Small group vacation to Sri Lanka

“A two week, small group tour of the Golden Triangle to the glistening wildlife, staying at comfortable hotels and traveling by public and private transport. And bikes. ”

Highlights

Dambulla | Sigiriya | Giritale Tank | Birdwatching | Polonnaruwa | Kandy | Kitulgala rainforest | Nuwara Eliya | Option to climb Adam’s Peak | Horton Plains | World’s End viewpoint | Bandarawela | Ella Gap | Game drive Yala National Park or Udawalawe National Park depending on season | Ahangama | Galle | Option for whale watching

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01 Jul 2017
US $ 2295
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08 Jul 2017
US $ 2015
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22 Jul 2017
US $ 2105
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29 Jul 2017
US $ 2165
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05 Aug 2017
US $ 2015
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12 Aug 2017
US $ 2045
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16 Aug 2017
US $ 2045
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26 Aug 2017
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02 Sep 2017
US $ 2105
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16 Sep 2017
US $ 2015
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30 Sep 2017
US $ 1985
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14 Oct 2017
US $ 2555
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17 Oct 2017
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21 Oct 2017
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28 Oct 2017
US $ 2165
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04 Nov 2017
US $ 2055
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11 Nov 2017
US $ 2125
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18 Nov 2017
US $ 2095
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25 Nov 2017
US $ 2095
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02 Dec 2017
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16 Dec 2017
US $ 2785
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18 Dec 2017
US $ 2325
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20 Dec 2017
US $ 2895
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23 Dec 2017
US $ 2325
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06 Jan 2018
US $ 2245
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13 Jan 2018
US $ 2785
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20 Jan 2018
US $ 2245
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27 Jan 2018
US $ 2245
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03 Feb 2018
US $ 2245
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10 Feb 2018
US $ 2245
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17 Feb 2018
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24 Feb 2018
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03 Mar 2018
US $ 2245
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10 Mar 2018
US $ 2715
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24 Mar 2018
US $ 2245
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31 Mar 2018
US $ 2245
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07 Apr 2018
US $ 2215
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14 Apr 2018
US $ 2215
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23 Jun 2018
US $ 2135
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07 Jul 2018
US $ 2635
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21 Jul 2018
US $ 2135
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28 Jul 2018
US $ 2135
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18 Aug 2018
US $ 2135
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25 Aug 2018
US $ 2135
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01 Sep 2018
US $ 2135
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20 Oct 2018
US $ 2135
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27 Oct 2018
US $ 2215
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10 Nov 2018
US $ 2715
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24 Nov 2018
US $ 2215
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15 Dec 2018
US $ 2505
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22 Dec 2018
US $ 2505
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Small group vacation to Sri Lanka

Environment

Activity:
We are very conscious of the environment and try to limit our impact on our surroundings as much as possible. All of our vehicles used on this tour are subject to annual eco testing and we monitor this closely in order to reduce our carbon footprint. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants and use markets to purchase traditional crafts. We also leave a positive impression by visiting important National Parks, ruins and museums- our entrance fees to which contribute to their upkeep. For example, our game drives in Yala N.P. promote animal welfare and financially contribute to conservation projects in the area.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Accommodation and Meals:
All of the hotels we stay in are dedicated to hiring local staff and using freshly sourced produce wherever possible. This helps to benefit the surrounding community by providing employment opportunities and income alternatives where they may be otherwise hard to come by. We also try to select accommodation which has strong environmental policies. Where meals are not provided, we suggest that clients spread their commerce to small local businesses and try some authentic food. The local cuisine is predominantly vegetarian, with lots of rice. You can enjoy everything from traditional spicy curries to stalls selling tasty sweets and deserts. We stop for local delicacies whilst cycling, visit a farm house for lunch and eat at the home of a Tsunami victim in Tangalle.

Charity:
We have financially co-sponsored a local Tsunami relief project, which has enabled 25 families to be rehoused and for two schools to be equipped with toilets, running water and outdoor swings. In collaboration with a German operator and the village temple, we have helped towards 10 large water tanks and an eye clinic in a remote village with a donation of 200 pairs of glasses. We also assisted a principal agent of Unicef in development of day care and education of school children of the estate sector labourers in the hill country. Whilst visiting the Back to Life project we stay at a hotel re-built by our local operator after the original building was demolished by the Tsunami.

Local Craft and Culture:
There are plenty of opportunities to engage with local culture on the several visits to towns, villages and historically important sites and events. During the summer months our visit to the Temple of the Tooth may coincide with the Buddhist Kandy festival, which is a long honoured celebration of a relic thought to be found on the island. We may be able to see a performance of traditional Kandian dancing and fire walking here. There are many places to buy handcrafted souvenirs along the way (e.g. Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya) but one of the best places might be the Gem Museum at Kandy. Here clients can learn about the traditional methods of gem extraction.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

2 Reviews of Small group vacation to Sri Lanka

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 02 Mar 2017 by

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


For me it was really the whole thing, as seeing the country where my mother and aunts were born and grew up was very interesting. I particularly enjoyed the puja at the Temple of the Tooth as our tour leader managed to get us to the front and we were also able to see the Tooth reliquary and another shrine not normally open.

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


Be prepared for the incredible humidity around Colombo and the south coast. If you are a history buff like me then you can arrange a car and driver for the day through Hotel Sigiriya and spend time at Anuradhapura and Mihintale instead of doing the cycle ride at Giritale. Please note that they are now going straight from Kandy (500m) to Nuwara Eliya (nearly 2000m) and this can be a problem for those susceptible to altitude sickness like me - I was fine again as soon as I got down to Bandarawela. Don't rely on it being dry in the dry season - come equipped for anything!

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


The vacation did benefit local people (partly through the tipping!), particularly the tsunami victim lunch, but I felt the visit to a farm didn't really add anything to the vacation. Conservation was supported by going on the elephant safari and the safari in Yala but the number of jeeps for the former was ridiculous (about 40 elephants and the same number of jeeps).

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


Good vacation to give you a flavour of Sri Lanka and have a little contact with the locals.

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2012 by

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


The variety of the trip, the day at yala national park, the elephant orphanage, and the tooth temple.

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


Take a good camera, you will want to photograph almost every thing you see, the island is fantastic!

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


Yes the trips to the small village homes and farmers plantations were not only interesting but benefited the people.

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


Excellent variety, well run and an excellent guide.

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