Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Sri Lanka is a world apart, a deeply spiritual place where Buddhist values and a rich cultural heritage are interwoven with enduring colonial influences. On this extraordinary journey, we peel back the layers of the beguiling island nation.

Journey Overview

Sri Lanka is a world apart, a deeply spiritual place where Buddhist values and a rich cultural heritage are interwoven with enduring colonial influences. On this extraordinary journey, we peel back the layers of the beguiling island nation, and uncover its many treasures: a serene and gentle people, fragrant and flavoursome cuisine, fascinating ruins, and diverse terrain – from golden beaches and arid plains, to lush tea plantations and mist-covered mountains – everything suffused with a warm tropical glow, as will you be on your return from this exquisite destination. 

Journey Highlights

  • Stay in a number of specially selected boutique accommodations
  • Wander through the streets of old Colombo
  • Discover the secrets of Sri Lankan home cooking at a curated dinner in Colombo
  • Admire the tropical modernist aesthetic of Sri Lanka’s most influential architect, Geoffrey Bawa
  • Explore World Heritage sites in the Cultural Triangle and climb the Sigiriya rock fortress
  • Seek out elephants and endemic wildlife at Minneriya National Park
  • Join the pilgrims for a nightly prayer ritual at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth
  • Learn the secrets of Ceylonese tea in the plantations of Sri Lanka’s famous tea country
  • Meander through Galle Fort with a heritage expert on foot

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Colombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka with fast track on arrival and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
Uga Residence

Day 2: Colombo | Seaside Colonial City.

This morning, meet with the Resident Tour Director and fellow travellers for a tour briefing before exploring the island’s capital in the quintessential way – by tuk tuk. Weave your way through the city’s bustling bazaars and markets, past landmark monuments and newly restored buildings to Galle Face Green for breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Take a breather back at the hotel before meeting Colombo local, and passionate photographer, Mark Forbes, your escort on a captivating walk through the old town bringing the city’s multifaceted history to life. See the 17th century Dutch Hospital, Colombo Fort, charming colonial mansions and wind up at a speakeasy for arrack-themed cocktails. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner at Culinary Ceylon, where a culinary curator introduces you to Sri Lankan home cooking through a series of tasting plates.
Uga Residence | Meals: BD

Day 3: Colombo | Tropical Modernism.

Before leaving the city, make a short stop at No.11 Bawa Residence, designed and built by the great man during the 1960s. An essay in architectural bricolage, the house was built from four smaller bungalows that Bawa bought and combined over a period of years. Continue your journey to the Cultural Triangle in the centre of the country.
Ulagalla Resort | Meals: BD

Day 4: Cultural Triangle | Design Your Day.

A healthy start to the day as you visit the organic garden to pick fresh produce for use in a cooking demonstration at the resort’s traditional hearth kitchen. Watch as your fresh herbs and vegetables are transformed into lip-smacking Sri Lankan delicacies which you’ll savour over lunch. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:

  • Travel like a local on a village tuk tuk experience.
  • Take to the waters of the Wannemaduwa Tank in a kayak.
  • Learn how to craft and fly a classic Sri Lankan kite.

Ulagalla Resort | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Cultural Triangle | Cradle of Buddhism.

Discover a world of ancient ruins today in the Cultural Triangle. Start at one of southeast Asia’s most impressive sites – Anuradhapura - the country’s first ancient capital which dates from the 5th century BC. Marvel at giant stupas, a vast statue of Buddha and receive a blessing near the sacred Bodhi tree, the oldest recorded, planted in 236BC. This afternoon climb up to the spot where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka - at the summit of Mihintale – and admire the religious monuments and views.
Ulagalla Resort | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Cultural Triangle | Ancient Temples and Forts.

Delve further into the Cultural Triangle at World Heritage listed Polonnaruwa, an interesting blend of Buddhist and Hindu archaeological monuments. Don’t miss the famous Gal Viharaya or “Rock Temple”, which comprises four colossal statues of Buddha cut into the stone. If you’re feeling energetic, the best way to see the ruins is by bike. This afternoon, visit Minneriya National Park, for a chance to see elephants and, if lucky, the purple-faced langur and toque macaque which are endemic to Sri Lanka.
Water Garden | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Sigiriya | Ruined fortified city.

Rise early for an exhilarating hot air balloon ride over the surrounding landscape, glimpsing Sigiriya from above (additional cost, paid locally). Then challenge yourself with a steep climb 200 metres up through the Lion Gate to the top of the imposing fifth century rock fortress admiring the water gardens, moats and ancient frescoes on the way. Soak up the unparalleled 360-degree views of the surrounding jungle and hills before returning to the hotel. Meet a farmer and his family for a home-cooked curry lunch.
Water Garden | Meals: BLD

Day 8: Dambulla | Buddhist Cave Temples.

An early start to visit the extraordinary Buddhist cave temples at Dambulla, with statues and murals dating back to the third century BC representing Sinhalese Buddhist art at its best. Continue south to Kandy, the country’s cultural capital with sundowners and a traditional Kandyan cultural performance this evening.
Kings Pavilion | Meals: BD

Day 9: Kandy | Temple of the Tooth.

Join a professor at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya for a guided walk through the extraordinary botanical collection, comprising over 4,000 plant species, including a priceless collection of 300 varieties of orchids. Relax for the remainder of the day before a pooja ceremony this evening at the sacred Temple of the Tooth, the city’s most famous landmark which houses the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Amid scents of lotus and jasmine, join monks and pilgrims who gather to make offerings to the Buddha.
Kings Pavilion | Meals: B

Day 10: Nuwara Eliya | The World of Ceylon Tea.

Travel through the misty highlands into hill country, past lush green tea estates and scenic waterfalls. Lunch in Nuwara Eliya before an afternoon “Tea Experience”. Visit tea plantations and a factory to learn from an expert about the journey from planting and plucking, to manufacturing, grading and processing, the auction system, and finally a tasting. Dinner in your converted tea factory hotel follows a tea theme.
Heritance Tea Factory | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Nuwara Eliya | Design Your Day.

Part hotel part museum, Heritance Tea Factory is where you’ll unwind today. Select one of these Design Your Day activities:

  • Spot sambar deer and endemic monkeys and take in the view from World’s End on a trek in Horton Plains National Park.
  • Take the scenic train ride through the heart of tea country to Ella.
  • Ramble through the tea fields on a plantation tour.

Heritance Tea Factory | Meals: BD

Day 12: Galle | Colonial walled city.

Journey south to the colonial seaside city of Galle arriving in time for sunset at the ramparts of the fort. Dine in a local home for an evening of Sri Lankan family cuisine and warm hospitality.
Le Grand Galle | Meals: BLD

Day 13: Galle | Craft & Heritage walk.

Join a local archaeologist and heritage expert on an absorbing walking tour of the Galle Fort. Built by the Dutch in 1663, the fort is the largest remaining European fortress in Asia. Walk clockwise from the Old Dutch Church to the ‘old gate’ bearing the British coat of arms, the Zwart bastion and lighthouse. Refuel on tea and refreshments at an old Dutch house and meet the family who have lived there for generations. Seek out local arts and crafts, textiles, jewellery, homewares and Sri Lankan delicacies as you wander the cobbled streets. In the afternoon meet traditional mask makers and admire the skill of their carving before trying your hand at this age-old craft. A farewell dinner is planned this evening at your hotel.
Le Grand Galle | Meals: BD

Day 14: Depart Colombo.

Transfer to Colombo Airport for your departure flight.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Maximum Group Size: 18

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour inclusions

All accommodation as detailed on a double/ twin share basis with private facilities; meals as specified; bottled water during transfers and touring; airport welcome; assistance with luggage and group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle; services of English speaking A&K Resident Tour Director; economy flights only if specified as included in itinerary, all entrance fees, planning, handling, operational and communication charges, all tipping.

Tour Exclusions

International flights not specified as included, visas, insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip; items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges; transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary; excess baggage charges

Tailor Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, talk to your A&K travel specialist or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke journey for your, or a small group.

Show Full Itinerary


Uga Residence, Colombo

Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

For a slice of cosmopolitan city living Uga Residence offers a sophisticated slice of luxury in a leafy region of Colombo, nestled close ... Read more

Ulagalla Resort

Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Set within 58 acres of private grounds, Ulagalla Resort promises tranquillity, luxury and wilderness within easy reach of the many a ... Read more

Kings Pavilion Kandy

Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Set within a tropical haven, Kings Pavilion Kandy offers ultimate relaxation. Explore great stretches of scenery on gentle afternoon hike ... Read more

Heritance Tea Factory, Hill Country

Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Heritance Tea Factory is located high on a hill 2 kms above sea level and has 360 degree dramatic views of the tea plantations and surrou ... Read more

Le Grand Galle

Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Situated on a private promontory overlooking the Galle Fort, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the breathtaking Indian Ocean lies ... Read more

Water Garden Sigiriya

Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

Surrounded by lakes, water streams and abundant flora sits Water Garden Sigiriya. This luxury hotel is situated 6 km away from the 2,000- ... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Nov 4, 2020 - Nov 17, 2020
Price AU$10,230pp Single Supplement AU$2,750 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Book
Jan 13, 2021 - Jan 26, 2021
Price AU$10,995pp Single Supplement AU$3,670 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Book

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.


Related Brochures