Sample Sri Lanka Tour Itineraries
Pick an Itinerary and Make It yours! Be the first to "adopt" one of our itineraries and will name the tour after you!
Every Sri Lanka tour is different because every guest is different. Here, we present a variety of itineraries that make terrific starting points. There is so much to see and do on this relatively small island that we have have taken both individual interests and time into account to make these suggestions. Naturally, we can modify any of these to suit you once we have a starting point. The next step will be to choose hotels. We can use practically any hotel you like. Sorry, we do not offer these tours without hotels.
We may use your own itinerary as an example after you have reserved it. If you are the first of our guests to follow one of the itineraries, we will name the tour after you!
Shortest itineraries appear at the top and become longer as you scroll down.
Just the Basics: Colombo, Galle and Negombo in five nights
Spend two nights in Colombo, an overnight side trip to Galle (although two nights will give you more time to soak it all up), plus one or two nights of beach bliss at Negombo.
Your First Taste of Sri Lanka: Kandy, The Scenic Train, a Yala Safari, and Galle in five Days
Day 1: You can skip Colombo and Negombo completely! Arrive on the morning flight from Bangkok and drive directly to Kandy, where you spend two nights
Day 2: Full day sightseeing in Kandy
Day 3: Take the full day train ride to Newara Eliya (about six hours). We meet you there and proceed to Tissamaharama, where you spend one night.
Day 4: Full day at Yala National Park, then drive to Galle at the end of the day. Overnight there
Day 5: See Galle in the morning and drive to Colombo for your afternoon flight. You can add a couple of days at the beach in either Negombo or Unawatuna (near Galle) at the end if you have time.
Kevin & Geoffrey's Tour: Eight Days and Seven Nights Seeing the Best of Sri Lanka
Day 1: Arrive Colombo in the afternoon or evening. You have one or two nights here. If you are not inspired by big cities, spend just one night, skip the Day 2 sightseeing there, and we can add an extra night in either Newara Elliya (instead of going all the way to Ella on the train) or at Yala National Park.
Day 2: Colombo sightseeing all day. Maybe have a peek at the nightlife tonight.
Day 3: Drive to Sigiriya. You have two nights there so you can also see Polonnaruwa and Habanara
Day 4: Continue to Kandy via Matale. You have two nights there.
Day 5: Kandy sightseeing--Temples, shopping and the lavish Botanical gardens with a civilized tea break on the afternoon.
Day 6: Take the scenic train from Kandy to either Nuwara Eliya. If you skip Colombo sightseing you overnight in Newara Eliya. Otherwise, you are picked up in Newara Eliya and drive to Tissamaharama for the night.
Day 7: Full day at Yala National Park. Late afternoon drive to Galle, where you spend the night. Or you could stay at nearby Unawatuna to enjoy an hour or two of beach time in the morning before your Galle visit
Day 8: Spend most of the day in Galle in Galle. Late in the day drive to Colombo or Negombo. If your flight leaves late you will have time for a relaxed dinner before you need to check in for your flight.
Paul & Herman's Grand Tour: Leisurely Ten-Day Grand Tour
Day 1: Begin with two nights in Colombo, including at least one full day of sightseeing (more if you arrive early the first day).
Day 3: Then drive to Sigiriya, where you spend two nights and enjoy Polonnaruwa and Habarana.
Day 5: Next, an overnight stop in Kandy, "queen of the hill country"
Day 6: On to Newara Eliya, where you enjoy tea plantation culture and rolling green hills
Day 7: Morning drive]Yala National Park where you get close and personal with pachyderms and other wild things. Overnight in Tissmaharama
Day 8: Galle is next for the famous World Heritage town and historic fortress. Overnight there
Day 9: Drive north across the past Colombo to Negombo, and its expansive beach
Day 10: You have the day to explore Negombo until it's time for your evening flight to Bangkok
You can read about their trip in our August 2018 newsletter.
Sixteen Days Leisurely: A Circle-Island Trip with Beach Time
Day 1: Overnight in Negombo. Let your hair down and get some sand between your toes.
Day 2: Morning drive to Kandy. Leisurely stroll around the lake and maybe some retail therapy.
Day 3: Poke around Kandy town and visit the lush and expansive botanical gardens. Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth in the afternoon. How about a cultural show in the evening?
Day 4: Off to Dambulla and enjoy the cave temples, and make a side trip to Anuradhapura to see the ruins and temples.
Day 5: Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. Visit the daunting "rock fortress." What you see is worth the climb, and the view is TDF. Overnight in Polonnaruwa.
Day 6: Spend the morning at the Polonnaruwa archaeological site and it's off to Kandy in the afternoon.
Day 7: Continue to Newara Eliya where you'll see tea galore, and a very relaxing vibe.
Day 8: From here it's down\hill to Arugam Bay for seafood and sand.
Day 9: After some beach time and lunch, head south to Tissamaharama, gateway to Yala National Park. Two nights here.
Day 10: You have a full day at Yala National Park viewing birds and wildlife in tropical splendor.
Day 11: Leisurely drive to Marissa this morning, where you enjoy some sun and sand. You may see some stilt fishermen along the way.
Day 12: Morning free, then drive in the afternoon to Galle, the UNESCO World Heritage old Portuguese town within a fortress. You have two nights here to soak up the history in the town and fort, visit local markets, chill at Unawatuna beach, and enjoy the seafood.
Day 14: North to Colombo. You have two nights in the capital, where we show you the shopping, museums and even some nightlife.
Day 16: Darn. It's time to leave. But you can add other stops (Jaffna and Nilavelli to name just two) and linger a bit longer at places that sound fascinating to make this a great three-week adventure.
Sixteen Days Leisurely: Our Guide Steven's Suggestion (he likes his beach time)
Day 1: Arrive any time and overnight in Negombo. If you arrive early in the day you can enjoy some beach time
Day 2: Morninig departure for Anuradapura, where you spend one night in this historic former capital
Day 3: Continue to Jaffna, on Sri Lanka's northern tip for a look at an historic fort and some splendid temples
Day 5: Head south for two nights at Nilaveli to enjoy the beach and seafood
Day 7: It's off to Sigiriya, where you spend two nights
Day 8: Visit Polonnaruwa and Dabulla
Day 9: Continue to Kandy, for two nights
Day 10: in Kandy - Shopping, dining, sightseeing, enjoying the splendid botanical gardens
Day 11: Drive south to spend the night in Nuwara Ela. Or you can do this by train.
Day 12: On to Tissamaharama for a night and a visit to Yala National Park
Day 13: Choose your favorite beach: Unawatuna or Mirissa for two nights. Half day sightseeing in Galle durng your stay.
Day 15: Complete your full circle trip through Sri Lanka at either Colombo or Negombo.
Day 16: Free time until we deliver you to the airport for your departure flight.
All of our tours include airport transportation on arrival and departure, hotels (including tax, service and breakfast), private car and English-speaking driver/guide throughout, admission costs to places visited, train transportation if shown in the program, and maybe a surprise bonus here and there. Not included: Beverages other than coffee, tea, or water, meals other than breakfast, insurance. visa fees, airfares, gratuities, or anything of a strictly personal nature.
Passports and visas
A passport and visa are required to visit Sri Lanka. Citizens of Singapore, Maldives and Seychelles can enter visa free. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date your visit is scheduled to end.
About train travel within Sri Lanka
The scenic train from Kandy south to Newara Eliya and Ella is not a last-minute option. It is fully booked every day throughout the year. We need to know as far in advance as possible so that we can book tickets the day they go on sale for date you want to travel. In other words, we need to know (and you need to pay) a couple of months in advance. We cannot guarantee that we will get tickets. Once purchased, tickets are not refundable and neitherr the date nor the class can be changed. If the train is unavailable we will drive along the same route. It's just as scenic, but you can stop for photos and have lunch in a colorful little restaurant along the way.
Since all Sri Lanka bookings are considered custom travel arrangements, our policies regarding custom tours will apply. Please look here.
Purple Dragon pioneered LGBTQ travel to Asia, but everyone is welcome on our tours!
Photos: Genn Auve