Monday, June 18, 2018

Going Places Together | Creative Travel | Creative World

You are @  Reading ToursReading Sri Lanka 2019

Reading Sri Lanka

January 20 - February 2,  2019

Extend Your Stay: Ancient Cities
February 2 - February 9,  2019


Main tour

13 nights | 14 days

Optional Extension
7 nights | 7 days


Location Nights
Main Tour  
Colombo 2 nights
Kandy 3 nights
Nuwara Eliya 2 nights
Yala National Park 2 nights

3 nights


1 night
+ 1 day room

Optional Extension  

2 nights


2 nights

Sigiriya / Dambulla 2 nights
Colombo 1 night
+ 1 day room

Shopkeeper, Colombo

Temple of Sacred Tooth, Kandy

Ancient Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Day 1 January 20, 2019 Arrive Colombo

Arrive and enjoy a warm welcome. Travel by private transfer to your colonial-era hotel facing Colombo's famous seaside promenade, Galle Face Green.

Overnight: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Day 2 
January 21, 2019 Colombo

Gather with fellow book club members in the breakfast room as your tour host welcomes you to Sri Lanka! Today's program begins on the steps of your hotel as you join your local guide for a walking tour along the broad lawns and narrow sands of seaside Galle Face Green. Your program continues across Colombo from the grand architecture of colonial-era Fort District to the bustling temple complex of Gangaramaya. Visit the Old Dutch Hospital, Presidential Secretariat, Independence Square and the beautiful Memorial Hall set in the city's famed Cinnamon Gardens neighbourhood. Later this evening, join together for a delicious welcome dinner at your hotel.

Colombo is the capital city and one of the fascinating settings of Ondaatje's magical family memoir, Running in the Family.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Welcome Dinner
Overnight: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Day 3 
January 22, 2019Colombo to Kandy

This morning follow Ondaatje's family narrative from coastal Colombo up to the delicate breezes of Sri Lanka's hill country. En route, pause at a spice garden and experience cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and mace at their source! Continue on to Kandy where the last Sinhalese kingdom reigned until 1815. The rest of the day is at leisure.

In addition to Running in the Family, Kandy also plays host to the colonial characters of Dinah Jeffries' Tea Planters Wife.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Amaya Hills Hotel, Kandy

Day 4 
January 23, 2019Kandy

On the northern edge of Kandy Lake rests the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, home to Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist relic: a tooth of the Buddha.  Today, wear clothes that cover your legs and shoulders, and explore this peaceful place of worship. Later in the day, take in the orchid collection at the Royal Botanical Garden and enjoy the drama of Kandyan Dance. Then it's back to your hotel for dinner and a restful evening. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner at your hotel
Overnight: Amaya Hills Hotel, Kandy

Day 5 
January 24, 2019 Kandy

Today is at leisure. Explore the market bazaars of central Kandy, stop for tea on a stroll around Kandy Lake, or enjoy an Ayurvedic treatment at your hotel's very own traditional spa.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Amaya Hills Hotel, Kandy

Day 6 
January 25, 2019 Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

The air continues to cool as you climb higher in elevation on the scenic drive from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. Lush green tea plantations
give way to mountain lakes. Break your journey at a local tea factory and plantation where the country's bright black Ceylon Tea is grown.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Landale by Amaya, Nuwara Eliya

Day 7 
January 26, 2019 Nuwara Eliya

Located at the centre of this island nation, Nuwara Eliya sits at the crown of Sri Lanka's highest tea-growing region. Dubbed 'Little England,' the mist- covered hills recall a time when British society reigned, with rose gardens, hedgerows, and English-style bungalows. Today, explore Nuwara Eliya with your local guide.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Landale by Amaya, Nuwara Eliya

Day 8 
January 27, 2019 Nuwara Eliya to Yala National Park

Another day of breathtaking landscapes as you travel to Yala National Park through the cloud forests and tea plantations surrounding Ella. Meaning "falling water," Ella is a name perfectly suited for a little town that commands some of Sri Lanka's most inspiring vistas. Waterfalls cascade down the rugged terrain and fill the surrounding valley with life. Follow the water as you travel south towards the monsoon forests of Yala National Park. Evening at leisure.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Cinnamon Wild Hotel, Yala

Day 9 
January 28, 2019 Safari in Yala National Park

This morning don your safari jacket and binoculars as you travel by jeep into wild Sri Lanka. Watch for majestic elephants, spotted leopards, 
horned sambars, jackals, peacocks, great black bears, and any one of the other 200 species that make their home in this important coastal ecosystem. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Cinnamon Wild Hotel, Yala

Day 10 
January 29, 2019 Yala National Park to Galle

Today turn your attention to Romesh Gunesekera's beautiful short novel Reef as you travel the south coastal road to Galle. On arrival check in at your home for the next three nights. Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Amangalle Hotel, Galle

Day 11 
January 30, 2019 Galle

Galle is a living time capsule and home to the largest occupied fort in Asia. Your tour will show you the quaint beauty that extends beyond its golden beaches and cerulean waters. Discover the picturesque views and the rich history while walking through narrow, cobblestone streets within the fort. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner at your hotel
Overnight: Amangalle Hotel, Galle

Day 12 
January 31, 2019 Galle

Today is at leisure — and your hotel might be as far as you want to go. Read a few pages on the rooftop terrace; practice your favourite asana in the yoga pavilion, or splash about in the shaded pool. Set in the lush gardens of Galle Fort, Amangalle Hotel occupies a 17th colonial-style building. It is also a three-minute walk to the National Maritime Museum.  

Meals Included: Breakfast
Overnight: Amangalle Hotel, Galle

Day 13 February 1, 2019 Galle to Colombo by train

Like most characters who populate your Reading Sri Lanka books, you will board a Colombo-bound train and leave the beaches and mountain visits of Sri Lanka behind. A journey perfectly captured in Paul Theroux's
Great Railway Bazaar, today's fascinating journey will end in Colombo's central station where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner and final book club meeting of this exciting literary adventure! 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Overnight: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo
Day 14 
February 2, 2019 Colombo

Enjoy the comforts of a day room at the Galle Face Hotel until your departure.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Thank you for joining this reading adventure!

Extension itinerary:
Ancient Cities

Day 14 
February 2, 2019 Colombo to Anuradhapura

Bid your departing friends a fond farewell and travel north along the palm-fringed coast. At the mangroves of Puttalam Lagoon, your private vehicle will turn inland towards a collection of four ancient cities that have been slowly and meticulously reclaimed from the ravages of time. Just as Hanuman — the monkey god of
Sita's Ramayana — travelled across the world to reach Lanka, so you now arrive in this mythic place.

At Anuradhapura, check in to your hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure.     

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Ulagalla Hotel, Anuradhapura

Day 15 
February 3, 2019 Anuradhapura

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Anuradhapura grew around a cutting from the Buddha's 'tree of enlightenment' planted in the 3rd century BC. An unrivalled capital for 1,300 years, an invasion forced inhabitants to abandon the city, which lay hidden in the jungle for several years. Today, the temples, sculptures, palaces, monasteries and monuments have been uncovered and combine to create an extraordinary landscape where memory and myth reign. 

Today join your local guide as you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.    

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Ulagalla Hotel, Anuradhapura

Day 16 
February 4, 2019 Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa

A morning drive will carry you between kingdoms. At Polonnaruwa, check in to your lakeside boutique hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure.     

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Ekho Lake House, Polonnaruwa

Day 17 
February 5, 2019 Polonnaruwa 

Today join your local guide as you step into the pages of Paul M.M. Cooper's captivating novel River of Ink. Set in 13th century Polonnaruwa, Cooper's novel will help populate this breathtaking stage with all the characters of a great kingdom at its height.

Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Buddhist reliefs of Polonnaruwa will leave you with some of the most awe-inspiring images of your literary adventure.     

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Ekho Lake House, Polonnaruwa

Day 18 
February 6, 2019 Polonnaruwa to Sigiriya / Dambulla

Between Polonnaruwa and the twin cities of Sigiriya and Dambulla lie the twin national parks of Angammedilla and Wasgamuwa. After a scenic drive to Dambulla, settle in to your peaceful forest hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Swim, explore or read in the shade.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Amaya Lake Hotel, Dambulla

Day 19 
February 7, 2019  Sigiriya / Dambulla

Today visit both Sigiriya and Dambulla. Sigiriya (The Lion Rock) is an ancient fortress and one of the world's oldest landscaped gardens. Follow terraced gardens, water gardens, and cave gardens in a gentle climb to the ruins of the royal court where vibrant frescos recall a far different era. 

At Dambulla, pristine cave temples dating back to the 7th century BC contain 153 masterful statues of the Buddha. Words do little justice to the imagination of the ancient people who carved this wondrous complex into the rock.     

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Amaya Lake Hotel, Dambulla

Day 20 
February 8, 2019  Dambulla to Colombo

On this final full day of your Reading Sri Lanka adventure, shake off the mist and myth of the ancient cities as you return to Colombo.

Tonight watch the sun set over the Lakshadweep Sea before joining your tour host for a farewell dinner.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Overnight: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Day 21 
February 9, 2019 Colombo

Book club members depart Sri Lanka. Thank you for taking part in this literary adventure!

Meals Included: Breakfast
Day Room: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo


A bookclub for the truly adventurous!

Cinnamon Gardens
a novel by
Shyam Selvadurai

October 2, 2018
Ben McNally Books

Running in the Family
a memoir by Michael Ondaatje

November 6, 2018
Faculty Club, UofT

On Sal Mal Lane
a novel by Ru Freeman
December 4, 2018
Faculty Club, UofT
a novel by Romesh Gunesekera
January 8, 2019
Sri Lankan Restaurant

An adventure that will leap from the page!
Reading Sri Lanka Tour Begins
January 20, 2019
Reading Sri Lanka Tour Ends
February 2, 2019
Tour Extension Begins February 2, 2019
Tour Extension Ends February 9, 2019

Reading Sri Lanka discussions take place on the first Tuesday of the month from 6:30pm until 8:30pm.

Reading Sri Lanka 2019
 Twin  *Single Supplement  Deposit
$6550.00 CDN  $3300.00
$800.00 CDN 


Optional Extension
Twin Single Supplement
$3000.00 CDN  $1340.00 CDN 

*Twin accommodation is available to all participants.  Ask us how!

**Deposit is non-refundable Price may be subject to change.

Inclusions in the above prices:

  • All railway transportation
  • Superior Class (4 to 5 Star) hotel accommodation based on double occupancy
  • Transportation by private air-conditioned coach with driver/guide
  • Sightseeing and admissions as per the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary


Exclusions in the above prices




Train Bridge, Ella


Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala

Shyam Selvadurai

Set in 1920s’ Ceylon, Annalukshmi, a spirited young schoolteacher, finds herself caught between her family’s pressures to marry and her own desire for a more independent life. Then there is her uncle Balendran, whose comfortable life of privilege is rocked by the arrival of a lover from his past. Sensual, perceptive, and wise, Cinnamon Gardens is a novel of exceptional achievement – an exquisite tapestry of lives.

 Book cover Running in the Family

Running in the Family - Michale Ondaatje

In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey from Colombo to Kandy and beyond through the intoxicating fragrances of this land he describes as a "pendant off the ear of India, " Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family.


On Sal Mal Lane - Ru Freeman

On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street. As the neighbours adapt to the newcomers in different ways, the children fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all.

Book cover Reef Reef – Romesh Gunesekera

On the southern tip of Sri Lanka, Triton lived in Mister Salgado's house; a house filled with floors to sweep and silver to polish and a master whose voice was poetry. People from all over the world came to the house for this was where life took place. The sun would rise from the garage and sleep behind the del tree at night. And in the house, life was good. But beyond Mister Salgado's house and their Sri Lankan village there was a world. And all around them, it was falling apart.
Your Host: Toronto
Ben Walsh joined Going Places Together in 2008 to help launch a new series of tours that would come to celebrate the national literatures of some of the world’s most exciting destinations. A one-time bookseller and event host at Nichols Hoare - a legendary chain of bookshops in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal - he now makes his professional home in the stacks and lecture halls of the University of Toronto where he is a humanities and social sciences librarian. An avid traveller and engaging book club host, Ben looks forward to learning how you see the world.
Your Host: Sri Lanka
Vawn Himmelsbach ( is a Toronto-based travel writer who has spent more than three years living abroad; her travels have taken her from the cobblestone streets of old Tbilisi in Georgia to the Guge Kingdom in western Tibet. She has written for the Toronto Star, Metro News, BOLD Magazine, Explore Magazine, CAA Magazine, Flare, Ottawa Life, and Hotelier, among others, and contributed to Intercontinental’s Best of China. She is a contributing writer for Travelweek, co-founded a travel website for women and published a short story in the non-fiction anthology Emails From India: Women Write Home.

Join seasoned traveller and travel writer Vawn Himmelsbach in this adventure from the colonial capital to Sri Lanka's jungle wild.

Extend your stay. Travel north from modern Colombo to Sri Lanka's ancient kingdoms where myth and legend join with a stunning landscape to create the island's most extraordinary setting. 



Going Places Together | 134 Delamere Avenue | Stratford | Ontario | Canada | N5A 4Z7

In association with:
Stonetown Travel Ltd.  | 150 Queen Street  | St. Marys | Ontario | N4X 1B4
TICO Ontario Registration Number: 50010159

Copyright 1994-2012 by Going Places Together