Buddha and Beach - 12 days

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  • On The Go Tours

Explore Dambulla Rock Temple, discover the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and visit iconic Sigiriya Rock. Sip on refreshing Ceylon tea and see Sri Lanka's famous wildlife on a jeep safari in Udawalawe National Park before heading to the idyllic beaches of Bentota for some sun, sea and relaxation.

Highlights
  • Matale - Learn all about Sri Lanka's herbs and spices at the spice gardens in Matale
  • Ratnapura - Visit the heart of the nation's gem mining industry
  • Beruwala/Bentota - Enjoy four days of R&R on the idyllic palm fringed beaches of Sri Lanka's West Coast
  • Dambulla - Discover over 150 images of Buddha in the incredible complex of caves at Dambulla Rock Temple
  • Polonnaruwa - Explore the remarkable ruins of the ancient capital city of Ceylon
  • Take a scenic train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, passing waterfalls and lush tea plantations en route
  • Kayanwala Village - Canoe to the village and help cook a delicious traditional lunch with a Sri Lankan family
  • Colombo – Enjoy a guided tour of the city including the Old Fort area and impressive Gangaramaya Temple
  • Udawalawe National Park - Go in search of wildlife on a game drive in Udawalawe, home to the nation's largest herd of Asian Elephants
  • Giragama Tea Factory - Take a tour of a working tea factory with a long history
  • Kandy - Take in the highlights of Kandy including the famous Temple of the Tooth, enjoy a tuk tuk ride and watch a cultural performance
  • Sigiriya - Climb to the top of the iconic 5th century Lion Rock fortress and see the Heavenly Maidens
  • Nuwara Eliya - Spend a night in this highland community, referred to as 'Little England', surrounded by Central Sri Lanka's picturesque tea country hills
Age Policy
over 16 if accompanied by an adult
Destinations
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indian Subcontinent
Tour Types
  • Small Group
  • Cultural
  • Singles
  • History
  • Safaris

Saturday. Welcome to Sri Lanka! Airport arrival transfer and the remainder of today is at leisure. Our hotel is located on the seafront and is a short walk from Galle Road and many of the city highlights. Choose to head out and independently explore, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a cocktail whilst you watch the sunset over the Laccodive Sea.

Colombo - Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla. Bidding farewell to Colombo this morning we drive inland to Dambulla, stopping en route at a fruit and vegetable market in Naramwela Town. Dambulla Rock Temple is an incredible ancient complex of caves which dates back to the 1st Century BC. The five caves contain over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre carved statue. <br/><br/> After exploring this ancient site, we continue to Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, we return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast,

Dambulla - Sigiriya - Kandy. This morning we explore Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. <br/><br/> From Sigiriya, we take a bullock cart ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala Village we take part in a cookery demonstration in a mud brick home of a local woman and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more. En route to Kandy we stop at a spice garden in Matale to see the different herbs and spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.

Meals: Breakfast,Lunch,

This morning, we take a sightseeing tour of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and our first stop will be the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Legend has it that one of Buddha's teeth was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was then smuggled into Sri Lanka in 313AD. It now attracts daily pilgrims who come bearing lotus flowers and frangipani. After driving around Kandy Lake - built by the last Sinhala king, we visit the local bazaar and a gem museum, we then take Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon we stop at the Geragama Tea Factory, manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea. This evening, we watch a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.

Meals: Breakfast,

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. This morning offers free time, before transferring to the railway station for a scenic train trip. Passing kilometre upon kilometre of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, we'll see waterfalls, suspension bridges and tea pickers on our journey up to Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea.<br/><br/> Upon arrival we embark on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya - an area known locally as 'Little England'.

Meals: Breakfast,

Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe National Park. Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan elephant, the biggest of all the Asian elephants in the wild. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan sloth bear, the cheeky langur monkey and varies types of deer. We enjoy an afternoon game drive here before returning to our hotel.

Meals: Breakfast,

Udawalawe National Park - Colombo. We travel back to Colombo this morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems that exist in the world. <br/><br/> Arriving to Colombo, we commence a city tour, seeing the Fort area in the north of the city which is famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. We'll also see the somewhat unusual Gangarama Temple and take a stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular spot for kite flying and games of cricket.

Meals: Breakfast,

Colombo - Beruwala/Bentota. After breakfast, we head south along Sri Lanka's idyllic West Coast to spend the final four nights relaxing by the beach in the popular holiday resort of Beruwala or neighbouring Bentota.

Meals: Breakfast,

Sri Lanka's beautiful palm fringed beaches are without a doubt its biggest draw cards, and once you set eyes on them you’ll understand why. Nestled on the Indian Ocean coast with warm crystal clear waters, Beruwala and the neighbouring town of Bentota offer travellers a whole host of water sports from snorkelling and scuba diving, to water skiing and surfing – the choice if yours. Indulge in a glass of Toddy – a local coconut flavoured tipple, head to the spa and opt for an Ayurveda treatment which the area is famous for, or simply while away the days on the beach with a cocktail in hand.

Meals: Breakfast,

Wednesday. Beruwala/Bentota - Colombo. Today our tropical island adventure comes to an end. Departure transfer to Colombo Airport for your onward international flight.

Meals: Breakfast,

Included
  • Escorted by an English speaking national guide for groups of 6 or more (professional chauffeur guide for groups of 5 or less)
  • Breakfast daily and 1 lunch
  • Airport arrival and departure transfer on days 1 and 12
  • Jeep safari/game drive in Udawalawe National Park
  • All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned tourism vehicles
  • Scenic train journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, canoe and Tuk Tuk trips
  • Guided sightseeing - Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe NP and Colombo
  • Accommodation
    -4-5 star & heritage hotels
  • 11 nights 4-5 star hotels and heritage properties

Not Included
  • Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3-7 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
    -
  • Entrance Fees: USD$120-$140pp, paid in local currency
    -
  • International flights and visas
    -
5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Very well informed guide, Aktar made sure everything went according to plan and the trip progressed seamlessly. Also he got us front seats to the traditional dance display which was colourful and exciting. We saw so much in a short time, exhausting but worthwhile! All the hotels were very comfortable and varied in style. Sri Lanka is a beautiful tropical paradise, we certainly got a feel for the country and its people, history and culture but there is still much to explore and certainly enough for a second visit. The highlights were Dambulla Buddhas, Sigirya rock, Kandy, the train journey, and of course the elephants. We appreciated the chance to unwind in Bentota and it was a good counterpoint to the tour.
Added By:
Date: 17-Oct-2017

4* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
This is my 6th On the Go tour and i was not dissapointed with the itinerary or the guide (including support staff - especially our driver). As stated we were continually on the go and the guide very informative throughout. Traffic was a nightmare - but that was part of the culture / country we were in and part of the experience - it did detract though from having some valuable downtime which was a shame. The historical sites and knowlege of our guide made this tour and my walk up lion rock - whilst nearlly killing me was worth every effort. Feedback on the tour itinerary for me would be to drop the visits to the tea plantation, gem shop and spice garden. All these places were commercial in nature and I felt thise interested in such could obtain the same items whilst having free time in some of the beautiful towns we visited - particularly Kandy. I also think if Galle could be included on this itinerary it would round off a great cultural tour (we did a day trip to Galle during our stay in Bentota). Once again a credit to On the Go and I look forward to planning my 7th trip. - thanks Danny
Added By:
Date: 24-Apr-2016

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Very nice and interesting tour to get a first Impression of the country, especially the mountains and the national park were very nice. Personally would leave the Elephant orphanage as basically nothing but a zoo and its more interesting to see the elephants in the wild... Very nice was also the extra lunch at local village with boot ride rather than in the ´tourist restaurants who sometimes served less good food but at higher cost. Tour guide was very nice, knowledgable and helpful. Would be nice to have more time for exploring local markets and villages. Hotels were brilliant with great buffees. Great to get free water on the bus at any time. For shopping i would prefer little local shops rather than big tourist jewelery Shops that basically all sell the same overly priced. Beach Hotel was very nice with expecially good buffees, very nice guesture was a Special birthday cake and decoration of the room, very much appreciated by the Hotel staff.
Added By:
Date: 17-Nov-2014

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Caroline Shaw was fantastic at all times Akhtar was a fantastic tour guide Brilliant tour, loved it all, will definitely be booking with OTG again!
Added By:
Date: 12-Sep-2017

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Akhtar is an outstanding tour guide, on arrival my luggage had been delayed in Doha by Qatar Airways he supported me, giving me details of where to get clothes, gave me a lift to the shop, and then acted as my link with the airline. Outstanding service. During the trip he shared his knowledge and passion about Sri Lanka but also got to know each of us and we had a brilliant laugh as a group. We really felt like Akhtar became a part of the group. The trip allowed us to see so many wonderful sights, I highly recommended the trip and On the Go to my friends.
Added By:
Date: 14-Aug-2017

4* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
As a first time traveller overseas without family, I was a bit apprehensive for going on a tour, but really did not need to be- the guide, group and itinerary were great. We had such an excellent time in Sri Lanka thanks to On The Go tours. We were very busy, with long days (lots of time on the bus too) but at night there was always a nice hotel to go to where we could relax. Manoj was a great guide who cared a lot about our tour experience. Unfortunately, due to unforseen personal circumstances he was unable to complete the tour with us, however his organisation for the rest of the tour with another guide was faultless. We ate mainly at buffets due to time constraints and the range available, however I would have personally preferred more local/authentic Sri Lankan options. We saw so much during our tour and it has made me have a great appreciation for the country. I wouldn't hesitate to book again with On The Go.
Added By:
Date: 22-Dec-2017

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
We had an absolutely fantastic holiday; a real trip of a lifetime (until the next one, of course). We packed so much into the 12 days, seeing all the many sights and sides of Sri Lanka - we felt as though we really got under the skin of the nation. Whilst there were one or two activities that weren't really for us (the elephant orphanage and the gem shop visit was a bit weird), overall we did just about everything we wanted to see and do. We're a bit depressed to be home, to be honest! Akhtar was a very affable and knowledgeable guide - nothing was too much trouble for him and we enjoyed spending time with him socially beyond just the daily itinerary. It really struck us how knowledgeable he was to the wider world beyond Sri Lanka, despite not being fortunately enough to be able to travel frequently himself. It'd be cool to see On The Go Tours send him off to explore another part of the world - we're sure he'd come back with a few good stories! Loved the country, loved the tour and loved the people (natives, guide and fellow tour group members). Tom & Sarah NOTE FROM ON THE GO: As part of our Responsible Travel and Animal Welfare Policy as of 01 October 2016 we will no longer be including the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage or any other elephant related activity, (aside from viewing in their natural habitat) within our tours.
Added By:
Date: 10-May-2016

4* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Kalum was a fantastic guide. He was helpful, professional, friendly and knowledgable. He provided us with historical and contextual information everywhere we went which gave us a real flavour of Sri Lanka. He also made some great suggestions like the massage and elephant ride, as well as taking us to a place for lunch in traditional surroundings with great food. We would definitely return as our trip went far too quickly! Thank you!
Added By:
Date: 24-Oct-2014

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Manoj was an excellent guide. He mingled well with all members of the group and put us all at ease. This was our first organised tour and first trip to Asia, so we were a bit nervous about it. Manoj gave us confidence in a strange country. He was knowledgeable about his country and provided us with plenty information on it. He was also adaptable to meet our unplanned and unscheduled needs - be it finding a toilet when we needed one ; finding a shop to buy beer; organising afternoon tea for us in the Jetwing St Andrews Hotel. He also organised cakes for those of us who were celebrating wedding anniversaries - which was such a lovely touch and made us feel special. I believe he also managed to get us upgraded hotel rooms in the Jetwing Lakeside hotel - which was absolutely fabulous and again made us all feel very special. Nothing was too much trouble for him. Manoj seemed a very organised tour guide. Paying for unlimited water was such a good idea as we went through about 4 bottles of water each a day. The tour itself was not as tiring as I thought it was going to be, despite us having a full itinerary every day. There was quite a bit of travelling in the minibus, but that was to be expected given the size of the area we had to cover. Sri Lanka is a very interesting country. The people are friendly and welcoming. The scenery was lovely. I would definitely recommend this tour.
Added By:
Date: 02-Jul-2018

4* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Our tour was full on. Our guide was honest and warned us at the beginning that we would be "on the Go" for the most of the tour. It was amazing. He was amazing. We covered an incredible amount of wonderful, historic, cultural sites. Aktar was informative as well as interesting and amusing in all aspects of our trip. We knew it was a tour of Buddas but we did end up with one too many! Our choice of trip though. It was a good mixture, having the historic input then the beach to unwind. Everyone we came in contact with was friendly and helpful.
Added By:
Date: 30-Nov-2016

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
What a lovely guy Farzan is, nothing was too much trouble for him and he was often replenishing our stock of water bottles without us even asking. He was extremely knowledgeable and and amusing and it was as if we had known him for years. He certainly made our experience of Sri Lanka a very enjoyable one. He also took lots of photos and was happy to share these both on your site and with us personally, often capturing unguarded moments, some flattering (some not so flattering!) His wildlife shots from the vehicle safari in the national park were stunning and it's lovely to see his love of conservation, very much reflected by many of the Sri Lankan people we met. I'd happily recommend your company and Farzan personally to anybody wanting to visit Sri Lanka.
Added By:
Date: 23-Jul-2015

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Very well informed guide, Aktar made sure everything went according to plan and the trip progressed seamlessly. Also he got us front seats to the traditional dance display which was colourful and exciting. We saw so much in a short time, exhausting but worthwhile! All the hotels were very comfortable and varied in style. Sri Lanka is a beautiful tropical paradise, we certainly got a feel for the country and its people, history and culture but there is still much to explore and certainly enough for a second visit. The highlights were Dambulla Buddhas, Sigirya rock, Kandy, the train journey, and of course the elephants. We appreciated the chance to unwind in Bentota and it was a good counterpoint to the tour.
Added By:
Date: 17-Oct-2017

4* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
The tour was wonderful, if a little pressed for time. It certainly gave a fabulous insight into Sri Lanka and an intimate glimpse of the culture and people. Akthar was a wonderful guide. He was knowledgeable, clear and explained things as they really are (i.e. not always the glossy view, but a true account of situation). He had indepth knowledge of all aspects of the tour. I felt very comfortable with his approach.
Added By:
Date: 02-Dec-2016

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
The tour had a higher degree of comfort to our normal trips and we found we enjoyed the quality of the hotels and the comfort of the travel. We certainly were 'on the go' and found that the time given to each activity was just about right. The visit to the tea factory was mediocre but the canoe trip and lunch cooked by the Sri Lankan ladies was amazing. Manoj did an excellent job of organising everything to run smoothly and was a mine of information about his country. We certainly enjoyed the company of the group, we were quite varied but got on really well. For us, the group travel made the tour much more fun than a private driver. The beach aspect gave us a good opportunity to relax at the end of the busy tour.
Added By:
Date: 19-Jan-2018

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Fantastic tour , saw so much in a short space of time. Can I suggest the Brochure/tour details emphasised how physical getting to some of the sites were and that appropriate attire is required for the temples. I am not complaining! It gave us a good workout but we would like to have been more prepared. Our your guide Aktar was excellent. Very friendly with in depth knowledge of the sites and the country.
Added By:
Date: 02-Dec-2016

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
Overall it was an amazing experience, Aktar was an incredible and reliable guide and was very knowledgeable. A little more free time to walk and look around would have been good but overall we had a trip of a lifetime and have many lifelong memories.
Added By:
Date: 15-Dec-2015

5* Buddha and Beach - 12 days
He was fantastic. Very informative and kept us going all the time
Added By:
Date: 11-Aug-2017

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Touring with On The Go Tours

From a first foray into Egypt in 1998, On The Go Tours have expanded their operations to more than 60 countries, offering award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world. Their Middle East and North Africa portfolio now includes Jordan, Israel and Morocco, whilst other regions include Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the extravagant Taj Mahal in India, On The Go Tours get you to the main sights of whichever destination you choose to visit. There’s also a range of special festival tours, Christmas and New Year adventures and much more, from overland adventures to luxury cruises. They always uncover some hidden gems too, be it canoeing to a local home for lunch in Sri Lanka or riding a rickshaw around the maze of Hutongs in Beijing, China.

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tour details

This tour is operated by On The Go Tours

11 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Enquire Award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world.
Start:Colombo
Finish:Colombo
Group size:2 - 24
Suitable for: over 16 if accompanied by an adult
Accommodation:4-5 star & heritage hotels
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact On The Go Tours with specific dietary requests
Tour operated in: English
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