Luxury culture vacation in Sri Lanka

Departure information

This trip can be tailor-made to suit your time & duration of travel, special request and interests. Sri Lanka being a tropical country, throughout the year is good for traveling.
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Luxury culture vacation in Sri Lanka

Environment

We try to choose best eco friendly accommodation possible for our visitors. In every possible situation we use the best fuel efficient, least carbon footprint vehicles. These are usually latest vehicle models.

We organize birdwatching educational walks for primary and secondary school students, free of charge. Where we spread the word about conservation, ecology as well as sustainable and responsible tourism.

We maintain a dialog with our local guides and people about conservation and environmental responsibility. We strongly believe that this leads to conserving the biospheres they interact with.

Community

We buy the service of locals who are trained as guides, trackers, cooks, stewards & etc. The hotels that we go to employ locals. Visitors are encouraged to buy craft products straight from the village craftsperson. We are not a large-scale venture and we will not promote commercial sales aimed at tourists. The aim of this is to improve the lives of the people in the areas that we visit and at the same time to give the visitor a high quality service.

The visitor is given the opportunity to buy quality hygienic food and beverages from villagers including native herbal drinks, traditional sweets, locally available fresh fruits & etc.

If the visitor decides to have no meat products (to avoid health risks & other reasons), we make sure that he gets quality organic vegetarian dishes.

Reviews of Luxury culture vacation in Sri Lanka

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 14 Jul 2015 by

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


Most exciting probably the elephants at Udawalawe National Park, all ages and really close. Most memorable the welcoming nature of the Sri Lankan people

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


Sri Lanka is a great place to travel around but allow enough time to experience each place.

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


Yes to all the above

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


I would rate it very highly, great experiences, well organised, we felt very wwell looked after and entertained the whole time.

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2014 by

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


Sigiriya Rock.
Sri Lankan food.
Most Sri Lankans are very friendly and easy to talk with.

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


Check out the prices of your sight seeing and entry fees in Sri Lanka. Most places totally overcharge you, if you are an foreigner.
Discuss the itinerary with your driver / tour operator and be very specific in what you want to do. Do some research before you go. Jith was very flexible and it was always possible to change plans.

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


I stayed in small guest houses, one of them with solar panels and watertanks.
Wages are generally very low in Sri Lanka, but I would think that local staff were paid well in the places Jith had booked for me.

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


I booked with Jith, who helped in every way he could, to make it a great trip, in particular when we had to change flights and plan. His driver, Upali, was wonderful and made sure that my time in Sri Lanka was as good as possible. He gave me lots of information about Sri Lanka, the people, history and country.
It was a wonderful vacation with the right kind of sight seeing, accommodation and activities for me.

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2013 by

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


The hibiscus hotel a solitude of relaxation in the middle of a full and busy vacation

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


Make sure your guide is a good English speaker

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


Yes supporting the local economy is important and the response and effort that the locals made in meeting our needs was a good sign that the balance between tourist and local business. Was a good one.

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


We'll worth doing

Reviewed on 26 Jun 2013 by

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


Seeing Leopard first time in wild... it was very emotional and our guide(s) seemed like they shared and respected our emotions.

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


Make sure you explain what you want to see and what kind of accommodation do you prefer.

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


I am not sure about the reducing environmental impact as we had a private transport all the time but I think beneficial for the local people.

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


It was great experience and very satisfied what we learnt and saw in such a short period of time.

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2012 by

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


Sigirya was fantastic, Kandi was beautiful, seeing a leopard in Yala national park was great, but our favourite thing was stopping every lunch time to eat in a local restaurant.

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


Look at what is on offer and tailor-make it to suit your tastes (wildlife/culture/temples/etc.)

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


Yes, our guide was a knoweldgeable Sri Lankan who drove us from place to place and occasionally handed us over to a local guide. We stayed in eco-lodges where possible which were very comfortable but up-to-date with the latest eco-tourism angles.

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


Great! We went with open minds and we learnt a lot and had a great time.

Reviewed on 16 May 2012 by

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


There were so many but I think the contact with the wildlife, in particular the leopard making a kill at Yala and the green turtle laying her eggs at Rewaka were particularly special. Making it up Sigiriya Rock was a personal achievement for a rather unfit late 40 something! Whilst we are rather amateur birders we still managed, with Nanda's help to sight well over 130 species (many of them the pretty ones!) and appreciate his patience with us in spotting.

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


We did a mixed culture/wildlife/birding tour. The cultural circuit of the Golden Triangle is activity packed and I found it to be a little tiring with no R&R time between sites (this is common I believe to all tour operators). Personally I would take an extra day to cover the area. Had I known this in advance I would have opted for more budget accommodation as we had almost no opportunity to enjoy the facilities at the Hotel Kandelama. Also take thick socks for the Temple visits and don't leave them in the vehicle! Have plenty of small notes for tips etc.

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


Apart from using a personal vehicle and disposable water bottles then generally yes - we used local restaurants for lunch and used local operators for additional activities - whale watching, turtle conservation and the elephant safari/rides.

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


We had a wonderful tour and appreciate the extra touches Jith and Nanda (our guide) made for our wedding anniversary and my birthday whilst we were out there. We would not hesitate in coming back - there is still a lot of the country to the North and East we have not seen and another 100 birds to tick off our sighting lists! Many thanks again to you both.

Reviewed on 07 Jun 2011 by

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


Sri Lanka has a wide range of things to see and experience. We particularly enjoyed visiting the ancient cities and learning about the history of this fascinating country.

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




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


Our driver was local and obviously tourism is an important part of the economy. Unfortunately our chosen method of transport - private car, wasn't that environmental.

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


We enjoyed the vacation very much and will definitely plan a return trip in the future.

Reviewed on 20 Apr 2010 by

I would like to recommend this tour operator, if you are thinking of vacationing in Sri Lanka. We went on vacation as a family with our 10 year old daughter at the start of April 2010 and were made really welcome from the very start of our vacation when Prasanjith met us at the airport with a big basket of flowers for our daughter. Although Prasanjith was unable to accompany us in person, as he was already accompanying a group of ‘Birders’, he arranged another driver, Allen, to look after us. Allen became ‘one of the family’ and fixer extraordinaire and was both a careful driver and considerate to our needs. Prasanjith made daily contact with us through Allen to ensure we were enjoying our vacation and were happy with the arrangements he had made for us and also met up with us several times on route so he could check that all was going well, (which it was!)

The hotels carefully chosen for us by Prasanjith were of a very comfortable standard and a couple, The Sigiriya Village and Amaya Hills were really superb. We had opted for half board and the buffet food we experienced for breakfast and dinner was of a high standard. My daughter could eat non-spicy western style food and my wife and I got to eat the delicious Sri Lankan curries (even for breakfast) that were always available. Fruit will never taste the same after the amazing melon and pineapple we ate on vacation.

The tour that was arranged for us was fantastic and met the specifications we had given to Prasanjith before our departure i.e. a mixture of culture, nature and R&R. Any changes we made to the itinerary during the course of the vacation were no problem and we had the freedom to decide for example what time to set off in the morning and when to stop for lunch, a freedom we had not experienced when traveling in a group. Having a child with us we really appreciated having this flexibility.

We visited cultural sites including Sigiriya (it’s an amazing climb), Anuradhapura (enormous – Sri Lanka’s Pompeii) and Dambulla (beautiful and peaceful). We went to the Tea Plantations in the mountains, visited a botanical garden in Kandy where Prasanjith had arranged for a botanist to accompany us on a tour of the gardens (my personal passion being a gardener) and went on a safari in Udawalawa national park (the families highlight of the vacation) where we saw wild elephants, water buffalo, mongoose, crocodile, snakes, eagles, hornbills and a whole host of beasties . We finished the tour with a very lazy 3 days on the beach at Unawatuna catching some rays, drinking G & T with fresh lime and swimming in the sea.

Sri Lanka was the best vacation I’ve been on, the people were great, the scenery was great, everything was great. I can’t wait to go back. When I do so, I will certainly ask this operator to make the arrangements for us.

Reviewed on 06 Aug 2008 by

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


Where to start... There were so many highlights! Seeing so many elephants in Mineriya National Park, the visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, climbing Sigiriya, hiking in the Knuckles cloud forest, all the birds in Sinharaja rain forest, releasing baby turtles into the sea at Kosgoda. The friendly, smiling people of Sri Lanka. The beautiful scenery everywhere. This was our first trip that included more than very amateur birdwatching and we weren't disappointed - even Danny got hooked! Thanks to Jith's knowledge and sharp eyesight we saw well over 100 species including over half of the endemics. The highlights were coming across a flock of Sri Lanka Blue Magpies feeding noisily in the Sinharaja Rain Forest and seeing the nesting Painted Storks with chicks in Yala National Park. Jith also took a detour to show us the Scops Owl - much appreciated.

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


Make sure you have lots of small denomination notes for tips. Try the local "fast food" - delicious!

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


Yes, we stayed mainly in small locally owned hotels/lodges. We used local guides everywhere. We stopped for lunch at local places.

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


Amazing! We asked for culture and history, scenery and wildlife and we received so much more. Jith arranged a perfect vacation for us, making sure we got the best views from our rooms, adding a trip to Minneriya National Park so that Danny could photograph the elephants, changing the itinerary to include Yala National Park, arranging short interesting stops along the way - gem mining in Ratnapura, the Scops Owls, the fishermen returning with their catch in Weligama etc. etc. Jith has an amazing knowledge of Sri Lankan wildlife and thanks to him we saw so much of it and have the photos to prove it! We highly recommend booking a vacation with this operator, we will certainly do so again.

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2008 by

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


So many to choose from, the whole trip was a fantastic experience; climbing Sigiriya rock, visiting the Dambulla cave temples, the jeep safari in Uda Walawe national park to see wild elephants, visiting the turtle conservation project and beautiful Kandy. The company of our charming and friendly guide, Jaya. He was very knowledgeable about Sri Lankan culture and wildlife and an excellent driver. He was also patient, considerate and a real gentleman. We regarded him as a true friend by the end of our trip.

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


Be adventurous & try lots of local dishes, the food is amazing; make sure you have cash in small bills for tips, buying water etc; take your guides advice on when the best time to visit popular attractions, we went to Sigiriya rock fortress in early morning and had the place to ourselves. We would definitely recommend booking with this operator, the organisation of our trip was excellent, and Jith altered our itinerary to take in everything we wanted to see on the trip.

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


Yes, this company employs local guides, the hotels all have a good environmental policy and employees are locals, and all of our purchases were made directly from local craftsmen or small local businesses.

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


Definitely the experience of a lifetime, the best vacation we've ever had, we've recommended it to everyone we know.

Reviewed on 12 Dec 2008 by

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


Every part of the vacation was great - nothing disappointed.

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


Take your time, there is a lot to see and do in Sri Lanka.

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


Yes.

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


A really good break, a wonderfully interesting place, great food, welcoming people.

Reviewed on 07 May 2008 by

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


Difficult to say, as we remember enjoying so much, but Elephants, in the wild and the orphanage and transit camp did make a huge impression. The competition for first place on our "Memorable/Exciting" list was intense, particularly from the numerous remarkable and fascinating historical and religious sites.

Although not ourselves "birders" the sheer number of new species we were able to see WAS exciting, and enough to make us more observant and keen to see what birds we can spot in Britain now that we are home.

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


DO NOT make our classic mistake of packing too much. DO sample as much local produce, particularly fruit, as you can. Despite what we have heard from other travelers to Sri Lanka, avoidance of "tummy troubles" is straightforward with common sense.

In contrast to some reviews we had read, we found Sri Lanka Airlines (Economy Class) had spacious seating legroom, with good food and plenty of attention from the cabin crew.

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


Our travel was, by necessity, in a minibus, so we did produce carbon. There were, however, many opportunities to buy "local" rather than "tourist outlet". Wherever possible, local guides were used. We were also given opportunities to contribute financially, in a small way, to local conservation initiatives (Elephants/Turtles/Tsunami remembrance)

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


The advice and information from Jith, our guide, (and also from our driver Mr Silva) was really comprehensive and always interesting and informative. It ensured that we got the very most from our short stay in Sri Lanka, and that we came away with as much of an insight into the country and its people, history and especially its bird and animal life as was possible in the time we were there.

Our hotels were really well chosen, and we were most impressed by the standard of accommodation and food. The transportation, on many rather poor roads, was carried out with great care and efficiency.

Reviewed on 16 Dec 2007 by

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


This was a family reunion in Sri Lanka. Prasanjith who was the tour operator and spent all of the period we were there with us was unfailingly careful and put up with a lot of unexpected things. It is difficult to say what the most memorable or exciting part of the vacation was - for me perhaps seeing for myself the frescoes at Sigiriya and participating in a ceremony at the Tooth palace were the highlights.

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


This was the cultural trip offered by this tour operator- however we changed the itinerary as we went and Prasanjith changed the arrangements for us. At the moment there are some security issues in Sri Lanka - so care needs to be taken, but Prasanjith was very aware of these and took precautions accordingly.

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


Yes - the vacation definitely benefited local people. Tourism in Sri Lanka has decreased because of the security situation so the tour operator made a point of using local people as local guides, We also used hotels that while in general of very good quality were clearly not operating anywhere near capacity but which employed locals. It was clearly important for the local economy the tourist trade continues.

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


Overall this was an excellent trip - we saw much more of Sri Lanka than I had expected and Prasanjith is certainly a most competent and pleasant tour operator. As he also acts as the tour guide he made certain that all went smoothly even when we changed the itinerary at short notice.

Reviewed on 28 Apr 2007 by

Elephants, Sri lanka holidayQuite simply we had a fantastic time. We benefited greatly from the fact that we had booked with a small local company rather than a large tour operator. Jith acted as our personal guide, looking after us brilliantly throughout and always concerned to ensure that everything was just right for us on our honeymoon.

We could never have expected such a personal touch from a larger business. The programme was flexible enough to add new items to the itinerary or miss the odd thing if we were too tired. Jith also had a very good handle on local businesses, enabling us to buy some wonderful souvenirs and contribute to the local economy.

It was a busy two weeks but we managed to do and see so much of the Sri Lankan way of life, their history and culture and of course the wildlife as well.

Sri Lanka holidayWe took over 300 photos in all, the most memorable moments were a visit to a turtle hatchery and a jeep safari with some very close encounters with wild elephants!

Overall I would rate the vacation ****.

Many thanks for your excellent service.

Reviewed on 18 Dec 2006 by

The vacation was amazing - I would give it 5 stars. Jith (from the operator) and his driver Saman were extremely knowledgeable and so kind and friendly that we now consider them friends. Apart from a night at an airport hotel on our arrival, late in the evening, we stayed in small eco-lodges that cooked food grown on their property/estate. I would highly recommend the Eco-Lanka lodge on the Massauwa Estate in the Hill country where we were treated to 2 Sri Lankan cooking lessons.

We also visited the homes of craftsmen in the Kandy area where we bought our souvenirs directly from the craftsmen, ensuring a better price for them.

Jith is also an expert in bird knowledge and has written reports to try and stop the use of mating calls to attract birds on bird spotting tours as this has a negative impact on their ability to mate. He is also writing reports to try and stop cruelty against snakes by snake charmers and porcupines as well. He certainly is doing some excellent work in that field.

My advice to other travelers would be to book with this operator, particularly if you have an interest in birds or wildlife, which is his passion. I will recommend him to all my friends that travel to Sri Lanka. He took us to more places than we had agreed beforehand and, along with Saman, worked tirelessly to make our trip a full and enriching experience. They were on hand to do as much or as little as we wanted and pointed out all sorts of interesting things that we would have missed had we were not with them. Definitely 5 stars!

Thanks very much for recommending them to us.

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