Discover the island nation, Sri Lanka, on this comprehensive 14 day journey. Start the in capital, Colombo, exploring the city sites and then head to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka's ancient capital. Take an excursion to the Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in the country, see the masterfully carved and well-preserved statue in Aukana and then explore the monumental ruins in Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the remains of the fortified palace on the rock of Sigiriya, and then depart for Kandy, the country's second largest city, and take a day trip to visit the Botanical Garden in Peradeniya and the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala. Head to the heart of Sri Lanka's hill country in Nuwara Eliya and admire the rolling mountains of green tea plantations, see the 'World's End', and then head to Yala National Park for some time to explore this natural reserve before a tour of the historic Galle Fort and some leisure time on the coast in Bentota relaxing among the beach's swaying palms.
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The above is simply a list of highlights and does not represent all of what you will (and can) see on this trip.
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Hotel with daily breakfast, services of expert English speaking driver-guides, entrance fees to sites listed on the itinerary, private A/C transportation, and airport transfers. International flights are not included, contact us for preferred rates and schedules.
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Upon arrival in Colombo, you will be met by your local guide in the arrivals area holding a name-board. After a warm welcome & brief introduction, you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Today explore the city by wandering through the sprawling collection of ancient artifacts and colonial-era relics at the must-see National Museum, beautiful Buddhist & Hindu temples, the historic Wolfendhal church, Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the New Parliament in Sri Jayewardenepura, the Folk Art Centre, Art Galleries, Parks, Independence Square, and more.
Depart for Anuradhapura after breakfast and check-in to your hotel and have some time to relax. Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's ancient capital, 5th century BC - 9th century AD, and the center of the island's Buddhist civilization. The island's oldest Buddhist shrines - some dating back to 3rd century BC are found here. Impressive white 'dagabas' (relic chambers) and monuments, embellished with handsome stone carvings and sculpture, the oldest documented tree on earth the Sri Maha Bodhi (over 2000 years old), pleasure gardens, beautifully executed stone baths and ponds, a superb irrigation system of reservoirs and canals are the attractions of Anuradhapura. Later, with your guide visit Sri Maha Bodiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Moonstone, Abegiriya, the Twin Ponds and Lankaramaya.
Meet at the hotel and depart for the mountain peak of Mihintale. Mihintale is where Buddhism was first introduced to Sri Lanka, and is regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The rock is riddled with shrines and rock dwellings. A grand stairway of 1,840 steps made out of granite slabs 15'' wide leads to the summit from where one could get a splendid view of the surrounding countryside. In the afternoon, visit the village of Aukana, located close to the large ancient Kala Wewa rainwater reservoir, home to the most perfectly preserved ancient statue in Sri Lanka. The Aukana Buddha statue in Asisa Mudra or the “posture of blessing” is carved out of a rock boulder.
Drive to Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site which rose to fame as the capital after the decline of Anuradhapura. Its period of greatness was from the 10th - 12th centuries AD. The entire landscape of the region is punctuated by huge man-made reservoirs, veritable inland seas, the most famous of which is the Prakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama, larger in size than the Colombo Harbour. The monuments of this medieval city are relatively well preserved and give clear evidence to the glory of Sri Lanka's past. Afterwards, drive to your hotel in Sigiriya and check-in and have the rest of the day at your leisure.
After breakfast, proceed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sigiriya rock fortress. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 AD) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Afterwards, continue onward to Kandy, a lovely city and the last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings which retains an aura of grandeur. Encircled by hills, with a tranquil lake in its center, it is the site of the Renowned "Temple of the Tooth" and the Royal Botanical gardens, both of which will be visited during your stay in Kandy. Kandy and its satellite villages are the centre of the islands handicraft industry and its traditional dances are the most spectacular in the country.
Later, enjoy the Kandyan Cultural show at the Kandyan Arts & Cultural Centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display.
Visit the famous Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya and view a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora including the famous Orchid House. Here exotic crops such as coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine) – all of which later became important to Sri Lanka’s economy – were tested. Sights include a palm avenue planted by the British in 1905. Another British import was the enormous spreading Java fig, which sprawls across the lawn, grown from a sapling brought from East Indies. Later, proceed to visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Established in 1975, this orphanage is now home to about 60 elephants, many of whom are baby elephants that were found orphaned in the wild. They are cared for, fed and trained by wildlife authorities. Return to Kandy for a tour around Kandy itself.
After breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya, the heart of Sri Lankan hill country, visiting a tea factory en route. It is the home of the famous Ceylon Tea and the rolling mountains are a carpet of velvety green tea plantations, interspersed with gushing streams and tumbling waterfalls. The salubrious climate, misty glens and the decidedly British character make Nuwara Eliya a must on any Sri Lankan travel itinerary.
Head to the Horton Plains, located on a high windswept saddle at about 2,100 metres above sea level. The plains are an expanse of misty grassland with scraggy trees and ice-cold rivulets. The unique feature of Horton Plains is "World's End", considered to be the finest view in all of Sri Lanka. The awesome escarpment drops vertically for about 4,000 feet. You can also see the beautiful Bakers falls if you would like (the walk is about 14 km). After your day out, head back to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
Meet at the hotel and depart for Yala. The Yala National Park is approximately 1,259 sq kms in extent and is the largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is located in the south eastern corner of the island and it has the added bonus of a scenic ocean frontage. The park is the home for wild elephants, wild boars, wild buffaloes, leopards, bear, deer and crocodiles. Large flocks of migratory and indigenous birds are also found here. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a jeep safari in the park.
Checkout of the hotel after breakfast and depart for Bentota. On route visit the 17th century Dutch Fort of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle city on the southern coast is a must-see for colonial architecture buffs. Its main attraction is a 17th-century Dutch fort, one of the most extensive monuments left by European colonialists. Although many of the structures that made up the fort are in serious decay, the outer walls are completely intact. If you walk along the top of the walls you'll see dozens of cricket games, an old lighthouse, beautiful views of the town's harbor and hundreds of Sri Lankans out socializing. Within the fort, visit any of the several old churches (including a Dutch church dating from the mid-18th century) or simply stroll the narrow streets to get a good look at the old buildings.
After your tour of Galle, continue to Bentota where you will check-in at your resort for some leisure time among the white sand beaches, colourful coral reefs, and excellent surf.
Enjoy the full day at your leisure.
Meet at the hotel at the appointed time and transfer to the airport in Colombo for your departure flight.
Day 2: Take a city tour of bustling Colombo.
Day 9: See magnificent views from Horton's Plains.
This itinerary has been tried & tested and can be booked as-is. However, should you wish to customize your tour, you may contact us here.
CLASSIC SRI LANKA
BEST OF SOUTH INDIA
THE MALABAR COAST OF SOUTH INDIA