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Into the Wild: National Parks of Sri Lanka

The Into the Wild itinerary allows you to experience Sri Lanka’s exotic wilds, and provides ample opportunity for rest and rejuvenation in luxurious and inspirational accommodation. Going off the beaten track, explore Sri Lanka's array of birds, insects, reptiles, mammals and immaculate flora and fauna across varying terrains. Your final days will be spent in a perfect hideaway in Galle, just minutes away from the sandy beaches and turquoise seas of the Galle coast.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Hike through Ritigala’s ancient monastery and nature reserve
  • Explore two Unesco World Heritage Sites - Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Galles 17C Dutch Fort
  • Observe herds of wild elephants, and spot the endangered leopard and sloth bear, at Udawalawe and Yala National Park respectively
  • Trek across the magnificent Sinharaja Rainforest
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Upon arrival in stunning Sri Lanka, a 15-minute airport transfer will bring you to the luxurious Wallawwa boutique hotel, allowing you to acclimatize, and earn much needed rest after a long flight. After settling in, explore the Muthurajawela Wetlands, which houses the Negombo lagoon. The wetland is inundated with seawater during high tide, which, over thousands of years, has created a brackish, integrated coastal ecosystem that is biologically-diverse and very much alive. A variety of mangroves and other types of flora, including medicinal plants; numerous types of birds, butterflies and fish, some of which are endemic, are found in this habitat.

Day 2

Wake up to a healthy breakfast, and take an easy day to get your bearings and take in the surroundings. Wander through private gardens where crocodiles, monitor lizards, and Sri Lanka’s largest snake – the Python, are common, so keep your eyes peeled! Enjoy the luxuries the hotel has to offer.

Day 3

Located in 3.5 hours away in the North Central province of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and amazing wild adventures. Vil Uyana hotel will be your home for the next three nights. Climb up to the ancient monastery of Ritigala en-route to UNESCO’s Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Absorb the culture and stories behind the great Hindu of Ramayana, while embracing the beauty of the royal garden views that surround. Caves with Christian inscriptions can also be found along the way, and for all bird lovers, look out for the hawking of the Shaheen Falcon: a resident near the Sigiriya rock.

Day 4

Explore the wonders of the animal kingdom on a journey through Ritigala Nature Reserve and Sanctuary. The most commonly-seen birds include Orange-Headed Thrush, Purple Sunbird, Stork-Billed Kingfisher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, White-Rumped Shama and Shahin Falcon. Closer to the Sigiriya Moat exists the rare Blue-eared Kingfisher. You can also get a chance to see all three types of primates, including the Toque Monkey, Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey and the cheeky Grey Langur.

Day 5

Make the most out of your last day by exploring any of the sites or nature trails you have not yet been able to do, and experience the most out of your time in this exquisite natural setting.

Day 6

Gather your belongings and freshen up before your transfer 3.5 hours to the Ambewela mountain range in Nuwara Eliya, where you will spend the next two nights in the Warwick Gardens. Venture into the Horton Plains National Park which, at 7,000 feet above sea level, offers a wide array of wildlife and nature.

Day 7

The walk to “World's End” and "Little World's End" offers one of the finest views in Sri Lanka. With a mixture of grasslands and forests, including the last montane forest in the country, Horton Plains is a paradise for bird watchers. Only 12 miles from Nuwara Eliya, it’s possible to encounter five endemic bird species that only exist at this altitude: the Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Dull-Blue flycatcher, Yellow-Eared Bulbul, the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush and the Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon. Nuwara Eliya is also home to Slender Loris, Bear Monkeys and, occasionally, a leopard - watch for these! Rhino-Horned Lizards, Black-Lipped Lizards and Dwarf Chameleons are other species to look out for when roaming freely.

Day 8
Udawalawe National Park

An early rise will enable a 3-hour transfer to Udawalawe National Park in the south-central region, where you will have the chance to encounter some of Sri Lanka’s endangered elephants. Offload your bags at Udawalawe Safari Resort, just 5 minutes from the park entrance. Watch out for large herds of roaming elephants, leopards, buffalo, deer and sloth bears, as well as mongooses, bandicoots, monitor lizards and crocodiles. Visit the Elephant Transit Camp at Udawalawe, where 22 baby elephants are currently being rehabilitated for injuries or becoming orphaned. Run by Sri Lanka’s Wildlife Department, these elephants are later released into the wild.

Day 9
Udawalawe National Park

Wake up to nature’s calls before heading out to explore more of the jungle around you. Take a dip in the Walawe River, take a relaxing massage the hideaway has to offer and indulge in rich fruits and vegetables that are locally produced. Choose a direction and head out to see if you can capture a glance at some of the animals you may have not had the chance to witness yet.

Day 10

After a healthy brekkie, get ready to welcome new encounters with leopards as you are transferred from Udawalawe by air to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most popular wildlife attraction. Leave any unneeded belongings in your tent and enjoy an adventurous game drive through Yala Park. Here live the big three: the leopard, elephant and water buffalo. Other potential sightings to look out for include famous reptiles and monkeys that are scattered across the park. Complete your day with a delicious dinner under the stars before resting in the well resourced tents.

Day 11

Wake up early for another adventurous day on a jeep safari that will allow you to cover a vast area of the park. Enjoy a relaxed picnic in a jungle atmosphere, before visiting ancient temples in Sithulpauwa, Kataragama and Tissamaharama. Learn about how Sri Lanka tries to protect its wildlife, and explore the leopard trails to make the most out of your camping safari.

Day 12
Deniyaya, Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Fuel your body with fresh fruits and juices before heading to the incredible rainforest located in Deniyaya. Located in the southwest corner of the island, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a UNESCO International Man and Biosphere Reserve and is Sri Lanka’s Heart of Darkness, due to the thick growth of flora and fauna. At 3,500 feet above sea level, two nights at the Rainforest Eco Lodge, bordering the magnificent Sinharaja Forest Reserve, will give you an unforgettable experience. The lodge itself is situated on a 500 acre tea plantation, where you can learn about Ceylon Tea, including how to handpick the precious leaves, and pay a visit a tea factory.

Day 13
Deniyaya, Sinharaja rainforest

Get ready to embark on a guided trek into the southern side of Sinharaja, where you will trace beautiful river streams, leading to magnificent waterfalls. Trek through Sri Lanka’s last surviving stretch of virgin rainforest, home to over 140 bird species. The Blue Magpie, the Sri Lankan Yellow-Fronted Barbet, as well as the fascinating `mixed species feeding flocks’ can be spotted. You can also find smaller mammals, including the Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey and the Giant Squirrel.

Day 14

Say your goodbyes to the magical rainforest, eco-lodge owners and safari guides before heading back to the coastal region of Galle. You will spend three nights in the luxurious Kahanda Kanda boutique hotel, located atop a hill. Head 15 minutes towards Unawatuna, Thalpe and Habaraduwa, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim or snorkel on pristine beaches or large lakes. Stronger sea conditions between December and April also provide a haven for surfers to rip.

Day 15

After a good night’s rest in the comfortable hotel, take a boat ride on Koggala Lake. This body of water is scattered with islands, including Fish Eagle Island, where hundreds of Eagles nest at dusk; and Cinnamon Island, where four village families process the cinnamon for essential oils.

Day 16

We recommend a comfortable pair of shoes for your full-day expedition into the neighboring villages. Galle’s historic 17C Dutch Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see attraction. Located just 20 minutes away, explore the maze of narrow streets lined with Dutch and British period buildings still in use, the sturdy ramparts looking out to sea, the growing collection of art galleries, antique shops, cafes and restaurants. This will be a perfect finish to an incredible journey through some of the best sights and experiences Sri Lanka has to offer.


Suggested Accommodations

The Wallawwa

The Wallawwa

Situated just 15 minutes from Bandaranaike International Airport, The Wallawwa is an old colonial home that has been restored and converted into 17 guestrooms and suites-- The Mountbatten Suite, two Family Suites, two Wallawwa Bedrooms, and twelve Garden Suites. The property offers well-manicured, lush gardens, a library, a study with computer and complimentary internet access, a swimming pool, and a spa. The Verandah offers Asian Fusion cuisine and is set overlooking the property's beautiful gardens.

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.

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

The former residence of Sir Edward Barnes, Governor of Sri Lanka from 1830 to 1850, the Grand Hotel is a Tudor-style mansion set amidst boxwood and fir trees overlooking the calm waters of Lake Gregory. Hunting and fishing trophies decorate the walls, infusing the property with the tranquility of times past. The hotel has 156 elegantly furnished rooms including three presidential suites and three deluxe suites that overlook the property's magnificent, award-winning gardens filled with beautifully laid out flower beds. Rooms in the new golf wing overlook the golf course and present a soothing view of the rolling greens, and junior suites are equipped with fireplaces and well-appointed bathrooms. The main restaurant, Barnes Hall, is located on the ground floor of the hotel and overlooks the gardens, and offers a wide choice in both Western and Eastern cuisines. There is also a coffee shop, an Indian restaurant, supper club and three bars on the grounds. Other amenities include three lounges, a small shopping arcade, fitness center and sauna, spa, wood-paneled bar and billiard room with three tables. There is no Internet access at the hotel.
Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort

Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort

This environmentally-friendly four-star resort, covering seven acres of land, is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind resort in the north of Sri lanka. The resort offers 53 Deluxe and Superior rooms and four suites. With its magical flora and fauna that can be seen on- and off-site, it’s in a prime location, offering the perfect getaway for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Udawalawe National Park and Ath Athuru Sevana Elephant Orphanage are both within walking distance to make for exciting, action-packed days, while a picturesque swimming pool allows guest to relax in the warm sun, with excellent service at hand. Expect to dine in style at the hotel’s restaurant, which can can serve up to 250 guests at a time. The resort’s piece-de-resistance is its stunning free-form swimming pool, surrounded by loungers, and complete with adjoining bar. 

Accommodation in Yala National Park

Accommodation in Yala National Park

As there is a lack of suitable accommodation in or near the park, Remote Lands visitors usually stay in Tangalle and visit Yala on a day trip.
Amangalla, The Fortress


Located in the center of a preserved 17th-century Dutch Fort, the sumptuous Amangalla resort is also a beautifully restored UNESCO World Heritage site that perfectly captures the charm of the historic trading port of Galle. Amangalla has 17 rooms, eight suites and the Garden House, a two-story house with treetop views. Rooms are decorated in a style that blends luxurious contemporary amenities with a perfectly rendered colonial-era aesthetic. Sri Lankan curry and other traditional dishes are served in the dining room, and the Veranda is a cool spot to have a drink during the day; the fort's Zaal (Dutch for Great Hall) serves light meals and a classic afternoon tea. The pool is located in the resort's gardens and has five shaded pavilions where you can relax post-swim. A library with Internet access houses information on Sri Lanka and the history of the Fort. The Baths, Amangalla's spa, offers Ayurvedic massage, hydrotherapy pools, and a steam room and sauna, among other treatments. There is also a garden pavilion for yoga practice or meditation. There is no fitness center. The resort is roughly a four-hour drive from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).


The Fortress

Located on the golden southern coast of Sri Lanka, The Fortress is just minutes away from Galle. A modern take on the 17th-century Dutch fortress in Galle, the hotel melds Dutch and Portuguese architecture with Sri Lankan touches. The resort's walls enclose 49 exquisitely appointed rooms, lofts and residences, all of which have cutting-edge entertainment systems and designer fittings that include WiFi, a plasma screen TV, Bose DVD player and sound system, an espresso machine, private bar, day bed, in-room safe and an IDD telephone. The Fortress's sense of design extends to their fine dining establishments, which includes a restaurant that specializes in Sri Lankan and international cuisine, a Mediterranean restaurant, a wine bar housed in a glass cave, a lounge devoted to tea and an outdoor bar that serves Fortress cocktails. Additionally, private dining on the grounds or the beach can be arranged. The chic Lime Spa incorporates Sri Lankan culture through traditional Ayurvedic treatments and also has a menu of international spa therapies. Before and after treatments, guests can indulge in complimentary "Degrees" water therapies including sauna, steam and hydrobath. Other amenities at The Fortress include a yoga pavilion, fully equipped fitness center, free-flowing swimming pool, water sports center, business center, boutiques, an art gallery featuring local artists, a wedding pavilion, and a turtle hatchery.
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