Off the beaten track

Sri Lanka is home to hidden delights and this tour will let you witness and soulfully experience the beautiful isle free from the crowds. The best attractions in Sri Lanka are the least known and rarely visited ones, so follow a unique trail on the island of unforgettable experiences via this exclusive tour. You will see a fantastic blend of history, culture, traditions, architecture, wildlife and landscapes at each of our picked destinations. The ‘Off the beaten track’ of Sri Lanka is an incredible and thrilling tour filled with beautiful, exciting and awe-inspiring destinations and experiences you never knew of. Follow the less-travelled paths with us and we will show you the true essence of the tropical island’s attractions – ancient cities, temples, ruins, cultural sites, scenic routes and wildlife. This will be a one-of-a-kind experience in Sri Lanka, as you will see stunning landscapes with unique fauna and flora, magnificent temples and colossal statues of the ancient past, engage in rock climbs to explore caves, embark on an adrenaline-packed jeep safari into the wilderness and much more. Sri Lanka is home to a bounty of spectacular destinations and scenic attractions, each with a story of its own. Embark on our carefully curated tour with signature experiences from start to finish, exclusively designed with you in mind.

  • 13 Days 12 Night
  • Starting from USD 1235


Itinerary

Soon after you touchdown in Sri Lanka, an NKAR representative will welcome you at the airport. Here’s to an exciting and exclusive tour ahead, and your first destination is Veyangoda – This city is situated in the Gampaha district of the Western Province of Sri Lanka. After a 30 mins drive, you will arrive at your hotel to check-in and relax before visiting a local hand waving batik factory in the Dunagaha area.

Batik is a textile art practice that uses wax and ink to create beautiful designs and patterns. The batik craft in Sri Lanka is inspired by Indonesian-style batik which can be found in all types of garments and textiles from classic designs to more contemporary fashions as it plays an important part in Sri Lankan fashion and textile manufacture. Here you will see the fascinating process of creating colourful batik work, gather some knowledge about the craft and purchase some batik souvenirs to take back home. After enjoying a delectable dinner with the chief family in the village, you will wind up for the day with an overnight stay at The Covanro Hotel in Veyangoda.

Overnight stay at The Covanro Hotel in Veyangoda

Kick start your day with hotel breakfast and thereafter proceed to Yapahuwa – one of the transient capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. On the way you will pass Giriulla – a rapidly developing city renowned for its rich agricultural success, Narammala – a beautiful town surrounded by blocks of lush green paddy fields and sprawling coconut estates, Wariyapola – a place that is home to many legends that associate with the ancient past of Sri Lanka and Padeniya – a small city of Kurunegala in the North Central Province.

You will then arrive at Yapahuwa to visit the historical ruins of the kingdom. The citadel of Yapahuwa lies between Kurunagala and Anuradhapura and this rock fortress was built by King Buwanekabahu-I on a massive granite boulder that rose above the surrounding lowlands. Constructed in a similar style of the Sigiriya rock fortress, Yapahuwa was a palace and a military stronghold with commendable security against foreign invasion. After learning the historical past of the magnificent ruins, you will head for lunch at a local restaurant.

Your next stop will be to visit the Raswehera buddha statue – This is near the Awkana statue with great similarities. Several legends are linked with the origins of these two statues, where a story says that the two statues were created as the result of a competition between a master sculptor and his pupil. Folklore also tells that the Raswehera statue was done by the same person as a trial before starting the famous Awkana statue. Thereafter you will continue the drive to Wilpattu passing interesting geographical landscapes and plantations. The day will end with dinner and an overnight stay at the Wilapattu Tree House Hotel.

Overnight stay at the Wilapattu Tree House Hotel

Your day starts early today with an early morning jeep safari in the Wilpattu National Park. You will be provided with a well-packed breakfast to keep you energized throughout this adrenaline-packed expedition into the wilderness. Wilpattu Park is situated between the North-Western and North Central provinces of Sri Lanka and is one of the biggest parks in the country with a fantastic diversity of flora, mammals, reptiles, birds and wildlife. It is also popular as one of the best national parks in the world noted for leopard breeding, with the best times for visit being from February to October when you can sight plenty of rare wildlife. The dry zone jungle is thickly grown and is home for many natural lakes and watering holes that dot the landscape of the park.

After an adventurous morning jeep safari, you will drive to Ritigala – an ancient Buddhist monastery and a mountain in Sri Lanka, where the ruins and rock inscriptions date back to the 1st century BCE. Upon arriving, you will visit the Ritigala monastery. The ruins of the monastery are located on the eastern side of the mountain at the foot of the gorge which separates the main peak from the northern ridge of the range. The ruins cover an area of 24 hectares (59 acres) and you will be amazed to see a man-made reservoir, stone bridges, raised platforms, courtyards, ritual bathing tank and so much more. Ritigala is home to 70 rock caves that were believed to have been inhabited since the first century BC. Following this visit, you will enjoy a delicious Sri Lankan type village lunch at a village, before driving to Habarana to check into your hotel in Habarana for dinner and an overnight stay.

Overnight stay at hotel in Habarana

Begin your day with an English breakfast and head to the Pidurangala rock – the rock has an ancient Buddhist temple on the top and is a fantastic viewpoint of the Sigiriya rock fortress. After absorbing the majestic view, you will visit the Moragahakanda dam bypassing Dambulla – a town situated in the Matale District of the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Due to its location at a major junction, it’s the centre of vegetable distribution in the country.

The Moragahakanda Dam is a high gravity dam with a height of 65 meters and is created with an active storage capacity of 521,000,000 cubic meters, and is four times bigger than the gigantic Parakrama Samudraya in Polonnaruwa. The dam is also used for irrigation, water supply to 2000 tanks across the country, inland fishing and power generation. After being fascinated by the architectural feat of the dam, you will drive to Giritale – a small and attractive city in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka. Here, you will embark on a village culinary tour and engage in the local cooking activities. Reward your efforts with a freshly cooked lunch of rice and curry served on a lotus leaf!

You will then check-in at the Giritale Hotel hotel to relax, before taking a late evening stroll to the massive ‘Parakrama Samudraya’ to enjoy the mesmerizing view, and admire the standing statue of King Parakramabahu. The day will end with dinner followed by an overnight stay in Giritale.

Overnight stay in Giritale

After breakfast at the hotel, you will proceed to the famous Knuckles forest range. This region lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. You will pass through, Dimbulagama – also known as ‘Gunners Rock’ during the British colonial period, which is a rock formation in the Polonnaruwa District of Sri Lanka and Aralaganvila – a region blessed with nature’s beauty and is home to a great diversity of fauna and flora.

En-route to Knuckles, you will visit the Dimbulagala temple which is situated 16 kilometres southeast of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. The Dimbulagala range houses several caves cut into the rock with Brahmi inscriptions. Thereafter visit the Maduruoya Dam – an irrigation dam built across the Maduru Oya that measures 1,090 m in length, 41 m in height, and creates the famous Maduru Oya reservoir. You will continue the drive via Giradurukotte and visit the Mahiyanganaya temple – the first stupa built in Sri Lanka during the era of Lord Buddha. Mahiyanganaya town is situated close to the Mahaweli River (the longest river in Sri Lanka) and has several links to the ancient history of Sri Lanka. It is believed that Buddha held a discussion on Dhamma at this location with a tribe chieftain who later constructed a small stupa enshrining the hair relic given by Buddha. After learning more interesting facts about the place, you will continue the drive to Knuckles forest and en-route stop by a local restaurant to have lunch. Upon reaching the campsite in Knuckles, you will have dinner followed by an overnight stay at the Wild Glamping Tented Camp under the star-studdedd night skies.

Overnight stay at the Wild Glamping Tented Camp

Today will be an exciting and early start in the morning as you will be engaging in a full day trek (moderate -hard level trek) in the Knuckles mountain range. The mountain range is a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular spot for hikers and truly a paradise for trekkers. A delicious breakfast and lunch packet will be provided to keep you energized throughout the adventurous expedition.

Knuckles is located off Kandy, in the northern end of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. The dense forest surrounded by 34 mystical mountains that range from 900 – 2,000 metres, is home to spectacular hiking trails. It is known as a sprawling terrain of grasslands with rugged mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls in every clearing, quaint villages hidden amid the mountains, many terraced rice fields as well as numerous rare and elusive animals roaming around in the wild. This range displays the epitome of Sri Lanka’s diverse natural beauty.

After a memorable day of trekking in the mountains, you will return to the campsite to relax the evening, followed by dinner and an overnight stay at a campsite in Knuckles.

Overnight stay at a campsite in Knuckles.

After breakfast at the campsite, you will proceed to Mandaram Nuwara – it is a small village situated at the foot of Pidurutalagala in the central province of Sri Lanka. The town is also known as the ‘Misty City’ as it is shadowed by the connecting mountain ranges and is masked in mist for the majority of the day. You will enjoy the breathtaking views and stunning landscapes throughout your drive, when you pass via Digana – a village located within the central province and is popular for Dolomite mineral, and Adikaramgama – another scenic town with lush green vegetation and a fantastic climate.

Upon reaching Mandaram Nuwara you will visit a ‘Tea & Experience Factory’ to see and experience the tea manufacturing process. As unique as it sounds, this exclusive tour with great authenticity shows how a spoonful of the colonial planters’ tea culture is stirred into the entire culinary experience. The colonial residences were famed for their devoted cooks who kept the tradition of maintaining high standards of cooking and ‘Tea & Experience Factory’. In addition to the remarkable tea-infused food and beverages on offer, the high-tea experience featuring home-made spreads is something to not miss here. Followed by a delicious lunch which you can enjoy whilst sipping a perfect cup of Ceylon tea, you will drive to Rikillagaskada to check into your hotel – Marabedda Gardens Resort for dinner and a lavish overnight stay.

Overnight stay at Marabedda Gardens Resort

Today you will be heading to Ella after breakfast via Ragala – a lush green town in central-western Sri Lanka and Udupussallawa – home to the Uda Pussellawa railway, a railway line that existed in the country between 1903 and 1948. You will continue the drive to Ella passing Welimada –an active town in the Badulla District of the Uva province and Bandarawela – the second largest town in the Badulla District. Due to its higher altitude over its surrounding locations, Bandarawela has a chilly weather condition throughout the year making it an appealing tourist destination. It is also greatly influenced by its colonial history and lush forestation. After enjoying a tasty lunch at the Bandarawela Hotel, you will continue the drive to Ella.

After reaching Ella, you will engage in the Mini Adam’s Peak hike in Ella and view the iconic Ella Gap. ‘Ella’ is a small up-country town with waterfalls, caves and geographically magnificent spots. You’ll be amazed at the fauna and flora on your way up to the peak, and it’s an incredible experience when the clouds roll in. The Adams Peak, figured as a Pyramid shaped mountain stands opposite of the Ella rock providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the surroundings. As one of the top destinations in the country, you will soak in 360 degrees of unbelievable views! After an eventful day, you enjoy dinner and relish in an overnight stay at the Oakray Ella Gap Hotel in Ella.

Overnight stay at the Oakray Ella Gap Hotel

Begin your day with a hotel breakfast before taking off to Maligawila – a village in Sri Lanka that is home to the Maligawila Buddha statue which is a standing figure of the Buddha. You will reach the destination by passing Namunukula – a town with the name of a mountain range in Sri Lanka’s Uva province. The name of the mountain range means “Nine Peaks” and hence the area is known by the same and Passara – a small town in the Badulla District of the Uva Province with a picturesque backdrop and many attractions to visit.

After reaching Maligawila you will visit the Maligawila Buddha Statue, which has been carved out of a large limestone rock during the 7th century by a prince named Aggabodhi. It is the tallest free-standing ancient statue of the Buddha found in the country. Thereafter you will continue your journey to Wellawaya – a town located in Monaragala district of Sri Lanka. It is famous amongst travelers who wish to enjoy off the beaten path travel experiences by chasing waterfalls, discovering archaeological sites, hiking, trekking, roaming around on wildlife safaris and much more.

En-route you will stop to visit the Buduruwaga Buddha statue at Buduruwagala. It is a prominent Buddhist heritage site, and a unique temple with its seven rock carved sculptures that belong to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Buduruwagala statues are believed to be belonging to the 10th century, and the main Buddha statue is 51 feet high and you can still you can see some remaining colours on the sculptures. Enjoy your picnic lunch after this visit before driving to Jetwing Kaduruketha in Wellawaya for dinner and a plush overnight stay.

Overnight stay at Jetwing Kaduruketha

Today you will travel to Kataragama after breakfast. You will pass through Buttala – a small historical town in the Monaragala District. En-route, you will visit the Yudaganawa Rajamaha Viharaya, one of the largest stupas in the country and dates back to 2nd century BC. This colossal stupa has a circumference of 317 meters (1038 feet) and you will be fascinated to see a large stupa built halfway and a smaller stupa built on top of that.

Thereafter, you will continue the drive to Kataragama to visit the Kataragama Dewalaya. Kataragama is a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. The Kataragama temple ‘pooja’ is a colourful and enigmatic prayer done amid chanting worshippers. The legendary worship place has mysterious legends about the Kataragama god and is an example of Sri Lanka’s racial unity and has mysterious legends about the god residing in Kataragama. Next, you will have lunch at a local restaurant and drive to Tissamaharama and check in to the hotel.

In the evening you will visit the Kirinda beach, a quiet town nestled away from the hustle and bustle of major towns and known for its historic sites and breathtaking sceneries. The secluded Kirinda Beach is an ideal spot for you to enjoy a long evening walk on its long stretch of white sand and splashing waves. Prepare for sweeping views of the isolated coast, and marvel at the long stretch of dunes and the ocean beyond. You will also visit the Vihara Mahadevi Temple, an ancient temple that attracts thousands of pilgrims, owing to its legendary tales. It is dedicated to Queen Viharamahadevi – the heart of an age-old story that makes this temple special for pilgrims. After this visit, you will end the day with dinner followed by an overnight stay at a hotel in Tissamaharama.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Tissamaharama

You will begin your day at the Yala National Park as you will take part in the jeep safari that starts early morning (breakfast packets will be provided). The Yala National Park is a sprawling forest with watering holes, and home to an abundance of wildlife including leopards, elephants, crocodiles, birds and much more. Yala is home to one of the best leopard spotting places on the planet, with the highest population density of leopards in the world. If you want to see a leopard, there is no better place! So, do appreciate what you see and capture the rare sightings as much as you can!

During the safari you will visit the Situlpawwa Buddhist Monastery, an ancient hermitage believed to date back to the 2nd century BC. The monastery includes a collection of rocky outcrops and caves deep in the heart of the Yala National Park. The solitude and serenity of the monastery carry a quiet and calming spiritual vibe that confirms its original name – ‘hill of the quiet mind’. After a thrilling safari, you will visit the Wadahiti Kanda in Kataragama. According to legends, the mountain got its name because of the God Katharagama who lived in that mountain with his wife Goddess Valli. After an open lunch at a local restaurant, you will continue the drive to Ahangama beach.

Check-in at Insight Resort and refresh yourself for the rest of the day. The resort is blessed with a beautiful beach frontage offering you the perfect island getaway from the busy city life. It is the ideal place to unwind, relax, refresh and experience the heritage, culture, nature and the way of life in southern Sri Lanka. You can indulge in a spa treatment or take a dip in the azure pool if you wish. You will then enjoy a delicious spread of dinner followed by an overnight stay in Ahangama.

Overnight stay in Ahangama

After breakfast, you will travel to Galle. Depending on the season (If November – April you will be transferred to Mirissa for whale watching at 5.30 AM with breakfast packets). Mirissa is on the south coast of Sri Lanka and is a key whale and dolphin watching spot in the country with the most stunning sunrises and sunsets to be enjoyed. Sperm whales, Bryde’s whales are some of the most common whales that you will encounter, and if you are really lucky, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the killer whales (also known as orcas). Among the species of dolphins, you may see the Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and Striped dolphins. These playful creatures would swim alongside your boat and jumping out of the water much to your delight!

Upon reaching Galle, you can take part in a city tour by bicycle/ bike to witness the charming colonial town on the Southern coast. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a 300-year-old fort, a maritime museum and a historic lighthouse that you can visit to learn more of Sri Lankan history. Following an open lunch at a local restaurant, you will head back to your beach resort in Ahangama for dinner and a cozy overnight stay.

Overnight stay in Ahangama

Today is your last day on the paradise isle. Indulge in a lavish spread of breakfast before travelling to Colombo. Depending on the time of your flight, you will take part in a Colombo city tour from Fort and Pettah covering the commercial and residential areas of the city whilst sighting the key landmarks – Galle Face Green, old parliament, the lighthouse clock tower, Colombo harbour, Gangarama Temple, Independence Square and the Viharamahadevi Park. You will then proceed to the airport for departure.

This brings you to the end of an exciting, fun-filled and memorable off the beaten track adventure in Sri Lanka!

Route Map
Special Trip Notes
  • Accommodation on DBL Sharing for 12 Nights from Dinner on Day 01 to Breakfast on Day 13 at Hotels Specified or at Hotels of Similar Standard.
Included
  • Accommodation on DBL Sharing for 12 Nights from Dinner on Day 01 to Breakfast on Day 13 at Hotels Specified or at Hotels of Similar Standard.
  • Lunch throughout the Tour.
  • Accommodation on HB Basis.
  • Transportation by Air-Conditioned Vehicle with an English-Speaking Chauffer Guide.
  • Government tax and Service Charge at all the Hotels.
Excluded
  • Peak Period Supplements at the Hotels, Video Camera and Still Camera permits at the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Entrance fees to sites not mentioned above, Cost of beverage throughout the tour, Expenses of a personal nature, Any other services not specified above and Activity Fees to sites.
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