This private escorted tour offers an introduction into the culture and history of Sri Lanka while showcasing a selection of superior hotels. Your guide is a true asset and their knowledge and passion of the country can be shared with you on your journey to these fascinating areas of Sri Lanka. Climb the ancient fortress of Sigiriya Rock and visit the Dambulla Rock Temple, impressively lined with ancient paintings and abounding with Buddhas of all shapes and sizes. Enjoy a stay in the historic and colourful Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before heading to your chosen beach resort.
- Visit Dambulla Rock Temple
- Climb the 5th century rock fortress
- Explore Kandy town and bazaar
- Take in the historic site of Polonnaruwa
Start your Journey
Beach or Colombo to Sigiriya
Pick up from your selected hotel/airport and transfer to Dambulla. 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 square 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, spanning 14 metres, is carved out of rock.
In the evening, visit the Minneriya National Park for a game drive. If you're up for a serious rumble in the jungle, then Minneriya is your Colosseum. Spreading over 8800 hectares, this is a sanctuary for elephants. Minneriya is home to herds of deer and ample bird life, but its spotlight remains between swaying trunks and 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.
Later, transfer to Sigiriya.
Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya
Visit Polonnaruwa, a World Heritage Site, which was the second capital city of Sri Lanka built in the 11th and 12th centuries A.D. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya with 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 and the Kiri Vehera.
Later, climb the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress, also a World Heritage Site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 A.D.). The 'Lion Rock' 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. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.
Sigiriya to Kandy
After breakfast leave Sigiriya and drive to the cultural city of Kandy via Matale.
Visit a spice garden in Matale to see different spices for which Sri Lanka is famous for.
Kandy, a World Heritage Site, was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. The name "Kandy" conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy lake built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the Kandy town and bazaar, the arts and crafts centre, a gem museum and a lapidary. Also visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Kandy to the Beach
Following breakfast check out from the hotel and transfer from Kandy to respective beach hotel or airport.
- Superior accommodation (alternative but similar hotels may be used at certain times of year)
- Meals as stated
- Air-conditioned transport
- Services of a qualified English-speaking local guide
- All site entrance fees while touring as appropriate
- International flights from the UK
- Visa fees
- Airport departure taxes
- Beverages during meals
- Tips for the driver/guide
- Optional excursions
- Video camera permits at elephant orphanage, video and still camera permits at Temple of the Tooth Relic
- Pick-up and drop-off at beach resorts other than Kalutara, Wadduwa or Negombo (small fee)
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