Head For The Hills

Perfect for those smitten with the outdoors and mountains, enjoy the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Sacred Temple of the Tooth. Experience a wildlife safari with a variety of animals including the majestic Asian elephant. This particular itinerary is a staff favorite – you won’t want to miss it!

See for yourself why clients are calling their private trip to Sri Lanka “amazing”…..

Day 1 Arrival / Colombo

Your arrival in Colombo marks the start of your experience on the Isle of Serendib. In the arrival hall of Bandaranayake International Airport you will find your English speaking  host and driver. We take pride in selecting professional and personable drivers so that you will be immediately at ease.

Once outside the airport, you’ll be enthralled with warm temperatures and the whisper of palm leaves colliding in the gentle breeze. Visually you’ll be pleasantly overwhelmed with color and greenery.

You’ll be taken directly to your hotel to refresh yourself before your Colombo city tuk-tuk safari. While touring, you will visit the magnificent stone edifice at Independence Square which commemorates Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948. Then enjoy a tour of Gangarama Temple which is the oldest Buddhist temple in Colombo.

If time permits the Red Mosque in the bustling market area known as Pettah is a must- see. Nearby the Dutch hospital is considered to be the oldest building in the Colombo Fort area. Dating back to Dutch colonialism, it has now been refurbished to offer the best of dining, shopping and spa. Enjoy high tea at the world-famous Galle Face hotel. Then, to wrap up the city tour, you can take a stroll ocean side on the Galle Face Green as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.

Day 2 Kandy

Today you’ll be winding your way to Kandy by private vehicle. As the city fades you’ll begin to see agricultural and village life. Your driver may stop on the way for you to taste fresh cashews that are sold along the roadside just before you begin the climb up into the mountains to the largest city in the Central province. On the way you may choose to take a detour to walk alongside the majestic Asian elephant at the Millenium Elephant Foundation.

You’ll now have the opportunity to enjoy the Royal Botanical Gardens which are the largest gardens in Sri Lanka. The climate of Kandy allows for hundreds of species of fauna and flora at about 500 meters above sea level. Imagine being surrounded by nature and clean mountain air that inspires.

Following the gardens you’ll be transported to your hotel for the evening. Be sure to try a King Coconut Water or Elephant House Ginger Beer which are both favorite beverages here.

Day 3 Kandy

The magic of the former Kandy Kingdom comes alive as you visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings. This Buddhist temple is a UNESCO world heritage site that is within the royal palace complex. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in the local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic of the Buddha’s tooth holds the governance of the nation. Take a few minutes to visit the Sri Dalada Museum, also on the same site, and keep an eye out for monkeys who prowl around this area.

Following the temple and museum your private guide will take you on a tour of the town of Kandy including the famous Kandy Lake. Be sure to make a few stops along the way and enjoy a cold drink or ice cream offered by the many vendors along this paved route. Also, don’t miss the newly renovated Queens’ bathing house situated on the west side of the lake.

If you’re visiting during the month of August, you’ll be in for the experience of a lifetime with the Esala Perahera. This annual procession of dancers, drummers, costumed participants, silk gowned elephants, spearmen and flag bearers parades around the city with great flair!

Day 4 Hatton / Castlereigh Area

Today you start with a train ride to beautiful Hatton! A good word to describe Hatton? Green. Almost every available hillside is bright with tea bushes trimmed so neatly that, from a distance, the hills look as if they’re covered with a thick-pile rug. Providing cool relief from the heat of the plains, the mornings are usually veiled in a mist that slowly dissipates to reveal the curious pyramidal bulk of Adam’s Peak to the southwest. Tours of Tea factories in Hatton can be made available this day. Then enjoy a blissful nights’ rest under the stars in the mountains.

Day 5 Hatton / Castlereigh Area

Adam’s Peak isn’t Sri Lanka’s highest, but with its distinctive prismic shape, it’s the most dramatic. At its pinnacle is a boulder with a foot-shaped depression. This footprint is revered as the appearance of Buddha, Shiva or Adam, by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims respectively. Whatever you believe, the mountain has been a pilgrimage site for more than a thousand years.

Due to the site’s religious significance, it has been developed for the convenience of guests. Far from a wilderness climb, you will ascend about 5,000 steps up the mountain, with benches and refreshment stalls along the way. At the top (2,250 m,7,326 ft), a temple surrounds the boulder, and worshipers leave fruit, flowers and religious figurines. Most people opt to set out between midnight to 2am to climb to this site in the cool of the early morning. They catch the sunrise and spend the rest of the day recovering at one of the many beautiful locations offered in Hatton. If late night or early morning hiking isn’t your thing, then you can spend this day in the shadows of Adam’s peak around Castlereigh Lake relaxing or strolling on less strenuous paths. A boat tour of the lake and a nice picnic is also a memorable experience for this day.

Day 6 Nuwara Eliya

This morning you travel deeper into the mountains and come to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as “Little England”. Here, you’ll take in the picturesque Gregory’s Lake. Flower gardens abound in this small town with indicators of the bygone British era. There are many fun excursions available around the lake area such as motor boating, jet skiing and horseback riding in this cooler climate. For golfers you may choose to go a round at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club.

Day 7 World’s End & Horton Plains

Today you embark on an early morning excursion to Horton Plains with a packed breakfast where you can take a short trek to the beautiful Bakers Falls and the magnificent World’s End. This area abounds with wildlife and incredible scenic views. Following your adventure, you’ll take the breathtaking drive to Haputale where mountain views continue to mesmerize you.

Day 8 Haputale

The town of Haputale hugs a mountain ridge at 1,431 meters above sea level in the southern edge of Hill Country. The population of Haputale is of just over 5,000 inhabitants. On a clear night, it is possible to spot lighthouses on the coast towards the south, a beautiful view uninterrupted in Sri Lanka’s night sky. Here, you can easily see where the Milky Way gets its name as you view the splash of white across the black sky. You have the option of staying in and relaxing, or visiting Lipton’s seat. Lipton’s Seat is a high observation point in the hills of Poonagala near the Dambatenne Tea Factory. Lipton’s Seat is so named because the famed Scottish baron and tea planter, Sir Thomas Lipton, used it as the seat to survey his empire in a time long gone but not forgotten.

Day 9 Haputale / Ella Area

Today your mountain retreat continues as you make your way toward the town of Ella for a day trip. This will give you an opportunity to see the world famous Nine Arches Railway Bridge and view beautiful waterfalls. Little Adams peak is also a short 45 minute hike each way to see terrific views of the valley below.

Day 10 Haputale to Udawalawe or Yala National Parks

You will move southward today for your Safari experience. Arrival and travel times vary for each park so, dependent upon the arrival time, you may have a late afternoon or evening safari. Wildlife abounds in southern Sri Lanka’s Udawalawe & Yala National Parks. Here, open-top jeep safaris bring visitors within close range of members of each park’s resident elephant population. Some say these parks host the country’s largest herds, with as many as 400 individuals. Both parks contain large reservoirs and Yala borders the Indian Ocean. The parks draw wild buffaloes, sambar deer, crocodiles, jackals, macaques, leopards and flocks of water birds. Because seasons and climates vary, we will work with you to determine the best park given the time of your experience in Sri Lanka.

Day 11 Udawalawe or Yala National Parks

Waking up in your serene surroundings, you will set out early to discover wildlife in their natural environment. Don’t miss out on the many bird species which bring extraordinary life to the park as well. Following your safari, you’ll make your way toward the southwestern coastal town of Galle.

Day 12 Galle

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Galle Fort is a fascinating experience where you’ll enjoy a private walking tour with your expert guide. If time allows, you may choose to add in a culinary experience. Create a Sri Lankan curry and enjoy the fruits of your labor before making your way back to the airport for your return home.

Head For The Hills Pricing:

Season3 star4 star5 star
Peak Season
(April, July – Sept. 15, Dec. – Jan. 31 )
Mid Season
(Feb. – Mar. 31, Nov.)
Low Season
(May – June, Sept. 16 – Oct. 31)

* All prices are in US Dollars, per person, based on double occupancy.
For single rooms, a single supplement fee will be applied.
Contact us for larger group pricing.

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per person

for a private tour for
2 people at a 4-star level

Day 1 – Colombo
Day 2 
– Kandy
Day 3 
– Kandy
Day 4 
– Hatton / Castlereigh Area
Day 5 
– Hatton / Castlereigh Area
Day 6 
– Nuwara Eliya
Day 7
 – World’s End & Horton Plains
Day 8 
– Haputale
Day 9 
– Haputale / Ella Area
Day 10
 – Haputale to Udawalawe or Yala National Parks
Day 11
 – Udawalawe or Yala National Parks
Day 12 
– Galle

  • Private English-Speaking Driver
  • Authentic Quality Hotels
  • Informative Historical Tours
  • Breakfast & Dinner
  • Professional Guides in Major Cities

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What you’ll see on the “Head For The Hills” tour