Sri Lanka Northern Circuit Safari

An adventurous exploration of central and northeastern Sri Lanka, taking in the historic sights of the ‘cultural triangle’, the wildlife of Wilpattu National Park and the white sandy beaches of Kuchaveli.

Duration 15 days
Price From $5,041
When Dec - Sep
Destination Sri Lanka

Safari Overview

This adventure through Sri Lanka’s central and north-eastern region takes you through picturesque tea plantations, ancient cities and wildlife-rich forests, with some rest and relaxation on the beaches of Kuchaveli - among the most stunning and peaceful on the island. Discover the highlights of the ‘cultural triangle’, including the ruins of Anuradhapura and the ornate sculptures of the Dambulla Cave Temple, and spend some time in the verdant tea plantations of the northern hills, before heading to the beaches of the eastern coastline. You will also have the opportunity to encounter wildlife such as leopards, elephants and sloth bears in Wilpattu National Park, the oldest and largest park on the island.

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Soak up the Sri Lankan culture in ancient cities, temples and fortresses.
  • Visit the famed Temple of the Tooth, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha.
  • Relax on the white sandy beaches of the east coast.
  • Search for leopards and other wildlife in the scenic Wilpattu National Park.

Despite its small size, Sri Lanka offers visitors a rich cultural history, incredible wildlife and idyllic beaches.

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Colombo

On your arrival into Colombo International Airport, make your way through customs where you will be met by your guide. From here you will be driven to your secluded hotel, the Wallawwa, where the rest of the day is yours to relax following your flight.

Overnight: The Wallawwa

Day 2

Colombo - Kandy

Wake up to your first morning in Sri Lanka. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and drive you to Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka known for its beautifully landscaped botanical gardens and the Temple of the Tooth, a popular pilgrimage site where a relic of the Buddha's tooth is housed. Spend the evening exploring the temple with your guide, before returning to your hotel for dinner.

Overnight: Elephant Stables D

Day 3

Kandy - Elkaduwa

This morning you will explore the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, including the world-famous orchid collection, and catch a glimpse of the flying foxes that reside within the gardens. Afterwards, you will be driven north into the tea plantations of the northern hills. You will be staying in a beautiful colonial-era mansion on the Ashburnham tea estate, overlooking the plantations and waterfalls that characterise this area. Spend the remainder of the day relaxing by the pool or exploring the surrounding tea gardens.

Day 4


Spend the day exploring the tea plantations of Elkaduwa, including a tour of a local tea factory where you will learn about the tea-making process and taste some Sri Lankan tea. You can also enjoy a leisurely hike through the plantations, breathing in the fresh air and admiring the stunning surrounding landscapes.

Day 5

Elkaduwa - Sigiriya

Head north towards the 'cultural triangle', so-called for the myriads of culturally important sites including the cave temples of Dambulla and the ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Upon arrival in Sigiriya, check into your hotel and head out in the evening for a walk to the local village.

Day 6

Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

Wake up early this morning for a visit to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, built on a giant stone monolith for King Kaysapa in in the 5th century AD. Ascend the rock to the fortress in the early morning when the weather is still cool, stopping as you go to admire the cave frescoes and incredible views. In the afternoon you will visit the ruins of the ancient capital city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where there are many palaces, Buddha statues and temples to be seen.

Day 7

Anuradhapura & Dambulla

This morning you will visit the sprawling archaeological site of Anuradhapura, another of Sri Lanka's historic capital cities. As well as numerous stupas, pagodas and statues, Anuradhapura is also the site of a sacred Bo Tree dating back to 245 BC. After enjoying lunch in a local restaurant, you will head to the Dambulla Cave Temples, a series of 80 caves painted with intricate religious imagery and containing many beautifully ornate Buddha statues. King Kassapa is said to have hid in exile in the caves following his fall from power, and later built the temple to express his gratitude to the Buddhist monks who resided there.

Day 8

Sigiriya - Trincomalee

Today you will be transferred to the beaches of the eastern coast and the town of Trincomalee. Trincomalee is a former British naval base and is a fascinating town to explore, and the white sandy beaches of the nearby Kuchaveli are the perfect place to relax.

Days 9-11


The next few days are yours to spend as you wish, with plenty of time for sunbathing on the stunning beaches of the eastern coastline and swimming in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. The scenery and culture of this region is quite distinct from the rest of the island and there are many interesting places to explore.

Day 12

Trincomalee - Wilpattu

Bid farewell to the beaches as you head across the island to Wilpattu National Park. Wilpattu is the oldest national park in Sri Lanka, with beautiful landscapes dotted with scenic 'willus' (lakes), and arguably one of the best places in the world for sightings of Asiatic leopard. On your arrival in the park, you will be met by your camp team and, time permitting, head out on an afternoon game drive into the park, before returning to sleep under the starlit skies.

Day 13

Wilpattu National Park

Rise early this morning for a morning game drive in the national park, with possible sightings of elephant, leopard, deer, crocodile and the endangered Sri Lankan sloth bear. Return to camp for a late-morning breakfast and a rest, before heading out in the afternoon for your second game drive of the day.

Day 14

Wilpattu - Colombo

After a leisurely morning at camp you will be transferred south to your next hotel, located on a 50 acre plantation an hours drive from Colombo, for your final night in Sri Lanka.

Overnight: Horathapola Estate B

Day 15

Depart Sri Lanka

Depart your hotel this morning and transfer to Colombo International Airport for your flight back home.

Trip Details

Dates and Prices

This safari is tailor-made to meet your specific requirements including your preferred number of days, dates of travel, standard of lodges and budget.

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safari is one designed specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you.

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