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  • Gold Buddha Temple, Sri Lanka
  • The Lion Rock, Sri Lanka
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sri Lanka
Route:
Negombo to Negombo
Days:
15
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: SRJ
From:

US$1,979

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.

About this tour

  • Type of Travel: Public Transport
  • Group Size: Average 10-14. Maximum 16.
  • Recommended Age: 18-65
  • Physical Rating: Asia 3
  • Country: Sri Lanka

What you need to know

  • Wear modest clothes when visiting temples in Asia and pack shoes that are easy to slip on and off 
  • The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. You will meet your Tour Leader at 18.00 for the pre-departure meeting. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Negombo

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.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Camelot Beach Hotel or similar

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.

Included Excursions

Negombo city tour & fish market,Anuradhapura Ruins,Coconut Plantation and Toddy Tapping,Ancient Mihintale excursion

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Randiya Hotel or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

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).

Included Excursions

Aukana Buddha,Polonnaruwa ruins

Optional Excursions

Ayurveda Full Body Massage in Hotel Spa ­ US$ 20

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Giritale Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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.

Included Excursions

Sigiriya Rock Fortress,Royal Botanical Garden

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Gimanhala Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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.

Included Excursions

Dambulla Caves,Kandy city tour,Evening Puja at Temple of the Tooth,Kandy Cultural Dance Show

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Thilanka Hotel or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

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.

Optional Excursions

White water rafting – US$30 • Adam's Peak – US$16

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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

Included Excursions

Sight Seeing Tour in Nuwaraeliya

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Windsor Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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.

Included Excursions

Entry & trek in Horton Plains National Park,Scenic Train ride to Ella

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Ella Gap or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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.

Included Excursions

Ella Rock or Little Adam's peak and Ravana waterfalls,Game drive at Yala NP

Accommodation

1 night(s) camping at Kithala Resort or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Dinner(s)

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.

Included Excursions

Visit to Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home,Cookery Demonstration,Galle City Tour

Optional Excursions

Whale watching – US$65

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Sanmira Renaissance or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es)

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.

Included Excursions

Colombo city tour,Turtle Hatchery

Optional Excursions

Madhu Ganga River Cruise – US$10

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Camelot Beach Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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.

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

What's Included

Excursions & Activities

  • 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

Accommodation

13 night(s) in hotels, 1 night(s) camping

Transportation

Public Bus, Private Vehicle, Train, Trek

Meals

14 Breakfast(s), 1 Dinner(s), 1 Lunch(es)

Other

Tucan Travel tour leader

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 - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation

Group

Group Size: Maximum 16. Average 8-12.

Tour Suitability: This tour is recommended for people aged 18-65. For more information on what to expect, click here.

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