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

April 8 - 19, 2020 Debbi Murphy

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
  • Trek to Little Adams Peak
  • Safari through Yala National Park
  • 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
  • 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

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).

Feel the hum of city life in Kandy and track elephants, leopards (with any luck) and wildlife in Yala National Park.  Sri Lankan culture is topped only by its natural beauty; revel in our one-of-a-kind experiences and chill out beach days.  The day to day itinerary below gives you the highlights of our Sri Lanka yoga retreat and the adventure that awaits:

Day 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 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

Day 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 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
  • 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
  • Dinner this evening will be at the hotel on the banks of the Mahaweli River

Day Five

  • This morning greet the day on our mats and get ready for some lush country scenery
  • Today is about exploring Tea Country like a local, with a local
  • Enjoy a stroll down memory lane with a retired planter and his stories and history
  • Sit for a private tasting and learn the ins and outs of tea tasting
  • 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 Six

  • Welcome the morning with a flow and a beautiful sunrise
  • Harken back today to British Ceylon through one of the architectural marvels of the time
  • Anyone looking for a leisurely stroll can head to Little Adams Peak while those with hiking-dreams can take the more challenging trek to Ella Rock
  • The afternoon (or the morning too if you’re hankering for a full rest day) is devoted to slowing down and savoring the beauty of the countryside whether you choose to head out and explore or view it poolside
  • Come together and share however you spent the afternoon and stretch out any wandering-sore muscles on the mat
  • Enjoy an evening dinner surrounded by the sounds of nature and a stunning sunset

Day Seven

  • Wake up to bird song and a day of safari excitement
  • 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
  • Soak up the day of Sri Lankan nature and stories at dinner

Day Eight

  • 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
  • Spending the day in Yala to enjoy this last day of natural immersion, we’ll play the timing by ear so as not to rush any sightings or lumbering elephants on the road (truly)
  • If we’re back in time for yoga this evening we’ll hit our mats, otherwise, we’ll head in to dinner and revel in a day of safari amazingness

Day Nine

  • This morning we’ll head for the sea air and the beautiful Sri Lankan 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
    • arrival signals some well deserved time to sink your feet into the sand and relax
  • We’ll come together for evening yoga (if you can pull yourself away from the beach!) and group dinner

Day Ten

  • Today is your last day to chill 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 wave hopping 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 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 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
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!  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.