Sri Lanka Northeast Explorer - 12 Days
Take in the classic sights of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, but not before exploring ancient Anuradhapura, the northern city of Jaffna and spending a couple days by the coast in Trincomalee.
Negombo - Anuradhapura. This morning we make our way to Anuradhapura, the first capital and grandest city of ancient Sri Lanka, home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Upon arrival we embark on an afternoon sightseeing tour of the city, visiting both historical and archaeological sites of interest. Highlights include the sacred bo-tree - the oldest documented tree in the world, the 1600 columns of Brazen Palace and Ruwanweliseya - the most famous dagobas in Sri Lanka.
Overnight: Anuradhapura | Breakfast
Anuradhapura - Jaffna. Today we journey north to Jaffna, located on the northernmost peninsula of the island. Here we enjoy a sightseeing tour taking in sights such as the Jaffna Fort, the second largest in Sri Lanka built by the Dutch in 1619. Another highlight is the Nallur Hindu Temple, the most important place of Hindu worship in Jaffna. We’ll also take a boat ride to Nagadeepa Buddhist Temple, which is said to be the site where Buddha came during his second visit to Sri Lanka.
Overnight: Jaffna | Breakfast
Jaffna - Trincomalee. Departing Jaffna, we head back south to Trincomalee on the northeastern coast. A sightseeing tour here takes us to Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple, the Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam - a classical medieval Hindu temple complex. Day 5 is free to spend relaxing in Trincomalee. Enjoying a stunning location on the coast, it would be a pity not to while away the day unwinding on the beach.
Overnight: Trincomalee | Breakfast x 2
Trincomalee - Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla. This morning we leave the coast and begin our journey inland to the impressive Dambulla Cave Temple. A spectacular complex of five caves dedicated to the Lord Buddha, within the caves of Dambulla you'll find over 150 images of Buddha, including an impressive 14-metre rock cut statue.
After exploring this ancient site we continue to Polonnaruwa, an intriguing 11th century city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we explore many interesting and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. We return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Dambulla | Breakfast
Dambulla - Sigiriya - Kandy. This morning we make our way to the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and is one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic sites. A steep staircase up the rock side reaches the summit and on the way up you can stop to see the world-famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens, which are hidden in a sheltered pocket of rock.
Leaving Sigiriya behind we take a bullock cart ride and a short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here we are welcomed into the home of a local family where we try our hand at preparing a meal of curry, dahl, spiced rice and pickle. After enjoying our homemade lunch we continue onto Kandy, stopping along the way at a spice garden in Matale. Arriving to Kandy, we have the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Kandy | Breakfast
This morning we embark on a sightseeing tour of Kandy, making our first stop at the Temple of the Tooth. The temple’s name derives from the legend that it houses one of Buddha’s teeth that was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre and then smuggled into Sri Lanka. From here we take a drive around the Kandy Lake, visiting a local bazaar and gem museum along the way, before hopping on a tuk tuk for a ride up the surrounding hills. In the afternoon we stop in at a working tea factory at Giragama, which has been manufacturing ‘Low Grown’ and ‘Long Leaf’ tea since 1903. This evening, we attend a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Overnight: Kandy | Breakfast
Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. Enjoy some free time this morning before our transfer to the train station for a scenic railway journey. Our journey to Nuwara Eliya will take us past verdant tea plantations, through winding mountain passes, across suspension bridges and much more.
Arriving in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country in the afternoon, we’ll take a drive through an area known locally as ‘Little England’.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya | Breakfast, Lunch
Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe National Park. Today we make our way south to Embilipitiya, which will be our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. Not only is this national park renowned as one of the best places to see the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, it is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and several types of deer. This afternoon we enjoy a game drive through the park before returning to our hotel for the evening.
Overnight: Udawalawe National Park | Breakfast
Udawalawe National Park - Colombo. Today we make our way back to Colombo, but not before paying a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum in 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 later today we embark on a city tour taking in the Fort area in the north of the city, as well as the stunning Gangarama Temple. We’ll end the tour with a stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular spot for kite flying and games of cricket amongst the locals.
Overnight: Colombo | Breakfast
Saturday. Today offers free time for you to independently explore the city, before included departure transfer to the airport.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. 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.Read More
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.
Paradise Beach Hotel, Negombo
A convenient and affordable hotel enjoying an enviable location on the golden shores of Negombo Beach. Days can be spent lazing by the hotel pool or on the beach, alternatively the Negomo Market and Dutch Fort are just a 5-minute drive away.
Rajarata Hotel, Anuradhapura
A modern and conveniently located hotel, Rajarata offers its guests a comfortable stay whilst being within easy each of the highlights of Anuradhapura. After a long day of sightseeing guests can relax by the outdoor pool or dine in the Tranquil restaurant, serving local and western cuisine.
Jetwing Jaffna, Jaffna
In the heart of the town of Jaffna, Jetwin Jaffna is one of the newest Jetwing properties. Hotel rooms are elegantly furnished in a contemporary yet traditional style with beautiful interiors and wonderful en suite bathrooms. The on site restaurant serves a fantastic array of local and international cuisine. Complimentary Wifi is available throughout and the hotel is also next door to the Cargills supermarket which is brimming with excellent facilities including food court, cinema and banks.
Pigeon Island Resort, Trincomalee
Set on the northern coast of Sri Lanka in the city of Trincomalee, this beach resort offers guests modern rooms and suites featuring private balconies and minibars. Thanks to its seaside location there are plenty of water sports on offer, as well as whale and dolphin watching. At the on-site restaurant guests can choose from a variety of Sri Lankan and Western dishes.
Jetwing Lake, Dambulla
The Jetwing Lake hotel is a brand new property with spacious and comfortable rooms that enjoy a contemporary design blended with splashes of Eastern influenced decor. The ensuite facilities are magnificent and in keeping with the luxurious feel of the property as a whole. Each room also comes with a balcony, from which guests can get some fresh air and enjoy the spectacular views. Within the complex there is a pool, spa and fitness centre, where guests can while away their free time. There is also a restaurant, which serves sumptuous meals.
OZO Kandy Hotel, Kandy
The stylish OZO Kandy prides itself on its smart facilities from a rooftop pool & lounge with views of the surrounding mountains to comfortable beds designed to give clients a night of sublime sleep. Guests can enjoy local flavours and international delights at the EAT2GO restaurant.
Jetwing St Andrew's, Nuwara Eliya
Jetwing St. Andrew's is a unique colonial retreat set in a former country house converted into a Jetwing Hotel. All the rooms are classically furnished with elegant wood and are spacious and bright. The grounds of the hotel give a great feel of colonial splendour and guests can wake up to a typical English breakfast and enjoy a stiff brandy at the bar later in the day. Fine dining is offered at the Old Course Restaurant and the hotel also boasts an antique snooker table, the oldest in Sri Lanka.
Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort, Udawalawe National Park
Situated on 7 acres of land, the Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort is the only hotel of its 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.
OZO Colombo, Colombo
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.
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We had Great time on this tour and well organised with excellent tour guides. On this tour we achieved more than our expectations. ”