Sri Lanka proves itself to be an all-year-round destination with this luxury tour as it takes in part of the little known sunny northeast when southwest Sri Lanka is bathed in monsoons.
This 14 day tour of the most popular and interesting aspects of beautiful Sri Lanka includes the coral reef, unspoiled beaches and colonial garrison town of Trincomalee
Galle – Udawalawe – Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Kandy – Matale – Dambulla – Habarana – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya – Anuradhapura – Hirawadunna – Trincomalee – Nilaveli – Sigiriya – Negombo
N.B. This itinerary is a guide only. 10 day tours start at circa £1200. You can add time and places to this and upgrade, reduce, or change travel and accommodation with us to make this a truly personal journey. Just click on the TLC World logo to the right, submit your own personal itinerary request at the end, or simply phone us.
Day 1 Arrival Transfer/Galle
Meet on arrival at Colombo International airport by our representative and transfer to Galle via the Airport and Southern Highways.
Check-in at Lighthouse Hotel Galle
Day 2 Galle Sightseeing
Breakfast at hotel
Leave on a Guided City Tour of Galle which was once the chief port of Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was previously named by the British. It is well known for hand-made lace. You can also visit Galle Fort (spanning 90 acres), which was originally built by the Portuguese and later extended by the Dutch in 1663 and is now a World Heritage Site. This area is fascinating if you’re into old cars and older buildings as its a well preserved example of the colonial architecture of several nations and will keep you occupied for ages just walking around its narrow roads.
Overnight stay at Lighthouse Hotel, Galle
Day 3 Galle/Udawalawe
Breakfast at hotel.
Leave for Udawalawe
Check-in at Grand Safari Hotel Udawalawe
Late afternoon visit the Udawalawe National park by safari Jeep. The park is enclosed by the beautiful mountain range of Balangoda, Haputale and Kaltota, and lies on the border of two Provinces in the island. The park is the third most visited national park in Sri Lanka and home to a host of diversified flora and fauna. Udawalawe Park was created as a sanctuary to relocate the wild animals moved when Udawalawe Reservoir was created
Udawalawe National Park is well- known for its wildlife, especially as a habitat for the Asian Elephants. During your visit you might get the opportunity to see herds of elephants bathing, feeding and playing especially along The Walawe River bordering the national park and on the open grasslands.
Apart from the fascinating Sri Lankan elephants, the park is also a perfect sanctuary for water buffalos, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys, occasional leopards and various bird species
Overnight at Grand Safari Hotel.
Day 4 Udawalawe
After an early breakfast at your hotel you’ll then have a morning game drive in Udawalawe National Park.
During the late afternoon visit Athathurusevana, a centre for rehabilitation and re-integration of orphaned wild elephants back to wild.
Increase of the country’s population and large scale irrigation and agricultural projects have fragmented the former habitat of elephants resulting in a significant decrease of numbers – so projects like these are extremely important.
Overnight at Grand Safari Hotel.
Day 5 Udawalawe/Nuwara Eliya
Breakfast at hotel.
Proceed to Nuwara Eliya via Ella Gap and see Ravana Falls en-route.
Check-in at St.Andrews Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
Optional afternoon round of golf at Nuwara Eliya Golf Course.
The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is one of the oldest Golf Clubs in Sri Lanka having been established in 1889 by a Scottish Soldier in the Gordon Highlanders for the British servicemen and officials who were posted at Nuwara Eliya. The course covers approximately 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of land and was originally built amidst the tea plantations of this central highland region. The course is located at an altitude of 1,830 meters (6,000 ft) above sea level. It is an 18 hole, 5,550 m (6,070 yd), Par 70 layout – the scorecard is in meters however the distance from the yardage markers to the edge of the green are measured in yards.
Being gently coached by your caddy as you feel your way around this fascinating course is a unique pleasure in itself!
Return to St.Andrews Hotel for overnight stay
Day 6 Nuwara Eliya/Horton Plains/Nuwara Eliya
After early breakfast proceed to Horton Plains, which is located on a high windswept saddle at about 7,000 feet (2134 meters) elevation. The plains are an expanse of misty grassland with scraggy trees and ice-cold rivulets, which doesn’t in itself sound enticing but the walks, waterfalls, scenery and birdlife are well worth the trek.
Visit the ‘World’s End’, considered to be the finest view in all of Sri Lanka (unless its shrouded in mist, as it was when we went). The awesome escarpment drops vertically for about 4,000 feet (hence its name) and is almost more impressive for the void that stretches into the mist below if the day isn’t clear.
Return to Nuwara Eliya
Late afternoon, take a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya, also known as the ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, set against a beautiful backdrop of mountains, valleys, waterfalls and tea plantations. It is supposed to be one of the coldest places on the island but is actually just like an English spring day; although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of British influence. Houses are like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions.
Return to St.Andrews hotel for overnight stay
Day 7 Nuwara Eliya/Kandy
Breakfast at hotel
After breakfast you’ll visit a tea plantation and a tea factory, where the best tea in the world is produced. You will be told all about the process of manufacturing tea and how it is graded, before tasting a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. The tour is well worthwhile and fascinating for the high level of manual labour that prevails, even today, throughout the entire process from picking to packing.
Your driver will take you to Nanu-oya Railway station to catch the 1350 train to Peradeniya Railway Station in Kandy. Your chauffeur guide will be waiting to meet and transfer you by road to Kandy and your hotel.
The name Kandy conjures visions of splendour and magnificence and if you look beyond the obvious then it offers many colourful distractions.
Many of its legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive.
Check in at Amaya Hills Hotel for overnight stay
Day 8 Kandy/Matale/Dambulla/Habarana
After Breakfast visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya which was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It covers 147 acres and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. You could spend an hour or a day here depending on your level of enthusiasm for horticulture but you can’t help be intrigued by the number of fruit bats that glide between the trees with outstretched leathery wings that become translucent in the sun.
Your driver will take you on a tour around Kandy which was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is now a World Heritage Site. Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha which is sacred to Buddhists around the world before driving around the picturesque Kandy Lake, built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798.
Time and inclination permitting, visit Kandy town and bazaar, the arts & crafts centre, a gem museum and lapidary.
Continue to Dambulla.
En-route visit a spice garden in Matale to see the famous spices, of Sri Lanka. Here you will be shown how some of these spices are grown and processed before you need some swift footwork to avoid being massaged by essential oils – unless you’re up for it, of course!
Then visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. On arrival, this is initially misleading, as a huge temple whose colours look not unlike a gaudy Chinese restaurant bedecked with a huge Buddha, actually obscures access to the rock temples that you’ve come to visit. Climb up a flight of steps to the rock temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks.
Dambulla is a World Heritage Site and the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples.
The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and ceilings is the largest area of cave paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 meters.
Overnight at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana
Day 9 Habarana/Polonnaruwa/Minneriya/Habarana
Breakfast at the hotel and then leave for Polonnaruwa
Your driver will take you on a tour around Polonnaruwa which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka, built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, now a world heritage site. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya -where 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, king Parakramabahu’s statue, and the Parakrama Samudraya 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 and the remains of a former temple of the Tooth.
These temples and statues are fascinating but remember, this is your holiday and everyone is different, so if you’re getting ‘templed out’ then ask your driver/guide which he considers to be the ‘must see’ highlights of the tour.
In the late afternoon visit Minneriya National Park by 4WD Safari Jeep. The Park is home not only to Wild Elephant but (in case you were wondering if Sri Lanka has anything else) about 160 species of birds, 9 amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species. During the dry season when the lush green grasses are exposed, from July through to November , hundreds of elephants travel each year to the shores of an ancient reservoir built by a king more than 1,700 years ago. They’ve made the trip for centuries, coming from across the region to bathe, mate, socialize and most importantly, to feed as part of the significant annual event known as “The Gathering.”
Return to Cinnamon Lodge for overnight stay
Day 10 Habarana/Anuradhapura/Habarana
Breakfast at hotel
Leave for Anuradhapura the first Royal capital city of Sri Lanka.
Proceed on a sightseeing tour of Anuradhapura, which remained the capital of Sri Lanka for about 1400 years. Here you will see the remains of the Brazen Palace (once 9 storeys high), the Sri Maha Bodhi (a Bodi tree over 2000 years old), the Ruwanweliseya Dagoba, the 2nd century BC shire containing the Buddha’s collar bone relic, The Abhayagiri, Thuparama and Jetavanaramaya Dagobas, Samadhi Statue – Buddha in a meditation posture and considered a masterpiece, Twin Ponds and Isurumuniya Temple.
Return to Cinnamon Lodge Habarana for overnight stay.
Day 11 Habarana/Hirawadunna/Trincomalee
After an early breakfast take an excursion with a guide on a beautiful trek of Hiriwaduna. You start your walk in the small village where you can see how the local people spend their days, including preparing and cooking simple meals.
This is an opportunity to really appreciate how basic but healthy, local cultivation, harvesting, preparation and cooking is and although to some extent the event is staged it nevertheless is far more rewarding than we at first expected.
Continuing the walk through the fields you reach a lake, where a local boatman will be waiting to take you to the other side, during the crossing you will see beautiful water birds, butterflies and monkeys coming down to the edge to drink – whilst we had a water monitor keeping pace with our boat.
Once you have reached the shore you will be met by a bullock cart which will carry you back to your vehicle. You might feel a bit of a lemon sitting in this as you bump back to the village but it really gives you an appreciation of the pace of life in the rural areas – and your comfortable vehicle when you return to it!
Afternoon Leave for Trincomalee
On arrival check-in at Chaaya Blu Hotel for overnight stay
Day 12 Trincomalee
Breakfast at hotel
Leave on a sightseeing tour of the port city of Trincomalee.
The city is built on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours. It is one of the main centres of Tamil speaking culture on the island. Historically referred to as Gokanna or Gokarna it is a natural deep-water harbour, rated as one of the finest of its kind in the world that attracted great seafarers like Marco Polo, Ptolemy and sea traders from China and East Asia in ancient times. They undoubtedly saw the best of the town but the beautiful long and wide beaches all along this coast offer surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching.
On Swami rock, just above Fort Frederick you will find the Thirukonesvaram Kovil, which is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Sri Lanka, with wonderful views across the three main bays.
Next to Koneswaram Temple is Lovers Leap with a sheer drop to the ocean crashing against the rocks below, where apparently the daughter of an old Dutch official threw herself off the cliff when her forbidden lover had to sail back to Europe, never to see her again. The story was dampened slightly when records revealed that the girl in question in fact grew old in the town, married with children but the name and memorial remains.
The small peninsula jutting out of Trinco town, near the stadium and the main shopping streets, is the Portuguese built Fort Frederick. It’s still a working military base but, you can walk through it. Inside the fort grounds are plenty of colonial style British army buildings, cannons and other leftovers from previous inhabitants – and bizarrely, loads of deer poking their heads out from behind the military offices.
Return to hotel for Overnight Stay.
Day 13 Trincomlee/Nilaveli/Trincomalee
Breakfast at hotel
Today visit Pigeon Island Marine Park by boat and a snorkeling adventure at Nilaveli. Equipment is supplied but in our experience, if you’ve got your own snorkel and mask then you’ll enjoy the trip more.
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province, encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares. The island’s name derives from the rock pigeon which has colonised it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka.
Pigeon Island itself was designated as a sanctuary in 1963 and in 2003 re-designated as a national park – the 17th in Sri Lanka. As with many places that are preserved today around the world, they have benefited from restricted access in their past – Piegon Island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era.
Return to Chaaya Blu Hotel for Overnight Stay.
Day 14 Trincomalee/Sigiriya/Negombo
Breakfast at hotel and then leave for Sigiriya.
At Sigiriya explore the 5th century Sigiriya Rock fortress which is a world heritage site, built by King Kasyapa (477-495 AD). You’ll need a sensible pair of walking shoes, good stamina and a head for heights, as although safe the going is sometimes precarious.
The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters 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 revealing frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.
Continue to Negombo
Check-in at Jetwing Blu Hotel for overnight stay
Day 15 Negombo/Airport
Breakfast at hotel.
Transfer to airport to connect with your departure flight
Based on two people sharing accommodation, B&B and half board – prices starting from; exc. Flights
The above itinerary is a guide only and can be adjusted to meet your exact requirements. 10 day tours start at circa £1500. (phone us on 01202 030443, click on the ‘Enquire’ button to the right or submit your own personal itinerary request at the end)
Some of the Small Print
Tour Cost includes:
Meet & greet services on arrival at the airport
Arrival/departure airport transfers and tour as per itinerary by private a/c vehicle
Services of an English speaking chauffeur guide on transfers and sightseeing tours
Hotel accommodation in hotels listed above or similar in double room sharing basis
Round of Golf at Nuwara Eliya Golf Course including Green Fees & Caddies fees (deduct £70pp if not required)
Entrance fees to visit Udawalawe National Park (2 safaris), Ath Athuru Sevena, Horton Plains, Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya, Kandy Temple of Tooth, Dambulla, Minneriya, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Hirawadunna Village Trek
1 Day Boat hire to visit Pigeon Island Marine Park with entrance fees and snorkeling equipment.
Train fare on Expo Rail Train journey from Nanu-oya Railway station to Peredeniya Railway station
4WD Safari Vehicles to visit Udawalawe National Parks (2 safaris), Horton Plains & Minneriya National Park.
Porterage, service charges and government taxes
Tour Cost excludes:
Lunch an some dinners
Tips, bar, laundry, telephone calls etc
Any other expenses not specified above
Visa fees – Please refer eta.gov.lk
Early check in at Hotel on arrival and late check out from hotel on departure
Price as per current conversion rate of pound sterling (£) If variance is more than 3% (plus or minus) at the time of invoicing, we will make adjustments accordingly.
The price is subject to revision if any additional taxes or price increases are introduced by government or suppliers.
Cost is provisional and subject to change depending on the season and hotels confirmed. The exact cost will be confirmed after hotel reservation confirmation.
Hotels proposed in the itinerary/quote may not be available at time of booking, in this event suitable alternative accommodation will be offered.