Wonders of Sri Lanka
An 11 day exploration from Colombo to the Lion Rock and more. Enjoy this unique opportunity to see all that Sri Lanka has to offer.
Covering all the 'musts', from Colombo's city sights to the Lion Rock, Temple of the Tooth and Udawalawe National Park, this trip also reveals many Sri Lankan surprises. You'll enjoy Insider moments like… passing hill stations and plantations on a train journey deep into Sri Lanka's tea country, before plucking fresh tea leaves and learning the art of 'tasting' at a Ceylon Tea factory. And feeling the warm hit of local spices as you enjoy lunch with a local family in Katugastota.
Highlights and Inclusions
- 10 nights accommodation
- 19 meals (10 buffet breakfasts. 5 dinners. 4 lunches)
- City Tour of Colombo and walking tour of Galle Fort
- Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya Temple in Colombo
- Lion Rock at Sigiriya
- Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
- Udawalawe National Park
- Luxury air-conditioned coach or alternative transportation
- Porterage and local charges included
Day 1 - Colombo
Welcome to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Colombo Airport transfer to your hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a welcome reception with drinks and local appetisers.
Day 2 - Colombo Sightseeing
Begin your city tour this morning at Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya; one of the most sacred Buddhist worshipping places in Sri Lanka. Marvel at its eastern architecture, remarkable frescoes and learn of the many legends that surround this religious site. In the past Kelaniya itself was a large city and the Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya was one of the largest and one of the most beautiful temples on the island. See the Old Parliament House, the Town Hall and Independence Square before making a stop at the oldest Hindu Kovil in Colombo, Sri Kailawasanthan Swami Devasthanam. This afternoon enjoy some free time to relax, explore further or take part in an optional experience. Later see a different and more charming side of Colombo as you drive around the city by 'tuk tuk'. Make a stop to sample some local snacks and experience the flavours and spices of Ceylon, a cultural insight, before returning to your hotel. (B)
Day 3 - Colombo-Sigiriya
This morning get a deeper insight into a rather simpler lifestyle as you leave the city behind and head for the village of Horakelle. Take a walk around a tranquil garden surrounded by a coconut plantation, spices and fruit trees. A bit later meet a local villager and assist in preparing lunch, a Cultural Insight. Then continue on to your next destination the Cultural Triangle whose enchanting sites date back to the 4th century B.C. En route discover the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, part of a complex that lies atop a massive hill on the edge of the town and is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. It is renowned for its unique sculptures and the largest mural paintings. Later check into your hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa Sightseeing
This morning make an early start to avoid the heat of the day and visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress from the 5th Century which dominates the jungle from all sides. Choose to climb to the top of 'Lion Rock' or just go up halfway to the 'Lions Paw'. Alternatively for anyone not feeling energetic take a stroll around the gardens at the base and admire the scenery. A bit later enjoy breakfast before continuing to Polonnaruwa which was once the site of Sri Lanka's second medieval capital. The landscape is studded with sites of well-preserved archaeological importance. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening. (B)
Day 5 - Sigiriya - Kandy
This morning your choice of activities gives you two experiences in the village of Habarana. Choose between taking part in a traditional folklore dance lesson with a Local Specialist or visit a forest hermitage to see the dwelling of a Buddhist monk and learn about the art of meditation. Continue your journey on to Kandy and on arrival check in to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy some free time to relax or go out and explore the city with a walk around the lake or a visit to a local market. This evening visit the Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined. At dusk observe a religious service (pooja) accompanied by traditional music and drumming. (B)
Day 6 - Kandy
This morning depart the hotel by tuk-tuk and travel to the village of Katugastota to meet a Local Specialist, a senior from the village who will demonstrate how to play a beat or two on the 'Beraya' (a traditional drum). Ancient sources reveal that these drums were used for special occasions and have become an integral part of life in Buddhist Temples and are also used in processions, especially in Kandy. Next take a walk through the village to the home of a local family for a special Be My Guest lunch. The family lives in a small traditional house built in the late 1950's with a Kandyan style garden which has many spice trees planted for their own personal use. The staple food of Sri Lanka is rice and this is eaten for lunch with a combination of spicy curries served with a hot coconut sambol locally known as "Pol Sambolaya" or green leaves sambol known as "Malluma". Engage in conversation with the family to learn all about local life in the village; they have some great stories to tell! Later return to Kandy for a free afternoon and evening. (B, L)
Day 7 - Kandy-Gampola-Nuwara Eliya
This morning travel by train through Sri Lanka's tea country to Gampola, a fabulous way to see the hill villages and to observe the daily lives of the local people. See how Ceylon tea is made and gain an insight into becoming a discerning tea taster on a Tea Factory tour. Learn the art of picking the tender tea shoots which is generally referred to as 'plucking'. Take part in a tea plucking competition; it is not as easy as it looks but is great fun! For lunch enjoy a Regional Meal of 'lamprais', rice boiled in stock accompanied by curry and baked in a banana leaf in the oven. Continue to Nuwara Eliya, dubbed the 'Little England of Sri Lanka' and located in the misty hills of the island. The colonial atmosphere remains preserved and it resembles a British countryside complete with rose gardens, hedges and red-roofed bungalows. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Nuwara Eliya-Udawalawe
This morning travel to Hakgala to take part in a unique reforestation programme by assisting with the planting of trees to help save the 'Loris', one of Sri Lanka's mystical creatures that only comes out at night. It is a slender animal with slow and precise movements that spends most of its life in trees. This will be followed by a short session conducted by a Local Specialist to learn more about this beautiful yet rather exceptional creature and how it is threatened by the destruction of its habitat and the importance of protecting it. From here continue to Udawalawe National Park, home to scenic landscapes and rare wildlife. Tour the park by jeep and observe the animals in their natural habitat. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Udawalawe-Galle
This morning visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home. Run by the Born Free Foundation it is a halfway house that cares for wounded adult elephants and orphaned baby elephants. Continue to another UNESCO World Heritage site, Galle. Old Galle is a unique example of a preserved 17th century colonial fortress. This afternoon take part in a walking tour of Galle Fort with its bustling community within the great ramparts, massive bastions, pepper pot towers and narrow streets that display its Dutch heritage. Peep through frangipani filled courtyards at houses, galleries and shops selling antiques, spices, pictures and hand-woven sarongs. Free time this evening to relax or explore further. (B)
Day 10 - Galle-Colombo
This morning relax at the hotel, stroll around the town and do some last minute shopping or take part in an Optional Experience. Later transfer back to Colombo and this evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and fellow guests (B, D)
Day 11 - Depart Colombo
Transfer to Colombo Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Rail Your Way
Own your holiday, make it bespoke, especially designed for you. This could be as simple as a variation to one of our existing tours by choosing where and when you want to begin and end your journey. Or something totally unique with your chosen destinations and hotels for the time you want. Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your holiday so you can have the experience you want.
Ask your rail specialist for details.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|14th July 2017||£2,125||Book Now|
|1st September 2017||£1,995||Book Now|
|29th September 2017||£1,995||Book Now|
|27th October 2017||£2,050||Book Now|
|10th November 2017||£2,050||Book Now|
|24th November 2017||£2,050||Book Now|
|8th December 2017||£2,075||Book Now|
|22nd December 2017||£2,650||Book Now|
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: Departs 14th July 2017 (£2,125), 1st September 2017 (£1,995), 29th September 2017 (£1,995), 27th October 2017 (£2,050), 10th November 2017 (£2,050), 24th November 2017 (£2,050), 8th December 2017 (£2,075), 22nd December 2017 (£2,650)
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Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking.
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