16 Days , 2 Countries , 9 Cities
Welcome to Sri Lanka
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be given a warm Sri Lankan welcome with the words “Ayubowan” which is Sinhalese for “May You Have a Long Life”, which is the universal Sri Lankan way of greeting one another. Thereafter you will be escorted to your transportation, which will be comfortable and have ample space for you to relax while on the road.
Head towards the coastal town of Negombo just 15 minutes drive from the airport. Check into your hotel and spend the remainder of the evening at leisure recovering from a long flight.
Alternatively, you can go for a walk on the beach and witness the beautiful sunset off the Indian ocean.
Negombo - Fish Market & the Ancient Rock Fortress
Early morning head to the Negombo Fishmarket with your guide, which will be a great introduction to coastal life on the island.
Negombo is a fishing town where most of the locals hail from fishing families of centuries of descent. Currently, over 2,000 boats including traditional outrigger canoes called ‘oru’ in Sinhalese, catamarans, and larger mechanized motorboats operate from Negombo harbor. The harbor is best visited early in the morning when it is a hive of activity. Fishermen can be seen taking fish from their nets, vendors within the market bargain and trade and a variety of different fish species including herrings, sardines, snappers, breams, croakers, groupers, parrotfish, sprats, catfish, mullets, and shellfish such as prawn and crab are stored in all parts of the harbor. A short drive away from the main fish market is the fruit and vegetable market where local produce from all parts of the country and some imported food items are sold here which include a variety of local spices. Adjacent to the market, you can see fish being dried in the sun on the beach.
Afterward, checkout from the hotel at around 9.30 AM and head towards the North Central region of Sigiriya. (4 hours drive) Upon reaching Sigiriya, check into your hotel.
In the afternoon head towards the Ancient Rock Fortress which is world-famous and a historical wonder located close to your hotel for a guided tour and climb of the rock as the sun cools down.
Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near- vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. The top of this rock contains ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477AD – 495 AD) and the surrounding rock is the Royal Garden. Ruins of various chambers, stairways, and pools can be seen at the top of this rock. There is a stone stairway leading from the base to the top of the mountain. About halfway to the top, there is a giant pair of lion paws which are in fact are the remains of a huge head of a lion whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace. Surrounding the palace complex are the ruins of a garden complex consisting of two moats and various pools, some with water fountains still functioning after 1500 years.
Sigiriya - Explore Angampora traditional martial arts & Polonnaruwa
In the morning head towards Ritigala a short drive from your hotel, from where you will hop on a jeep and drive through scenic village roads to reach a traditional Angam Maduwa, which is a school for the ancient traditional Sri Lankan Martial art of Angampora. Here you will be welcomed by the master and his students as you head to a nearby Banyan Tree where the students will perform incredible displays of their martial prowess and the master will explain the history and details about this ancient art form. Angampora is an ancient martial art form practiced in Sri Lanka for thousands of years ago. It receives its name from the Angam arts which involve hand-to-hand combat forms; and the Angam arts which incorporate traditional weaponry such as the Urumi (Ethunu Kaduna), swords, battle axes, staves, daggers, and maces. According to legend, this martial art form originated almost 30,000 years ago from the Yaksha tribe; one of the ancient tribes that inhabited the island. However, the art later went through a decline; almost disappearing during the colonial era. The main reason for this was that Angampora was highly feared by the British during their invasion. They took extreme measures against this martial art; prohibiting the art form, burning all the practice huts that they found, and shooting the kneecaps of the existing practitioners to maim them. Despite their efforts, Angampora survived and resurfaced after the end of the British rule in 1948.
Thereafter head back to Ritigala where you will get back on your cars and head to Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lankans’ most impressive ancient capitals. Polonnaruwa took its place in history after King Vijayabahu I defeated the invading Cholas and moved the capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. It is renowned for its well-preserved 12th-century ruins and impressive stone culture. Exploring Polonnaruwa, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site, one can see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
Sigiriya - The cave temple of Dambulla & Kandy - "Cultural Capital" of Sri Lanka
After an early checkout, head towards the central hills of Kandy. En-route stop over the historic cave temple of Dambulla which is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best-preserved monastic temple cave complexes in Sri Lanka. Dambulla’s origins as a place of worship date back to the reign of King Valagamba in the 1st century BC, who took refuge in these caves when driven out of Anuradhapura by Chola invaders. Once he regained the throne, the king had the interior of the caves transformed into magnificent rock temples. More paintings and statues were added over time by later kings.
Thereafter you will reach Kandy, known as the “Cultural Capital” of Sri Lanka and a UNESCO world heritage site, Kandy was established in the years 135AD by King Wickramabahu and was named Senkadagalapura at the time. In 1592 Kandy became the official Capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom as the coastal areas were conquered by the Portuguese invaders. The hill capital remained a stronghold despite constant invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries and also by the British (most notably in 1803) which were repelled thanks to the hilly landscapes, and guerilla tactics of the Sinhalese forces. The last ruling dynasty of Kandy was the ‘Nayaks’ of Kandy while the Kingdom preserved its independence until it finally fell to the British in 1815, mainly due to the lack of support of the noble families. The British deposed the last king, Sri Wikrama Rajasingha, and all claimants to the throne, thus ending the last traditional monarchy of Sri Lanka.
After checking into your hotel, head back out for the tour of the city: Visit the famous Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. This sacred temple was built in the 16th century AD and is located adjacent to the Royal Palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and overlooks the expanses of the Kandy lake. Referred locally as the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the most revered site in the country. This temple complex houses the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and with strong political sway to who holds possession of the tooth, as it was believed that the possessor of this sacred relic had the right to rule the country.
Afterward, be entertained by a dazzling cultural dance show. The best way to experience the music and dance culture of Sri Lanka, especially the Kandyan traditions is to witness a cultural dance show in Kandy which provides an insight into the array of dances and playing of drums linked to Sri Lanka’s ancient traditions with the participants dressed in their decorative costumes. Each costume, dance, and act signified a story, and the performances will take one on a visual and sensual journey through time and space. Performances such as fire walking and fire breathing as well as Kandyan drumming and devil dancing will be showcased in this show.
Ella - Scenic train journey from Kandy through to Ella
Today morning, checkout from your hotel and head to the Peradeniya Railway station, where you will hop on a train that will take you on a scenic journey across the scenic hill country towards Ella.
One of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the central highlands is to travel by train from Kandy through to Ella. The train stations in Peradeniya and most of the towns in the highlands were built during the time of the British, where minimal changes have been made to the buildings giving them a distinct old-world charm. The train journey takes you through the back of small towns where you can see the local people go about their day to day work and through the mountain ranges providing beautiful views of the tea fields, patches of cloud forests, numerous streams and waterfalls.
Upon reaching Ella, continue on your exploration of this beautiful and scenic region. Ella is a scenic mountain retreat visited predominantly by younger travelers who are keen to explore the outdoors. Ella town has several attractive guest houses and many restaurants and cafes. There are some interesting hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic viewpoints around the Ella area including the Ravana Ella Falls and the iconic Nine Arches bridge.
Thereafter check into your hotel for your overnight stay.
Ella - Visit the tea factory and estate of the world-famous Ceylon Tea
Today, head towards a nearby tea factory and estate for a guided tour to learn about the world-famous Ceylon Tea, a visit to the hill country will not be complete without a visit to a tea factory and estate. You can stroll through the beautifully manicured tea fields and thereafter head to the tea factory where the magic of converting raw leaves into black tea happens. An art developed during the British colonial period, some machines used to date back over 100 years. The creation of black tea is an art form that has remained relatively unchanged for over a century.
Thereafter explore some must-see sites in Ella such as the following Demodara Nine Arches Bridge-Close to Ella is the famous Nine Arch Bridge, which is a beautiful example of English engineering and design and built entirely out of solid rocks, bricks and cement without the use of steel. The bridge was commissioned in 1921 and is still used to date by trains that travel from Kandy through to Ella.
Little Adams Peak-Close to Ella is a mountain peak which is named Little Adams Peak, which is (3,750 feet) 1,141 meters above sea level. A hike up to the peak of the mountain entails an interesting trek through paddy fields, tea plantations, waterfalls, and amazing views.
Overnight stay in Ella.
Buduruwagala Archeological site & Yala National Park
Today, once you check out from your hotel, head down towards the Southern Lowlands. (4 hours drive).
En-route stopover at the stunning Buduruwagala Archeological site Located in the outskirts of Wellawaya in the south of the island, lies Buduruwagala, a stunning archaeological site comprising of seven large precisely cut rock sculptures which are believed to date back to the 10th century AD and are thought to have belonged to the Mahayana school of Buddhism. The largest is a statue of the Buddha which is 52 feet (16 meters) in height and is flanked on either side by a group of three figurines.
Thereafter continue towards Yala, whereupon reaching you will check into your safari camp/lodge for lunch.
After a hearty meal, you will hop on a safari jeep and go on a guided game drive into Yala National Park that is the country’s premier destination for wildlife viewing. Yala’s star attraction is undoubtedly the Leopard and Yala Block I is believed to have the highest concentration of these big cats in the world. Leopards however are elusive by nature and we recommend a minimum of three to four game drives to have the best opportunities for good encounters. It is also one of the few places in the country where the endangered shaggy coated Sloth Bear can be seen. Asian Elephants are also encountered; lone bull elephants, a few iconic tuskers, and small herds of females and calves may be seen. Jackal, Sambar, Spotted Deer Buffalo, Wildboar, and the Grey Langur are among the other larger mammals that may be seen.
Return to your camp/lodge at dusk Dinner and overnight stay in Yala.
Yala National Park
Today early morning head back into Yala National Park for one more game drive. Return to your camp/lodge as the sun gets too hot, and spend the afternoon at leisure with lunch, Once again by late afternoon, head back into the park for a guided game drive. Return to camp at dusk. Rest and overnight stay.
Weerawila for a curated village experience
After checkout in the morning, head towards Weerawila for a curated village experience. The first home would be one specializing in making buffalo curd. This is yogurt made out of buffalo milk and a favorite dessert in Sri Lanka enjoyed with sweet syrup made from the Kitul or Fishtail palm (similar to maple syrup). Observe as the ladies of the house boil the freshly extracted milk before adding the yeast and set the milk in clay pots. You can taste the hot milk with some sugar, which has a richer taste in comparison to cow’s milk. Head into their home to observe how the milk is cooled and left to sit overnight. After which have a taste of deliciously creamy curd which has been already made.
Thereafter visit a local potter, who still makes all clay items by hand from pots, to pans and all manner of utensils used in day-to-day village life. You can also try your hand in molding a design. These old traditions are fast disappearing for more commercial ventures hence this may be the last of his generation.
Finally, visit a local farmer’s home for a deliciously prepared lunch all from fresh ingredients. From many types of vegetables to fried fish caught from the village lake, this is a meal fit for a king. You can savor the many types of vegetables grown uniquely in the region which is the dry zone of the country.
After a hearty lunch head along the scenic Southern Coastline towards Mirissa (3 hours drive), check into your resort, where you will relax and enjoy the golden sands and blue waters for the next 3 nights, Overnight stay at Mirissa.
Mirissa Beach - Watching Blue Whales
Early morning, take a packed breakfast and travel to Mirissa Fisheries Harbour, and head out to sea to look for the largest animal that has ever lived, the Blue Whale. Mirissa in southern Sri Lanka is regarded as the world’s top location for watching Blue Whales with sightings occurring on most mornings during the season which spans from November through to April. Pods of Spinner Dolphin are seen on most mornings while Bryde’s Whale, Sperm Whale, Orca, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, and Striped Dolphin are among the other species of cetaceans which are intermittently seen.
Mirissa Beach - Day at leisure
Today, it is a leisure day to enjoy the beautiful beaches.
Galle Fort - UNESCO heritage site
Today once you check out, head towards the Southern Town of Galle.
After you check into your hotel, head into the Galle Dutch Fort,
First, you will visit a studio where you will have a curated experience involving the local brew known as Toddy. Enjoy an evening of toddy tasting hosted by a local agriculture expert. Toddy is brewed from both the palm flower and the coconut flour. Taste the various toddy cocktails over local snacks and learn the traditions and history of the toddy tappers. After sunset, meet a 5th Generation resident of the Galle Fort, who will take you on a historic walk in the fort.
The focal point of the walk is the Galle Fort, a UNESCO recognized world heritage site, and it is conducted by a 5th generation resident of this historic city located along the island’s Southwestern coast. The Portuguese, Dutch, and British occupied the Galle Fort at various points during Sri Lanka’s colonial history, and they have each left a unique imprint on its fabric. As you navigate through the fort’s charming alleyways at a leisurely pace, a fascinating blend of local design traditions and European colonial influence become evident in the architectural style of its many interesting structures. The Galle Fort Walk is peppered with interesting facts, numbers, stories, and myths, all interwoven by the unique perspective and narrative of its host, who knows this terrain as well as the back of his hand.
Colombo - Visit the world-famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s estate Lunuganga
After an early checkout heads towards the Capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
En-route stopover in Bentota for a guided tour of the world-famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s estate Lunuganga that was the country retreat of Geoffrey Bawa, which was initially no more than a neglected rubber estate that was transformed over 50 years into what he called a ‘civilized wildernesses’. There is a stunning view of the gardens over Cinnamon Hill from where you can see the dagoba of the Katakuliya temple. The numerous buildings within the estate such as the Hen House and Cinnamon Hill House are classic examples of Bawa’s renowned style of architecture which maximizes the use of natural light and ventilation. Lunch in the restaurant can be included as a part of the experience.
Afterward, head to Colombo, and check into your hotel.
In the evening as the sun sets, set off on an adventurous tour of Colombo’s Streetfood with a local foodie. Dine-in at Colombo’s hidden away street food locations. Start by enjoying a seafood appetizer by the Galle face green. Later, take a tuk-tuk ride through old Colombo to the heart of pettah, pick up a few sweet treats from the countries very Bombay sweet eatery, and make your way to one of Colombo’s best kept culinary secrets, Hultsdorp street food market. Meet the people and learn the history behind these culinary establishments. Your host is a foodie of Sinhalese and ‘dutch burgher’ origin who is also a conservationist on the preservation of old architecture and cultures.
Today after checkout, you will be dropped back at the airport to catch a flight back home.
Starting from $3,290 per person
Price per person in double occupancy
The rate is based on deluxe accommodation
Price excluding international flights
This trip is customizable for your private travel.
Please inquire to request a quote for your custom trip!
Request a quote for a trip fully customized to your preferences.
- 13-Night Accommodation in 4-star hotels in the meal plans mentioned in the itinerary
- Transport in comfortable cars or minivans
- Services of a very good English Speaking Chauffer Guide
- All entrance fees and costs of activities and experiences are mentioned in the program
Sightseeing Highlights Included
- Enjoy the Negombo Fishmarket
- Visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress
- Jeep tours through scenic village roads to reach a traditional Angam Maduwa, which is a school for the ancient traditional Sri Lankan Martial art of Angampora
- Explore the Polonnaruwa, which is an ancient capital of Sri Lanka
Dambulla Cave Temple, which is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best-preserved monastic temple cave complexes in Sri Lanka
- Explore the Kandy city, the “Cultural Capital” of Sri Lanka and a UNESCO world heritage site
- Visit the famous Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic
- Enjoy a dazzling cultural dance show in the Kadyan tradition
- Admire the scenic train journey from Kandy through to Ella
- Visit the tea factory and estate of the world-famous Ceylon Tea
- Discover the city of Ella, Nine Arch Bridge, and Little Adams Peak
- Explore the stunning Buduruwagala Archeological site
- Enjoy the Yala National Park is the country’s premier destination for wildlife viewing.
- Experience the small town of Weerawila for a curated village
- Watching Blue Whales
- Take a street-food tour Galle Face in Colombo, and experience the tuk-tuk
- In Bentota, visit the world-famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s estate Lunuganga
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