14 Days | 13 Nights
Culture & Nature
Child | Adults
An island of national parks, venerated temples, tea plantations, and rose-gold beaches: Sri Lanka packs in plenty of experiences. Our Travel consultants can help you plan a Sri Lanka holiday that encompasses your interests and shows you lesser-visited corners of the island.
The Cultural Triangle is Sri Lanka’s historic heartland, a concentration of extravagant ancient cities and cave frescoes with the rock fortress of Sigiriya in its middle. To the south is the pilgrimage city of Kandy, built around the Temple of the Tooth. From here you can ride the train up into the cooler climes of the central highlands, where neatly tended tea estates sit between colonial cottages and swathes of forest. The hills drop sharply down to the national parks and rainforest below, which shelter elephants, sloth bears, and, more elusively, leopards. Along the coast, you find the Dutch fortress of Galle and palm-fringed coves.
This 13-night tour covers a lot more than the package tourist trips do on their usual Island tour itineraries of Sri Lanka. We take you through different paths on most occasions to show you undiscovered Sri Lanka. This holiday itinerary also does cover a variety of Colonial past of Sri Lanka travelling through the Hill Capital Kandy, tea-growing hills of Nuwara Eliya and Galle Dutch fort on the south coast of Sri Lanka, built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The tour takes you through Sri Lanka’s most interesting and beautiful landscapes and finishes from Colombo, one of Asia’s vibrant cities.
As always, we are able to tinker with this itinerary if you wish and add an extra night here and there. Our Travel consultants can help you plan the holiday as per your budget and interest along the way.
You will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport and upon welcoming you to the country by your guide and our representative; you will be transferred to Negombo. Negombo is a coastal town in close proximity to the international airport. This fishing, coastal town has a colonial history to them and a vibrant local way of living can be encountered here. Being one of the closest towns to the entry point, Negombo is one of the tourist hubs with a line of big and small tourist hotels and a line of the picturesque lagoon. Negombo reminds you of the Dutch inhibitions through the canal system still intact which was used as built to transport spices and other goods from inland brought to the shores to be loaded to ships. The visions of fishermen using catamarans and canoes to bring their catch to the shore every day are still be seen.
After breakfast visit the fisherman’s village in Negombo, early morning is the time when fishing boats come ashore with their daily catch. During this time it’s always a vibrant experience to visit the shore, see how the fishnets are drawn and the fresh catch is traded. Later you head North to Anuradhapura, the first kingdom of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura is considered the most sacred city in Sri Lanka, and thus contains some of the island’s most sacred Buddhist sites. You will witness a toddy tapping experience on your way, toddy is natural coconut-based alcohol made in the traditional way of tapping, through reaching the coconut sap in a tied rope, much like an adventure sport. You can also have a taste at the fresh toddy, it is a refreshing turn to any alcohol you’ve ever tried. Next up, you will visit a traditional brick-making factory. These maroon color bricks are small in size compared to traditional cement brick and known to give a cooling effect to the houses. In the usual, these are made by handing in a fair amount of labour put to that. Return to ground level to hit the road back to Anuradhapura. Upon reaching Anuradhapura, in the evening you will explore the first kingdom of Sri Lanka. From its original settlement in 6th century BC to the fall in 9th century Anuradhapura has created some impressive history in religious wise, irrigation wise and general kingdom wise. The notables among so many identified and unidentified ruins are Ruwanweliseya dagoba, brazen palace, and Sri Maha Bodhi. Ruwanweliseya is one of the most impressively built Dagobas in Sri Lanka with remarkable opulence and even remarkable history. So is the Brazen Palace, the pillar-based monastery once believed to be built in Bronze and lit. Walking past the ruins of that you get to the Sri Maha Bodhi, the sacred Bo tree which is a planted sap from the original Bo tree under which Lord Buddha enlightened. This is believed to be the oldest recorded tree in the world history after the original Bo tree in India died a wise time ago.
After breakfast, checkout and head to visit what’s popular as Buddhism’s birthplace, Mihintale. Here based on a legend of gone tells how King chased a stag at a hunting trip and the stag disappeared at the foot of the rock and then the king was met by Mahinda Thero who bought Buddhism to Sri Lanka. This birth story matches the monastery of Mihintale spread around a wide area of dagoba’s and caves, which once sheltered hermits after Buddhism being established in Sri Lanka. After a full verse walk in the monasteries of Mihintale, you will hit the road for Polonnaruwa, later in the afternoon, you have the option to visit Minneriya or Kaudulla national parks, these two parks in North Central Province of Sri Lanka is located within close proximity to your hotels in Polonnaruwa or Giritale. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in the forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts. Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka. At the end of the adventure, you will be surprised by our team for an evening cocktail before your return to the hotel for the night.
Today morning the ancient city awaits you, Polonnaruwa is the second medieval capital of ancient Sri Lanka and has been serving royals in reign from the 11th to 13th century. In contrast to Anuradhapura, historically as well as geographically compact Polonnaruwa today has a vast city that had gone to ruins by the Parakrama Samudraya and the ruins suggest how mighty the city would have been in the gone days. You have the option to take it easy with a cycle ride through the ancient sites and take a quick guided tour before the hot sun sets in. Your next destination is Dambulla for the night with an optional lunch stop in Sigiriya. Later in the evening visit the Dambulla cave temple, the temple is also called Ran Giri Dambulu Viharaya giving the meaning of ‘Golden rock temple’. The major attractions here are the 5 separate caves – Devaraja Viharaya, Maharaja Viharaya, Maha Alut Viharaya, Pashchima Viharaya, and Devana Alut Viharaya containing not less than 150 Buddha images & statues. Return to the hotel before dusk for your overnight stay.
Today morning you will take an early check out to go see Sigiriya the rock fortress. the royal citadel is being built between 477-485 AD and was surrounded by an impressive double moat and a wall. As well as the palace the city had quarters for the ordinary people who built the royal pavilions, pools, and fortifications. The engineering skills required to build the palace, gardens, cisterns, and ponds become even more extraordinary when you realize that the entire site was built over a period of seven years. Water conservation in the site is done through clever cut clay pipes and rock-cut channels for the bathing pools above. After visiting this impressive creation of ancient times, head to Kandy the hill capital with en-route stop at a Spice Garden in Matale. A spice grove specializing of all local spices Step into the unpolluted, green garden, where you can see how herbs are grown in their natural environment, then learn how you can use them to enhance the taste of specialty meals. After this endearing experience, you will arrive at Kandy and relax a little to prepare for the coming long day exploring the Kandy city.
Kandy is a place steeped in history, culture, and religion. Although the effects of modernization are visible, peek into the heart of this hill country capital and you will see that the core of this cool city remains traditional and friendly. Walkthrough the crowds to reach the Kandy Temple, lined with little stalls selling pretty pink and white lotus flowers, waiting to be offered by devotees. The pathway to the entrance of the temple is scattered with monuments bearing significant stories from the past. Inside this intricately designed building, your guide will enlighten you on the beliefs of the Buddhist faith and the architecture behind it. Then you will visit the beautiful botanical gardens on the edge of Kandy. Take a walk through the gardens, visit the orchid house, and enjoy the riverside views. This will be followed with a visit to the Arts and crafts center in Kandy where you will be able to bag something in memory of your Sri Lanka trip. A variety of wood carvings, batiks, silk, and several crafts from traditional Sri Lanka are being showcased here. In the evening visit a small theatre to watch a traditional Kandyan dance performance which lasts about an hour, showcasing some of the country's rich dance culture. It culminates with a dramatic fire-walking show.
Today morning after breakfast, you will take on your trip to Nuwara Eliya the famous little England town. Along the way, you will make a stop at the Ramboda Falls. This is a waterfall at an easy reach and a picture-perfect location in the area of Ramboda where you will see the top of the waterfall and the fall alongside the road. This can be your leisure stop before you reach the hill station. Keep your eyes glued to the windows for the changing landscapes by altitude and the weather changing as you climb in your route to Nuwara Eliya. This is one of the most scenic routes the island has to offer with a few distant waterfall sights named after notable Britishs' who inhabited the island. On your way next, we will stop at a tea factory to see how the well-known Ceylon tea is processed. Maybe you can sip a cup to ease up a little and get to know the true flavor of Ceylon tea too. Upon reaching Nuwara Eliya, relax for the day and catch rest at the hill station.
Early mornings in Nuwara Eliya is best accompanied with a hot brewed Ceylon tea and ready go attitude to take on the mist, today you will stroll around the city of Nuwara Eliya to see some very less visited as less known places. The Holy Trinity Anglican church is reached through a stone step way through a lawn of pines. This small white church is one of the best-kept secrets in Nuwara Eliya, consecrated in 1852, and coming to the modern-day completed with Italian style stained glass and an organ The Holy Trinity church is a good place to start relating to the history of Nuwara Eliya. Next up the Post Office is also one of the picture-perfect icons the town has to offer. The thicket fenced red building is one of the oldest remaining post offices in Sri Lanka. Back when the post was essential this had been the midpoint of reaching the mother country of English planters plus reaching the capital many miles away in Colombo. The now restored building is definitely worth a visit. As Nuwara Eliya is a lake centered town, the lake Gregory is not to miss with the nice walk path around it, this can be your final city highlight before you catch the scenic train journey from Nanuoya to Ella. These are one of the most venerated train journeys in Asia, mostly for their uniqueness and also for not losing the shape carried from the ancient locomotive era. Tonight you will spend in Ella, surrounded by mountains, lofting in a valley.
Today morning, you will hike to the top of Little Adam’s Peak. Named after its Big Brother Adam’s Peak, the little Adam’s peak is about 1100feet and a fairly easy hike with expansible stunning views at the top of mountains in the vicinity and many valleys. The hiking path can be a little steep at points, but it is so worth it to keep an eye on the rocks and reach the top. After this rewarding experience head south leaving the hill country to Sri Lanka’s dry zone to Yala for your overnight stay. On your way to Yala, you will stop at a pottery maker house to get the authentic pottery making experience. you can take a walk in about and sit at a potter’s wheel and take a clear look and hands-on ride at cookware being made before you hit the road back to Yala where you relax by the forest creeks for a wildlife adventure tomorrow.
Early morning today you will do your first safari to Yala National Park, early morning sunrise safaris can be great for seeing all birdlife at the national park such as barbets, hoopoes, Malabar pied hornbills, orioles, herons, storks, kites and eagles both migratory and endemic along with other wildlife. You can also take a drive towards Palatupana beach and see over the red mineral rock seemingly related to a prehistoric era. These safaris done by the Ceylon Wild Safaris guides are some of the best in Yala. Along with their expertise and the passion to conserve, you can experience true wildlife at this end of Yala, where fewer tourists are taking. After the safari, you will take the road to reach Mirissa. Mirissa is a quaint little beach town known the most for the giants of the ocean, whales. On the way here we stop at a curd shop. These little island treats similar to Greek yoghurt is served with treacle extracted from either fishtail palm or coconut palm. It has a little sour taste and is loved around the country by all Sri Lankans.
This day early morning you will board a boat and sail to the deep seas at the sunrise to see Whales. Blue Whales, while Mirissa seas are quite the nest for Blue whales the world’s biggest mammal, it also has a finer selection of fin whales, Bryde’s whales, minke whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, and of course a plethora of dolphins. Even though whales are practically less seen in the oceans and are endangered, Sri Lankan waters pride them and sustain them. It’s always great to view Whales during this trip. After the whale watching trip, you will be visiting the Galle Dutch Fort, Galle is the most important town in the south and its fort area, with its mighty ramparts, encloses some wonderful examples of colonial architecture. A laid back and enchanting place to wander, it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. Rather removed from the busy modern town, the fort remains a village atmosphere. Then you will take a guided walk around this city of time and your host will tell you very interesting stories from the gone days. Stories of how the names came to being, how the streets were inhibited, and all. With the Portuguese style low roofed pillared buildings like in a movie set shading your way, Fort also boasts its own food culture. Maybe an ice cream to beat the heat from all the walking. Fort also has a good collection of museums showcasing artifacts from the past. This day you will spend the night in Galle.
Today morning after breakfast, you will visit the Rumassala rock and Jungle Beach along with the peace pagoda. Rumassala is a sanctuary wrapped nicely in legends that dates thousands of years back. Both the forests and the ocean around Rumassala are rich in biodiversity. The forest is home to many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals (including several endemic species), as well as rare medicinal plants. At the base of the cliff and beneath the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean are coral and rocky reefs that are home to several sea life. The entire Rumassala area, including both the forest and coral reefs, is now protected as a sanctuary. After this very relaxing nature ride, you will hike away to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, also, a several steps away from the Rumassala Mountain, Japanese Peace Pagoda is as the name suggests, is a gift from Japan. This cliff-hanging white pagoda has a walking space around it and gives views of miles into the sea, the harbor and from the other edge, trees and bushes. Then you will take a cycle ride in Unawatuna to cycle along with the village parts of the classical Galle. You can cycle in the footpaths and meet with the locals to get the best of local living. Might stop for a quick sip of tea by a local tea shop is how much it gets rustic.
Today morning after breakfast, you will be transferred to Colombo the commercial and a fast-moving city in Sri Lanka. On your way, you will have a stop at the Tsunami Photo Museum in Hikkaduwa. This ramshackle, private museum 3.5km north of Hikkaduwa tells the story through photographs and newspaper features of that dreadful day in 2004 when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck Hikkaduwa and Sri Lanka. Also, en route you visit a Turtle Hatchery; this is much a conservation project than a spot to see turtles. Sri Lankan seas are known for several types of turtles and at a turtle hatchery, you can learn about their life cycle and contribute to the timely effort of conserving them. Upon reaching Colombo and relaxing a little at the hotel, in the evening you will take a walk around Colombo City; this guided walk will educate you on various time lapses for Colombo city to go through and the highlights each era has left in the city. This 19th-century garden city definitely has some very interesting stories going down, which your host will tell you stories about. Take an early night today at the hotel.
After breakfast or midday head to the international airport for your departure flight back home.
END OF TOUR ARRANGEMENTS!
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