5 Tours You Shouldn’t miss
What makes Sri Lanka such an incredible place to visit? Check out Khiri Travel’s top signature tours here to discover why its breathtaking beaches, ancient cities, rolling tea country, delicious food, wildlife safaris, and, of course, its fabulously welcoming people, make this enigmatic island one of the most exhilarating destinations in the Orient.
Polonnaruwa: Discover Rural Life and the Ancient City of Kings
Polonnaruwa is known for its imposing ruins and monuments that hark back to a lost golden age of Sinhalese kings, but it’s also a beautiful destination to slow down and take in the easy pace of local village life. Cycle through this idyllic rural backwater to several small lakes, where local fishermen can be seen casting their nets and the exotic birdlife is in abundance.
For lunch enjoy curries at a local restaurant surrounded by rice fields and peaceful rural scenes. Everything in Sri Lanka is curried from meat and lentils to tubers, vegetables and even fruit. The colorful dishes with their tangy flavors blend perfectly to create a deliciously unique and healthy meal.
Explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, including the colossal ruins of King Parakramabahu’s palace where stonemasons once carved massive Buddha images into the rock at the temple of Gal Vihara – a testament to the revered status of Gautama Buddha and the importance of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lankan society.
Life in Kandy from a Local Perspective
Kandy is well known for its grand temples, the hospitality of its people, colorful streets and markets. Spend the day with a local host family from this royal city and experience its sights and sounds from a local perspective. With your family venture into the city to see bustling and colorful markets where locals come to shop and chat.
Visit their beautifully kept home and enjoy a home-cooked meal of paratha, hoppers, devilled chicken and dhal curry, along with delicious Sri Lankan sweets that use rice flour, treacle, and coconut milk.
Dressed in a white or light-colored tunic of the kind that local devotees wear, visit the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, where your hosts demonstrate the local rituals of Buddhist worship. You will come away with a completely new perspective of the city and a tranquil peace of mind.
Train Rides and Tales of Tea
Ride a train into the mist covered mountains of Sri Lanka’s tea country and gain some insight into the lives of local tea pickers. Meet your host, a local tea planter, who shares his stories about working in Sri Lanka’s tea plantations where he spent decades accruing his experience.
Walk through the stunning mist-covered mountains with stupendous views and hillsides carpeted with tea. Learn about the changes in the tea business and how the tea estates have evolved over more than a century. Meet and chat with friendly local tea pickers, a workforce that is predominantly made up of Tamil women. It’s a hard back-breaking life, though conditions have improved dramatically since the 19th century.
Join your host for a private tea-tasting experience and learn how to determine the qualities of different teas, before sitting back and savoring some of the freshest most flavorful tea on the planet.
Camping and Safari Encounters
It’s hardly surprising that Forbes magazine has named Sri Lanka at the best place to go on wildlife safari outside Africa. Its magnificent unspoiled parks and rolling jungle make for thrilling adventures, where you can spot all sorts of exotic and colorful wildlife.
Spend the day on safari and the night sleeping in luxury tented accommodation in Yala National Park, one of the most exciting destinations to experience Sri Lanka’s amazing flora and fauna. A biodiversity renowned for its elephants, bears, elusive big cats and aquatic birdlife, Yala is the largest park in the country.
Located near the remote area of Kataragama to avoid the park’s crowded southern region, Kulu Safaris has six tents that are the perfect place to camp for couples or families looking for a unique way to explore this isolated wilderness, away from the crowds and safari jeeps.
All of the camp’s tents are custom made in South Africa by one of the world’s leading safari outfitters and after a day out on jeep safari, the campsite is a fresh and inviting retreat. Sleep in the wilderness and listen to the calls of the wild from the safety of your comfortable, tented accommodation.
Another Side of Colombo Life
Discover the local way of life during Colombo on our walk and tuk-tuk ride – exploring the backstreets and alleyways of this fascinating metropolis – an enlightening adventure into one of the world’s friendliest cities.
Rashan, a true local born and bred, leads the way past fancy shops and tourist areas to explore parts of the city not normally visited. Called appropriately ‘Rashan’s Walk’, venture to Galle Face Green, an ocean-side urban park, with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean and city skyline, and explore the fascinating side streets and alleyways of Slave Island – the real ‘face’ of the city. Meet and chat with different people and learn about how they make a living.
No frills or scripts – simply local life as you see it. Enjoy also some local food, like kottu ‘rotti’ – an everyday Sri Lankan meal not to be missed that is best eaten at a street ‘food joint’. And if the time is right, drop in on a puja prayer ceremony, held at a Hindu Temple.
For such a small island nation, Sri Lanka is a diverse destination with an amazing range of experiences and a people, whose hospitality and generosity remind us that travel is not just about the sights, but about personal encounters, the conversations and friendships you make. Join Khiri Travel to discover another side of Sri Lankan life.
For more information and to book these tours, or other unique adventures throughout Sri Lanka, get in touch with us at: [email protected]