Sri Lanka is the cure for the common travel experience. Although often overshadowed by India, this small island country contains enough potential for exploration, adventure, cultural discovery, and tranquility to impress even the most jaded traveler. Most famous for its idyllic beaches and scenic coastlines, the country's interior reveals its unique beauty and richness abounded with tea plantations, ancient cities hidden amid lush jungles, and diverse wildlife. Furthermore, the food is delicious, the people are charming, and the overall atmosphere is intoxicating.
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival at the airport, clear immigration and customs before proceeding to the arrivals lobby area. You will be met by your private chauffeur guide and transferred to your hotel in Colombo.
After checking in, you can take the evening to relax with Rashan, a young local. Rashan can show you the best places to go for music and bars! Rashan is a from the town of Moratuwa, known for their love of arrack and music. He will show you how locals have fun. Afterward, take a walk with him through the Galle Face and into the inner roads of Slave Island. The place is continuously going modernization and ever-changing. Walkthrough the streets and meet the locals and their ways of experiencing daily life.
Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.
After breakfast, you will start the day by driving towards the Cultural Triangle for your adventure in Sigiriya (drive duration: approximately 4.5 hours).
In the afternoon, visit a massive rock formation that the ancient Sri Lankans named Piduragala. It is said to be the royal temple at the time when King Kashyapa was at the helm of the Sigiriya fortress. Be prepared to climb (hike duration: approximately 1 hour - the last rocky section is a bit tricky)! Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of a green carpet of forests punctuated with the Sigiriya Rock in the distance. Take your time to breathe in the fresh air and be at peace. (This service is on a private basis.)
Centered on a massive rock rising 200 meters above the surrounding plain, Sigiriya’s location is one of considerable natural beauty and historical interest. An area of ancient settlement lying between the historic capitals of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the Sigiriya plain still retains much of its forest cover, and many of its present village settlements and man-made village reservoirs date back to the first millennium B.C. In its present form, Sigiriya itself is essentially a walled-and-moated royal capital of the fifth century A.D. It has a palace complex on top of the rock, elaborate pleasure gardens, extensive moats and ramparts, and well-known paintings on the western face of the rock.
Sigiriya, the marvelous rock fortress, also known as Lion Rock is a rare jewel among the many treasures in Sri Lanka. The site was the domain of King Kashyapa, whose aim was to build an impregnable fortress and within it, a heavenly abode.
Climb the 1200 footsteps to reach the most scenic bird's eye view of the beautiful emerald plains and villages. Marvel the grandeur of the ancient city within the fortress and the complexity of the 5th-century urban-planning of Sri Lanka. On the way to the top, you can observe the famous Sigiriya frescoes of the buxom, wasp-waisted maidens bearing flowers amidst the wilderness, and ancient ruins. The smoothly glazed 'Mirror Wall' located a few steps away, inspired by the vibrant frescoes, will take your breath away.
The Sigiriya experience takes approximately 1.5 to 3 hrs, depending on the pace at which you wish to ascent. Upon completion, return to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast, start the day by driving towards Polonnaruwa, where you will visit the ancient city. Polonnaruwa showcases the divine right of the King and his devotion to the Buddhist philosophy. You will find the remnants of King Parakramabahu’s palace, which was equal in splendor to the palace of Kubera, the Hindu God of wealth. Visit the place where the stonemasons of yore showed their most significant work in the mystical yet serene Image House at the Gal Vihara. Get a glimpse of the infinite wisdom and overflowing kindness of Lord Buddha etched from the bedrock.
Recognized as one of the best-planned archaeological relic sites of the country, Polonnaruwa will impress you with its remarkable sculptures and temples with intricate carvings. You will be surprised to see most of the ruins are still in good shape even after 800 years. Another highlight of Polonnaruwa is the population of toque macaques. Polonnaruwa is a sight to behold, and after an eventful day, let the relaxing swaying waves of the Parakrama Samudra (Sea of Parakrama) take you down a lane of reverie.
This afternoon, go on an exciting jeep safari at Kaudulla or Minneriya National Parks. Both national parks are located close by and are famous for observing Elephants in their natural habitat. Depending on the elephant movement, you will go to one of the parks mentioned. Encountering these giants at close range would be an unforgettable experience. Both Minneriya and Kaudulla parks often present sightings of bird-flocks such as painted storks, pelicans, and little cormorants.
After breakfast, you will start your journey to Kandy! En-route, visit the Dambulla Cave temple. This incredible cave temple complex was hewn out of an enormous rock with such intricate beauty and workmanship. It is adorned with murals that depict the life and times of Lord Buddha, and gives a sense of calmness.
In the temple, you can see around 153 Buddha statues along with other gods, goddesses, and kings who used their wealth for the temple. The five caves are adorned and make up this unique temple. Witness the different architectural patterns throughout the temple and beautiful panoramic views at an 1118 ft altitude. The views will show you a bordering Ritigala to the North and the Kurunegala Plains to the South East.
After the visit, you will head on over to Kandy, the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings (total driving duration: approximately 3 hours). (This service is on a private basis.)
This afternoon, it is time to visit the local spice markets! Delight your senses and submerge yourself in a fantastic market full of Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Pepper, and Turmeric. Behind these spices are 500 years of turbulency history of the Ceylon under Portuguese, Dutch, and British rule. You will get to experience life as a local while you experience the wonders that the Kandy town market has to offer!
During the tour, your guide will help you choose and pay a fair price for your spices and items. Aside from spices, you can also find a significant variation of exotic fruits like wood apple, jack fruit, rambutan, mangosteen, and more! Depending on the season, the bananas are always impressive and different.
Later, end the tour with a visit to the temple of the Tooth which is no doubt the city's biggest pride!
Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession.
You are in for a yummy treat today! You will visit a local home not too far from the city of Kandy and enjoy a delicious meal soaked in tropical spices and rich Kandyan flavors. Krishanthi, the lady of the house, is a fantastic host and more than happy to welcome you and share her old secret recipes as she takes you on a culinary journey. You will be greeted with warm Kandyan smiles and a glass of fresh tropical fruit juice. Begin with a quick visit to the local vegetable stall where you can pick any vegetables you like and return with a bag full of goodies needed for your meal. Krishanthi's kitchen is equipped with a traditional firewood stove and a 'miris gala,' which is an ancient stone grinder. These are somewhat rare to come by in an ordinary home in this modern day. You will be cooking in clay pots as there is no better way to cook a nice curry! After spending some time in the kitchen, sit down for a mouthwatering lunch. Not only will you learn about the local cuisine today, but you will also get a glimpse into the life and home of a local family.
This morning, you will take a train to Hatton, where a new adventure awaits. The magical train journey will take you through Sri Lanka's hill country, lush tea plantations, mountains covered in mist, and smiling people (train duration: approx. 3 hrs)! This tour is a perfect way to see Sri Lanka's hill villages and gain an insight into the daily lives of the local people.
Upon arrival at the Hatton Railway Station, you will be met and driven (approximately 20 minutes) to your new accommodations in Dickoya. Sit back and enjoy the ride! Spend the rest of the day relaxing at your own pace.
Dick Oya is a small town located in the central province of Sri Lanka in the Nuwara Eliya District. The town is home to a magical and beautiful atmosphere plus opportunities for you to find yourself and more! Wander in the lush tea plantations and go off the beaten road where you can discover its mountains, Castlereigh Reservoir, Ceylon Tea fields, and more. The picturesque town will have you submerged in lush green tea estates and spending a reasonable amount of time with the locals and their culture.
Enjoy the day free at your leisure! Wake up early today to catch the most beautiful and breathtaking views of the sunrise above the hills of the Castlereagh lake as you sip a cup of delicious Ceylon Tea. You can take a stroll along the tea plantations and enjoy the stunning views. As you walk through the plantations, you will witness the day to day life of the local women working the land. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to visit a nearby tea factory to learn how the Ceylon Tea is produced.
After a relaxing breakfast, you will board a scheduled domestic sea plane from Castlereagh to Hambanthota (flight duration: approx. 30 min.). Upon arrival, you will be picked up from Hambantota airport and driven approximately 1.5 hours to your accommodations in Yala. Check-in at your campsite and enjoy a mouth-watering lunch.
This afternoon you will embark on an exciting wildlife safari in Yala National Park! Yala is the most famous national park in Sri Lanka because it has a fantastic range of wildlife. You will have the opportunity to spot various species of wildlife including: elephants, peacocks, black bears, buffaloes, boars, pythons, innumerable birds, jackals, and if you are lucky - leopards.
Yala National Park is widely regarded as the top park in the country due to its amazing range of wildlife. On a single day's safari you may see families of elephants, slithering pythons, great black bears, buffalo herds, perhaps an elusive leopard, and that's just the start!
Patience is rewarded as you peer into the thick foliage to spot peacocks and innumerable other birds. Be sure to bring your binoculars and your camera to capture memories of this unforgettable park.
Yala National Park offers some of the best wildlife spotting in the country. Today, you will enjoy morning and afternoon game drives by jeep. During your safari, if you see a leopard it is a bonus, but Yala is much more than leopards! Wild elephants move around in family groups or the occasional bull can be seen from further afield. You may see jackals or a peacock crossing your path. As with many safaris around the world bring your patience and keep your eyes peeled since you never know what may peep out of the foliage. (This service is on a group basis.)
After a wonderful time in Yala, you will journey south to Galle (drive duration: approx. 3.5 hrs). You will check into the luxurious Amangalla, the best place in the world that connects the "old world" charm with "modern-day" luxuries.
This afternoon, you will walk around the Galle Fort with a local personality. We travel to seek experiences to create memories and learn from the people and places we visit. It sounds simple but can sometimes be difficult if we don’t take time to open our minds and look beyond a touristy façade to discern the true nature of a place. Galle Fort is such a destination. Located by the sea in the port city of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, this fortified peninsula is a must-see attraction and displays the best and the brightest cultural tourism of this island country.
Galle Fort is a place that will capture your imagination. The walls that enclose the fort have kept its inner city intact from years of turmoil and conquest. UNESCO has recognized this site for its well-preserved cultural heritage. In Sri Lanka, Galle Fort represents a fusion of all the influences that have shaped this country. In a way, the walls have also kept the fort insulated from the city outside. The interior of the fort has a unique atmosphere, like a place lost in time.
Muslim gem traders, Portuguese adventurers, savvy Dutch privateers, as well as English colonialists all made the city of Galle their home at some point in history. With cute shops, restored colonial mansions and an up and coming food scene, the city exhibits a hip vibe. The best way to discover the true nature of the city and its historic fort, however, is through the people. (This service is on a private basis.)
Galle attracts many travelers due to its location in the Southern part of the island. Therefore, most who come to Galle never miss enjoying the beauty of the sea and sand. Galle Dutch Fort is among the more popular sights for those who value archaeological reserves and heritage. It is known as the oldest fort in Asia, name as a world heritage city by UNESCO. Inside the fort, travelers can find other attractions such as the Dutch Museum, which contains paintings, pictures, and furniture of the Dutch Reformed Church. The fort is built on a small peninsula that can be easily accessed from the Galle town center. It is the best place to visit during an evening when the picturesque scenery of the sunset can be enjoyed.
Although your adventure must come to an end today, you will be leaving with new friends, amazing experiences and memories to cherish for the rest of your life. Once you have checked out of your hotel in Galle, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the airport in Colombo (drive duration: approx. 2.5 hrs), arriving in good time to board your international departure flight. (This service is on a private basis.)
We wish you safe and happy travels home!
Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, the Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green. As one of the oldest hotels east of the Suez, the Galle Face Hotel embraces it's rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to create engaging, immersive experiences, that resonate with old and new generations of travelers alike. No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without staying at this majestic hotel, built in 1864 and recently restored back to its former glory.
Offering you the best of rustic charms, modern comforts and an authentic glimpse at culture blending in both the old and new traditions, Jetwing Vil Uyana is in the heartland of Sri Lanka’s central plains. Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake is a breezy drive away, where you can enjoy the spectacular views of paddy cultivation leading to the shimmering haze a giant rock looms up high into the sky and 163km from the capital Colombo. Guests will find the magnificent feats of ancient engineering still inspire awe, the property is also within the precinct if the majestic fortress of King Kassapa, considered to be the 8th wonder of the world.
Perfectly placed in the cozy confines of the misty mountains and verdant forestlands, Kings Pavilion Kandy, transports you back to an era of bliss; a time when great kings ruled the central highlands of Sri Lanka! Bringing you a profound sense of peace with its luxurious offerings, our Kandy hotel, lets you slip into a sense of serenity and lets you enjoy the retreat that you have been longing for all along!
Live the life of a modern-day tea planter at Camellia Hills, a luxurious five-bedroom boutique bungalow hotel near Dickoya, in Sri Lanka’s crisp hill country. From its verdant valley-side perch, views of the mirror-still Castlereagh Reservoir and surrounding tea-wrapped hills are spectacular – drink in the panoramas while relaxing on cushy sofas warmed by an open fire, dining in the semi-open-air or swimming lengths of the refreshing garden pool.
If viewing a diverse array of wildlife is at the top of your list, then Yala national park is the place to visit. The vegetation consists of scrub jungle, lakes, and brackish lagoons to riverine habitat. It is one of the most visited national parks in the country and is divided into 5 Blocks, and it is Block 1, which covers over 14,000 hectares that are most frequently traversed. Yala’s main draw is the leopard, and it is said to be one of the best places in the world to view leopards. It has been theorized that Yala may have the highest density of leopards in the world. However, on a safari with Leopard Trails, we make it a point to showcase the diversity of wildlife that Yala has to offer. On a two night stay, it is possible to spot and identify over 100 species of birds. The density of mugger crocodiles within Yala is also quite an underrated feature of the park. Yala is also one of the better places in Sri Lanka to come across tusked elephants. At the end of the North-east Monsoon (February), the park is also perfect for butterflies. Two main rivers are flowing through Yala; the Manik Ganga and the Kumbukkan Oya, and these two rivers serve as the lifeline to the park during the drier months.
Housed in a 17th-century building, which for more than 100 years served as the New Oriental Hotel during the heyday of steamship travel, Amangalla is part of the fabric of Galle and its Unesco-protected fort. Beyond the old-world bustle of this remarkable citadel lie emerald-green tea plantations, tranquil temples and the exhilarating prospect of whale-spotting from November to March – though Amangalla is equally renowned for purifying, personalised Ayurveda in its spa complex, The Baths.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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