Discover Sri Lanka

  • Trip Type: Journeys
  • 11 Days | Colombo to Marawila
  • Group Size: Max 15

Trip Details


Be enchanted by Sri Lanka on an unforgettable 11-day journey. Explore Sigiriya rock fortress and refresh your spirit at the unusual Golden Temple of Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll spice gardens and tea plantations, and ride through Wilpattu National Park with a forest ranger in search of elephants and leopards. Come away with a deep understanding of why early Arab traders called this island country “Serendib,” a name that gave English speakers the word “serendipity.”

Trip Highlights

    • Explore four UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Sigiriya rock fortress, the Golden Temple of Dambulla, and the sacred cities of Kandy and Anuradhapura.
    • Learn about tea harvesting at a plantation in Ceylon, and stay at an eco-lodge located on a tea estate.
    • Join a ranger on safari in Wilpattu National Park, home to a thriving leopard population, and learn about local conservation efforts.

Itinerary - 11 Days

Day 1 — Colombo

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Days 2 & 3 — Colombo/Nuwara Eliya

Discover the colonial and modern mix of Colombo on a city tour. Then drive into the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country to Nuwara Eliya, stopping amid rain forests to visit the town of Kitulgala en route. The next day, enjoy a picnic breakfast and a hike in Horton Plains National Park, keeping an eye out for macaques and wild boars. Enjoy high tea at the historic Grand Hotel. Embark on an evening tuk-tuk ride and visit the town center and market. Opt for a rafting excursion on the Kelani River. (2B)

Days 4 & 5 — Kandy/Madulkele

Travel to the former royal capital of Kandy, stopping at a Ceylon tea plantation to learn about the growing and harvesting of tea. Enjoy a tour around the city and lake, with a guided visit to the Temple of the Tooth, believed to house a tooth of the Buddha. Then head to our eco-lodge in Madulkele, which is located on a tea estate. The next day, set out on a hiking excursion in the Knuckles mountains, following lush forest trails past villages and tea plantations. Later, enjoy a lecture and demonstration on Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu art of medicine, by a local practitioner. (2B, 2D)

Days 6 & 7 — Matale/Dambulla/Sigiriya

Visit a spice garden in Matale before arriving at the archaeological site of Nalanda Gedige. Our next destination is the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which has drawn Buddhist pilgrims for more than 22 centuries. Venture into this extraordinary rock sanctuary to admire ancient murals and statues. The next day, visit a local farm to observe traditional agricultural practices. Purchase fresh ingredients before heading to a farmhouse to prepare a traditional lunch with the resident family. At the legendary rock fortress of Sigiriya, climb to the top of Lion Rock—crowned by the ruins of a fifth-century royal city—and take in stellar views at the summit. (2B, 1L)

Day 8 — Wilpattu National Park

Travel north to Wilpattu National Park, renowned for its leopard population. Explore the park by jeep and meet with a forest ranger to learn about conservation efforts. Continue to Anuradhapura for the night. (1B)

Days 9 & 10 — Anuradhapura/Marawila

Explore the sacred city of Anuradhapura—a World Heritage site—and discover ancient Buddhist monasteries. Later, travel south to coastal Marawila and spend the next day relaxing at the beach. (2B, 2D)

Day 11 — Marawila

Depart at any time. (1B)

Related Trips

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.


  • Jan 29 - Feb 09, 2018 ALT (sold out)
  • Feb 19 - Mar 02, 2018 ALT (sold out)
  • Mar 26 - Apr 06, 2018 ALT
  • Apr 02 - 13, 2018 ALT
  • Apr 09 - 20, 2018 ALT
  • Jul 09 - 20, 2018 ALT
  • Aug 06 - 17, 2018 ALT
  • Sep 03 - 14, 2018 ALT
  • Sep 10 - 21, 2018 ALT
  • Oct 08 - 19, 2018 ALT
  • Oct 22 - Nov 02, 2018 ALT
  • Nov 12 - 23, 2018 ALT
  • Nov 26 - Dec 07, 2018 ALT
  • Dec 17 - 28, 2018 ALT
  • Dec 24, 2018 - Jan 04, 2019 ALT
  • Jan 07 - 18, 2019 ALT
  • Jan 21 - Feb 01, 2019 ALT
  • Jan 28 - Feb 08, 2019 ALT
  • Feb 11 - 22, 2019 ALT
  • Feb 18 - Mar 01, 2019 ALT
  • Feb 25 - Mar 08, 2019 ALT
  • Mar 11 - 22, 2019 ALT
  • Mar 25 - Apr 05, 2019 ALT
  • Apr 01 - 12, 2019 ALT
  • Apr 08 - 19, 2019 ALT
  • Jul 08 - 19, 2019 ALT
  • Jul 22 - Aug 02, 2019 ALT
  • Aug 05 - 16, 2019 ALT
  • Aug 12 - 23, 2019 ALT
  • Aug 19 - 30, 2019 ALT
  • Sep 02 - 13, 2019 ALT
  • Sep 09 - 20, 2019 ALT
  • Oct 07 - 18, 2019 ALT
  • Oct 21 - Nov 01, 2019 ALT
  • Nov 11 - 22, 2019 ALT
  • Nov 18 - 29, 2019 ALT
  • Nov 25 - Dec 06, 2019 ALT
  • Dec 09 - 20, 2019 ALT
  • Dec 16 - 27, 2019 ALT
  • Dec 23, 2019 - Jan 03, 2020 ALT

ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.

2017 departures are 11 days, starting in Colombo and ending in Marawila; 2018 departures are 12 days, starting in Colombo and ending in Negombo.

Trip Cost

Price From


Activity Level


Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

Contact Us: 1-800-281-2354

Call to speak with a specialist about this trip.

Cost Details

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

My Own Room

During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

My Own Room Option: From $1,649

What's Included

Arrival transfer, transport between destinations and to/from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary. The optional rafting excursion on the Kelani River is at an additional cost.

Comfortable, mid-range hotels and resorts that reflect the local character (10 nights)

Meals Included
10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners. Allow an additional $220–290 for meals not included.

Private air-conditioned van/ minibus, boat, tuk-tuk

Optional Experience

You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.