Cooking and Culture in Sri Lanka

Cooking and Culture in Sri Lanka

price from £4,810 per person

Cooking Holidays Sri Lanka


Visitor numbers to Sri Lanka are climbing year on year and it’s easy to see why. Endless beaches, vast scenic landscapes, more elephants than you can shake a stick at and of course, the  glorious food are just a few reasons why this is a country that should be at the top of your wish list.

Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage sites (there are 8) scattered across such a small area. Distances are relatively short making it easy to enjoy a rich variety of landscapes and activities in a short space of time. This particular itinerary has been curated to give foodies a taste of the colourful cuisines of Sri Lanka, alongside some cultural highlights. You will learn how to create the famous “rice and curry” from scratch, the art of pickling, making fresh sambols, visit the colourful markets of Colombo and Kandy, cook with a local farmer over firewood and learn how to be a tea plucker!

This is a rare and exclusive itinerary which allows you into the heart of Sri Lanka’s food culture whilst taking in some exciting landmarks along the way.


  • Learn how to cook the famous rice and curry with the locals
  • Take a masterclass in “Achcharu” Sri Lankan pickles
  • Enjoy some of Sri Lanka’s cultural highlights, including Sigiriya, Temple of the Tooth and the sacred city of Anuradhapura
  • Explore Colombo, the capital, with a unique food tour taking in street food, famous restaurants and markets
  • Enjoy a private safari through Minneriya National Park
  • Cook with a local farming family to learn traditional rural firewood cooking and the art of spicing
  • Finish with some relaxation time on the beach

All essential escapes itineraries are exclusive and designed by our experts to offer a truly unique experience. We can create any itinerary around your personal requirements so please let us know your wish list and we will be delighted to curate something completely bespoke for you.

Day 1 | Colombo| Hotel: Z Max 

After arriving at Colombo, you will be met by your private chauffeur and transferred to your hotel. At 4pm, discover what the locals eat on the backstreets of Colombo’s busy old quarters in this “Other Side of Colombo Food Tour” – A unique Colombo city walk. Bring your sense of humour as you rub shoulders with tuk-tuks and street vendors, gape at big trucks on narrow roads as they jostle their way between tiny shops full of colour. A side of the City you will never explore without a tour with a local (not for the faint hearted). Six tastings in two hours plus a visit to Colombo’s largest vegetable and fruit market. Dinner will be hosted by a Sri Lankan host where you will enjoy a dining experience that reflects the traditions and life in a Sri Lankan “gama” (village). The host will interpret the concept and food served at this carbon neutral restaurant and what makes each dish so delicious.

Day 2 | Colombo |Hotel: Z Max

Depart at 10am for a bohemian part of Colombo for a “Curious Foodie Tour” – A look into the British, Dutch and tea heritage of Sri Lanka’s cuisine now entrenched into Colombo’s cosmopolitan dining culture as local favorites. Take a guided tour through a bohemian part of Colombo City where upscale shopping arcades lead to tree-lined residential streets and a collection of restaurants. You will experience four tastings in two hours plus, ending at the vibey pavilion of an architectural masterpiece that has become a must-visit haunt for the artiste, the foodie and every culturally curious traveller to Sri Lanka’s shores. Includes tasting portions of tea, dutch snacks, delicious rice and curry cuisine and a fusion dessert. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 3 – 5| Kandy|Hotel: Ellerton

Depart Colombo for the three hour drive to Kandy with your private driver. Over the next three days, you will visit the Temple of the Tooth, take a guided tour of the famous Kandy markets, enjoy a drumming session with a famous Kandyan family followed by lunch. You will learn the art of spicing to make the traditional curry dishes. A visit to a small family owned tea factory is planned for day 3, followed by a fusion Italian-Sri Lankan cookery experience with local lady.  There is plenty of time to relax and take in Kandy’s famous Botanical Gardens, or relax in the hills at your unique accommodation.

Day 6-7 | Sigiriya| Hotel: Habarana Village

After a two hour drive, you will arrive in Sigiriya where you will enjoy a privately guided safari drive inside Kaudulla National Park or Minneriya National Park to observe elephants in their wild habitats. This is will include amazing on safari insights into the behaviour of wild elephant herds, about mothers and babies, what they eat, how they play and interact, the different sounds they make when they are happy, sad, alarmed and more. The following day you will take a packed breakfast to begin your early morning climb to the summit of Sigiriya, a World heritage site. Your day from there will be a visit to a local onion farmer for the insights into their lives and livelihoods. You will enjoy a hands on cooking experience of making three traditional Sambols using the onions. This is a highly unique and rare experience.

Day 8-10 | Anuradhapura| Hotel: Ulagalla

Depart for the 90-minute drive to Anuradhapura where you will stop enroute to learn the art of “acharu” the Sri Lankan pickle. Visit the 2400 year old ancient ruins of Anuradhapura, one of the world’s greatest Monastic cities. The next day you will travel to meet a Jungle Farmer and learn how he protects his crop from wild animals and his basic farming techniques. A cooking experience called ‘flavours of Sri Lanka’ will give you an insight into the spices of the island on the farmers land. During this alfresco cooking experience, learn how rural Sri Lankans cook with firewood to bring out a special flavour. Enjoy lunch at the farmers humble, scenic abode.

Day 11-12 | Negombo| Hotel: Jetwing Blue

Your final two days of the itinerary will be spent relaxing on the beach before departing for the airport on day 12.


I was blown away by the warmth, hospitality and welcoming nature of the Sri Lankans. It was such an enjoyable place to travel around and no distance felt too great. I have been cooking a lot of rice and curry since my return and would love to go back to learn more! Mrs E.S

Essential Information

When is the best time to go

The best months to visit Sri Lanka are between November to March. December is best for the water sports but is very crowded. Summer rains vary from coast to coast but generally the East coast is better in July and August, however increasingly there is less rain on the West coast during these months when the country needs it the most!

passport/visa requirements

UK passport holders will require a visa for entry and a minimum of 6 months validity on your passport from the time of return. You can find further information about how to apply and what visa you require here

Need to Know

You will need vaccinations for travelling in Sri Lanka so you are advised to speak with your GP to check what these are. We would highly advise carrying anti-bacterial gel and some spare toilet paper with you, plus always carry some fresh bottled water for longer journeys.

Price includes flights from the UK, a private driver, guide and transportation plus meal inclusions and activities where specified. Accommodation typically on a B&B basis. Some entrance fees are excluded so please refer to your documentation at the time of travel to check details