Exhausted, frustrated, cranky because you hate being yoked together on a group tour in Sri Lanka? Why lose time, temper, travel thrills on your precious holiday? Break loose and go solo —doing exactly what you want, how you want and where you want—to do and see things —your way!
Embrace the pleasures of flexitarianism as you head off to the ‘Spice Island’ with its line-up of enticing places, activities and experiences— all of which you can enjoy on your own for that idyllic holiday to rest and recharge your batteries.
And guess what? You might even enjoy popping out of your comfort zone to get adventurous and do things you would never have imagined even in your wildest dreams— like going whale-watching or learning to surf or scuba dive—or just simply entering the home of strangers and learning to cook a local dish in the family kitchen, or using the loom to weave some fabric under the watchful eye of a local expert!
What’s more even though you are travelling solo, inevitably you’ll find yourself interacting with people in different situations— and even that can add fresh insights to your experiences.
On a classic Essential Sri Lanka Tour chart your course of delights which include gorgeous hill country views, interactions with elephants, visit to centuries old fortresses hidden away in an ancient rainforest, wildlife spotting and quiet time in ruminating temples of yore, uncovering vignettes of a colonial past or soaking in Nature’s balmy touch on golden beaches.
The excitement of going solo hits you the minute you slide into your chauffeur-driven car at the airport and get whisked off to Negombo, without hanging around waiting for others to get their bags off the carousel and join you!
A lovely welcome and breakfast at the hotel keeps the mood going as you start your tropical adventure with a cruise on a fishing boat on one of Sri Lanka's largest coastal lagoons. The journey takes you from the historic Hamilton Canal through the heart of old Negombo town before entering the lagoon. You can have your uninterrupted fill of photops along the way, gliding past markets and thousands of fishing boats of all sizes.
Next day your morning begins with a unique encounter with elephants at the Elephant Freedom Project, a shelter for rescued captive elephants. Walking long unhurriedly with these gentle giants in this nurturing environment will fill you with awe and deep sense of contentment.
The next day, the Sigriya Rock, that dramatic 5th century old archaeological site, adds a fresh spurt of energy to the adventurer in you. Huff and puff your way up, along with other tourists, past those fantastic frescoes of 'Heavenly Maidens', to the top to savour those amazing views of the valley below.
Adventures of the ‘wild kind’ await you the next day on your jeep safari to the Minneriya National Park. Watch in glee as herds of wild elephants gather together by the rivers and reservoirs to bathe and play —and catch up on gossip in one of Sri Lanka’s finest game parks.
Travelling back towards historic Kandy you’ll get another opportunity to enjoy Sri Lanka’s wildlife diversions. This time it’s a thrilling safari at the Wasgamuwa National Park— again excellent for elephant watching. A herd can sometimes comprise 150 behemoths of all sizes and age groups including grumpy grandads, beady-eyed matriarch and naughty little ones!
Along your way to Kandy, you’ll get a rare opportunity to pop into a spice plantation and pick up some stories of Sri Lanka’s legend as the ‘Spice Island’. At the end of the day a fabulous cultural programme will blow you away with the sounds of traditional music and drumming.
A short sojourn in Kandy introduces you to the unique attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage Site— among them the iconic Temple of the Sacred Tooth, the Kandy City Centre with its dazzle of a gem museum and lapidary, an arts and crafts centre and a lively bazaar.
Savour those quiet moments journeying up to Nuwara Eliya, the hub of Sri Lanka’s tea production. You can learn all about the tea from the tea pickers and the factory help. Your chauffeur will be happy to play translator, so don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions about it all. You can get to traipse around the area and soak in the colonial ambience of the place.
At Ella, the next day, you get quality time exploring the Hakkagala Botanical Garden en route. This is the second largest garden among the five botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. The following day you’ll be back in search of Sri Lanka’s wildlife denizens, this time at Yala National Park famous for its leopards. You might feel like cooling off with a dip in the river so carry towels and swimwear in your backpack. You can rest up after lunch on hammocks which have been set up in the bush.
With the tour winding down slowly get ready for a lovely time at Galle, the historic, colonial-days port town from the 17th century. This is one of the best-preserved colonial-era cities in Southeast Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage City today.
Next day finds you in Bentota where you can just chill or spend time enjoying a boat ride on the Madhu Ganga River slipping past numerous mangrove forested islets and an eco-reserve. You will also get to spend time at a turtle hatchery.
On your way to catch your flight back home look back in wonder on how each destination you visited as a solo traveller changed your entire perspective of all the experiences you had.
The idea that discovery and knowledge are an integral component of travel will have fresh meaning for you for sure. Marvel again at having taken that leap of going it alone and returning home with a memory bank full of treasured moments.