This fantastic tour covers the highlights of Sri Lanka from ancient cities to charming hill stations and awesome beaches. Sumptuous scenery, abundant wildlife, great food and welcoming people – Sri Lanka is a wonderful country. This tour takes you to visit some of the well known sights of Sri Lanka, such as the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, to the hilly tea plantation region, visiting a tea factory and beautiful botanic gardens, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. We also explore the newly opened area, once popular before the war, of Trincomalee – a beautiful area on the east coast perfect for a little relaxation!
Please note that this is a private tour, and you will be travelling on your own with a car and driver. You may change any aspect of the itinerary if you wish, but this will alter the price. Please ask for further details!
Day 1, Arrival in Sri Lanka
Your exciting trip starts today with your arrival into Colombo Airport. You will be met and transferred to your hotel for the night in nearby Negombo. Overnight stay at the Goldi Sands Hotel, Catamaran Beach Hotel or similar.
Day 2, Anuradhapura
After breakfast we leave for Anuradhapura – the first capital in 5th Century BC. En route, we take a visit to Munneswaram, an important regional Hindu temple complex in Sri Lanka, in a predominantly Buddhist country. It has been in existence at least since 1000 CE, although myths surrounding the temple associate it with the popular Indian epic Ramayana, and its legendary hero-king Rama. The temple is one of five ancient temples dedicated to Shiva in the region. Continue to visit the ancient Buddhist library building in Padeniya Temple. Proceed to Anuradhapura. Overnight at the Galway Miridiya Lodge or similar, Anuradhapura. (B)
The most celebrated of Sri Lanka’s ancient ruined cities dating back to the 5th Century BC which formed the foundation for a magnificent civilisation spanning over a few centuries. According to the Mahavamsa - the great Sinhala Chronicle, this was a model of planning with precincts set aside for different vocations as well as for foreigners. There were separate cemeteries for high and low castes, hostels and hospitals and water supply was assured by the construction of reservoirs. Its greatest treasures are its dagabos constructed of small sun-dried bricks and are hemispherical in shape - two of which have been identified by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. The reservoirs used for storage of water formed the basis of the hydraulic civilisation which later on spread to the entire island.
Day 3, Anuradhapura
After breakfast we take a city tour of Anuradhapura, visiting many archaeological and historical sites of interest, including Isurumuniya - the first temple to be built in the island - famous for its sculpture of ‘Lovers’. Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, with an authenticated history of more than 2,300 years which has been planted from a sapling of the original tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. We also visit Ruwanveliseya - the largest stupa in the island; Jethawanaramaya and Abhayagiriya - which in their original form were once equivalent in size to the Great Pyramids in Giza and have thus been declared as World Heritage Sites; Twin Ponds,
Thuparamaya - the first Stupa to be built in Sri Lanka enshrining the left collar bone of the Buddha, and the Samadhi Statue – which shows Bhudda in meditating posture. Overnight at Galway Miridiya Lodge or similar, Anuradhapura. (B)
Day 4, Habarana
After breakfast we leave for Habarana, visiting Mihintale, Avukana and Ritigale Nature Reserve.
Mihintale is known as the cradle of Buddhism, where the message of Buddha was received by the then King of Sri Lanka from Arahath Mahinda - the son of Emperor Asoka of India- climb up to the summit through the 1840 granite slab steps. We proceed to see the Avukana Standing Buddha Statue – a 12metre tall magnificent masterpiece of Sri Lankan Craftsmanship. We then travel along the dam of the Kalawewa Reservoir. Continue on to visit the Ritigala Nature Reserve. Afterwards, we continue to Habarana, where we stay for the night at Sorowwa Hotel or similar. (B)
Located a few kilometres from Anuradhapura, Mihintale is considered as the cradle of Buddhism, where the message of Buddhism was received by the then King of Sri Lanka from Arahath Mahinda - the son of Emperor Asoka of India which was delivered after a lengthy conversation the Arahath had with the King to gauge the intelligence level of the monarch. The rock is dotted with shrines and rock dwellings.
Facing the massive Kalawewa Reservoir, constructed by King Dhatusena in close proximity to Vijithapura, Avunkana is where the warrior King Dutugemunu is supposed to have confronted King Elara and emerged victorious ending the long regime of Kings of south Indian origin.
Ritigala Nature Reserve
The legends lead to the Ramayana Era where Monkey King Hanuman is claimed to have dropped this bit of land when he was hurriedly bringing some rare medicinal herbs for the treatment of wounded soldiers in the Rama-Rawana confrontation. This is considered as one of the earliest monastic settlements dating from 3rd century BC, located within the confines of a Nature Reserve in the dry zone. Meditative paths and cells, dwellings, multipurpose buildings, and hospitals of the early Buddhist monks who shunned the society are still found half concealed among the thick tropical vegetation. This reserve is also known as a good place for bird watching and its high diversity in rare medicinal herbs is thought to be unique.
Day 5, Trincomalee
After breakfast leave for Trincomalee. Visit Fort Fredrick, within which is the famous
Koneswaram Temple. Visit the seven hot wells in Kanniya which has a Hindu legend behind it, and the Vilgam Vehera, one of the oldest Shrines in the Eastern Province - where one of the first eight Saplings of The Sri Mahabodhi is planted. Nilaveli Beach is a coastal resort located 20km north west of Trimcomalee if you fancy relaxing at the beach. Overnight at the Welcombe Hotel or similar, Trincomalee. (B)
Considered as the Capital of the Eastern Province , famous as being the deepest natural Harbour in the world, Trincomalee is located at the mouth of Sri Lanka’s longest river - the Mahaweli Ganga. It was once described by Lord Nelson as ‘the finest harbour in the world’ when he visited it abroad HMS Sea Horse in 1770.
Day 6, Trincomalee
Today is at leisure for you to relax or explore as you wish. Overnight at the Welcombe Hotel or similar, Trincomalee. (B)
Day 7, Passikudah
After breakfast leave for Passikudah, enroute taking time to visit Polonnaruwa, ‘The Medieval Capital of Sri Lanka- 11th Century AD’. Overnight at the LSR Hotel or similar, Passikudah. (B)
Passikudah has become a popular tourist destination amongst locals and foreigners alike. This is because Passikudah is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world. In other words, people walk kilometres into the sea because the water is only a few inches deep and the current is relatively weak compared to the rest of Sri Lanka's coasts.
Polonnaruwa is the island’s Medieval Capital (11th – 13th Centuries AD) which rose to fame after the decline of Anuradhapura. The city was fortified with three concentric walls, beautified with parks and gardens and sanctified by many shrines. A unique irrigation complex watered the city as well as the surrounding plains helping in agriculture which made the island ‘the Grainery of the East’". The largest of the man made reservoirs, the huge Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama), is larger in size than the Colombo Harbour. Polonnaruwa is home to two magnificent World Heritage Sites and numerous other sites of archaeological and historical interest, some of which depict the influence that Hinduism had on the Buddhist Civilization during that period of history.
Day 8, Passikudah
Today is at leisure to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Overnight at the LSR Hotel or similar , Passikudah. (B)
Day 9, Mahiyangana
After breakfast we leave for Mahiyangana, enroute visiting the Maha Oya Hot Springs. Afterwards, we proceed to visit Dambana, a village of indigenous people of Sri Lanka. Dambana not only offers its Jungles and Veddha’s to its guests, but god’s blessings through the nature and wildlife. Overnight at Sorabora Gedara Hotel or similar, Mahiyangana. (B)
Maha Oya Hot Springs
Maha Oya Hot Springs is located about 2km off Mahaoya town. This is said to be the hottest spring of all the hot springs on Sri Lanka. Here you will find 7 well maintained wells with different temperatures. The temperature of the hottest well is about 56C (133F). Only two wells are of bathing temperature.
Day 10, Kandy
After breakfast we leave for Kandy, known as ‘The Hill Capital’. Enroute visit to see Sorabora Wewa and Mahiyangana Temple. Continue to Kandy. Overnight at Topaz Hotel or Thilanka Hotel or similar, Kandy. (B)
Literally the ‘City on the Hill’, Kandy was so named as it was protected by nature - water, rocks and jungles. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings before falling to the British
in 1815AD, and is a World Heritage Site. The name Kandy conjures vision of splendour of magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. The centre of attraction is the golden roofed Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Kandy Lake, built by the last King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1806, holds a prominent view of the City. It is a City for arts and crafts as well culture and history.
After breakfast we take a city tour of Kandy, including Upper Lake Drive - a place where one can have a bird's eye view of the city below. We also visit the Royal Botanical Gardens - one of the best of its kind in Asia with more than 5000 species of different varieties of flora which was also the Headquarters of Lord Louise Mountbatten - the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during the 2nd World War. We stop at a Gem Museum to see how the valuable gems that you see on a shop shelf are turned out from a raw stone with the back ground history. In the evening watch a Cultural Performance by traditional Kandyan Dancers and Drummers including devotional “Fire Walking", and walk across in the star lit night to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha - by far the most important place of worship for Buddhists world over. Overnight at Topaz Hotel or Thilanka Hotel or similar, Kandy. (B)
Day 12, Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya – ‘Little England’ through the Ramboda Pass surrounded by ‘Green Carpets’- hills covered with tea and cascading waterfalls amidst breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. En route visit a tea Factory and a plantation to witness the manufacturing process of world famous ‘Ceylon Tea’ and taste a pure unblended cup of factory fresh tea before being sent to the tea auctions in Colombo leading to export. This evening is free for walk around the city - the important places being the Victoria Park, Gregory Lake, Golf Course, and Market.
Overnight at Galway Forest Lodge / Binota Hotel or similar, Nuwara Eliya. (B)
Nestled in a wooded basin at the foot of Mount Pidurutalagala (Sri Lanka’s highest peak), this region at 6,183ft above sea-level and has a cool, crisp climate unknown elsewhere in Sri Lanka. A serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo, the town seems like a piece of the English Lake District. Unusual plants, birds and animals thrive here besides natural feature like waterfalls and caves. Tea, the glistening green leaves of this lovely shrub, along with neat rows of green, cloak ridges and valleys providing a lasting impression of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. The golf course – one of the most finest and picturesque in Asia – the serene Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity, beautiful parks and well kept lawns and hedges give the place an air of nostalgia.
Day 13, Negombo
After breakfast, we leave for Negombo via Hatton Road. En route visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala, to see the world's largest herd of domestic Elephants including babies who are still being fed by bottle three times a day. Afterwards we proceed to Negombo, where this evening you enjoy a city tour of Negombo including the fishing village; Old Dutch Fortress from 1678 which has been converted to a prison; the Hamilton Canal, which was built by the Dutch for the transportation of Cinnamon; St. Mary’s Church and the Old Dutch Cemetery and naturally the Negombo Fish Market. Overnight at the Goldi Sands Hotel / Catamaran Beach Hotel or similar, Negombo.
Established in 1975 as an effort towards education and conservation by way of scientific captive breeding. Located on the banks of the Maha Oya,the Elephant Orphanage provides shelter to house young elephants who find themselves displaced and lost from their natural habitats for various reasons such as environmental changes due to development projects, being abandoned by their parents when they fall into pits and ravines, etc.
Day 14, Departure
Your trip comes to an end today, and you are transferred to the airport for your onward flight arrangements.
End of services.
Please note that the price above is valid for departure between 1st November and 31st October 2013, however supplements apply to the following dates:
For departures between 16th December 2012 and 20th January 2013, please add £95 per person, and for departures between 21st January and 31st October 2013, please add £25 per person.
Please note that all accommodation is subject to availability.
Prices are per person, based on a minimum of 2 people travelling.
Prices DO NOT include international flights – we can arrange these for you if you would like.
• Transport in an air conditioned vehicle with an English speaking chauffeur guide from and to the airport as per itinerary, except free times (days at leisure)
• Accommodation based on 2 people sharing a twin/double room, including daily breakfast, as specified above
• Entrance fees to all the tourist sites that are included in the program
• Local assistance
• All local taxes
• Any applicable visa required for entry into Sri Lanka – all nationalities require an electronic visa – this can be obtained from www.eta.gov.lk
• Any applicable departure airport tax – currently none
• Tips & gratuities
• Meals other than those mentioned above
• Personal expenses such as drinks, phonecalls, laundry
• International flights
• Domestic flights (not required)
• Personal travel insurance – required for travel
• Any optional excursions or additional services
• Any supplements that hotels may apply due to events taking places (you will be advised at time of quote should any such changes occur)
• Early/late check in/out at hotels – subject to availability and additional cost
• Anything else not mentioned in the above itinerary or inclusions
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