Very Best of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka – and a night of firsts

Join Michael Murray, plus Richard Everist and Lucrezia Migliore from Around The Sun, for an informal opportunity to learn about travel in Sri Lanka, and the Very Best of Sri Lanka tour Michael will lead in June 2018.

Michael loves Sri Lanka and has visited many times for holidays, business ventures, a film project and post-tsunami aid work.

We'll meet at the Travel Room, William St Kitchen & Bar, Lennox Head, at 6 pm, Thursday 16 November, for photos and information - an informal chat, plus questions and answers, for 30 or 40 minutes.

After that you can stay on to help celebrate a night of ‘firsts’: Michael’s first Very Best of Sri Lanka tour; Around the Sun’s first travel talk at the Travel Room in the William St Kitchen & Bar; and the first night of William St’s brand new dinner menu!

Bookings are essential. Tel 6685 3204.

THE VERY BEST OF SRI LANKA TOUR

The tear shape island south of India is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity and interest. Often referred to as “India Lite”, Sri Lanka has all the spice, colour and interest of its northern neighbour without the crowds, noise and bustle. 

The Best of Sri Lanka tour, guided by Michael Murray, takes a leisurely circuit through the lower southwest quarter of this unique island, the island that gave the world the concept of “Serendipity.”

The south-west has some of the most beautiful tropical beaches in the world, and the hill country and tea-growing region is equally spectacular.

Food, architecture, history and culture are some of Michael’s interests and these themes will be the windows through which we gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating country. The tour dips into these aspects of Sri Lanka, sourcing expert local knowledge along the way.

The tour is a mix of luxury and casual, adventurous and relaxed, active and lazy. It has the perfect balance between structure and spontaneity.

We take care of all the hassles and practicalities leaving you with the chance to be open to new possibilities and serendipity - to find the essence of Serendib itself. All you have to do is enjoy yourself!

Best of Sri Lanka covers:
  • the beautiful south coast, including superb beaches and the gentle surf at Hirikitiya
  • two cooking classes - and delicious food at every meal
  • some of the brilliant tropical-modernist architecture of Geoffrey Bawa
  • the historic city of Galle, settled by the Portuguese and Dutch 400 years ago
  • spa and yoga options
  • colonial towns of the tea country
  • picking your own tea
  • the original capital - Kandy - and the Temple of the (Buddha's) Tooth
  • one of the most beautiful train rides in the world
  • brilliant shopping in the modern capital, Colombo
Your Guide

Michael Murray fell in love with Sri Lanka in 2002 and has been a regular visitor ever since. Before that, he was a frequent traveller to India, but the beaches, food, and nature of the teardrop island has won him over forever. He has been involved in business ventures in Sri Lanka as well as a film project and post-tsunami aid work.

Michael runs a property buyers agency (Byron Property Search) based in Byron Bay, Northern New South Wales. Before that he had a successful career as a TV documentary producer.

This current project was inspired by people saying they would love to go to Sri Lanka, to which Michael has always replied: “Let me take you there!”

 

 

Best of Sri Lanka

 

20 June to 2 July, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of Sri Lanka
 
Day 1: 

Colombo Arrival

We save our exploration of the delights of Colombo for our last two days. The small, cosy hotel near the airport we have chosen gives us an ideal place to gather together and have a good rest before bypassing the demanding city traffic and heading for the coast in the morning.

Depending on your flights and arrival time, you may choose to arrive a day early, so you can recover from jet lag before the trip starts. We can arrange an extra night of accommodation, but this will be at your expense (AUD $120 per person).

Inclusions: pick-up from airport

Day 2: 

Colombo to Galle: modern and ancient

We leave the highway after only two hours to enjoy one of the themes of our tour: interesting architecture. Geoffrey Bawa is known as Asia’s Frank Lloyd Wright and is the instigator of what has become known as the 'Tropical Modern' style. We have lunch at his weekend retreat and walk it off through the magnificent gardens.

After lunch we take the colourful coast road to the World Heritage listed town of Galle, originally settled by the Portuguese and the Dutch over 400 years ago. The evening and next morning will be spent wandering and rambling down lanes, passing stylish cafes, quirky boutiques, and local craft stores.

Watching the sun set from the ancient fort wall, we overnight in Galle at one of the lovingly restored terrace hotels.

Inclusions: Galle tour and guide

Meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea

Day 3:

Galle to Hirikitiya: travel day

After spending the morning exploring Galle, it’s just two hours until we get to Hirikitiya where we take over a 12-room boutique hotel for three nights. This will be our home from where we can explore the south coast.

The protected circular cove at Hirikitiya, as well as being incredibly beautiful, has a gentle, easy-to-ride surf break. The hotel boards are available and ready for all of us to catch some waves before or after our daily tours.

Dinner will be our first local cooking class with the resident chef.

NB: While we are based in Hirikitiya you can choose to do whatever you prefer. You can join in the day’s activities, stay by the pool at the hotel, go surfing, wander around and come and go. Local tuk-tuks (three wheeler taxis) are cheap and freely available.

Inclusions: surfboards (but lessons not included), cooking lesson

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 4:

Day 4. Hirikitiya: pampering day

Each lazy day at the beach will begin with optional meditation and light stretches. 

The hotel has its own yoga chalet, but lessons are extra.

The first full day day is yours to relax, take walks, ride bikes, surf, swim, or read a book by the pool.

The evening meal will be a special treat of a seafood platter, al fresco on a nearby beach.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 5:

Day 5. Hirikitiya: exploring day

After breakfast those who are keen for an adventure, jump on our bus. We explore ancient Buddhist temple caves that are not far away.

Lunch is at a nearby hotel (sister hotel to where we are staying). It has a full spa for massages, a pool, a beautiful beach and other amenities.

Inclusions: cave tour and guide

Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 6:

Tea Country: Little Adam's Peak and Little England

This is our biggest travel day with a five-hour trip into the mountains. We have lunch in the eclectic little town of Ella and then walk through working tea plantations to Little Adam’s Peak.

It is then on to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as 'Little England'. Our hotel is a converted quant old mansion dating back to the British Raj.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 7:

Tea Country; High Tea

A nearby tea factory has been converted into an award-winning hotel. We can don traditional saris, pick tea and see how it is sorted and processed.

We return to town for lunch and then a walk around Lake Gregory, which is full of surprises. We need to save our appetites for the 'must do' high tea at the Grand Hotel, originally the  home of an early colonial governor.

Inclusions: tea tour

Meals: breakfast, lunch and high tea

Day 8:

Nuwara Eliya to Kandy: Train travelling in style

It’s an early start as we have a train to catch. The train ride to Kandy is arguably one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. We disembark before Kandy as we have another adventure - climbing a tower - before we're delivered to our next boutique hotel.

The hotel is a grand old house built in 1804 for a grandee of the last Kandyan Kingdom. We get to stay in some great hotels but this one has a special wow factor.

Inclusions: train ticket, tower entrance

Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 9:

Kandy: Temple of the Tooth

Kandy is the original capital and one of the highest points in the country. It surrounds a lake and has interesting architecture and history. One of the main attractions is the Temple of the Tooth – housing a relic of Gautama Buddha.

Other options include a tour of a local art studio, gem shopping, afternoon tea with a local, Kandy dancing. It’s a long list and we can’t do them all.

Inclusions: entrance to Temple of the Tooth

Meals: breakfast

Day 10:

Kandy to Colombo: Spices

Kandy to Galle is a 3.5 hour drive but we have a few stops: breakfast al fresco, the spice market and then a special lunch cooking class at a typical Sri Lankan home.

This still leaves us plenty of time to check in at the Galle Face Hotel, one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic hotels overlooking the Indian Ocean in the heart of Colombo. 

Inclusions: cooking class

meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 11:

Colombo: Shopping

There are lots of shopping options in Colombo, including excellent artisan cottons, gift shops and factory outlets. Tonight we have our celebratory last meal together at the Gallery. 

meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 12:

Colombo: Departure

inclusions: drop-off to airport

meals: breakfast 

 

Best of Sri Lanka
Prices

12 days / 11 nights

AUD $5500 per person twin share

AUD $450 single supplement

Prices at 22 October 2017, subject to change.

Inclusions

The Best Of Sri Lanka trip includes:

  • 11 nights accommodation
  • 12 breakfasts
  • 3 dinners
  • 3 lunches
  • 2 afternnoon teas
  • 2 cooking classes
  • surfboards at Hirikitiya
  • train ticket to Kandy
  • transport in comfortable, private mini-bus
  • airport pick-up and drop-off
  • entrance fees, special tours and activiities per itinerary
  • gratuities (Tipping is not compulsory in Sri Lanka and all gratuities are covered. However, we encourage our guests to give extra for excellent service.)
Exclusions

The Best of Sri Lanka trip does not include:

  • flights to/from Colombo
  • additional accommodation in Colombo (Some flights arrive very late at night, or early in the morning, and you may prefer to arrive one day early to give yourself recovery time before the trip starts. We can arrange extra nights for an extra AUD$120 per person per night.)
  • spa, yoga lessons and surf lessons at Hirikitiya
  • drinks and alcohol
  • all meals not covered in the itinerary

 

Best of Sri Lanka

 

Sri Lanka has it all:  beaches, surf, great food, amazing wildlife, fascinating history and archaelogical treasures, beautiful mountains and national parks.

The tear-shaped island to the south of India is often referred to as 'India Lite'. It has all the spice, colour and interest of its northern neighbour without the crowds, noise and bustle.

So why haven't you been already?

When Sri Lanka really started to imprint itself on the minds of surfers and travellers, a disastrous 26 year civil war broke out. The war finally ended in 2009, and although there are still tensions with the Tamil minority of the north-east, the country is enjoying peace and economic growth. Tourism numbers are increasing strongly, but the country is certainly not inundated like many South-East Asian countries.

The Best of Sri Lanka tour takes a leisurely circuit through the lower southwest quarter of Sri Lanka, the island that gave the world the concept of 'Serendipity'.

 

Best of Sri Lanka

Currency

Local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupiah, which is approx. 120 Rs to one Australian dollar. There are ATMs available and all banks provide a currency exchange but SL notes are not exchangable outside of the country.

Tipping

Tipping is not compulsory in Sri Lanka and all gratuities are covered. However, we encourage our guests to give extra for excellent service.

Climate & What To Wear

The local climate is tropical and humid, but mild. Temperatures range from 26 – 31 degrees most of the year. July’s average temperature is 29. The hill country can be cool at night so an extra layer is recommended. The rest of the time, light casual clothing is recommended. Travel lite.

Flights

Many airlines fly to Colombo. Air Lanka is good and reliable and flies from most major international hubs. For a budget airline, Air Asia is the most convenient and has a busy schedule.

Air Asia flies from Australia with connecting flights in Kuala Lumpur, which get people to Colombo on the same day, but late at night. You may choose to arrive a day early, so you can recover from jet lag before the trip starts. We can arrange an extra nights accommodation, but this will be at your expense (AUD$120 per person).

For the return flight, it is recommended you use an Air Lanka flight from Colombo to connect with a late night Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to most Australian capitals. If travelling on the Kuala Lumpur night flight, we recommend the Optiontown website where you can bid for upgrades, empty beds or empty aisles for a more comfy sleep.

Further Questions

If you have any more questions please contact us (Around The Sun)

Michael Murray, your guide, will also be available to answer any questions or concerns.

If this guided tours does not meet your needs see Create Your Own Journey.

Very Best of Sri Lanka

Days:12
Luxury:Luxury
Type of Tour:Small-Group Guided Tour
Experience: Culture
Challenge: Easy
Cost: from AUD$5500

Sri Lanka Trips