Train to Nuwara Eliya | Sri Lanka
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FROM: £948 pp
Colombo, Caves & Kandy - 8 days map

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 journey through the verdant tea plantations and go in search of Sri Lanka’s abundant wildlife at Udawalawe National Park, all this and more in an exciting one week holiday.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Reviews

Trip Highlights

Colombo – Enjoy a guided tour of the city including the Old Fort area and impressive Gangaramaya Temple
Sigiriya - Climb to the top of the iconic 5th century Lion Rock fortress and see the Heavenly Maidens
Kayanwala Village - Canoe to the village and help cook a delicious traditional lunch with a Sri Lankan family
Kandy - Take in the highlights of Kandy including the famous Temple of the Tooth, enjoy a tuk tuk ride and watch a cultural performance
Take a scenic train ride passing waterfalls and tea plantations en route from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and drive though Nuwara Eliya's 'Little England'
Polonnaruwa - Explore the remarkable ruins of the ancient capital city of Ceylon
Dambulla - Discover over 150 images of Buddha in the incredible complex of caves at Dambulla Rock Temple
Matale - Learn all about Sri Lanka's herbs and spices at the spice gardens in Matale
Giragama Tea Factory - Take a tour of a working tea factory with a long history
Udawalawe National Park - Go in search of wildlife on a game drive in Udawalawe, home to the nation's largest herd of Asian Elephants

Included

Breakfast daily and 1 lunch
Guided sightseeing - Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe and Colombo
Jeep safari/game drive in Udawalawe National Park
Airport arrival and departure transfer on days 1 and 8
7 nights 4-5 star hotels and heritage properties
Scenic train trip from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, canoe ride and tuk tuk trips
Escorted by an English-speaking national guide for groups of 6 or more (professional chauffeur guide for groups of 5 or fewer)
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned tourism vehicles

Not Included

International flights and visa
Entrance Fees: USD$150-$170pp, paid in USD
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3-7 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: USD$50-$60pp, paid in local currency

Itinerary

Day 1

Colombo - your way

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

Dambulla & Polonnaruwa

Colombo - Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla. 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 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. This evening we return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Dambulla  |  Breakfast

Day 3

Sigiriya & Kandy

Dambulla - Sigiriya - Kandy. This morning we explore 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.

From Sigiriya we take a local hand tractor ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala Village we take part in a cookery demonstration in a 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.
Overnight: Kandy  |  Breakfast, Lunch

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 Kandy Lake - built by the last Sinhala king, we visit the local bazaar and a gem museum, we then enjoy 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 and was established in the year 1903, manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea. This evening, we watch a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Overnight: Kandy  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Scenic train trip & tea plantations

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. This morning offers free time before transferring to the railway station for our 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'.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Udawalawe National Park 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 varies types of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to our hotel for the night.
Overnight: Udawalawe National Park  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Colombo city tour

Udawalawe National Park - Colombo. This morning we visit 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.

Arrival Colombo and 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.
Overnight: Colombo  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Goodbye Sri Lanka

Saturday. Today offers free time for you to independently explore the city, before your 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.

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 are guaranteed to operate when there are 2 persons booked on the tour. '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.

Guaranteed Departure
2024
Twin Share
Single Room
22 Jun - 29 Jun 20% off G
£1,195
£956
£1,665
£1,332
13 Jul - 20 Jul 20% off G
£1,315
£1,052
£1,775
£1,420
27 Jul - 03 Aug 20% off G
£1,315
£1,052
£1,775
£1,420
17 Aug - 24 Aug 20% off G
£1,315
£1,052
£1,775
£1,420
31 Aug - 07 Sep 20% off G
£1,315
£1,052
£1,775
£1,420
14 Sep - 21 Sep 20% off G
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
28 Sep - 05 Oct 20% off G
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
12 Oct - 19 Oct 20% off G
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
19 Oct - 26 Oct 20% off G
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
26 Oct - 02 Nov 20% off G
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
02 Nov - 09 Nov 20% off
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
09 Nov - 16 Nov 20% off
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
16 Nov - 23 Nov 20% off G
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
23 Nov - 30 Nov 20% off
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
07 Dec - 14 Dec 20% off
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
14 Dec - 21 Dec 20% off
£1,265
£1,012
£1,715
£1,372
21 Dec - 28 Dec 20% off G
£1,425
£1,140
£1,925
£1,540
27 Dec - 03 Jan 20% off
£1,415
£1,132
£1,945
£1,556
28 Dec - 04 Jan 20% off G
£1,425
£1,140
£1,925
£1,540
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
04 Jan - 11 Jan 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
11 Jan - 18 Jan 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
18 Jan - 25 Jan 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
25 Jan - 01 Feb 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
01 Feb - 08 Feb 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
08 Feb - 15 Feb 20% off G
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
15 Feb - 22 Feb 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
22 Feb - 01 Mar 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
01 Mar - 08 Mar 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
08 Mar - 15 Mar 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
15 Mar - 22 Mar 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
22 Mar - 29 Mar 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
29 Mar - 05 Apr 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
05 Apr - 12 Apr 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
12 Apr - 19 Apr 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
19 Apr - 26 Apr 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
26 Apr - 03 May 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
03 May - 10 May 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
10 May - 17 May 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
31 May - 07 Jun 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
14 Jun - 21 Jun 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
28 Jun - 05 Jul 20% off
£1,185
£948
£1,655
£1,324
12 Jul - 19 Jul 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
02 Aug - 09 Aug 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
16 Aug - 23 Aug 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
30 Aug - 06 Sep 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
13 Sep - 20 Sep 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
27 Sep - 04 Oct 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
04 Oct - 11 Oct 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
11 Oct - 18 Oct 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
18 Oct - 25 Oct 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
25 Oct - 01 Nov 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
01 Nov - 08 Nov 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
08 Nov - 15 Nov 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
15 Nov - 22 Nov 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
22 Nov - 29 Nov 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
29 Nov - 06 Dec 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
06 Dec - 13 Dec 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
13 Dec - 20 Dec 20% off
£1,205
£964
£1,675
£1,340
20 Dec - 27 Dec 20% off
£1,415
£1,132
£1,945
£1,556

Extra Prices

Twin Share
Single Room
Pre-Tour Accommodation - Colombo
£55
£95
Post-Tour Accommodation - Colombo
£55
£95
Galle Beach Break - 4 days (Adult)
£455
£655
Galle Beach Break - 4 days (Child)
£455
£655

Hotels

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.

Radisson Hotel Colombo, Colombo

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

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

Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

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.

Jetwing Lake, Dambulla

Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

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

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

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

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

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.

Araliya Green Hills, Nuwara Eliya

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Recently opened, the Araliya Green Hills is a modern property with beautiful mountain views. Rooms are spacious and well appointed with slightly garish carpets. Sumptuous buffets are served in the restaurant - look out for the hoppers - perfect to have your eggs in! Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and there is even a pool table for you to challenge your friends on. Perfectly located close to the centre of Nuwara Eliyah.

Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort, Udawalawe National Park

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

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.

Reviews

Travellers have rated this tour as 4.5 out of 5 based on 32 recent reviews

1  |  2  |  3  |  4

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Our guide, Thalal, made it a great experience. His knowledge, humour and flexiibility made us feel special and more like friends than just clients.

• Submitted 26 May 2024
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I found that the tour had a good variation of sites and experiences. I was happy that the group was not too large and had people from different countries.

Akthar was a fantastic tour guide with a huge amount of knowledge and has a talent of knowing what people need.

On the Go Tours also organised some private tours for us which was very helpful and Clem was also very good tour guide and knowledgeable.

• Submitted 17 May 2024
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Absolutely stunning tour - highly recommended. The only negative was the bullock cart ride to the canoe ride to the cookery demo - a lot of us felt that it was a little harsh on the animals. The accommodation was way above our expectations and the entire tour was amazing - I would happily do this tour again. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and very pleasant, but we were very taken aback when he gave us a tongue lashing in front of guests at our evening meal at the game reserve, which was totally unprofessional and uncalled for.

Just the best time was had by all! Thank you, On the Go!!!

• Submitted 10 May 2024
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The Sri Lanka tour was amazing. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. We really enjoyed the train journey, including the beautiful views. Our tour guide Akhtar is a gem of a person. He took care of all our needs and ensured that everyone in our group was comfortable. His vast knowledge of the country made it absolutely interesting for the entire group. A real magical tour. Thank you.

• Submitted 09 May 2024
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Excellent tour

Itinerary was good

Transport good

Food good

Tour Guide was Excellent

Accommodation was good

• Submitted 09 May 2024
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Excellent varied tour. Guide / driver very good and skilfully avoided other vehicles that came here, there and everywhere. All the hotels were as a minimum very good, some excellent.

• Submitted 09 May 2024
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The tour visited some first rate locations and was reasonably well organised, but the tour itself was overcrowded and the large number of people on the bus detracted significantly from the enjoyment. The guide was kind and personable, but rather ineffective. The bullock cart trip was unnecessary and I found it inhumane and abstained from it. The accommodation was largely of a good quality.

• Submitted 08 May 2024
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The tour was busy and we saw and experienced a lot of varied things during our 8 days on tour.

• Submitted 05 Mar 2024
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Has been absolutely an amazing trip. Everything has been superb from day one till last day ,selections of the hotel tour itinerary and comfortable AC bus was amazing

• Submitted 01 Feb 2020
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The tour guide was great and there was a good balance of sightseeing and downtime.

• Submitted 04 Nov 2019
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1  |  2  |  3  |  4

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Colombo
Ends
Colombo
Departs
Saturdays
Group Size
Min 2 / Max 24
Hotel Rating
4-5 star & heritage hotels
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 7, Lunch: 1
Countries
Minimum Age
15 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
Yes
Cannon pointing towards the sea in Colombo
A stupa in one of the Dambulla caves
Iconic rock sitting among lush vegetation in Sigiriya
View of Kandy from across the water
The rolling tea plantation hills of Nuwara Eliya
Elephants in the long grass of Udwalawe National Park
Cannon pointing towards the sea in Colombo

Tour Add-ons

Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons

Amari Galle Hotel Deluxe Ocean View Room | Sri Lanka
£ 455 / 4 days

Extra Tour Info

Reclining Buddha at Polonnaruwa (menu image)
The Cultural Triangle
Our guide to visiting Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle
Updated
20th May 2024

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Our guide, Thalal, made it a great experience. His knowledge, humour and flexiibility made us feel special and more like friends than just clients.

Peter Knapton
OTG001059Colombo, Caves & Kandy - 8 daysIndian SubcontinentSignatureIndian Subcontinentfalse20Sri Lankahttps://www.onthegotours.com/uk/Sri-Lanka/Colombo--Caves-and-Kandy-8-dayshttps://www.onthegotours.com/repository/Train-in-Nuwara-Eliya-264101432915662_crop_flip_300_300_f2f2f2_center-center.jpgGroup_Tours