Tailor-Made Holiday

Sri Lanka - The Far North

14 days

from £3,995pp (excluding flights)

For those wanting to explore the North of Sri Lanka and travel off the beaten track then visiting the northern region makes for an eclectic and varied trip. This holiday suggestion includes a visit to the Cultural Triangle, the lesser known Wilpattu National Park, and a visit to the town of Jaffna and the north-eastern beaches.

  • Explore the historical site of Anuradhapura by bicycle, linked by red dirt tracks.
  • Clamber up the giant rock fortress of Sigirya.
  • Watch graceful wild horses on Delft island, a ferry ride from Jaffna.
  • Join a fisherman on his catamaran and wade through Passekudah Bay.
  • Track leopard and search for sloth bear in Wilpattu National Park.

On arrival in Sri Lanka, spend a restful night at Horathapola before starting your journey to the peaceful Wilpattu National Park. Leopard Trails Camp will be your home for a few days. After an al fresco lunch, venture out on a game drive into the verdant jungle, home to sloth bear, colourful birds and the elusive leopard. What sets Wilpattu apart from other parks is the peace, space and tranquillity away from other safari vehicles.

Travel north to Jaffna, by road this is approximately five hours. Situated at the northern tip of the island, the Jaffna peninsula is steeped in history.  It is scattered with ancient Hindu kovils with colourful statues; colonial period churches that date back to the 17C and ruins of ancient Buddhist temples. Explore Jaffna town and its surrounding area, hop on board a ferry and cross over to the remote Delft Island. The landscape is dotted with Palmyra palms and picturesque lagoons where flamingos flock after the rains.

Passekudah is a pristine beach location on the east coastline. Whilst staying in Passekudah visit the nearby uninhabited coral islands and spend a few hours snorkelling. Whale watching expeditions are organised from Trincomalee, a day trip away. The waters around Trinco are inhabited by gigantic blue whales, Bryde's whale and the sperm whale, as well as the spinner and bottle-nosed dolphins, have been spotted here.

The best way to see the sites of The Cultural Triangle is by bicycle. From here you can also explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress. In the evening, take a safari at Minneriya National Park, said to be the best place on earth for wild elephants. 

Stop off at the second largest city in Sri Lanka. Kandy is famed for the Temple of the Tooth relic. Aside from the mass of yellow-robed priests, Kandy is bustling with colourful markets and local life. A little outside the city and you are welcomed by the verdant green of paddy fields and small villages begging to be explored on foot.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 3995 -
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Bottled drinking water in vehicles
  • Meet and Greet service at the airport on arrival
  • All accommodation
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • International flights as detailed
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fast Track at Colombo Airport
On arrival at Colombo airport you will be met by our representative holding a sign with your name on it. From there you will be fast-tracked through immigration and escorted to the Silk Route Lounge. Take time to relax with a cup of tea whilst your baggage is brought to the lounge.

Sri Lanka's sprawling capital buzzes with an effervescence and ebullience not seen anywhere else in the country. Drawing on its colonial past, it now combines ancient, colonial and modern influences in a swirl of cultures, colours and aromas particular to Sri Lanka.

Drive from Colombo to Horathapola (Road Journey)


Transfer to Horathapola, a drive of approximately one and a half hours.


Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.


Activities at Horathapola Estate
Horathapola Estate lends itself wonderfully to relaxation but there are two great activities available. A bullock cart ride around the coconut plantation and a village walk in the surrounding village. There is also a swimming pool in the garden.


You will be staying at Horathapola Estate, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Drive from Horathapola to Wilpattu National Park (Road Journey)


The drive to Wilpattu will take around three hours.


Wilpattu is the largest national park in Sri Lanka, and is fairly unknown still to tourists due to being off limits during the civil war. It has the largest sloth bear population in the country, and leopard sightings are possible, although the exact numbers are unknown. Wilpattu means 'Land of Lakes' and is named due to the large number (nearly sixty) of natural lakes spread across the national park.


After a leisurely lunch venture into Wilpattu for a game drive.


Afternoon Safari in Wilpattu
Afternoon game drive in Wilpattu National Park with your private naturalist-guide.


You will be staying at Leopard Trails Camp Wilpattu, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Full Day Spent in Wilpattu National Park
Spend today exploring the national park on a full day safari. Travel from the camp, which is located at the border of Wilpattu National Park, into the park itself. Start early, usually before sunrise, as this is when the wildlife is at its most active and gives the best chance of memorable animal encounters. By using smaller, open jeeps, not only is there the chance to explore the less accessible parts of the park, but also plenty of space for taking photographs. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at one of Wilpattu's scenic locations.


You will be staying at Leopard Trails Camp Wilpattu, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Transfer from Wilpattu to Anuradhapura


The drive from Wilpattu National Park to Anuradhapura is approximately an hour.

Travel from Anuradhapura to Jaffna (Rail Journey)


Board the 'Queen of Jaffna Express' train for a three-hour ride that travels across the barren landscape of the Vavuniya.


Having lived through an insurgent uprising, military occupation and extensive damage, Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka's Northern Province, is returning to normalcy since the end of a thirty year long civil war.

Regularly invaded by South Indian Rulers, followed by Portuguese, Dutch and British rulers, Jaffna experienced a short lull of peace with the independence from Britain before being occupied by the LTTE in 1986, then Indian Peace Keepers and the Sri Lankan Army. The fascinating town is an absorbing mix of colonial charm and vibrant Tamil culture, while the Jaffna Peninsula and surrounding islands offer a string of remote temples, Hindu and Buddhist alike, and more off-beat beaches.


Pedal through Jaffna
Today bicycles will be provided to explore some of the key sites of Jaffna. This is a fun way to discover the city. Visit the fort, the library, Supramaniyam park and Jaffna church, amongst other sites.


Dinner with Local Family
Dinner will be arranged at a traditional Jaffna home and opportunity will be given to exchange cultural values and understanding the life style of an ordinary family. Our local Tamil guide will be there to assist, translate and provide details.

For the main course "Pittu" (made out of rice flour and coconut scrap) will be served with crab curry, fried prawns, cuttlefish, mashed omelettes mixed with dried fish, dhal curry with fish and plain gravy. This is the real deal, a true Jaffna feast. Mangoes and jackfruit are also available during the season and other periods, papaya and Jaffna's special banana called ("Nettrampalam") will fill that gap.


You will be staying at Fox Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Further Jaffna Sightseeing
Start this morning with a visit to Nallur Temple. A traditional scarf will be provided to wear when you enter. Your guide will explain Jaffna's culture and its similarities and differences with South India. You also learn about the history of the region and impact of the conflict here. Later, explore Karainagar, Kasurina Beach, Kayts Jetty, the Hanuman temple and the Buddhist miniature pagodas. Lunch will be provided at a village home.


You will be staying at Fox Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Delft Island
Visit the Island of Delft - an abandoned Dutch settlement island, now home to a small population of Tamil people. It is the largest island in the Palk Strait, and has a unique remote feel to it. It is famous for the wild island ponies you will see, and also holds the ruins of a Dutch colonial fort which was used as a prison.


You will be staying at Fox Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Jaffna - Trinco


Drive to Trincomalee, a journey of approximately five hours.


Trincomalee ia a major city on the east coast of Sri Lanka and home to an important natural harbour, described by the former Brisith rulers as the 'finest harbour in the world'. Trincomalee is home to the Koneswaram temple and the Bhadrakali Amman Temple and offers an old fashioned ferry service to Jaffna.


Once you arrive in Trincomalee check in to your hotel and relax by one of the best beaches on the island.


You will be staying at Jungle Beach Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Optional Activities at Jungle Beach
There are various optional activities to choose from at Jungle Beach ranging from whale watching trips to jet skiing.


Whale Season in Trincomalee
Trinco gets into prime season by the second week in March and the magic lasts for 30 days where there has been massive congregations of Blue whales and Sperm whales .On most days both species are sighted side by side, and even mega pods of sperm whales exceeding 200 congregating In Trinco each year during this window.


Snorkelling at Trinco
Transfer to Trincomalee harbour and board a boat that takes you to Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island National Park is one of two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated one mile off the coast of Trincomalee. The boat journey takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the island. Snorkelling is fantastic with many fish and corals to explore.


Full Day Sightseeing
Explore the local area with your guide. Visit Koneswaram - a small Hindu temple and Lovers's Leap, the Dutch Fort as well as Fort Fredrick and some traditional markets.


You will be staying at Jungle Beach Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Trinco - Sigiriya


Drive to Sigiriya, which will take approximately four hours.


Sigiriya is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.


You will be staying at Water Garden, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Visit to Sigiriya Rock
Explore the ruins of the ancient city of Sigiriya with your English speaking guide. Climb up this rock column, which is surrounded by verdant royal gardens. Arrive at the rock entrance by 7 am to avoid the crowds and be amongst the first few visitors at the site. Sigiriya consists of 1,200 steps. The tour takes approximately two and a half hours.


Visit to Ritigala
Ritigala is an ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain in Sri Lanka. The ruins and rock inscriptions of the monastery date back to the 1st BC. At 766m above sea level, Ritigala Mountain is the highest mountain in northern Sri Lanka.

According to legend, it is believed that powerful medicinal herbs called 'Sansevi' are found near the crest. These herbs are believed to have the power to prolong life and cure pain.


You will be staying at Water Garden, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Pidurangala Rock
Early this morning visit a massive rock formation located a few kilometres North to the wondrous Sigiriya Rock Fortress Pidurangala. Be prepared to climb, the hike takes about one hour and depending on fitness the last part is a bit tricky. Climb over rocks but it can be done with care. It is all worth it once you reach the top and are rewarded with views of a green carpet of forest punctuated with Sigiriya rock in the distance. Breath in the fresh air you are on top a magical place.

Drive from Sigiriya to Kandy (Road Journey)


This morning travel to Kandy, a journey of approximately four hours, visiting the Dambulla Caves en route.


Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka after Colombo and is home to some of the most famous sites in the country. The Botanical Gardens, which are the second largest in the world after Kew in England, house an amazing collection of flowers and trees aswell as a world famous orchid house. It is also possible to see the outside of Lord Mountbatten's colonial house within the gardens. Temple of the Tooth is believed to house a tooth of Lord Buddha himself. This precious relic attracts white-clad pilgrims, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani, every day.


Half Day Trip to the Temple of the Tooth
Visit the revered Temple of the Tooth, which houses a tooth that is said to have come from Buddha himself. Attracting vast numbers of white-clad pilgrims, the temple is often swarming with people bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani.
According to legend, the tooth was removed as Buddha lay on his funeral pyre. It was smuggled to Sri Lanka in the fourth century, escaping the Hindu armies that were sweeping through India. Since then, this precious relic has been treated with great reverence and has survived several attempts to capture or destroy it. The tour will take approximately two hours.


You will be staying at Stone House Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Paddy and Pagoda Walk
Today you are taken out of Kandy, a short drive away from the bustling city centre to explore the smaller, interior villages. Embark on a wondrous walk that connects the legendary temples of Embeke, Galdaladeniya and Lankathilake, hidden away in the Kandy Hills. Begin your walk at the Galdaladeniya Temple, where your guide will unveil the proud Buddhist heritage that dates back to the ancient kingdoms's era. Continue through the village trail to Lankathilake. Experience Sri Lankan hospitality by making a stop at a local home for a king coconut to quench your thirst. Walk along rice fields bordering small villages, watch the locals working in their gardens. You return to your hotel later today.


You will be staying at Stone House Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Drive from Kandy to Colombo (Road Journey)


Travel from Kandy to Colombo. A journey of approximately three and a half hours.


You will be staying at The Wallawwa, bed and breakfast

Day 14

Bid farewell to your driver. It's time to leave the island of Sri Lanka.

Fly Colombo to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

The Wallawwa

The Wallawwa

The Wallawwa is a small hotel 30 minutes from Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo....

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Jungle Beach Resort

Jungle Beach Resort

Jungle Beach has the feeling of a luxury tree house....

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Leopard Trails Camp Wilpattu

Leopard Trails Camp Wilpattu

Leopard Trails is an experienced mobile camping company that operates a campsite within the buffer zones of Wilpattu National Park....

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Horathapola Estate

Horathapola Estate

High above the plains of southeast Sri Lanka, on the edge of the Haputale Escarpment lies a beautiful 19th-century tea planters bungalow....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Sri Lanka

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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