Northern Sri Lanka

  • days: 15
  • from $4,995

Flights Included

Types of travel:

Countries Visited:

  • Sri Lanka

Description

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Destinations visited icon

1 country

UNESCO icon

1 UNESCO World 
Heritage-listed site

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Be one of the first to explore Sri Lanka’s emerging north. With a fascinating Tamil culture thanks to its intriguing history, as well as beautiful beaches and an abundance of wildlife, this journey captures the essence of the region in Jaffna, Trincomalee and Passikudah.

Ancient history and animal spotting

Travel north from Negombo to the ancient capital city of Anuradhapura. We'll visit Isurumuniya Temple, a charming rock temple built by King Devanampiya Tissa who rued from 307 to 267 BC.  Safari through Wilpattu National Park, the largest in Sri Lanka, and spot elephants, sloth bears and leopards.

Tamil Traditions

Explore Sri Lanka’s northernmost peninsula in the warm and creative city of Jaffna, an upholder of Hindu tradition and the perfect place to learn more about the Tamil culture in Sri Lanka.  Head east to beautiful Trincomalee, home to one of the Indian Ocean’s most important harbours. Enjoy a morning cruise looking for dolphins, whales and other marine wildlife often spotted in the area.

Breathtaking beaches and Batticaloa

Relax on the stunning beaches of Passikudah a little further south and discover the dutch colonial fort of nearby Batticaloa. Share a meal with local Sri Lankans after learning their cooking techniques and tour the spice plantations of Matale.

End your fascinating journey in Kandy, the cultural heart of Sri Lanka. Visit the Gem Museum and the National Railway Museum, showcasing 150 years of rail service in Sri Lanka.

Itinerary

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1. Depart Australia - Arrive Negombo

Welcome to amazing Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean!

Day 2. Negombo

We discover the unique and diverse ecosystem of the Muthurajawela Marsh on a cruise this morning. This marsh is believed to have originated more than 7,000 years ago and supports more than 300 species of birds and wildlife, including the slender loris.

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Special Experience: Enjoy a lovely welcome lunch hosted by a local family on an island within the Muthurajawela Marsh.

The afternoon is at leisure for you to relax or explore at your own pace. [B,L]

Day 3. Negombo - Anuradhapura

Today we travel north to heritage-listed Anuradhapura, the largest and oldest of Sri Lanka’s ancient capital cities, dating back to the 6th century. We'll visit Isurumuniya Temple, a charming rock temple built by King Devanampiya Tissa who rued from 307 to 267 BC. [B,D]

Day 4. Wilpattu National Park Excursion

Enjoy the morning at leisure before our visit to Wilpattu National Park early this afternoon. The largest of Sri Lanka’s national parks, Wilpattu is famous for its population of elephants, sloth bears, leopards, water buffalo and deer, along with a large variety of birds. We’ll take a safari by jeep through the park to discover all it has to offer. [B,D]

Day 5. Anuradhapura - Jaffna

This morning we travel by train to the north coast and the warm and creative city of Jaffna, capital of the northern province. Sit back and enjoy the scenic countryside as we travel via the small town of Omanthai and Elephant Pass, the ‘gateway to Jaffna’, connecting the peninsula to the mainland. Later we'll visit the Jaffna Fort, built in 1618 following the Portugese invasion, and the public library, which, until a devastating fire in 1981, was one of Asia's largest libraries containing more than 97,000 books and manuscripts. [B,D]

Day 6. Jaffna

This morning we'll spend some time exploring the Jaffna Peninsula before we visit Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, one of the most significant temples in the region. We’ll also see the important town of Kayts on Velanai Island and visit some locals on a farm. [B,D]

Day 7. Jaffna - Trincomalee

Today we make our way to Trincomalee, on the northeast coast. Beautiful Trincomalee is home to a large and important harbour in the Indian Ocean and boasts some stunningly beautiful beaches. Later this afternoon we’ll discover the sights of Trincomalee on a city tour. Highlights include the famous Koneswaram temple with its imposing statue of Lord Shiva and Fort Frederick. [B,D]

Day 8. Trincomalee

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 Special Experience: Early this morning we cruise to look for dolphins, whales and other marine wildlife. Blue, Bryde's and sperm whales, as well as dolphins and the rare orca are often spotted in this area.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. [B,D]

Day 9. Trincomalee - Passikudah

We travel south through local villages to the small coastal village of Passikudah this morning. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to relax or discover Passikudah's beautiful  beach, which is famous for its golden bay and clear water. [B,D]

Day 10. Batticaloa Excursion

We spend the day discovering Batticaloa,  where the Dutch arrived in the 17th century to overthrow the Portuguese. [B,L]

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 Special Experience: Tour the maze of narrow streets leading up to the impressive Dutch fort, built in 1665, by tuk tuk.

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

 Special Experience: We’ll explore the local market and see how a typical family from town would shop for a meal. We’ll then learn to prepare a Sri Lankan meal with the locals and enjoy the results for lunch.

Day 11. Passikudah

Today is free for you to relax and enjoy the resort atmosphere and your beautiful surroundings. [B,D]

Day 12. Passikudah - Kandy

This morning we depart for Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural heart, the former capital of Ceylon and the last seat of the Sinhalese Kingdom. Along the way we’ll stop at a spice plantation in Matale that grows a variety of spices for which the country is famous, such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg. Arriving in Kandy, we’ll visit the Gem Museum. Kandy is a great place to buy gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, tourmalines and spinals, and learn about the design, cutting, polishing and setting processes in a workshop. [B,D]

Day 13. Kandy - Colombo

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 Special Experience: Visit the National Railway Museum, housing a collection of old engines, locomotives, rail cars, trolleys and carriages from the past 150 years of railway service in Sri Lanka.

We’ll then continue to Colombo by coach. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy before tonight’s group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 14. Depart Colombo

Today is at leisure before we bid farewell to Sri Lanka this evening and begin our journey home. [B]

Day 15. Arrive Australia

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Sri Lanka. Taxes included
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles (excluding jeep-safari vehicle and water based activities)
  • Tipping Made Easy, $185pp pre-paid

Accommodation & Meals

  • 13 nights in good quality hotels (4 star)
  • Day use of hotel on day of departure
  • 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 10 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners 

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking driver/guide throughout (based on 4-6 passengers)
  • English-speaking national guide, driver & assistant throughout (based on min. of 7 passengers)

Porterage

  • Porterage included where available

Sightseeing

Witness amazing wildlife and learn the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

  • Witness a vast variety of Negombo's wildlife and birdlife on a cruise through the Muthurajawela Marshes. These marshes are the country's largest saline coastal peat bog and are noted for being a unique and highly diverse ecosystem.
  • Enjoy lunch with a local family on one of the islands of Muthurajawela Lagoon.
  • Enjoy a jeep safari through Wilpattu National Park with its unique natural sand rimmed water basins. Go in search of leopards, sloth bears, elephants and water buffalos.

Be the first to explore the fascinating north

  • Head north towards 'Tamil Country', stopping at Omanthai, site of the last Sri Lankan army check point which divided the Government and LTTE during the Thandikulam-Omanthai offensive. Stop at Elephant Pass, the gateway to the Jaffna Peninsula.
  • Tour the Jaffna Peninsula including the Fort, Public Library and the small town of Kayts, an important village on Velanai Island off the coast of the Jaffna Peninsula.

The scenic eastern coast

  • Cruise out in search of dolphins, whales and other marine from Trincomalee with its a natural deep-water harbour. 
  • Visit the famous Koneswaram Temple with its large statue of Lord Shiva, and Fort Frederick which was built in 1623 by the Portuguese and captured by the Dutch in 1639.
  • Wind through the small streets of Batticaloa by tuk tuk, approaching the Dutch Fort, built in 1665.
  • Explore a local market and witness how the locals shop, then join a family as they prepare a typical Sri Lankan meal and enjoy the end product for lunch. 

Sri Lanka's cultural heart

  • Visit the Matale Spice Plantations, growing a variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg. Sri Lanka is renowned for its spices having been initially colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
  • Explore Kandy, known for its sacred Buddhist sites and as the home to Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Budha. Visit the Gem Museum and learn about the design, cutting, polishing and setting processes. Of course, there will be an opportunity to buy while there!

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
02/06/19 16/06/19   $4,995 Available book now
01/07/19 15/07/19   $5,495 Available book now
10/07/19 24/07/19   $5,495 Available book now
07/08/19 21/08/19   $5,495 Available book now
16/08/19 30/08/19   $5,495 Available book now
04/09/19 18/09/19   $4,995 Available book now
23/09/19 07/10/19   $4,995 Available book now
Valid From: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Perth
Other departure cities: Please contact our office for applicable pricing
Tips: Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $185pp prepaid
Taxes: Total cost includes - air taxes of $260pp
Single supplement: from $1,350
  • Day/Date Variations: Due to airline flight schedules day of arrival and day of departure may vary depending on your city of departure
  • Taxes & Fuel Costs: Total cost includes air taxes. Taxes and fuel surcharges change regularly so above levies shown as a guide only
  • T&C: All prices shown are per person based on twin share and include airfares, all taxes and tips. Prices and itineraries correct at current time but are subject to change. Please call for more details. View our full terms & conditions here.

Fitness to Travel

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.
Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation
In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas
Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

Accommodation

Accommodation

Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

Jetwing Lagoon, Negombo

Located in a gentle, wild and natural spot between the Indian Ocean and the lagoon at Negombo, Jetwing Lagoon is a stylish and luxurious hotel. The property features charming guestrooms that enjoy views over the central pool or lagoon. Relax, sit back and soak up those glorious views from the two fabulous on-site restaurants, both of which serve regional specialties.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Forest Rock Garden Resort, Anuradhapura

Forest Rock Garden is a luxury boutique resort sitting on 50 acres and built 20ft above the ground to protect the natural beauty of the environment. This living masterpiece gives its guests a once-in-a-life-time experience to go back to the golden days of the Anuradhapura Kingdom. The resort's design combines the architecture of an ancient city with 21st century amenities, offering guests the utmost in luxury, serenity and peace. The Deluxe Rooms are designed with time honored architecture and connected via walkways to the main parts of the hotel. Rooms feature a host of modern conveniences including a large LCD TV and en-suite bathrooms making your stay perfect and peaceful.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; tea/coffee making facilities; outdoor swimming pool

Jetwing Jaffna, Jaffna

Located in the heart of the town, this stunning seven storey property offers a panoramic view of Jaffna and its surroundings. Lavishly furnished with bright silks and decorated with classical Indian art and elaborate carvings, the large rooms feature premium bedding and linens, en suite bathroom with a rain shower enclosure and a private balcony that affords a spectacular view of the city.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; cable TV, tea & coffee making facilities

Cinnamon Trinco Blu, Trincomalee

Trincomalee is all about the sea and the rising sun. Every aspect of the hotel accentuates the joy that comes from being so close to nature’s charming presence. This luxurious beachfront resort is located 6.5 km from Trincomalee and offers spacious accommodation themed in harmonious white and ocean blues along with a freshwater pool, 3 dining options and free Wi-Fi.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Amaya Beach Passikudah, Passikudah

Located on one of Sri Lanka's most popular beach destinations, Amaya Beach presents an untouched stretch of unparalleled coastline, coupled with a signature Amaya luxury experience. Rest, relax or enjoy some snorkeling or swimming. Rooms are air-conditioned and include a flat-screen satellite TV, safe and minibar. A seating area and private bathroom with bath, shower hairdryer and free toiletries are provided.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; satellite TV; outdoor swimming pool

Cinnamon Cittadel, Kandy

Cinnamon Citadel Kandy offers picture-postcard views of the river, set against a backdrop of mountains shrouded in varying degrees of mist. Nestled high up in the hill country, beside a quiet bend in the Mahaweli River, this iconic hotel caters to those looking for quiet relaxation. The deluxe rooms offer stunning views of the lush landscaped gardens or the Mahaveli river from private balconies, and are elegantly-styled featuring more space, a writing desk and bath tub.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo

This premier colonial heritage hotel in Colombo has earned a reputation over the years for its magnificent structure and ambiance. The old world charm harks back to the grandeur of old Ceylon, a romantic legacy left by the colonial Governor General who used it as his residence. Guests will enjoy exceptional service offered by well-trained staff. Just a 1 minute walk from the beach, it boasts a private beach area and a terrace with views of the bay and Colombo’s skyline. The luxurious rooms offer the serenity of a private balcony overlooking the sea and lush gardens. A spacious bathroom with a shower cubicle and all amenities complete the ambiance of these rooms.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Weather

Weather

Colombo

Dry Season: December to March

Monsoon Seasons: May to August; October to January

Colombo

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Anuradhapura

Dry Season: June to August

Wet Season: October to January

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Jaffna

Dry Season: January to September

Monsoon Season: October to December

Jaffna

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Kandy

Dry Season: January to March

Monsoon Season: May to December   

Kandy 

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Currency

Currency

Sri Lankan Rupee

The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LKR; Rs).

  • 100 Sri Lankan Rupee = 1 AUD dollar
  • Notes are in denominations of Rs5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10
  • Coins are in denominations of Rs50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1

Please Note: Money can be changed in Australia before you go, but you are likely to get a better rate changing Australian Dollars in Singapore or Sri Lanka. There is an exchange at the airport in both Singapore and Colombo. Money can also be changed at the hotels at a lower rate or at banks and money changers in Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. Ask for currency in smaller notes, as vendors never seem to have change. ATMs are available in major centres. Change Rupees back into Australian or US currency before you leave the country for the best rates.

Visa Information

Visa Requirements

Passport-AU2

Please note, Australian passport holders need to obtain a visa for this tour. Please check with your travel agent for further details.

The following government websites are also a handy source of general information.

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Special Experiences!

  • Enjoy a lovely welcome lunch hosted by a local family on an island within the Muthurajawela Marsh.
  • Take a morning cruise in Trincomalee, looking out for dolphins, whales and other marine wildlife.
  • Tour the maze of narrow streets leading up to the impressive Batticaloa Dutch fort, built in 1665, by tuk tuk.
  • Explore the local market and see how a typical family shops for a meal, then learn to prepare a Sri Lankan meal with a typical family and enjoy the results for lunch.
  • Visit the National Railway Museum, housing a collection of old engines, locomotives, rail cars, trolleys and carriages from the past 150 years of railway service in Sri Lanka. 

Trip Info

Group Size

Min: 4 | Max: 20

Transportation

Coach, jeep, boat, tuk tuk & local train

Tips

Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $185pp prepaid

Tour Highlights

• Witness a vast variety of Negombo's wildlife on a cruise through the Muthurajawela Marshes • Take a jeep safari through Wilpattu National Park, home to leopards, sloth bears and elephants • Tour the Jaffna Peninsula • Visit the famous Koneswaram Temple with its large statue of Lord Shiva • Explore the famous Matale spice plantation • Visit the Gem Museum in Kandy and see the production processes

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