Itinerary Highlights
    • Delve into the island’s historical heritage with visits to ancient royal capitals and sacred Buddhist sites
    • Travel through misty mountains and tea plantations on a classic steam train
    • Discover Sri Lanka’s rich flora and fauna as you embark on a wildlife safari and mangrove boat trip

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Ancient golden temples, sacred Buddhist sites, parks full of tropical animals and white-sand beaches lined with abundant palms… this itinerary is all about sampling a slice of scenic and cultural Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the fabled Cultural Triangle: a historic quarter of the nation’s most emblematic heritage sites. Discover ancient Buddhist pilgrimage sites, once-upon-a-time royal capitals and kingdoms and a very famous hilltop rock fortress. From here, an iconic and very charming old steam train leads you through lush tea plantations to the characterful British-style town of Nuwara Eliya. The final chapter of this journey is dedicated to experiencing the thrills of getting up close to Sri Lanka’s exquisite flora and fauna.
Between the plains of Yala National Park and the waters of the Madu Ganga lagoon, you’ll have the opportunity to admire Sri Lankan elephants and leopards, sloth bears and exotic birdlife. We’ve also scheduled in a stay at the end of your journey in a wellness hotel nestled on the shores of the southern coast to recharge your batteries before heading home.

Route

Everything is 100% tailored to you
DAY 1

TRAVEL TO SRI LANKA

Your adventure to Sri Lanka starts today with a ten-and-a-half hour flight to the capital city of Colombo. Head to the airport, whizz through security and enjoy some down time in the airport lounge with some nibbles and refreshments as you await departure. Most direct flights depart in the evening, so you’ll spend tonight on board and touch down tomorrow.

DAY 2

INTO THE CULTURAL TRIANGLE

Wake up to views across South Asia as you prepare to land in Sri Lanka. A private driver will be waiting on arrival to greet you and whisk you off to the small town of Makandura, an hour’s drive away. Here we’ve arranged for you to have access to a hotel room in a charming colonial-style hotel for the day. This is a great opportunity to relax, refresh and stretch your legs before continuing five hours on the road to Dambulla this afternoon. Nestled in the Cultural Triangle in the centre of the island, this historic town is home to the biggest and best-preserved temple complex in all of Sri Lanka. Settle in for two nights in a delightful hotel on the shores of Kandalama Lake and spend the rest of this evening enjoying the onsite facilities.

DAY 3

DAMBULLA TEMPLE HOPPING

After a hearty breakfast this morning, your private guide will lead you on an exciting tuk-tuk adventure around Polonnaruwa, the former royal capital of the island and the second oldest of all Sri Lanka's kingdoms. The ancient city was the stronghold of the Sinhalese kings for two centuries and, as such, features a wealth of glorious sights, including several Buddha sculptures and the 12th-century rock temple of Gal Vihara. Continue on to the Golden Temple, a rock monastery and major place of pilgrimage encompassing no less than five sacred sanctuaries. As the largest and best-preserved complex of cave temples in Sri Lanka, it’s a sure sight to behold. Your final stop of the day is Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The architectural wonder is throned at the summit of a high block of red granite that rises to a height of nearly 700ft. Other than magnificent views over the Sri Lankan bush, you can also marvel at a collection of superb paintings from the fifth century, portraying King Kassayapa’s Maidens (royal concubines).

DAY 4

KANDY CALLING

Your adventure across Sri Lanka continues today, two-and-a-half hours north to Kandy, a beautiful city nestled in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Once again, you’ll be privately driven, so sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic views across rice paddies, misty mountains and serene tea plantations. Your home for the night here is a charming villa tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Once you’ve settled in and freshened up, head out with your driver-guide to the Botanical Gardens of Peredeniya. Renowned for their collections of orchids and simple aromatic plants, the gardens were developed in the 1840s to showcase local botanical exuberance. The star of the show is certainly the main avenue, which is lined with royal palm trees. Continue on to the legendary Temple of the Tooth to admire a rather curious religious relic: a canine tooth of the Lord Buddha himself. The complex thrums with an excitable feeling as hundreds of pilgrims come to venerate the tooth every day. The rest of today is then yours to play with. We can arrange further guided activities, such as a traditional Sri Lankan dance class or a visit to the Suriyakantha Art and Antiquities Centre, or you can simply kick back and relax at your hotel after a busy day.

DAY 5

TRAIN RIDE TO NUWARA ELIYA

On today’s agenda: an exhilarating train journey from Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The railway network was built by the British in 1864 to transport tea from the mountains to the port of Colombo. From the steam locomotive to the tracks and even the station master’s cap, this journey takes you into the enchanting world of yesteryear. On arrival in Nuwara Eliya, settle in for two nights in a cosy country property and spend the rest of today relaxing in your new environment.

DAY 6

GUIDED WATERFALL WALK

Rise and shine, you only have one full day in Eliya and there’s not a moment to waste. Known affectionately as ‘Little England’, Nuwara Eliya is a charming British-style town in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hilly countryside. During the colonial period, the British settled in this high-altitude town to escape the stifling heat of lower regions. Even today, the town thrums with a sort of old-world English charm and features an Anglican church, post office, pub, botanical park and golf course. On today’s agenda: a guided walk to Bambarakanda Falls, which, falling from a height of 860ft, are the highest falls in the country. The trail starts at the village of Weerakoon before winding through enchanting pine trees into a spectacular landscape of majestic mountains and green plains. We could also arrange a rafting adventure down the Kelani River or a guided hike in the remarkably diverse Horton Plains National Park.

DAY 7

SAFARI TIME

After a delicious breakfast, hop back into your car with your private driver-guide and journey five hours to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s top safari destination. On arrival, settle in for the night in a cosy and comfortable camp located on the edge of the park and spend the rest of the day bounding through the park in a 4x4 with a seasoned local guide. The park is home to a magnificent number of ecosystems, including tropical rainforest, dry evergreen forest, meadows, mangroves and lagoons. As such, Yala houses a whole host of majestic fauna, from Sri Lankan elephants, buffalos and monkeys to sloth bears, spectacled cobras, saltwater crocodiles and Sri Lankan leopards. There are also over 200 species of birds here ranging from the widespread Eurasian Curlew to the endemic Lafayette cockerel. Head back to your charming camp this evening for a hearty meal around the campfire. 

DAY 8

TRAVEL TO THE COAST

Swap the wilderness of Yala National Park for the peace and quiet of the coast as you journey three hours to your next destination: the small seaside town of Ahungalla. Your home for the next two nights is a beautiful hotel surrounded by nature. Everything here is geared towards wellness and relaxation, with Ayurvedic spa treatments, delightful pools and stylish interiors. Spend today resting on the local beach and enjoying the hotel’s plethora of salubrious and relaxing facilities, so you’re ready for an action-packed in the great outdoors tomorrow.

DAY 9

MANGROVE BOAT TRIP

Your final full day in Sri Lanka is dedicated to soaking in the splendid flora and fauna of one of the nation’s last original mangroves: the Madu Ganga lagoon. A fragile and protected environment, the lagoon links river and sea. Sail gently through a magical setting of mangrove trees, coconut trees, rice fields, cinnamon plantations and blue water lilies. Take advantage of a detour to a small Buddhist temple before stopping on the beautiful agricultural island of Mirala Duwa. Here, you’ll stroll through pineapple, fruit, vegetable and spice plantations while learning about the miraculous essential oils created from distilled cinnamon. A visit to the distillery makes it possible to really understand the properties and virtues of this precious spice.

DAY 10

JOURNEY HOME

Sadly the time has come to wave goodbye to the lush tropical landscapes of Sri Lanka and embark on the journey home. After one last delicious breakfast at your hotel this morning, your private driver-guide will collect you and whisk you one hour back to the airport in Colombo. After checking in and whizzing back through security, settle into the airport lounge to tuck into some tasty nibbles and refreshments as you prepare to board the 12-hour flight back to the UK.

A la carte

A meeting around traditional dance in Kandy

A renowned dance master welcomes you to the Sri Anura Rangayathanaya school to demonstrate different traditional Sri Lankan dances, followed by a fun and memorable dance class.

Visit the Suriyakantha Art and Antiquities Centre

Housed in a remarkably restored Dutch-style noble residence, this cultural centre displays a comprehensive collection of art and antiquities. Admire everything from photographs and old engravings to manuscripts on banana leaves and objects from popular arts and traditions. Tour the museum in the company of one of the two founders before settling in for a delicious meal on-site to learn more about the history of the place.

Rafting on the Kelani River

Head to Sri Lanka's premier whitewater rafting location, the Kelani River, for an exhilarating adventure. Once you’re suited with a life jacket, hop into your canoe and drift down the river, passing along rapids, as well as peaceful waters where you can admire the abundant flora and fauna of this region.

Guided hike in Horton Plains National Park

A vast plateau located south of Nuwara Eliya, this UNESCO-listed national park is one of Sri Lanka’s few remaining cloud forests. Its landscapes of plains, swamps, woods and rocks shelter an astonishing biodiversity, including the sambar deer, the Ceylon giant squirrel and many birds. The plateau suddenly collapses at World's End, a sheer cliff edge offering breathtaking views across the mountainous landscape below.

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
The cost for this trip starts from £3,200 to £3,900 per person.

The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost varies according to several factors, which include the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote.

The average starting price for this trip is £3,400 per person.

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