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Colombo, Caves & Kandy

8 days  |  Starts/Ends: Colombo  |  from USD $1,999  |   Guaranteed Departure 

Spend a week exploring Sri Lanka's famous cultural triangle, visiting the rock fortress of Sigiriya, the exquisite Dambulla cave temple, the historic Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, meeting Sri Lanka's orphaned elephants at Pinnawala and more.

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Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Inclusions
Day 1

Saturday. Welcome to Sri Lanka! Airport arrival transfer and remainder of the day at leisure. Our start hotel located on the seafront is a short walk from Galle Road and many of the city highlights. Choose to head out and explore, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a cocktail whilst you watch the perfect sunset over the Laccodive Sea.
Overnight: Colombo

Day 2

Colombo - Polonnaruwa - Giritale. Today we head inland to Polonnaruwa. On the way we stop a local Sunday market before arriving at one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples, the Dambulla Rock Temple. This stunning complex of 5 caves contains over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock. After exploring this ancient site we continue on to 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.
Overnight: Giritale  |  Breakfast

Day 3
Sigiriya, village visit & Spice Gardens

Giritale - Sigiriya – Kandy. This morning we head 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.

Once we’ve fully explored the rock we take a jeep ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, we try our hand at preparing a meal of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more in the mud brick home of a local family. 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 to Kandy, we attend a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Overnight: Kandy  |  Breakfast

Day 4

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 Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon we visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage where we meet some of the 78 elephants in their care. Some of these elephants were abandoned as babies, others born in the facility and unable to return to the wild and a few with disability - one elephant is blind. Today's highlight will be to watch the herd bathe uninhabited in the nearby river. Before returning to Kandy 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.
Overnight: Kandy  |  Breakfast

Day 5
Scenic Train trip & Tea Plantations

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. This morning offers free time before transfering 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. Opt to sit outside, within the open viewing section of the carriage for uninterrupted views of the magnificent landscape.

This afternoon we take a beautiful drive through Nuwara Eliya - an area known locally as 'Little England'.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6
Udawalawe NP Jeep Safari

Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe National Park. 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.
Overnight: Udawalawe N.P. and Embilipitiya  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Udawalawe National Park - Colombo. This morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems in the world.

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 explore 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.
Overnight: Colombo  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Saturday. Today offers free time for you to independently explore the city, before included departure transfer to the airport.
Breakfast

Buddha & Beach

Extend your stay at the beach! If you want to extend your holiday and enjoy some rest and relaxation on Sri Lanka's beautiful coast, take a look at our 12 day Buddha and Beach itinerary.

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Accommodation on Tour

For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.

Simple
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.

Standard
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.

Superior
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.

Deluxe
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.

Lavish
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!

OZO Colombo Sri Lanka, Colombo
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

OZO Colombo is a modern and stylish hotel, with sweeping Indian Ocean views from its rooftop infinity pool and many of its rooms. There's free WIFI access throughout the hotel and the guestrooms are bright and airy with all modern amenities. OZO is centrally located on Marine Drive, near Galle Road and just a 10 minute drive from the city centre.

Deer Park, Giritale
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Deer Park Hotel is a luxurious collection of cottages in a gorgeous setting. All rooms are traditionally furnished with comfortable beds and also offer air conditioning, mini bar and beautiful en-suite facilities. Some rooms even come with a splendid open air bathroom.

Hotel Topaz, Kandy
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Hotel Topaz is a charming hotel with a stunning roof top view. The elegant rooms are spacious with private balconies and good facilities.

Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Once the residence of the former Governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Edward Barnes, the Grand Hotel is a colonial style property set amongst very picturesque grounds. Guest rooms are large, traditionally designed with very comfortable beds. Free Wi-fi is available in the lobby and restaurants and the underground bar serves up a superb array of cocktails. Be sure to try the traditional Sri Lankan hoppers as part of the breakfast buffet. Well located in the high elms of Nuwara Eliya just a short walk from town.

Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort, Udawalawe N.P. and Embilipitiya
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Situated on 7 acres of land, the Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort is the only hotel of it's class in the area. Rooms are spacious with beautiful hard wood flooring and artwork depicting the wildlife of Udawalawe. Food here is delicious and plentiful with an extensive breakfast menu. The outdoor pool is a great place to relax by and enjoy a refreshing splash in after a good day on safari. Well located just a few minutes drive from Udawalawe National Park.

Trip Highlights

Colombo - The Fort area, Galle Face Green and Gamgarama Temple
Sigiriya - 5th century fortress ruins
Kayanwala village visit & cookery demonstration
Kandy - city tour including Tuk Tuk ride, Temple of the Tooth and cultural performance
Giragama Tea Factory - a working tea factory with a long history
Udawalawe National Park - home to the nation's largest herd of Asian Elephants
Polonnaruwa - the ancient capital city of Ceylon
Dambulla - Rock Temple
Matale - spice gardens
Pinnawala - Elephant Orphanage
Scenic train ride through waterfalls and tea plantations from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and drive though Nuwara Eliya's 'Little England'.
Ratnapura - heart of the nation's gem mining industry

Included

7 breakfasts and 1 lunch
Touring of Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Pinnawala, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe, Gem Mine and Colombo
Scenic train trip Kandy - Nuwara Eliya, canoe and Tuk Tuk trips
Airport arrival and departure transfers on day 1 and day 8
5 nights 4 star and heritage properties, 2 nights 3 star Kandy
Jeep safari/ game drive in Udawalawe National park
Escorted by an English speaking national guide for group 6 or more (professional chauffeur guide for groups of 5 or less)
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles.

Not Included

International flights and visas
Entrance Fees: USD $140-$160
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow $3 - 6 USD per day per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: USD $50-$60

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged provided there is another single traveller booked on the tour date of your choosing.

New Year Departure
Xmas departure, book early!
XMAS Departure
2015
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
USD $2279
USD $899
2016
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
 
USD $1999
USD $899
Xmas departure, book early!
USD $2279
USD $899

Supplementary Prices

 
Twin/Double
Single Supp.
Private Tour Supplement
USD $700
-  

KANDY FESTIVAL: Our 22 August 2015 tour will be in Kandy for its most famous festival - Esala Perahera, also known as The Festival of the Sacred Tooth or the Kandy Festival. Included within this tour is the opportunity to attend the colourful Kandy Festival pageant on the evening of day 3. Please see our tour Trip Notes for more info.

Tour Details
Starts
Colombo
Ends
Colombo
Departs
Saturdays
Hotel Rating
4 star & heritage hotels
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 7, Lunch: 1

There is a lot of time on the coach on this tour, and I think it is too short by a couple of days. we didn't have time to look around Kandy on foot, or Colombo - not the guide's fault, but there was too much travelling in between places to allow time for this in 8 days. all the hotels were good except the one in Nuwara Eliya which was not good. (the staff were nice though) The hotel as Kandy was so out of the way that it was imparactical to go into town in the evening to have a look round independantly, and there was no time in the day for this. I would have liked more time at some of the sites, particularly Sigariya and Polonnaruwa, as I think there was more to see than we had time for. Lovely trip - but you don't do the country justice by cramming it all in.

Tracy Kane
Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 2 travellers.
Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 2 travellers.