The Pick of Sri Lanka
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Explore Sri Lanka high and low with this fascinating guaranteed departure tour starting in the capital, Colombo, and taking an inland loop that covers all the main historical, cultural, and natural attractions of this magical island. Discover a world of lush landscapes, picturesque lakeside cities, historic temples, and ancient citadels. Breathe in the fragrances of Sri Lanka at herb and spice gardens. Enjoy cultural shows and spiritual experiences over nine unforgettable days travelling across this earthly paradise.
Colombo: Sri Lanka’s vibrant capital is both a historic city packed with colonial architecture and a bustling metropolis.
Dambulla: Catch a glimpse of this fascinating Buddhist cave-temple carved deep into a mountain and decorated with impressive frescoes.
Sigiriya: The ‘Lion Rock’ rises almost 200 metres above the jungle, offering breathtaking panoramic views.
Polonnaruwa: An ancient city characterized by temples and palace ruins, as well as an interesting still-functioning irrigation system.
Matale: Wander around the delightful spice gardens, breathing the scents of Sri Lanka: cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, and many others.
Kandy: This beautiful city hosts the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and its paradisiacal palaces and gardens.
Nuwara Eliya: Visit a plantation in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country and admire the town’s mesmerising Victorian architecture.
Buduruwagala: Clear your way through the jungle to find the inspiring ancient, rock-carved sculptures of Buddha.
Yala National Park: Explore the magnificent fields of green and meet many wild animals such as elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, and leopards.
Galle: Travel back in time while exploring the historical streets of this well-preserved fortified Dutch colonial city.
Kosgoda: Visit a sea turtle hatchery and see how a conservation project helps this endangered species.
- Operated with English-speaking guide
- 8 nights’ accommodation in selected hotel category
- 8 Breakfasts
- Air-conditioned transportation as stated in the programme
- Inbound/Outbound airport transfers from/to Bandaranike International Airport in Colombo.
- Meet & Greet on arrival at Bandaranike International Airport in Colombo
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals or items not stated explicitly in the programme
- Gratuities for drive and guide
- Entrance fees for all sights and attractions
- Any alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, mineral water, etc
- Video camera and photography permits at the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
- Optional tours and activities
- Travel Insurance or any loss or extra cost arising due to unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays, accidents, etc.
- Please note that local conditions prevalent at the time of travel may result in modifications to the tour contents without prior notice
- Pick Up and Drop Off from Bandaranike International Airport in Colombo.
What do I need to bring?
Comfortable and light clothing is the most suitable for travelling in Sri Lanka. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or skimpy clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Shoes should be removed before entering a temple or private house. Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay. Clients arriving in early morning flights will have to wait until the last tour participant has arrived.
Day 1 Colombo:
- Standard Hotel Category = Palm Village Hotel or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Ozo Colombo or similar 4*
- Deluxe Hotel Category = Cinnamon Lakeside or similar 5*
Day 2-3 Sigiriya :
- Standard Hotel Category = Kassapa Lions Rock or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = The Paradise Resort or similar 4*
- Deluxe Hotel Category = Cinnamon Lodge or similar 5*
Day 4-5 Kandy:
- Standard Hotel Category = Hotel Hilltop or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Earl’s Regent or similar 4*
- Deluxe Hotel Category = The Grand Kandyan or similar 5*
Day 6 Nuwara Eliya:
- Standard Hotel Category = Galway Forest Lodge or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Jetwing St Andrew’s or similar 4*
- Deluxe Hotel Category = Araliya Green Hills or similar 5*
Day 7 Tissamaharama:
- Standard Hotel Category = Chandrika Hotel or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = The Safari or similar 4*
- Deluxe Hotel Category = Jetwing Yala or similar 5*
Day 8 Kalutara:
- Standard Hotel Category = Hibiscus Beach Hotel & Villas or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Turyaa Kalutara or similar 4*
- Deluxe Hotel Category = Heritance Ahungalla or similar 5*
- Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVAL COLOMBO
Arrive at the International Airport in Colombo. Our representative will meet and greet before transferring you to the selected hotel. Vibrant, bustling, and colourful Colombo offers a stunning contrast to the rest of the country. Skyscrapers grow out of historic colonial era districts near the port, but the modern metropolis proudly keeps its old-world charm. Visit the famous Pettah bazaar, the Hindu and Buddhist temples known as the Gangarama and Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil, as well as some of the city’s residential areas. For instance, if you wander around Cinnamon Gardens, you will find prestigious addresses such as the Prime Minister’s Office, Independence Hall, Colombo Town Hall, and the National Museum, as well as the stately homes of the affluent.
Overnight in Colombo on selected board basis.
Day 2 : COLOMBO – PINNAWALA – DAMBULLA – SIGIRIYA (150km – 3.5 hrs)
After a delicious breakfast, begin your journey discovering Sri Lanka’s wildlife and heritage. The first stop is the visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a 2,000-year-old sacred pilgrimage site carved deep inside a mountain. The inspiring complex of five caves is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features fascinating paintings of the Buddha and other deities and Sri Lankan kings. Return to your hotel for a good nights sleep.
Overnight in Sigiriya on selected board basis.
Day 3 : SIGIRIYA – POLONNARUWA – SIGIRIYA (140km – 3.5 hrs)
Begin your day with a tasty breakfast and then climb to the fifth-century Sigiriya fortress, which sits atop a rock that dramatically rises almost 200 metres above the rainforest. King Kashyapa built the citadel at the top of this giant boulder known as the ‘Lion Rock’, which was the innermost stronghold of a vast fortified city. Pass through the lion’s ‘belly’ and climb to the top using the spiral staircase that snakes its way around the rock. Enjoy the breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape and beyond into horizon. In the afternoon, discover the magnificent ruins of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Catch a glimpse of the large artificial lake, that feeds a network of irrigation canals, admire the remains of the royal palace, and see the charming temples, as well as administrative buildings. Admire the Gal Viharaya with its four rock-carved Buddha statues, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, and the statue of King Parakramabahu. Contemplate also the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, and the Galpotha, before returning to the hotel .
Overnight in Sigiriya on selected board basis.
Day 4 : SIGIRIYA – MATALE – PERADENIYA – KANDY (100km – 2.5 hrs)
Indulge in a delectable breakfast and head towards the delightful spice and herb gardens in Matale. The Sri Lankan spices such as turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and lemongrass are considered some of the best in the world. Witness a cooking demonstration and learn about the culinary and therapeutic values of these products. Proceed to Kandy and visit the beautiful Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, structured by the British who also introduced a variety of plants and flowers, creating the fascinating fields of orchids and fragrant spices you see today. There is even a tree planted by King George and Queen Mary in 1901! In the evening check in at your selected hotel and prepare yourself for a new adventure.
Overnight in Kandy on selected board basis.
Day 5 : KANDY
Kandy is famous for its beautiful lakeside location, framed by majestic hills. But its most attractive landmark is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. This spectacular complex was built in the 16th century just to host a relic of one of the Buddha’s canine teeth. Every week, monks ritually clean the tooth relic, and the scented waters they use are considered holy. Other notable structures include the Golden Canopy, the New Palace and the Royal Palace, the old courthouse, the Queen’s Bathing House, the National Museum and the sanctuary. Contemplate in peace the magnificent architecture and experience the tranquillity of the atmosphere. End the day with a dramatic cultural show, which features 12 folk and traditional dances accompanied by ceremonial drums and a drum orchestra. And prepare for a sizzling fire walking performance that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Overnight in Kandy on selected board option.
Day 6 : KANDY – TEA PLANTATION – NUWARA ELIYA (95km – 2.5 hrs)
Savour Sri Lanka’s most famous product with a visit to a tea plantation and factory. Observe the tea production process from the picking of the leaves to their grading and selection, and finally the manufacture of dried tea leaves. Cap off this experience with a tasting of genuine Ceylon tea in the factory. Continue to Nuwara Eliya, the picturesque lakeside town known as the ‘tea capital’ and as ‘Little England’. This is where the British introduced tea production to Sri Lanka. Admire the tidy bungalows with rose lawns, Victoria Park, the racecourse, and the 18-hole golf course that is considered one of the best in South Asia. Other attractions near this charming relic of empire include the evocatively named Lovers’ Leap waterfall and Sri Lanka’s highest mountain, the 2,500-metre Pidurutalagala, which overlooks the town.
Overnight in Nuwara Eliya on selected board basis.
Day 7 : NUWARA ELIYA – BUDURUWAGALA – TISSAMAHARAMA (180km – 5 hrs)
Drive towards south-east passing through tea plantations, verdant landscapes and remote highland towns. Continue to the temple of Buduruwagala and admire the imposing rock-carved Buddha statues. Drive to Yala National Park for an adventurous Jeep safari. Over the next three to four hours, explore this vast natural wilderness, which goes all the way to the sea, giving it a scenic ocean frontage and a truly wild and exotic aura. Prepare to explore terrains of grassy plains, deciduous forests, and sand dunes. Furthermore, the park is home to hundreds of elephants, boars, buffalo, sloth bears, deer, crocodiles, and the endangered Sri Lankan leopard. So, be ready to spot wild animals!
Overnight in Tissamaharama on selected board basis.
Day 8 : TISSAMAHARAMA – GALLE – KOSGODA – KALUTARA (275km – 5 hrs)
Indulge in a delicious breakfast at the hotel and enjoy a scenic drive to Galle. Colonised by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, Galle is now a mesmerising city with a rich colonial heritage. The Dutch-built fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it features a labyrinth of charming alleys and lanes, filled with historic buildings. Admire the picturesque Dutch Reformed Church and the magnificent Meera Mosque, and continue your journey heading north towards Kosgoda, to visit the famous turtle hatchery. Several species of turtles, including the endangered hawksbill, are protected in this refuge. The turtles’ eggs are the most vulnerable as they are left uncovered on the beaches all around the coast. Catch a glimpse at the huge tanks, filled with newborn, but lively, hatchlings. When they are a few days old, the hatchlings are fed and released into the sea.
Overnight in Kalutara on selected board basis
Day 9 : KALUTARA – DEPART COLOMBO (80km – 1.5 hrs)
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Colombo airport to connect with your outward flight.