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Essential Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, land of rolling tea plantations, wild cinnamon groves, heaps of elephants and amazing surf breaks. And really incredible food. Chow on curry in Negombo, check out Buddha’s tooth in Kandy, spot elephants and leopards and sloths (oh my!) in Yala and have a whale of a time in Unawatuna.

Why we love this trip

Why we love this trip

  • Hike to the spectacular Ella Gap in Sri Lanka's Hill Country
  • Practice sticking out your little finger and delicately holding a teacup with your thumb and forefinger. Why? To prep for a delicious cuppa in the tea-heartland of Kandy.
  • Go on safari in search of leopards and elephants in Yala National Park.
  • Three days (and nights) on Unawatuna's golden beach can cure almost all of life’s problems.

Itinerary

Itinerary

  • Day:1
    Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to the international airport. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:2
    From here, begin your journey by private vehicle to Kandy and visit a spice garden on the way, which should take around three hours in total (120 kilometres). On arrival to Kandy, there's an optional visit to the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa), the most important shrine in the country. The Royal Botanical Garden is just ten minutes away from your accommodation and there is access to the swimming pool of Kandyan Residencies (next door). Your evening is free to do as you wish.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:3
    Today is free to explore Kandy. Perhaps organise a day trip to the famous palace of Sigiriya and Dambulla Caves Temple - discovering this magnificent cave complex. The World Heritage listed cave monastery has been a pilgrimage site for 22 centuries and for good reason. If you're feeling a little worse for wear in the afternoon after all those steps, why not try an Ayurvedic massage to relax those weary muscles?
    Nights: 1

  • Day:4
    This morning, say goodbye to Kandy as you travel for around six hours to Ella. On arrival to Ella, check in to your accommodation. Once you've dropped off your luggage, perhaps head out for a visit to a local tea factory.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:5
    Venture out on an included half day trek to Ella Gap this morning. We'll stop in a small mountain village for a spicy curry lunch and a pot of Ceylon tea. This is an awesome way of getting to know the area and a great opportunity to meet local people.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:6
    Head out of Ella in a private vehicle for around three hours to your resort on the edge of Tissa Lake. Once settled, you'll head out on a jeep safari where you'll come across the area's native wildlife such as elephants, leopards and aquatic birds. This is an amazing experience that you'll never forget. After your day in nature soak in the view from the lovely hotel pool overlooking Lake Tissa.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:7
    Journey west in a private vehicle for around three and a half hours to Unawatuna. This fantastic stretch of beach has plenty of local restaurants and bars to relax in. There are no included activities today, so you'll have plenty of free time to explore Unawatuna and its surrounds.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:9
    You have another free day beside the beach today. Take a towel and relax on the beach, sleep in, work on your tan or grab a cocktail under the shade of a restaurant. This is the perfect way to chill out and enjoy the Sri Lankan coast. Otherwise maybe today is the day to hop in a tuk-tuk and discover some of the other amazing beaches on Sri Lanka's southern coast.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:10
    Leave Unawatuna behind and travel on to Colombo (approximately four hours). Stop by some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament, and past the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fair trade Store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. If you are lucky enough to be in Colombo on a Saturday, visit Good Market, a local market full of stalls showcasing social enterprises and responsible businesses. Tonight there's an optional final group dinner to celebrate your journey together.
    Nights: 1

  • Day:11
    Your trip comes to an end today, with no activities planned. Checkout time at the hotel is 12 noon.
    Nights:

Is this trip right for you

Is this trip right for you

  • The recent terrorist attacks were a tragic event and have had a serious impact on tourism in the country. Intrepid has a strong commitment to our local staff and the communities we visit and are continuing to operate all our trips in Sri Lanka. While the security situation is now much more stable, you will still see a high police presence in towns and cities and many check points are still in place. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. We don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time, however it’s important to be aware that the country is still recovering and things like travel times between destinations and time taken to go through security at the airport may be affected. Can you feel that tingling in your fingers? That my friend is power! This trip puts it in your hands – there are few inclusions so you’ll have plenty of local choices to decide what you want to do. The drive from Ella to Yala goes down from the mountains to the coast on a very winding road, and while this means the going can be a little slow, it also means that you’ll get to see the awesome scenery from literally every angle. Tourism in Sri Lanka is booming, and with it has come a huge increase in visitors to Yala National Park. Overtourism and lack of sustainable management practices have become a major concern for us in continuing to visit Yala. In order to reduce our impact on wildlife and the environment we are trialing visiting a less touristed section of Yala, known as Block 5 or Veheragala. Should we determine that high tourist numbers at Block 5 also make it difficult to continue visiting responsibly we will change our itinerary to visit Udawalawe National Park, where wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards also reside. This is the same itinerary we follow from September to mid-October when Yala National Park is closed annually for infrastructure development and rejuvenation.

Important Notes

Important Notes

  • What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. A lockable bag or small padlock is useful. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes are useful. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in Colombo. Please also bring clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples. For women, a light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when hot. - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses RECOMMENDED: - The Hill country of Sri Lanka can be cold especially around Nuwara Eliya. Please bring a light, warm waterproof jacket.   - Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent. - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. - Camera / phone. OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against street noise, barking dogs and snorers. - A good book, journal and music player. LUGGAGE LIMIT: Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every day . We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and/or a small portable power bank. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
  • packing-list

Detail

Detail Notes

  • Joining point
    #Waves By Tranquil (Lakwin Hotel)#160/9 Porutota Road #Negombo#SRI LANKA#Phone: +94 (03)12272936
  • Finish point description
    The Grand Oriental Hotel is located centrally in Colombo and overlooks the harbour. Each room in this colonial era hotel has A/C, IDD phone, satellite TV and mini bar. the hotel has 24 hour room service and free wi-fi in public areas. There are two restaurants, bar and cafe.
  • Transport
    Private vehicle
  • Last modified (date)
    12 Sep 2019
  • Trip title
    Essential Sri Lanka
  • Trip code
    HPYL
  • Validity
    Validity: 01 Oct 2018 to 31 Dec 2019
  • Introduction
    Sri Lanka, land of rolling tea plantations, wild cinnamon groves, heaps of elephants and amazing surf breaks. And really incredible food. Chow on curry everywhere you go, check out where Buddha's tooth is said to live in Kandy, spot elephants and leopards in Yala and have a whale of a time at the beach in Unawatuna.
  • Style
    Basix
  • Themes
    18 to 29s
  • Physical Rating
    2
  • Joining point description
    Waves By Tranquil is lovely hotel located near Negombo beach. Enjoy the pool and licensed restaurant serving up local Sri Lankan dishes. Rooms have air conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi, and tea/coffee facilities.
  • Joining point instructions
    Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. Bandaranaike International Airport is located in Negombo, approx. 35km north of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer please collect your luggage and head towards exit number 1. Your transfer representative will be holding a signboard displaying the Intrepid logo. Please ask them to confirm your name. Once confirmed they will assist you to the vehicle for your onward transfer to your hotel. Note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment. If your flight is delayed or cancelled or if you have any trouble locating your transfer representative on arrival to Colombo airport please call the below numbers: +94 (0) 76 831 6000 +94 (0) 71 927 7676 Taxis in Sri Lanka are easy, safe and cheap. You can book a taxi from the set-fare service desk in the arrival hall or at the taxi service just outside. A taxi from Bandaranaike International Airport takes approx. 15 minutes and costs approx. 2,500LKR (20USD). If you are staying in Colombo prior to the tour it is approximately 30km from Colombo, which will cost about LKR5,600 (US$40). Uber is now available in Colombo.
  • Finish point
    #Grand Oriental Hotel#2, York Street #Colombo#SRI LANKA#Phone: +94 112 320 320
  • Finish point instructions
    A departure transfer is available to purchase. Please check with your consultant at the time of booking. Alternatively you can book a taxi locally for the trip to Bandaranaike International Airport. Its approx an hour depending on traffic, and will cost from LKR5,600 (US$40).
  • Alternate Finish point
    #For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point. #22 Sep 2019 (HPYL190922), 06 Oct 2019 (HPYL191006), 20 Oct 2019 (HPYL191020), 27 Oct 2019 (HPYL191027), 17 Nov 2019 (HPYL191117), 01 Dec 2019 (HPYL191201), 22 Dec 2019 (HPYL191222), 29 Dec 2019 (HPYL191229)#Colombo City Hotel#33 Canal Row Fort#Colombo#01#SRI LANKA
  • Important information
    1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip and is valid for all nights on tour. 2. In the wet season, we occasionally need to alter the length and itinerary of the Hill Country hike due to weather conditions. 3. PASSPORT DETAILS: Full passport details are required for the train journey. Without them we cannot purchase train tickets. Please advise them at the time of booking.
  • Group leader
    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
  • Communications
    Hotels in Sri Lanka generally have excellent WiFi connections. Most hotels offer free WiFi in public areas, with many also offering in room WiFi. Your tour leader will offer you the best advice on communications in remote areas of the country. You can purchase a local SIM card at the airport on arrival. Etisalat and Airtel are two of the bigger operators with the best nationwide coverage.
  • Safety
    #Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:#http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety#CURRENT SITUATION: The recent terrorist attacks were a tragic event and have had a serious impact on tourism in the country. Intrepid has a strong commitment to our local staff and the communities we visit and are continuing to operate all our trips in Sri Lanka. While the security situation is now much more stable, you will still see a high police presence in towns and cities and many check points are still in place. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. We don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time, however it’s important to be aware that the country is still recovering and things like travel times between destinations and time taken to go through security at the airport may be affected. POLITICAL TENSION: Demonstrations and large public gatherings can turn violent or be a target for politically-motivated attacks. Police have used tear gas and water cannons in response to protests. Curfews can be imposed at short notice. You should avoid all large public gatherings and follow advice of your leader. Some security forces maintain a visible presence, particularly in the northern and eastern provinces. Military and police checkpoints can be established and road closures can occur without warning. PETTY CRIME: Pick-pocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime occurs in Sri Lanka, particularly in crowded places such as tourist areas, markets and on public transport. Carry only what you need an always use hotel safes where available. Card skimming has been known to occur - only use ATMs attached to banks or at major hotels. Some tourists unwittingly buy counterfeit goods, particularly jewellery and gems - be aware you may not be buying the real thing. LOCAL LAWS: You must carry a form of official photo identification with you at all times - a copy of your passport is a good idea. Be aware that smoking and drinking in most public places is illegal. BICYCLE HELMETS: Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles. If you wish you can bring along your own.
  • Why we love it
    #Hike to the spectacular Ella Gap in Sri Lanka's Hill Country#Practice sticking out your little finger and delicately holding a teacup with your thumb and forefinger. Why? To prep for a delicious cuppa in the tea-heartland of Kandy.#Go on safari in search of leopards and elephants in Yala National Park.#Three days (and nights) on Unawatuna's golden beach can cure almost all of life’s problems.
  • Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. SRI LANKA VISA Please check with the Sri Lanka Embassy or Consulate in your country for up-to-date visa information. Travellers requiring a Sri Lanka visa prior to entry can apply online at the following website: www.eta.gov.lk INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR SRI LANKA TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS Train tickets in Sri Lanka must be booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number no later than 60 days prior to departure. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number.
  • Is this trip right for you
    The recent terrorist attacks were a tragic event and have had a serious impact on tourism in the country. Intrepid has a strong commitment to our local staff and the communities we visit and are continuing to operate all our trips in Sri Lanka. While the security situation is now much more stable, you will still see a high police presence in towns and cities and many check points are still in place. We continue to follow government travel advisories and local authorities in operating our trips in Sri Lanka. We don't anticipate major changes to your itinerary at this time, however it’s important to be aware that the country is still recovering and things like travel times between destinations and time taken to go through security at the airport may be affected. Can you feel that tingling in your fingers? That my friend is power! This trip puts it in your hands – there are few inclusions so you’ll have plenty of local choices to decide what you want to do. The drive from Ella to Yala goes down from the mountains to the coast on a very winding road, and while this means the going can be a little slow, it also means that you’ll get to see the awesome scenery from literally every angle. Tourism in Sri Lanka is booming, and with it has come a huge increase in visitors to Yala National Park. Overtourism and lack of sustainable management practices have become a major concern for us in continuing to visit Yala. In order to reduce our impact on wildlife and the environment we are trialing visiting a less touristed section of Yala, known as Block 5 or Veheragala. Should we determine that high tourist numbers at Block 5 also make it difficult to continue visiting responsibly we will change our itinerary to visit Udawalawe National Park, where wild elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards also reside. This is the same itinerary we follow from September to mid-October when Yala National Park is closed annually for infrastructure development and rejuvenation.
  • Health
    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. MOSQUITIO-BORNE ILLNESSES: All regions of Sri Lanka can experience outbreaks of dengue fever, with cases more prevalent in the west of the country. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases (including chikungunya fever, Japanese encephalitis and filariasis) occur regularly. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by taking measures to avoid insect bites.
  • Food and dietary requirements
    SRI LANKAN FOOD: Sri Lankan food is, put simply, delicious! Here's some advice on the best local dishes to try: adventures/eat-like-a-local-in-sri-lanka/ adventures/best-breakfasts-sri-lanka/ Vegetarians & vegans also won't go hungry: adventures/vegetarian-vegan-food-guide-sri-lanka/
  • Money matters
    The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LKR).There are many ATMs throughout Sri Lanka, which accept both Visa and MasterCard. Although this is a safe and convenient way to access money during your trip we do recommend that you carry some money in cash for when ATMs can not be accessed. Some money should be taken as US dollars cash in case of emergencies. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks will allow cash advances against a credit card. SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest $4-$5 per person per day for both bus and the staffs. Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$5 - US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx US$10-US$12 per day of your trip to cover tipping. At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. We recommend you allow a figure of between US$200 and US$250 for your additional FOOD AND DRINK/SNACK requirements. In addition you should carry sufficient funds for extra sightseeing and optional activities. On average people spend approximately US$70 on extra sightseeing. Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. On average, people spend between US$120 and $175 on clothing, jewellery and other souvenirs.
  • What to take
    #What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. A lockable bag or small padlock is useful. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes are useful. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in Colombo. Please also bring clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples. For women, a light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when hot. - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses RECOMMENDED: - The Hill country of Sri Lanka can be cold especially around Nuwara Eliya. Please bring a light, warm waterproof jacket.   - Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent. - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. - Camera / phone. OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against street noise, barking dogs and snorers. - A good book, journal and music player. LUGGAGE LIMIT: Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every day . We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and/or a small portable power bank. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list. #packing-list
  • Climate and seasonal
    SRI LANKA WEATHER: Weather in Sri Lanka can vary depending on the time of year and part of Sri Lanka you are travelling to. The monsoon season is December to March in the northeast and May to October in the southwest. Flooding and landslides can occur during this time, so be ready for some delays in land travel or some reroutes to avoid affected areas.
  • A couple of rules
    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
  • Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/
  • Emergency contact
    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page: For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. Sri Lanka 24 Hour Emergency Contact: +94(0)76 831 6000
  • Responsible travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller LOCAL DRESS: When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong. ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/elephants-welfare
  • The Intrepid Foundation
    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ *Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society supports the livelihood of communities and keeps elephants safe. For over 21 years Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) has worked to find solutions to human elephant conflict. By working directly with communities, they established Project Orange Elephant which encourages farmers to cultivate oranges, a crop that elephants are not attracted to. At the same time, growing oranges helps rural Sri Lankan farmers to create a new, sustainable income while keeping both their families and wild elephants safe. Through their efforts, SLWCS is striving to help elephants and people coexist. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/sri-lanka-wildlife-conservation-society
  • Accommodation notes
    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. AIR CONDITIONING: Please note that while all hotels on this trip have fans, not all will have air conditioning.
  • Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
  • Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
  • Itinerary disclaimer
    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
  • Accommodation
    Hotel (10 nights)

Departure Date

Start Date 22SEP2019
End Date 02OCT2019
Availability 10
Price £800
Start Date 06OCT2019
End Date 16OCT2019
Availability 10
Price £830
Start Date 20OCT2019
End Date 30OCT2019
Availability 13
Price £830
Start Date 27OCT2019
End Date 06NOV2019
Availability 8
Price £830
Start Date 17NOV2019
End Date 27NOV2019
Availability 11
Price £830
Start Date 01DEC2019
End Date 11DEC2019
Availability 11
Price £865
Start Date 22DEC2019
End Date 01JAN2020
Availability 8
Price £890
Start Date 29DEC2019
End Date 08JAN2020
Availability 10
Price £875
Start Date 05JAN2020
End Date 15JAN2020
Availability 13
Price £810
Start Date 19JAN2020
End Date 29JAN2020
Availability 13
Price £810
Start Date 16FEB2020
End Date 26FEB2020
Availability 10
Price £810
Start Date 15MAR2020
End Date 25MAR2020
Availability 15
Price £780
Start Date 22MAR2020
End Date 01APR2020
Availability 15
Price £780
Start Date 05APR2020
End Date 15APR2020
Availability 16
Price £780
Start Date 12APR2020
End Date 22APR2020
Availability 16
Price £780
Start Date 19APR2020
End Date 29APR2020
Availability 16
Price £780
Start Date 17MAY2020
End Date 27MAY2020
Availability 14
Price £750
Start Date 07JUN2020
End Date 17JUN2020
Availability 16
Price £750
Start Date 28JUN2020
End Date 08JUL2020
Availability 16
Price £750
Start Date 05JUL2020
End Date 15JUL2020
Availability 15
Price £750
Start Date 19JUL2020
End Date 29JUL2020
Availability 16
Price £750
Start Date 26JUL2020
End Date 05AUG2020
Availability 16
Price £750
Start Date 09AUG2020
End Date 19AUG2020
Availability 16
Price £750
Start Date 16AUG2020
End Date 26AUG2020
Availability 14
Price £750
Start Date 06SEP2020
End Date 16SEP2020
Availability 16
Price £675
Start Date 20SEP2020
End Date 30SEP2020
Availability 16
Price £675
Start Date 04OCT2020
End Date 14OCT2020
Availability 16
Price £702
Start Date 18OCT2020
End Date 28OCT2020
Availability 16
Price £702
Start Date 25OCT2020
End Date 04NOV2020
Availability 16
Price £702
Start Date 15NOV2020
End Date 25NOV2020
Availability 16
Price £702
Start Date 22NOV2020
End Date 02DEC2020
Availability 16
Price £702
Start Date 29NOV2020
End Date 09DEC2020
Availability 16
Price £729
Start Date 13DEC2020
End Date 23DEC2020
Availability 14
Price £729
Start Date 20DEC2020
End Date 30DEC2020
Availability 16
Price £729
Start Date 22DEC2020
End Date 01JAN2021
Availability 16
Price £729
Start Date 27DEC2020
End Date 06JAN2021
Availability 16
Price £742

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