Sri Lanka Adventure

Experience a Flavour of John Gimlette’s Sri Lanka


For Rugbeian and acclaimed travel writer, John Gimlette (Sh 76-81), Sri Lanka’s intrigue held such allure that he made it the subject of his 2015 book, Elephant Complex. As a well-travelled (over 80 countries and counting), award-winning author, his singling out of Sri Lanka is noteworthy. Fascinated by Sri Lanka’s complex history and the turbulent conflict that ended in 2009, his is an evocative account of Sri Lanka’s modern history. His genuine interest in the stories of its islanders and in travelling well off the beaten track has resulted in a highly visual account that details visits to war-torn Jaffna, and meetings with many characters including ex-presidents, terrorists, pilgrims and monks.

In researching his book, one of John’s very first tasks was to reach out to the Rugbeian Society. This resulted in some very fruitful connections both in the UK and Sri Lanka, including with the owner of a very grand hotel chain and the family of worthy Bohra Muslims. John spent three months circumnavigating Sri Lanka, ticking off the main sights but more often than not travelling to places few visitors go, speaking to people from all cultures and walks of life to piece together the story of this exceptional destination.

John plans to return to Sri Lanka in September 2022 to host a 12-day tour of the island based around his book. The trip is being offered exclusively to the Rugbeian Community and John is looking forward to being joined by a small group of like-minded Rugbeians.

As host, John will provide alternative perspectives to Sri Lanka’s prime sights but as a point of difference, also include Jaffna, Sri Lanka’s northernmost peninsular, which was such a vital component of John’s book (and indeed, Sri Lanka’s history). Jaffna’s Tamil Hindu culture feels more closely aligned with Tamil Nadu in India than Sri Lanka – a predominantly Sinhalese-Buddhist nation – and this diversity only adds depth to Sri Lanka’s allure.

Travelling with John will open doors to people and places usually off-limits or inaccessible to visitors. John’s witty company and litany of stories will provide an unforgettable insight into this richly diverse and multi-cultural country. The tour includes stays in some of Sri Lanka’s very best boutique hotels – small, private properties that have been handpicked for their unique attributes – heritage style, high-end service, stylish décor and beautiful location.

John says: “My Rugby connections were a huge help to me as I set off to explore this fascinating - and sometimes bewildering – country.  Now it is the turn of all of us to visit, and to enjoy the hospitality of a people who still maintain a soft spot for Britain.”

For full details on price, timings and a more detailed itinerary please contact Sara at Experience Travel Group on 020 7924 7133 or

Alternatively, please click here to complete an online enquiry form.