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Family Sri Lanka: Colombo to Kandy with Kids

Pack up the whole family and prepare for a cultural, invigorating and relaxing adventure, all tied into one when you embark on this 13-day Sri Lanka family-friendly itinerary. Be prepared to hike, swim, raft and view ancient monuments as well as relaxing seaside on this well-rounded trip. Travel from Colombo to the Cultural Triangle to Kandy to Kitulgala and finally to Bentota. There’s something for everyone in the family!

Highlights   Pricing
  • Give some love to the elephants at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, a refuge for the poor abandoned or orphaned massive mammals
  • Take an elephant trek through the jungle in the Cultural Triangle
  • Relax by the Indian Ocean as the kids play in the sea, in Bentota
  • Spend the night in floating houses supported by stilts in the middle of the rainforest
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Begin your family’s adventure in the country’s beautiful capital, Colombo. Arrive in the cultural Mecca and check into a hotel of your the Tintagel or Park Street. Let the kids burn some energy with an evening walk to check out the gorgeous colonial architecture lining the winding streets.

Day 2

The day begins with a visit to one of the most important places of learning and spirituality - the Gangaramaya Temple. Continue onto the Seema Malakaya Temple, a tiny temple built on a lake and can only be reached by a small bridge. Head on over to the local markets, and stock up on traditional goods. Tour the National Museum and pay a visit to the Fort before wrapping up your day and returning to your hotel.

Day 3

Rise early and travel to Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, around 4 hours from Sri Lanka. Pass through the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. The once-small project has turned into one of Sri Lanka’s most popular attractions. The orphanage gives a home to abandoned or orphaned wild elephants that would otherwise likely die. The elephants roam free throughout the sanctuary. Reach the Cultural Triangle and spend the night at the Heritance Kandalama. 

Day 4

The kids will love the wide range of food available, start the day off with breakfast before a massive day of playing in the ground’s gardens and the huge swimming pool. Look for the monkeys, mongoose and rock squirrels hanging around the grounds. Enjoy a full day of fun hanging out at the resort.

Day 5

Embark on a day of adventure as you and the family take an elephant trek through the jungle. Hang on tight as you cross shallow waters and through dense foliage. You also have the option to take an exciting jeep safari in Minneriya National Park. The park is best known for having the largest gatherings of Asian Elephants. In the dry season, herds of up to 150 can be spotted. Keep your eyes peeled for Sambar deer, toque monkeys, cormorants and painted storks.

Day 6

Your next adventure will take you to the lush green city of Kandy, the island nation’s cultural capital, and a 2-hour drive from Dambulla. This was the last kingdom of Sri Lanka. Check out the Temple of the Tooth. The temple contains the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Check into the Earl's Regency Hotel.

Day 7

Take a tour of the Bahirawakanda Monastery, and see how Sri Lankan monks live and worship. See the Temple of the Tooth lit up at night by thousands of tiny white lights: a magical sight to behold. For golf aficionados, there’s an 18-hole golf course, putting green and practice range. For non-golfers, there’s still plenty of activities to choose from with a floodlit tennis court, swimming pool, saddle club, riding lessons for all ages, horse safaris, bird-watching and bike trails. Spend your final evening resting up to journey to the western foothills tomorrow.

Day 8

Drive for 90 minutes into the western foothills of the central highlands to spend the night in the tropical rainforests. Enjoy the winding rivers and natural beauty of the area. Discover your wild-at-heart side as you raft down the mighty Kelani. If you or the kids aren’t feeling up for the grade three rafting, feel free to canoe the river instead. Spend the night at Borderlands camping and fall asleep on stilted platforms resting over the river.

Day 9

Enjoy a scenic 3-hour coastal drive as you make your way to historical Bentota. Check into Heritance Ahungalle or Saman Villas for a five-night stay. It’s time for relaxation and endless days lounging or playing on the sand. 

Day 10

Children and adults alike will love visiting the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project. This innovative project works to conserve the dwindling marine turtle species. You are welcome to observe the turtles in their natural breeding habitat without disturbing or harming them. Return to your hotel in Bentota for a restful evening.

Day 11

Visit the UNESCO site of Galle’s 17th-century fort. View period Portuguese and Dutch architecture. Wander through the town’s narrow alleys, imagining life centuries ago. Enjoy lunch at the Lighthouse Hotel, designed by Geoffrey Bawa in 1994. The Lighthouse maintains a Portuguese style, reenacting the country’s landing at Galle in brass and bronze on the expansive main stairwell. The kids will love seeing where knights once strode.

Day 12

If you’re feeling active or looking to wear the kids out, try the town’s many watersports. You can rent a banana boat, water ski, jetski, attempt windsurfing or wave boarding. Lessons with English-speaking instructors are available. Enjoy as much sun and surf as you can alongside the picturesque Indian Ocean.

Day 13

Savor a delicious Sri Lankan meal on your final morning in the country. Depending on your departure time, fit in a final swim in the sea or walk along the hotel’s lush gardens before packing up and catching your flight back home after a full 13-days of adventure, culture and relaxation.


Suggested Accommodations



The dramatic and sultry Tintagel property is located in central Colombo, close to Colombo Town Hall, National Art Gallery and Sinhalese Sports Club. The hotel was previously home to three of Sri Lanka’s political leaders, making it an important structure of national heritage. This unique and intimate hotel boasts ten high-ceilinged suites with timber floors, lavishly decorated with a unique blend of color, texture and atmosphere. The spacious bathrooms feature rain showers, bathtubs and large vanities. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, LCD TV screens with DVD/CD players, a minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities and Egyptian cotton bedding. Selected suites come with a private courtyard or a balcony. There are a range of dining facilities including an alfresco restaurant, a chic indoor restaurant offering international cuisine, a private dining room and a bar with black leather lounges and bronze tables. Other facilities and services of the hotel include a spa with optional in-room service, swimming pool, gym, steam room, library and courtyard.

Heritance Kandalama

Heritance Kandalama

Designed by famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the unique Heritance Kandalama hotel is set into a cliff face among dense tropical forests, flanked by the Dambulla rock temple and Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The hotel’s buildings were planned to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment and are covered with hanging vines and flowering plants. Each of the 152 rooms faces either Kandalama Lake or the forest – even the bathrooms were planned to showcase the view – and is decorated in an elegantly simple contemporary style. The Kandalama is the first Green Globe 21-certified hotel in Asia, and the first hotel in the world to be awarded the prestigious LEED Green Building certification. There are three restaurants to choose from, including the Kanchana Café, which has won multiple awards. Among The Kandalama’s amenities are a pool, business center and fitness center, while the world-renowned Six Senses Spa has a location here that offers Asian, Swedish, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic massage.

Earl's Regency Hotel

Earl's Regency Hotel

Located in the centre of Kandy, just a short drive from the railway station and the famous Temple of the Tooth, Earl's Regency Hotel is a luxurious property with splendid views of the mountains around Kandy. All its rooms are air-conditioned and come with a minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities and a TV with satellite channels. Free WiFi is available in the public areas. The hotel also has a 24-hour coffee shop, as well as the sumptuous Far Pavilions restaurant, which offers local and international cuisine. The spa has massage rooms, a sauna and steam room, and there are also tennis and badminton courts.


This family-friendly, adventurous river camp can be found on top of a hill overlooking the Kelani River. Surrounded by mountains and fast-flowing rapids, Borderlands river base camp offers a comfortable stay in a natural setting, for a more refined camping experience.  Wooden cabins with thatched roofs will keep you dry as you rest on top-quality linen, double or single beds with bedside tables and lamps, as well as on your private terrace, providing spectacular views overlooking the Kelani. All tents and cabins come with mosquito nets, and are spacious enough to sleep three to five people. Nighttime entertainment can be found at the camp’s Long House, equipped with a modern sound system, informal bar and a comfortable, cushioned seating area. High speed WiFi is also available at all times. Dig into some delicious Sri Lankan curries, refresh yourself with a nice cold beer and share stories in the great company of fellow guests, as you roast marshmallows around a camp fire. Kayaks and rafts will enable action-packed days along the stunning Kelani River.

Heritance Ahungalle, Saman Villas

Heritance Ahungalle

Heritance Ahungalle describes itself as a beach hotel where style and substance mix like a classic cocktail. And true to its word, this hotel combines some of the finest hospitality and best luxury services among Sri Lankan beach hotels. From unwinding in the turquoise infinity pool, which seems to blend into the ultramarine Indian Ocean, to dining on award-winning East-West fusion cooking, this resort has all the magical touches that any self-professing high-end luxury resort should. Situated on golden sandy beaches, all rooms face the sea. The guest rooms have private balconies where guests can soak in the ocean views, breathe in the fresh air and admire impressive sunsets. The rooms feature polished wood, stone-floored bathrooms, locally woven throws and cushions and handmade batik hangings. The rooms are fully equipped with energy-efficient air conditioning, TVs with satellite and local channels, a comprehensive minibar and a digital safe. All rooms are wheelchair-accessible. WiFi is provided in every room, as well as a laundry service, porter service and 24-hour room service.

Saman Villas

Rejuvenate your senses at this peaceful boutique hotel. Nestled in a quiet, sleepy fishing village, Saman Villas boasts fabulous views of the gleaming Indian Ocean along with long stretches of golden sandy beaches that reach as far as the eye can see. The hotel is set in a lush tropical garden on a secluded beach, making it an ideal Sri Lankan beach retreat. Saman Villas was selected as the ‘Best Boutique Hotel in Sri Lanka’ for three consecutive years at the Travel & Tourism Awards. The villa style property boast 26 suites and one duplex villa that are positioned to offer superb views of the marine. Onsite dining options include authentic Sri Lankan dishes and European food. Dinner is enjoyed best on the warm open-air terrace or in the cool, open-plan fine dining restaurant. If you’re a discerning traveler after a unique boutique experience in Sri Lanka, this is a great place to start.
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From Travelogues
Our General Manager Victoria Hilley loves the beautiful colonial town of Galle, especially afternoon tea at our favourite local property. Amangalla.
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