Do-it-yourself, Private Tour in Sri Lanka

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The best private tours in Sri Lanka

With a well-maintained road network and vivid landscape of mountains, beaches, reasonably cheap car-hire charges and easy travel logistics, this tropical island in Asia is the perfect place for a self-drive safari. With the risk of COVID-19, most travellers in Sri Lanka in search of Best Private Tour Sri Lanka than ever before.

What is the ideal duration for a private tour in Sri Lanka?

Private tour in Sri Lanka can be a short trip like one day Sri Lanka tour or a two days Sri Lanka tour. These, type of Sri Lanka short trips is popular among the travellers, who arrives on the island from nearby countries like India. However, the most travellers of Sri Lanka, who venturing on Sri Lankan tours from far away destination like the UK, China and Germany opt to have 7 days to 14 days Sri Lanka trips while some others choose Sri Lankan trip packages that are longer than 2 weeks.     

I thought of writing this article on a do-it-yourself Sri Lanka trip because there are a lot of inquiries from foreign travellers for self-guided Sri Lanka trips. With the Corona pandemic, the demand for self-guided tours and private Sri Lanka tours are on the increase. The demand for group tours is considerably decreased over the last few months with the Corona pandemic.   

Private tour to Sri Lanka Vs group tour

Private Sri Lanka trip can be a bit costly compared to group tours, but in modern parlance, it has become significantly inexpensive due to the lower demand. Pre-arranged Sri Lanka trips usually involving with modern vehicles, tour guides and lavish Sri Lankan tourist hotels, however, the category of hotels is largely depending on the taste of the travellers. 

Venturing on a pre-arranged Sri Lanka guided tour is the best and most favoured way of exploring Sri Lanka. Not only foreign travellers even a large number of local travellers like to do it’s in this manner. However, these pre-arranged trips have advantages and disadvantages. The pre-arranged trips have a tour plan and all the sightseeing, activities and hotels for accommodation are arranged based on the tour plan. While this type of trips is very popular among the travellers, it often rules out some of Sri Lanka’s finest experiences for the more budget-conscious travellers.

In Sri Lanka, however, the well-maintained road network makes it easy to traverse on your own. Sri Lankan cities can be bit crowded some times and traffic congestion makes you lose your valuable time, however, it is very easy to navigate on roads outside of cities. It is easy to reach most tourist attractions on Sri Lankan tarred and cement roads, the roads are navigable with a regular sedan, and car-hire charges are also reasonable. So, put together your own, more affordable safari with this one-week itinerary.

colombo sightseeing tour, Shore Excursions Colombo Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Luxury Private Tour
Colombo Sri Lanka

Colombo

Start in Colombo, a fast-developing metropolis, which is full of modern skyscrapers, luxury hotels, casinos, bars and shopping malls. The city has a very rich colonial heritage, where a large number of 18th-century colonial buildings have been able to seal off its address in the most populated city on Sri Lanka. Many colonial buildings have been given a new life under modern administration in Colombo.

This one-week Sri Lanka trip kicks off in the city of Colombo as usual. Most foreign travellers enter the island either through Colombo harbour of Colombo airport while a small number of travellers enters the island through the airport of Mattala, southern Sri Lanka.

Colombo city tour

Almost, every Sri Lanka trip kicks off with the Colombo city tour, which allows you to explore many Important places like parliament, Galle, Independent memorial hall, Gangarama temple and many more. Click here to book a well-priced Colombo city tour through Seerendipity tours, which lasts about 5 hours.

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Sri Lanka Luxury Private Tour
The reclining Buddha of Galvinhara is one of the biggest rock cut Buddha statues of Sri Lanak dating back to 10th century AD. The Buddha statues resides in teh ancitn city of Polonnaruwa and which is one of the mpost popular toruist places in Polonnaruwa.

Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour

Head on to the north-central province of Sri Lanka to encounter major historical monuments in Sri Lanka, scattered in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. Typical Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour lasts 2 days (1 night), during which the travellers visit Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. Sigiriya is the base for most cultural triangle tour. The visitors can easily reach all historical monuments in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka from Sigiriya as it is centrally located in the cultural triangle.

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lowenfels sigiriya, Sri Lanka Luxury Private Tour
The Sigiriya rock fortress is a UNESCO world heritage site and popular toruist attraction in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.

Tour of Sigiriya rock fortress

Sigiriya rock fortress, the iconic tourist attraction in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka is a 300-meter-high granite monolithic rock, which has been turned to a world wonder by the ancient engineers and artisans in the 5th century Ad, under the guidance of king Kashyapa. The monolithic rock rises out of the flat surface, visible from miles around. The Sigiriya rock fortress tucked away, 220 km from Colombo.

The flat surface of the rock had been the residence of the king for more than a decade, which was equipped with a palace, swimming pool, and many other buildings. The plateau can be reached via a rock-cut ancient staircase and the view from the summit over the surrounding area breathtaking.   

Immediate flatland around the rock, which is full of boulders, had been also converted to a beautiful garden, with large swimming pools, natural fountains, ponds, guardrooms and granite caves with paintings. The garden of Sigiriya considered being one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.   

The walking tour of Sigiriya rock fortress lasts around 2 hours and hike to the Sigiriya summit can be exhausting for some. Sigiriya rock fortress and the surrounding area is home to a large number of bird species and one of the best places on the island for bird watching. The extensive forested area around the rock is the residence for a large number of bird species. It is also resided by a large number of animal species such as wild elephants, mungo, crocodiles, deer and monitors.

The hike at Sigiriya rock fortress can be done your own or with a help of a site guide. However, the self-guided jungle treks or bird watching trails based in Sigiriya cannot be recommended as it can be dangerous sometimes if you do not familiar with it. Take a local guide with you all the time when you are venturing on trekking and guides are not only guide on best trails but also give you a heap of knowledge about the Fauna and Flora in the area. Click here to read more about a well-priced one-day trip to Sigiriya and many other tourist places.

tooth relic temple,Sri Lanka Luxury Private Tour
Tooth relic temple uis a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most popular toruist places in Kandy

Kandy

Driver southward from Colombo on A9 main road, which is one of the most popular highways on the island that connects the northern part of Sri Lanka with the rest of the country. Kandy is the capital of the central province of Sri Lanka, which sits 500 meters above sea level.

Kandy is one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka, which is surrounded by mountain and tea plantations. Kandy has a large extent of green cover within its borders and ‘Kiri Muhuda’ or Kandy lake is a very important tourist attraction in Kandy, which owes its existence to the last king of Kandy.  

Kandy attracts a large number of travellers every day, as it provides many interesting places to travellers. Tooth relic temple, Royal botanical garden, Pinnawala elephant orphanage, spice garden, Udawattakele sanctuary, Embekke Temple and Gadaladeniya temple.

3 Popular trips to Kandy Sri Lanka

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Tooth relic temple

Scattered across Sri Lanka, from northern Sri Lanka to southernmost Buddhist temple of Sri Lanka, Devunbdara temple, thousands of Buddhist temples, stupas, Buddha statues, monasteries and pagodas serve the greatest number of Sri Lankan citizens as places of worship and reminders of the principles of Buddhism.

But none of these Buddhist institutions is so special like tooth relic temple, none of the temples holds the symbolic and historical value of tooth relic temple, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and resides in the centre of Kandy city. Undoubtedly tooth relic temple is the biggest draw of Kandy, which attracts thousands of Buddhist travellers from all around the world.

The tooth relic temple is one of the important holy pilgrimage sites for the 488 million Buddhists worldwide. The temple of the tooth relic houses the left eye tooth of Buddha, which regarded as one of the very few objects that rescued from the pyre.

Esala ceremony

The temple holds regular daily events to venerate the tooth relic. These daily ceremonies take place in the morning, afternoon and evening. Same times there is a dozen of other events that takes place annually in the tooth temple, such as Esala ceremony, new year harvest ceremony.   

From all annual events that take place in Kandy, the Esala ceremony or Esala precession is the most important event of the temple. The Esala ceremony takes place in the month of July/August every year and it is one of the most beautiful events in the world. The procession is organized with the participation of dancers, musicians, Buddhist devotees, elephants and officials of the temple. A large number of people arrive in the city to witness the annual 10 days event. The number of spectators exceeds half a million people not only from Sri Lanka but from all around the world.

5 Most Popular Day Tours From Kandy
The view from Ramboda plateau

Visitng Nuwara Eliya on a private tour in sri lanka

Nuwara Eliya sits at the elevation of 800 meters above sea-level and which is just 76km from Kandy. The travellers should head south from Kandy to reach Nuwara Eliya while taking the Nuwara Eliya-Colombo main highway. The journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya takes around 2 hours as you have to traverse on steep roads with sharp bends.  

The laid-back small town in the mountain was obscured from the eyes people of Sri Lanka before the arrival of British colonial rulers. It was first discovered and developed as a mountain resort under the British administrators and they have added many important recreational facilities to attract visitors to the city, golf course, racecourse, flower gardens, brewery, Gregory lake are some of the noteworthy addition to the city in the days gone by.

Nuwara Eliya doesn’t boast to be a historically important city in Sri Lanka like Kandy. But Nuwara Eliya is the most popular city with healing climate.  This hill country resort is home to a large extent of tea plantations, patches of forests and green-capped mountains. Nuwara Eliya has many catchment areas within its borders, creating perennial waterway. The sparkling waters of these perennial waterways re the beginning of major Rivers in Sri Lanka such as Mahaweli river. The rivers form many cascading waterfalls as it traverses through the mountains to the Indian Ocean.

Nuwara Eliya doesn’t boast to be a historically important city in Sri Lanka like Kandy but Nuwara Eliya is the most popular city with healing climate. This hill country resort has a large extent of tea plantations, patches of forests and green-capped mountains. Nuwara Eliya home to a few dozens of rivers and cascading waterfalls. Horton plains national park, Galway forest, peak wilderness, Pidurutalagala are some of the important wildlife reserves near Nuwara Eliya providing a home to hundreds of creatures.

Seerendipity tours offer many interesting trips to Nuwara Eliya from Colombo. Kandy-Nuwara Eliya 2 days trip is one of the popular Sri Lanka private trips, which takes you to many important tourist places in Kandy as well as Nuwara Eliya. Click here to see more details on this tour.

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Sri Lanka tea industry

Even though it is lack of historical monuments, it has its own unique claim to fame: it’s the gateway to the picturesque hill country, home to some of the best backcountry trekking and hiking sites, which is why it attracts thousands of holidaymakers every year.

Nuwara Eliya is also home to the origin story of Sri Lanka’s tea culture, which helps the island to pump billions of hard currencies to the economy. The first tea plantation was established by a Scottish planter, James tailor in 1867. Since then it grew far and wide on the Sri Lankan hill country as well as the low-land.

leopards at wilpattu
The picture is captured during a wildlife tour in Yala national park

Visiting Yala national park on a private tour in sri lanka


Take the Ella-Wellawaya road from Nuwara Eliya and head south on the winding road to Yala national park, which lies 160 km from Nuwara Eliya. Yala national park is the second biggest sanctuary in Sri Lanka and harbours wild animals belong to hundreds of different species, including the largest population of leopards (Panthera Pardus Kotiya) in Sri Lanka, elephant (Elephas maximus Maximus), sloth bear, jackal and crocodile. 

Unlike many other national parks in Sri Lanka, which are dense with vegetation, Yala national park has many different forest types and different terrains within its borders. E.g. southern border of the park is flanked by the ocean, where the forest cover is made of an arid-zone type of forest which are dominated by thorn bushes and isolated big trees. The southern part of the forest has boulder rich rugged terrains and the southern part of Yala considered being the best place to spot leopards in the world.

The northern part of the national park is impenetrable due to the dense foliage and unavailability of motorable tracks. During the drier months, between August and October, the scarce watering holes

Yala has a large number of lakes and small ponds, which are the main source of water for wild creatures. These water resources, as well as grasslands, attract large herds of animals, and you are virtually guaranteed to see the game.  However, during the drier months from July to October, the park can be closed for few weeks for visitors and therefore it is highly recorded to consult the part authority before heading to Yala if you plan a trip during the dry season. 

You can get around the park in a 2WD as the gravel roads are easy to drive, however, there should be at least a 12-inch ground clearance as the ground surface is highly uneven. It is recommended to hire a jeep for the trip. The speed limit within the park is 60km per hour is strictly enforced.

Seerendipity tours organize 2 days Sri Lanka private trip to Yala national park with visits to other important tourist places in southern Sri Lanka such as Galle Fort, Mirissa beach, Madu River estuary. This 2-day tour starts in Colombo and ends in Colombo and it includes a full-day safari in Yala national park with a picnic-style lunch.

Useful Links to get information on Yala

Sri Lanka’s Overlooked Coastline, Sri Lanka West Coast Itinerary
The west coast beach

Beach tour

The last leg of the 7 days Sri Lanka private tour takes place along Sri Lanka’s southern and western coast. The road trip along the coast be one of the most memorable parts of the trip and it offers many beautiful sceneries with diffident contrast compared to what you have seen on the trip so far. The southern and western coastal belt of Sri Lanka is heaven for beach lovers and most holidaymakers of Sri Lankan are anchoring here. The seaside towns and beach resorts with colonial reminiscence such as forts, churches, colonial mansions and hundreds of luxury resorts are important places for tourist.

Few kilometres inland from the coastal belt has a wealth of natural resources such as rivers, mangrove forests, lakes, patches of forests, which are ideal hideout for animals and bird species. The beach lovers can never be bored here and they can choose hundreds of interesting activities to keep them busy. Surfing, snorkelling, diving, exploring mangrove lagoon, village tours, boat tours, fishing, boat safari, bird watching tour, jungle trekking are some of the popular activities here.

Visitng Bentota beach on private tour in sri lanka

From its extraordinary position perched on the border which sperate the western province and southern province, Bentota looks in two directions, facing both southern province and western province. Bentota holiday village, which sprang as a result of a tourism development project started in 1983, aimed at attracting the investors to the tourism industry of Sri Lanka was a big success. Today, Bentota holiday village is harbouring a large number of top-rated tourist hotels and caters to rich clientele.  

Bentota is one of Sri Lanka’s busiest beaches with hundreds of thousands of beach holiday lovers every year. The Restaurants, hotels, cafeterias and bars are always packed, as is the seaside in dry-season from November to April. 

A series of lively beaches stretch in northern and southern directions from Bentota, which is popular as golden mile, due to its golden-coloured wide sandy beaches with torque coloured water.  Bentota beach is the busiest and same times it is the most expensive beach holiday destination on the island.

This stylish beach holiday destination can be really expensive during the bust days from November to April, but this does not stop an estimated nearly one million bathers from piling in every year!

Seerendipity tours offer a 2 Bentota beach tour package with west coast tourist attractions from Colombo. This one-day private tour is very reasonably priced and offers 2 different tour itineraries with different tourist attractions. One Bentota trip includes boat safari in Bentota river while the other trip includes a boat safari based on Madu River estuary.

5 popular private beach tours in sri lanka

Useful links to get information on Sri Lanka beaches

From Bentota, the 70 km drive back to Colombo takes around 1 hour.

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