Grand tour of Sri Lanka, tailor made

“A two week tailor made vacation around the ancient sites and national park beauties of Sri Lanka, with a chauffeur guide.”

Highlights

Dambulla Cave Temple | Anuradhapura | Polonnaruwa | Kandy | Train journey to Nuwara Eliya | Uda Walawe National Park | Tissamaharamaya | Yala National Park | Galle | Colombo

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made between 01 May - 30 Oct and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Vouchers
Not Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Grand tour of Sri Lanka, tailor made

Environment

Entrance Fees:
The round ticket purchased to visit the most popular sites is a levy collected by the central cultural fund. This levy is used by the fund to maintain and preserve the existing archaeological ruins, rehabilitate existing ruins and fund archaeological expeditions around the existing cities. Some of the individual fees collected by the smaller temples and sites are channelled through their caretakers to the upkeep of the facilities.

Entrance fees to wildlife parks are used for the maintenance of the parks including border and anti-poaching control and for the funding of various conservation projects like the “Elephant Transit Camp”

Conservation:
The “Uda Walawe Transit Camp” is a true elephant conservation project organized by the Department of Wildlife with the sole intention of caring for orphaned elephants with minimal human contact and releasing them back into the wild when they are weaned. We encourage our guests to make a contribution to this project. We also make contributions to this project from time to time based on revenues.

Respecting of Local Cultures and the Environment:
Sri Lanka is a culturally diverse nation and as such there are cultural sensitivities which are best respected. For this we meet with all our clients on the first day during which we brief them on the common ‘do’s’ and ‘don'ts’. Even while on tour our guide will brief the clients when visiting sites about general etiquette and norms if required.

Some of the parks that are visited on our itineraries are extremely sensitive ecosystems and as such our guides always forewarn clients about littering, smoking etc. We do not allow smoking in the vehicle at any time.

Game Meat:
Poaching is illegal in Sri Lanka however there are many eateries which sell this type of meat. Commonly poached meat includes wild boar and venison. We do not patronize any restaurants that we know sell game meat of any sort.

Environmental Responsibility at the office:
We realize that saving the environment can make financial sense as well. We have streamlined our operations in our office to an almost paperless office where everything from bookings to faxes are received in soft copy and stored. We only print what is absolutely necessary.

Community

Our itinerary is designed to help the local community wherever possible.

Sri Lanka Vacations Accommodation:
All of the hotels we use for the itinerary are owned by establishments or individual where the owners or shareholders are Sri Lankan or control a large majority.

Sri Lanka Vacations Guides:
Our chauffeur guides are an important part of our team and we consider them our most valuable asset. We pay all our guides a fair price for their work above industry standards. We believe that this would translate to a better service to our clients on the long run. We ensure that all our guides are properly licensed.

Sri Lanka Vacations Restaurants:
We actively promote eating at local restaurants and establishments. We also make it one of our priorities to support the roadside vendors. Wherever possible we aim to stop for sampling of fruits or for a refreshing drink of King Coconut with the intention of supporting the vendors.

Sri Lanka Vacations Activities:
This tour involves visits to a village and a dinner with a Sri Lankan family. Both these activities are designed to encourage interaction between the guests and the locals. This gives our guests an understanding of local life, the history and also what typical days are in a Sri Lankan household.

These types of activities further go towards are commitment to the support of local entrepreneurs and their ventures.

Reviews of Grand tour of Sri Lanka, tailor made

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 30 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We experienced so many different sights, activities and scenery it's hard to pinpoint one part alone but probably the train journey from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy through the tea plantation - seeing the beautifully manicured clipped and extraordinary undulating green terrain is hard to beat. Also we couldn't fault our driver for his expert knowledge on Sri Lankan culture, history and politics and of course exemplary driving skills.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We had an extremely busy itinerary as we wanted to see as much of the country as possible and our family are generally quite demanding in terms of content and activities. In fact though a minimum of two nights in any one place would be a beneficial and certainly take time in the Knuckles Mountains which were so beautiful.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It was evident that many of the locals were totally dependent on visitors to support their livelihoods. Whilst we took the opportunity to see wildlife in the national parks, the regulation of these left us with concern especially for the elephants that their reducing habitats are too disturbed by the vast number of jeeps and tourists tracking them. however, when we visited an elephant and a turtle sanctuary we were very encouraged to witness the genuine work being undertaken in parts of SL to support wildlife.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


There was certainly something for everyone from culture, religion and tradition to stunning scenery and wildlife. We left with an enriched knowledge of SL and and a real passion for the country, its inhabitants - especially the elephants and turtles. Rajiv was so accommodating and knowledgable and his advice in compiling our fantastic itinerary was spot on. We would throughly recommend this tour company and their helpful, and reliable expertise.

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2006 by

Please note: These itineraries vary depending on the time of year to avoid the monsoon season.


1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The highlights for me were the amazing elephant ride, climbing Sigiriya Rock where the challenge is to overcome your vertigo, and the safaris in Yala National Park. The vacation was packed with different experiences; we're just so glad we took the plunge and embarked on this adventure.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


My main tip for other travelers is - bring an alarm clock as your tour guide will have you up early, ready for another day packed brimful of amazing things to see and do!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I do feel the vacation benefited local people. The hotels provide a lot of employment, and when you buy local handicrafts that's an obvious benefit. And everywhere you go there is the opportunity to tip someone - from the guy who explains the Buddhist temple, to the taxi driver. Clearly without tourism, the economy would be vastly different. I do however have reservations about the impact on the environment. Flying out there is a major source of pollution as we all know. I was also concerned about the endless plastic bottles of water that everyone gets through (whereas I drink tap water at home).

Also being in a hot country, we were usually running the hotel air conditioning every night. How can that use of power be good for the environment?

4. Any other comments?


I would certainly say this vacation was five star - simply the best vacation I have ever been on.

Read the operator's response here:

We are always thrilled to hear from someone who has been on one of our trips and had a good time. Every single client matters to us and we strive to impart a little something special on all our vacations. With the difficult times Sri Lanka is facing with recent uncertainty and violence in the country, we sincerely thank Sheila and her group for coming over to Sri Lanka.

In terms of environmental impact air travel is the only way to get to Sri Lanka at present. However booking tickets with a company that subscribes to climate care would certainly be beneficial and help to reverse some of the damaging effects of carbon emissions.

Plastic bottles are unfortunately the only way safe drinking water can be obtained in Sri Lanka. Although we as Sri Lankan’s drink tap water in Colombo the quality of the water greatly varies from location to location and tap water is not recommended for the foreign traveler. However Sri Lanka does have a reasonably efficient recycling system where plastic bottles are recycled and plans are already underway for the construction of a 32 MW power station which uses Garbage as fuel.

As a company we try our best to minimize paper usage by working electronically wherever possible and we have in fact managed to cut the usage of paper overall by 40%.

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Visits to Polonnaruwa and Sigirya.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The vacation is quite rapid in the first week and then slows down - both are enjoyable, but its worth knowing that it doesn't stay as busy throughout.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, to an extent.

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Riding an elephant, on safari after a heavy rain shower, Sigiria rock, the smiles on the faces of the school children, the beautiful hotels, the kindness of the people of Sri Lanka and lots more!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Read up about the country before your visit and try to understand something about their religion. We were amazed by the temples but felt very ignorant and therefore discourteous because we knew so little about what they believed.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


This vacation definitely benefited the local people. We had a local guide. The company is run by Sri-Lankan people and we stayed in hotels staffed by local people. We also visited several native enterprises such as a woodworking company, a Batik factory and local gemstone traders. The places we visited and the information that our driver Sareth shared with us gave us a much better understanding of the situation in Sri Lanka.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We would give this vacation 4stars. It was a fantastic vacation and we would certainly recommend it to all our friends.

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Elephant ride and turtle hatchery.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If traveling with children consider giving yourself a day at the first or second hotel to get over the flight and to get used to the new surroundings and heat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. We met many local people who showed us traditional crafts. We often bought local produce while 'on the road'.

4. Any other comments?


4 stars - I have already started recommending the vacation/Sri Lanka to friends.

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Anaradhapura and the cultural triangle. the sheer size and sophistication of cultures long gone makes one reflect about our very own abilities. Our tour was organized by this operator, a Colombo based operator. From start to finish the service was at the highest level, no request or mail was unanswered. We had a tailormade tour that took in a good portion of what Sri Lanka has to offer followed by a beach extension in two different hotels. Our Guide, Sarath was terrific and he helped a lot in overcoming the stress of incredibly slow travel. I can highly recommend both operator and guide. With all the trips we had over the years, we found that operators within the countries you visit, are far more open and willing to listen and adjust than any British counterpart.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared to be going at snail pace. Don't be put off by touts and beach boys who, in general are utterly harmless and no nuisance when compared to other countries. The country is very clean and local food is delicious and had zero negative effect on our stomachs. Do bring a lot of small change for all the little helping hands, although there never is any aggression if you don't tip. We stayed in a lot of different hotels and The Kandalama and Club Villa clearly stand out. The Eden is not of the standard it is rated for, neither is Boulder Garden very exciting. The guides do follow a well trodden path, do encourage them to go to lesser known places. The train journey to Nuwara Elya is wonderful, so is the white water rafting. Do not expect any nightlife, but do go out and mingle with the locals. If you go for the first time, do not try to cover too much, rather concentrate on one area. Some things are rather tourist jokes such as the elephant ride.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Hard to say. We certainly did our best by eating in small local restaurants and by getting some garments made by local tailors and buying handicrafts from small stalls etc. As for the hotels you don't really know where the money is going. Booking trough and with local operators and agencies will ensure that at least some part stays.

Reviewed on 31 Dec 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Every day was an adventure, with new experiences, sights, sounds and tastes!!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone wishing to go to Sri Lanka book with this operator, they made the vacation an unforgettable experience which ran with such ease and enjoyment.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We felt very comfortable with the benefits to the local population...we visited local projects, run by local families all around on our route and were pleased by the efforts to minimise impacts on the environment, particularly at Yala Village.

4. Any other comments?


We are still feeling the benefits from our terrific vacation in Sri Lanka. We were so fortunate to have such a great team, Ruban Jayathas put together a really wonderful tour from start to finish and our driver/guide Sarath took so much trouble to make sure that we saw everything that there was to see (and taste!), also, his knowledge and love of his country meant that we learned more in 2 weeks than we could possible have ever hoped. Thanks Ruban and Sarath! We all give this vacation a resounding ******!! Everybody should go to Sri Lanka with this operator, we will certainly return and book with them.

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2005 by

After very careful consideration we travelled to Sri Lanka the day after the Tsunami, not without some trepidation. We are so glad we did, the country is beautiful, the people are friendly and they were so pleased we had come, they depend so much on tourism and were grateful we had gone (quite a humbling experience). The tour itself is a great, mixture of wildlife, culture, history and beautiful scenery. None of the hotels we stayed at were affected by the disaster. We will definitely be returning to Sri Lanka. Finally a big thank you to Ruban, his organisational skills are fantastic, we did not have one hic-cup with any part of the itinerary.

Reviewed on 22 Mar 2005 by

The tour was superbly organised from the moment of our arrival at the airport until our departure. It was nice to have a tour personally arranged for us instead of the usual big tour groups and enabled us to really experience this lovely country. We had a brilliant driver /guide and would thoroughly recommend this company to anyone considering Sri Lanka as a destination. We'd be happy to be used as a contact for anyone who wanted further feedback about this tour.

Contact us to get in touch with Will and Sadie

Reviewed on 10 Sep 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


A number of memorable items, finding open fires in the lounge and bar in Nuwera Eliya and hot water bottles in bed especially as the weather was not good - the birdlife in the National Parks and the variety of scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Tips for others on this vacation would be to encourage people to use this company but not the guide we were unfortunate enough to have.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Certainly felt the vacation benefitted local people.

Read the operator's response here:

The guide we used for this tour was the same guide highly recommended by Graham and Gaynor Ford who travelled with us in December and whose review has been published on the responsibletravel.com website. Nevertheless the behaviour of this guide on this tour was totally unacceptable and we have since terminated working with him.

When I picked up the Tillotson’s from their beach stay at the Riverina they informed me of this and also the fact that the chauffeur had missed his airport pick up. The Tillotson’s had felt sorry for the chauffeur and wishing to give him another chance, didn’t inform me of this important fact when I met them on the first night for dinner. If I had been told of this on day 01 this would not have happened as we would have switched the chauffeur immediately. Even while on tour we feel that we should have been notified of this problem so that we could have acted upon it.

My sincere apologies to the Tillotson’s who are a wonderful couple and whom we enjoyed very much having on tour but we were informed of the chauffeur’s issues far too late for it to be rectified.

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Watching, and listening to, the elephants eating grass in Uda Walawe national Park, closely followed by climbing Sigiriya.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get a lot of 100 rupee notes for tips and you do not need the long sleeves for the hills in August.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


After the tsunami, tourist numbers are down so the people need your tips and for you to trade. Labour is plentiful but there are still not enough jobs for everyone. It is also good to be able to let people practise their English with you. Apart from the perpetual hooting of the car driver the impact on the environment was minimal.

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