Take in the classic sights of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, but not before exploring ancient Anuradhapura, the northern city of Jaffna. Village visits, Elephant game viewing, scenic tea plantations and a couple days by the stunning coast in Trincomalee are all included within this incredible 12 day tour.
Tuesday. Colombo - Negombo. Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo Airport and transferred to your hotel by the beach in Negombo. Our start hotel is located on the seafront and 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.
Negombo - Anuradhapura. This morning we make our way to Anuradhapura, the first capital and grandest city of ancient Sri Lanka and 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 which is 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 which was 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 visited during his second journey to Sri Lanka.
Overnight: Jaffna | Breakfast
Jaffna - Trincomalee. Departing Jaffna, we head back south to Trincomalee on the north-eastern 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. Enjoy this stunning location on the coast, 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 then 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, the evening is 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 Kandy Lake, visiting a local bazaar and gem museum along the way, before hopping on a tuk tuk for a ride up into 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 varies 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 your included departure transfer to the airport.
Extend your stay!
Consider spending some extra time exploring Sri Lanka's beautiful tropical coastline or simply relax and soak up the sun with a good book. Alternatively, opt to head to one of the other national parks to go in search of Sri Lanka's abundant wildlife. Extend your stay by a day, a week or even two! We offer a variety of properties for you to choose from. Browse our best places to visit, Sri Lanka's best beaches or wildlife in Sri Lanka pages for suggestions on what to see and do on your holiday. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please let us know so we can accommodate your request.
For information about visas, top travel tips, best time to travel and much more, take a look through our travel guide.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates marked with a 'G' are operating. All departure dates from 1 Apr 2023 are guaranteed to operate when there are 2 persons booked on the tour. Prior to this date a departure is guaranteed with 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
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.
Jetwing Sea, Negombo
Just minutes from the beach, the Jetwing Sea is a charming hotel with a modern sense of elegance. Guest rooms are elegantly appointed with a beautiful blend of white and subdued shades of brown to ensure a relaxing ambiance. The hotel is complete with a refreshing swimming pool, countless dining options and a stunning roof top spa - perfect for a bit of pampering and indulgence! Well located in the heart of Negombo - just a short walk to the Indian Ocean.
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.
Radisson Hotel Kandy, Kandy
The stylish Radisson Hotel Kandy (formerly OZO Kandy), prides itself on its smart facilities and stunning mountain surrounds. Its highlight being the rooftop pool where you can soak up panoramic views over Kandy whilst enjoying a cocktail or two. The hotel’s all-day dining restaurant serves a tasty array of Asian and international cuisine using only fresh and handpicked produce. Other amenities include a fitness centre and complimentary WiFi, with guestrooms boasting signature soft beds and rain showers.
Jetwing St Andrew's, Nuwara Eliya
Jetwing St. Andrew's is a unique colonial retreat set in a former country house and surrounded by landscaped gardens. All the spacious rooms are classically furnished with elegant wood and offer free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. 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, which is 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.
Radisson Hotel Colombo, Colombo
The Radisson Hotel Colombo (formerly 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. To top it off, there's also a fantastic fitness centre and a restaurant serving delicious, authentic Sri Lankan cusine. The hotel is centrally located on Marine Drive, near Galle Road and just a 10 minute drive from the city centre.
Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo
Voted one of the best 5 star hotels in Colombo, the Cinnamon Lakeside is the perfect urban getawary with elegant and spacious rooms and excellent facilities. All guestrooms have a spectacular view of either the city's skyline or the tranquil waters of the Beira Lake and feature a pillow menu for the ultimate night's sleep and WiFi. The Azmaara Spa offers a tantalizing range of treatments administered by Balinese therapists. The resort also houses ten different restaurants, considered the best in Colombo, including the specialty lounge bar, 7 Degrees North.
At a Glance
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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. ”