Secrets Of Sri Lanka

13 nights from £2380

Picking tea in Nuwara Eliya
Mahoora Tented Camp, Wilpattu
Polonnaruwa
Sunset at Dambulla
Nuwara Eliya
Start:Negombo
Finish:Mount Lavinia
Duration:13 Nights
Group size:4 - 16
Suitable for: Adult
Accommodation:Premium
Physical rating:Low, Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 13 Lunch: 1 Dinner: 2
Diets:Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour operated in: English

Overview

Staying in stylish and comfortable hotels we travel to some of Sri Lanka's greatest sights. From ancient Buddhist sites to lush hill-side tea plantations and fascinating historic cities, all with their own enchanting story. Cultural triangle - Explore the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa as well as the Buddhist cave temples in Dambulla Kandy - Visit the revered Temple of the Tooth, said to house the relic of the tooth of Buddha Wilpattu National Park - Search for elephant and leopard in Wilpattu National Park and stay in a tented safari camp .......read more
Highlights
  • Cultural triangle - Explore the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa as well as the Buddhist cave temples in Dambulla
  • Kandy - Visit the revered Temple of the Tooth, said to house the relic of the tooth of Buddha
  • Wilpattu National Park - Search for elephant and leopard in Wilpattu National Park and stay in a tented safari camp
Why Book this Tour
This trip is offers the chance to see elephants in the wild, climb to Lion Rock's ancient fortress and relax on quiet beaches while staying in premium accommodation. The trip focusses on some of the best highlights of Sri Lanka and is ideal for travellers interested in history, culture and wildlife. There is plenty of sightseeing as well as free time for you to experience this increasingly popular destination or to simply relax.

Itinerary

Location: Negombo

Arrive in Negombo, the famous coastal town famous for its fishing industry and golden sands. This relaxing beach resort is a short distance from Sri Lanka's capital city, and is the perfect place to spot locals bringing in the day's catch and watch the sunset. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Negombo at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is 30 minutes' drive from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day there is the option to head to the beach or make use of the hotel facilities which features a swimming pool and gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Wilpattu National Park

Leaving the capital, our journey takes us northwards along the coast to the fishing port of Negombo. We will pause to visit a nearby fishing village where the catch is made in traditional style large outrigger canoes, known locally as 'oruvas'. We may also see the toddy tappers climbing tall coconut trees and collecting sap from the flowers to make Arrack, a local whisky type spirit. Our destination is a campsite based on the outskirts of Willpattu National Park. We choose to visit this park, rather than the more touristy Yala National Park further south because we believe it offers our customers a better experience. The same animals can be seen here as in Yala, however it is less crowded, making our visit more enjoyable and responsible. We spend two nights here in fixed tents with beds, all linen and towels provided.

Accommodation: Camping

Location: Wilpattu National Park

Today we take two game drives in to Willpaththu National Park with a trained naturalist. Despite Wilpatu National Park's location in Sri Lanka's dry zone, it boasts nearly 60 lakes and is renowned for leopard, elephant and sambar deer spottings. The group will be split up in to jeeps and explore the park in the hope of spotting a leopard.

Accommodation: Camping

Location: Dambulla

Leaving Willpaththu we pause to view the magnificent Standing Buddha of Aukana, which stands 12 meters high. Sculptured in the 5th century by a master craftsman, it is still relatively isolated in its jungle setting. We then drive to Dambulla, where a great series of caves have been turned into temples (dating from the 1st century BC). We will visit five separate caves, which contain a large number of Buddha images and a few sculptures of Hindu Gods. In one of the caves there is an incredible Reclining Buddha measuring 14m long! This World Heritage Site is visited by crowds of worshippers. We reach our resort in Dambulla in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Dambulla

In the morning we drive to Sigiriya where we climb to the Sky Fortress. The ruins of this 5th century fortress are one of Sri Lanka's major attractions, a stupendous sight to behold and a feat of consummate engineering skill. A switchback series of steps and steel stairways (sometimes steep and challenging) ascend to the top. Halfway up, tucked beneath a sheltering overhang of rock, are the famous frescoes - the Sigiriya Damsels, their colours still glowing. Magnificent views can be enjoyed from the summit of the rock palace. After lunch we explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which reached its height of glory in the 12th century. The city still has many interesting and spectacular buildings and monuments. There is the Royal Palace Group with its Audience Hall, Bathing Pool and Quadrangle - a very compact collection of ruins. Close by is the Circular Relic House, a curious round structure with a beautifully preserved moonstone carved at the foot of a flight of steps. Another famous feature of the deserted city is the group of carved images of the Buddha known as Galvihara. Here there are four colossal figures, all of which are hewn out of solid granite. Later in the afternoon we return to Dambulla.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Kandy

Lying in the mountains 112km northeast of Colombo, Kandy is, in climatic terms, a world apart due to its altitude of 500m above sea level. The town was captured by the British as late as 1815, and is known more for its cultural and spiritual importance rather than its history. Buddhists from all over the world come to this delightful old highland town, specifically to visit the Temple of the Tooth, the Dalada Maligawa. The costly jewelled shrine of the Holy Tooth (said to be 3.5cm long by 1cm thick and Buddha's left canine) is kept in the upper floor of the original building. This relic was brought from India 1,500 years ago and every year, at the time of the August full moon, it is paraded round the town with great pomp and circumstance. During this ten-night festival of Perahera, the Tooth (or a model of the original) is borne along on a richly decorated elephant, surrounded by saffron-robed monks and Kandyan dancers. Kandyan dancers can also be seen performing every night at one or two locales around town. This afternoon's sightseeing includes attending the Temple of the Tooth Ceremony and a visit to the Peradeniya Botanical Garden.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Kandy

A full free day to continue your exploration of this charming mountain town or simply relax and enjoy the amenities at our hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Nuwara Eliya

This morning we head off across the highlands, through green rolling hills covered in tea plantations, visiting a working tea factory en route to the hill station of Nuwara Eliya. After checking into our hotel we'll take a tour around this little town, known as Little England, famous for its lake, golf and race course and well manicured gardens.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Nuwara Eliya

We head out this morning to Horton Plains, situated on Sri Lanka's highest plateau between altitudes of 2000m and 2300m. Traditionally named Mahaeliya, the park's main attraction is the thrilling escarpment known as World's End which offers stunning views across the tea plantations. We aim to trek to World's End in the morning when the air is clear and the views are best. Although the area is now devoid of elephants, we may be lucky enough to see other flora and fauna such as sambar deer. Returning to the hotel in the early afternoon, there is time to refresh and relax; maybe even a round of golf on the adjacent golf course!

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Galle

Today we make our way to the coast and the pretty town of Galle. Although there is still evidence of damage from the 2004 tsunami all along this coastline, the international relief effort has put the area on a fast path to recovery; and the brand new infrastructure is allowing local communities to benefit from tourism once again. In the late afternoon we visit the old, walled town of Galle itself. Important as a trading port for the Portuguese since the 16th century when the fortress was constructed, it has undoubtedly been a trading centre since ancient times.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Galle

Today has been left free to enjoy all that Galle has to offer. In the area there are a variety of activities and attractions to occupy your free time. You may choose to hire snorkelling equipment and explore the corals or take a sea trip around the coast. Alternatively travel up river past small largely uninhabited islands. There is plenty to see particularly in the old fort area, which was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1988. Overlooking the sea, the fort ramparts protect the harbour, old houses, churches, warehouses and the Arab quarter. Between December and April there may be the opportunity to go on a whale watching trip from nearby Mirissa.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Mount Lavinia

After breakfast this morning we will drive up the coast towards Mount Lavinia, where our base for the last two nights will be at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. Steeped in colonial heritage and featuring its own private beach, the hotel is set on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Indian Ocean. We will arrive in the afternoon and will have the rest of the day free to enjoy the beach or hotel poolside. For those seeking pure relaxation, massage services are also available at the hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Mount Lavinia

This morning we will venture into Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. The city was once known as the Garden City of the East' and holds a wealth of colonial history and architecture mixed in with its modern cosmopolitan vibe. is We'll wander around the historical 'fort' area, now the business district, whose buildings are like a slice through Colombo's colonial history and visit the Pettah neighbourhood, famous for its bustling open air bazaars and markets. We will also visit the most important Buddhist temple in the capital, Gangaramaya, which is an oasis of calm in an otherwise frenetic city and end the trip by the Galle Face Green, an urban park along the sea front where locals gather to often play cricket and gather for other daily rituals.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Mount Lavinia

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Mount Lavinia. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Mount Lavinia at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is one and a half hours' drive from our hotel.

What's Included

Included
  • Meals – Breakfast Only
  • Game Drives on Safari
  • Fully Guided
  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)
  • Accommodation

Not Included
  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day
  • Country Entry Visas
  • Tipping and Gratuities

FAQ

Reviews

5* Secrets Of Sri Lanka
I would rate this trip as one of the best I have done with Explore. There was such variety and I could not get over camping in the huge tent with an en-suite!
Added By:
Date: 02-Jun-2019

4* Secrets Of Sri Lanka
A reallyod holiday marred by last three days
Added By:
Date: 27-Feb-2019

5* Secrets Of Sri Lanka
A superb trip, well organised. Unforgettable.
Added By:
Date: 03-Jan-2018

5* Secrets Of Sri Lanka
Overall a very enjoyable trip
Added By:
Date: 22-Mar-2019

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tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

13 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:Negombo
Finish:Mount Lavinia
Duration:13 Nights
Group size:4 - 16
Suitable for: Adult
Accommodation:Premium
Physical rating:Low, Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 13 Lunch: 1 Dinner: 2
Diets:Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour operated in: English
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