dolphins by Fred Barrington
10-day adventure in Sri Lanka
Private Tour for 2 or Family Adventure

A 10-day adventure balancing wildlife from elephants to dolphins, nature and forests and off-the-beaten track seaside experiences.

This private tour has been been designed to maximise opportunities without too much travel time. Easy to budget for with many meals included in the tour price. Take this adventure as a private tour for 2. Or you can also take the trip as a family adventure (it even just fits into a a UK half-term if you start your tour with an overnight flight on a a Friday).

This trip is 'Tell Tale light' trip i.e. less immersive/does not include a stay in a private home which many of our itineraries include.

Day 1 (could be Friday)
Fly to Colombo with a choice of airports throughout the UK. If you can fly from Heathrow, there is an overnight flight with Sri Lankan Airlines.

Day 2
Land at Colombo airport where you will be met by one of our drivers, just look out for a sign with the Tell Tale 'pink peacock' logo. Just a short drive to nearby Negombo on the coast where you will stay at a Jetwing hotel by the sea. Larger than typical Tell Tale accommodation, but a very comfortable place to recover from your flight and relax before you start your adventure. A good swim in the pool will blow the cobwebs away!
As the day ends, you could take a walk on the beach to watch the fisher folk and sunset. This evening, there is a good choice of restaurants to venture out to.

Day 3 breakfast, dinner (meals included in the tour price)
Time for a leisurely breakfast and start. Then you will be picked up and driven north. The drive will be approx 3.5 hours actual driving, plus any stops. You will drive through the heartland of Sri Lanka's coconut plantations, through Marawila, Madampe, Chilaw and Puttalam. The north west coast was also important in the days of Portuguese rule so you'll see lots of Catholic churches. The landscape will change to include salt plains. In days gone by, this coastal region on the Gulf of Mannar was home to Sri Lanka's famed pearl divers. Keep your eyes on the road, Puttalam province is famed for wild donkeys.

You are heading to near Wilpattu national park where you will be staying at Backwaters Lodge. Settle in. In the late afternoon, you will be taken on a boat trip along the river until sunset.

"Loved the location, so peaceful and so much wildlife!
The sunset boat trip was a real highlight of our trip."

Day 4 breakfast, lunch (packed), dinner
Up early! You'll be picked up in a jeep to explore Wilpattu national park. The 'villus' (lakes) attract an incredible array of beautiful birds. Wilpattu is also famed for its leopards, however, the jungle is rather dense so it's not as easy to spot animals as in other parks, but so far visitor numbers are still lower here so you shouldn't be crowded as you'd be if you spotted a leopard elsewhere!

Day 5 breakfast, dinner
Day at Backwaters Lodge. Relax in nature, the forest has plenty of wildlife. If you are feeling more active, you can go for a walk, a cycle or perhaps back to Wilpattu, you could do a half-day safari (can be arranged locally at extra cost).

Day 6 breakfast, dinner
Please be packed this morning. Optional excursion. Early start, head east to Anuradhapura to meet our expert local guide for a morning of 'classic sightseeing'. Dating back to at least the 4th century BC, the ancient city of Anuradhapura is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the cradle of Theravada Buddhism (as practised by Sinhalese people, Thai people, and some other countries but not Nepal, Tibet etc). It was hidden away for many years by dense jungle. Pride of place is the sacred bodhi tree, here since the 3rd century BC, it was grown from a sapling of the tree in India under which according to legend, the Buddha reached enlightenment.

You'll be driven west to Kalpitiya, a peninsula to the north of Colombo. Unlike most of the landscapes in Sri Lanka, the weather here is more dry and less humid than the famous south west (and it is certainly much less developed). You'll be staying in a laidback resort by the sea. Settle in. Rest of day at leisure to enjoy the lovely pool or have a dip in the sea.

Day 7 breakfast, dinner
You'll be picked up early this morning in local transport and taken to a boat for a boat trip to see dolphins. Kalpitiya is famed for hundreds of spinner dolphins (although until comparatively recently not known except by sea faring folk). Their antics will make you chuckle. You may also luck out and see a whale/s. You'll be with people from the local community. Kalpitiya is still very much developing. And note boat trip may need to be changed to another day, dependent on sea conditions on the day.

Video by Matt Wedge, taken on a Tell Tale trip.

Rest of day at leisure to enjoy the pool, watch out for the visiting monkeys. Or have a dip in the sea.

Day 8 breakfast, dinner
Late afternoon, you will be taken to a lagoon (again most likely by tuk tuk) and taken on a boat trip through hidden channels at the edge of the Wilpattu national park. Look for birds in the serene mangroves and if you are very lucky, a wild elephant. You'll get off the boat at a 'tree of life', this baobab tree hundreds of years old and is fun to climb if you are inclined!

Day 9 breakfast, dinner
Spend the day relaxing, look for wildlife in the trees or enjoy the lovely pool.

Day 10 breakfast
Private transfer to Colombo airport. Time to say goodbye to Sri Lanka. If you flew out of the UK on a Friday night, Day 10 falls on Sunday and the direct flight with Sri Lankan Airlines from Colombo to London Heathrow lands back today. There are also (indirect) flights back to other airports to land back today.

Including flights, this 10-day private tour costs from £1,650 per person for 2 people. Or for a minimum of 4 travelling from £1,550 per adult (there will be airline fare and/or tax discounts for under 16s). Prices include flights from the UK, accommodation, activities/excursions, most meals and private transfers.
Excluding flights, the cost is £1,100 per person for 2 people, or for a minimum of 4 travelling £1,000 per person.

Please allow approximately £30 per person for site entrance fees payable locally. If you are taking the Anuradhaphura excursion, allow another approximately £25.
**Price applies as advertised on most bookings if booked sufficiently in advance, but travelling at certain times, particularly Christmas, may involve extra costs. Contact us for a quote**

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donkeys in kalpitiya
leopard by backwaters lodge
dolphins in kalpitiya
baobab tree
nomadic fishermen

Photo credits:
Dolphins by Fred Barrington; leopard by Backwaters Lodge