Sri Lanka From North to South
THE TOUR AT THE GLANCE
As a travellers looking for an authentic cultural experience with tours of Sri Lanka’s ancient sites, this is a great itinerary. It starts in the relaxing colonial fishing village of Negombo and ends in the lively modern city of Colombo.
you'll visit a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites around Sri Lanka. You will learn about Sri Lankan culture, food, art, and mythology, and meet the farmers of the tea plantations and the friendly people of the Jaffna District. You can also visit wildlife parks, home to abundant birds and elephants. As you travel to the mountains of Anuradhapura, Mihintale, you'll discover an entire ancient city, Polonnaruwa, and a complex system of Gal Vihara temples.
EXPERIENCES AND VISITS IN THIS TOUR JOURNEY
- Discover the second largest national park in Sri Lanka and its herds of elephants
- See the impressive temple in the mountains of Mihintale where Buddha stayed
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya, perched on a high plateau
- Visit the Tamarind Gardens to see exotic plants and flowers
- Relax at colonial fishing villages and beaches to gain a sense of the coastal lifestyle
- Explore the remarkable ruins of the ancient capital city of Ceylon in Polonnaruwa
- Discover over 150 images of Buddha in the incredible complex of caves at Dambulla Rock Temple
- Spend a night in this highland community, referred to as 'Little England', surrounded by Central Sri Lanka's
picturesque tea country hills
- Giragama Tea Factory - Take a tour of a working tea factory with a long history
- Canoe to the village and help cook a delicious traditional lunch with a Sri Lankan family in Kayanwala Village
- Take in the highlights of Kandy including the famous Temple of the Tooth, enjoy a tuk tuk ride and watch a cultural performance
- Go in search of wildlife on a game drive in Udawalawe, home to the nation's largest herd of Asian Elephants in Udawalawe National Park
- Enjoy four days of R&R on the idyllic palm fringed beaches of Sri Lanka's West Coast in Beruwala
VIEW FULL ITINERARY
Meet with the local guide or Representative and transfer to Negombo, & arrive and check in at hotel.
Visit a fishing town with a fascinating colonial past. British, Dutch, and Portuguese all fought over this town as it was a lucrative source of cinnamon, what was a highly sought after product in the spice trade. The cinnamon impacted the economic future of this town, but a stronger influence came from the colonizer’s historic Catholic church. Catholicism had such a strong influence on the society that it became known as “Little Rome’.
Today, Negombo is alive in its own blend of culture and religions. Colonial-style architecture remains in many of the buildings in Negombo, like the church, but local traditions appear to have outlived the colonizers. Take a tuk-tuk ride to visit the village and share a traditional lunch with locals. Join them on the beach at a lagoon famous for prawns, fish, crabs, and lobsters.
Today, travel from Negombo to the island of Mannar, overlooking the Gulf of Mannar. Though visually dominated by Hindu temples, mosques, and churches, the town represents a diverse mix of different spiritual traditions. After a visit to town, walk to the Ketheeswaram temple, captured by the Dutch in 1658 and originally built in 1560 by the Portuguese. Though the interior is largely destroyed, the ramparts and bastions are intact and the shade of a giant balboa tree welcomes visitors.
Today, travel from the island of Mannar to the Jaffna, the northernmost region of Sri Lanka. One of the oldest districts in lower South Asia, it is home to 900,000 people and marks one of the most densely populated areas of Sri Lanka. In Jaffna, meet friendly people with a rich culture in an ideal climate and setting.
Tamil speaking people populate the peninsula, which overlooks India over the Palk Strait and the Bay of Bengal. Here, elephants used to wade across the shallow lagoon that connects the Jaffna Peninsula with the rest of Sri Lanka. Enjoy an ideal setting of shallow lagoons and a number of interesting islands.
Today, travel to the island of Neduntheevu, a 50-sq. km island about 30 kilometers away from the mainland. Known as Delft Island, it was strategically important during the Chola Dynasty, and the Portuguese, Dutch and the British Colonial Period. The island is surrounded by shallow waters and reefs making it difficult for ships to make an attack.
In the west of the island, visit ruins of South Indian Chola architecture and traditional dagoba. Walk by a pigeon house made of coral constructed by the Portuguese and Dutch. See the 'devils well', the source of drinking water for the entire island of 5000 people. People claim that since you can’t see the bottom of the well, it must be the devil's mouth. A few kilometers from the well, legend has it there’s a footprint that is also found on the nearby island of Nainativu. Christians believed Adam left his two footprints on the two islands.
Today, travel from Neduntheevu to Point Pedro, located at the northernmost point of the island. Relax on the island’s narrow white-sand beach overlooking a coral reef. By the road, visit fisherman of large rays, sharks, snapper and barracuda. In 2004, the tsunami devastated this community. Some parts of the town were submerged with seawater up to 4 feet deep. Fisherman’s boats were found 1 km. inland.
Today, depart for Anuradhapura this morning. Upon arrival check in at Hotel
In the afternoon you will visit Anuradhapura. This was the first ancient capital of the ‘country of kings’ for approximately 1,400 years. At the pinnacle of its glory, the city extended over 52 square kilometres. Its magnificent monuments, refined sculpture and paintings are testimony to a veritable and original Sri Lankan culture.
The greatest city in Sri Lankan history, packed with monuments from over a thousand years of the island’s past. Visit the ancient capital of the Kingdom in the 4th century: Anuradhapura. Abandoned in the 10th century, this city was rediscovered in 1817. Visit temples, stupas, palaces and The sacred Sri Maha Bodhi
Today, travel from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya enroute vsiit Mihintale. These peaks are one of the sixteen places Solosmasthana, the Lord Buddha, visited in Sri Lanka. The Buddhists believe it to be one of the most important sacred places in the world. Mihintale is constructed of ancient stone architecture surrounding various Stupas, or monastic complexes. Many rock boulders and sacred caves, used by monks for meditation, are located in the jungle surrounding the main city of Anuradhapura.
Continue drive to Sigiriya, arrive and check in at hotel.
In the afternoon you will explore Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. This incredible structure rises nearly 700 feet above one of Asia’s most well-preserved ancient landscape gardens. The Palace is still clearly visible as is the King’s throne his personal bathing pool.
Today, morning take a bullock cart ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala Village we take part in a cookery demonstration in a mud brick home of a local woman and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more.
Later proceed to Polonnaruwa, arrive and check in at Hotel
In the afternoon you will visit Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lanka's ancient capital cities and part of the famous 'Cultural Triangle'. See the impressive and evocative Gal Vihara temple complex where three colossal granite statues of the Lord Buddha lay. A 2500 hectare tank called 'Parakrama Samudra', was constructed under King Parakramabahu’s reign. The city itself is divided into new and old town and can be easily explored on foot. The surrounding area's flat well- maintained roads also means you can jump on a bicycle to get around the well-preserved ruins.
Today, travel by road to Digana, enroute visit M ineriya National Park: Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8,890 hectares of Minneriya National Park features the ancient Minneriya Tank. Constructed in an evergreen forest where sambar deer, leopards, and elephants roam, this tank was built in 3rdcentury AD by King Mahasena. During the dry season (June to September), this is an incredible place to observe the elephants and flocks of birds, such as cormorants and painted storks.
After the safari, you will be transferred to the Tamarind Gardens Ecolodge in Digana. This 10-acre property promotes a small domestic farm with mixed livestock as well as vegetable and fruit gardens. All meals are prepared with locally sourced produce and guests are invited to participate in the preparation of meals. Visit the home of the lady who runs the Incense making cottage industry for a ‘hands on’ experience of incense making. (payable directly) After lunch you may take a Catamaran ride with a fisherman. (payable directly) Enjoy an evening at leisure or if you wish to help the villagers out look at how you can best help them with the issues they face with the water resource and stay over in Digana .
Today, travel by road to Kandy, the capital of the Central province is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a World Cultural Heritage site. Strategically nestled amidst three mountain ranges and known as the gateway to the hill country, Kandy was initially built in this location as a natural fortress against attack as it was not an easy target for the foreign invaders.
In the afternoon visit of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and our first stop will be the 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 driving around Kandy Lake - built by the last Sinhala king, we visit the local bazaar and a gem museum, we then take Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon we stop at the Geragama Tea Factory, manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea.
This evening, we watch a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Today, travel by road to Nuwara Eliya -Often referred to as ‘Little England', has a cool climate unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka due to its high elevation. The outskirts of Sri Lanka’s highest town still retain their ‘old world’ feel with many of the original Hotels still retaining their grandiose colonial style. Famous for its horse racing, Nuwara Eliya also boasts the impressive Golf Club which dates back to 1889. It is worthwhile to visit the Clubhouse to observe the photographs of life in Nuwara Eliya.
Ceylon Tea is one of the main exports of Sri Lanka. Visit a working plantation to gain a new perspective on this humble brew. Drive through the plantation where colorfully dressed Tea-Pickers work on sloping hills abundant with lush tea bushes. See the entire process, from tea bush to teapot
Today, you will head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.
Enjoy an afternoon game drive at Udawalawe National Park - 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.
Today, early breakfast, travel by road to Beruwala, Enroute visit Galle -Sri Lanka’s most historically interesting town is Galle. It was a major port until about 100 years, Walk around the lighthouse and harbor or visit the old town where you can see the traditional lace makers and wood carvers and purchase some the finest souvenirs. The Dutch Fort - The South Coast’s major city is Galle, whose oldest landmark is the massive Portuguese and Dutch Fort, which is a “World Heritage Site” in which the central city is contained. Continue drive to Beruwala and check in at Hotel
Three Days –on beach activities
Sri Lanka's beautiful palm fringed beaches are without a doubt its biggest draw cards, and once you set eyes on them you’ll understand . Nestled on the Indian Ocean coast with warm crystal clear waters, Beruwala and the neighbouring town of Bentota offer travellers a whole host of water sports from snorkelling and scuba diving, to water skiing and surfing – the choice if yours. Indulge in a glass of Toddy – a local coconut flavoured tipple, head to the spa and opt for an Ayurveda treatment which the area is famous for, or simply while away the days on the beach with a cocktail in hand.
Today, drive to Colombo, Upon arrival check in at Hotel (Rooms for wash and change
Later visit Colombo city tour visiting the Gangarama Temple, Old Parliament, Viharamahadevi Park, National Museum and Galle Face Green, a drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street - the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area, where is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings and the Dutch Church of Wolfendhal dating back to 1749. The historic Dawatagaha Mosque and the former Eye Hospital are two buildings in Cinnamon Gardens worth looking at. Free time for shopping activities / Tuk tuk ride in Colombo.
Later in time transfer to Colombo airport to board international for onward flight
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE IN YOUR TOUR COST
- Accommodation for total 14 nights on Bed & Breakfast basis.
- All meals at Udawalawe National park
- Transfers, sightseeing and excursions as per the program by air-conditioned Vehicle.
- English speaking Chauffeur guide as per program.
- All entrance fees to the monuments as mentioned in the program.
- Fishing Village Walking tour in Negombo.
- Boat ride on Dutch Canal in Negombo.
- Jeep safari to visit Udawalawe National Park
- Witness Kandyan Cultural Dance in Kandy.
- Company representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers.
- All presently applicable taxes including the GST charges levied recently by the Government.
- Mineral water during sightseeing and excursion
TOUR COST WILL NOT INCLUDE FOLLOWING EXPENSES
- International Airfare / Departure taxes
- Visa fees
- Any new admission fees / taxes / fuel surcharges
- Meals not mentioned
- All personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, trip cancellation and personal insurance
- Early check-in/late check-out (except as noted)
- Camera/video fees at monuments
- Excess baggage fees
- Communication costs
- Any additional expenses due to unforeseen problems like natural disaster, war or strikes, cancellation or
- misconnection of flights or last-minute change of timings etc.
- Any other items not specified
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