Discover Sri Lanka’s famous cultural triangle and visit the rock fortress of Sigiriya, the exquisite Dambulla cave temple and the historic Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Add a scenic train trip through the verdant tea plantations and spot wildlife at Udawalawe NP, all in an exciting one week holiday.
Day 1 – ColomboWelcome to Sri Lanka! Airport arrival transfer and remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 2 – Dambulla & Sigiriya
Bidding farewell to Colombo this morning we drive inland to Dambulla, stopping en-route at a fruit and vegetable market in Naramwela Town. Dambulla Rock Temple is an incredible ancient complex of caves which date back to the 1st Century BC. The five caves contain over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre carved statue.
After exploring this ancient site we continue to Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. (B)
Day 3 – Polonnaruwa
This morning we explore Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From Polonnaruwa we take a jeep ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala village we take part in a cookery demonstration in the mud brick home of a local woman and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more. En-route to Kandy we stop off a spice garden in Matale, to see the different herbs and spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
Arriving into Kandy, we watch a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance this evening. (B, L)
Day 4 – Kandy Temple of the Tooth
This morning we take a sightseeing tour of Kandy – the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. Our first stop will be the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Legend has it that one of Buddha’s teeth was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was then smuggled into Sri Lanka in 313AD. It now attracts daily pilgrims who come bearing lotus flowers and frangipani. After driving around the Kandy Lake – built by the last Sinhala king, visiting the local bazaar and a gem museum we take a Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon we stop at a working tea factory at Geragama. Geragama Tea Factory is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy was established in the year 1903, manufacturing ‘Low Grown’ and ‘Long Leaf’ tea. (B)
Day 5 – Scenic Train trip & Tea Plantations
This morning offers free time before transferring to the railway station for a scenic train trip. Passing kilometre upon kilometre of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, we’ll see waterfalls, suspension bridges and tea pickers on our journey up to Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea.
This afternoon we take a beautiful drive through Nuwara Eliya – an area known locally as ‘Little England’. (B)
Day 6 – Udawalawe NP Jeep Safari
Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. This national park is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, the biggest of all the Asian Elephants. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and lots of types of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to the hotel for the night. (B)
Day 7 – Colombo City Tour
This morning we visit the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura.
Arriving to Colombo, we commence a city tour seeing the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. We’ll see the stunning Gangarama Temple and take a stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular spot for kite flying and games of cricket. (B)
Day 8 – Goodbye Sri Lanka
Today offers free time for you to independently explore the city, before included departure transfer to the airport. (B)
Images courtesy of On the Go Tours