1 866 838 5818 Toll Free from USA and Canada

Sri Lanka: Ancient Kingdoms, Nature and Wildlife


12 days 11 nights

Code

Category Sri Lanka Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-16 persons
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Trip Starts From Negombo
  • Trip Ends At Colombo
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Negombo Sigiriya Polonnaruwa Kandy Nuwara Eliya Ella Yala Galle Bentota Colombo
Dates & Prices

Overview

Get ready to escape to a unique land of Sri Lanka! Formerly Ceylon, this island country in South Asia is relatively small in size yet remarkably beautiful shaped by its history, traditions, different languages ethnicities and other factors. The culture of Sri Lanka dates back over 2500 years and it is influenced primarily by Buddhism and Hinduism.

Once you arrive here, we make sure we provide you the authentic essence of Sri Lanka, thus, we have included the best of everything in this trip. Major attractions of this trip are Pollonnaruwa- the ancient royal capital, Dambulla Caves with ancient statues and frescoes, Sigiriya Rock Fortress on 660 ft. high rock column – a UNSECO world heritage site, the sacred Temple of Tooth in Kandy, Nine Arch Bridge- an iconic engineering marvel-built without the use of steel, Galle Fort- another UNESCO recognized site – to witness the European influence in South Asia or you can just unwind in the beaches of coastal town of Bentota.

The trip also takes you to Minneriya National Park and Yala National Park, home to hundreds of wild elephants and leopards, among others. We will have stops in the spice gardens, tea factories and enjoy hiking on the scenic trails to the World's End in Horton plains!

Highlights of the trip

  • Polonnaruwa- the ancient Royal Capital- the best planned archaeological relic cities in the country.
  • Dambulla Caves- the largest and the best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, dating back to the first century BC.
  • Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress on 660 ft. high rock column! A UNSECO world heritage site.
  • Exciting jeep safari in Minneriya National Park and Yala National Park and the view the Asian elephants in the wild, leopard, deer and many other wildlife.
  • Visit the most sacred Buddhist temple in Kandy- The Temple of Tooth that enshrines the tooth relic of Buddha.
  • Enjoy the hill country scenery, tea estates, lake and the natural scenery in the colonial hill resort of Nuwara Eliya.
  • Hike the World's End in Horton's Plains National Park.
  • Walk on the Nine Arch Bridge- an iconic engineering marvel, built without the use of steel, in Ella.
  • Witness the European influence in South Asia when you visit the Galle Fort- a UNESCO recognized site.
  • Relax in the beaches of coastal town of Bentota.
  • Explore the city's attractions and the Galle Face Green in Colombo.
  • Take chance to watch the traditional Sri Lankan dances.

Is this trip for you?

  • Sri Lanka has a typical tropical climate and it's very hot during the mid-day (86-90 degree) and has very strong sunlight.
  • This trip has some long day drives. The longest drive is from Yala to Bentota which is about 5.5 hours. Roads are generally paved.
  • Climbing Sigiriya Rock Fort is strenuous and it's not for everyone! People with knee problem and height issues should not attempt it! The steps are uneven walk-ways are narrow.
  • The trip includes a good number of temples and religious shrines. You need to remove your shoes, including socks and walk bare foot and so need to avoid the mid-day heat as the stone slabs or walk ways are very hot. Please dress modestly covering your arms and legs.
  • En suite bathroom with running hot and cold water and western style flush toilets are available in tourist class restaurants and hotels.
  • The trip does not include meals but all the hotels do have on-site restaurants and dining places in the town and they serve local as well as western style dishes!

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Colombo. Transfer to Negombo

Upon arrival in Colombo International Airport, complete immigration and custom formalities and meet your chauffer guide at the arrival gate. You can obtain electronic travel authorization ETA online in advance and get actual visa sticker on your passport upon arrival!

From the airport, take a scenic half an hour drive to Negombo- a beach town. Check in hotel and rest of the day is at leisure. Negombo is a historically a commercial town and there is not much of cultural or archaeological importance to see, but it has a fascinating network of canals teeming with rural life and huge, sweeping beach of Indian Ocean. Spend the first day leisurely walking along the coastline and watching the fishermen's boat or strolling through the street and getting familiarized!

If time permits, ask your driver to take you to Negombo's Fish Market. The fish market visit can be a slippery, smelly and also noisy affair but it's interesting. It's the largest fish market right in the beach and sells the fresh catch from the ocean that includes the lobsters, crabs and prawns. Make your way through the stalls piled with shark, squid, barracuda and unheard of sea creatures as the sellers yell out for their catches.

Day 02~Minneriya National Park

After breakfast in the hotel, we set off for Sigiriya (80 miles, 4.5 hours). Check in your hotel in Habarana. You will have time to settle into your room and take some rest before we proceed for jeep safari in Minneriya National Park (Entrance fee and Jeep cost are exclusive. Pay on the spot).

Minneriya National Park was created in order to preserve the massive ancient reservoir built by King Mahasen of Anuradhapura in the third century AD. Originally, the reservoir covered 4670 acres. The reservoir and the area around now makes a great ecosystem and habitat to diverse wildlife that includes elephants, deer, leopards and various species of birds such as storks, pelicans, hornbills, cormorants, herons, bulbuls and more!

In three hours long safari, we are able to see several herds of elephants-adults and calves, gathering and grazing in the shores of reservoir during the dry season.

Overnight hotel in Habarana.

 

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa

After breakfast, we proceed to the famous Lion Rock Fortress of Sigiriya. Dating back to the 5th-century, this rock citadel of King Kasyapa on a 660 ft. high rock column is simply the engineering wonder of ancient Sri Lanka.  The Lion Rock is surrounded by ramparts and moats are also coated by frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in the Ajanta caves of India. We walk in the shade of an eminent 'mirror wall' embracing the western face of Sigiriya representing an artistic hundred meters laminated with graffiti.

There are 1200 steps up to the top and can take about 2 hours for total trip up and down. The spiral staircase upward the Lion's Paw is strenuous and is not for faint-hearted and people with height issues.

Afternoon time is for excursion to Polonnaruwa (approximately 1.5 hrs.)- the capital of Sri Lanka between 11th and 13th centuries AD. The ancient kingdom contained royal castles, bathing pools, temples, monasteries, and dagabas- reflecting a combination of Sinhalese and South Indian culture and architecture. Ravaged much by invasion at different times, the ancient capital now exists in ruins but still with former grandeur.

We walk across the spread walls and admire the ancient Sri Lankan engineering wonders of this World Heritage Site that  includes stupas with resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures while observing the relic house Watadage that boasts of beautiful stone carvings.

Overnight hotel in Habarana.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Dambulla Caves, Matale Spice Garden and Kandy

After breakfast, we leave for Kandy- the largest city in central Sri Lanka and the last capital of Royal Sri Lanka. Shortly after on the road, we stop to visit the magnificent Dambulla Caves. Located high on a cliff face, the caves house many Buddha images, frescoes and paintings; each of them tells the history and religion and leaves you with a unrivalled sense of spirituality. We avoid the mid-day heat as it requires good 30 or 40 minutes of laborious climb through the stone stairs. Dambulla is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, dating back to the first century BCE.

On the way, at Matale (44 miles), we will stop in one of the several spice gardens that we can see along. Sri Lankan spices and herbs are world renowned and here, you will be amazed to learn that they aren't just used in food but also on many cosmetics and ayurvedic medicines. We will have an in-house spice and herb specialist guide who will lead us through the various plants that includes cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, curry leaves and what not! They also have a small show room but prices are inflated and it's not obligatory to purchase here but the tour definitely gives an insight of Sri Lankan spices.

Overnight hotel in Kandy.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Kandy: Visit the city highlights

After breakfast, we begin our city exploration from the Temple of Sacred Tooth that enshrines the sacred tooth relic of Buddha. The relic has been important since ancient times not only for religious reason but also in local politics as whoever owned the relic, also held the governing power of the country!

Next, we visit the International Buddhist Museum- the world's first International Buddhist Museum built with contributions of world's 17 countries- Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bhutan, and Afghanistan!

Nearby is Kandy Lake- an artificial lake built in the early 19th century. We will take a scenic drive around and stop to visit a local bazaar. We walk through the market to see stalls filled with fresh fruit, produce, and other merchandise; and eating Sri Lankan street food such as koththu.

Optional: Cultural Program.

The cultural program showcases the traditional songs and dances of Kandy. The show lasts about an hour and includes several different items and end with fire-eating and fire-walking shows outside the hall! While the songs and dances are great, do not expect much on the hall ambience and decoration part.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Nuwara Eliya

After breakfast, we leave for Nuwara Eliya (4.5 hours) that is amidst the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. Situated at an altitude of 6128 ft., Nuwara Eliya has temperate and cool climate and is the coolest area in Sri Lanka.

It's a scenic drive through tea estates. We will enjoy the hill country scenery and waterfalls, appreciate the nature friendly trail abundant with green filled mountains and waterfalls wrapping the mountains with scenic beauty, beautiful tea plantations draping down from the sides of the mountains as you pass by. We will stop in a tea factory and learn how the world famous Ceylon Teas are manufactured. 

In Nuwara Eliya, enjoy the beauty of Gregory Lake, constructed during the period of British Governor William Gregory. There are quite a few of activities offered by locals like canoeing, boating, games, if you wish to partake in or simply gaze the beauty of the area from one of the restaurants in the shore.

Another attraction of Nurwara Eliya is the Haggala botanical garden where you can take a leisurely stroll and learn about the wondrous flora. The garden is located at an altitude of 1745m above sea level under the shadow of the Haggala Rock and offers scenic views of Madulsima and the Namunukula mountain range. The garden has more than 1000 different species that includes orchids and roses.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Horton's Plains and Ella

Optional: Excursion of Horton's Plains Naitonal Park (Jeep and entrance fee is not included).

Horton Plains is a beautiful highland plateau popular for hiking to the fabled viewpoint of World's End.

The entrance of the park is 20 miles from Nuwara Eliya and one needs a 4WD vehicle to get there due to bad road conditions. From the trail head, the World's End is about 2.5 miles but the trail makes a nice look via Baker's Fall and then back to the entrance (3.5 miles) in about 3-hours. We walk on a relaxed pace on a well-trodden path through cloud forests and grasslands and arrive at the World's End- the main attraction of the park. World's End is a spine chilling 2854 ft sheer drop with a view all the way across the green mountains of the island country to clear blue coastline and beyond! We need to leave early morning, so that we arrive at the trail head around sun rise and make to the World's End before the clouds start rolling in and blocking the view.

The other attraction of the park is the Baker's Falls- named after Sir Samuel Baker- a famous explorer. Waters cascading down from the height of 66 and the environs creates a beautiful scene!

Back to the entrance of the park, we meet our transport and drive back to the hotel. After wash up and change, proceed for a scenic 2.5 hours' drive to Ella.

Upon arrival, check into your accommodation and after wash up and change, proceed to Nine Arch Bridge, which is a leisurely walk of less than half an hour. The Nine Arch Bridge is on the Demodara loop of railway line and spans nearly 300 ft. long and 78 ft. high. Located in a dense jungle and agricultural setting, the bridge is very picturesque spot, especially when the train is passing. Built without the use of steel, it's one of the iconic bridges and engineering marvel of the world! The legend goes that when this bridge was being planned, World War I broke out and the steel consignment was diverted to the weapon factories and so the engineers came up with the plan to build the bridge with brick and cement only!

Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Yala National Park

After breakfast, leave for Yala National Park which is less than three hours of drive. (The park is closed from 01 Sep to 15 the Oct for infrastructure repair and maintenance).

Yala is the second largest national park or Sri Lanka and has the reputation of frequent sightings of leopards! Afternoon time is for jeep safari (jeep and entrance fee not included, book with your guide in advance) that takes you through the tropical wilderness and gives you opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring moments of wildlife and magnificent nature! Capture the glimpses of elusive leopards and enjoy as you watch the mud-bathing playful elephants. Other wildlife, you may encounter are exclusive sloth bear, wild boar, water buffalo, spotted deer, sambar and golden jackal and many birds, such as peacocks, Flamingos, Pelicans, Spoonbills, Painted Storks, rare Black-necked Storks, Grey Herons, Purple Herons, Night Herons, Darters, Garganeys, Whimbrels, Pigeons, Flycatchers etc. The afternoon safari usually starts at 3 p.m. and lasts in three hours.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 09~Galle Fort and Bentota Beaches

After breakfast, proceed on a long day drive to Bentota (approximate travel time 5.5 hours, 140 miles).

About 40 miles before Bentota, we stop to visit the Galle Fort. Initiated by Portuguese in 1588, the fort was later extensively modified and fortified by the Dutch and then the British added a large gate at the main entrance, making it one of the most important archaeological, architectural and historic monuments to illustrate the European influence in South East Asia! On three side surrounded by the gorgeous ocean view, this UNESCO heritage site is a relaxing place. Visit the most impressive museums that includes the churches and museums, browse through the beautiful shops- probably the best place to buy souvenirs for your friends and relatives back home, ocean views, the Fort includes churches or walk to the Clock Tower from where you’ll have a nice view over the Fort and on the other side, Galle city.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 10~Leisurely time in Bentota

Spend the day at leisure in the coastal town of Bentota. Enjoy time at the famous beach, step into the sun sand and sea and wrap yourself with the warmth of tropical beaches of Southern Sri Lanka! You may visit the Turtle Hatchery Project that gathers turtle eggs and safeguards them until they hatch. After hatching, the babies are then safely released to the ocean. This increases their chance of survival.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 11~Colombo city highlights

After breakfast, transfer to Colombo; the journey of 37 miles takes about 2 hours. In Colombo, we visit the Gangarama Temple- an important Buddhist temple with blend of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture, the British colonial Old Parliament building that houses the President's secretariat, light house at the harbour and Independence Square with a memorial hall that was built to celebrate Sri Lanka's independence from the British, cafes and shops. Enjoy the rest of the day with a relaxed stroll on the Galle Face Green- a 12 acres ocean-side urban park that stretches 1600 ft. along the coast. This is a popular place for locals to hang out and very busy specially during the week-end evening.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 12~Depart Colombo

The airport is nearly 1.5 hours' drive from the city and so plan to leave in time to the airport for your flight to next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip includes

  • 11 nights' hotel on double occupancy basis.
  • Daily breakfast at the hotel.
  • Private vehicle with English speaking chauffer guide.
  • Local guide in Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Kandy.

Trip does not include

  • Sri Lanka Visa.
  • Airfares.
  • Lunch and dinner.
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Sightseeing admission and activities fee (jeep safari in Sigiriya and Yala National Park and 4WD vehicle to Horton Plains National Park)-Total estimated $ 340 per person ( Updated list with breakdown will be provided on the final trip document).
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Extra mileage due to re-routing or deviation from the main program.

Sri Lanka Visa

Remaining validity of your passport must be minimum 6 months when you return from the trip. Make sure you have one blank visa page for visa stamp on arrival.

You can obtain Sri Lanka visa conventionally from any Sri Lanka embassy abroad or you can apply online the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online which costs $ 35 for US citizens.
http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
You can also obtain ETA upon arrival at Colombo International Airport but it's always advisable to obtain it in advance.

Weather and climate

Sri Lanka is a year-round holiday and adventure destination.

Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons: The period between May and September is rainy season in the south-west of Sri Lanka, the dry season being from October through April. The north and east coastal areas receive monsoon between October and January and its dry season is from February through September. There is also an inter-monsoonal period during October and the first half of November, when rain and thunderstorms can occur across the country. So, the dry period for both the areas begins from December and lasts until mid-April and obviously, this period is considered the best time to travel to Sri Lanka.

Colombo and the West Coastal areas, such as Negombo and Bentota have the highest rain fall between June and September. Average high temperature is 86 degree F and it rarely falls below that.

The Southern coastal areas of Galle and Yala experience similar weather patterns to the west coast with the best weather expected between late November and April.

Sigiriya, Dambulla and Minneriya are located within the dry zone. With exceptions of high rainfall in November and December, the weather conditions remain fairly arid throughout the year but the months of June and July are very hot.

Kandy is in lower altitude and so you can experience heat here but as you travel to Nuwara Eliya and Ella, the temperature drop as you climb the higher altitude.

Travel with Chauffer Guide

You will travel with an English speaking chauffer guide whom you meet upon arrival at Colombo international airport. The chauffer driver will be trained and certified professional. He will help you check in hotels and coordinate sightseeing and other tour activities. Specialized local tour guides are hired on some destinations such as Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandy. For group size of 10 travelers or more, we will provide, we will provide an accompanying guide throughout the trip

Admission tickets and activities fee:

Sightseeing admission tickets and activities such as jeep safari, cultural program etc. is not included. They are optional. In total, please, budget $350 per person for this itinerary. Break down of the admission tickets will be provided on the final trip dossier.

Accommodations & meals

The trip includes 11 night hotel or resort accommodation. The hotels are superior or deluxe category properties and best available where choices are limited. The trip includes daily breakfast and dinner in the hotel. Lunch is not included. Please, budget $10-12 per meal.

Booking, deposit and payment schedule

US$ 300 per person is requested along with completed trip registration form. Balance payment is normally due 90 days prior the trip date; however, some hotels or supplier, particularly on busy tourist season, may ask for a non-refundable deposit to guarantee the booking and in that case, we will advise you accordingly.

Balance payment by credit card attracts additional 3.5% fee. Personal check is welcome. We accept the payment from traveler's account only. We reserve the right to refuse certain form of payment. Wire transfer fees are to be borne by the traveler.

Review

  • There is no any review on this trip.
Write Review

Quick Inquiry Form

If you have any quick questions about this trip, please submit this form and you will get our response within 24 business hours.

Please type your full name.
Invalid email address.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input

Any Question? Feel free to call our travel experts.

1 866 838 5818
(Toll Free from USA & Canada)

612 605 4428 (t)

Quick Inquiry

If you have any quick questions about this trip, please submit this form and you will get our response within 24 business hours.

Please type your full name.
Invalid email address.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Bottom Logo

(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

United States

8030 Old Cedar Ave S, Suite 123
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

Nepal

Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
Tel (977 1) 4351780, 4381823
Fax +977-1-4381369

Bhutan

KMT Building, Nordzin Lam, Thimphu
Tel (975-2) -329098 / +975-77204087
Fax (+975) 2 337004

Tibet

B5-1-2, B3 dong, Renchen garden,
No 13 Jiangsu road Lhasa Tibet China.
Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


Far & High is member of

ASTA TOP NTA Midwest Bbb ccra True

Toll Free

1 866 838 5818

(USA & Canada Only)

Connect with us @

Facebook Twitter Google Plus

We Accept

Card