Highlights of Sri Lanka Group Tour

13 Day – Group tour with air-conditioned vehicle and guide
Price Guide: £1475 per person
ABTA and ATOL protected holidays

This Highlights of Sri Lanka group tour is the perfect tour for anyone wishing to see Sri Lanka’s major attractions. Starting at the cultural triangle, you will visit the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and the magnificent fortress at Sigiriya. You will also explore the amazing cave temple at Dambulla and the sacred temple of tooth relic in Kandy before heading to the central highlands, famous for Ceylon tea. There’s a chance to spot leopards at Yala National Park which has the highest density of these big cats, before visiting the World Heritage Site of Galle and enjoying a relaxing beach break prior to returning home. The accommodation includes colonial properties, charming jungle lodge and delightful seafront hotel.

Highlights of the Sri Lanka Group Tour

Leopard Spotting at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
  • Colombo city tour
  • Hiriwaduna local village visit
  • Ancient sites of Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa & Kandy
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden
  • Train ride to Nuwara Eliya
  • Coconut, spice and pineapple plantation visits
  • Tea plantation & tea factory
  • Hike in the Horton Plains
  • Yala National Park game drives for a chance to see leopards
  • World Heritage Site of Galle
  • Beach stay

Highlights of the Sri Lanka Group Tour Itinerary

On arrival at Colombo international airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Colombo for an overnight stay

In the afternoon, you can explore Colombo with a sightseeing tour which includes the Colombo National and Dutch period museums, the old and new parliament houses, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, the Town Hall and Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall. You may even pick up a bargain in ‘The Pettah’ area where you will see the pavement hawkers and traders.

Transfer: 40 Km, about 1 hour
Accommodation: Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel*, Colombo
Meals included: Half board

Today the drive to Sigiriya will take about 4 -5 hours.

On the way, your stops include a scenic coconut estate where you can discover how coconuts are grown, their many uses and their importance as the second largest crop grown after tea. This is followed by a visit to a pineapple plantation to learn more about the secrets of pineapple picking.

On arrival in Sigiriya, you will be taken to your hotel for a three night stay. In the afternoon, you can explore a nearby village on a walking tour. Included is a visit to a local mud house to see country way of life including the variety of fruit and vegetables which are grown. They will demonstrate traditional methods for preparing rice and curry, and you can sample delicious homemade delicacies.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4-5 hours, 175 km
Accommodation: Aliya Resort and Spa*, Sigiriya
Meals included: Half board

It’s a day of culture today starting with a visit to Anuradhapura UNESCO World Heritage Site. Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka’s first Capital Kingdom founded in the 5th Century BC and has  been predominantly influenced by Buddhism.  As you enter this historic city you will notice the brilliant white, dome-shaped Ruwanweliseya and Jethawanarama stupas or ‘dagobas’. These two stupas are over two thousand years old, with the mighty Jethawanarama temple equal in size to the pyramids.

The tour continues with a visit to the ‘Samadhi’ Buddha statue, a granite statue of Buddha in a meditative pose and a masterpiece of sculpture. It then concludes by receiving a blessing near the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree (Ficus Religiosa) which bears a branch brought over from India over 2500 years ago and is considered to be the oldest tree recorded in the world.

After lunch, it’s a short drive to Mihintale, the place where Buddhism was introduced and popularly referred to as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Today Mihintale is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site dotted with religious monuments and ruins. There will be time to explore Mihintale before returning to your hotel in Sigiriya .

Approximate travel time and distance: Round trip 3 hours, 120 km
Accommodation: Aliya Resort and Spa*, Sigiriya
Meals included: Half board

This morning’s drive to Sigiriya and the Sigiriya Rock fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site takes about 40 minutes. The incredible rock fortress was built by King Kassyapa I in the 5th Century AD and served as a royal citadel for more than 18 years. It is an enormous rock boulder rising 200 metres from the jungle below. If you feel able to make the climb, take time to pause and admire the mirror wall, sigiri graffiti, the famous Sigiriya frescoes and the great lion paws. (You should have good fitness levels to be able to climb the Rock fortress. Minimum duration to ascend to the top is about 1 hour at a moderate climbing pace.)

It is quite a hike but the magnificent 360 degree views of the surrounding jungle and hills are well worth the effort. As you wander through the ruins, appreciate the courage and work it must have taken to build this place especially the fully functional swimming pool up.

After lunch, we continue to Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka from 7th till 13th century, a town which exhibits an interesting array of archaeological monuments. Polonnaruwa is a World Heritage Site with ancient stupas, finely sculpted statues and an enormous manmade reservoir aptly named Parakrama Samudra, meaning ‘the sea of valour’. Highlights include the famous Gal Viharaya or ‘Rock Temple’ where you will see four colossal statues of the Buddha before discovering the on-site archaeological museum detailing the history of Polonnaruwa.

Accommodation: Aliya Resort and Spa*, Sigiriya
Meals included: Half board

A short drive of half an hour brings you to Dambulla, known for its richly painted cave temple. Dambulla’s vast cave complex was converted into a rock temple in the 1st century BC. This World Heritage Site is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka. The temple’s rock ceiling has the largest collection of paintings within a cave temple in Sri Lanka. The complex houses beautifully preserved 2000 years old murals and a large number of Buddha statues.

After exploring Dambulla Cave Temple, it’s about an hour’s drive to Matale, the spice capital of Sri Lanka and where you will see some of the best spice gardens. Enjoy a tour of the plantation to learn more about the various spices grown and processed here before a picnic lunch in the plantation.

After lunch, drive on for another hour to Kandy.

Approximate travel time: 3 hrs
Accommodation: Cinnamon Citadel*, Kandy
Meals included: Full board

This morning you will visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya. Originally created in the 14th century as a pleasure garden for the Queens, the Royal Botanical Gardens is spread over 147 acres and bordered by the charming Mahaweli River – the longest river in Sri Lanka.  This is the largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka with over 4,000 species of plants, ferns, shrubs, palm trees, spices and medicinal plants, all complemented by an array of butterflies and bird species. There are over 300 varieties of orchids and numerous giant trees, many over one hundred years old.

After exploring the Botanical Garden, you will discover Kandy on an orientation tour. It is the best place to see traditional Sinhalese arts and crafts like mat weaving, silverware, lacquer ware and wood carving. Explore the craft villages set up by Kandyan craftsmen to see exquisite handicraft items.

This is followed by a visit to the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic. Built during the 16th Century AD, the Temple of the Tooth Relic is one the most important temples for Buddhists as it houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. The Relic of the Tooth is kept in a two-story inner sanctum. The ‘Thevava’ or auspicious offering to the Sacred Tooth Relic takes place three times a day at pre-set times and a visit during this time is quite an experience.

This evening you will witness the cultural show featuring Kandyan dance performance.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Citadel*, Kandy
Meals included: Half board

This morning you will be transferred to Kandy Railway Station for an exciting train ride to Nuwara Eliya, traveling in an air-conditioned first class carriage (subject to availability). Enjoy the scenic journey with spectacular views of the countryside and tea plantations before arriving at Nanu Oya (near Nuwara Eliya). You will be picked up from the station and transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya, a former retreat for British civil servants away from the heat of the plains. Many buildings still retain features from the colonial period.

There is lots to see and do including a visit to a 120 year old championship golf course, one of the most scenic in the world, nestled between the towns and surrounding forested hills. You can also visit The Haggala Botanical Gardens, Gregory’s Lake and the Seetha Amman Hindu Temple or simply wander through the fruit and vegetable markets or strike a bargain at the Bale Bazaar.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel*, Nuwara Eliya
Meals included: Half board

In the morning, it’s a scenic drive to Horton Plains National Park the only national park in the central highlands. Lying at an altitude between 2100-2300m, Horton Plains is often shrouded in mist, ground frost and low lying cloud. A UNESCO nature site, the plains protect the sources of important rivers and host many species of plant, endemic birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies. There is also a chance to spot the herds of sambar deer and the purple-faced langur. Trickling streams lead you to the picturesque Baker Falls and Slab Rock Falls. The highlight of this visit is the view from World’s End, where the southern plains suddenly drop almost 4000 feet below.

In the afternoon, there is a visit to one of many tea plantations around the city. It includes a tour of tea plantation and a visit to the tea factory where you will be taken through the process of making the finest Ceylon tea.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel*, Nuwara Eliya
Meals included: Half board

It’s a bit of a long but scenic drive today, through the central highlands with many waterfalls and picturesque Ella Gap, on your way to Yala National Park. On arrival the rest of the day is free for you to relax and enjoy the faciltiies.

Yala is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national parks. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot three of Sri Lanka’s ‘Big Five’ endangered animals on a single safari, since the Sri Lankan leopard, the sloth and the elephant can all be found here. If you hope to spot leopards there is a good chance as the park is known to have one of the highest populations of leopard in the world.

Approximate travel time and distance: 5-6 hours, 180 km
Accommodation: Cinnamon Wild Yala*, Yala National Park
Meals included: Half board

Today, you can enjoy a morning and afternoon game drive through the park. The rich wildlife of the park includes spotted deer, wild boar, wild buffaloes, langurs, crocodiles and peacocks. There are over 200 species of birds including large flocks of migratory birds.

There is also an option to experience a short night safari. These safaris using involve night-vision infra red lights which can be good fun.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Wild Yala*, Yala National Park
Meals included: Half board

This morning’s drive takes you to the historic city of Galle, and a chance to discover this UNESCO World Heritage site.

The city offers an exciting mix of the exotic with the colonial. The impressive fortress, originally built by the Portuguese and then by the Dutch, still exists today in almost it’s original form and is a living example of the interaction between European architecture and South Asian traditions during the 16th to 19th Centuries. There will be time to explore the Galle at your own pace, perhaps paying a visit to the Maritime Museum, the Old Dutch Reformed Church, the Sun and Moon bastions, the lighthouse and the array of trendy souvenir shops.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4-5 hours, 190 km
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Resort, Galle
Meals included: Half board

The day is at leisure to relax by the beach or stroll around the town.

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Resort, Galle*
Meals included: Half board

This morning you will be transferred to Colombo airport to board your return flight home.

Transfer: 2 hours 110 km
Meals included: Breakfast

Highlights of Sri Lanka Group Tour Images

Statues of Buddha in Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Seema Malaka Temple on Beira Lake, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Aerial view of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Street Stall, Colombo
Tuk Tuk Taxi, Sri Lanka
Village Life, Sri Lanka
Lion Rock Fortress, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Lion Rock Fortress, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Samadhi Statue, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brahmanic Monuments, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Monks at Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Street Market, Sri Lanka
UNESCO Heritage Site, The Golden Temple, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Dambulla Caves, Sri Lanka
Tea Plantations, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Female Tea Pickers in Plantage, Sri Lanka
Jeep Safari at Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Leopard Spotting at Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka
Grey Langurr, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka
Galle Dutch Fort,. Sri Lanka
Galle, Sri Lanka
Stilt Fisherman, Galle, Sri Lanka
Bentota, Sri Lanka

Statues of Buddha, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Seema Malaka Temple, Beira Lake, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Aerial view of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Street Stall, Colombo

Tuk Tuk Taxi, Sri Lanka

Village Life, Sri Lanka

Lion Rock Fortress, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Lion Rock Fortress, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Samadhi Statue, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Brahmanic Monuments, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Street Market, Sri Lanka

The Golden Temple, Dambulla Caves, Sri Lanka

Dambulla Caves, Sri Lanka

Tea Plantations, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Tea Plantations, Sri Lanka

Jeep Safari at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Leopard Spotting at Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka

Grey Langur, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Dutch Fort,. Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka

Stilt Fisherman, Galle, Sri Lanka

Bentota, Sri Lanka

Places on the Highlights of Sri Lanka Group Tour

Highlights of Sri Lanka Group Tour

Below are the hotels we plan to use on the tour but they are subject to availability. If they are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be chosen.

Dates, Pricing and Inclusions

This Highlights of Sri Lanka Group Tour is available from Colombo on the following dates (prices per person):

Tour starts Tour ends Price Single Room Supplement
13 November 2022 Sun Colombo 25 November 2022 Fri Colombo £1,475 £525
4 December 2022 Sun Colombo 16 December 2022 Fri Colombo £1,525 £555
29 January 2023 Sun Colombo 10 February 2023 Fri Colombo £1,595 £595
12 February 2023 Sun Colombo 24 February 2023 Fri Colombo £1,595 £595
5 March 2023 Sun Colombo 17 March 2023 Fri Colombo £1,575 £585
2 April 2023 Sun Colombo 14 April 2023 Fri Colombo £1,525 £575
15 October 2023 Sun Colombo 27 October 2023 Fri Colombo £1,595 £595
12 November 2023 Sun Colombo 24 November 2023 Fri Colombo £1,625 £595
3 December 2023 Sun Colombo 15 December 2023 Fri Colombo £1,645 £595
Private Travel Supplement: £95 (minimum 2 persons traveling together)

* Alternative accommodation of a similar standard may be offered to the hotels listed.

Included in the price:

  • Accommodation for 12 nights
  • All internal road travel by an air-conditioned vehicle with an English-speaking driver-guide
  • Entrance fees at the monuments
  • Train ticket for Kandy – Nuwara Eliya in best available class
  • Two game drives in Yala National Park

Not included in price:

  • International flights
  • Sri Lanka visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals not included in the meal plan
  • Expenses of personal nature (like room service, laundry, drinks, phone calls etc)
  • Camera fees at the monuments

This tour can also be taken privately on a date of your choice. Please contact us for more details.

 

For more information please email info@aitholidays.com or call our India specialists on 01792 315499.

ABTA and ATOL Protected Tour Package

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.