Sri Lanka – The pearl of Indian Ocean
14 Days and 13 Nights
Negombo- Galle –Koggala- Udawalawe- Yala- Ella - Nuwara Eliya-
Kandy- Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa-Minneriya- Dambulla- Pinnawala/ Rambukkana -Negombo
Sri Lanka is a beautiful land full of treasures for the eyes. More often it’s referred to as “Paradise Island”. As soon as you touch the core of this land, it reveals its tales of legends, myths and mysteries. From ancient world heritage sites of Sigiriya to a vibrant and welcoming contemporary culture of Kandy; from the colonial city of Galle to the lush green rolling hills of tea country of Nuwara Eliya, from dream beaches to the National parks famous for shy Leopards and wild elephants, from saffron-clad monks around monasteries and temples to stilt fishermen at the coast of Indian ocean; this is a destination that truly has it all, and most importantly people here are friendly with a welcoming heart.
Join the famous travel duo Harsh and Arti on Sri Lanka tour packages to experience the astonishing diversity of the Island. The travel duo Harsh and Arti discovered Sri Lanka during one of their scouting trips. Their passion for travel and photography lead this tour with a unique itinerary. They will take you to the iconic places of Sri Lanka in their Sri Lanka Tour Packages, the more remote ones, and the particular ones rarely visited by tourists. They have handpicked all the destinations, hotels as well as restaurants. They find the Island so compelling that they are planning to retire there (although they are still in their 30s).
Harsh being a photographer and storyteller makes this journey a unique combination of photography and culture. Sri Lanka Tour Packages is all about “Art of seeing”. That’s why anyone having Professional Camera, amateurs, even phone photographers are welcome. This Island is a treat for Selfies as well. This travelling duo with unmatched local support will guide you throughout the tour. They will make sure that there won’t be a single day when this Island won’t surprise you. You will meet people they have befriended over the years, who will share the pride of their culture and heritage.
Why Sri Lanka after COVID 19?
We all have been isolated in our houses for months. Our feet are itching to be back in our travelling shoes. Where next? Why Sri Lanka! Well, Sri Lanka is among those few countries who managed to keep their country least affected by Coronavirus Pandemic. From 1st August they are ready to receive tourist from all around the world in the safest way. Being a tiny country, no other country can define diversity better than Sri Lanka- amazing beach sides, landscapes, culture, heritage and wildlife to sight one of the majestic shy cats. Sri Lanka is neither an overpopulated nor highly dense country. That’s why it’s easy to maintain social distancing while travelling in Sri Lanka. We at Indian Maharaja Tours, want to ensure our guests that while going in Sri Lanka, every possible measure will be taken to protect the group from COVID 19. We will be providing N95 face masks, Hand Sanitizers, sufficient space in the bus to maintain social distancing etc. We also ensure on every alternate day’s coach will be sanitized.
At a Glance
We begin and end this tour in Negombo; a coastal town just 30 minutes drive from Colombo airport. After our first experience with culture and cuisines of authentic Sri Lanka and Negombo fish drying industry, we’ll travel south of Sri Lanka to Galle. We will be staying in 17th-century Galle fort – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a well-preserved town with colonial-era buildings. We will photograph stilt fishermen at Koggala beach at sunset. We will explore Yala National park, one of the finest reserves of Sri Lanka for leopard sighting with best local guides. Enjoy the drive from Yala to Nuwara Eliya with a stop at Ella to photograph the famous Demodara 9 Arches Bridge.
Experience the nostalgia of tea capital of Sri Lanka, still famous as “Little England”. If you’ve ever wondered what makes black tea different to green tea, or how the tea gets from the plant to your cup, this is the place to find out. Sip a cup of an authentic Ceylon Tea in a tea plantation. Embark on a scenic train ride passing through tea estates and lush green highlands- a sloping emerald-green paradise draped in mist. Entering into a cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, visit the Buddhist temples and ancient ruins of Kandy, Pollonurawa, Dambulla and Anuradhapura. Take an enthralling game safari at Minnerya National Park, known for some of the largest gatherings of Asian elephants in any one area.
Visit Millenium Elephant Foundation, an NGO working for the rescue and welfare of domestic elephants. We will not visit Pinnawala Orphanage due to ethical concerns. Still, we will have a lifetime opportunity to view the elephants bathing in the river and a perfect sundowner from the comfort of our accommodation. We do not support elephant riding. The last day of your tour will be relaxing, or you can further explore Colombo, the capital town of Sri Lanka. Immerse yourself in the mysteries of this breathtaking and incredible country. All the while, we are staying in stunning handpicked hotels and boutique properties that are unique and fascinating experiences on their own in Sri Lanka Tour Packages.
- Day 1: Arrival Colombo | Negombo.
Day 2: Galle | Historic Fort
Day 3: Galle | Stilt Fishermen
Day 4: Yala National Park | Into the Wild
Day 5: Yala National Park | Thrilling Game drive
Day 6: Nuwara Eliya | Nine Arch Bridge
Day 7: Nuwara Eliya | Ceylon Tea
Day 8: Kandy | Scenic Highlands by Train
Day 9: Sigiriya | Temples
Day 10: Sigiriya | Minneriya National Park
Day 11: Anuradhapura | Ancient Ruins
Day 12: Rambukkana | Dambulla Caves
Day 13: Negombo | Millenium Elephant Foundation
Day 14: Departure
- 1st Dec 2020: Arrival at Colombo Airport. Drive to Negombo (13 km/ 30 min)
- Arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport at Colombo for your Sri Lanka Tour Packages.
- Our representative will greet and assist you to the coach. Transfer to your hotel in Negombo. On arrival, check-in Hotel
- Day at leisure. Negombo is a palm-fringed coastal town. You can enjoy the beach or pool at the Hotel.
- Meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers for a tour briefing at 6:30 pm at the hotel followed by welcome dinner.
- 2nd Dec– Negombo- Galle (197 km/ 4.5 hrs)
- After a delicious breakfast, where you can savour some of your first tastes of authentic Sri Lanka cuisine, check-out from the Hotel.
- Explore the Negombo Fish Market and commercial hub of fish drying. Fishermen are seen untangling their fishing nets, vendors selling the fresh catch of the day, and stretching out miles of fish to dry in the sun on Negombo’s shore.
- Continue drive to Galle. On the way, visit Ambalanagoda Mask Factory and Museum. Meet traditional mask makers and admire the skill of their carving. Handcrafted and painted, these colourful and vibrant Sri Lankan masks are very popular in the tradition of devil dancing.
- On arrival in Galle, check-in at your Hotel at the very centre of Galle’s 17th-century fort – a well-preserved town with colonial-era buildings, stout ramparts, and a seemingly endless stream of shops and cafés. Stay in Galle fort will be one of the highlight of Sri Lanka Tour packages
- Evening at leisure to enjoy nightlife at Galle.
- 3rd Dec – Explore Galle
- Enjoy a morning at leisure in the tranquil surroundings of your hotel.
- Late morning join an exciting walk through the heritage sites in Galle fort that boasts of a colourful past, and its presence is no less vibrant.
- Later, you can spend your day exploring further or return to Hotel to relax.
- Late afternoon, drive to Koggala beach to see stilt fishermen, who use an age-old fishing method to bring in their daily catch. Sunset is the best time to enjoy this spectacle.
- Drive back to Galle.
- 4th Dec – Galle- Udawalawe (130 kms/ 3.5 hrs) – Yala National Park (85 kms/ 2 hrs)
- Drive to Udawalawe to visit Elephant Transit Home, centre for the rehabilitation of orphaned baby elephants and their release back to the wild.
- Continue your drive to your hotel near Yala National Park. Check-in at Hotel followed by early dinner.
- 5th Dec – Yala National Park
- Today we start early for the morning game drive in Yala National Park. Famous for its leopards, it also has a healthy population of wild elephants, spotted deer, Sambhar, sloth bear, wild water buffalo etc. Encompassing a variety of diverse ecosystems, the park has an impressive array of wildlife and 120 species of birds. Another highlight of our Sri Lanka Tour Packages is Yala.
- Apart from your stay, You will be lead by one of the best trackers of Yala, ensuring you will be one of the earliest to enter the forest.
- With an expert naturalist, keep an eye for the endangered Sri Lankan leopards, crocodiles that patrol the river or wild elephants bathing in river or grazing behind the bushes.
- Enjoy your packed breakfast in between the safari near the Yala beach. After the safari, drive back to the Hotel.
- Evening at leisure to enjoy the pool or relax.
- 6th Dec – Yala- Ella (114 km/ 3 hrs) Nuwara Eliya (55 kms/ 2.5 hrs)
- Drive to Nuwara Eliya. En route, we will visit Nine Arch Bridge followed by lunch in one of the café in Ella town.
- Continue the drive to Nuwara Eliya passing through the incredible landscape of tea plantations, mountain ranges and waterfalls.
- On arrival, relax in your Hotel.
- 7th Dec – Nuwara Eliya
- Nuwara Eliya is nicknamed as “Little England”. Even today it has an air of suburban nostalgia, with colonial houses set in manicured gardens, a red exterior Tudor style post office, Gregory lake, a golf course, race-course and botanical gardens. Walk around the city to enjoy the old charm of this town.
- Later, visit a tea plantation and tea factory set in a beautiful lush landscape. Learn about the cultivation of the tea leaves – one of Sri Lanka’s most famous exports. Feel free to volunteer for hands-on experience on tea plucking. Walkthrough the manufacturing process and enjoy tastings to appreciate the difference in strength and flavour of the leaves.
- Afternoon at leisure.
- In the evening, stroll to the Grand Hotel to enjoy high Tea in an epicurean colonial style.
- 8th Dec – Nuwara Eliya- Hatton (Train) – Kandy (71 kms/ 2.5 hrs)
- Transfer to Nanu Oya railway station. This is a typical train station continuing its colonial legacy where ‘time has stood still’.
- We will hop on a train to Hatton. Hold your seats and take in the scenic highlands of Sri Lanka as lush tea estates, mist-covered mountains and cascading waterfalls pass by. Disembark in Hatton and drive to Kandy.
- On arrival in Kandy, transfer to your Hotel.
- In the evening, enjoy cultural dance show and fire walking performance in Kandy Lake Club. This show is a glimpse of rich cultural heritage of annually celebrated Kandy Esala Perahera, grandest of all Buddhist festivals held in July or August.
- 9th Dec – Kandy- Sigiriya (90 kms/ 3 hrs)
- Visit the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy, one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred shrines that house a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. Amid scents of lotus and jasmine, join monks and pilgrims who gather to make offerings to the Buddha.
- If time permits, walk in the local market followed by a coffee stop.
- Later drive to Sigiriya. Delve further into the Cultural Triangle at UNESCO World Heritage Site of Polonnaruwa, where kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka over 800 years ago. The glories of that era can be found in the archaeological park, with hundreds of massive ancient structures. Our focus will be on ancient monuments, Buddhist temples, monks and devotees.
- On arrival in Sigiriya, transferred to your Hotel, a luxurious eco-retreat in the vicinity of rock fortress.
- 10th Dec – Sigiriya
- After Breakfast visits Sigiriya fort. You can climb to the summit of Sigiriya’s famous Lion Rock using a series of steps and walkways which zig-zag their way up the seemingly impenetrable rock cliffs. The site was occupied long before the citadel was built at the end of the 5th century, and it later became a monastery before falling into disrepair.
- Later, discover what life is like in an authentic Sri Lankan village! Visit a local house for a demonstration on how local products are processed followed by a typical Sri Lankan lunch with rice & curry.
- In the afternoon, a great experience lies ahead with a safari game drive in Minneriya National Park. Watch carefully as herds of elephants – one by one – roll on to the grass-covered banks, to feed on tender shoots. In fact, during the dry season, this place is famous for the largest elephant gathering in the world – over 300 at a time – making this park as a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts across the globe.
- Return in the evening to your hotel in Sigiriya.
- 11th Dec – Sigiriya- Dambulla- Anuradhapura (78 kms/ 2 hrs)
- Morning at leisure. Later drive to Anuradhapura.
- En route, explore the amazing Buddhist Cave Temples at Dambulla with statues and murals dating back to the third century BC representing Sinhalese Buddhist art at its best.
- Continue drive to Anuradhapura, the country’s first ancient capital that dates from the fifth century BC. On arrival, check-in at your Hotel.
- Today discover a world of ancient ruins today in the last city of Cultural Triangle. Marvel at enormous dagobas (brick stupas), ancient pools and crumbling temples. Receive a blessing near the sacred Bodhi tree, the oldest recorded, planted in 236 BC.
- 12th Dec – Anuradhapura- Rambukkana (134 kms/ 3.5 hrs)
- Drive to Rambukkana and settle in your Hotel.
- In the late afternoon (15.30 hrs), enjoy sipping your beer or coffee with an amazing view of bathing elephants in front of you, followed by dramatic hues of sundowner at Maha Oya river.
- 13th Dec – Rambukkana – Negombo (85 kms/ 2.5 hrs)
- Enjoy easy morning and breakfast with the view of Elephant bathing in River.
- Visit the Millennium Elephant Foundation. It’s a family-run non-government organization (NGO) which is dedicated to improving the welfare of domestic elephants throughout Sri Lanka. Spend time pampering these gentle giants who are rescued and taken care of.
- Later, drive to Negombo. Check-in at your Hotel. Enjoy the last sunset of this tour at Negombo beach.
- Conclude your evening with a farewell dinner and some laughter with the group.
* We don’t support Elephant ride anywhere. We are one of the fundraisers for Elephants. A fixed percentage of the profit goes to Millenium Elephant foundation for up keeping of elephants.
- 13 nights’ accommodation sharing twin rooms at hotels mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals included.
- Tour as per itinerary in an air-conditioned coach accompanied by an English-speaking National guide
- Entrance fees to all sites visited on the itinerary.
- Entrance and Jeep hire for 1 half-day safari at Yala National Park.
- Entrance and Jeep hire for 1 half-day safari at Minneriya National Park.
- A SIM card with local data and voice loaded, that you can then ‘top up’ if you use up all that was given in welcome package- your Passport copy will be required.
- Tips to Drivers, Guides, Porters and waiters.
- Unlimited packaged drinking water in coach.
- Any airport taxes, visa fees and travel insurance.
- Any new tax imposed by the Government.
- Medical or evacuation expenses in any emergency.
- Expenses caused by factors beyond our control like roadblocks, political disturbances etc
- Optional excursions and anything not mentioned in the ‘Inclusions’ section.
- Tips for tour directors.
- Any expenditure of personal nature such as drinks, telephone charges, laundry etc.
- Any other services not mentioned.
Date & Price Details
- Group Size – 6-10 participants
I st Tour | 1st Dec- 14th Dec 2020
II nd Tour | 05th Jan- 19th Jan Dec 2021
Price per person – $3875
Single Room supplement – $1050
*Note: We will make every effort to connect you with a roommate should you like to share a room. However, if we’re unable to make a match, the single supplement will apply.
- We want to be accommodating as possible, but once we have paid for accommodations, the National Guide, transport, and the driver, etc., refunds are not possible. Since this tour involves international travel, replacing a participant at the last minute is extremely difficult if not impossible, and this is one of the main reasons travel insurance is a requirement
Cancellation before 90 days prior to arrival date – full refund (Less bank charges and exchange rate)
Cancellation 60 days prior to arrival date – 50% refund. (Less bank charges and exchange rate)
Cancellation 30 days or less prior to arrival date – NO cancellation. NO refund.
Who can join?
- This tour is primarily designed to provide unique cultural experiences and photo opportunities for first-timers and enthusiastic travelers.
- Beginner, amateur, enthusiast, and semi-pro photographers that want to learn and explore their photography skills. Our photography tour leader Harsh is eager to share his ideas and creativity as well as the knowledge of the technical aspects of learning your camera settings.
- Capture the many beautiful and unique photo opportunities of this tour using your DSLR, mirrorless, point and shoot compact cameras or iPhone.
- Anyone who wants to experience the landscapes, culture, and wildlife and tastes of this incredible country.
Enjoy the fun of traveling with travel duo Harsh and Arti.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Weather: December/January – Temp- 87/ 76 F (30/24 C)
Expect Moderate to low rain with 6-7 hours of sunshine each day.
Starts/Ends: Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
It takes 30-50 minutes depending on our traffic to reach our Hotel in Negombo from Airport. Our tour starts on 1st Dec at 18.30 pm. Your flight must land at the airport at/before 4 pm on 1st Dec. The tour ends on 14th Dec at 9.00 hrs. You can take onwards flight at/ after 13.00 hrs.
Register: To register, $ 500 will hold your space. The final payment will be due 60 days before.
Early Bird Discount- For December tour Register before 15th August and get 10% off.
For January Tour Register before 15th Sep and get 10% off.
Please contact us for further details.
Please note this itinerary is our intended plan. Although we will do our best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change as necessary (based on weather, circumstances beyond our control, etc.) to provide you the best opportunities to experience and photograph each location.
Before 45 days of starting the tour, we will send you an Information packet that includes clothing, things to bring as well as other handy information.
For joining this tour, we require you to sign an Agreement to the terms and conditions of the Release and Waiver of Liability. You are responsible for your own travel and liability insurance.
Q & A
- Below we have addressed many of the questions and concerns you may have.
A Tour is a big investment. It is important that you match your expectations. Our tours, for now, are confined to Asia only. Sri Lanka is a magical place, we fell in love with the moment our feet hit its rich soil and one I hope everyone has a chance to experience. I have a love for the land, wildlife, and people; nature’s other elements. This is why we lead both photography and cultural photo tours.
Q: Who should attend this tour?
A: This tour is a cultural tour with a touch of photography. So anyone who wants to experience the culture and taste of this country are welcomed. With a basic knowledge of photography will be like icing on top. This country offers many beautiful and unique photo opportunities that can be framed with any simple point and shoot camera or any phone that can take photos.
Q: What all included in this price?
A: This price is all-inclusive. You don’t have to pay for anything, except for personal expenses like shopping, laundries, and tips for tour directors, etc.
Q: When do I need to arrive in Sri Lanka for the tour?
A: You need to arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on or before Tuesday, Dec. 1st. Tour briefing will be at 6:30 am in the hotel, followed by welcome dinner. So anytime after 14:00 hrs, you can check-in at the hotel. Usually, rooms are available after 14:00 hrs, depending on vacancy. Sometimes it can be very confusing flying in and out of Sri Lanka because many of the flights arrived and depart around midnight. So please check the dates very carefully and make sure your dates are correct. Drop us a message before confirming your flight.
Q: Could I arrive in Sri Lanka for tour 1 or 2 days before?
A: Yes, you can arrive 1 or 2 days prior. We can take care of all the extra accommodation on payment basis.
Q: What kind of accommodations will we be staying in?
A: We will be staying in luxurious (4/5 star) Hotels and boutique properties in premium locations, including all amenities like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, room service, excellent food, and laundry services, etc. Our lodgings merge comfort with the natural environment and will be unique at every city we visit. As compared to other properties we use, the accommodation at Kandy and Rambukkana will be a simple and classic because of the strategic locations.
Q: What kind of food will be available?
A: Breakfast and dinner will almost always include both western and local options, and typically are buffet style. Western cuisine may not always be available for lunch when we will be eating at restaurants while on the drive. Fresh, Simple, Locally grown and Seasonal foods will be served as per the taste buds of western tourists. We will skip one dinner at Galle Hotel and one at Nuwara Eliya Hotel to break the monotony and to enjoy the street life and delicious food in well-appointed specialty restaurants. During morning safari, packed breakfast will be served. Our coaches and safari vehicles will be well-stocked with water bottles and snacks. Contact us if you have any dietary needs or restrictions.
Q: What kind of vehicle we will be using on our tour?
A: For arrivals and departures it will be an Air-conditioned private Car, or mini bus, depending on your arrivals and departures. We will get around in an air-conditioned full-size luxury bus with a professional driver. During our safaris, we will be using 4-wheel drive, private, Safari vehicles in the National Parks.
Q: Do you photograph on your Tour?
A: Yes I do (Harsh) because I am a passionate photographer and it is second nature for me to instinctively have my camera in hand, but my first priority is to be available to you as a resource. The areas we are visiting are already well scouted by us. We have spent quality time doing our research. That’s why I don’t need a camera for my personal work. My camera is usually the last up and the first down. When I am looking through my camera, I will be seeing things as a professional photographer. The purpose will be just to check that we are at the right position or need to re-position the vehicle or background is not distracting.
Q: What will the weather be like?
A: Most of the time weather will be pleasant. Average temperatures of 87/ 76 F (30/24 C) can be expected across the whole of the island during Dec. Usually, rain are not expected but it can rain sometimes. The hills around Nuwara Eliya and Yala National park will be a little cooler, especially in the early mornings and evenings.
Q: Do we need electrical converters in Sri Lanka?
A: Well most of the luxury hotels have universal plugs built-in. Still, you can carry something similar to this. Please click on the link to see the product on amazon.com
Adaptor 1 or
Q: Is there a dress code for entering the Temples or in Sri Lanka?
A: Yes. For women – no bare shoulders, and skirts and shorts will need to be below your knees. For men – pretty much the same, wear long shorts that hang below your knees or full-length trousers.
Q: What is the currency and exchange rate?
A: The currency used in Sri Lanka is the Rupee. Though Exchange rates vary almost every day, this change is marginal.
US$1.00 = SLRs 176-180.
There will be plenty of options to exchange your money. The airport will be the 1st option. We always advise exchanging through authorised money exchange. For any need feel free to contact your tour leaders.
Q: Can I use a credit card?
A: Yes, most retail places will accept Visa & Master cards. Before you leave home, check with your credit card company on what additional charges they may add.
Q: Do I need a Visa to enter Sri Lanka?
A: If you are an American citizen, a 30-day double entry Sri Lankan Tourist Visa is required. You need to apply for this visa after you have booked your return flights (arrival and departure flight details are required). The application can be done within ninety (90) days of your outbound flight. Apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) online at THIS SITE ONLY at a cost of US$35: http://www.eta.gov.lk/ As of this writing there is an ETA fee waiver program in effect that includes the USA. Beware of other fake sites that look almost identical but want to charge you US$90.
Q: Should I buy travel insurance?
A: Yes. In fact, proof of insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage is a requirement for participation in this workshop. There are many travel insurance companies out there. The most recommended one is – https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance
Q: Do I need Vaccines or Certificate of COVID- 19 test for Sri Lanka?
A: It is safest and best to check with your personal physician. For COVID 19, for now, there are no such guidelines, but it’s recommended if you can carry a certificate.
Q: Do we need to buy Local Sim Card in Sri Lanka?
A: If you need high-speed internet then yes, you can buy sim cards from the airport. Don’t rely solely on hotels. It’s advisable to get international roaming activated on your phones before you leave. So you don’t have to buy a sim card.
Q: Is Sri Lanka safe for tourists?
A: Absolutely, Sri Lanka is completely safe for all travellers. The only thing which everyone should take care of is there money and belongings.
Q: Any other measures you are taking after COVID 19 pandemic?
A: Yes. We will be providing hand sanitizers, N95 face masks throughout the tour. The coach will be sanitized every day and will be spacious enough to maintain social distancing.
If any questions are left unanswered or not clear then feel free to write to us.
Meet your Tour Leaders
Meet your tour Leaders Harsh and Arti. Harsh and Arti are not only partners in Indian Maharaja Tours, but also in real life. They both are born and brought up in Agra, India. They tide the knots in 2011. Since 2013 they are travelling all over Asia, scouting and venturing with locals to bring something unique every time. Either it’s about exploring big majestic royal Bengal cats in India, Local vanishing tribes of far west in India, exploring hidden gems of Vietnam and Cambodia or scouting Sri Lanka. Each and every hotel, restaurant & guides are handpicked to ensure a flawless experience. They are popularly known as Travel Duo.
Arti possesses special power of haggling for long, that’s why she is decided to keep all accounts and logistics with her. Harsh being more creative, take cares of Quality control, photography and storytelling. Together they make a great team.