Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, transfer to the your accommodation in Negombo, just a few minutes drive from the airport. This is an ideal location from which to explore Negombo’s vibrant cultural heritage: ride on a catamaran as it sets sail into the sunset; take a boat ride along the centuries-old Dutch canals that wind through the town; experience Negombo’s Colonial heritage including Catholic churches and the ruins of the Dutch Fort.
Day 2 & 3
Today you head to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and check into your hotel near the Sigirya Rock. Explore the ancient ruins of the Sigiriya Fortress built in the 5th century by King Kassapa. The ruins of the fortress upon the huge rock, the wall frescoes, and the symmetrical royal gardens surrounding the rock are amazing feats of this period. Dambulla Cave Temple is also a must-see with its rock ceiling covered in one large sweep of colourful frescoes, some of which dates back to over 2,000 years. This cave temple has the largest number of Buddha statues all housed in one place including a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock.
Day 4 & 5
The journey from the cultural triangle to Sri Lanka’s hill capital – the small lakeside city of Kandy – will occupy most of the morning. On the way, visit the ancient Aluvihara rock temple, located in Matale. It was here that the oral teachings of the Buddha were committed to writing – the Tripitika – for the first time. Go for a stroll down hill and along the river and watch life as it unfolds in the suburbs of Kandy. Visit the Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined since 4th Century A.D and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Day 6 & 7
Today you journey to the southern highlands, a stirring land of lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. Travel by train – one of the great rail journeys in the world. Your driver will transport your luggage by car. Your destination is Ella, a scenic village in the southern highlands. Several treks are possible from here to Little Adam’s Peak, the ancient Dova Temple, Ravana caves and the Ravana Falls associated with the epic Ramayana tales. Visit a nearby tea estate and tea factory.
Day 8 & 9
Journey onto the south east of Sri Lanka. Visit Buduruvagala to see Sri Lanka’s tallest rock-cut Buddha statue before reaching the southern town of Tissamaharama where you will stay two nights. Explore the jungle of Yala – one of the best National Parks to see a wide variety of Sri Lankan wildlife because of its scrub plains, lagoons and rocky sections. Yala is home to herds of wild elephants, leopard, bear, sambar and spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles, monkeys and numerous species of birds.
Day 10 – 12
Head to the south coast to the fishing village of Tangalle for three nights. This is ideally placed to explore the beautiful beaches and the cultural heritage of the Deep South. Go on a ferry ride along the lagoon where numerous species of water birds can be spotted along the mangroves. Visit a small fishing village situated a short walk along the beach where a fascinating Marine Turtle Conservation project is helping to save this endangered species. Based further east at Mirissa Harbour, water sports activities such as sailing, fishing, coastal cruises, sea kayaking, snorkeling and boating are available during the season from December to April when the seas are calm.
DAY 13 & 14
Your final destination is the historic city of Galle where you will spend two nights right in the heart of Galle’s 17C Dutch Fort. Much of the old Fort, a small walled city with about 300 homes and an old-world feel, still remain with its well preserved bastions, public buildings, churches, lighthouse and a maze of narrow streets. Hours can be spent exploring the maze of narrow streets lined with Dutch and British period buildings still in use, the sturdy ramparts looking out to sea, the growing collection of art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants.
Tour ends -transfer to airport – return home or onward travel.