Spicy Sri Lanka Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

    • Trip code :GIHS
    • Trip length : 13
    • Trip starts in : Negombo/Marawila
    • Trip ends in : Colombo
    • Maximum group size : 16
    • Ages : 18 - 39
    • Meals : 12 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch
    • Accommodation : 10 nights Hotel, 2 nights Resthouse
    • Transport : Bicycle, Bus, Taxi, Train



  • The 'Temple of the Tooth' in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sacred City of Kandy
  • Old British hill station of Nuwara Eliya
  • The rock-carved Buddha statues of UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient city of Polonnaruwa
  • UNESCO World Heritage-listed Dambulla Rock Temples
  • Chaotic Colombo
  • The World’s End at Horton Plains

Start your trip in Negombo, swing past the best ancient sites (ie sacred bodhi tree). Next up is Cave Temples and Kandy. Then Nuwara Eliya and World’s End for trekking, Ahangama and Galle for beach times, and Colombo for feasting. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed in Kandy. While they were there an elephant ate one of the actresses red dresses, so… keep an eye on your frocks ladies.  




Ken says his favourite Sri Lankan breakfast is a big plate of hoppers. No, not the jumping kind. They're wafer thin, cup-shaped pancakes made from rice flour, coconut milk and a splash of palm toddy. Don't leave without trying them. If arriving early in the day, perhaps consider a taxi ride into Colombo. Pre-departure meeting in the evening, as well as an optional group dinner


Ancient sites

Best bits: walking 1840 steps to the birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism, looking at (but not climbing) the world's oldest known tree and biking around the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Day 2, Stop by Mihintale - the birthplace of Sri Lankan buddhism. Walk up the 1840 granite steps of Mihintale for awesome views. In the afternoon explore the ancient (3rd century BC) city of Anuradhapura, home to the sacred bohdi tree, supposedly the oldest living tree in documented history. Take in the sights of the Brazen Palace, the enormous Ruwanveliseya Dagoba, the seated Samadhi Buddha and the ruins of various temples and palaces. Day 3, Stop at Habarana for a village safari and lunch in a local family homeVisit the extraordinary Sigiriya (Lion Rock) rock fortress. Proceed to Polonnaruwa. Day 4, Hire bikes and set off to explore Polonnaruwa, another ancient city. Time permitting, embark on an optional jeep safari in Minneriya National Park


Dambulla - Kandy

If you were a Buddhist hermit in the 3rd century BC, where would you live? The answer is one of 80 spacious caves in Dambulla. Explore markets, gardens and the intriguingly named Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Day 5, Check out the Dambulla Cave Temples. Travel onwards to Kandy, via the Matale Spice Garden. Pay a visit to the Temple of the Tooth. Watch a cultural show in the evening. Day 6, Guided tour around Kandy, taking in the botanical gardens and local market. Plenty of free time to get to know this pretty town


Nuwara Eliya - World's End - Ella

Sri Lankan food facts: they love spices, the seafood is amazing and they're not afraid of a little deep frying. Walk it off on a trek to the World's End, where you can see the Indian Ocean over 50km away. Day 7, Stop off in Nuwara Eliya, known as 'Little England' because of its British-influenced cottages and mansions. Enjoy Sri Lankan delicacies, prepared by a local cook. Spend the night in a rest house. Day 8, Visit the Hortons Plains Nature Reserve. Embark on a guided walk through forest and grassland to 'World's End'. Spend the night in a rest house in the hill region of Belihul Oya. Take a dip in rock pools. Day 9, Enjoy a scenic trip to Ella, a town boasting amazing coastal views.


Ahangama - Galle

If you've finished all your books and your iPod's gone flat why not try surfing? Nobody will laugh when you fall off (maybe). And even if you're terrible, surfing works up an appetite so those fresh fruit smoothies will go down a treat. Day 10, Descend from the altitude to the beaches of the south coast. Pass seaside villages and sweeping bays before arriving at the funky beach town of Ahangama. Day 11, Laze on the beach, check out the famous stilt fishermen or visit historic Galle.



Not to be confused with the one-eyed homicide detective, the capital of Sri Lanka is full of things to do. Visit Gangaramaya Temple, Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam Kovil Hindu (try saying that three times fast), grab some street food at Galle Face and drink from an orange coconut. Day 12, Make the most of a free afternoon to explore Colombo. Enjoy an optional final dinner with the group. Day 13, The trip ends this morning after breakfast.


  • Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughlout the tour, and local site guides at some sites.
  • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): ancient city of Anuradhapura; Dambulla Cave Temples; and Matale Spice Garden.
  • Walks to Mihintale – the birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism, Sigiriya (Lion Rock) rock fortress, and to 'World’s End’ in Horton Plains Nature Reserve.
  • Bike ride around the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.
  • Two nights in Kandy including a visit to the Temple of the Tooth to witness the daily Thewawa ceremony.
  • A night in a rest house in Nuwara Eliya, with our own cook preparing Sri Lankan delicacies.
  • A night in a rest house in Belihul Oya with access to a rock pool and a nature walk.
  • Time to relax on the beaches of Unawatuna and free time to explore Colombo.
  • Train from Haputale to Ella.


International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, local payments, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, all other meals, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature, laundry and flights unless specified. Some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder - your city guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally.




Our Raw tours are best suited for those with a sense of adventure, are willing to step outside their comfort zone and don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. For independent travellers who want to travel with others. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart who has an open mind, an eye on the budget and a nose for adventure. Authentic experiences that expand the mind rather than hold the hand.

Style Facts

  • The freedom to explore without breaking the bank
  • Time to do your own thing – or join in optional group activities
  • YOU choose where YOU want to eat
  • Basic accommodation
  • A variety of public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.


Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.

Style Facts

  • Plenty of free time to explore independently
  • Optional activities to suit your budget
  • Freedom to choose your own meals
  • Simple famliy run hotels
  • Mostly public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.

This tour is operated by our partners Geckos Adventures


A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information.



We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.



Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later.



You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information


Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.


Itinerary Variation

While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.


12 breakfasts, 1 lunch,

Single room supplement

Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.


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