Sri Lanka tour & beach vacation

“15 day tailor made trip for those who want to both cultural and beach bliss. With highly rated driver guides, stay at equally highly rated eco resort. Great for families. ”

Highlights

Award-winning eco resort accommodation | Sigiriya | Polonnaruwa | Minneriya National Park | Kandy | Temple of the Tooth | Geoffrey Bawa hotel, Dambulla

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements although we do not offer trips for under 10 days
Our top tip:
Go en famille. Co-founder Pathi is a family man who knows all the island's secret wonders.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
Award winning eco-resort, heritage hotel in Damballa, one night in Kandy homestay.
Included:
Flights from UK, half-board accommodation, a/c transport with chauffeur guide, fees, activities.
Meals:
Half board, but for lunches the food is delicious wherever you go, with street food lunch £1-1.50.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka tour & beach vacation

Environment

Reducing water consumption
Sri Lanka, like many countries around the world, suffers from acute water shortages at certain times of the year. Even though the island experiences two monsoons a year, the reservoirs and tanks are not of sufficient capacity to supply the country’s requirements. This not only causes water shortages in villages and towns – in some areas they are limited to only one hour’s supply a day during these periods – but also contributes to power cuts since much of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power. Reducing water consumption while traveling in Sri Lanka will contribute directly to conserving essential water supplies. Much of the Sri Lankan population wash in rivers and lakes and so supplied fresh water is used mainly for cooking and drinking.

Please share our concern for the environment - SAVE WATER.

Eco facts:
• Less than 20% of the world's water is fresh water.
• Acute water shortage has become a recurring problem in many parts of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.
• Conservation is the greatest resource when it comes to water supply.

Limiting non-degradable waste production
In previous times many of the goods and products sold in Sri Lanka were packaged in natural biodegradable materials. Today, however, much of the packaging is non-degradable and this waste pollutes the environment, particularly when it is not disposed of correctly. Limiting the amount of non-degradable waste generated helps to preserve the environment and reduces the potential negative impact on wildlife.

• Try to buy goods and products in biodegradable packaging. For example, many pharmacies in Sri Lanka dispense medicines in paper bags rather than plastic bags.
• Limit the number of plastic carrier bags acquired when shopping by putting your purchases directly into your own bag without extra packaging.
• Reduce the number of plastic water bottles used by storing your drinking water in a re-usable water container. (Bringing a water filter, potable iodine solution or water purification tablets with you will help limit the number of water bottles required.)
• Always dispose of non-degradable waste carefully since it can have a detrimental effect on the environment and wildlife.

Transportation
Our small group sizes (up to 8 persons) allows us to use cars, small vans or jeeps when traveling around the island and when visiting rural areas and national parks, where use of larger vehicles in such areas often results in widening and ‘blacktopping’ of rural paths for coach access. The resulting effect on the environment can be devastating. We feel that our small group sizes also lead to less impact both on the environment and the people that we visit as well as allowing for more supervision, advice and explanations with the high ratio of guides to travelers.

Community

We actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka. By working closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development.

Ranweli Vacation Village
This is a truly environmentally sensitive and ecologically committed resort. It is recognised as a model ecotourism property worldwide, gaining awards and commendations from British Airways, Virgin Vacations and the World Tourism Organization. Ranweli Vacation Village supports local nature clubs and schools, hires staff locally, and practises environmental principles by efficiently using its resources – energy & water – and effectively managing its waste – liquid & solid waste and emissions – to minimise the impact on the environment. The resort utilises solar energy for showers and uses biodegradable local materials as much as possible. Ranweli Vacation Village is a member of The International Ecotourism Society (with an executive on the Board of Directors), Ecoclub and the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, and an affiliate of Birdlife International.

Guides
We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

Accommodation
We actively promote locally owned hotels that employ local workers, particularly accredited eco-friendly accommodation. This policy contributes directly to the local economy and provides local employment while enhancing the visitor’s experience of Sri Lanka.

Restaurants
Embracing local cuisine is an essential part of any vacation if the visitor is to understand the country’s culture and savour its culinary delights. We encourage travelers to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food.

Community-led projects
The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (an independent charitable organisation) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every vacation booked.

Reviews of Sri Lanka tour & beach vacation

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 24 Nov 2016 by

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


This was a trip organised by our tour operator where I had asked for a mix of beach and wildlife, where visited five different locations in Sri Lanka - and they
were all different! We had our own driver to take us to our next destination and he was great - knowledgeable and full of fun. It was all exciting really from
the beautiful beachside hotels to the wildlife parks. At Palagama beach the food was amazing especially when I was shown their own vegetable garden and we
picked fresh vegetables that were cooked as individual curries for my dinner that evening. The people just wanted to please.

In the wildlife parks we saw two leopards, a sloth bear and elephants including a baby so close you could have touched them. The wildlife there is fabulous even outside the parks especially the birds with peacocks turning up unexpectedly. I took up the option of a yoga session at Unawatana - it was just bliss the teacher was so calm and the location magical. The tree house at Willpattu where I wished I had taken a sound recorder to take home memories of being in jungle they were so special. The total relaxation I felt at our hotel in Mirissa at the end of our stay was perfect.

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


I asked Rosy at Responsible Travel to recommend a tour operator for this trip and that was the start of my successful trip. Do liaise with the tour operator to
tweak your trip - they do know the country and the locations especially on distances to travel between locations. There is so much to see in Sri Lanka your
trip can be tailor made.

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


From hotels growing their own vegetables and supplying local traders to hotels that trained young people from the local area and recycled water used in
showers to water their gardens you can see how people are trying to use their resources to the maximum.

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


Brilliant. We learnt so much about the country by traveling this way. I felt as if I had been away for at least a month - I had seen and done so much in that
two weeks.

Reviewed on 15 Jan 2016 by

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


The people , the food, the scenery and the culture

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


Don't worry about traveling third class on the trains, you experience the real Sri Lanka.

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


Yes

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 06 Mar 2014 by

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


There were many memorable moments - we loved the incredible bird life especially seeing them close-up in the bird sanctuary.

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


Don't forget to travel inland to experience the varied landscapes.

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


Certainly - all the hotels we stayed in employed staff from the community; wherever we stayed enjoyed meals cooked from local produce .

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


We were keen to combine relaxation with seeing the country and experiencing what it had on offer. We were rarely disappointed and loved the experience traveling on this glorious island.

Reviewed on 20 Mar 2013 by

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


Leopards in Yala.

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


Budget for an extra day's rest at the end - two days wasn't enough.

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


Yes.

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


Brilliant.

Reviewed on 30 Nov 2012 by

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


The jeep safari to see the elephants in the wild. We did not realise Sri Lanka had such an abundance of elephants, water buffalo and a wonderful array of birds. We also enjoyed the cultural part of our trip to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves and Polunawara.

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


Talk to John about your expectations and be as specific as possible, that way he can tick as many boxes as possible and you will have a great time.

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


The hotels recommended by Tikalanka Tours are eco friendly and look to minimise the harm on the environment. I feel they achieved this as much as it possible to do so in the modern world.

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


We had a great time, we mixed cultural interest with wildlife experience and finished up with a beach flop.

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2010 by

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


It was actually the sort of thing you could never plan for. On leaving our room at Serendip which led out straight onto the front veranda (Serendip is basically a guest house) we saw that the garden was full of fireflies. We were then led to our table out the back by the plunge pool where we would be eating dinner. The manager had arranged and lit dozens of tea lights around the garden. Priceless.

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


Do some research particularly in regards to weather as different parts of the island can differ in weather patterns. If you plan to visit any wildlife parks research these too. The NP's of Sri Lanka vary in wildlife and they have a lot to learn from their African peers.

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


Other than obvious benefits such as providing local employment it wasn't immediately apparent what other benefits were being gained by local communities. I then met the owner of one the guest house come hotels that we stayed in and he told me that one of the assistants that we had a met, a young lad of maybe 17or so, had spent three years in a refugee camp after fleeing the Tamils in the north when the troubles were occurring. Someone had recommended him for employment to this owner and he's been under his employ ever since and has even taken A levels. This appeared to be as a direct result of tourism so I can't think of a better example than that of benefiting the local community.

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


Very good. The service we received from John was first rate and his knowledge of the island and the destinations available was in depth. After describing our brief and what we were looking for the initial itinerary was pretty much spot on so it took all the work out of having to research ourselves. That was either luck or John had listened to the brief and delivered the goods! Just a couple of minor tweaks and we had an itinerary full of variety as well as relaxation. Considering the long haul destination and the fact we had a private chauffeur/guide it was very good value too.

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2007 by

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


1. Climbing the 1200 steps up the rock fortress at Sigiriya for amazing views.
2. Feeling like I was the one in a zoo at the Hotel Kandalama as the monkeys watched me through my bedroom window each morning!
3. Drinking fresh coconut juice from king coconuts beside the road each day.
4. Talking to warm & friendly Sri Lankan people about their lives & particularly the effects of the Tsunami.

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


Don't forget your mosquito spray!

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


Yes, I had lots of opportunities to talk to local people & buy their products / goods. Stayed in 2 eco-hotels which appeared to be environmentally friendly.

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


An interesting & rewarding experience.



Reviewed on 01 Oct 2007 by

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


Sharing a railway carriage on a most spectacular journey in the Sri Lankan highlands with 4 young forestry students. Sitting on a beach waiting for turtles - which never arrived! But that didn't seem to matter.

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


Be guided by the recommendations and experience of the operator.

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


To a certain extent, yes. Some of the accommodation we used was owned by Europeans, but both they and the local hoteliers were certainly aware of environmental concerns. Any tourism to Sri Lanka will benefit the local people who desperately need our support. But on the other hand, any travel to Sri Lanka, certainly by air from UK will incur environmental damage.

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


Absolutely fantastic. (It would have been a 5-star, but I've been on pretty good vacations in my time.)

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