Back on the map: 6 of the best Sri Lanka escorted tours

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has had to overcome its fair share of adversity over the years, from the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 to the 25-year civil war that finally ended in 2009. Earlier this year the country was rocked again by the Easter Sunday bombings, and tourism authorities reported a drop in visitor numbers of 70% in May compared to the same month last year.

But there are increasing grounds for optimism, as tourist numbers bounce back more quickly than expected. In June the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office removed its ban on travel to Sri Lanka after just two months, and now advises that it is safe to travel to the island. Although a State of Emergency remains in place, along with enhanced security measures at Colombo airport, there has been a steady increase in visitors to key tourist sights. Sri Lanka remains one of the most exciting destinations on the planet, and was rated the number one country to visit by Lonely Planet’s 2019 ‘Best in Travel’.

There are some real bargains to be had at the moment: the Sri Lankan government has cut airline charges to stimulate the travel industry, hotels have slashed their rates by 50% or more, and tour operators are offering some great deals. Not only that, but you can play your part in Sri Lanka’s recovery by bringing your much-needed custom to the island. Holidaymakers are the country’s third largest source of foreign income, and millions of Sri Lankans are dependent on tourism, either directly or indirectly.

With that in mind, we’ve picked out six of the best Sri Lanka tours from our travel partners:

1. Best for Foodies

Intrepid’s Sri Lanka Real Food Adventure is a fantastic introduction to Sri Lanka’s wonderfully diverse cuisine, which remains surprisingly unknown outside the country. On this trip you’ll sample spicy curries, visit Negombo’s bustling seafood market and learn how to cook Tamil, Sinhalese and Bergher dishes in the homes of welcoming locals.

2. Best for Wildlife

Sri Lanka packs in a lot of wildlife for a relatively small country, and On The Go Tours have a fantastic 9-day Safari in Sri Lanka itinerary that visits five different national parks. You’ll enjoy a game drive in Yala National Park, home to Sri Lanka’s highest concentration of leopards, and you’ll head out in search of elephants, Sri Lankan sloth bears and more.

3. Best for Culture

Abercrombie & Kent’s Spice Lands of Sri Lanka tour is a great all-rounder, taking you to all the key cultural sights, and you’ll be staying in luxurious five-star accommodation throughout. Highlights include the Dambulla cave temple, the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, and the lush tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya.

4. Best for off-the-beaten-track Exploration

Exploring the Sri Lankan countryside on two wheels is a great way to meet local people and really get under the skin of the destination. Adventure specialists Exodus offer a two-week Cycle The Back Roads of Sri Lanka tour, taking the road less travelled between ancient temples, wildlife-rich national parks and blissful beaches.

5. Best for Hikers

Hike through jungles, mountains and tea plantations on Explore!’s fantastic On Foot in Sri Lanka tour, following a varied itinerary showcasing the country’s natural beauty and rich culture. Highlights include climbing Sigiriya’s iconic Lion Rock, trekking to the Buddhist temple of Kumbalgama and joining pilgrims for the ascent of sacred Adam’s Peak.

6. Best for Solo Travellers

Saga’s Sri Lankan Adventure for Solo Travellers is a great option if you’re travelling solo, with VIP door-to-door chauffeur service included from anywhere on the UK mainland, a dedicated Saga tour manager and a welcome drinks reception. You’ll be part of a group of up to 20 like-minded travellers, visiting buzzing Colombo, the Bundala Bird Sanctuary and Yala National Park, as well as classic cultural highlights like Kandy and Dambulla.

 

For the latest advice on travelling to Sri Lanka, please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. 

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14 Nights

Highlights of Sri Lanka

Marvel at magnificent temples, see the World Heritage Rock Fortress at Sigiriya, search for elephants and other wild animals at Yala National Park, discover the fascinating caves at Dambulla and explore the ruined cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £66pp
Starts:UK
Ends: UK
Group Size:8- 28
Operator:Wendy Wu

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13 Nights

Sri Lanka Encompassed — Plus

Explore the Sigriya rock fortress, Enjoy a Sri Lankan cooking demo for dinner and culture.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £27pp
Starts:Colombo
Ends:Mirissa
Group Size:10- 12
Difficulty:2 - Light
Operator:G Adventures

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17 Nights

Sri Lanka with Maldives Cruise: Spice Gardens & Seasides

Discover isolated beaches, swim and snorkel the vibrant coral reefs of the Indian Ocean, trek through luscious green hills, inhale local flavours.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £40pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Malé
Group Size:8- 8
Difficulty:2 - Light
Operator:G Adventures

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14 Nights

Buddha's Island

Explore the spiritual Sri Lanka features a mix of ancient cities, rock carvings, gilded Buddhist temples and wildlife-filled national parks.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £34pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Colombo
Group Size:4- 18
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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6 Nights

Highlights of Sri Lanka

This week long exploration of Sri Lanka packs in a wealth of highlights across this beautiful island.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £22pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Colombo Airport
Group Size:4- 18
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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13 Nights

Cycle Sri Lanka

Completing a circular journey this trip takes in ancient temples and fortresses, cycling through tea plantations and across the scenic trails of the Knuckles Range.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £38pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Colombo Airport
Group Size:4- 16
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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21 Nights

Buddha's Island + Maldive Dhoni Cruise

Combine two of our favourite trips on a journey through enchanting Sri Lanka and the pristine Maldives.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £61pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Male Airport
Group Size:4- 18
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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13 Nights

Secrets Of Sri Lanka

Staying in stylish and comfortable hotels, we travel to some of Sri Lanka's greatest sights: from ancient Buddhist monuments to tea plantations and historic cities.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £53pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Mount Lavinia
Group Size:4- 16
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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7 Nights

Sri Lankan Highlights

A week experiencing the very best of the Island of Serendipity, Sri Lanka.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £22pp
Starts:Colombo
Ends:Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia
Group Size:4- 16
Difficulty:Leisurely
Operator:Exodus

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14 Nights

On Foot in Sri Lanka

On this Sri Lankan walking holiday you'll discover both the country's past and its contemporary culture.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £33pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Colombo
Group Size:4- 16
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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13 Nights

Highlights of Sri Lanka and Maldive Dhoni Cruise

Experience the cultural highlights of Sri Lanka and combine it with a week snorkelling and relaxing in the Maldives

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £48pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Male Airport
Group Size:4- 18
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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14 Nights

Discover Sri Lanka - Premium

Spend two weeks exploring the delights of Sri Lanka, a diverse and inspiring island

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £45pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Colombo
Group Size:4- 16
Difficulty:Leisurely / Moderate
Operator:Exodus

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13 Nights

Cycle the Back Roads of Sri Lanka

Explore rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike in this tour.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £40pp
Starts:Sigiriya
Ends:Colombo
Group Size:5- 16
Difficulty:Moderate / Challenging
Operator:Exodus

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9 Nights

Wild Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's wild side, from national parks to the ocean in this tropical paradise

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £42pp
Starts:Colombo Airport
Ends:Colombo Airport
Group Size:4- 16
Difficulty:Leisurely
Operator:Exodus

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14 Nights

Discover Sri Lanka

Spend two weeks exploring the delights of this diverse and inspiring island

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £35pp
Starts:Veyangoda
Ends:Colombo
Group Size:4- 18
Difficulty:Leisurely / Moderate
Operator:Exodus

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14 Nights

Sri Lankan and Maldives Family Adventure

Combining an actioned packed ten day journey across Sri Lanka with a relaxing traditional Dhoni cruise in the Maldives is a winning combination!

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £46pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Male Airport
Group Size:4- 20
Difficulty:Moderate
Operator:Explore!

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6 Nights

Sailing Sri Lanka - South Coast

Explore Sri Lanka South Coast by boat, sailing for seven days in the Indian Ocean.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £23pp
Starts:Mirissa
Ends:Mirissa
Group Size:1- 12
Difficulty:3 - Average
Operator:G Adventures

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13 Nights

Sri Lanka Land & Sea

Explore Galle and the historic fort. Starting in Negombo and ending in Mirissa, the tour Sri Lanka Land & Sea.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £41pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Mirissa
Group Size:12- 15
Difficulty:3 - Average
Operator:G Adventures

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13 Nights

Sri Lanka & Maldives Adventure

Go safari in Kumana National Park to see Leopards, Sloth Bears, Elephants and Birds.

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £40pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Male
Group Size:14- 15
Difficulty:3 - Average
Operator:G Adventures

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11 Nights

Sri Lanka: Spice Gardens & Seasides

Discover beautiful ruins, hike through tea plantations, tour a spice garden, and then chill out on Hikkaduwa Beach

Members are eligible for cashback on this trip of up to £16pp
Starts:Negombo
Ends:Hikkaduwa
Group Size:12- 18
Difficulty:2 - Light
Operator:G Adventures

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