Travel Like a Local

Travel Like a Local

As travelers who love to explore new places, we believe that the true essence of a place lies in enjoying the local culture, activities and flavor, which includes its cuisine, music, festivals, off the beaten path experiences with full authenticity.

What to Expect

10 Nights / 11 Days

As travelers who love to discover new destinations, we believe that the true soul of a place lies in appreciating the local culture, happenings and essence, which includes its cuisine, music, festivals, off the beaten path experiences with full authenticity.

Day 1 : Airport > Negombo

Drive:  30 minutes

Hotel:  Villa Hundira – Breakfast & dinner included

At the airport you will be greeted by your chauffeur guide who will take you to the fishing village of Negombo. Drive past the mini harbor of Negombo to get to the hotel. Enjoy your stay at the hotel overlooking the lagoon.

Day 2 : Route – Negombo > Galle

Drive:  3 hours

Hotel:  Fort Bliss Homestay – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:   Galle Fort, Markets of Galle

Visit the fish markets of Negombo. Set off from coastal Negombo to understand the life of the coastal fishermen and their loved ones.

Flowing through the core of the city, Negombo Dutch Canal once acted as a significant transportation and trading road. Today, the long canal still allows transference, but mostly for residents looking for a way to get around the city. You can approach a local fishermen and he will take you on a ferry ride on the quiet waters of the remarkable Hamilton canal. Take a relaxing ride that goes past the people living at the brink of the canal; get a glimpse of the grownups at their various errands, while little kids smile playfully and wave at the passing ferries. Enjoy the tranquility and cool breeze as the ferry takes you down to the attractive Maha-Oya. Benefit from several relaxing minutes at the wetland observing the monkeys, water monitors and a profusion of birdlife such as Herons, Kingfishers, Egrets, and Cormorants.

Explore the Galle fort upon arrival. A Unesco Heritage Site, this significant city is a enjoyment to explore on foot, an boundlessly exotic old trading harbor blessed with impressive Dutch-colonial buildings, antique mosques and churches, impressive mansions and galleries. Traveling its rambling lanes you’ll pass fashionable cafes, peculiar boutiques and perfectly restored hotels owned by artists, photographers, writers and inventors. Visit the fresh fruit and vegetable markets in Galle and sample some goods!

Day 3 : Route – Galle > Yala

Drive:  3.5 hours

Hotel:  Big Game Campsite – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Stilt fishermen, Turtle hatchery, White virgin tea estate visit, Hummayana blowhole

Enjoy the coastal drive to Yala. En route see the stilt fishermen if you are lucky. Also visit the minor scale white virgin tea plantation to see the exclusive process of making tea with a free cuppa tea, see a turtle hatchery and the Hummayana blowhole which is a rare marvel.

In Tissamaharama village, learn to make bread in an ancient old-fashioned oven with a local household and see the process of curd making and tasting which is famous in this region.

Don’t forget to sample the local curd with authentic treacle honey before checking into your campsite in the interior of the jungle!

Day 4 : Route – Yala

Hotel:  Big Game Campsite – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Yala national park, Bundala national park

Safari time in a rumbling 4×4 jeep! Bundala National Park is a lovely maze of ponds, banks and waterways that sparkle like gold in the fading evening sun. This paradise provides a home to scores of colorful birds stretching from tiny little bee-eaters to surreal open-billed stalks.

Another safari will be perfect for the afternoon! Yala is Sri Lanka’s most famed national park. Forming a total area of light forest, grassy plains, scrub and salty lagoons, it’s extremely rich in wildlife and you’re almost certain to encounter elephants, crocodiles, leopards, bears, buffaloes and monkeys.

Rest of the day at your campsite exchanging stories around the bonfire!

Day 5 : Route – Yala > Ella

Drive:  3.5 hours

Hotel:  Waterfalls Homestay – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Diyaluma waterfalls, Buduruwegala

Visit Buduruwagala en route to Ella. This attractive, 1000-year-old, rock-cut Lord Buddha statute are is region’s main attraction for locals but very less known to tourists. The enormous standing Lord Buddha still has hints of its original stone robe, and a lengthy strip of orange shows that it was once radiantly dyed.

The Diyaluma Falls is the country’s third-highest waterfall standing at 171m high. Pouring down, the falls bound over the cliff face and fall in one pure drop to a pond underneath. Check into your simple but excellently serviced homestay later on and enjoy the view of yet another waterfall en route, the Rawana falls!

Have a refreshing beli-flower tea cuppa to revive yourselves on the journey end check into your authentic and delightful homestay in the mountains!

Day 6 : Route – Ella

Hotel:  Waterfalls Homestay – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Rawana waterfalls, Little Adams Peak, 9 Arc Bridge

Once in Ella, you will see why it’s everyone’s favorite hill-country village, and the village to ease off the travel accelerator with a few leisurely days resting in your choice of some of the country’s best guesthouses. The views through Ella Gap are stunning. Visit the beautiful Rawana waterfalls in the morning.

Have lunch and then trek the Little Adams peak to see the 9 Arc bridge and the sunset from above! This trek gives you an opportunity to experience the country’s rural areas up to the top of Little Adam’s Peak and on a cross country walk across to Demodara Railway Station. See the great views from the summit of Little Adams Peak, followed by the astounding sunrise or sunset. Walk over the well-known Nine Arches Bridge with its astounding history. Hike to the Demodara Railway Station and see the exceptional looping railroad, a piece of architecture that is the only one of its kind in Lanka.

Grab some delicious ginger tea with jaggery en route for an authentic beverage as a reward!


Day 7 : Route – Ella > Kandy

Drive:  6 hours train journey

Hotel:  Kirinda Wallawwa – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Train journey from Ella to Kandy, Kandy fresh markets and street food

Enjoy the scenic train journey from Ella to Kandy admiring views of waterfalls, tea estates, villages, forests and mountains. Check into your homestay in the scenic hills of Kandy.

Kirinda Wallawwa is an authentic homestay facing a wonderful view of Mahaweli River and natural sceneries which will provide you the ideal location to relax your senses.

Enjoy an afternoon dedicated for street food and fresh fruit and vegetable market walks! With some exotic fruits in the Kandy market, walk around the market and learn about the various regional vegetables and their uses. Head to the women’s co-operative for some authentic snacks that you’d only get to try if you knew someone’s grandmother. Then cut into the trading street of Kandy. Try some traditional authentic snacks and a cool king coconut, before moving on to the main meal.

Try out the local Arrack and bites to set the tone before heading out for some gluttony. Egg rotis, fresh hoppers and the best Kothu are up for grabs. Our charismatic host will regale you with stories about Kandy while you indulge in the many food options on the walk. Finally end the walk with some curd and treacle to cool you down.

Day 8 : Route – Kandy

Hotel:  Kirinda Wallawwa – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Traditional Cooking demonstration, Kandy upper lake drive, Temple of the tooth, Cultural show

Begin the day with an authentic cooking class in your guesthouse over earthenware pots and wooden stove and have the lunch which you prepared.

Then head to the town. Some days Kandy’s skies seem forever bruised, with mist clinging to the mountains surrounding the city’s beautiful central lake. Gentle hill-country breezes compel the mist to softly part, revealing vibrant houses amid Kandy’s forested aura.

The gold-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth holds Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist artifact – a tooth of Lord Buddha. During ‘puja’ (offerings or prayers), the protected chamber housing the same is open to worshipers and visitors.

With extravagant costumes, revolving dances and heart-stopping, fire-breathing maneuvers, a Kandyan cultural dance is surely one of the most essential experiences of a stay here.

Offer an oil lamp and flowers to the temple joining the locals to obtain blessings!

Day 9 : Route – Kandy > Sigiriya

Drive:  3 hours

Hotel:  Back of Beyond Treehouse, Pidurangala – Breakfast & dinner included

Highlights:  Sigiriya, Pidurangala

Transfer to Sigiriya after a leisurely breakfast and check into your tree house in the middle of the soft forest. In the afternoon climb Sigiriya or Pidurangala.

En route visit the little known Arankelle Monastery which is an archeological wonder in its own right. On the grades of the mountain containing Arankele Monastery is a group of rock caves once used by priests and monks for protection, shelter and contemplation. Though the caves remain rough outside with the exclusion of the drip shelves, the inner walls are well coated with lime. It was the site of a prehistoric forest hermitage or monastery – the somber dwelling for recluse priests and monks who sought its very isolation and seclusion.

Climb Sigiriya in the afternoon! Rising vividly from the central plains, this mysterious rocky outcrop is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most theatrical sight.  Near-vertical walls ascend to a flat-topped peak that contains the remains of an early civilisation, thought to be formerly the epicenter of the brief kingdom of King Kassapa.

Grab a cooling king coconut en route to refresh yourselves!

Pidurangala is a gigantic rock foundation almost directly opposite Sigiriya and has an similarly grand view of rolling lake-and-land panoramas. Even though Sigiriya Fortress is the highly spoken rock formation in the area, a hike to Pidurangala can be a more memorable off-the-beaten-path experience. The cool breeze will take away all your tiredness when you are on the top. You can explore more on the connections king Rawana claimed to have had with aliens and spaceships believed to be landed on this flat rock base of Pidurangala. Doesn’t that sound interesting?

Check into your basic but utterly charming tree house for the night and catch a glimpse of elephants around the area in the night if you are lucky!

Day 10 : Route – Sigiriya > Polonnaruwa > Colombo

Drive:  4.5 hours

Hotel:  The Mangrove – Breakfast included

Highlights:  Polonnaruwa ancient ruins, Colombo Markets and Street Food

Visit Polonnaruwa after breakfast and the best way to explore these ruins are via cycles. Kings ruled the dominant plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa eight hundred years ago, when it was a flourishing commercial and spiritual centre. The splendors of that era can be explored in the archaeological resources that still give a good idea of how the metropolitan looked in its prime. You’ll find the archaeological green a delight to discover, with hundreds of prehistoric constructions – statues and stupas, tombs and temples– in a solid core. The Quadrangle only is worth the journey.

Afterwards transfer to Colombo, the main city solely for the architecture and scrumptious street food. Drive around the city to see the architecture and history and then get ready for a street food tour! This is a great way to get a sense of how life is in Colombo for locals. You will not only taste a large variety of food and know about its origins but also touch on the history of the different areas you will be visiting. The only thing you need to make sure is to come hungry as there will be a lot of food :) You will meet at the Galle Face Green, the ideal place for eating street food overlooking the sunset! Here you can try a number of different snacks and short eats and walk over to the nearby Slave Island neighborhood and visit one of their many small local “hole-in-the-wall” food joints. Not only is the food amazing but they are located in beautiful old colonial buildings although very worn out in a charming way.

Don’t forget to try a shot of Ceylon Arrack or Toddy to get the taste of the beverage locals revere in one of the quaint hole in the wall pubs!

Day 11 : Route – Colombo > Airport

Drive:  1 hour

As all good things must come to an end, your chauffeur guide with comfortably take you to the international airport in time for your return flight with pleasant memories.

Where to Stay

Learn more about the properties available for your trip.

We are a peaceful homestay at an ancestral home where our guests can experience the two centuries of history tucked away in the hill country of Sri Lanka.

Right next to famous Sigiriya is it’s elusive sister Pidurangala rock. Blending deep into the 4-acre forest is our peaceful retreat dubbed ‘bird park’ by the villagers.

The Mangrove

Luxurious living close to the City, together with warm hospitality is not just a promise by the Mangrove Family.

Add-on Experiences

We have many activities to keep you busy during your stay. See our destination pages for more information.

Known as the Dalada Maligawa, this site is a must see for culture and heritage lovers, where the sacred Tooth Relic is kept.

A haven for sambar deer, toque macaques and leopards, the park is now a world renowned destination site.

A giant rock fortress that lies in the heart of Sigiriya village, it is famed for its historical value and the magnificent glory it brings to the culture and heritage of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Tailor-made