A wonderful spectrum of experiences in the stunning jewel that is Sri Lanka.
A 16 night wildlife, beach and culture tour of Central and Southwest Sri Lanka encompassing all the best of this exotic country – best enjoyed at a time when its great to escape the European winter.
Negombo Beach – Habarana – Minneriya – Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Dambulla – Matale – Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Udawalawe – Yala – Bundala – Galle – Colombo
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 ‘enquire’, submit your own personal itinerary request at the end, or simply phone us.
Day 1 Arrival
You’ll be met on arrival at the airport by our representative and transfer to Negombo.
Check in at Jetwing Blu for overnight stay.
Day 2 Negombo/Habarana/Minneriya or Kaudulla/Habarana
After breakfast leave for Habarana located in the North central province of Sri Lanka.
Check in at Cinnamon Lodge
In the afternoon visit Minneriya National Park or the Kaudulla National park by safari jeep. Minneriya National Park extends to about 8,889 hectares. This National Park features internationally important wetlands, as well numerous animal and plant species found in the dry zone.
Wild elephants, various amphibians, local and immigrant bird species are plentiful in these parks. About 160 species of birds, 9 amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species have been found in this area. Bamboo trees, rare in other parks, form part of the landscape and wild elephants can be seen close-up.
Return to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 3 Habarana/Sigiriya/Habarana
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll leave for Sigiriya to explore the 5th century Sigiriya Rock fortress – a World Heritage Site, built by King Kasyapa (477-495 AD).
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. You’ll visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, painted in earth pigments on plaster, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.
Evening at leisure
Overnight at Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana
Day 4 Habarana/Polonnaruwa/Habarana
After breakfast at the hotel your morning is free. Later you’ll leave for a tour of Polonnaruwa, which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka, built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD and now a World Heritage Site. Here you’ll see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya – where 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures are 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 Lankatilleke, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth.
Overnight at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana
Day 5 Habarana/Dambulla/Matale/Kandy
Breakfast first at your hotel before checking out and leaving for Kandy.
Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, which is now also a World Heritage Site that conjures visions of splendour and magnificence.
En-route you’ll visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. Climb up to the temple which was donated by King Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks.
Dambulla is, not surprisingly, a World Heritage site and the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and ceilings is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha, the largest of which is the colossal figure of the Buddha spanning 14 metres.
Visit a spice garden in Matale to see a multitude of different spices, for which Sri Lanka is famous. You’ll be introduced to many different spices and shown how some are grown and processed.
Continue to Kandy and check in at Mahaweli Reach for overnight stay.
Day 6 Kandy sightseeing
Breakfast at hotel, followed by a Kandy city tour. Many Sri Lankan legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Lake built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum and lapidary.
The Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya were first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and expanded by the British. It extends to 147 acres and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers that can keep you mesmerised for hours if you’re a horticulturalist or just at peace for a gentle stroll through these magnificent and intriguing gardens.
Early evening finds you witnessing a cultural dance performance followed by a visit to the famous Kandy Temple of the tooth relic
Overnight at Mahaweli Reach Hotel.
Day 7 Kandy/Peradeniya/Train Journey/Nanu Oya/Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast leave tfor Peradeniya Railway Station to board your train to Nanu Oya by Expo AC Rail.
On arrival at the Nanu Oya Railway Station your chauffeur/guide will be waiting to collect you and transfer you to Nuwara Eliya.
Check in at Grand Hotel for overnight stay in a deluxe room.
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya/Horton Plains/Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast journey by car to Horton Plains, which is located on a high windswept saddle at about 7,000 feet (2134 metres) elevation. The plains are an expanse of misty grassland with scraggy trees and ice-cold rivulets. Visit ‘World’s End’, considered to be the finest view in all of Sri Lanka. The awesome escarpment drops vertically for about 4,000 feet, hence its name.
Also, 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 see how its graded and prepared at every stage of its journey towards shipping. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory to understand how it should taste fresh from the source.
Next visit Nuwara Eliya itself. Because of its invigorating mountain climate and scenery, Nuwara Eliya is Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. It’s also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country; producing a significant share of the world’s best tea.
Sri Lanka’s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala (8282 feet) is located here. For golf enthusiasts, Nuwara-Eliya also has one of the finest 18 hole golf courses in South Asia. Why not ask us to arrange a round for you?
Return to Grand Hotel for overnight stay in deluxe room.
Day 9 Nuwara Eliya/Udawalawe
After breakfast you’ll leave for Udawalawe via Ella Wellawaya. After winding around the hillsides for a while, stop and view the breathtaking Ella Gap and the beautiful Ravana Falls.
Check in at the Grand Safari Udawalawe for dinner and overnight stay.
In the afternoon visit the Udawalawe National park by safari Jeep. The park is enclosed by the beautiful mountain range of Balangoda, Haputale and Kaltota.
Udawalawe National Park 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. The park was created as a sanctuary to relocate the wild animals moved following the development of the Udawalawe Reservoir.
Udawalawe National Park is well- known for its wildlife, especially as a habitat for Asian Elephants.
During a visit to the national park, the sighting of herds of elephant bathing, feeding and playing isn’t unusual, especially on the grasslands and along the Walawe River bordering the national park.
The park is also a perfect sanctuary for Water Buffaloes, Water Monitor Lizards, Sambar Deer, monkeys, occasional Leopards and numerous bird species.
Overnight at Grand Safari Hotel.
Day 10 Udawalawe/Yala
After breakfast leave for Yala and check in at Cinnamon Wild Hotel.
In the afternoon you’ll visit Yala National Park by safari jeep. Yala is treated a one of the most premier tourist destinations of Sri Lanka. Situated about 309 km from Colombo along the southeast coast. It covers an area of 129,700 hectares stretching Southern and Uva Provinces.
Yala is a large wildlife sanctuary offering the wild life enthusiast and nature lover an opportunity to observe a great variety of fauna. A diverse and varied landscape that borders the sea, Yala offers Leopard, Bear, Sambar, Wild Boar and Elephant.
Overnight at Cinnamon Wild Hotel.
Day 11 Yala/Bundala/Yala
After an early breakfast, you’ll meet your jeep and leave again for Yala National Park. The vegetation of the park is thorny scrub jungle, interspersed by secondary forest.
Divided in to two parts Yala West and Yala East, it plays a major role in the conservation of flora and fauna of the county as a whole. Among other animals the park is also home to Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sloth Bear, Wild Buffalo, and Wild Boar. More than 120 species of birds live in the park, among them Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles, Lesser Flamingos, Black Bitterns, Jungle Fowl, and Brown-capped Babbler.
In the afternoon visit the Bundala National Park which is located about 250km south east of Colombo in Hambantota district. It covers an area of 6216 hectares. General climate of this park is hot and dry as the park falls into the low rainfall zone of Sri Lanka.
The vegetation of the park is thorny scrub jungle, boarded by the coast line. Again, your visit to the park will be by a safari jeep.
Biodiversity of this park is extremely high as the lagoons and the complex wetland system give maximum support for numerous species.
More than 300 plant species have been recorded in the park, of which 6 plant species are endemic. 32 species of mammals and approximately 197 species of birds are present, such as Black-necked stork, Spoonbill, Green Shank, Red Shank, Spot-billed Pelican, Blue-faced Malkoha and Crested Hawk Eagle are found here.
Both types of crocodiles (estuarine and fresh water crocodiles) are found in Bundala National Park. Male estuarine crocodiles are about 7 meters of length and live in the park’s lagoons. The beaches of this park are also the nesting ground for 4 species of sea turtles.
Return to Cinnamon Wild for overnight stay.
Day 12 Yala
Breakfast at the hotel. Take another jeep safari to Yala National park to see elephant – undoubtedly the best known attraction at Yala and seen in both small and large herds.
What is the most appealing here is the overall mood of the undisturbed jungle. Large herds of spotted Deer are seen all over the Park, as are many Sambar and for the sharp eyed observer, many of the endemic Muntjac or Barking Deer. Monkeys – the pinkish Rhesus and the grey faced Langur Monkey – live and play through the tree-tops and on the ground below.
Wild Buffalo and Wild Boar may appear unexpectedly for a great picture, while sight of a leopard sunning itself or drinking at a water hole could be thoroughly memorable. As dusk gathers, there’s every chance of seeing the Ceylon Sloth Bear scampering with its young on its back, or progress of your vehicle could be delayed by a Python slithering across the track; whilst near the many waterholes will be found whole colonies of Crocodiles.
The Peacock is easily the most famous of the birds at Yala. . While the Peacock enjoys its fame, there are also many other species which attract those who are interested in bird life and add to the overall ambiance of the park. The Painted stork, many varieties of Heron, the Spoonbill, the Bee-eater, many colourful parrots and parakeets, the Hornbill, Kingfisher, Woodpecker and Hoopoe may all make an appearance to the observant in the jungles of Sri Lanka.
Return to Cinnamon Wild for overnight stay.
Day 13 Yala/Drop off at Beach Resort
Day 14: At leisure on the beach
You’ll be staying at The Fortress, Koggala which is an imposing and impressive traditional hotel right on the beach.
A Galle sightseeing tour can be taken on either of your two days at leisure.
A vehicle is at disposal allowing up to 80kms touring, from 0900/1800 hrs.
Day 15: At leisure on the beach
A vehicle is again at your disposal for a similar duration.
Day 16: Transfer from Beach Resort/Colombo
After breakfast transfer to Colombo. Arrive in Colombo and enjoy a brief city tour – and if time permits some shopping too.
Colombo, like many capital cities in developing countries, is fast changing its face. Almost overnight, skyscrapers arise from where old buildings once stood, yet in some parts an old world charm still prevails. An 100 year old clock tower and several British built colonial buildings stand side-by-side with up to the minute architcture. Other places to vie for your interest are the Pettah bazaar, where one can shop for bargains, the old Parliament in Fort; a Hindu and Buddhist temple; residential areas where you’ll find elegant stately homes of the affluent and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall – BMICH, an outright gift to Sri Lanka from the People’s Republic of China.
There’s pleanty to seee and do In Colombo, as well as numerous interesting and unusual restaurants.
Check in at Kingsbury Hotel for overnight stay.
Day 17 Colombo/Airport
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to airport to connect with your departure flight.
Based on two people sharing accommodation, half board, exc. Flights
The above itinerary is a guide only and can be adjusted to meet your exact requirements (phone us on 01202 030443, click ‘enquire’ or submit your own personal itinerary request at the end)
Some of the Small Print:
o Meet & greet services on arrival at the airport
o Arrival airport transfer, tour and drop off at Colombo airport by a/c private car with an English speaking chauffeur guide
o Hotel accommodation in hotels listed above on double or twin sharing basis
o Half board meals
o Entrance fees to Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Minneriya, Kandy temple, botanical gardens, Cultural show, Train tickets, Horton Plains, one visit to Udawalawe National park, three visits to Yala National park and one visit to Bundala National park, plus jeep hire charges to Minneriya
o Vehicle at disposal on 2 days in Galle allowing up to 80kms from 0900/1800 hrs per day
o Porterage, service charges and government taxes
o Tips, bar, laundry, telephone calls etc. and any other expenses not specified above
o Visa fees – Please refer www.eta.gov.lk
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.
Request your own itinerary and quote