16 Day Sri Lanka Adventure

Women Only

Max group 12

Lifetime Deposit

Ready for 16 days of jam-packed adventure, Sri Lanka-style? Well, we’re cutting out all the fluff to focus on the very best bits.

Picture yourself winding through the clouds and mind blowing scenery on one of the world’s most scenic train journeys. After all, boarding the Kandy to Ella train is the reason why many people visit Sri Lanka. But with Patch, this is just the beginning as we remind you why ‘Getting off the Beaten Path’ is our middle name!

Sure, you’ll do the tried-and-tested must-sees, but you’ll also venture to the barely-visited north and experience the Sri Lanka you won’t find in travel brochures. You’ll check out wow-worthy temples, share stories with friendly villagers, learn to cook flavour-laden dishes, gorge on local sweet treats and go wildlife spotting on a 4×4 adventure. No stone is left unturned here!

And the best bit? You’ll be sharing these incredible experiences with a group of 11 other bold and adventurous female travellers who share your love for exploring the world.

So… if you’ve been waiting for a sign to visit Sri Lanka, then this is surely it!

Highlights

Ride the Kandy to Ella scenic mountain train

Explore off-the-map in remote Jaffna

See the Elephants gather at Minneriya National Park

Cook and eat with locals in their homes

Look for leopards in Yala National Park

Spice Gardens, Tea Plantations, Beaches and Jungle!

Dates
February 2024

BOOKED OUT

Starts – Negombo, 24 February 2024

Finishes: – Colombo, 10 March, 2024


Price – $4,608 AUD (per person twin share)

Single supplement: $1,457 AUD


July 2024

BOOKED OUT

Starts – Negombo, 28 July 2024

Finishes: – Colombo, 12 August, 2024


Price – $4,764 AUD (per person twin share)

Single supplement: $1,540 AUD

Trip Details

Price

According to the departure date

  • $1,650 AUD deposit.
  • 2-week cooling-off period applies.
  • Lifetime Deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips.
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo.
  • Private room supplement available: maximum 4 spots.

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Trip length

16 days, 15 nights


Meeting point

Sea Horse Hotel, Negombo


Ending point

The Galle Face Hotel, Colombo


Group size

Maximum 12


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section under the Participation Tab.


Included

  • Meals: 15 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 10 dinners
  • Private vehicle transportation / 3 x local trains / 4×4 safaris
  • 15 nights boutique and premium accommodation
  • A top-rated and English-speaking Tour Leader
  • All listed activities and more!

Not included

  • International Flights and travel insurance (necessary)
  • Australians and New Zealanders need a tourist visa for arrival in Sri Lanka at a cost of $35 USD.
  • Additional hotel nights & late checkouts
  • Drinks and other personal expenses
  • Tip kitty. Note: as Aussies and Kiwis, we are not used to tipping! However, guide and driver tipping is customary for tours in Sri Lanka.

Click the tabs to find out more
Day 1: Welcome to Sri Lanka!

Hello Sri Lanka! As soon as you’re through security, you’ll be met by one of our team’s friendly faces for a hassle-free transfer to your hotel. Arriving in a new country made-easy!

If you’re arriving early, seize the chance to spend the afternoon sun-worshipping at the beach. After freshening up at the hotel, it’s time to hit the town and get to know your new group of travel besties over tonight’s welcome dinner. Your love affair with Sri Lankan food has just begun, and so has the adventure.

Accommodation: Sea Horse, Negombo (or similar)
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Anuradhapura

There’s no time to lose on this whirlwind adventure, so after breakfast, you’ll hit the road to the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Here, you’ll channel your inner explorer as you weave through the countless ruins of this world-class complex, taking in the crumbling monasteries, temples and palaces. 

As you explore, keep an eye out for the legendary Bo Tree, a sacred symbol of Buddhism’s origins in Sri Lanka. Buddhists believe that offerings made to this tree can bring about positive changes in life, so why not make an offering and see what happens? Who knows, maybe your wildest dreams will come true!

Home for the night is the Lake Forest Hotel, with to-die-for views overlooking Tissa Wewa, a reservoir built more than 2,000 years ago, with the Anuradhapura stupas in the distance. It’ll be hard to tear yourself away!

Accommodation: The Lake Forest, Anuradhapura (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3: Jaffna

Pack your bags, ladies – you’re heading north. Your destination today is the coastal town of Jaffna, a relatively undiscovered area of the country that only a few lucky ones get to visit. The city is four hours away, so spend the morning glued to your window as your train rattles through small-town stations dotted amongst rice fields as far as the eye can see! 

Jaffna played an important role in the Sri Lankan civil war, which made the area inaccessible for years. Now, it’s finally open, and welcomes explorers like you with open arms. There’s only one thing for it, then: let’s explore!

You’ll get the lowdown on Jaffna’s culture and tumultuous history as you check out the area’s best bits. Jaffna feels like one big highlight reel! Start by soaking up the sun, sea and sand at Point Pedro, the country’s northernmost point, before being swept away to a few other secret spots hand-picked just for you. 

Accommodation: Valampuri Hotel, Jaffna (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4: Jaffna

What’s better than one glorious day in Jaffna? Two! On this second day, the group will hop aboard a local ferry to head out to Nainativu Island, home to the only Buddhist temple in northern Sri Lanka. Legend has it that the Buddha himself visited it to settle a dispute between two local Kings. If it’s good enough for Buddha, it’s certainly good enough for us!

Buddhist temple explored, you’ll head over to the colourful Hindu temple of Naga Pooshani Amman Kovil. With its intricate patterns, pops of colour, and pyramid shape, this place is snap-worthy, to say the least. It’s the perfect excuse to whip your camera out!

Back in Jaffna, you’re in for a treat. Tonight, you’ll head over to a local family’s home to learn to cook traditional Jaffna cuisine. Whether you’re a Michelin-star chef or can barely chop an onion, you’ll have a blast slicing, sautéing and simmering with your fun-loving group and local hosts. Bon Appétit!

Accommodation: Valampuri Hotel, Jaffna (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5: Habarana

Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty – today you’ll learn traditional Sri Lankan pottery techniques and get to try them out for yourself. Kneading, pinching and coiling the clay, you’ll all agree on one thing – pottery is a lot harder than it looks!

Pottery masterpieces created… or abandoned… hang out with the group to giggle about your creations together as you reward yourselves with a serving of halapa, a Sri Lankan sweet treat that comes wrapped in kenda leaves. Yum!

Afterwards, you’ll head back to the foothills of Ritigala Mountain to explore the shaded ruins of Ritigala Monastery. The complex is stunning, but we have something that’ll make your trip here sooo incredibly special… a blessing from a Buddhist monk! Does travel get any better than this?

Accommodation: Pelwehera Village Resort, Dambulla (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 6: Habarana

Are you ready to witness some of the most celebrated views Sri Lanka has to offer? If you have the energy, join the other early birds of the group to hop on bicycles and head to the ruined Sigiriya Rock Fortress. 

The climb to the top is steep, that’s for sure, but with sturdy shoes, plenty of water, and the camaraderie of your group of Patchies, there’s no climb you can’t conquer! Once you make it to the top, you’ll understand exactly why we insisted on this climb – you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. Take the time to breathe this moment right in… and catch yourself mentally, saving it in the memory bank of your mind.

Fancy a peaceful lie-in without getting sweaty? Go for it! This is your trip, so do exactly what you want to do – nobody is judging.

This afternoon, we have a treat in store for you… But what could it be? Have your binoculars ready!

Accommodation: Palwehera Village Resort, Dambulla (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7: Matale

It’s easy to feel ‘templed-out’ whilst travelling in Asia – but not on our watch! That’s because we only take you to the show-stoppers! Today, it’s the Dambulla Cave Temple’s time to shine. This temple, which is spread across five caves, is filled with around 150 statues and paintings of Buddha. It’s a staggering place to explore – and you’ll agree that it’s different from any other temple you’ve seen before.

This afternoon, you’ll be welcomed into the home of a local dancer in Kandy. Watching her perform age-old routines in such an intimate environment, you’ll be swept away to a world where time disappears. Did you accidentally teleport back hundreds of years? 

Accommodation: Hotel Tourmaline, Kandy (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8: Kandy

Good morning, Patchies! Start off your day just as the locals do by heading to the Kandy Dalada Maligawa, where you’ll watch the morning worship taking place. This temple is one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred shrines thanks to the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha you’ll find here. It’s kind of a BIG deal!

You’re in for a treat this lunchtime as we pull up to Helga’s Folly. This eccentric hotel is the brainchild of Helga De Silva Blow Perera, a Sri Lankan socialite who started painting on the walls as a form of therapy after her divorce. The first room was painted completely black. Then, gradually, she began to paint weird and wacky colours and designs – leading to the psychedelic wonderland you’ll see today. Does it make you want to pick up a paintbrush?

Accommodation: Hotel Tourmaline, Kandy (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9: Nuwara Eliya

This morning, you’ll hop aboard a train to take you to Nuwara Eliya. As the Sri Lankan countryside blurs beyond your window, you’ll feel a thrum of excitement. You’re only just over halfway through the adventure. What other fabulous memories will you make in the next few days? 

Nuwara Eliya is famous for its emerald-hued tea estates, so you can expect to visit one of the very best. The theme of the day is tea, tea and more tea, so let’s keep it going by sampling High Tea at The Grand Hotel. Yup, you read that right, British High Tea in Sri Lanka! Go ahead and dine like the Queen you are – calories don’t count when you’re travelling.

Accommodation: Mirage Kings Cottage, Nuwara Eliya (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10: Ella

Another day, another scenic train journey. This time, you’re heading to Ella – and this isn’t just any train journey. Crossing tea plantations, swooping through clouds and zig-zagging through mountain tunnels, you’ll soon understand why this journey is the most mind-bogglingly gorgeous train ride in Sri Lanka, and maybe even the world! 

With the train journey behind you, it’s time to experience another one of Sri Lanka’s many best bits: Ella Rock. Trekking up to the sky and standing suspended over the patchwork of dense forests and bubbling waterfalls in one of those time-frozen moments… you’ll feel unstoppable. Don’t feel like acting that strenuously? The view from the hotel pool is not completely terrible either! 

Accommodation: Oak Ray, Ella Gap (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11: Ella

There’s no better way to start the day than by sipping a steaming cup of tea, so this morning’s introduction to local handcrafted teas will go down a treat. Then, it’s on to a handloom factory in a small nearby village. Ever wondered how the bold and beautiful fabrics, rugs and throws you’ve seen all over the country are made? You’re about to find out!

Like many industries around the world, it’s women who keep the textile industry in Sri Lanka alive and kicking! As you explore the factory today, check out the intricate work that goes into the creative process here. These ladies are not messing around – they have serious talent.

Accommodation: Oak Ray Ella Gap (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 12: Yala National Park

You’re moving on to Yala this morning, but this wouldn’t be Patch if we didn’t have a fabulous stop in store for you to break up the journey. Sri Lanka’s Nine Arch Bridge is one of the most iconic photo stops in the country, so of course it’d be rude to pass it without stopping for a few photos. Does it look familiar? It should do, because you crossed it on the train just a few days ago!

This evening, Yala National Park will wow you as you head out on a 4×4 safari through its grasslands. Keep a sharp eye out for crocodiles, elephants, monkeys, buffaloes and more – with your eagle-eyed guide leading the way, there’s no telling what amazing wildlife you’ll come across. And if you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a leopard. As one of the best places in the world to see these elusive creatures, the odds are in your favour.

Accommodation: Kithala Resort, Tissamaharama (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13: Galle

We know you’re adventurous, but this morning’s snack will test your adventurous limits! This is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular sweets, but the main ingredient probably won’t be something you’re used to. We say just pop it into your mouth first and ask questions later. By the time the syrupy-sweet flavour invades your tastebuds, you won’t care what it’s made from!

Sweet treats devoured, it’s on to Mirissa, where you’ll stop for lunch. We’ve kept you waiting, but the moment is finally here: it’s time to sample the famous Sri Lankan Biryani!

With full bellies you’ll pull up near Sri Lanka’s southernmost tip just outside Galle. Why not in the centre of the town? When you see the easy beach access, you’ll understand why!  The rest of the day is yours to spend however you like. Sipping a drink by the hotel pool or a nearby beachside bar does sound tempting!

Accommodation: The Long Beach, Koggala (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 14: Galle

Are you an early riser? Then don’t miss the morning’s chance to see Galle’s playful whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. With the sunrise as your backdrop, it’s an experience well worth waking up for.

Prefer your beauty sleep? No problem – you do you, before the group heads to Rosie May Home in the afternoon – a foundation whose only goal is to educate and empower local girls. The rest of the day is dedicated to exploring the best-preserved colonial town in Sri Lanka – Galle Fort on foot. With highlights around every colonnade lined laneway corner, you won’t know where to look next!  

Accommodation: The Long Beach, Koggala (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 15: Colombo

Leaving Galle in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to make your way back to Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. You didn’t have time to explore on arrival, so let’s make up for it today. Lacing up your trainers once more, you’ll hit the streets of Colombo to take in the city’s most mesmerising sights, including the candy-cane-coloured Red Mosque and Pettah Fruit & Vegetable Market. The chaos here is intoxicating!

As the sun sets on your final day in Sri Lanka, there’s only one thing left to do – indulge in a slap-up farewell meal featuring all your favourite Sri Lankan dishes, shared with your new favourite people. Savour every bite, clink glasses and raise a toast. It’s hard to believe it’s only been 15 days! Sleep well tonight in your grand-old, seaside colonial hotel. 

Accommodation: The Galle Face Hotel, Colombo (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16: Farewell Friends!

All good things must come to an end, but what an adventure it’s been! After one last breakfast together, you and your group of travel buddies will be going your separate ways, so make sure you have everybody’s contact details before giving your final hugs goodbye. Then, you’ll be dropped off at the airport for a seamless journey home. Until next time…

Included: Breakfast

Trip Map
The Essential Info

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include walking on uneven ground and sometimes uphill, as well as getting on and off different types of transport. On Day 6 there’s a cycle ride and stair climb to the top of Sigiriya Rock Fortress planned, but you may choose to spend that time at the hotel instead.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it, but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately, this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:USD exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on this trip is based on an exchange rate of 1 AUD:0.67 USD.

A deposit of $1,650 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling-off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions for further information.

 

Most of our trips have a tip kitty because many cultures have interesting and diverse rules when it comes to tips. We’ve found it to be the easiest way to combat over-tipping, under-tipping or having the tip fall into the wrong hands. Our goal is for guests to relax and know that the complexities of tipping are taken care of, on their behalf.

For your Sri Lanka adventure, we ask your contribution be: 38,500 SL Rupee (equivalent to $175 AUD) which is given to your guide on Day 1. The kitty will be managed by your guide and distributed along the way at restaurants for included meals, hotel staff, your driver & driver assistant and services.

What is not covered is a customary tip at the end of the trip for your guide. If they’ve ensured that your trip is memorable, we recommend the following guidelines:

  • 31,000 to 35,000 per person (equivalent to $140 – $160)
    (Exchange Rate used – $1AUD : 219.6 SL Rupee)

This is the most frequently asked question we get!

Nearly everyone is in their 50s and 60s, with some people above and below (but of course, everyone is welcome!)

Most Patchies come alone and are matched with a room-mate. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a single supplement if you come solo. We will place you with a similarly-aged roommate.

The typical Patchie has travelled a LOT, is a well-seasoned adventurer, and is not easily thrown by small things. However, many Patchies tell us that this is their first ever group tour. Many of our guests have avoided tours to this point as they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

Oh, and one last thing:

Patchies are warm, generous, and kind. We knew it would be like this, but we weren’t expecting it to be *quite* like this. We’re so blessed as a business to have the customers we do; we consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest people in the world.

There are direct flights to Sri Lanka from some Australian cities and several 1-stop flights from Australian and New Zealand cities. When arranging flights, arrive and depart from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. The arrival transfer to Negombo (the trip starting point) is included in the trip. So is the airport transfer at the end of the trip.

Australians and New Zealanders need a 30-day tourist visa for arrival in Sri Lanka at a cost of $50 USD. It’s known as an Electronic Travel Authorization, or ETA. Apply for it online at http://www.eta.gov.lk/

It can be applied for up to 30 days before arrival. You’ll need a passport with more than 6 months validity, a return flight ticket and the address of your start hotel, which is:

  • Sea Horse Hotel – St.Sylvester Rd, Negombo, Sri Lanka

Airfares are not included.

Solo travellers will be matched with a room-mate. Of course, if you prefer to have your own space, you can reserve the private room supplement.

Please contact us for more information.

Airport transfers are included. You can plan to arrive at any time, but we recommend arriving in the morning to give yourself time to settle in.

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There is an opportunity to tap out of the specific exercise planned on Days 6 and 10. However, to enjoy this trip, you’ll need to be able to spend a lot of time on your feet and regularly walk 3-4 hours at a time. Daily activities might include walking on uneven and hilly ground and getting on and off various forms of transportation. You will also encounter over-the-bath showers in some of the accommodations.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it, but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately, this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

In the unlikely event of a health or security related incident during a trip, we’ve engaged a local partner to assist. From our experience, there is not one framework that fits all, and every incident is unique and requires a different approach. With all trips, your guides are your day-to-day support. While behind the scenes, there is an active line of communication – between your guide, the on-ground support team, and Australian Ops.

Have more burning questions?

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