Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is multi-faceted destination with historic cultures and adventures from whitewater rafting to forest trekking.

Country Information

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways

,

Adventure Travel

,

Recommended


(Tour Length)

16 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $5,680
  • New graphic smExplore the ancient culture of this island  nation as witnessed in its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the sacred cities of Anuradhapura and Kandy
  • Climb the 750 steps of the 12th-century Sigiriya Rock Fortress, famous for its “mirror wall” and frescoes
  • Visit the impressive Rock Cave Temples in Dambulla
  • Go on a whitewater rafting and cannoning adventure
  • Discover the ancient port city of Galle, and see the stilt-fishermen of Weligama

Day 1: Colombo, Sri Lanka / Negombo
You are met with a warm welcome and transferred to your hotel in Negombo.  You have the option to rest or to visit Negombo City. This is home to the island’s largest community of Catholics, a legacy of the Portuguese, who spread Catholicism along the west coast in the 17th century.  It was a trading port for the Portuguese and Dutch.  This is reflected in its charming churches, some dating back to the 17th century. This evening, you can stroll along the famous Lewis Place street, where there are plenty of pubs and restaurants lining the  street offering an array of fresh seafood specialties.  Jetwing Lagoon  

Day 2: Negombo / Kandanagedara 
After breakfast, you set out for Kandegedara, site of a charming, family-owned mansion that dates from the 1900s. It is the heart of a vast coconut plantation and has been renovated as a luxurious heritage residence with stunning vistas.  The house and large landscaped gardens overlook a working estate. You approach it along a lovely, frangipani-lined drive.  After check-in and a short relaxation, you explore the estate. The estate has a large agricultural area of pepper gardens, coconut trees and paddy fields as well as spices, fruits and vegetables that are grown here.  Enjoy a bullock cart ride around the estate.  Learn about the coconut tree and the many different uses it has by the local people.  This afternoon, explore the area outside the estate premises on bicycle or go on a guided village walk. Visit nearby Buddhist temples or other small rural villages in the vicinity.  Horathapola Estate (B,D) 

Day 3: Kandanagedara / Anuradhapura
Following an early breakfast, you travel to Anuradhapura. En-route, visit Yapahuwa, an ancient fortress and capital dating back to 1301.  Like the better known Sigiriya, this rock rising abruptly some 90 meters/295 feet above its surroundings. The citadel is surrounded by moats and ramparts. The ornamental stairway remains the most impressive feature.  This afternoon explore the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka's first capital city founded in the fourth century BC.  It is a model of systematic planning with gardens and reservoirs, indicating a high level of civilization. Places of interest include the Brazen Palace and the Sacred Bo Tree, considered to be the oldest historically documented tree on earth.  Tour the Folk Museum in the sacred city close to the archaeological museum. It displays collections of artifacts that relate to the rural life in the North Central Province. Palm Garden Village (B) 

Day 4: Anuradhapura / Aukana / Habarana / Sigiriya
Continue to explore Anuradhapura before driving to Sigiriya. En-route, stop at Aukana Temple, which has a  magnificent and well-preserved image of Buddha. It was constructed in the fifth century BC, during the time of King Dhatusena, and stands 13 meters/43 feet high beneath a recently constructed brick shelter, said to be a reconstruction of the image house that sheltered it 1,000 years ago. The name "Aukana" means "sun eating" and indeed this image is best viewed at daybreak. Arrive at your hotel, where the rest of the day is at leisure.  Wild Grass (B) 

Day 5: Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa
Today, you set out to climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a 200-meter/656-foot high, red stone fortress with its palace ruins. The top of the fortress is reached by a series of about 750 steps. Sigiriya has long stood as testimony of the genius of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. Built in the fifth century, it is both a monument of architectural ingenuity and historical worth. This legendary citadel atop a massive rock tells tales of power, intrigue and tragedy. Today, Sigiriya is famous for its "mirror wall”, so called because of its highly polished surface and its galleries with their pockets of frescoes of lovely maidens done in brilliant tempera on the walls.  Then travel on to explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Though smaller in scope, it is said to be aesthetically superior to Anuradhapura. The palaces, shrines, temples and dagobas (stupas) were built by King Parakrama Bahu the Great (1153-1186). Investigate Polonnaruwa Archeological Museum, which is designed in a particular order – the citadel, the outer city, the monastery area, the periphery, and Hindu monuments.   Later, you have the opportunity to meet and ride on an elephant to tour the small village of Habarana and its surroundings, including a large lake. Wild Grass (B) 

Day 6: Sigiriya / Dambulla / Kandy
On the way to Kandy, you stop to view the Rock Cave Temples in Dambulla. This famous rock cave temple has numerous statues and paintings, 48 of which are of Buddha.  The cave's history dates back to the second century BC, and encompasses five caverns.  It remains the most impressive rock temple on the island. Arrive at your hotel late this afternoon. In Kandy, visit the mythic Temple of the Tooth, which houses the sacred  Tooth Relic of Buddha.  The Kandyan Kingdom was established after King Vimaladarmasuriya ascended to the throne in 1592. The king immediately embraced Buddhism and brought the sacred Tooth Relic to Kandy. This evening, enjoy a cultural dance show that highlights this centuries old classical art form.  The sensuous, graceful movements of the dancers are enhanced by the brightly colored costumes and the rhythmic music of drummers.  A fire-walking show is the highlight of the evening. Earls Regency Hotel (B)

Day 7: Kandy / Pinnawela / Kegalle
Today after breakfast, leave for Kegaslle.  Alon the way you visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela.  At this orphanage, you will find elephants of all ages, which have been abandoned or have injuries that have left them unable to fend for themselves. They are looked after with great care until they are ready to work or be returned to the jungle. The elephants are also bathed daily in a river across the orphanage.  The Millennium Elephant Foundation has a museum with displays about the elephants living there as well as exhibits about Asian elephants and the problems they face. This is the only educational resource of its kind in Sri Lanka, and volunteers created most of the displays. You can feed and help bathe the elephants and spend as long as you like watching them.  Rosyth Estate House (B,D)  

Day 8: Kegalle
Experience life on this small, working estate today.  Much hard work has gone into replanting, improving and rejuvenating this plantation.  Tea is harvested and sold to the nearby factory, and milky white latex is tapped from rubber trees and sold.  You can explore the estate to learn how the women pick tea leaves and visit the local tea factory; or see how rubber trees are tapped.  You can also opt to hike to the bottom of the slopes, through tea terraces and rubber fields to discover the small waterfall and local paddy fields where villagers cultivate their rice. The estate also has walking trails and mountain biking routes.  Rosyth Estate House (B,D)  

Day 9: Kegalle / Kithulgala          
Today after breakfast, you drive to Kithulgala via the Galigamuwa-Ruwanwella roadway. Begin your whitewater rafting and cannoning adventure.  This activity does not require swimming skill and is great for nearly everyone.  The actual run of rapids takes about three to four hours, and encounters grade 2 and grade 3 rapids. Part of this river was used in the filming of David Lean's 1957 award-winning film Bridge on the River Kwai.  The thrills continue if you take the opportunity to go abseiling, also called rappelling, down a rock face, or in this case, the 46-meter/150-foot tall waterfall in Kitulgala.  Royal River Resort (B,D) 

Day 10: Kithulgala / Avissawella / Kottawa / Galle / Mirissa
Today, drive toward Mirissa via Avissawella and Kottawa on Sri Lanka’s first ever access control highway, the “Southern Expressway.”  This afternoon, visit Galle, an ancient seaport that has been used for centuries by Persian, Arab, Greek, Roman, Malay, Indian and Chinese traders.  This southern seaport was under Dutch rule in the 17th century and the town is full of Dutch monuments, ramparts and fort. Galle is also famous for its ebony carving and delicate hand-made lace. In Weligama, you will see stilt-fishermen, whose unique style of fishing involves casting their lines from a perch on a sturdy pole 20-50 meters/ 66-164 feet out to sea. The origin of this type of fishing is lost in history.  The stilts are passed on from generation to generation and jealously guarded.  Mandara Resort & Spa (B) 

Day 11: Mirissa – Unawatuna
Today the morning is at leisure.  Later this afternoon, leave for Unawatuna on a snorkeling excursion just south of Galle, about 17 miles from Mirissa. With you qualified Diving Master, you enjoy snorkeling at two prime locations – “Rock Island” and “Jungle Beach.”  Snorkeling gear is provided. Return to your resort.  Mandara Resort & Spa (B) 

Day 12: Mirissa / Uanawatuna / Wadduwa 
Early this morning, you embark on an exciting outing in search of whales and dolphins.  Note: Your Breakfast will be served on board the observation ship.  Sri Lanka came within the protected zone in the Indian Ocean declared by the International Whaling Commission in 1979. Out of 81 species of whales, 27 can be seen in the waters around the island as well as several species of dolphins. Whales and dolphins can be found around Sri Lanka between six and eight months a year – October to May. Here you will likely see blue, the largest mammals on Earth, humpback and sperm whales as well as Spinner dolphins.  Then, drive to Wadduwa.  Visit the Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda to see some of the species that nest here.  Several species of turtle, especially the hawksbills, are endangered.  Their eggs are most vulnerable to predators. Kosgoda-area fishermen bring these eggs gratis to the hatchery. This has led to the successful hatching and release of more than 100,000 young turtles in the two years since the hatchery opened. Once at your hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure.  The Blue Water (B)  

Day 13: Wadduwa / Ratnapura / Belihuloya 
Travel through the gem-mining town of Ratnapura to Belihuloya, known for adventure activities – from mountain biking to forest trekking to kayaking. Arrive at your Kinchigune Camp Site in Belihuloya in time for lunch.  This is a climatically transitional area, linking dry and wet zones at an altitude of less than 1524 meters/5,000 feet. The vegetation is moist semi-evergreen forests, tropical savanna forests, dry patana grasslands and montane temperate forests.  Visit a meditation center in the village, and enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding mountains and the Samanalawewa Reservoir. Your campsite by the Kinchigune Lake is set in a shady garden of herbs and trees.  Friendly camp staff members are more than happy to teach you how to cook with these fresh herbs in the Sri Lankan style.  Kinchigune Camp Site – Luxury Tent  (B,L,D) 

Day 14: Belihuloya – Kaltota Cycling Trail
Travel by bicycle for a completely different perspective. From Kinchigune, travel past the Samanalawewa Reservoir dam, to Pambahinna, then on to Kalthota some six miles. From Kalthota, travel 17 miles on a hilly road uphill to Balangoda. The total cycling distance approximately is approximately 37 miles from Belihuloya to Kalthota and from there up to Balangoda. (4 ½ Hours - Hard to Moderate). You have the option of traveling the 10 miles from Balangoda to Belihuloya by cycle or by your vehicle.  After the tour return to your camp site, and relax. Kinchigune Camp Site – Luxury Tent (B,L,D) 

Day 15: Belihuloya / Ratnapura / Colombo
On you last full day in Sri Lanka, you will enjoy a hike along the Kinchigune Nature Trail.  This half-day walk trail of about five hours leads through the village for about a half mile and into a forest reserve for a short distance before reaching the point where the Belihuloya River falls into the Samanalawewa Reservoir.  Hike along the river, past two small waterfalls and a cave before the trail returns to the village, tehn back to camp. You have a chance to freshen up before you depart for Colombo. You will stop to visit Ratnapura along the way. Ratnapura is known for its gem mining town, including rubies and sapphires. Indeed, the name Ratnapura means, City of Gems. Apart from mining, the area has produces fruit and rice, and large plantations of tea and rubber surround the city. Tea grown in this region is called low-country tea.  Arrive at your hotel where the balance of the evening is at leisure. Cinnamon Grand Hotel (B)  

Day 16: Colombo / Depart
This morning’s departure is extremely early.  Shortly after midnight, you are transferred to the Colombo airport in time to connect your onward flight at 3:35 AM.

Land price, per person, double occupancy: From $5680

Tour Inquiry Form

Request more information now! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our tours.