From $3,725 per person twin share
Prices valid until 30 September 2024, excluding the Christmas / New Year period
Please enquire to obtain a detailed itinerary and exact pricing
A Taste of Sri Lanka has been created to give travellers a snapshot of this incredible country. Covering cosmopolitan Colombo, the central Highlands and tea plantations and the quaint, historical city of Galle.
A Taste of Sri Lanka is a one-week journey ideal for travellers with limited time; as a compliment to a tour of India, or as a stopover from Australia to other destinations. This itinerary is perfect for travellers who want to travel to some of Sri Lanka’s highlight destinations and like to discover a country through gentle walking tours and guided activities. With two night stays at just three destinations, this tour has a leisurely pace and has two options for accommodation – comfortable and superior.
Highlights: Explore Colombo with an expert local resident on a fascinating walking tour: Experience life on a tea estate with a stay at a colonial plantation bungalow: Sri Lankan cooking class: Uncover the history and charm of World Heritage-listed city of Galle with a guided walking tour.
Day 1 Colombo
Welcome to Sri Lanka, Your tour of Sri Lanka starts here in Colombo. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel.
Experience your first impressions of this amazing island. Emerson Tennent, a traveller to Sri Lanka in the 1850s wrote: “There is no country in the world that has attracted the attention of
authors in so many distant ages and of so many different countries as Ceylon … Its aspects, its religion, its antiquities, and productions, have been described as well by the classic Greeks, by the Romans; by the writers of China, Burma, India and Kashmir; by the geographers of Arabia and Persia; by the mediaeval voyagers of Italy and France; by the annalists of Portugal and Spain; by the merchant adventurers of Holland, and by the travellers and topographers of Great Britain … Ceylon, from whatever direction it is approached, unfolds a scene of loveliness and grandeur unsurpassed, if it be rivalled, by any land in the universe”.
Day 2 Colombo
After a leisurely breakfast, begin your exploration of Colombo.
Mark Forbes and his team are passionate, interesting local characters that love their city and sharing their knowledge and insights about Colombo with people. Their personalized, guided city walks are often among highlights for our visitors to Sri Lanka. Their walk will take you through the years of the Portuguese, the Dutch Fort in the heart of the city and the most recent British period. See the city’s landmark buildings like GOH Hotel and Cargills department store, as well as visiting the bustling laneways of the local Pettah Market. Along the way you will see the changes underway in Colombo as the city modernises, hear some of the stories and secrets of the city and have the opportunity to try some local foods. The walk will be run by Mark Forbes or a member of his team.
Afternoon at leisure or discover Colombo further with a vehicle at your disposal. You may also wish to visit some of the city’s boutiques or cafes for some shopping or refreshments. Ask us for our list of suggested boutiques and cafes.
Day 3 Kegalle
After breakfast begin the approximately three hour drive towards Kegalle, where you will experience some of Sri Lanka’s colonial heritage with a stay on a tea plantation.
Built in 1926, Rosyth Estate House is an old colonial planter’s bungalow set in a 62-acre private working tea and rubber estate. The estate has a rich history; originally part of a 350-acre estate, it was developed by Aollin Ondaatje, a local Kegalle family and whose great nephew is the well-known author Michael Ondaatje. (Author of The English Patient.)
Rosyth is a small working estate. Tea is plucked by hand and sold to the nearby tea factory, whilst latex is tapped, treated and sold to a local rubber factory. Coconuts, fruits, spices and other produce are grown on the estate. The estate contains walking trails & mountain biking routes. Guests are free to explore the estate and join the ladies plucking two leaves and a bud from the tea bushes.
There is a small pool at the hotel, ideal for relaxing in the afternoons, complimentary daily yoga, games and books in the library and onsite masseurs should you wish to pamper yourself. Or you may simple wish to enjoy a pot of tea on the verandah and enjoy the stunning views.
This afternoon you can enjoy a walk around the estate.
The estate Superintendent Subramanium, who has worked there for nearly 40 years, will be happy to guide you through the estate and give you an appreciation of rural Sri Lankan life as you wind through paddy fields, jungle and streams and stumble upon some local villagers on the way. Guided walks with Subramanium last between one and one and a half hours and take place around 4:30 p.m., as it gets cooler at the end of the day. Should Subramanium not be available, another member of staff will accompany you. The walk begins through the local village before crossing into Rosyth’s plantation.
Tonight, enjoy dinner at the estate. The chef will speak to you in the morning about
Day 4 Kegalle
This morning after a relaxed breakfast learn the secrets of cooking a typical Sri Lankan rice and curry.
Start with a tour of Rosyth’s vegetable garden with the chef, who will introduce you to the local produce and explain their uses. Returning to the kitchen, you will have the opportunity to cook authentic Sri Lankan curries. Your hands on cooking class will include a fish or chicken curry, three other vegetable curries and a traditional salad. Afterwards, sit down for lunch in the dining room in the canopy of the trees with the curries that you have cooked and enjoy your lunch with rice and papadums. You will be given a small recipe book with the dishes in it that you have learnt today to take home.
Later in the afternoon you can visit the nearby tea factory and observe the process of how tea is processed. (Optional)
Just a few minutes’ walk from the house is the local tea factory, and whilst not part of the estate, guests are welcome to visit the factory and understand how the tea grown in Sri Lanka is processed and turned into tea ready for export. A short tour will take through the factory where the fresh leaves are dried by fans on withering troughs to reduce the moisture content and then rolled and pressed to express the juices which coat the leaves. The leaves are then left to ferment in humidity. The final process dries the leaves and then the leaves are graded. Unbroken is the best quality, with fannings and the dust most commonly used in tea bags.
Day 5 Galle
After breakfast proceed to Galle, a drive of about 4 and a-half hours.
The World Heritage-listed city of Galle is a popular and pleasant place to visit. With cobbled streets that have seen 400 years of history from Arab merchants to the adventurous Portuguese and the industrious Dutch, colonial homes with red tiled roofs and the impressive fort walls – there’s much to see and experience here. Inside the fortified city, families that have lived there for generations continue to do so and the streets remain relatively car free.
Arriving in Galle, check into your hotel and the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 6 Galle
Discover Galle today, starting with a personalised, guided city walk led by an expert local guide and personality. See the city’s key sights, learn some of its intriguing history and meet some of the local characters.
Along the way, sample tea with a gentleman who pours a magical cup, enjoy a chat with a passionate local amateur historian, or buy some samosas from a smiling lad on a bicycle cart. Galle will reveal itself in its full depth to you during this fascinating walking tour.
Later in the afternoon, venture just outside of Galle to visit a local Buddhist temple and experience the daily rituals and offerings that occur here. Travel by tuk-tuk on small backroads through lush paddy fields where you won’t see other tourists just a few villagers harvesting crops of chatting with neighbours. The journey to reach Yatagala Temple will take about 20 minutes. Once you arrive at the temple, climb the stairs to reach the main site. Don’t forget to look up as you climb the stairs – Yatagala means `under the rocks’ as the Buddhist statues lay under the huge stones piled upon each other. (You will need to remove your shoes to enter the temple.)
Your guide, who is a Buddhist himself, will take you on a spiritual journey to purge the body and mind from negative thoughts and pay tribute to Buddha. This symbolic act practiced by every Sri Lankan Buddhist gives a sense of happiness, peace and relief. During your temple visit, you will have the opportunity to stand before the big Buddha statue and offer the traditional Pichcha flowers. Other rituals you will experience are the burning of incense, lighting of votive lamps and offering water to a sacred Bo Tree. Your guide will tell you more about the meaning of these Pujas.
After the offerings you will be ready to receive the blessing from the devoted monks, should you wish. Make sure to see the mural paintings at the temple before you leave.
Return to Galle and remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 7 Colombo
This morning is at leisure. You may wish to take an early and final stroll around the rampart walls soaking in the atmosphere of the city, or spend some time visiting Galle’s boutiques and its pleasant cafes or indulge in a treatment at one of its spas. Galle offers many great places to pick up some last minute gifts or souvenirs to take home, as well as great dining options. It is an easy and pleasant place to explore on foot and easily accessible from your hotel.
Later, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport, in time to arrive about 3 hours before your international flight.
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