For those with limited time or for those who just want an introduction to the country, our Highlights of Sri Lanka tour visits the key places in the Cultural Triangle, Kandy and Tea Country and gives you an insight into this fascinating country. If you'd like to spend longer exploring Sri Lanka, view full information of the two week 'Best of Sri Lanka' tour. Alternatively, extend your holiday with some relaxation time on the beach.This holiday can be undertaken staying in a range of hotels. To make things simple initially we are giving a Luxury option and a Value option. Each combination is based on tried and tested hotels within given price ranges but any other hotels we feature in the respective regions can be included instead and of course, Luxury and Value hotels can be mixed.Click here to download a full pdf itinerary for this touring holiday.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay 1 Arrive Colombo Arrive in Colombo and meet your personal chauffeur guide who will be your travelling companion throughout your tour of Sri Lanka. You drive inland to the Cultural Triangle (approximately 4.5 hours’drive). The Cultural Triangle is a melting pot of heritage, culture and wildlife and home to a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Four of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be found in the Cultural Triangle, telling a captivating story of Sri Lankan civilisation.Day 2 Visit Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa This morning you visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of Sri Lanka’s eight World Heritage Sites. The 5th Century Sigiriya Rock Fortress is one of the island’s most awe-inspiring archaeological sites and is a prime tourist location. This ‘Fortress in the sky’ is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder on the island. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the Palace on the summit of the 600ft high rock. For just two decades in the 5th Century AD, King Kashyapa set up his capital here at Sigiriya. His creation was a remarkable feat of engineering and a true work of art. To fully appreciate Sigiriya, it is worth climbing up the steep steps to the summit. In the afternoon, continue for Polonnaruwa via Habarana, Minneriya and Giritale. Passing through Minneriya National Park, it is likely that you will see wild elephants, sometimes in large herds. This is the site of the ‘Elephant Gathering’ between July and October; where up to 300 elephants can be seen gathering around the tank in the late afternoon. Polonnaruwa is another World Heritage Site and contains the well-preserved monuments of the mediaeval capital of Sri Lanka, located amongst undulating woodland. The well-preserved ruins of Polonnaruwa tell a story of Buddhism, royalty, kinship, war and power and provide you with the opportunity to experience the grandeur of this period and marvel at the artistry of the island’s early craftsmen.Day 3 Sigiriya to Kandy After breakfast, visit Dambulla, another World Heritage Site and home to marvellous cave temples whose walls are covered with murals exceeding 21,000 square feet. This visit involves a 10-15 minute walk uphill with wonderful views at the top. The caves of Dambulla are home to a wealth of history, most notably sheltering King Walagamba during his fourteen years of exile. Once he had regained his throne, he built the most magnificent rock temples to be found anywhere on the island. Then you will head south towards Sri Lanka’s spectacular hill country. On the way pause to visit a famous spice garden and to see some of the island’s best batiks at an authentic arts and crafts centre where there is the option of a rice and curry lunch (Sigiriya to Kandy is approximately 3 hours’ drive). Spend the afternoon at your leisure exploring Kandy, the royal capital of Hill Country. In central Kandy, British legacies remain in a few grand old buildings and hotels. There is also a lively market and numerous shops and arts and crafts workshops. Optional: Evening of contemporary art.If you choose this excursion you visit local artist, Rahju, at his hillside cottage near Kandy, and enjoy a 2 hour experience of Rahju’s spectacular paintings. He will give you a private viewing of his collection, where his life story, his inspirations, his ideologies and philosophies are illustrated. Rahju and his equally talented daughter Rudrani will discuss their works with you over tea and show you around their studio, giving you a glimpse into life of a truly talented Sri Lankan artist. Day 4 Kandy, Botanical Gardens and Elephants Today you will have a number of excursions around Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhalese kingdom. Today Kandy is still an important cultural and spiritual centre and an absolutely must see on your visit to Sri Lanka. The centre of town is close to a picturesque lake and is a delight of antique and gemstone shops, a bustling market and numerous restaurants. You will pay a visit to the Royal Botanical Garden at Peradeniya, Sri Lankan’s largest and finest gardens. Originally established as a pleasure garden for Kanydan nobility, the British transformed it into botanical gardens in 1821, laying the foundations for what it has become today. The gardens contain more than 5,000 different species, including over 150 palm trees, and highlights include the huge Javan Fig and the orchard house. You will then visit Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, (approximately 1 hour’s drive), a government-run orphanage. You will see more than 65 elephants, including baby elephants born in captivity. The best time to see them is at feeding time and bathing time in the river. In the evening, join the crowds to visit Kandy’s famous Temple of the Tooth located within the Royal Palace complex. This is one of the most sacred sites for Buddhists, containing the tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Optional: Kandy architectural walkThis architectural walk starts at 08.30 hrs and gives you a fantastic insight into ancient Kandy and its architecture while also experiencing local lifestyles with visits to open air markets and trying local produce and street food! Your guide, a qualified architect, will take you through the town, showing you landmarks of significant architectural, historical and spiritual interest. You will make a visit to a Temple and are advised to take appropriate clothing for this. Day 5 Kandy to Tea Country After breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya (approximately 2 hours). Today’s drive is one of the most scenic in the country as you pass through tea country with the mountains carpeted in tea, numerous waterfalls and tea pickers. Stop at a tea factory to see the processing and taste some of Sri Lanka’s famous tea. The hill town of Nuwara Eliya is the centre of ‘Little England’, with British influences clear throughout the town. In this quirky market town, enjoy a stroll in Victoria Park, wander alongside ponies on the ‘high street’ and enjoy strawberries and cream from the local market gardens. Optional: Take the train with observation coach from Kandy to Tea CountryA leisurely way of experiencing the scenery is to take the train travelling in the first class observation coach from Peradeniya to Nanu Oya (for Nuwara Eliya). The train leaves at 12.30 and arrives at 15.50. Day 6 Tea Country to ColomboAfter breakfast you will be driven to Colombo (approximately 6 hours). The tea plantation scenery continues this morning and includes two very high waterfalls, the St Clair and the Devon. There is a stop at the Tea Centre for a cup of tea chosen from more than 100 different blends. At Kitulgala see the location of the Bridge over the River Kwai and tropical rainforest. Optional: Colombo City WalkOnce you have arrived in Colombo, you will have the chance to go on a guided personalised city walk through Colombo. This evening you will spend 3-4 hours exploring this fine city at dusk. You will be shown all the lesser known parts of Colombo; the secret alcoves, the historical landmarks, the fantastic architecture and Colombo’s beginnings as a tiny trading port. Day 7 Colombo to return home, or extend your visitAfter breakfast, you will be collected for the return transfer to the airport for your onward flight or for a beach extension to this touring holiday.PRICE INFORMATION Prices from £2,390 per person luxury option, from £2,090 per person value option.Included in this tour:• Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room• Private English-speaking chauffeur-guide in an air-conditioned Japanese car throughout the itinerary• Entrance fees to the sites/monuments listed above (the optional excursions are charged at a supplement).• Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airways.Not included:• Visas (A visa is a requirement for entry to Sri Lanka and can be obtained on line from www.eta.gov.lk)• Meals, except as specified above • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees where applicable• Personal travel insurance (this is essential) • Optional toursClick on the 'Hotel Information' tab above to find out about the hotels featured in this itinerary.
This holiday can be undertaken staying in a range of hotels. To make things simple initially we are giving a Luxury option and a Value option. Each combination is based on tried and tested hotels within given price ranges but any other hotels we feature in the respective regions can be included instead and of course, Luxury and Value hotels can be mixed.Luxury option Cultural Triangle - Sigiriya: Jetwing Vil Uyana, inspired by local and rural traditions, this hotel is designed to enable guests to experience nature alongside the modern amenities of a luxury hotel (Paddy/Marsh dwelling on bed and breakfast)Kandy:Kandy House, a beautiful boutique Walauwa mansion four miles from the centre of Kandy. The eight bedrooms are very unique in space and style (Deluxe room on bed and breakfast).Tea Country - Ambewela: Jetwing Warwick Gardens, Planters bungalows amid tea plantations. Very cosy. (Deluxe room on bed and breakfast).Colombo:The Regency at the Galle Face Hotel, its position facing the Indian Ocean on one side and Galle Face Green Park on the other, gives this magnificent colonial hotel an airy, resort feel, despite being in the heart of Colombo (Regency deluxe room on bed and breakfast) or Tintagel, a luxury small hotel in an exclusive neighbourhood (Executive suite on bed and breakfast).Value optionCultural Triangle - Habarana: Habarana Village, a comfortable, rurally located hotel set in harmony with its natural surroundings. Your time here can be spent not just sight-seeing, but enjoying nature walks, Ayurvedic spa treatments, elephant riding and joining local fisherman (Superior room on bed and breakfast).Kandy:Mahaweli Reach, situated on the banks of the mighty Mahaweli River, this hotel was the first in the Hill capital to obtain a five star rating. There is a relaxing Ayurvedic spa and regular evening features to keep you entertained (Deluxe room on bed and breakfast).Tea Country - Nuwara Eliya:Jetwing St Andrew’s, set in the hill station of Nuwara Eliya with a 100 year old stately mansion at the heart of the building, this hotel offers authentic old world charm (Superior room on bed and breakfast)Colombo:Zylan Luxury Villa, a boutique hotel of just 10 rooms to the west of the city. Simple and charming (Deluxe room on bed and breakfast).Prices from £2,390 per person luxury option, or from £2,090 per person value option.Included in this tour:• Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room• Private English-speaking chauffeur-guide in an air-conditioned Japanese car throughout the itinerary• Entrance fees to the sites/monuments listed above (the optional excursions are charged at a supplement).• Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airways.Not included: • Visas (A visa is a requirement for entry to Sri Lanka and can be obtained on line from www.eta.gov.lk)• Meals, except as specified above • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees where applicable• Personal travel insurance (this is essential)
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