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Best known for its rich heritage and diverse landscape, we've created this 4 night itinerary to allow you to experience the heartland of Sri Lanka. It is ideal to be combined with a relaxing beach stay on the island's coastlines or onwards to the paradise of the Maldives or the diversity of South East Asia.
Journey through time from the ancient cities and forts in the north to the colonial towns and plantations towards the south while you spend your evenings relaxing in Sri Lanka's most superior hotels.
- Minneriya National Park Safari
- Tea picking in Nuwara Eliya
- Add on the expert botanist guide at Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
- Climb the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Start your Journey
Transfer to Sigiriya
Meet your guide from either Colombo International Airport or your hotel and proceed to Sigiriya.
After checking in to your hotel, proceed to the infamous Sigiriya Rock Fortress and climb this iconic landmark.
Also known as the 'Lion Rock', it is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.
Polonnaruwa & Minneriya National Park
Visit Polonnaruwa, a World Heritage Site which was the 2nd capital city built in the 11th and 12th centuries. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya with its four splendid statues of the Buddha in 'Upright', 'Sedentary' and 'Recumbent' postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, the statue of King Parakramabahu and the Parakrama Samudraya - a lake built by King Parakramabahu the Great. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera as well as the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Head to Minneriya National Park for an afternoon game drive.
Spreading over 8800 hectares, this is a sanctuary for elephants. Minneriya is home to herds of deer and ample birdlife, but its spotlight remains between swaying trunks & flapping ears. Your guide will park your jeep on the bank of the reservoir and switch off the engine. Watch carefully as herds of elephants - one by one - roll on to the grass-covered banks, to feed on tender shoots. In fact, this is the largest elephant gathering in the world - over 300 at a time - which has garnished the park to become a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts across the globe.
Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Dambulla to Kandy
In the morning visit a World Heritage Site Dambulla Rock Temple, built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka's cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and ceilings, is the largest area of paintings found in the world. It contains over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is carved out of rock and spanning 14 metres.
Thereafter transfer to the cultural city of Kandy.
Late afternoon you’ll visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, known locally as Sri Dalada Maligawa, the most sacred temple in the whole of Sri Lanka. This important shrine boasts intricate carvings and beautiful Sri Lankan art. During the evening ‘puja’ throngs of pilgrims visit the temple to line up to glimpse the golden casket said to hold the sacred relic and to make offerings of flowers. Fine-tune your evening by stepping to the beat of traditional music & drumming amplified by a cultural show enhancing the rich and vibrant culture of the Wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka.
Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Following breakfast check out from the hotel and begin the drive to Nuwara Eliya.
En route stop at Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. First built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and expanded by the British, now stretching 147 acres it is host to an amazing variety of flora and fauna.
Thereafter drive into Sri Lanka's rich heritage with a visit to a tea plantation and tea factory set in a beautiful lush landscape. Learn about the cultivation of the tea leaves - one of Sri Lanka's most famous exports, walk through the manufacturing process and enjoy tastings to appreciate the difference in strength and flavour of the leaves.
Nuwara Eliya and onward travels
Following breakfast check out and drive to your next destination via Kitulgala.
The Kelani River (the broadest river in Sri Lanka) flowing through Kitulgala was the main location where the Oscar winning movie Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed. On the hill above this town, a prehistoric cave was recently discovered containing large middens of shells from some unknown civilization. You will also be able to witness Devon and St Clair's Water Falls.
Drop off at either the airport or your chosen beach hotel.
Please note if you are travelling onto Yala National Park for our Yala Extension tour, you will take a different route and will not pass Kitulgala Road so will not get to witness the Bridge on the River Kwai film location.
- Half Board meal basis throughout
- Entrance fees to Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Sigiriya Rock, Temple of the Tooth Relic and Minneriya National Park
- Selection of superior accommodation
- Lunch throughout
- Additional tips and fees not specifically mentioned
- Camera permits at the Temple of the Tooth (can be arranged locally)
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
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We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.