Northern Exposure

Move through the former kingdom of Sinhalese Kings, a former war zone that is now open for business. Enjoy a wildlife safari and take home wonderful memories. Come and see the north!

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 driver, so you can feel 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 the riot of 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 you will tour the 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 wrap up the city tour with a stroll oceanside on the Galle Face Green as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.

Day 2 Kandy

Imagine waking up on the coast of the Indian Ocean in your exotic island paradise.

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 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 on a guided 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 the 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 Dambulla

The journey today takes you north from Kandy into the heart of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. In Dambulla you’ll see the best preserved cave temples in Sri Lanka. Cave #2 will impress you with over 150 life sized statues of the Buddha along with extravagant murals.

After your cave temple tour, you’ll draw closer to the area of Sigiriya Rock. Enjoy some down time at your hotel and get a good night’s rest in preparation for your early morning hike tomorrow.

Day 5 Sigiria Rock / Habarana

Beat the heat and set out early for your ascent 200 meters to the top of this former citadel of Sri Lanka known as Lion Rock. There are beautiful caves and water gardens around the base of this mountain. While hiking and winding up the staircase to the top you’ll see the famous damsel frescoes. Enjoy a short rest and the beautiful view at the top while looking over the footers for the once famous palace.

From Sigiriya Rock you’ll be transported to the former capital of Sri Lanka in Polonnaruwa where you’ll be introduced to the most preserved ruins from the 11th & 13th centuries that Sri Lanka has to offer.

End the day back at your hotel near the source of your morning adventure at Lion Rock.

Day 6 Anuradhapura

This morning you will travel through the cultural triangle to Anuradhapura. This was the island’s first ancient capital dating back to 380 BC. Today you’ll get to see this UNESCO world heritage site for yourself. You’ll be able to view the ruins of 3 great monasteries along with what is believed to be the world’s oldest living tree under which the Buddha was enlightened. Many will choose to take in these sites on our guided cycling tour.

The evening will be a time of rest & relaxation as you consider what you’ve seen thus far.

Day 7 Jaffna Arrival

The geographic scape changes today as you leave plush greenery and travel through a relatively arid and dry region on the way to Jaffna. After a long 26-year civil war which ended in 2009, Jaffna is making a recovery and is open for guests.

Along the newly paved route to the nations northern most points, you may want to stop for a few minutes at the war memorial in Killinochichi. Just before entering Jaffna, you will pass through Elephant Pass which is a low water passageway for the ancient migratory path for elephants traveling to India.

The local cuisine changes with a primarily Hindu population, so you may choose to sample an exquisite vegetarian dish here for dinner. In the evening, pass through the Jaffna market and be sure to pick up the local jaggery exclusive to this area.

Day 8 Jaffna

Set out in the morning for the Nallur Kovil which is the nation’s largest Hindu temple. This temple has 4 large Gopuram which are tower like structures that are over 9 stories tall.

From the temple you’ll make your way to the Jaffna public library. Built in 1933 it’s one of Asia’s largest libraries. Though damaged by fire during the war, you can still see some of Sri Lanka’s earliest books made from palm leaves.

After an afternoon rest, you will explore the Jaffna Fort at sunset. This is the 2nd largest fort on the island and was built by the Portuguese in 1619.

Day 9 Wilpattu National Park

Today as you work your way back toward the capital of Colombo from Jaffna, you’ll enjoy a half day afternoon safari at the Wilpattu National Park. You’ll have the chance to see a number of birds and animals in their natural habitat such as elephants, leopards, deer & crocodiles. Watch the sunset in the wild before calling it a day!

Enjoy your glamping accomodations surrounded by the wild while not sacrificing conveniences like air conditioning and well prepared meals.

Day 10 Willpattu and transfer to Negombo

Rise early and take part in the morning half day safari. Many animals are more active early before the heat of the day sets in so, if you missed out on seeing what you wanted yesterday, there’s another opportunity today.

After lunch it’s time to head toward the fishing village of Negombo just north of the international airport. On the way, stop in the small town of Dankotuwa at the porcelain factory and take home a piece of fine porcelain from Sri Lanka.

Settle in to your beach side accommodation and enjoy a nice dinner on the beach your last night in paradise.

Day 11 Negombo – Departure

Dependent upon your departure time, you could enjoy a sunrise walk on the beach or any number of beach activities. If you’re wanting to interact with the local culture, you could explore the Negombo fish market. Catamaran rides are also available before you get ready for your return home.

Northern Exposure 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 – Arrival / Colombo
Day 2 
– Kandy
Day 3 
– Kandy
Day 4 
– Dambulla
Day 5 
– Sigiria Rock / Habarana
Day 6 
– Anuradhapura
Day 7
 – Jaffna Arrival
Day 8 
– Jaffna
Day 9 
– Willpattu National Park
Day 10 
– Willpattu / Negombo
Day 11 
– Negombo / Departure

  • 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 “Northern Exposure” tour