Overview

Sri Lanka: Live Like A Local is a journey for those who yearn to go off the beaten track and see Sri Lanka not as a tourist but as an honoured houseguest .See the charming countryside around Negombo on a bicycle. Get acquainted with local villagers and their daily chores at Tamarind Gardens in Digana. Enjoy Sri Lanka’s famed hospitality at a homestay in Ella. Attend evening worship at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy amid throngs of local devotees. Go white-water rafting in Kitulgala. Experience Colombo like the residents do—via tuktuk! This holiday is sure to make you lose your heart to Sri Lanka.

8 Nights 9 Days 08 Dec, 09 Dec, 10 Dec, and more Bandaranaike Airport
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Luxury accommodation in hotels or resorts
  • All meals as specified in itinerary
  • Airport transfers and local transport via luxury car or train
  • All local permits
  • Entry to ticketed exhibitions and tours mentioned in the itinerary
  • Guided tours mentioned in the itinerary

What is NOT included in the tour

  • International air travel
  • Any meal not specified in the itinerary, any meal-extras like soft beverages and alcohol
  • Additional services like spa treatments and massages
  • Personal purchases of any kind, including medication
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips and fines for contravening local laws
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Visit the Main Fish Market
  • Experience a jungle lodge in Sigiriya and a homestay in Ella
  • Immerse yourself in village life at Tamarind Gardens in Digana
  • Attend worship at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy
  • Enjoy adventure sports in Kitulgala
  • Go sightseeing in a tuktuk in Colombo
Itinerary
Day 1 (Arrival, bicycling and a visit to the fish market in Negombo) (-, L, D)
  • On your arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, we will convey you to your hotel in the nearby coastal town of Negombo.
  • Stay at an eco-lodge near the beach, away from the touristy bustle of the main town. Soak up some sun and bathe in the clear salty water.
  • Go for an afternoon bicycle ride along the colonial Dutch-created Hamilton Canal, past the picturesque villages.
  • In the early evening, visit the Main Fish Market in Negombo, as the fishermen return with the day’s catch. Staggering quantities of fish, crabs, lobsters etc are auctioned, fresh as well as gutted and dried. While there is a strong smell, this is unlikely to be an experience you’ll have often.
  • Enjoy some of this fresh seafood for a dinner under the stars, on the beach.
Day 2 (Learn about chena cultivation in Sigiriya) (B, L, D)
  • On your way to Sigiriya, stop at a nearby hamlet for lunch. You will enjoy some of the best home-cooked fare while enveloped in the green enclaves and shady corners of Sri Lanka’s villages.
  • Take a lazy catamaran ride over the lake with the magnificent Sigiriya rock and fortress in the background.
  • Thereafter, pay a visit to local farmers in the region and learn all about Sri Lanka’s long history of chena cultivation in its dry zone. This ancient method is also known as the slash-and-burn and practiced in patches, alongside modern agricultural practices. Under this method, a section of forest or overgrown land is cleared with the stumps of previous growth burnt. This fertile land is sown and several cycles of crops are grown in it, until the land becomes depleted in mineral wealth. Then, the farmer moves on to another patch of forest for another round of slash-and-burn, letting the old fields remain fallow so that it may regain its natural nutrient content. When the old plot has recovered sufficiently, it may be used again. This practice requires minimal irrigation and tilling, and has been used for millennia to support places with sparser populations and vast tracts of land. Thus, rice, cotton, sugarcane and even vegetables have been grown in Sri Lanka for thousands of years.
  • Stay at the delightful Jungle Hideaway in Pidurangala for a couple of days.
Day 3 (Climb Sigiriya Fortress, worship at Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) (B, L, D)
  • Pidurangala is known for its prime bird watching in the early morning. After breakfast, let the cacophony of chirping accompany you through the forest and to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress as you prepare to climb to the top. The 5th century structure sits atop a 200m column of rock and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built and briefly occupied by King Kasyapa before being returned to Buddhist monks who had lived in the caves at the base of the rock for much longer. Miles of the surrounding countryside in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle can be seen from the top.
  • Drive to Kandy for lunch and do a spot of shopping in the local spice markets.
  • Attend a puja (worship) in the evening at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, along with crowds of local devotees. The sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is housed in this temple, within 7 gold caskets. The golden splendor of the temple is set off against the thrilling atmosphere of beating drums and the ancient faith of all those who visit.
  • Return to Pidurangala for the night where a scrumptious traditional Sri Lankan meal of rice and jackfruit curry awaits you.
Day 4 (Check in to Tamarind Gardens at Digana) (B, L, D)
  • Deeper into the Ceylonese countryside, your next stay will be at Tamarind Gardens in Digana. This sustainable farm-stay is situated picturesquely near the Victoria Reservoir. Tamarind Gardens is closely involved with the local community, offering alternative employment to mining and supporting local entrepreneurship. The farm is particularly invested in dairy, churning its own butter and making different kinds of cream and cheese that are sold in the larger cities.
  • Guests are welcome to participate in farm chores like feeding and bathing the cows, milking and cleaning out the cow shed.
  • On your first day here, order the elaborate high tea that Tamarind Gardens is famous for, with freshly baked scones and clotted cream and jam from the farm (payable directly).
  • Guests are also invited to assist in dinner preparations in the kitchen. This is a great opportunity to learn how to cook local delicacies and the steaming food is served in traditional clay pots.
  • The farm-stay tries to be as self-sustainable as possible and a part of that is careful recycling, composting, energy conservation and guests are encouraged to contribute to these green efforts.
  • As Digana is a part of Sri Lanka’s dry zone, water conservation is of paramount importance and Tamarind Gardens has taken several steps to alleviate drought in the area, including purchasing large tanks for the villagers to store water in. Your stay here helps these projects.
Day 5 (Immerse yourself in village life at Digana) (B, L, D)
  • You’re likely to be woken up by the call of cicadas breaking the early morning stillness. Savor a cup of hot tea while admiring the view over Victoria Reservoir.
  • After breakfast, take a guided tour of the village. Visit the locally run incense-making workshop, clothes and bag-making cottage industry and handmade jewellery small business.
  • Support the village economy by purchasing directly from the women who work at these initiatives. You are welcome to take an incense-stick-making demo from the workshop too.
  • Back at the farm, there is no dearth of entertainment. Help your hosts out with tamarind shelling, weeding and planting in the greenhouse and in the kitchen by assisting in the daily baking of bread and confectioneries.
  • In the evening, go for a catamaran ride on the Mahaweli river to admire the sunset and if you’re feeling the heat, take a dip in the clear water!
  • Linger over the excellently prepared dinner for you are sure to miss Tamarind Gardens when you leave on the morrow.
Day 6 (Hike to Little Adam’s Peak in Ella) (B, L, D)
  • For a change, take the local commuter train to Ella, either in an air-conditioned compartment, or in a general one, with the wind in your hair.
  • You will be putting up at Waterfalls-Homestay, a quiet little guest house amid lush green hills and gurgling falls.This homestay’s intimate manner and personal attention will make you feel at home right away.
  • Spend the afternoon hiking up Little Adam’s Peak for a view through Ella Gap of the miles of rolling hills, valleys, tea plantations, paddy fields and cloud forests around. It’s not the most difficult climb but you’re advised to carry water or a thermos of tea with you to refresh yourself with, at the top. A number of waterfalls in the region give Ella its name and the cold, sparkling water is a treat on hot days. Visit any that catch your fancy.
  • After the day’s exertions, retire to Waterfalls-Homestay for a quiet evening surrounded by nature and a hot, comforting meal.
Day 7 (Birdwatching and white-water rafting in Kitulgala) (B, L, D)
  • Depart early for Kitulgala, where you will be spending the day, before driving to Colombo for the night. 23 of Sri Lanka’s 27 endemic bird species may be found in the forests of Kitulgalamaking for a wonderful morning of bird-watching spent here. Watch out for the orange-billed babbler, grey hornbill, Ceylon jungle fowl, yellow-fronted barbet, green-bill coucal and the chestnut-backed owlet.
  • Partake of a light luncheon and gear up for an afternoon of white-water rafting on the Kelaniya Ganga river. This excursion passes through several Class 2-3 rapids while experienced rafters may avail of a customized option with Class 4-5 rapids.
  • At your request, river canyoning may be added to the itinerary.
  • Dry off after your rafting with a short hike through the rainforest trails. Be sure to carry leech-repellent, waterproof jackets and sturdy footwear.
  • Drive to Colombo in the evening and check in to your hotel. Take the rest of the day off to recuperate and prepare for your final day of activity, and make sure to get a good night’s sleep.
Day 8 (Sightseeing and shopping in Colombo) (B, L, D)
  • One of the best ways to experience Colombo is by riding in a tuktuk. These 3-wheeled contraptions weave in and out of traffic in a way regular cars could not. Let the tuktuk take you through narrow by-lanes to lesser known local haunts as well as the imposing, popular places of faith like the Gangaramaya Temple, a unique fusion of Buddhist and Muslim architecture near Beira Lake, the fabulous Jami-Ul-Alfar mosque with its red-and-white-stripe brickwork, the New KathiresanKovil dedicated to the Hindu war god Skanda, and the Wolvendaal Church, an 18th century Dutch building with neat, classical lines. These centres of worship give Sri Lanka much of its rich flavour.
  • Gorge on Sri Lanka’s mouth-watering street food for lunch, after your tuktuk sets you down at a shopping district. This is also a good opportunity to pick up last-minute memorabilia.
  • In the afternoon, ride in an open-air jeep to see the colonial monuments of the city, including the Old City Hall from British times, the 17th century Dutch hospital, Central Point or the old Central Bank building done up in Greco-Roman style and the Italian baroque-style Saifee Villa.
  • Round it off with a drive through the wetlands on the outskirts of Colombo.
  • Finally, unwind at a chic little bar for a taste of Colombo’s night life, and a special farewell dinner.
Day 9 (Departure from Colombo) (B, L, D)
  • Colombo will reluctantly bid you farewell as we convey you to Bandaranaike International Airport after breakfast, for your onward journey. ProVacation hopes you enjoyed your stay in Sri Lanka, as much as Sri Lanka welcomed your visit!

 

Pickup point
Directions.
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Canada Friendship Rd, Katunayake, Sri Lanka View on Map