Sri Lanka is steeped in 2000 years of rich cultural heritage. Its monuments are more impressive and less frequented than some of the more well-known attractions. Come and see the tea plantations of the misty highlands, the gardens and orchards heavy with tropical fragrances and the jungles teeming with exotic fauna. There are nearly a thousand miles of sandy beaches, with year-round sunshine and colourful coral reefs to explore. The island also has some unique and delightful hotel accommodation. We showcase the best of what Sri Lanka has to offer in our 8-day itinerary. If you want to create your own individual tour, contact us to talk over the details. Alternatively after a week spent seeing the spectacular sights of Sri Lanka take a short flight to the beautiful islands of the Maldives for a few days of rest and relaxation on a palm fringed beach or diving at one of the world’s best dive destinations.
Arrive at Colombo ’s Bandaranaike International Airport and transfer to Negombo.
Overnight Beach Hotel Negombo.
After breakfast depart for the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela, where it’s feeding time for the baby elephants. Then, relaxing in one of the nearby cafes, watch as the adult elephants troop down to the river for their daily bath. Continue up into the hills to the island’s historic former capital Kandy . Here there is a visit to the Dalada Maligawa – the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The temple houses one of Buddha’s teeth and has for centuries been a place of pilgrimage.
Overnight Earls Regency Hotel, Kandy.
First stop today is the spice garden at Matale, where you can wander among the cinnamon trees and cardamom plants. Then on to the ancient ruined city of Anuradhapura and the mighty stupa of Jetavanaramaya, built in the 4th Century. The dome, standing at over 400 feet tall, was one of the largest buldings in the ancient world. Next is the Dambulla Cave Monastery, home to a community of Buddhist monks for 22 centuries. The temple is spread out across five caves with elaborate rock paintings and over 150 statues of the Buddha. Continue to the amazing Kandalama Hotel, which appears to be growing organically out of the forest.
Overnight Kandalama Hotel.
Excursion to the ruined city of Polonnaruwa . The city was the centre of a mighty kingdom in the 12th and 13th centuries. Here you can explore the remnants of King Parakramabahu’s palaces and gardens and see the amazing rock temple of Gal Vihara , with its colossal rock sculpture of a reclining Buddha. In the afternoon visit the dramatic rock fortress of Sigiriya. Stronghold of the 5th century King Kashyapa, this massive outcrop dominates the surrounding area. Visitors can climb all the way to the top to enjoy the magnificent view or just half way to admire some unique frescoes painted on to the rock. These graceful female figures are considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art.
Overnight Kandalama Hotel.
After breakfast head back to the coast for a few long lazy days on Ahungalla beach.
Overnight Heritance Ahungalla Hotel.
Relax on Ahungalla’s beautiful Indian Ocean beaches.
Another full free day at Ahungalla or take an excursion to the nearby town of Galle . Make a fascinating visit to Galle Fort, the great walled city of colonial times built originally by the Portuguese and then occupied by the Dutch and the British. Alternatively visit the turtle hatchery at Kosgoda and see the work that is being done to preserve these endangered creatures. If you’re feeling adventurous you can wait up at night on the beach to watch the turtles coming in to lay their eggs.
Transfer to the airport for the flight home.