Sri Lanka Highlights & Wildlife - 10 Days
9 nights 4-5 star hotels and heritage properties .
Guided sightseeing - Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe, Kandy, Yala, Bandula and Colombo.
3 Jeep safari/game drives in Udawalawe NP, Yala NP and Bandula NP.
Scenic train journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, canoe and Tuk Tuk trips.
Escorted by a professional chauffeur guide.
Whale and dolphin watching boat cruise in Mirissa (01 Nov-30 April, approx $35pp to pay locally).
Visit to the Dutch Fort at Galle (01 May-31 Oct).
Airport arrival and departure transfer on days 1 and 10.
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned tourism vehicles.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Colombo Upon arrival at Colombo airport you will be met and transferred to your Colombo hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Relax at the hotel and enjoy a swim in the pool or independently explore Sri Lanka's charming capital.
Day 2 - Dambulla Colombo - Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla. Drive inland from Colombo to Dambulla this morning, stopping en route at a fruit and vegetable market in Naramwela Town. Explore the incredible complex of caves at Dambulla Rock Temple. Dating back to the 1st Century BC, the five caves contain over 150 images of Buddha.
Next stop today is Polonnaruwa, an ancient 11th century city which was once the capital of Sri Lanka. Roam around the incredible ruins, including the famous Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. After exploring this ancient site, return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.
Day 3 - Sigiriya Dambulla - Sigiriya - Kandy. This morning visit Sigiriya, where you can climb to the top of the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this iconic citadel can be viewed from miles around, standing 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle. As you climb the spiral staircase to take in the incredible views from the top of the fortress, stop to see the famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens, in a sheltered pocket of the rock.
Next stop today is a spice garden in Matale where you will learn about the different herbs and spices Sri Lanka is famous for. Then travel on to Kandy, where you will spend the next two nights.
Day 4 - Kandy This morning embark on a sightseeing tour of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. First stop is the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic. Legend has it that one of Buddha's teeth was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was then smuggled into Sri Lanka in 313AD. It now attracts daily pilgrims who come bearing lotus flowers and frangipani. After exploring the temple, enjoy a scenic drive around Kandy Lake before visiting a local bazaar and a gem museum. Then take Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills to take in views of the city. In the afternoon visit the Geragama Tea Factory, which manufactures 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea. End the day watching a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance this evening.
Day 5 - Nuwara Eliya Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. Spend the morning at leisure in Kandy before transferring to the railway station for a scenic train ride. Passing mile upon mile of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, see tea pickers, waterfalls and suspension bridges on your journey up to Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. Upon arrival enjoy a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya - locally as 'Little England'.
Day 6 - Udawalawe National Park Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe National Park. Today head south to Embilipitiya, your base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan elephant, the biggest of all the Asian elephants in the wild. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan sloth bear, the cheeky langur monkey and varies types of deer. Go in search of wildlife on an afternoon game drive.
Day 7 - Yala National Park Udawalawe National Park - Yala National Park. This morning travel to Yala - the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. In the afternoon go in search of wildlife on a jeep safari of the park. The park also has one of the highest concentrations of Asian elephants in the world - and about 350 live here. Also present are sloth bears, golden palm civets, Sri Lankan krait, crocodiles and some of the biggest numbers of leopards. The coastline around the park is visited by leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles.
Day 8 - Bundala National Park Yala National Park - Bundala National Park - Mirissa. This morning drive from Yala to coastal Bundala National Park. This incredible labyrinth of waterways, dunes and lagoons is the home to over 200 species of brightly coloured birds, including the magnificent greater flamingo. Bundala also has herds of Asian elephants. Enjoy a jeep safari in Bundala before transferring to the coastal town of Mirissa for the night.
Day 9 - Weligama & Mirissa Mirissa - Colombo. Very early morning (if travelling between 01 Nov - 30 April) transfer to the boat pier for a whale and dolphin watching boat cruise (cost approx $35pp paid locally, and weather dependent). During this time of year fin whales, bryde's whales, sperm whales, blue whales - the largest creatures on earth, whale sharks, orcas and dolphins are very often seen just a few kilometres off Sri Lanka's southern coast. The round trip may last anywhere between 2-6 hours with an average of 4 hours depending on how far out at sea the mammals are located.
If travelling between 01 May - 31 Oct the morning is spent in Galle, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Listed Galle fortress. This impressive fortress was first constructed by the Portuguese in 1588, then expanded and extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century.
This afternoon travel back to Colombo for a guided tour of the city. Explore the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. Take a stroll along Galle Face Green and watching locals play cricket before heading over to stunning Gangarama Temple. Then enjoy your final night at leisure in the capital.
Day 10 - Colombo Your Sri Lankan holiday concludes today with an departure transfer to the airport.
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