granite. The visit can also be done by bicycle. The archaeological museum is also worth a visit.

Next, discover the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This monastery with five shrines is a major pilgrimage site. It is one of the largest and best preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka. It houses over 150 statues and paintings from the Kandy school. Enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding area. 

Then, at around 15:00, go on a jeep safari in Minneriya National Park, famous for its elephant population of around 400, and other wildlife such as crocodiles, buffaloes, deer, monitor lizards, cormorants, pelicans and a multitude of birds. The park is also interesting for its landscapes, with swamps, lakes and mountains on the horizon. 

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 5 : Around Sigiriya

Sigiriya Rock Fortress ©Michael Swigunski from Pexels

Early in the morning to avoid the crowds, visit the fortress of the mad king Kashyapa (5th century) perched 200 metres high on a block of red granite, the Lion Rock of Sigiriya. We recommend an early morning visit to avoid the crowds.  The hydraulic layout of the site is highly sophisticated and the Demoiselles (royal concubines or apsaras, celestial nymphs) painted on the stone walls are exceptional: for their beauty and because they are the only known female images of the period in Sri Lanka. Listed by UNESCO, it is the most visited site in Sri Lanka.

Later, we suggest you visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This monastery with five shrines is a major pilgrimage site. It is one of the largest and best preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka. It houses over 150 statues and paintings from the Kandy school. Enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding area. 

Or you could climb Pidurangala Hill, right next to the archaeologically significant Lion Rock. A walk in the middle of nature, which will allow you to enjoy a magnificent view once at the top, notably on the Sigiriya rock, and the Minneriya park further on. At the top you will see the ruins of a monastery, Buddha statues, caves etc. A beautiful and uncrowded walk.

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 6 : Sigiriya - Mahiyanganaya

Minneriya Elephants ©pen_ash from Pixabay

You then continue to the town of Mahiyanganaya, which is not yet visited by mass tourism. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a jeep safari in the Maduru Oya National Park, which is still very little visited by tourists and famous for its elephant population. You may find yourself alone in this beautiful national park! Other wildlife to be seen includes crocodiles, buffalo, deer, monitor lizards, cormorants, pelicans and a host of other birds. 

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 7 : Around Mahiyanganaya

Veddha s in Dambana ©Sergio Carbajo from Flickr

In the morning you could take a village walk to discover the Rathna Ella waterfalls with a local guide followed by a traditional dish. Located in the town of Hasalaka, about 30 minutes drive from Mapakada Village Hotel, you could go for a beautiful 1.5 hour hike. After a short drive you will start surrounded by green rice fields and cross a stream. Then you will hear the sound of waterfalls in which you can bathe after enjoying the beautiful scenery. 

Afterwards you could visit the village of the tribal people, the Veddhas. These people have preserved a primitive way of life, their main occupations being hunting, fishing and gathering wild honey.  You could also take a boat ride from the hotel or meet the locals and farmers in a village. 

Free dinner and overnight stay

Day 8 : Mahiyanganaya - Kandy

Mahiyangana Tample ©Clarence Cooray from Flickr

Otherwise discover the main temple of the city, Raja Maha Viharaya, which is part of the circuit of an important pilgrimage in the country, also important for its history and its legend of having been one of the places visited by Buddha on one of the visits of the island. Afterwards, you drive to Kandy, the last royal capital of the island, which retains an aristocratic atmosphere. On the way, you can stop to discover the Victoria Dam and Reservoir. 
Kandy is, because of its character and history, an unmissable stop. The former capital of the Sinhalese kings, it is surrounded by green hills and dominated by a lake. You can discover the city centre on foot, starting with a visit to the Temple of the Tooth, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, and walk around the lake (about 4km).
You could also, if you wish, go to the Earth Bound Creations Showroom. It is a nice and friendly place where you can buy recycled souvenirs, gift items, clothes with a Sri Lankan touch. Quality and original souvenirs that you can take away in nice newspaper bags, while supporting a charity that, at the same time, promotes ecological recycling.
At 5pm, come and discover Sri Lankan culture by attending a performance of traditional Kandyan dances! Dating back to the Kandyan kings, these ritual and religious dances, with their splendid colourful costumes, are still an integral part of the island's cultural wealth and are well worth a visit. Very popular in Kandy, this type of performance covers many traditions in an original and entertaining style.
Dinner and overnight stay

Day 9 : Kandy - Kegalle - Kandy

Elephant Freedom Project, Sri Lanka ©Mary af Rövarhamn from Flickr

This morning, you will meet the pachyderms, Sri Lanka's animal par excellence. You will go to the Elephant Freedom Project centre.

Here is your detailed programme for the day:

  • Around 9.00 am - Welcome and explanation of the day and safety rules 
  • 9.10am - Cleaning the elephant bed
  • 9.45am - Walk with the elephant
  • 11.15am - Choice of lunch preparation or visit to the elephant dung paper factory
  • 12:30 - Elephant bath
  • 13:00 - Sri Lankan meal 

Afterwards we suggest a visit to the Peradeniya Botanical Garden which covers 60 hectares on the banks of the Mahaweli River. A must-see: the royal palm trees, the cannonball trees, the orchid collection, the multicoloured flower beds. This garden offers a beautiful walk, a must, it is said to be one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 10 : Kandy - Maussawa

Monkeys of Sri Lanka ©Raashid Ahamed on Unsplash

In the morning you can explore the Udawathakele Royal Forest Reserve in Kandy. Take a walk in this protected natural area to observe the tropical jungle. You may see deer, and hear many birds!  

Continue towards Maussawa. The road becomes more winding and climbs little by little. We are in the mountainous agricultural region of central Sri Lanka at an altitude of 980 m; we arrive at the Maussawa Estate Ecological Reserve, a former tea estate of 20 ha that has been restored, rebuilt and preserved as a diverse organic analogue forest, just as it was when the place was first established; the vegetation is lush and varied. You will stay in a traditional bungalow or in ecological cottages built only with stone and wood materials from the garden, whose terraces overlook the whole surrounding valley, rice fields and tropical forest. For dinner, discover the products served in the restaurant are from organic vegetable gardens or small producers' organisations in the area.  

Free dinner and overnight stay

Day 11 : Maussawa

Maussawa Estate ©Eco Lanka

A day trip to Eco Lanka, the perfect place for nature lovers, curious about new horizons, seeking peace and quiet and discovering the authenticity of the country. This hidden paradise, with its dense flora and fauna, will reveal the charm and mystery of Sri Lanka in total harmony with nature. During the presence of the French owners, you will be able to share the stories of ancient Ceylon and its restoration to Sri Lanka. The guide will also show you all the varieties of the richness of this exuberant nature and their traditional use. An Ecotourism (member of ATES) has been established respecting the agricultural activities of the villagers working here. Several guided trekking tours can be organised depending on the weather and level to discover ancient varieties of diverse endemic and traditional organic plant species, and observe 80 recorded birds, butterflies and other endemic species. Visit the workshops of traditional transformation of plants, vegetables and fruits to make Kitul. Visit the jungle village of Halpola, the rice fields, the traditional temple, swimming in the river or in the waterfalls of the nearby wild forest... 

Free dinner and overnight stay

Day 12 : Maussawa - Dalhousie

Adam's Peak ©Manoj Dharmarathne on Unsplash

In the morning, enjoy your ecolodge and the activities on offer.

In the afternoon you drive to Dalhousie. (called Maskeliya by the locals), which lies at the foot of Adam's Peak. Enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way of lakes, rolling hills and tea plantations. Relax at your hotel to rest before departing for Adam's Peak. 

Dinner on your own and overnight

Day 13 : Dalhousie - Train journey - Ella

Tamil pickers collecting tea leaves on plantation ©By Eats & Retreats from Flickr

Enjoy a day of rest in preparation for the ascent of Adam's Peak. At around 10pm you start your trek to the summit of Adam's Peak at sunrise. It is said that at the top of the mountain, there is a cavity almost two metres deep in the rock, which is believed to be a footprint. Hindus see it as the footprint of Vishnu, or Shiva.

Muslims claim that it is the footprint made by Adam when he left the Garden of Eden, of which Ceylon is very close, and fell to Earth, which explains the name given to the mountain. It is also said to be the footprint of Buddha, or St Thomas.

Board a train from Hatton to Ella (seating subject to availability). The most beautiful scenery in Asia, made up of endless tea plantations, passes before your eyes. Your driver will pick you up at the railway station and you will continue the drive to your hotel in Ella. 

Free dinner and overnight stay

Day 14 : Half day trek in the mountainous region

Ella Rock ©Kirsty barnby on Unsplash

In the morning, your trekking guide will welcome you and explain the course of your trekking day. Several routes are possible depending on your level and your desire. You could climb Ella Rock, or rather get lost in the countryside of Bandarawela, to cross villages, vegetable gardens and rice fields. Haputale also offers beautiful treks through the tea fields. Depending on the itinerary, you can take a dip in a waterfall, walk through eucalyptus forests and visit a tea factory, where you can learn more about the process of making this national beverage. Meet the pluckers and see how it is done! 

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 15 : Ella - Udawalawe

Udawalawa National Park ©Jacques van Niekerk on Flickr

In the morning, we recommend climbing Little Adams Peak. It's an easy 2-hour hike along the tea fields. Then head to the famous Nine Arch Bridge where you may see a train passing by.

Leave the lush green landscape and head towards the Udawalawe wilderness area. On the way, see the beautiful Ravana Falls. Arrive in Udawalawe and check into your hotel.

Around 15:00, you will leave for a jeep safari through this tall grass park, which is worth a visit for its elephant population and abundance of birds. Crocodiles, bears, sambar, monitor lizards and even leopards can be seen if you are lucky. A naturalist guide will accompany you, giving you all the explanations you need, as well as his sharp eyes to spot an animal in the thicket. The park was created in 1972.

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 16 : Udawalawe - Elephant Transit Home - Mirissa

Coconut Tree Hill, Mirissa ©Dinuka Lankaloka on Unsplash

In the morning, you could visit Elephant Transit Home. The Elephant Transit Home in UdaWalawe is owned by the Department of Wildlife Conservatory (DWC). You can go there to watch the feeding which takes place every three hours from 9am to 6pm. The baby elephants that are raised here are released when they reach a certain age. The centre is home to around 40 baby elephants.

Then you leave for the coast, considered one of the most beautiful of the island. You will discover hidden beauties along the way. Take a break to explore Matara and discover the Dondra Lighthouse, one of the highest in Asia. The lighthouse is still in active use. It helps guide ships along the Indian Ocean. You can also see the fishermen on the Ahangama pole. 

You could visit the Blow Hole on the south coast, towards Tangalle. The Blow Hole is a natural phenomenon caused when sea water rushes through a submerged cavern and is pushed upwards. Indeed, at high but irregular frequencies, one can see a huge jet of sea water coming out of the rocks! 

 Dinner and overnight stay

Day 17 : Mirissa

Blue Whales, Mirissa ©dugwin2 on Flickr

A variety of excursions are possible in the area, such as a whale watching cruise or a trip to the beaches of Rekawa: Turtle nesting on the beach of Rekawa is a magical moment to experience when travelling to Sri Lanka. In this town in the south of the island, the population has joined forces with the Turtle Conservation Project, an NGO that protects the egg-laying areas along the entire coastline. Isolated by dunes and vegetation, the beach becomes the scene of the comings and goings of giant turtles. During the egg-laying season, five species of sea turtles, some of them endangered, come to lay several hundred eggs on this beach at night. While you may have to walk for several hours with the guide to see them, the rare and moving sight of the turtles laying their eggs at dusk is well worth the effort.

You could simply laze on the beach. Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy fresh fish in the evening, served on the beach. 

 Dinner and overnight stay 

Day 18 : Mirissa - Galle

Galle Fort City ©Chathura indika on Unsplash

Today, after enjoying the pool one last time, you drive along the coast to Galle Fort, an architectural gem with various colonial influences.

The fort, built in the 17th century by the Dutch, is a peaceful and welcoming village. It is totally disconnected from the rest of the city. You will enjoy the ramparts, but also the lighthouse and the many churches and small shops.

Stroll through the streets of the fort and buy your souvenirs!

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 19 : Galle and its surroundings

Cycling in Galle Fort ©cyclingescapes srilanka on Flickr

In the morning, take a bike ride (preferably in the morning), to discover the countryside near Galle, made of rice fields and typical villages. Stop for refreshments and a King Coconut before returning to Galle Fort (1.5 hours). 

This Idle Bikes ride will make you discover another Sri Lanka, authentic and preserved!

You could also visit a turtle farm: these farms aim to save the turtles that come to breed on the beaches of Sri Lanka. You could discover their action, how they save the eggs destined to be sold on the local markets, to place them in an enclosure until they hatch. After a short stay in a tank, the babies are released in the dark. Depending on the time of day, you may be able to watch the babies being released on the beach. 

Dinner and overnight stay

Day 20 : Galle - Colombo - Colombo International Airport

Tuk Tuk in Sri Lanka ©Jess Snoek on Unsplash

This morning (depending on your flight time to France), you drive up the coast towards Colombo, the economic capital and bustling seaside city. 

More than a guided tour, this is a real immersion in the city, in Sinhalese culture and in everyday life. Your guide will share his knowledge of the city, the country and the different cultures. He will also introduce you to some of his good addresses (coffee, spices, tools, bars, restaurants). You could go to the Dutch fort area and the Dutch period museum. Discover the Pettah district, with its bazaar, its mosque..., the City Hall district with its colonial buildings. Walk around Beira Lake to discover the Buddhist temple and the Hindu temple Gangaramaya

All good things must come to an end ....  Today your driver will take you back to the airport according to your flight schedule. 

We hope that you will leave with many beautiful memories

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