Since you are visiting a turtle conservation area, there are turtles all year round, however, October to April is the nesting season, the baby turtles are generally released two to four days after hatching. You will get to help injured turtles and help rehabilitate them.
A group travel experience like no other. A sun drenched, palm fringed tropical island with turquoise seas. There are lots of action packed weeks to choose from, plus a worthwhile and important turtle conservation project and a chilled beach week at the end! Explore Sri Lanka, its beautiful nature and friendly people while getting a real taste of local life in the tropics.
Sri Lanka Experience: Trip Highlights
Spend a whole month exploring Sri Lanka, and getting the best out of the country with a group. Staying in two different areas, Kandy and Ambalangoda Beach with different adventure week options. You can always join the intro week and after that choose locally which other programme you would like to do. This is nice because you may decide as a group what would be more fun, so why not wait and have a chat with your fellow travellers and see what takes your fancy!
- Visit Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka after Colombo
- Traditional Kandyan dance show
- Stay with a Sri Lankan family as part of Turtle week
- Turtle week! Turtle conservations on one of Sri Lanka ´s best beaches
- Ambalangoda Beach, one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches, also home to exotic mask carving and devil dancing!
- Sharing the experience in a group with Xtreme Gappers
ADVENTURE WEEK OPTIONS
There is something for everyone on this trip, you can pick an adventure week most suited to your interests.
- Elephants – Cleaning, feeding, washing them and learning their language!
- Trekking – Visit beautiful gardens, stunning mountains and ancient palaces.
- Mind & Body – Yoga, meditation and detox in Kandy
Welcome to this magical land of myths, legends, breathtaking scenery and some amazing activities that you’ve never experienced before. This is Sri Lanka.
Our itinerary gives you a few weeks to explore many aspects of this fantastic country and you can even tailor the trip to suit your interests. There is a saying that goes ‘It’s not my cup of tea’, but with Sri Lanka, you will definitely find something that is, whether that be the spiritualism, the nature, the architecture or the even the delicious tea from the abundant plantations.
Sri Lanka Experience Photos
The first week consists of a comprehensive induction, city tours, language lessons and a history of Sri Lanka. It’s an ideal time to get to know the group that you’re travelling with and in addition to the planned activities you’ll have plenty of free time, including the weekend.
Arrival day and airport pick up/transfer to your accommodation.
Your adventure begins with an explanation to the coming weeks, a language (Sinhala) and cultural lesson and a tour around the city of Kandy .
Today is all about Sri Lankan culture and religion. To ensure that you get the most out of your adventure in Sri Lanka (and to avoid offending any locals!) there will be some guidance on the culture, customs and etiquette. A predominantly Buddhist country, the religion has a big influence on day-to-day life and conduct in certain places and situations.
If you haven’t already invested in a phrase book then you’ll find the morning language lesson invaluable. By now you’ll be wishing you could greet the residents and order a meal in the local language, so your teacher will get you started with the basics.
The Sacred City of Kandy, one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka, sits between the dramatic mountain ranges of Knuckles and Hanthana, and was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. The city itself has been developed around a large picturesque square and pretty lake. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has a combination of stunning architecture and interesting history, particularly at places such as the Palace of the Tooth Relic, The Royal Palace and the Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Temples.
If this far-eastern paradise city looks familiar in some way then it might be because much of the 1984 film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed here. However, you get to see and experience far more than the Hollywood take.
On Monday evening you are treated to a show of traditional Kandyan dance. There are many different types of dances, each one with its own traditional meaning and purpose. Some dances are named after the musical instrument that accompanies it and others are named after the animal of which the dance interprets. The whole experience of the music, dance, elaborate costumes and history is fascinating.
During early historical times Sri Lanka was world renowned for its Quality Spices. During your time in Sri Lanka you will be getting a unique experience about Sri Lankan Spices and learn about them at a Spice plantation.
Kandy Lake is a lake in the heart of the hill city of Kandy, built in 1807 by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha of Sri Lanka next to the Temple of the Tooth and you will be getting a boat ride in this lake. and we will be exploring more! A tour around the Garrison cemetery which was opened in 1822 as the final resting place for British nationals who passed away while in then colonized Ceylon. Sri Lanka is also well known for the gem industry. Sri Lanka was named Ratna Deepa which means Gem Island. You will be getting a chance to visit a gem museum and learn about different types of gems and how they are formed.
There is a special treat waiting for you where you will be attending a cooking lesson with a local family. You will get a chance to learn about Sri Lankan spices and how they are being used and learn to cook some Sri Lankan dishes. You can then enjoy lunch prepared by you with the family.
As Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lankan, you have the chance to learn about Buddhism in the evening by two monks. They will give you an introduction to Buddhism and also you can meditate.
The Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, the temple which houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of The Buddha, is possibly the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world. It is venerated not only by Buddhists in Sri Lanka but by Buddhists all over the world and you will get the opportunity to experiencing the beauty of it by visiting the temple and will learn about its history and it architecture.
Your evening will be free for you to explore the city trying the Sri Lankan cuisine and many more things and why not go shopping.
On Friday morning we visit one of the largest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka and the only Buddha stature where your allowed to climb all the way up to the shoulder of the statue and you will get a beautiful view of the whole Kandy city.
Also you can visit one of the beautiful Hindu temples popularly known to the Sinhalese as Pillaiyar Kovil dedicated to God Ganesh, the elephant headed son of Siva. The history says that this holy place was founded during the early times of the British rule. The devotees started building a shrine for Ganesh after finding a statue of the God in a well there. This experience will give you a taste of other religions in Sri Lanka.
After a delicious Indian meal, you will be treated with a soothing Aurvedic massage to end the orientation week.
Saturday and Sunday
You´ll have some free time to enjoy more sightseeing, shopping or eating, and to prepare yourself for the start of ´Adventure Week´.
During adventure week you have the opportunity to choose from a number of activities, which are all very different and suit those who like to be active or those looking for more tranquil days. From ‘Elephant Week’ to ‘Body and Mind Week’ you can be at one with nature one way or another ;0)
Please Note: This option is not Available in the months of July and August due to the festival season.
This is one of the most popular choices for adventure week and is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The location for this activity is close to the town of Kegalla, halfway between the present capital and the ancient royal residence of Kandy, at the Pinnawela Elephant tourist park.
You will be transferred from your residence in Kandy on the Monday morning and take the two hour drive to the town where you will settle into your accommodation, either a homestay or a guest house, depending on the group size, before heading off to the orphanage to find out what you´ll be doing for the week.
You will work there from the Monday to Friday, between 8am and 5pm, which might not sound like much of a holiday, but as you might have gathered, Xtreme Gap provides adventures! There is a typical daily schedule for looking after the elephants and once you have got over your initial awe and excitement at being so close to these magnificent beasts your duties will include the following
- Cleaning the elephant beds (yep, dung-tastic)
- Washing and feeding the elephants (they may decide to give you a wash too!)
- Learning elephant commands (you definitely haven´t covered that in your language lessons)
At the end of the week you´ll not only have made lots of new friends (of the human and elephant kind), but have made a really big contribution to this important project. You´ll also get a certificate to prove it!
On the Saturday morning you will return to your base in Kandy to relax for the weekend, rest those tired muscles and catch up with the rest of the group to find out what they´ve been doing in their adventure week.
The trekking week is the perfect choice if you love the great outdoors, breathtaking scenery and a good amount of physical activity. During the whole week you will be staying in our house and will travel daily. So no need to take all your stuff. Just bring a day pack!
The day will start early with a short introduction into the weeks activities. We will then have a quick breakfast and proceed to Sigiriya Rock, also known as Lion Mountain. This 180 metre, steep granite rock is an archaeological, historical and geographical wonder, with the ruins of an ancient stone and rock fortress and palace, extensive network of gardens and lakes and rock paintings or frescoes, that are thought to date back to the 4th and 5th century.
After exploring this area you will get a once in a life time experience to ride on an elephant. Just be aware, that it’s gonna be a quite a bumpy ride!
You will then get a chance to walk through the rose stone garden also known as “Namal Uyana” which is the largest ironwood forest and pink quarts mountain in Asia. It’s the perfect opportunity to take some more photos of this stunning and historical area. In the afternoon you will return to Kandy for a hearty dinner, much-earned rest and to prepare for the next day’s trek
Starting your day with breakfast, you will leave the accommodation to visit the three of the most ancient and interesting temples in the central highlands of Sri Lanka known as Embekke, Lankathilaka and Gadaladeniya which are important to both Hindus and Buddhists. These three temples not so far from each other can be visited by foot through the beautiful rice fields and a wonderful landscape. The temples were built in the 14thcentury and you will see its beautiful wooden carvings, ancient paintings and ruins.
Today you will get a chance to hike the Ambuluwawa peak located in the Gampola Kingdome which was discovered in the 14th century by the Sinhala King Bvanekabahu IV. Ambuluwawa is about 365 feet above the sea level and 1965 feet from the level of Gampola town. It is famous for its bio diverse composition with over 200 different kinds of plants. Ambuluwawa is the only Sri Lankan mountain surrounded by other mountains adding beauty to its scenery. It is surrounded by mountains such as Knackles range in the North, Piduruthalagala on the Eastern side, Adam`s peak in the South and Bathalagala (bible rock) on the West. So be prepares to click pictures once you hike all the way up to the peak.
Today you will have a late start as you will be visiting one of Sri Lanka`s rainforests known as Udawatte Kale Sanctuary also known as Royal Forest Park of Kandy located on the hillside behind the Temple of the tooth relic. This forest extents about 257 acres and is a shelter for different types of animals and creatures live, such as monkeys, wild boars, hares, porcupines, lizards, reptiles, many types of birds, worms and insects. The forest is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much populated Kandy city and is filled with trees, creepers, ferns, grasses fungi and bacteria.
It is said that the pond at the heart of the forest is where the queens from the past used to bath. The kings also used the forest during war time for their defense against attacks.
After breakfast you will be off to the hill country side of the central province in Sri Lanka to visit Nuwara Eliya city located at an altitude of 6,128 feet. You will have a city tour and as Sri Lanka produce one of the best tea in the world, you will get the opportunity to visit a tea plantation where you will get the chance to walk through the plantation and watch how they produce the world`s best tea. You will also be able to see beautiful landscapes in Nuwara Eliya.
The weekend will be free.
BODY AND MIND
This is all about learning how to have a healthy mind and body, through a combination of meditation, yoga and detox treatments. This might be right up your street or you could be thinking ‘I’m not into all of that!’, but before you dismiss it have a read through what the week entails as you might just find that it’s exactly what you’re looking for. After all, ‘Xtreme’ doesn’t just mean adrenalin-fuelled adventures, it’s about doing something that you’ve never done before.
The daily schedule is as follows:
- You’ll rise with the sun and take a guided meditation session, followed by a yoga lesson.
- In the afternoon there are sessions on Ayurveda (derived from the Sanskrit words meaning ‘Life’ and ‘Knowledge’) and an Ayurveda detox treatment.
- In the evening there is another guided meditation session, including instruction on breathing techniques.
Don’t worry if you are a complete beginner when it comes to these practices as there are different stages. In brief you can expect to learn the following techniques.
- 5 days of Aurvedic massages
- 4 days of Yoga
- 1 day meditation
This starts with the Surya Namaskar, also known as the Sun Salutation, which you may have heard of. It contains 12 consecutive Asanas, or postures, and promotes the fitness and flexibility required to move onto the second stage.
If you master the Surya Namaskar then you will be taught several more Asanas – up to as many as 15, depending on how you get on.
For those who become adept at the previous stages will be taught more advanced Asanas. However, if you don’t get to this stage don’t be disheartened – it’s important for everyone to work at their own pace and its certainly not a competition!
This is the study and practice of breathing techniques that can be taught once reaching the advanced stage. If you’ve ever been involved in sport or activities such as singing, you’ll know that there is more to breathing than the automatic ‘in-and-out’ reflex. When studied properly you can learn techniques that cool or heat the body, help concentration and assist with cleaning the body of toxic air. It really is quite amazing.
When you’re not having lessons you can enjoy long walks amongst the gardens and soak up the peaceful atmosphere, which promotes feelings of tranquillity, and enjoy the Ayurvedic detox treatments. These include massages with herbal oils, body scrubs and a Dhara treatment, all of which help to remove toxins from the body, improve circulation, clear your mind and put you in a relaxed mood.
To ensure that you get the most from the mind and body week the meals served are vegetarian and you are asked to refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol.
After the week we’re sure that you will feel like never before and quite a few of those who have chosen this activity for their adventure week have carried on with the techniques at home.
If someone mentioned babies to you, you might well run a mile! But, what if was really cute little baby turtles? We can see you going all doe-eyed from here ;0)
During this part of the trip you’ll stay at the volunteer accommodation in Ambalangoda where all your meals will be provided (Monday to Friday all 3 meals and during weekends brunch and dinner)
Your tasks throughout the week will include:
- Collecting and hatching eggs
- Identifying different kinds of turtles
- Caring for turtles – feeding, cleaning tanks
- Dependent on the season you may release turtles back into the ocean!
- Treating sick turtles
- Protecting turtle nests
- Rescuing turtle eggs
- Helping to keep the beach and general area clean
The working week is from Monday to Friday from 09:00am – 03:00pm and it is such a rewarding experience.
After all the hard work of the previous few weeks, this is just what you need. The chance to relax on the soft sand beaches, with swaying palms for shade and a coconut toddy or Lion Beer for refreshments.
You’ll be based about 90kms from Colombo for beach week, at a stunning untouched location. In addition to chilling out in the sun you’ll have the chance to visit local places of interest, including a mask factory, temples, Galle City and go on a river safari. In addition it’s a great chance to meet up with everyone whom you started out on the adventure with – you’ll all have different experiences to share and that’s one of the things that makes the ‘Xtreme Gap’ adventures so good as you meet so many likeminded people as well as taking part in activities you’ve never had chance to do before.
It really is the perfect end to a month in this stunning country.
Accommodation is of a basic but comfortable standard. You share accommodation with the rest of the group. The accommodation is with in a very short distance or at the different projects. Transport is generally public transport but guided. You are not left to fend for yourself!
Accommodation in Kandy
- Accommodation type: Shared house
- Shared room : Four or six people in a room
- Food: Sri Lanka vegetarian meals only. Three meals a day are provided on weekdays but during weekends brunch and dinner only
- Accommodation type: Shared House
- Shared room : Four to six people in a room with ensuite bath room (no hot water)
- Food: Sri Lanka vegetarian meals only. Three meals a day are provided on weekdays but during weekends brunch and dinner only
A coordinator will be available 24 hours a day to help you and answer questions. At the weekends you are free to do whatever you would like to.
Please note at the home stays on this program we operate a curfew where you have to be back at the accommodation by 10 PM. This is for safety concerns and also to be respectful to your guest hosts. If you are looking for a trip including lots of partying and staying out late this is probably not the right program for you.
A Rough Idea of Price
All of our gap year holidays are completely customised to your needs and prices will therefore vary based on things like the time of year and level of accommodation; but we want to give you as good an idea of how much this itinerary will cost.
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- Pre departure information
- Airport pick-up
- All accommodation
- All meals through the week (vegetarian), at weekends you are free to eat out, it is very cheap!!!
- All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- Transfers between projects on public transport
- 24/7 guidance available
- Spending money
- Travel insurance
- Drinks and spending money
- Transfer back from the programme to the airport (very cheap and we do help you)
Frequently Asked Questions
You will be taken to a couple of different locations during the trip,
Kandy and then Kosgoada, 40kms south of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo
About £60 a week will cover everything you need.
Expect local Sri Lankan specialities, that means lots of delicious curries, also bread, milk, fruit and veg.
Group sizes can vary but a normal amount would be about 5 to 10 people.
The average age on the trip is between 18 and 25. This does not exclude people a bit older as we have had people in their 30 ´s quite comfortably on the trip and because we can tailor the itinerary locally different groups tend to opt for different options.
One of our coordinators will meet you on arrival at the passenger paging area with a name board. The coordinator takes you to the project. All of the pre-departure details will be sent to you in a comprehensive information pack after booking.
Sri Lanka Experience Trip Dates
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