Exotic Sri Lanka
A full tour overview will be coming soon.
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- Vacation Style Holiday TypeExotic Tour
- Activity Level
- Group Size Small Group
A full tour overview will be coming soon.
- Accommodation on Bed and Breakfast sharing double/twin basis for 12 nights (except at Castlereagh Bungalow where you will be on Full Board basis).
- Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle from AIRPORT to AIRPORT.
- Entrance fees for Kandy sightseeing, Galle sightseeing only.
- Services of an English-speaking chauffeur.
- Optional Air taxi Transfer cost (From US$ 165 per person approximately).
- Expenses of personal nature (e.g. Video and Camera permits) or any other services not specified above.
- Lunch/Dinner throughout the tour.
- The visits to wild life parks will be at client’s own risk. The jeeps available are very basic with basic insurance cover (not comprehensive as in the case of the vehicle which will be used on the tour).
- Christmas and New Year period supplements.
- Day1 Ancient Cities: Vil Uyana
On arrival at Colombo airport, you will be met by a representative from Hemtours who will take you to Vil Uyana, a five-hour drive by chauffeur driven car where you will be staying in a Jala Mandapa (Water Dwellings) Room on a bed and breakfast basis. Your chauffeur will be your guide throughout your tour allowing you the flexibility of creating your own schedule.
- Day2 Ancient Cities: Vil Uyana
During your stay, you will have the opportunity to visit:
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital city; the Sacred Bo Tree considered by some to be the oldest documented tree on earth.
The ruined city of Polonnaruwa, dating from the 10th century AD and abandoned in 1288. Many of the remains are in an excellent state of repair although several of the residential buildings remain to be excavated.
- Day3 Ancient Cities: Vil Uyana
During your stay, you will have the opportunity to visit:
Sigiriya, a massive rock famous for its ‘mirror wall’ dating from the 5th century AD, so-called because of its highly polished surface, has galleries with pockets of frescoes in brilliant tempera.
Dambulla, an ancient historical site with caves and temples set on a large granite outcrop towering 160m above the surrounding land.
- Day4 Kandy: The Kandy House
You will leave the Sigiriya and go by road to Kandy (approx 3 ½ hours) where you will stay at the Kandy House, a superb colonial estate bungalow, situated in a spice estate of rolling hills on the edge of Kandy City. You will be in a Gallery Room on a bed and breakfast basis.
While in Kandy, take the opportunity to visit the Temple of the Buddha’s tooth relic, nearby tea plantations, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
- Day5 Hill Country: Castlereagh Bungalow
You will leave Kandy and drive to the Hill Country (approx 2 ½ hours) where you will be accommodated in a Garden Suite on a full board basis at Castelreagh Bungalow, an old painter’s bungalow which has been restored to provide guests with sumptuous surroundings reminiscent of an English country house.
- Day6 Hill Country: Castlereagh Bungalow
Nestling in the hills of the Dickoya region in central Sri Lanka, at over 5000 feet above sea level, is Ceylon Tea Trails – four classic colonial bungalows, built originally for the British tea estate managers in the days of the Raj, now boasting luxurious suites and butler service. On your way to these bungalows you will pass through low hills whose slopes are covered with the ‘green gold’, Sri Lanka’s largest export, tea.
The resident staff at Castlereagh Bungalow will help you organise activities in the area: walking and biking trails, white water rafting, riding, excursions to tea estates and boating on the lake.
- Day7 Galle: The Dutch House
You will leave the Hill Country and drive to Galle (approx 4 hours) where you will be accommodated at The Dutch House in a suite on a bed and breakfast basis. The Dutch House or ‘Dornberg’ is a hilltop colonial mansion overlooking Galle harbour and the historic fort.
Galle is the most important town in the south and has retained much of its colonial atmosphere. The town was originally Sri Lanka’s main port
(before the growth of Colombo) and has a world heritage listed fort that dominates the town.
- Day8 Thalpe: a beach stay at Apa Villa
You will leave Galle and drive to Thalpe (approx 30 minutes). You will stay at the Apa Villa in the Cardamom Suite on a bed and breakfast basis. Located in a mature coconut grove, Apa Villa is a small boutique hotel offering some of the most refined accommodation on the resplendent Sri Lankan south coast.
- Day9 Thalpe: a beach stay at Apa Villa
The style of the villas befits a gentle tropical existence of monsoon rains, surf and splendid sunsets. All suites are oriented to the sea.
- Day10 Thalpe: a beach stay at Apa Villa
A unique elongated swimming pool is shaded by swaying palm trees and at its beach end is a wooden deck positioned to watch the rolling waves and spot the occasional ship passing or a sea turtle surfacing for air.
- Day11 Thalpe: a beach stay at Apa Villa
Meals can be chosen from a mixture of Sri Lankan curries, or fresh seafood of lobsters, tiger prawns and yellow-fin tuna cooked to recipes of the world. Dining in the main house living room if you wish is for 12, though guests may choose to have breakfast or dine in the shade of the coconut palms, the beach deck or their own veranda.
- Day12 Colombo: Galle Face Hotel
You will leave Apa Villa and drive to Colombo (approx 4 hours). You will stay at the Galle Face Hotel in an Oceanic Deluxe Room in the Regency Wing on a bed and breakfast basis. With a swimming pool on the seafront, the Galle Face Hotel is a haven of calm in the heart of the bustling city of Colombo.
Colombo is the economic and political capital of Sri Lanka.
Places worth exploring are the Fort, the Cinnamon Gardens and Pettah (an old and historically interesting district).
- Day13 Depart
Your driver will collect you from the Galle Face Hotel and drive you to Colombo airport for your departure.
Our tours start from as little as USD $1,000 per person. This price includes a meet and greet service, a personal government-appointed guide and private vehicle, luxury accommodation, internal travel and transfers and entrance prices where applicable.
Please note that all prices are quoted in US dollars. You will be responsible for your international flights to and from your chosen destination together with any visas.
Anyone anywhere in the world interested in independent travel to the Indian subcontinent: India, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I will arrange a unique tour to suit your requirements and interests. We work in conjunction with locally-based operators so you can be assured that you will be looked after every step of the way. We arrange all of the transportation within the countries you will be visiting, but not flights to and from your country.
We arrange all of the hotel rooms, private transport, sightseeing and guides as well as tickets for the local trains. I will also advise on itineraries, suggesting off-the-beaten track sights as well as the well-known ones. I can suggest parks and reserves for wildlife enthusiasts and I can organise tours for special interests: history, bird watching, painting, fishing (fly and coarse), and Father’s Footsteps (finding the places where parents or ancestors might have lived during colonial times).
I normally quote 4 or 5 star hotels, and where possible, former royal palaces. I can of course arrange accommodation in hotels which are specifically named but I do not make recommendations for any that are less than 4-star. Palaces come under the ‘Heritage’ category and with no two palaces the same, these properties create a vast and interesting variation.
Not unless you would wish to create your own group. I can arrange an itinerary for a group of any size, should that be required but that of course means that some of the smaller palaces would be unable to accommodate you. As I create unique itineraries for all of my clients, I work closely with you from the initial planning stages. You can call me or send me an email using the contact page of this site.
If you are going for a specific purpose (conference, friends and family), we can arrange an itinerary around the dates without penalty. I can also arrange group travel, conference activities and special events if required.
We arrange local government approved guides wherever you go. They are for your exclusive use so you can arrange your itinerary with them should you wish to make changes. You may decide to relax by the pool for an afternoon rather than go sightseeing!
From the information that you supply, I offer an itinerary that will match your requirements. We then agree on the pace of the tour and I obtain a costing. If there are adjustments to make, I may suggest suitable alternatives until we agree on the total itinerary. You will be invoiced from the host country for payment, normally 50% on booking, and the balance wherever possible, six weeks prior to arrival. Most hotels will only confirm a booking after the deposit has been placed with them. Some will even require the full amount. For bookings with less than three months’ notice, full payment will be required as some hotels require full payment by this stage.
The more notice I have the better as the hotels become booked up very quickly in the popular areas. Five to six months would be the ideal.
I have excellent contacts with reputable inbound operators in all of the respective countries and have known and worked with them all for many years. These companies have arrangements with local operators at all of the major places and all of the sightseeing guides provided are government-approved.
For India, yes, for most nationalities. The Indian Government has relaxed their rules recently so that tourists from some countries can obtain visas on arrival, otherwise a visa must be obtained prior to travel. All of the Indian Embassies and High Commissions have details and downloadable application forms on their websites. Note that passports must be valid for at least six months at the time of travel.
In Nepal, visas are available on arrival. They are normally for 14 days, but can be extended to 28 days. Nepal Embassies also issue visas. It is recommended you obtain your visa prior to arrival by land.
For Bhutan, Agents in Kathmandu can arrange visas in a couple of days.
For Sri Lanka, certain nationals may visit for 30 days, obtaining a free visa on arrival.
For Tibet, our agents in Kathmandu can obtain China-Tibet visas if you are travelling from Nepal. You will need to spend a couple of days in Kathmandu while the visa is being obtained.
In all cases, it is always advisable to check with the relevant embassy.
See our advice pages for further information but it is advisable to take malaria precautions especially from June to October. And don’t drink the water! Make sure you only have boiled, filter, or bottled mineral water.
In India, all transactions made by foreigners to do with tourism are to be paid with hard currency. This is law. There are an increasing number of ATM cash points throughout the region though if you are in the countryside, they are still rare. It is best to carry Travellers’ Cheques in any of the hard currencies. Keep a record of the numbers, together with a photocopy of the personal information page of your passport. All exchanges should be made through licensed currency exchangers.
In India and Nepal an increasing number of airlines are emerging but there can be delays towards the end of the day as many of the local airports are unable to deal with this increase in traffic. The standard of service on the flights is similar to other domestic ‘no frills’ services. In Sri Lanka there are air taxis which link the main areas of interest.
I advise that on the last day of your tour, you do not rely upon flying late in the day to catch an international flight.
Yes, mostly. You will have a few problems getting around with English as it is very widely spoken.
These are very poor countries and there are many people begging on the streets. Although it is natural to want to help them, it is best to ignore them but clearly this is your decision. Be aware, however, that there are also many professional beggars.
The main tourist months are September to December and February to April when the temperatures are not as high. The monsoon months are June to September. However, because of the size of the area, there is something to see comfortably throughout the year.