Sri Lanka

Yoga Retreat Sri Lanka :: Sri Lankan Culture Nature & Wellness

Sri Lankan culture is a melting pot of amazingness.  Picture the influences of spice merchants from Portugal, Dutch traders and a history as a British colony.  Buddhist history and culture are entrenched in Sri Lankan life and it was on this verdant island that the Pali Canon was written over 2,000 years ago.  From the ancient Buddhist temples to the fragrant tea-fields, Sri Lanka travel is a treasure trove of culture and historical wonder.

We’re turning ‘yoga retreat Sri Lanka’ on its ear with an adventure-laden itinerary that brings this ancient island’s multifaceted past into focus.  You’ll climb the magnificent Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, trek to the Monkey Mountain and spy the mesmerizing beauty of the hill country all while grounding on your mat and expanding your practice.  Wellness travel has never looked so good (or so adventurous!).  Live all the color, culture, nature (and curry!!) Sri Lanka travel has to offer.  Join us on a yoga adventure to discover the undeniable truth behind why Sri Lanka is called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Yoga Retreat Details

Yoga Retreat Adventure Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights • Starting at $4595 per person

April 13 - 24, 2019Debbi Murphy

What's Included

What’s included:
  • Twelve days with English-speaking expert, local Sri Lankan guides
  • Specialist guides on unique cultural extras
  • Breakfast each morning at our hotels
  • All lunches including local eateries, hands-on experience and restaurants
  • All dinners in a local restaurant, a local home or at our hotels
  • Morning and evening yoga on most days (please see the full itinerary for yoga schedule)
  • Luxury accommodations in Negombo, Sigiriya and Kandy
  • Two nights rustic-comfort bungalows in Gal Oya
  • One night luxury accommodation in Kirinda
  • Two nights seaside luxury boutique hotel in Talalla
  • One night luxury hotel in Colombo

 

  • Full guided exploration of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle
  • Exploration of Sigiriya Rock Fortress
  • Cultural cooking with a local restaurant owner
  • Cultural visit to the ancient monastery at Ritigala
  • Visit to the Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Spice market exploration with a local
  • Visit and guide through the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
  • Sri Lanka nature immersion in Gal Oya
  • Half day boat safari on Gal Oya Lake
  • Naturalist-guided walk through Gal Oya National Park
  • Guided safari drive through Yala National Park
  • Trek to Monkey Mountain
  • Experience at Lakmal’s food stalls and market
What’s not included:
  • International flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB)
  • Personal travel insurance (recommended)
  • Alcohol and drinks at meals
  • Video or still camera fees assessed by the monuments or places of interest
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, spa services, etc)
  • Compulsory Electronic Travel Authorization fee for arrival visa

Accommodations

Our Sri Lanka travel will take us through bustling cities with lux accommodations to rustic-comfort in the heart of Sri Lanka nature reserves.  Each location has been chosen for it’s comfort and amenities as well as its ability to keep us close to the action and authentic Sri Lankan culture.  Please note that rooms with two beds are not the norm across the island.  We will always accommodate those looking for two beds but in some locations this may mean one large bed and one smaller bed (though never smaller than a twin).

Itinerary

 

Feel the hum of city life in Kandy and track elephants and wildlife in Yala National Park and the lesser known, but just as stunning (and less crowded) Gal Oya.  Sri Lankan culture is topped only by its natural beauty; revel in our one-of-a-kind experiences and chill out surf days.  The day to day itinerary below gives you the highlights of our Sri Lanka yoga retreat and the adventure that awaits:

Day 1Day One
  • Ayubowan!  Welcome to magical Sri Lanka
  • Transfer from the airport to Negombo
  • Check in and chill out before a relaxing deplane-ing yoga session
  • Enjoy a welcome dinner and a recharging night’s sleep
Day 2Day Two
  • Explorations begin early today as we jump into the heart of Sri Lanka and the cultural triangle
  • Venture into Dambulla and awe at a site that has been venerated for over 22 centuries
    • this cave temple complex’s artistic intricacy beggars belief with carvings and murals that depict the life of the Buddha
    • 153 Buddha statues, as well as those of gods, goddesses and kings and queens adorn the five caves of this complex
    • watch out for curious and mischievous macaques (ha!)
  • Head to Sigiriya and absorb the day’s adventure on your mat
  • Check in and, if you’re early, chill out or explore the quaint, eclectic town of Puerto Montt
  • Meet up with fellow yoga travelers for introductions and our first yoga practice
  • Head out into Puerto Montt to a local restaurant for a group welcome dinner
Day 3Day Three
  • This morning we’ll start early with a hike to the top of the stunning Sigiriya Rock Fortress
    • we’re starting out early to beat the crowds up the 1,200 steps so that reaching the top gives you unadulterated access to the crazy amazing view
    • beautiful frescos and giant lion paws guarding the main gateway are two highlights of ‘Lion Rock’
  • Lunch today will be at a local restaurant with a twist
    • here our Sri Lanka travel turns into a day-as-a-local as we get our hands into the mix learning how to create traditional, and uniquely Sri Lankan, Pol Sambole
  • With full bellies we head back out to explore the lesser explored Ritigala
    • this forest monastery is tucked away on the slopes of a densely wooded mountain side and protected by the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve
    • get your Indiana Jones on as you head through the woods on ancient meditation paths to a complex dripping with ancient lore and centuries of worship
  • With heads and hearts full of stories we’ll head to our hotel and some grounding time on our mats
  • Dinner will be at our hotel with beautiful lake and paddy views
Day 4Day Four
  • Today we’ll start our day on the mat and prepare for a traveling day of artistry and ghosts(!)
  • Our first exploration today in Matale will be one of local art
    • at the Batik workshop we will get a first hand look at this painstaking process and the artists that bring the designs to life
  • Listening to our bellies we’ll head over to Ena’s house where Sri Lankan culture (and your taste buds) come alive with curries from all over the island
  • After lunch we’ll drive to Kandy, the last kingdom of Sri Lanka
  • Upon arrival in Kandy we’re going to hear the stories and folklore of the area in the most unique way possible; through a cemetery walk at the historic British Garrison Cemetery
    • the local, long-time, caretaker will walk us through Sri Lanka’s colonial history through the stories, and graves, of those who lived it
    • pick the history out of the mellow drama with tales of soldiers, elephant attacks, broken hearts and epidemics that all took their toll and made their mark in Sri Lankan history
  • Our yoga adventure will take a turn towards the grounding back at the hotel
  • Dinner this evening will be at the hotel on the banks of the Mahaweli River
Day 5Day Five
  • This morning greet the day on our mats and get ready for some true Sri Lankan hospitality
  • Today is about exploring Kandy like a local, with a local
  • Skip the touristy Spice Garden and hit the markets and the full color spice vendors where the locals shop
  • Lunch is prepared and eaten at the home of our local guide with stories, laughs and topped of with Sri Lankan sweets
  • After lunch our new local-family will guide us through the most venerated site in Kandy, Sri Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic)
    • built in the 1600s this temple houses many sacred texts but is venerated because it houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha
    • the temple and relic have been the source of Kandy’s importance and standing for centuries and our journey to the temple will be a lesson in it’s history and importance as well as an understanding of the daily adoration methods
  • Returning to our hotel we’ll soak up today’s adventure and wring out on our mats
  • A lovely group dinner at the hotel closes out this day in the life of a local
Day 6Day Six
  • Today’s morning practice may focus on animal poses as we get ready to soak up some Sri Lanka nature
  • Leaving the city behind we head off to Gal Oya National Park
    • surrounded by water and islands, Gal Oya is a unique National Park and an under-explored treasure in Sri Lanka
    • over the next few days our naturalist guides will decipher Gal Oya’s wildlife for us and help us
    • the wildlife will do as it will, but we’ll have the opportunity to see crocodiles, elephants, native birds, water buffalo, leopards and on and on…
  • We’ll check-in around midday and have the afternoon and evening at our leisure to spy Gal Oya’s shy but ever present ‘locals’
  • This afternoon and evening are our chance to quiet down and absorb the wonder of the last few days and the sites yet to come
    • our well appointed bungalows allow for quiet mediation and a chance to sit with nature but not a yoga space so we’ll breathe our yoga for the next day and a half as we marvel in the natural diversity of the island
  • The comfortable bungalows may be more rustic than some of our other accommodations but dinner in Gal Oya is a lux tastebud experience
Day 7Day Seven
  • Wake up to bird song and the excitement of a day on the lake
  • Getting an early start we’ll head out after breakfast on a coveted boat safari on Gal Oya Lake
  • Today’s adventure is the only Sri Lanka adventure that allows you to immerse in the animals’ habitat
    • unlike a four-wheeled safari, this boat option allows us to move quietly when necessary and allows an intimacy with nature not afforded on land
    • keep an eye out for the crocodiles, birds and buffalo mentioned above and, if we’re really lucky, we may see elephants swimming across the Senanayake Reservoir to one of the islands or bathing in the lake
  • Lunch today will be on one of the islands and a pair of binoculars wouldn’t go amiss
  • After our day on the water we’ll have a little rest time before our walking safari at dusk
    • this evening we’ll head out with a resident naturalist for a bird-watching trek where we’ll hopefully get a glimpse of the avian wildlife including kingfishers, eagles, kites and any number of native aquatic birds
  • We’ll be treated to a dinner under the stars and then we’ll let the natural soundtrack sing us to sleep on our last night immersed in Sri Lanka nature
Day 8Day Eight
  • Our natural Sri Lanka retreat starts bright and early this morning with a trek up Monkey Mountain
    • for those ready to hike, this 1.5hr early morning moving meditation uphill trek will get your heart pumping
    • we’ll head out before dawn so that we can take in sunrise from the viewpoint atop the mountain
    • the 180 degree views of the verdant valley await along with all the dawn wildlife activity
  • Heading back we’ll enjoy our last (well deserved!) breakfast in Gal Oya
  • Moving south we’ll take the road through Yala National Park
    • famous for its elephants and leopard population, Yala can get crowded with safari vans but we’ll sneak through some lesser known areas
    • keep your eyes open for any of Yala’s native wildlife including the elephants (of course), the elusive Sri Lankan Leopard, peacocks, great black bears and more
  • Driving on to Kirinda we’ll check in with a little downtime before evening yoga
  • Given the early morning we’ll strive towards an earlier dinner and relaxation
    • we’ll have one more morning in Yala and it will be early so that we can beat the crowds and be on hand as Yala residents awaken
Day 9Day Nine
  • This morning we’ll take a packed breakfast with us into Yala National Park
    • wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk so we’re heading back into the park to see what we can see
    • leopards in Sri Lanka are the top predator and, due to the lack of cat-competition, have become the largest leopards anywhere in the world
    • with the highest density of leopards anywhere in the world, our time in Yala is our best chance to catch a glimpse and a photo of these majestic and unique cats
  • Departing Yala National Park we’ll make our way to Talalla and the Sri Lanka coast
  • Our afternoon will be all about taking in the clear ocean water and bright sandy beach
    • we’ll be staying right on the ocean and you can choose to swim, surf or stroll the gardens and take a dip in the pool
  • We’ll come together for evening yoga (if you can pull yourself away from the beach!) and group dinner
Day 10Day Ten
  • Today is your day to relax and make the most of the Sri Lanka surf!
  • This morning we’ll start yoga a bit later to start the chill-day off on the right foot
  • We’ll enjoy a post-yoga breakfast together and then today’s activities are up to you
    • enjoy swimming, surfing, reading poolside or book an optional massage
  • Lunch will be on property and surf classes will be sure to get you in in time to fill your hungry belly
  • With sandy toes we’ll come together for this evening’s yoga retreat practice and seaside group dinner
Day 11Day Eleven
  • This morning will be our closing yoga practice for the trip and a goodbye to the coast as we make our way to Colombo
  • Take in the Sri Lankan countryside as we head towards the largest city, and capital, of this island nation
  • Foodies will delight with lunch in Colombo at the Gallery Café
    • once the offices of Sri Lanka’s premier architect Jeffrey Bawa
    • an internationally acclaimed restaurant, this will be a wonderful way to say hello to Colombo and the city’s nouveau cuisine
    • true to its name, the Gallery Café hosts rotating exhibits from established and emerging local artists
  • After lunch we’ll have a short time to relax before heading out to see the ‘unseen Colombo’ with our local expert
    • as the sun sets we’ll head out on a leisurely walk through the Galle Face green and into the local neighborhood known as Slave Island
    • Colombo is an ever evolving city and the architectural gems of Slave Islands and its Dutch colonial past may not survive the renovation
  • Our final group dinner will be out on the amazing streets of Slave Island where we’ll partake in the not-to-be-missed street food of Colombo
Day 12Day Twelve
  • Today is goodbye to our Sri Lanka travel and each other
  • Breakfast this morning is our chance to collect emails for photo sharing and final packing
  • Transfers to the airport, hugs and a close to our yoga retreat Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

FAQs

For U.S. travelers both a passport and visa will be required for entry into Sri Lanka.

Your passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after your date of departure from Sri Lanka and will require at least one blank page per entry stamp.  Visa’s must be processed by the traveler online prior to arrival.  You can click here to access the Electronic Travel Authorization System of Sri Lanka to begin the process.  (Please note that there are false ‘mirror’ sites to this one so please only use the visa link supplied here)

Entry information can change, so for up to date information please visit the State Department’s page for Sri Lanka.

Nationals of all other countries should check entry requirements with their government.

No shots are required at this time for Sri Lanka.  The only current exception is proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination if you are coming from, or have traveled to, an infected area.  Of course we recommend that you be up to date on all of your vaccinations.  Any specific inoculation or health questions should be directed to your personal physician.

In general, yes!  Vegetarians will have no difficulty and all other requests should be able to be accommodated as long as we have sufficient notice of at least four weeks prior to departure.  Please contact The Travel Yogi with any dietary questions.

We will always answer “yes” to this question.  Protecting your travel investment from life’s unforeseen events is always a good idea.  However strongly recommended, we do not require travel insurance for this trip.  Please make sure you have a policy purchased before departure and, ideally, at the time of booking.

While we recommend Travel Guard, you may purchase your insurance through any reputable company.

On this adventure, yes, you will need to bring your own mat.  Your mat and luggage will be transported for you once on the trip, but you will need to bring a mat from home.  The Travel Yogi teachers that embark on this adventure will be designing classes that do not require props, so no need to bring a strap or a block unless you want/require one.

Yes… almost all of the time.  While we encourage you to unplug and soak up the beauty of Sri Lanka, we understand the need to stay connected to home and/or work.  All of our accommodations will have wifi access with the exception of our nights in Gal Oya National Park.  There we will be technology free for a few days and wifi will be unavailable.