Jewels of Sri Lanka's North & East with Peter Kuruvita

tours / Adventure

Jewels of Sri Lanka's North & East with Peter Kuruvita information and booking

  • Duration
    14 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

  • 4-4.5 star or best available in remote areas
Equipment Required
There is no specialist gear required for this journey (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).


  • Travelling in the company of renowned Sydney chef and TV personality Peter Kuruvita
  • Immersing yourself in the food, spices and culture of Sri Lanka
  • Exploring the ancient ruins at the old capital Anuradhapura
  • Discovering Jaffna in Sri Lanka's far north,
  • Cooking cool and crab curry with local ladies in Jaffna
  • Picnic Sri Lankan style as we head along the East Coast
  • Tea Master Class at The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya
  • Time spent in the hill capital of Kandy and the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Cooking Hoppers and Kottu Roti with village elders in Kandy
  • Discovering the beauty of Arugambay
  • Searching for leopard in Yala National Park
  • Enjoying a Tea Inspired dinner at the Grand Hotel's Supper Club
  • Trip escorted by Peter Kuruvita

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Join renowned Sydney chef, author and TV personality Peter Kuruvita on this exciting new food safari to the hidden corners of Sri Lanka. Peter will take you behind the scenes to meet the people and discover the spices that make up Sri Lanka's melting pot. From the palm fringed west coast region of Negombo, we travel to the ancient capital Anuradhapura visiting its world heritage listed ruin sites before we head to Jaffna in the far north of the country. Jaffna has seen few tourists in recent years with its mix of colonial charm and Tamil (mainly Hindu) culture. In Jaffna we meet the locals and delve into the food culture of the north before heading along the coast to Trincomalee and the beautiful Arugambay. In these areas, rarely visited by Westerners we stay in simply appointed accommodation before we head to the luxury of Yala National Park, home to Asia's largest leopard population. From here we head to the hill towns of Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. In Nuwara Eliya we stay at the Grand Hotel and enjoy a Tea Inspired dinner at the well appointed Supper Club before heading to Kandy with its splendid botanical gardens and lush tea plantations. We spend two nights in Kandy, making a visit to the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage as well as trying our hand at making Hoppers and Kottu Roti with village elders. We visit Spice Gardens and enjoy a wonderful final meal together on our return to Colombo. We hope you can join us on this exceptional journey with the much loved Peter Kuruvita.

What's included

  • 14 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners
  • Accommodation in 4-4.5 star hotel or best available in remote areas(2-3 star) including breakfast daily
  • One group transfer on day 1 and one group transfer on day 14
  • Hands on cooking demonstrations
  • All internal transport by air conditioned deluxe private vehicle
  • English speaking local leader
  • Game drives by private jeep with animal tracker
  • All sightseeing and site entry fees as listed
  • Tips (hotels/restaurants, porterage, care of shoes at the sacred relic temple) and 3 x 500ml bottles of water per day
  • Trip escorted by peter kuruvita


Day 1 Monday 14 July - Arrive Negombo
You will arrive into Sri Lanka just after midnight. (Recommended flight is SQ468 departing Singapore at 2250 and arriving into Colombo at 0005.) You will be met and transferred to your hotel to rest. Overnight Jetwing Lagoon Hotel, Negombo In the morning, even though we had a late arrival we will have an early wake up and head out to the hustle and bustle of the harbour at Lellama. We will visit the Fish Market and experience the fish auctions, where Peter will be jumping straight in to buy his catch for our lunch later in the day. We return to our hotel where we will have some time to relax before Peter will cook up a storm for our lunch from his market buys. Later in the afternoon we will head out into Negombo for a city tour, discovering the mix of cultural influences that have shaped Negombo, including the Dutch canals where we will witness local village life. We will return to our hotel for rest and dinner. Overnight Jetwing Lagoon Hotel, Negombo.
Day 2 Tuesday 15 July - To Anuradhapura
Today we leave for the drive to Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura, the most celebrated of Sri Lanka’s ancient ruined cities, dates back to the 5th Century BC. In the afternoon we visit the Sacred City of Anuradhapura. This sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment' - the Buddha's fig tree; the city is one of the principal shrines of Buddhism. Anuradhapura was a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1500 years and was abandoned after an invasion in 993AD. We will take in many sites of archaeological and historical interest including Isurumuniya (the first temple to be built in the island), Sri Maha Bodhi Tree with an authenticated history of more than 2300 years and which was planted from a sapling from the original tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, and Ruwanveliseya - the first stupa built in Sri Lanka. We return to our hotel for overnight. Palm Garden Village, Anuradhapura.
Day 3 Wednesday 16 July - To Jaffna (approx 5 hours)
An exciting part of our journey takes place today as we head for the newly emerging Jaffna, with mix of colonial charm and Tamil (mainly Hindu) culture, located on the northern tip of Sri Lanka. The region was settled by Tamil migrants from southern India (Jaffna is closer to southern India than to Colombo) and unfortunately was in civil war from 1983 to 2009. En-route we stop at a local bakery for some authentic roadside bakery fare - ‘Malu paan’ (Fish Bun), ‘Mas paan’ (Beef Bun), ‘Elavalu roti’ (Roti with vegetable filling), Egg Roti (Roti with Egg) as well as some cooling Sri Lankan tea. On our arrival into Jaffna we will transfer to our simple but comfortable accommodation. Overnight Tilco Hotel.
Day 4 Thursday 17 July - In Jaffna. City Tour and visiting traditional home
Today we explore the city of Jaffna, visiting the Jaffna Fort, Library and the Nallur Hindu Temple. We will visit a traditional Jaffna home where the ladies of the house will join Peter in the preparation of some delicious Jaffna cool and crab curry. After lunch we will take a walking tour, meet with the locals and explore the local food and market scene with Peter seeking out dosai, wadde and string hoppers with saambaru and sambol. A visit to Jaffna is not complete without trying the delicious local ice cream that Jaffna is famous for. We return to our hotel to rest before dinner. Overnight Tilco Hotel, Jaffna.
Day 5 Friday 18 July - To Trincomalee and coastal lunch feast
Today we head to Trincomalee, heading south along the coast passing many towns and sites along the way. For lunch today we will prepare our own lunch along the way, stopping a a shady coastal spot, and pull out the pots and pans we are carrying with us to prepare our own fresh piping hot boiled green gram served with coconut and spicy katta sambal with fresh fruit and a cup of freshly brewed ginger tea! A true Sri Lankan picnic! . We continue to Trincomalle, checking in to our comforatble accommodation at the Chayaa Blue Hotel.
Day 6 Saturday 19 JUly - To Arugambay
Today we travel to the surf paradise of Arugambay. En route we visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery, located just near the Chayaa Blue Hotel, and then drive into the city of Trincomalee, which reveals its British identity of a past era, as we witness Fort Fredrick. En-route today we will picnic Sri Lankan style as Peter prepares one of his favorite signature short eats – the Egg roll; an original dish from Galle. We will also try a delicious and spicy traditional Arrack cocktail. On arrival into Arugambay we will check in to our basic accommodation at the New Tri-Star Beach Hotel in Arugambay.
Day 7 Sunday 20 July - In Arugambay
Today is at leisure in Arugambay to wander, relax by the pool or watch the world class surfers. This evening Peter will cook up a delicious prawns and cuttlefish from a local catch. Overnight New Tri-Star Beach Hotel
Day 8 Monday 21 July - Yala National Park
Today we depart Arugambay, travelling via the region of Butthala- Katharagama, to the Yala National Park. We will check in to our luxury Cinnamon Wild Hotel Yala and enjoy lunch before we board our luxury jeeps to explore the Yala National Park – famous for its leopard population. Yala (Ruhunu) National Park is the best known of Sri Lanka’s National Parks, and is located in the south east of the island bound by sea and river. A terrain of scrub jungle with stunning outcrops of rock including many fresh water lakes and brackish lagoons. The eastern boundary formed by the sea is marked by high sand dunes and broad sandy beaches. It is divided into five blocks out of which Block 1 stand out as the most familiar, with a secondary forest probably a few hundred years old, where thorn-scrub is interspersed with fairly dense forest marked by many flowering trees and rare tropical woods. A large number of historic ruins within the park indicate that the Yala Area was part of the important Ruhunu Civilization of the Sinhalese. If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the Big Four – Elephant, Leopard, Bear and Buffalo; while sightings of other mammals such as Sambhur, Spotted Deer, Jackal, Mongoose, with several species of Monkeys will be a bonus. The avifauna at Yala comprises of 120 – 130 species according to latest sightings which include the endemic and migrant species; the latter coming annually to escape the northern winter. At around 1800 we return to our accommodation to freshen up before dinner. Overnight Cinamon Wild Hotel, Yala.
Day 9 Tuesday 22 July - To Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast, we depart Yala, through Ella-Bandarawella, to Nuwara Eliya. En-route, we stop off at a unique and scenic location – ‘The 98 acre Resort” to enjoy a western style lunch amidst the beauty of a lush green tea plantation. Following lunch we continue to the regions of Nuwara Eliya, also known as "Little England". In the late afternoon we will explore the township visiting the Bale Bazaar and Lake Gregory. This evening we will dine in the Supper Club at the Grand Hotel where Peter will give you a Tea Master Class followed by a Tea Inspired dinner prepared by the chefs at The Grand. Overnight Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
Day 10 Wednesday 23 July - Tea Factory and to Kandy
An early start today where we will proceed to the Somerset Tea Factory, a working tea factory and plantation. You will witness the manufacturing process of world famous "Ceylon Tea" and taste a pure unblended cup of fresh tea. From here we travel to Kandy, Sri Lanka's hill capital and the country's most beautiful town. Kandy is 488 metres above sea level and next to Colombo is Sri Lanka's most visited place. On arrival into Kandy we head to the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya where we will enjoy the botanical marvels of this superb setting (one of the finest of its kind in Asia with more than 5000 species of flora, and once the headquarters of Lord Mountbatten). The Gardens began as a pleasure garden for a Sinhala King. We will enjoy a picnic lunch the Gardens and listen to stories of days gone by from our hosts. After our visit to the Gardens we will head to our hotel and check in. Later in the afternoon we will take in some sightseeing of Kandy including the golden roofed Dalada Maligawa where the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha is enshrined. This evenings dinner is at leisure we will head out into the streets of Kandy in search of some fantastic street food or local restaurant (at own account) After this experience, we drive back to the comfort of the Mahaweli Reach Hotel for our overnight accommodation.
Day 11 Thursday 24 July - Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and making Hoppers & Kothi in Kandy
After an early breakfast, we travel down to the regions of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to see the world's largest herd of domestic elephants including babies who are still being fed by bottle thrice a day. Established in 1975, the Elephant Orphanage provides shelter to house young elephants who find themselves displaced and lost from their natural habitats. We return to Kandy and explore this hill capital through a brief city tour, before making our way back to the Mahaweli Reach Hotel. In the late afternoon/early evening Peter will join with local elders and everyone will have the opportunity to partake in a hands on cooking class for your dinner where you will make the delicious and traditional kottu roti and famous egg hoppers. The results will be enjoyed as your dinner with traditional Kandyan dance troupe decorate this evening with dance that concludes with the flame and fire walking dance rituals. Over-night accommodation at Mahaweli Reach Hotel.
Day 12 Friday 25 July - Spice Gardens and to Habarana
After breakfast, we depart Kandy for Habarana. En route we stop within the regions of Mathale at a spice garden, blessed with abundance of fresh grown spices and herbs, where we see how the spices and herbs grow, and educate ourselves about the magic of natures science and indigenous medicine, popularly known to the world as “Ayurveda”. This is followed by a traditional Sri Lankan cooking experience where the village ladies will give us an insight to a different side of cooking through the preparation of pancakes, which are filled with sweetened coconut (called pani pol), sweetened with trickle or honey obtained from the Coconut or the Palmyra palm and a traditional Sri Lankan savory called ‘Kokis’. Thereafter, we enjoy a ‘Kamatha’ lunch within the vicinities of a traditional Sri Lankan rice field, flavored with the true taste of home preparation of cooking, served with a difference, as done by the true Sri Lankan villager. We continue our travels to the regions of Habarana, where we settle in to the Chaaya Vilage Hotel. From here we take a five minute stroll to the tank of the Village of Habarana, where our Elephants await us to explore the village and the tank as we adventure out on our Elephant back safari. Over-night Chayaa Village Hotel.
Day 13 Saturday 26 July - To Colombo and Final Gala Dinner
After an early breakfast we travel to Sigiriya where we have an opportunity to climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya, a Royal Citadel for 20 years in the 5th Century AD and built by King Kasyapa. This unique rock fortress or "castle in the sky" is a massive monolith of red stone that rises 600ft above ground. Following this fantastic experience, we continue our journey to Colombo. En route we stop off within the regions of Kurunegala at a typical Sri Lankan village restaurant amidst vegetable and greens – The Saruketha Restaurant. We enjoy a sumptuous lunch where the chefs and Peter once again awaken our taste buds through the preparation of a traditional Sri Lankan Black Pepper Fish Curry. From here we continue our journey to Colombo, where the comforts of the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel awaits us. We freshen up and gather for our Gala Dinner with surprises, within a private location! Over-night accommodation at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel.
Day 14 Sunday 27 July - City tour of Colombo, trip concludes after late checkout
After breakfast, we explore the city of Colombo before heading to the ‘Dutch Hospital’ for a light lunch at the “The Brewery by O”. Following lunch there is some free time before we return to our hotel for a a late checkout and transfer to the airport for our late evening flight.