A fascinating 17 day private tour taking in a vibrant culture, inspiring heritage sites, stunning landscapes, charming & friendly people and abundant & diverse wildlife.
£1,595 per person.
COLOMBO – ANURADHAPURA – POLONNARUWA – SIGIRIYA – DAMBULLA – KANDY - NUWARA ELIYA – TISSAMAHARAMA – NEGOMBO
Price includes: Airport/hotel transfers, hotels as stated or similar with daily breakfast, English speaking guide/driver, sightseeing, boat trip, train, admissions fees.
Price excludes: International flights *, insurance, local airport tax, meals, tips, personal expenses, optional entertainment and any service not specified above. Single room supplement is £395 per person. Children: 75% of adult’s price (child sharing parents’ room).
* To make your holidays even more hassle free, we can purchase international flights on your behalf at competitive prices. Please call for more information.
DAY 01 LONDON/ COLOMBO
Departure from London Heathrow or Gatwick.
DAY 02 COLOMBO (-/-/-)
On arrival, our representative will meet and transfer you to Mt. Lavinia Hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Mt Lavinia Hotel.
DAY 03 COLOMBO (B/-/-)
Full day Colombo city tour with guide includes Jami ul alfar Mosque, the National Museum, the Clock Tower of the ancient Wolvandaal church , the Presidential secretariat, the Gall face hotel built in 1864, Independence square, and the local market. Overnight stay at Mt. Lavinia Hotel.
DAY 04 ANURADHAPURA (B/-/-)
Drive to Anuradhapura, the sacred city 206 km from Colombo. En route visits to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala, the Ancient Kingdom at Yapahuwa; and a fortress built upon a 300 ft granite rock rising from the plains with fantastic views over the far distant hills, and the magnificent Aukana Buddha statue – this 12m tall standing Buddha of Aukana is believed to have been sculptured in the 5th century AD. Overnight stay at Palm Garden Village.
DAY 05 ANURADHAPURA (B/-/-)
After breakfast, visit Anuradhapura Ancient city (from 500BC to 1073 AD) – 1st capital of Sri Lanka and one of the fabled ‘Lost Cities Of The East’ with a history going back well over 2000 years. The city has great significance to Buddhists throughout the world on account of its numerous ‘stupas’ that are said to contain relics of the Buddha. The Sacred Bo Tree - planted from a sapling of the tree under which the Buddha attained Nirvana is the oldest historically documented tree in existence and is the central place of pilgrimage for devotees. Visit all the monuments and Museum, then onto Mihintale monastery. There is a flight of 1840 granite steps leading to this extremely ancient monastery revered as the place where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in 243 B.C. by Mahinda, the brother of the Great King Ashoka of India. Ruins of hospitals, alms halls and meditation caves are spread among the entire hillock of Mihintale. Return to Palm Garden Village for overnight.
DAY 06 POLONNARUWA (B/-/-)
Drive to Giritale, stop for lunch at Acme Hotel and in the afternoon visit Ritigala Monastery in the mountain, an ancient forest hermitage complex that dates from the early 3rd Century BC and has a fascinating collection of meditative paths running through thick jungle connecting interesting remains of monks’ cells and ambulatories. Overnight stay at Deer Park Hotel.
DAY 07 POLONNARUWA (B/-/-)
Today visit to Polonnaruwa medieval capital, one of the best preserved in Sri Lanka. Ruins of royal palaces, stupas and monasteries are scattered over several square kilometres around a vast lake known as the Sea of Parakrama. Stop at a wood carving factory, rice mill including a small museum, and local vegetable farm on the way. Overnight at Deer Park Hotel.
DAY 08 SIGIRIYA (B/-/-)
Morning exploration of the mysterious Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the most impressive in Sri Lanka built by King Kasyapa known as ‘The God King’ around 480 A.D. The site is entered via a water-filled moat that leads to The Royal Pleasure Gardens. Only recently excavated with help from UNESCO, these gardens have proved to be one of the oldest in the world. An ingenious system of pipes and channels fed water to fountains and water pools where islands with pavilions were constructed. During the ascent of the rock, a hidden cave reveals The Sigiriya Frescoes. This is Sri Lanka’s premier artistic treasure and is a must see. An old iron staircase spirals its way to a cave where 21 exquisite frescoes are still to be found. Check in at Sigiriya Hotel for overnight.
DAY 09 DAMBULLA (B/-/-)
Morning visit to Dambulla Golden Cave Temples with their beautiful collection of sculptures, paintings and frescoes from various periods of the island’s history. The Temple Of The Great Kings is the biggest and most spectacular cave temple with over 150 gilded statues of Buddha and 1500 paintings! The ceilings and walls are covered by the finest murals to be seen in Sri Lanka. Back to Sigiriya Hotel for overnight.
DAY 10 KANDY (B/-/-)
Beautifully located in a valley surrounded by hills, the royal city of Kandy was the last capital of the ancient Sri Lanka. Drive to Kandy with en route visits to Matale spice garden, Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, the holiest and most revered temple in Sri Lanka. Enshrined within the temple is said to be the ‘Tooth Relic’ of the Buddha. Its main features are an entrance moat, the Octagon (1810) and the central ‘Relic Chamber’ with a gilded golden roof. In the evening, enjoy a Kandyan cultural dance and overnight at Amaya Hills Hotel.
DAY 11 KANDY (B/-/-)
Morning visit to the Botanical gardens in Peradeniya surrounded by the river Mahaweli on 3 sides and connected to the other bank by a suspension bridge. Originally a Pleasure Garden of a Kandyan King, it is now a beautiful garden sheltering over 4,000 species of flora and over 80 species of birds. Next enjoy a tour of Kandy’s historic Old Quarter with a unique collection of very early British colonial and Kandyan period buildings. UNESCO has declared the whole area a World Heritage Site. Overnight at Amaya Hills Hotel.
DAY 12 NUWARA ELIYA (B/-/-)
Transfer to Nuwara Eliya, including a train ride from Hatton to Nuwara Eliya (the train conditions are very much improved and now runs faster). Overnight at the Tea Factory Hotel.
DAY 13 NUWARA ELIYA (B/-/-)
Morning visit to the Tea Plantations and a Tea factory where local people pluck tea. You are invited to join the tea workers at work. Jeep transfer to Horton Plains nature reserve, some 2,000 m above sea level and characterised by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills covered by forests. Late afternoon drive back to the Tea Factory Hotel for overnight.
DAY 14 TISSAMAHARAMA (B/-/-)
Drive to Tissamaharama with en route visit to Rama-Sita cave temple and view the Ella waterfalls. Arrive in Tissamaharama at about 3:00 pm. Proceed to Yala National park renowned for the variety of its wildlife and its fine coastline. Overnight at Elephant Reach Hotel.
DAY 15 TISSAMAHARAMA (B/-/-)
In the morning, experience the God Skanda Temple ceremony at Kataragama, a very popular & sacred pilgrimage site attracting both Sinhalese Buddhists and Hindu Tamils. To Buddhists, this forest sanctuary is where the Buddha planted a sapling of the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree sanctifying the spot. To Hindus, Kataragama is the domain of the Hindu war god Skanda. Both Hindu & Buddhist communities believe that the Hindu war god Kataragama (Skanda) has the power to intervene benevolently in their affairs, and convinced of the deity's benign influence, thousands come to Kataragama for a puja (offering) before embarking on a new venture. Overnight at the Elephant Reach Hotel.
DAY 16 DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
After breakfast, car transfer to Negombo for flight home or remain in the south coast for a beach extension on one of the beautiful beaches such as Unawatuna, Weligama, Tangalle, Mirissa, Dikwella and many more.
DAY 17 Arrive home