Discovering Sri Lanka
Endless beaches and timeless temples in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is home to endless golden beaches, timeless temples that resonate with people of all faiths and a culture that is both vibrant and welcoming. On this Stay and Discover experience you are invited to explore the city of Colombo, once a colonial centre of trade, and soak up local life at Lellama Fish Market. As part of an extensive programme of included excursions you will visit the home of a local family, who can provide an insight into the lives of those who call Sri Lanka home, and enjoy high tea at one of the islands oldest hotels, Mount Lavinia Hotel, overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Your base for this tour is the Tangerine Beach Hotel (4Q), located on Sri Lankas south-west coast and providing all of the amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. When not relaxing by the hotels pool or spending time in Pebbles, the lounge bar, you can join an optional excursion to Yala National Park, home to elephants, crocodiles, buffalo, leopards and monkeys. Uncover the bountiful splendour belonging to the Gem Island.
Included travel insurance
10 nights in hotels
30 meals: 10 breakfasts (B), 10 lunches (L) and 10 dinners (D)
Local expert guide
Plus all this
Excursions and visits
Day 1 UK to Sri Lanka
Depart in the evening for your overnight flight to Sri Lanka.
Day 2 Sri Lanka
Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport you will be met by your tour manager. You will then transfer to your hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. L, D
Day 3 Kalutara
Following breakfast, enjoy an exploration of the cultural curiosities that belong to the Kalutara district.
Your first destination is Richmond Castle. This colonial mansion is surrounded by a 42-acre estate and welcomes you with its lavishly pillared faade. It was built in the early 1900s and inside you will discover an immense dance hall, teak staircases, marble floors, 34 stained-glass windows and 99 doors. Pass through many of them as you embark on a free-flow exploration of the site. Admire the many antiques and precious artefacts which furnish each of the castles rooms and stroll through Richmonds delightful garden.
Located on a small hill facing the Indian Ocean is the nearby Holy Cross Catholic Church, your next destination on todays itinerary. Picturesque coastal views are matched in their impressiveness by the churchs high-ceilinged interior. Afterwards, you will travel to the sacred Kalutara Bodhiya, a Buddhist temple revered by locals of all faiths. Its white dagoba is architecturally distinctive and can be spotted for many miles around.
Return to your hotel for lunch and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. B, L, D
Day 4 Kalutaras fish market
Sri Lankas west coast is a gourmet paradise, offering wave upon wave of seafood. Tuna, shrimp, mackerel and cuttlefish regularly grace local dinner plates and are bought and sold at the local fish market, colloquially known as Lellama. This authentic scene of local life is filled with the sounds of bargaining, the sight of impressive fish being unloaded, and, of course, the smell of fresh, abundant seafood!
Accompanied by your expert guide, you will explore the market and select three or four fish to be prepared and cooked on a BBQ at your beach resort. The BBQ will be accompanied by drinks and the pleasant sunset scenery offered by your hotels surroundings. B, L, D
Day 5 Village life
Today you are invited to join a local family for teatime treats. The excursion will provide an interactive opportunity to learn about Sri Lankan hospitality. A tour of your hosts kitchen will illustrate its nickname the home gym; muscle power is the name of the game when it comes to using many of the cooking utensils. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to lend a hand before sitting down to a cup of tea and sweet snacks such as konda kavum (deep-fried oil cakes made of honey-filled batter), kokis (a deep-fried crispy cracker made with a mixture of flour and coconut milk), milk toffees and halapa (a steamed mixture of flour, scraped coconut and honey). B, L, D
Day 6 Wooden Masks & Ceylon Gems
If you were to attend a healing ritual, theatric performance or annual festival in Sri Lanka, you would be hard tasked to miss the traditional colourful masks. For generations, communities along the islands southern coast have prided themselves on carving and painting the masks. With the help of an expert, who will visit the hotel, you will create a mask to take home as a souvenir.
Watch as they take time and care to carve the wooden mask before turning it over to you to paint. Your next activity celebrates the islands nickname The Gem Island. A gemologist will demonstrate how to identify different precious and semi-precious stones and cut the stones to bring out their shining glory. B, L, D
Day 7 Galle
A day of history, antioxidants and semi-precious gemstones awaits. Begin at the moonstone mines in Meetiyagoda to observe the extraction of this pearly and opalescent jewel before an opportunity to purchase a piece of moonstone jewellery. Handunugoda Tea Estate is your next destination, an artisanal plantation located in the hills above Koggala. Here, more than 20 varieties of tea are produced, including virgin white tea, made from the tiniest and newest leaves. You will be treated to a sample of this luxury tea and shown how Handunugodas tea is created, from leaf to cup. You will also meet the owner of the plantation, Herman Gunaratne, whose life story is one of adventure, told in his book The Suicide Club.
Finally, your excursion will visit Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was initially constructed in the 16th century by Portuguese colonists before being significantly improved upon by the Dutch in the 17th century. During your free-flow visit, your camera will perhaps be busily snapping away, capturing the forts two grand entrances, the 17th-century Dutch Reformed church and the old government house. Each building illustrates the interaction between European architecture and Asian traditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The National Maritime Archaeology Museum, located within the fort, is also worthy of a visit, charting the development of small fishing communities throughout history and displaying models of craft used in Sri Lankas trading heritage, all beneath a huge skeleton belonging to a whale. B, L, D
Day 8 Colombo
Six hundred years ago, Colombo was a bustling trading hub for sea merchants and colonial rulers. During the 19th century, it was known as the garden of the East and today you will find a modern city crisscrossed by shady boulevards, neighboured by architecture from its past and overlooked by the Lotus Tower, Sri Lankas tallest skyscraper. During your tour of Colombo, you will perhaps notice the abundance of Buddist and Hindu temples, mosques and churches which all reflect the various beliefs practised across the island. Colonial buildings stand in stark contrast to the modern shopping arcades.
Your panoramic tour takes you past the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, the Pettah Bazar area, the Wolfendhal Dutch Church, the Old Parliament complex, Bandaranaike International Memorial Hall, Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Viharamahadevi Park, the Independence Square and the National Museum. Afterwards, enjoy high tea at the iconic Mount Lavinia Hotel. Boasting 210 years of history, it is one of the islands oldest hotels and offers fantastic views across the glistening Indian Ocean. B, L, D
Day 9 At leisure
Spend today enjoying your hotels amenities. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Yala National Park. B, L, D
Day 10 At leisure
Following breakfast, the day is yours to spend however you wish. Perhaps make a splash in the outdoor pool or soak up the hotels relaxing ambience with a cup of tea or coffee. B, L, D
Day 11 At leisure
Your final full day on this Sri Lanka Stay and Discover experience will be spent at your resort, making use of the many amenities and making sure your suitcase is properly packed! Enjoy a farewell dinner in the evening to say goodbye to your fellow travellers and tour guide. B, L, D
Day 12 Sri Lanka to UK
Your return journey to the UK begins. Check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your departure flight, having immersed yourself in the beauty, culture, wildlife and history of Sri Lanka. B
Day 13 UK
Arrive back in the UK to your VIP travel service home.