Explore cities, temples, lost kingdoms – and even National Parks by 4×4 – on an 11-night Handcrafted Sri Lanka tour that gets to the heart of this incredible country.
Travel to Sri Lanka on an overnight flight.
A rep will be waiting for you when you land at Banaranaike International Airport. They’ll organise a transfer to your hotel on the outskirts of the capital city – Colombo. Free afternoon in Marawila.
Stay: Pegasus Reef Hotel (or similar) | Meals: Dinner
Fuel up at breakfast, because you’ll travel five hours north to Anuradhapura – a 1,400-year-old city that was once Sri Lanka’s capital.
- Stop off for a break in Mihintale – a mountain eight miles from Anuradhapura. Every year pilgrims climb its 1,800 steps to honour Buddha.
Free time in the evening.
Stay: Palm Garden Village Hotel (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
You’ll get to know some of Anuradhapura’s most popular sights – including a sacred fig tree and a Buddhist temple – during today’s tour.
- Take some pictures of the Sri Maha Bodhi – a sacred fig tree that Buddha is believed to have found enlightenment under over 2,000 years ago.
- Explore the Isurumuniya Buddhist Temple. The archaeological ruins here date back to 307BC.
- Stroll along the paths that line the Basawakkulama Tank – a 1,200-acre reservoir.
Stay: Palm Garden Village Hotel (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Lace up your walking boots for a hike up Lion Rock – a giant, 600-foot-tall rock column that’s been dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Make your way up the 1,200 steps to get to the top. It usually takes about 20 minutes, and there are plenty of places to stop and catch your breath.
- Saunter through the ruins of an ancient palace. It was built on top of the monument over 1,000 years ago, and comes with a collection of colourful wall frescoes.
Stay: Fresco Water Villa (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
The city of Polonnaruwa is on the agenda today. You’ll hop on a bicycle for a guided tour around its UNESCO-protected Medieval centre.
- Snap some photos of the Buddha statues and temples around the Watadage – a 12th-century, circular stone structure.
- Gaze at the 48 columns and lion-shaped throne during a walk around the Nissankamalla Council Chamber – where one of Sri Lanka’s kings used to work.
- Stroll along the old city walls. Your guide will point out some of the old irrigation canals and carved Buddhist sculptures during your tour.
Stay: Fresco Water Villa (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
You’ll start the day with a visit to a cave temple in the town of Dambulla. Then, unwind in the afternoon during lunch in a spice garden in the city of Matale.
- Take a look around the Dambulla Cave Temple. It’s the biggest underground network in Sri Lanka, and is home to 153 Buddha statues.
- See some of Sri Lanka’s tea, rubber and spice plantations up close in Matale.
- Pamper yourself with an outdoor head-and-shoulder massage in a spice garden. You’ll be treated to a lunch of rice and curry, as well as a cup of herbal tea.
Stay: Hotel Suisse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 8: The UNESCO-dubbed city of Kandy’s renowned for its colourful street markets and temples. Today, you’ll tick a few off, along with a botanical garden, before watching a culture-crammed show in the evening.
- Browse a bustling, open-air bazaar for souvenirs. You’ll find everything from wooden Buddha statues to sapphire necklaces and fancy tea sets.
- Kandy’s home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, which houses one of the Buddha’s teeth. You can see the casket it’s held in, plus gold-covered shines throughout the temples.
Day 9: Free day. You can choose to add optional experiences.
Stay: Hotel Suisse | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Head into Sri Lanka’s hills for a tour of its tea territory. You’ll get to pluck tea leaves straight from the stem, as well as sip on a cuppa in one of the factories.
- Hop on a train for a trip to Nuwara Eliya – a city in the heart of the tea-plantation-filled countryside.
- Follow your guide around a tea factory, where you’ll get to see how tea leaves are produced from start to finish.
- Try your hand at picking tea leaves during a walk around the fields, then sample a freshly made cuppa.
Stay: Glenfall Reach Hotel (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Today, you’ll travel to the Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home, in a protected national park. Here, you’ll learn how the workers look after orphaned Asian elephants.
- Meet baby elephants during a tour of the transfer home. When they’re strong enough, they’ll be released back into the wild.
- Head out in a 4×4 to see the resident herd. Over 250 of these gentle giants call this place home.
- Round the day off with a complimentary sundowner cocktail in the middle of the national park.
Stay: Grand Udawalawe Resort (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
There’s no better place to get a good look at Sri Lanka’s Dutch heritage than Galle. On today’s tour, you’ll cross a few of the city’s top attractions off the list.
- The streets around Galle are lined with 17th-century European villas and saloons. You’ll hear about the area’s colonial history during a walk through the streets.
- Snap some photos of the age-old fortress of Point Utrecht Bastion. In 1760, it was one of the most important defensive points on Sri Lanka’s southern coast.
- Wander around the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex. You can buy everything from fresh tea leaves to lavish diamond jewellery here.
Free time in the afternoon and evening.
Stay: Amari Galle (or similar) | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast, transfer to Banaranaike International Airport for your flight home. Or extend your stay with a Multi-Destination beach break.
- Return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo
- 30kg checked baggage
- 11 nights accommodation in hotels of 3* standard
- 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 11 dinners
- Airport transfers in Sri Lanka, 4×4 and mini bus transport
- English-speaking tour guide
- 10 activities/excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
- Flights to/from London Heathrow or your chosen UK airport
- Airport transfers in United Kingdom
- Travel insurance
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Optional activities
- Visa when required
- Vaccines when required
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