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Guesthouse Explorer

Price From :
$ 1139.53 per person
Duration :
14 Nights
Holiday Type :
Island Tour
Hotel Style :
Guesthouse
When to go :
Nov-April & July-Sept
Price Guide :
Guesthouse Explorer

Locations

Introduction

The Guesthouse Explorer takes you to ancient cities, tea-growing hills, wildlife parks, Indian ocean beaches, and the best guesthouses in the island. We have carefully selected our favourite properties for you to experience – charming guesthouses in scenic locations, with friendly and helpful staff. In some sections of the trip, experience one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys for added adventure without extra cost.

Highlights

  • Visit Dambulla’s ancient cave temple
  • Clamber up the stunning Sigiriya Rock fortress
  • Experience Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth
  • Take a train journey through the stirring peaks of the hill country
  • Trek to Little Adam’s Peak or the spectacular Ravana Falls in Ella
  • Explore Tissa’s ancient temples and the jungle shrine of Kataragama
  • Venture off on a wildlife safari into Yala National Park
  • Go whale and dolphin spotting in Mirissa
  • Stroll around Galle’s 17C Dutch Fort
  • Lie on the palm-fringed sandy beaches of the south coast
  • Day 1

    Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, transfer to the Ice Bear, a characterful guesthouse located in Negombo, just a few minutes drive from the airport. This is an ideal location from which to explore Negombo’s vibrant cultural heritage: ride on a catamaran as it sets sail in to the sunset; take a boat ride along the centuries-old Dutch canals that wind through the town; experience Negombo’s Colonial heritage including Catholic churches and the ruins of the Dutch Fort.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    Ice Bear
    Negombo, one hour north of Colombo, is one of the most youthful beach resorts in Sri Lanka. Throughout much of the 1990s it had a tatty and sometimes inglorious reputation. A new millennium has brought with it new investment and real expectations of better times ahead. Throughout bad times and good, the Ice Bear has laid claim to be the best guesthouse in town: welcoming, artistic, ever so eccentric and with a prized beachfront location. The journey from the International Airport is just 30 minu ...(More)
    Ice Bear
  • Day 2 & 3

    Today you head to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and check into Kassapa Lions Rock, the only hotel in the Cultural Triangle with magnificent views of both the gigantic Sigirya Rock and the Pidurangala rock, situated side by side. Explore the ancient ruins of the Sigiriya Fortress built in the 5th century by King Kassapa. The ruins of the fortress upon the huge rock, the wall frescoes, and the symmetrical royal gardens surrounding the rock are amazing feats of this period. Dambulla Cave Temple is also a must-see with its rock ceiling covered in one large sweep of colorful frescoes, some of which dates back to over 2,000 years. This cave temple has the largest number of Buddha statues all housed in one place including a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock. The adventurous might want to attempt the climb to Pidurangala accompanied by the hotel’s naturalist.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    Kassapa Lions Rock
    Kassapa Lions Rock is a peaceful holiday retreat with 51 individual chalets scattered over 10 acres of landscaped gardens in the heart of the Cultural Triangle. Situated in the rural village of Digampathaha just 20 minutes away from the Sirigiya Rock Fortress, this is ideally placed to explore the Cultural Triangle sites of Sigiriya, Pidurangala, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and the Minneriya National Park. For those travelling to the North East Coast towns of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, ...(More)
    Kassapa Lions Rock
  • Day 4 & 5

    The journey from the cultural triangle to Sri Lanka's hill capital - the small lakeside city of Kandy - will occupy most of the morning. On the way, visit the ancient Aluvihara rock temple, located in Matale. It was here that the oral teachings of the Buddha were committed to writing – the Tripitika - for the first time. For your next two nights, we recommend you stay at River Grove, a wonderful homestay in the suburbs of Kandy close to the winding Mahaweli River. Go for a stroll down hill and along the river and watch life as it unfolds in the suburbs of Kandy. Visit the Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined since 4th Century A.D. The temple has decorative walls, a golden roof and fine woodwork. Religious services (pooja) with traditional music and drumming are held daily at dawn, midday and in the evening where guests can participate. During August, Kandy dazzles for 10 days with the sounds and lights of the Kandy Perehara – a magnificent procession where the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha from the Temple of the Tooth is majestically paraded on elephant back along the streets of Kandy. There are several other ancient temples including Gadaladeniya, Lankathillake, and Embekke which are well worth a visit. Nature lovers will enjoy a walk through the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens with its 600 acres of tropical trees, landscaped gardens, and orchid collection.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    River Grove
    River Grove is the home of a Sri Lankan couple who provide simple but welcoming accommodation. A short stroll to the Mahaweli River, River Grove is located off the Mawilmada Road and is about 15 minutes drive from Kandy town. The journey to Kandy from Colombo’s international airport will take about 3.5 hours. ...(More)
    River Grove
  • Day 6 & 7

    Today you journey to the southern highlands, a stirring land of lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. We recommend you jump aboard the train – one of the great rail journeys in the world. Your driver will transport your luggage by car. Your destination is Ella, a scenic village in the southern highlands. Check-in to Zion View, a welcoming guesthouse with spectacular views of the Ella gap. Several treks are possible from here to Little Adam’s Peak, the ancient Dova Temple, Ravana caves and the Ravana Falls associated with the epic Ramayana tales. Visit a nearby tea estate and tea factory. Explore the towns of Bandarawala and Haputale where there are several scenic waterfalls including Dunhinda and Diyaluma. Adisham, a Benedictine Monastery in Haputale which dates back to the colonial period, is also an interesting morning’s excursion.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    Zion View
    Zion View is a family run guesthouse in Ella standing at the edge of a cliff with spectacular views of Ella Gap, and conveniently placed for Ella train station. Situated 3,300 ft. above sea level, this stunningly landscape in the southern highlands can be accessed by train or by road via Nuwara Eliya, the south via Wellawaya, or via Kitulgala and Ratnapura. ...(More)
    Zion View
  • Day 8 & 9

    Journey onto the south east of Sri Lanka. Visit Buduruvagala to see Sri Lanka's tallest rock-cut Buddha statue before reaching the southern town of Tissamaharama where you will stay two nights at Hibiscus Garden. Tissamaharama was the capital of the ancient Ruhunu Kingdom in the 2C B.C. Tissa, named after King Kavantissa, is dominated by lakes and gigantic semi-circle shaped Buddhist Dagobas (temples). The sprawling Tissa Wewa was built by King Kavantissa 2,300 years ago. The sacred jungle shrine of Kataragama is located nearby, as are several ancient Buddhist temples and an archeological Museum that provides a glimpse into the ancient Ruhunu kingdom. Explore the jungle of Yala – one of the best National Parks to see a wide variety of Sri Lankan wildlife because of its scrub plains, lagoons and rocky sections. Yala is home to herds of wild elephants, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles, monkeys and numerous species of birds.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    Hibiscus Garden
    Hibiscus Garden is a welcoming guesthouse situated amidst extensive tropical gardens in Tissamaharama in the deep south. The hotel is located off the main Tissa – Kataragama road and is set away from the main tourist trail, yet close enough to experience Tissa’s ancient heritage, the jungle shrine of Kataragama which is about 30 minutes away, and Yala National Park, about 40 minutes. ...(More)
    Hibiscus Garden
  • Day 10, 11 & 12

    Head to the south coast to the fishing village of Tangalle and stay the next three nights at Mangrove Garden, a simple, beachside guest house offering clean and comfortable accommodation within an eco-friendly setting. This is ideally placed to explore the beautiful beaches and the cultural heritage of the Deep South. Go on a ferry ride along the lagoon where numerous species of water birds can be spotted along the mangroves. Visit Rekuwa, a small fishing village situated a short walk along the beach where a fascinating Marine Turtle Conservation project is helping to save this endangered species. Based further east at Mirissa Harbour, Mirissa Water Sports offers exciting water sports activities such as sailing, fishing, coastal cruises, sea kayaking, snorkelling and boating. The south of Sri Lanka beyond Dondra is considered one of the best locations in the world for spotting blue whales, sperm whales and spinner dolphins. Whale watching excursions into the deep seas is organised by Mirissa Water Sports during the season from December to April when the seas are calm.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    Mangrove Garden
    Mangrove Garden is one of the finest budget beach properties on the south coast: a simple, laid back guest house offering clean and comfortable accommodation within an eco-friendly setting. It lies near Rekuwa beach where the Marine Turtles come to nest and is ideally placed to explore the beautiful beaches and the natural wilderness of the Deep South. Driving directly from Colombo’s International Airport is a long six-hour drive and it is advisable to stopover on the way. ...(More)
    Mangrove Garden
  • Day 13 & 14

    Your final destination is the historic city of Galle where you will spend two nights at Fortaleza, a guesthouse and restaurant housed in a refurbished, 200 year old Dutch period building right in the heart of Galle’s 17C Dutch Fort. Much of the old Fort, a small walled city with about 300 homes and an old-world feel, still remain with its well preserved bastions, public buildings, churches, lighthouse and a maze of narrow streets. Hours can be spent exploring the maze of narrow streets lined with Dutch and British period buildings still in use, the sturdy ramparts looking out to sea, the growing collection of art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants.

    Sri Lanka Tours
    Accommodation
    Fortaleza
    Fortaleza is an exquisite boutique hotel and restaurant set within the 17C Dutch Fort in Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located at the corner of Church Cross Street and Lighthouse Street, this is a central location from which to experience Galle’s cultural heritage. The sunkissed beaches of Unawatuna are about 15 minutes away. The journey from Colombo’s international airport will take about 2.5 hours via the Southern highway. ...(More)
    Fortaleza

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Guide Price (Per Person) :
$ 1140
Important note on prices :
  • Above price is a guide price
  • Price includes accommodation, private vehicle and guide, main activities, all taxes and service charges (prices however, may vary according to the availability of hotels and travel dates if more than six months ahead)
  • Price excludes flights and optional activities
  • Price may be subject to change at the time of booking
Red Dot prices include all government taxes and service charges. Some properties and websites exclude these charges from their direct quotes, which adds 24-26 per cent to your bill, so please check carefully before booking. Red Dot also guarantees to beat any lower published prices from other agents. Some property owners also request that we do not display our prices online. Please ask us for a quote - and tell us if we do not offer the best value.