2 Weeks Off-Beat Sri Lanka Tour with Kandy Perahera: The Most Spectacular Festival!

The 15-day off the beaten path Sri Lanka tour, from wildlife safaris to Kandy Perahera Festival, to Trincomalee to Jaffna, to Knuckles Mountain Range Hiking and more!

Duration

15 days, 14 nights

Group Size

Min 4-Max 8

Min Age

18+

Start/End

Colombo Airport

One-of-a-kind Sri Lanka tour with Kandy Perahera Festival!

Sri Lanka is home to many amazing sights, but if you’re looking to experience something unusual, why not check out the hidden gem that is the Esala Perahera Festival in Kandy? This ancient festival is a well-kept secret, offering a one-of-a-kind experience that many travelers overlook.

Here at MAHO on Earth, we are advocates of enriching vacations with unforgettable experiences, not just typical trips. That’s why we’ve curated a one-of-a-kind itinerary to explore the hidden gems of Sri Lanka.

Our epic Sri Lanka Tour Festival Edition starts with the privilege of catching arguably Sri Lanka’s most important and captivating festival, the Kandy Esala Perahera, and goes as far as Jaffna in the north to deep dive in its fascinating colonial history, as well as visiting Sri Lanka’s evocative archaeological sites, its magnificent temples and monuments, wildlife safaris, nature hikes, and of course palm-fringed beaches, coral reefs and whales.

Off-the-beaten-path two weeks in Sri Lanka Tour Package Highlights

  • Get ready to witness a mesmerizing spectacle at the Kandy Perahera, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and grandest Buddhist festivals to honor the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. We will be in Kandy for 3 nights to catch the best processions!
  • Hiking in the beautiful Knuckles Mountain Range
  • Delve into UNESCO sites: Dambulla Cave Temple, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, and Polonnaruwa Ancient City
  • Encounter elephant herds, leopards and other wildlife on two safaris in Minneriya and Wilpattu National Parks
  • Beach time in Trincomalee, optional snorkeling/diving in Pigeon Island and a chance to see Blue Whales!
  • Jaffna City tour and the Nallur Temple Festival, the longest Hindu festival in Sri Lanka (yes, one festival is not enough!)
  • Day trip to the remote Delft and Nagadeepa Islands with rich history from the Chola Dynasty, Portuguese, Dutch and the British colonial period
  • Jaffna to Anuradhapura train journey
  • Mihintale Rock temple complex, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
  • Local village visits and a lot more…

Kandy Perahera Festival: A Visual Extravaganza

The annual Esala Perahera in Kandy, Sri Lanka, is a vibrant Buddhist parade that lasts around 10 days in August. Centered around the Buddha’s tooth relic, a sacred object that is usually housed at the Temple of the Tooth in downtown Kandy. However, during the Kandy Perahera, the relic is paraded through the streets, accompanied by stunning performances that turn the parade into a cultural extravaganza not to be missed.

For ten glorious nights in July or August annually, the streets come alive with vibrant processions. Known as Perahera, these parades feature a captivating display of thousands of musicians, dancers, drummers, and talented performers. Amidst this enchanting extravaganza, elegantly adorned hundreds of elephants and majestic tuskers gracefully march along, carrying the revered tooth relic in a beautifully adorned casket.

The grand finale of the festival takes place with a breathtaking water cutting ceremony at the Mahaweli River in Kandy.

As the nights go by, the parade only becomes more magnificent, with an increasing number of performers and elephants joining the procession.

Prepare to be captivated by the rich cultural heritage and spiritual fervor of Esala Perahera.

Kandy Perahera

Nallur Festival: The Massive 25-day long Hindu Festival

In Sri Lanka, hundreds of Hindu devotees come together to celebrate the Nallur Festival, the country’s longest festival lasting 25 days. Hosted by the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple in Jaffna, this grand event is a tribute to God Murugan in the month of August.

Pilgrims and devotees from across the country and even abroad participate, creating a vibrant and spiritual atmosphere.

The festivities begin with the flag hoisting and include various religious ceremonies for the first 10 days. The ‘Ther Festival’ on the 24th day marks the conclusion of the celebrations, with the sacred image of God Murugan paraded around the city on a chariot, accompanied by drumming, dances, and chanting. We won’t be there for the final day, but we will catch the celebrations on days 19-21.

Join us and collect unforgettable memories over the span of two weeks in Sri Lanka!

Immerse yourself in the rich traditions and lifestyle of Sri Lanka by experiencing not one but TWO festivals firsthand, and explore remote, off-the-beaten-path corners of Sri Lanka with us!

Secure your spot now on this extraordinarily enriching Sri Lanka tour with MAHO on Earth!

Inclusions/Exclusions

  • 14 nights of accommodation
  • 14 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch and 1 Dinner (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • All in country transport according to the itinerary
  • Local English speaking guide and driver throughout the trip
  • Pre-departure information pack
  • German and Turkish language support
  • 3 nights in Kandy during Kandy Perahera Festival
  • Hiking in Knuckles Mountain Range
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Sigiriya and Pidurangala Rocks
  • Minneriya NP safari
  • Village visit with lunch
  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City
  • Beach time in Trincomalee (optional snorkeling/diving)
  • Delft and Nagadeepa Islands visit by ferry
  • Mihintale/Mihintalaya Temple Complex visit
  • Train journey Jaffna-Anuradhapura
  • Wilpattu NP half day safari
  • Airfares
  • Sri Lankan visa fee
  • Medications, vaccinations, personal expenses
  • Travel/health insurance (recommended)
  • Meals other than specified
  • Tips for local guides
  • Optional activities and anything else not specified as included in the itinerary
  • Alcohol and soft drinks
  • All entrance fees

Tour Itinerary

Day 01 Arrival and transfer to Kandy

Welcome to Sri Lanka!

You'll be picked up from Colombo International Airport and transferred to the city of Kandy, where your fantastic Sri Lankan off-beat adventure starts.

Kandy is a picturesque town and UNESCO site situated around a lake and about 150 km away from Colombo. The transfer by road will take around 3-4 hours.

After checking in and freshening up, we will meet for a group dinner before hitting the streets of Kandy to catch a glimpse of the festival processions. Those who would like to recover from the long journey may do so, as we will have two more nights in Kandy to watch the stunning processions.

  • Included meals: Dinner (D)
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Airport pick-up and transfer to Kandy

Note: Please arrive no later than 1 pm on the first day. We recommend you arrive a day earlier and spend a night in Negombo.  There will be one group transfer to Kandy. Private transfer is available upon request at an extra fee. 

Day 2-3 Kandy Perahera

Today and tomorrow is dedicated to making the most of festival celebrations and indulging in the Sri Lankan culture by joining the hundreds of locals and devotees who walk around in parades.

The Kandy Esala Perahera is a spectacular event that showcases the rich traditions of Sri Lanka. With traditional dancers, mesmerizing fire performers, skilled drummers, majestic elephants adorned in beautiful attire, and intricately decorated floats, this grand procession is a sight to behold. Spanning across 10 consecutive nights, each procession grows in magnificence, leaving spectators in awe, and so will we be for two consecutive days and nights.

Our local driver and guide will be with us throughout and throw in visits to nearby attractions like botanical/spice garden, temple visits, and so on. If you would like to do your own thing and wander the streets of Kandy, you are free to do so.

  • Included meals: Breakfast (B)
  • Accommodation:  Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Kandy Perahera Festival
Day 04 Hiking in Knuckles Mountain Range

Knuckles Mountain Range is Sri Lanka's one of the most stunning and overlooked natural wonders. There are several trails to choose from easy to strenuous, and we will regroup ourselves depending on fitness level. You can expect to see tea plantations, waterfalls, viewpoints, butterflies and endemic animals.

Overnight will be in the area to be able to enjoy the nature to the fullest.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Guided hiking in Knuckles Mountain Range
Day 05 Dambulla to Sigiriya

It will be hard to leave this beautiful place, but after a hearty breakfast, we will proceed to Dambulla Cave Temple, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.

The Dambulla Cave Temple is a living Buddhist site that is focused on a series of five cave shrines. Inhabited by forest-dwelling Buddhist monks since the 3rd century BCE, these natural caves have been transformed continuously throughout the historical period into one of the largest and most outstanding Buddhist complexes in the Southern and Southeastern Asian region, showcasing innovative approaches to interior layout and decoration.

After visiting the cave temple, another famous landmark Sigiriya, the ancient rock fortress is on agenda.

The 5th century rock fortress, Lion Rock is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.

Overnight in a nice hotel in the so-called Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Dambulla Cave Temple, Sigiriya Rock
Day 06 Minneriya National Park Safari

At this time of  year, elephants generally gather around "The Tank" in Minneriya National Park. There are three national parks in this area where elephants can roam freely. To ensure the best encounter, we will select the one based on current information and go on a half-day guided safari (National Park fee to be paid cash at the entrance, safari guide and jeep included).

We will then visit a local village for lunch, and proceed to Pidurangala Rock to enjoy the sunset and the best view of Sigiriya Rock.

  • Included meals: B, L
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Half-day guided safari, local village visit, Pidurangala Rock
Day 07 Polonnaruwa Ancient City to Trincomalee

Today after breakfast, we will head to Polonnaruwa Ancient City, the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993.

Polonnaruwa boasts well-preserved ruins set in a meticulously planned park. The compact layout makes it perfect for a leisurely exploration not only on foot but on a bicycle, too. Numerous temples, monuments, and stupas are conveniently located close to each other, linked by charming tree-lined streets.

After the guided visit of Polonnaruwa, we will transfer to Trincomalee (about 3 hours by road) on the east coast, one of the best waters to swim in Sri Lanka.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Polonnaruwa Ancient City tour (optional by bike)
Day 8-9 Free time in Trincomalee

We are halfway through our epic trip around Sri Lanka and the next two days is free to relax by the beach, join a snorkeling or diving trip in Pigeon Island, or go on a (blue) whale watching safari. There are also Hindu Temples, and natural hot springs to visit in close proximity.

Our local guide and driver will be happy to assist us upon request.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: None
Day 10 Trincomalee to Jaffna

Today after breakfast we will head to Jaffna, the northernmost city and cultural center in Sri Lanka. The journey by road will take about 5 hours.

Here we will be joining some of the Nallur Temple festival events, which lasts 25 days in total!

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Jaffna City tour (time permitting)
Day 11-12 Jaffna

We will spend the next two days exploring Jaffna and surroundings.

One day we will visit Delft & Nagadeepa Islands by local ferry, two differently unique islands off the coast of Jaffna peninsula.

Delft is a remote island with rich history from the Chola Dynasty, Portuguese, Dutch and the British colonial period and Nagadeepa island is home to the historic Nagadeepa Viharaya complex and the elaborate Nagapooshani Amman Kovil shrines. Certainly off-the-beaten-path surprising destinations that should not be missed by anyone visiting Jaffna. Apart from historical sites, a large baobab tree, various birds and wild horses can also be observed.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Delft & Nagadeepa Islands day tour, Jaffna city tour
Day 13 Jaffna to Anuradhapura by train

If you thought, we would leave Sri Lanka without riding a train, wrong!

We will hope on the 10:30 am train direct to Anuradhapura and enjoy the scenery passing by on  a 3-hour journey by Sri Lankan Flextime :)

After settling in and freshening up, we will visit the Mihintale mountain and temple for sunset, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Mihintale
Day 14 Wilpattu NP safari - Negombo

Today is an exciting day as we will go on a half day safari in Wilpattu National Park, some 35 km away from Anuradhapura.

The Wilpattu National Park is one of the most important elephant habitats in the country and is also a great place to observe the elusive Sri Lankan leopard and the sloth bear.

This park has a denser forest cover unlike many other National Parks in Sri Lanka. WNPs landscape comprises of dry zone forests and thorny scrub interspersed with extensive open plains, sand dunes and the unique Villu wetlands. Bare reddish cliffs rising abruptly from narrow beaches of the Portugal Bay and Dutch Bay are another striking feature of its landscape.

After the safari we will transfer to Negombo, the beach town near Colombo to catch the sunset one last time, and perhaps munch on delicious seafood to end an epic trip in style.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: Hotel (ensuite)
  • Included activities: Wilpattu NP half-day safari (park entrance fee excluded)
Day 15 Negombo to Airport

Today our one-of-a-kind tour sadly comes to an end. After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport. Depending on your flight departure time, you may want to do last minute souvenir shopping, or take a dip in the Indian Ocean, or even stay a couple of nights longer if you can.

  • Included meals: B
  • Accommodation: None
  • Included activities: Airport transfer

Please note: If you need any support with you pre-/post-tour arrangements, please get in touch with us. 

Tour Essentials

In the following sections, you'll find the essential information for Sri Lanka Tour with Kandy Perahera 2024:

Accommodation

The accommodation on this trip is a mixture of 3-4* good quality hotels and lovely establishments specially chosen for their location, uniqueness, value for money, or excellent facilities. All rooms have private ensuite bathroom, sometimes a shared pool is also available.

All rooms on all trips are shared with two people in each room. You'll have the option of a double bed or two single beds. Rooms may vary slightly by layout and view and will be assigned based on booking order.

Solo travelers will be paired up with another participant. There is no single room on this trip.

Please note that in Sri Lanka, one cannot expect the western standards in the places visited. Especially with respect to service, expect a lovely "laid back, unhurried" environment.

Meals

Breakfasts will be taken at the dining facilities of the accommodation. One lunch during a local village visit and a welcome dinner is included in the tour price. Otherwise, we'll have the freedom of trying out different restaurant options. Our guides will be happy to recommend good restaurants on the days when lunch or/and dinner are not included. 

Vegetarians can be catered for if you inform us upon booking. For other dietary requirements (vegan, gluten-free, allergies, etc.), please contact us to discuss the best course of action for you.

Transport

We'll use a private vehicle with A/C depending on the group size. Our group size is limited to 8 pax on this trip. Safaris will be done by jeeps, and we will take public ferry from Jaffna to visit the remote islands. Jaffna to Anuradhapura section will be covered by train (reserved seat carriages).

Passports and Visas

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka and have at least three blank pages, two facing each other.

Holders of ordinary passports issued by most nations, including EU nationalities, the US, the UK, Turkey, need a visa to enter Sri Lanka, which can be obtained on arrival ($50 USD), or online prior to travel.

Please consult the Sri Lankan Embassy/Consulate in your country of origin for further information about visas. Should you have any questions, we will be happy to assist.

You must ensure that passports and visas are valid for the countries visited. If your passport is in its final year, you should check with the Embassy of the country you are visiting.

Health/Vaccinations

Disclaimer: The following information is intended as a guide only and is not intended to replace professional advice. We, at MAHO on Earth, cannot guarantee that the following information is complete, up-to-date, accurate, or error-free. 

As of the publishing date, there are no mandatory vaccinations to enter the country, and Sri Lanka was certified malaria-free by WHO in 2016.

We do highly recommend that you obtain professional travel health advice at your doctor or an institute of tropical medicine with respect to your individual needs and your intended travel, including advice on vaccinations, anti-malarial and other medications based on your past vaccination history, your present medical condition, and your intended itinerary. 

Physical Level

To join this trip, you'll need to have a reasonable level of fitness. While not too strenuous, the tour involves somewhat long journeys, a fair amount of walking, early-morning wake-up calls, being in the sun in potentially hot temperatures, cold nights/mornings, and other similar scenarios. 

Special requests

This trip may not be suitable for people with special needs such as reduced mobility due to local conditions and activities. If in doubt, please contact us. 

Please do not send sensitive information (such as health, accident or other highly personal information) through our contact form. You may want to get in touch with us directly via phone instead.

Insurance

We do strongly recommend you take out travel insurance as soon as you make your deposit to ensure the most coverage. Your travel insurance policy should at least cover medical expenses, trip cancellations, activities you intend to do, and repatriation in the event of an accident or illness. We will reach out and collect your travel insurance and emergency contact details shortly before the departure date. Your trip price with us does not include any travel insurance. Travel insurance policies are generally speaking more economical when taken out locally in your country of origin.

Cash & Co

While your trip with us cover most of the expenses, things such as dinners, lunches, entrance fees, alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, snacks, laundry, visa fee, and tips for local guides/driver are examples of a few additional costs that might arise during your trip. Any optional activity is mentioned clearly so that you don't have to worry about hidden costs.

In Sri Lanka, cash is the king. We recommend carrying some cash and budgeting around $20 – $50 USD/EUR per day for incidental expenses and tips. Entrance fees for touristic places ranges from $3 USD to $65 USD and can increase without prior notice.

Please note: Our tour prices do not include tips/gratuities for the local guides, as tipping is discretionary and should be based on your satisfaction with the service provided. It is however customary to express your appreciation for a job well done, and guidelines will be given on tipping local guides.

Further details and recommendations on what to pack will be provided prior to departure.

Travel Companions

We care about getting to know our fellow travellers, hence we keep our groups small and intimate. Our tours usually run with 12 or fewer participants and require a minimum of 6 participants to take place. This trip is a micro-group tour with 4-8 participants. It will be an international group and the main language will be English. We also speak German and Turkish.

People from all walks of life and nationalities, singles, couples, friends, and families with a sense of adventure, an open mind, and an open heart can join our tours. We consider each trip as an opportunity to cultivate our travel persona with humility, curiosity, and respect, what we call a "Mindful Adventure". 

The Adventure with us

Designing a trip is engineering work, and this is not a cookie-cutter tour. Maho and Tom, founders and owners of MAHO on Earth, curated this itinerary to make the best use of your hard-earned bucks and vacation days with lots of wonderful handpicked activities and locations included! 

We want you to have the most rewarding experience possible. We take care of all the hassle of planning, and you can enjoy your vacation with peace of mind, not least because we support social projects and NGOs, and partner with the best local enterprises.

Join us on this Mindful Adventure, Highlands to Oceans! 

How to book your spot

To reserve your spot, please use our booking form!

Please note, the minimum age to participate in this tour is 18.

Should you need any support with your pre or post-tour travel arrangements, we are here to help.

Have a question?

Have we missed anything?

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you’re ready to make your Sri Lanka dream a reality.

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Tour price
2.950,00
Booking Form
Enquiry Form
Deposit Option 30% Per item
Total: