On arrival to Colombo, you’ll be met and driven to Negombo, a lovely beach town close to the airport.
Ease into your holiday by spending today at leisure in Negombo.
With your private driver, you’ll head north-east to Sigirya, stopping en route to visit the Dambulla Cave Temples. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Sigiriya.
Approximate drive time: 4 hours
After breakfast transfer to Polonnaruwa (approximately 1hours), the capital of the Indian Chola Dynasty after Anuradhapura was conquered in the late 10th century. A highlight will be the massive stone Buddhas: 14-metre-high granite carvings of the iconic reclining Buddha which represent the zenith of Sinhalese rock carving.
In the late afternoon, enjoy a game drive in the Minneriya National Park.
Minneriya national park is a haven for flora and fauna. Being part of the elephant corridor, which joins up with Kaudulla National Park and Wasgomuwa National Park, you have guaranteed sightings of elephants throughout the year. As well as elephants, there is a huge species of birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes, butterflies, etc. The highlight of the park is the Minneriya reservoir with its historical importance, built in 3rd century AD by the famous monarch King Mahasen. It covers an area of 4,670 acres.
After breakfast proceed to Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.
From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).
Approximate driving time: 3 hours
This morning, visit the Sigiriya Rock fortress.
Thought to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, Sigiriya offers its visitors nothing less than a breathtaking experience. Standing more than 200m tall over the surrounding plains, the rock is said to be a solidified magma plug, from a long eroded and extinct volcano. On its summit are the remains of a palace, built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century AD. Hidden in a cave along the citadel are some of the most magnificent ancient frescoes in South Asia. Seen today are, what’s said to be left of the 500 paintings of maidens that once covered a large area of the face of the rock. The mirror wall that leads up to the lion staircase, its brick masonry wall built of lime plaster was said to have been so well polished, that it reflected the paintings of the opposite rock wall. Today, 15 centuries later the shine on this wall can still be seen. A total of nearly 1500 writings on the wall, include verses that date way back as far as the 8th century, most of which have now been deciphered.
Spend the afternoon at leisure in Sigiriya.
With your driver, you’ll head south to the pretty hillside town of Kandy.
Later in the day visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic – Tradition relates that a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th Century A.D. and was enshrined within the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth. This sacred relic has ever since been the symbol of sovereignty for the Sinhalese kings and always enshrined in great splendor. Prayer services are held daily at dawn, midday, and in the evening and can be viewed by visitors.
In the evening witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Approximate driving time: 2.5 hours
At one time these beautiful botanical gardens were reserved exclusively for Kandyan royalty. Today even commoners are allowed into what are, at 60 hectares, the largest and most impressive botanic gardens in Sri Lanka.
The many highlights include a fine collection of orchids and a stately avenue of royal palms. Another big hit is the giant Javan fig tree on the great lawn. Covering 2500 sq metres, it’s like a giant, living geodesic dome.
This afternoon, if you’re interested, your driver can take you to the home of a local brass crafter, to watch as he creates his art, and then share a cup of Ceylon tea with him and his wife in their home.
This morning, take the incredibly scenic train through the hill country and tea plantations from Kandy to Ella.
On arrival at the train station, you’ll be met by your driver and taken to your resort in the mountains.
Spend the afternoon at leisure.
Train travel is slow but scenic. This trip will take most of the day.
This morning, drive to Little Adam’s Peak and take a short half hour climb to the top of the 1141 metre peak. Breathtaking views of an endless valley, tea plantations and waterfalls.
Spend this afternoon at leisure in Ella
Spend today at leisure at the resort. There are plenty of activities to do here – visit the 98 Acres tea plantation, hire bikes, do a cooking class or do another hike in the region. I recommend leaving today open to arrange when you’re there, as you never know, you may not want to leave the resort!
This morning you’ll drive to the famous Yala National Park, on the South-eastern side of the island.
Spend this afternoon at leisure in Yala. Depending on your arrival time this afternoon, there may be time for a game drive.
Get up early this morning and head out on safari in Yala National Park. The landscape is varied, with rock outcrops, scrub jungle, lagoons, lakes, rivers and even beaches. Yala is one of the few places in Sri Lanka where it is relatively easy to see a leopard, either strolling beside the track or, with luck, draped elegantly in a tree. There are estimated to be around 35 leopards and 400 wild elephants, as well as wild buffalos, musk deer, mongoose, pangolins, black bears, macaques, jackals and numerous species of bird. Yala is the second largest national park in Southern Sri Lanka that facilitates one of the richest ecosystems in the Island.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure, before heading out on safari again at dusk!
Head south this morning where you can find the best beaches in Sri Lanka!
Spend the afternoon at leisure in your resort.
**Your driver will leave you in Koggala and go back to Colombo**
Approximate drive time: 4 hours
At leisure on the beach and in Galle.
Your driver will pick you up and take you to Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, this morning.
Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring this fascinating city.
Approximate drive time: 2.5 hours
Spend this morning at leisure in Colombo, before being transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
Why not stop over in the Maldives for a few nights on the way home?