Jewels of Sri Lanka
Negombo to Negombo
Explore Sri Lanka’s land of hidden temples and caves, sacred Buddhist sites and Hindu shrines. Venture into the British tea plantations, nature reserves and botanical gardens of the hill country. Visit ancient royal capitals, enjoy the urban buzz of leafy Kandy, and trek in the sweeping Horton Plains to see giant Buddha statues, before taking a beach break. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage and tranquillity during this eclectic tour.
30 of the best bargain adventures in 2013 chosen by The Guardian newspaper.
- Negombo city tour & fish market
- Coconut Plantation and Toddy Tapping
- Anuradhapura Ruins
- Ancient Mihintale excursion
- Aukana Buddha
- Polonnaruwa ruins
- Sigiriya Rock Fortress
- Royal Botanical Garden
- Dambulla Caves
- Evening Puja at Temple of the Tooth
- Kandy city tour
- Kandy Cultural Dance Show
- Sight Seeing Tour in Nuwaraeliya
- Entry & trek in Horton Plains National Park
- Scenic Train ride to Ella
- Ella Rock or Little Adam's peak and Ravana waterfalls
- Game drive at Yala NP
- Visit to Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home
- Cookery Demonstration
- Galle City Tour
- Colombo city tour
- Turtle Hatchery
13 night(s) in hotels, 1 night(s) camping
Public Bus, Private Vehicle, Train, Trek
14 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Staff & Experts
Tucan Travel tour leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on included excursions
What's Not Included
- Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
- International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
- Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
- Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
- Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
Maximum 16. Average 8-12.
Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Negombo
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
Negombo is situated by the shores of a lagoon by the same name. Once a Portuguese and Dutch trading port, popular attractions here include the Old Dutch fort gate built in 1672, the Dutch Canal, and the old churches and fishing villages which surround the area. It also has a huge and rather inviting white sandy beach.
The Kotchchikade area comes to life at dusk with many handicrafts for sale, boutiques, shops, gem shops and restaurants for you to explore.
Day 2 to 3 - Anuradhapura
We make our way to Anuradhapura after taking a morning city tour of Negombo and visiting the fish market. Anuradhapura, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site was founded in the 4th century BC and was the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom until the beginning of the 11th century AD. Today the extensive ruins are well preserved and are an important site for Buddhists, Tamils and Hindus alike and we take a guided tour of them, learning about the fascinating history and the restoration efforts.
We also explore the site of Mihintale. Here you can discover the ruins of a hospital, a large monastry and ancient carvings. Climb the rock of Mihintale and discover an aerial view of ancient city of Anuradhapura.
Day 4 to 4 - Polonnaruwa
After two nights in Anuradhapura, we leave and begin out drive for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. On the way we stop at Aukana Buddha, one of the reservoirs constructed during the reign of King Dathusena, where we can see a magnificent 12 metre high statue of the Buddha. Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, Polonnaruwa is a listed World Heritage site. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya, and four statues of the Buddha in 'Upright', 'Sedentary' and 'Recumbent' postures carved out of rock. Polonnaruwa is laid out over a large distance therefore the best way to explore the area is by bicycle. We take a guided tour of the ruins. You may have time to explore the ruins by bike (optional).
Day 5 to 5 - Sigiriya
The following morning we head to Sigiriya, (Lions Rock), an impressive site from a distance rising 200 metres from the jungle. With hundreds of steps to climb to reach the top of the 5th century rock fortress, the view from the top over the surrounding landscape is incredible. Here you can also see the world-renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya.
Day 6 to 7 - Kandy
Stopping in Dambulla on the way to Kandy, we visit the most impressive of Sri Lanka's cave temples which were used by the monks as meditation locations and places of worship. Some contain statues, paintings of the Buddha and detailed frescoes.
We then introduce you to Kandy with a brief orientation tour. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings of the central hill regions, and of course is World Heritage listed. We will take a drive around the Kandy Lake, built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798, visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts centre, a gem museum and a lapidary. In the afternoon you will have some free time to enjoy the city. You will find that Kandy is probably the best place to buy most of the handicrafts produced in Sri Lanka. Tonight we will take a sunset tour of the Temple of the Tooth (where legend has it Buddha's tooth is kept) and watch a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Day 8 to 8 - Kitulgala
We stop at Kitulgala on the way to Nuwaraeliya. Kitulgala is one of the wettest regions of the country with two monsoon regions a year so pack your waterproofs. It boasts magnificient scenery, calm rivers and local delicacies that make your mouth water.
Day 9 to 9 - Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is located in the heart of Sri Lankan hill country and its higher altitudes and cooler climate are a welcome respite, with velvety green tea plantations carpeting the rolling hills. You will have a sightseeing tour including a visit to a tea plantation and factory. The rest of day will be spent at your leisure
Day 10 to 10 - Ella
Early in the morning you leave for visiting the impressive Horton Plains National Park. Once a haven for elephants they no longer inhabit this area, however it is possible to witness many other species of wildlife. The area is surrounded by the country's highest mountains, shrouded in cloud and rivers. This is the only National Park in Sri Lanka in which visitors are allowed to walk around freely so we will take the opportunity for a trek through the high mountain vegetation and lakes.
Our goal is 'Worlds End' where the 2000 metre plateau comes to an abrupt end, plunging 700-1000 meters to the valley floor. On the way we will see a great deal of wildlife, including with purplefaced langurs, wild boar and barking deer as well as a small number of leopards. We board a train from Nuwara Eliya and enjoy the slow pace through the mountain scenery as we head to Ella. Ella is a sleepy village in Sri Lanka's Hill Country.
Day 11 to 11 - Yala National Park
Leaving Ella we stop at the Ella and Ravana Waterfalls before reaching Yala National Park where we will spend a night camping just outside of the park. You will be staying in large spacious permanent tents equipped with beds. There is a chance that these may be multi-share. We will take a game drive for your best chances to see elephants, leopards and bears. Yala National Park was established in 1900 and has one of the densest populations of wildlife in Asia. The park has two important pilgrimage sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vilhara and has been the center of past civilisations.
Day 12 to 13 - Unawatuna
In Unawatuna we visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, an important sanctuary that aims to rehabilitate orphaned elephant calves for release back into the wild. There is also time to relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. Off the coast, there are excellent diving opportunities, with a number of coral reefs and shipwrecks to be explored. Turtles come on to the beach at night to lay their eggs. There are a number of optional activities here to enjoy, and with two nights in Unawatuna, there is plenty of time to make the most of the surroundings.
Day 14 to 14 - Negombo
We now return to Negombo. On the way to Sri Lanka's administrative capital, we visit a Turtle harchery . From Negombo we can enjoy a city tour of Colombo. It is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings. Enjoy driving through the Commercial area or the 'Fort', so named because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a fort here. We drive past 'Pettah', a hectic bazaar full of ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques and temples, then visit a Hindu temple and drive past Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque. We continue through the Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and on to Independence Square and Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall.
Day 15 to 15 - Depart Negombo
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Select Dates & Book
Guaranteed departure. 10% February Sale Discount
10% February Sale Discount
10% February Sale Discount