Culture & Hills

8 Nights 9 Days | Private Guided Tour | 1 – 4 Persons

A cultural tour with the hills. Explore the UNESCO world heritage sites in the cultural triangle and the lesser traveled Ritigala Mountains. Enjoy the rustic Colombo cityscape either with a walk or a fun tuk tuk ride.

What to Expect

Sri Lanka has long captivated the imagination of visitors to its fertile shores. Marco Polo once described it as the finest island in the world and during its turbulent history it has been known by many names – Serendib, Ceylon, The Pearl of the Orient and the Teardrop of India to name but a few.

This short cultural journey provides a wonderful introduction the country, taking you through its cultural triangle and up into its captivating hill country. You will visit the spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya and the stunning painted caves at Dambulla, take a jeep safari through the rich game lands of Minneriya National Park and explore the old medieval capital of Polonnaruwa.

A visit to the revered Temple of the Tooth in Kandy introduces you to one of the most sacred Buddhist sites anywhere in the country, before you drive through the verdant landscapes of Sri Lanka’s hill country, with its acres of tea plantations and tea estates. A visit to the charming colonial retreat of Nuwara Eliya then precedes a trip into the misty grasslands of the Horton Plains, before returning to Colombo and journey’s end.

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 01 - Airport - Negombo

As you land, you will arrive in Negombo 30 mins away from the International Airport and check in to the hotel. Later that evening take a stroll down Negombo beach and finally sit down for dinner where your chauffer/national guide will brief you about your tour.

Hotel: Jetwing Beach • Meals: Dinner

Day 02 - Negombo - Dambulla - Sigiriya

Leave Negombo after breakfast to the amazing cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Today, visit the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This vast cave complex dates back to the first-century BC and is still regarded as an important Buddhist monastery. A huge collection of paintings covers the rock ceiling, while you’re surrounded by the highest number of Buddha statues ever found in one place.

Hotel: Water Garden Sigiriya • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 03 - Sigiriya - Minneriya - Sigiriya

Sigiriya’s famous Sky Fortress sits on top of the imposing granite monolith of the Lion Rock, some 200 metres above the surrounding countryside. Built during the 5th century, it is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions and from its lofty heights the views out across the lush landscapes are truly spectacular. After a guided tour of the site this morning, you will continue on to the Minneriya National Park, to enjoy an afternoon’s jeep safari in search of elephants, sloth bears, leopards and some 160 species of birds.

Hotel: Water Garden Sigiriya • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 04 - Sigiriya - Ritigala - Polonnaruwa - Sigiriya

A full day’s visit to Ritigala and Polonnaruwa begins with a trip out to see the highest mountain in northern Sri Lanka, home to the ruins of a Buddhist monastery that can trace its origins back to the 1st century BC. Continuing on to the old medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, you’ll then visit a city that reached the height of its glory during the 12th century, following the decline of Anuradhapura. Blessed with a wealth of ruins and sights, the old city provides a fascinating backdrop to our guided tour, before we return to Sigiriya later this afternoon.

Hotel: Water Garden Sigiriya • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 05 - Sigiriya - Kandy

Heading towards the mountains that lie to the north-east of Colombo, your journey today takes you on to Kandy, the last capital of the ancient Sri Lankan kings and one of the country’s cultural and spiritual gems. Home to the revered Temple of the Tooth, which is said to hold the Buddha’s left canine, the city still retains a sense of its old world charm and its highlights include the beautiful Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, one of the finest of its kind anywhere in Asia, and the city’s fascinating Gem Museum.

Hotel: Elephant Stables • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 06 - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

After breakfast we leave the city and drive through the hills to the town of Nuwara Eliya, set high amongst the tea plantations of the Central Highlands. The best known of Sri Lanka’s tea growing regions, these rugged landscapes produce some of the finest tea in the world and a visit to some of the factories and plantations that blanket the landscape provide a delightful insight into an industry that has thrived here since the middle years of the 19th century.

Hotel: Stafford Bungalow • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 07 - Nuwara Eliya

A cool sanctuary for the civil servants and planters of the British Empire, Nuwara Eliya was founded in the middle years of the 19th century as a hill country retreat where the colonialists could indulge their passions for fox hunting and polo. A tour of the colonial town this morning is followed by a visit to the misty grasslands of the Horton Plains, Sri Lanka’s highest and most isolated plateau. Located some 2,000 metres above sea level, it provides an ideal spot for some captivating nature walks, with a wealth of birds and animals calling this grassland home.

Hotel: Stafford Bungalow • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 08 - Nuwara Eliya - Colombo

After breakfast drive west to Colombo and on arrival check into your hotel. In the afternoon, embark on a historic walking tour with a Colombo native. Experience Pettah Bazaar, and visit the Old Dutch Museum, former home to Count August Carl Van Ranzow or Indulge in a fun Tuk Tuk Safari around Colombo and finally sit down for dinner at a place of your choice. We recommend the Ministry of Crabs, Monsoon & Paradise Road Gallery Cafe.

Hotel: Paradise Road Tintagel • Meals: Breakfast

Day 09 - Colombo - Airport

Today’s activities will depend on your departure flight time. We recommend choosing an evening flight out of Colombo so you can experience a bit of Colombo today. If time permits, do a bit of shopping or try out a few restaurants which we could happily recommend.

Meals: Breakfast

Best time to Travel

This is an all-year-round trip.

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