Book a 2018 holiday before 31 July and our home pick-up service is doubled to 100 miles.
Meals included: 10 breakfasts, 10 dinners
Journey through lush forests to sacred temples and ancient ruins, through misty hills on winding railways; from the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Temple of the Tooth to the leopards of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka is a place of endless appeal.
Please call our Travel Specialists to book this holiday with an extension.
On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, embark on a sightseeing tour of this bustling city. Historically, Colombo was known as a trading port due to its natural harbour and was a city of strategic importance to the Portuguese, Dutch and British before Ceylon gained independence in 1948. Many old colonial buildings can still be seen around the city alongside more traditional Sri Lankan architecture. See the Galle Face Green promenade, Dutch Hospital precinct, Fort Railway Station, a Hindu Kovil, the Beira Lake and Independence Square.
After breakfast, journey through the lush Sri Lankan countryside to Anuradhapura, the country's ancient capital. The city is considered sacred to the Buddhist world and is surrounded by monasteries. Your city tour takes in the well-preserved ruins of this area and the Sri Maha Bodhi (or Bo Tree), the oldest recorded tree in the world. This remarkable tree was a sapling taken from the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree in India, under which Buddha achieved enlightenment. Later visit the pilgrimage site of Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, before continuing to Sigiriya.
This morning visit the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a giant magma plug which has served both as a long-standing Buddhist monastery and a fortress. Surrounded by a network of gardens and moats, it is an historical, geological and anthropological landmark. The ancient ruins of the upper palace built by King Kasyapa can also be found on the summit, which at 656 feet above sea level affords magnificent views across the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside. On the way to the top, see the famous 'Cloud Maidens' frescoes painted on the rock wall. Later, take an afternoon safari drive to either Minneriya, Kaudulla or Eco Park National Park where with luck, elephants, Sambar deer and leopards might be seen.
This morning visit the ruins of Polonnaruwa. After lunch visit the fascinating Dambulla Rock Cave Temple which comprises of five caverns, each amazingly preserved, containing frescoes and statues of the Buddha. En route to Kandy there is also a visit to a spice garden and a batik factory.
A jumble of culture, history and colonial buildings, Kandy is nestled in forested hills and is one of Sri Lanka's most interesting cities. This morning first visit the Temple of the Tooth then enjoy a comprehensive tour of this green city, taking in the colourful market place, the upper lake drive and the Gem Museum. There will also be a visit to the Arts & Crafts Centre and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens which are renowned for their collection of orchids, spices and medicinal plants. This evening visit a cultural show and be entertained by Kandyan dancers and drummers.
Today, admire the views on a scenic rail journey from Kandy to the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya by train. Experience one of the world's most stunning rail journeys on this quintessential Sri Lankan rail service. The train bumps and grinds through the forests and tea plantations and is a highlight of your tour. Otherwise known as 'Little England', Nuwara Eliya is set nearly 2,000 metres above sea level and is surrounded by rolling hills and lush tea plantations. It is considered the capital of Sri Lanka's tea industry, with its cool temperatures, humidity and rainfall providing the perfect climate for tea production. This evening, take a sightseeing tour around the town.
An early start this morning as you journey up steep mountains to the Horton Plains. Located on Sri Lanka's highest plateau, this mountainous region is blanketed in mist-wreathed forests and affords spectacular views of the valleys below, occasionally extending to the coastline. The evening is at leisure in Nuwara Eliya.
After breakfast journey south towards Yala National Park. The rest of the day is free to relax in the lush jungle surroundings of your hotel.
This morning, take a jeep safari through Yala National Park. Home to one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, sights of these beautiful creatures are not uncommon. Yala is also a birdwatcher's paradise, with around 230 species recorded in the park. As well as leopards and birds, look out for elephants, sloth bears, water buffalo, macaques and mugger crocodiles - Yala really is Kipling's Jungle Book brought to life! Later, you will have another opportunity to spot animals on an afternoon safari.
This morning travel to Galle for a city tour, before continuing back to Colombo for an overnight stay. If you are choosing a Sri Lanka beach extension, your tour will end here.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK or to the Maldives if you are extending your stay.
A number of steep steps must be climbed in order to reach the top level of Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
For 2017 departures - the journey to Horton Plains is a 3-4 hour trek through mountains, which some people may find difficult.
The Yala National Park is closed to visitors around September / October. During this period The Yala Safari Drive will take place in the Udawalawe National Park or Bundala National Park.
A visa is required to travel on this tour. Please refer to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice prior to departure for the latest requirements and how to apply.
Tour hotels will be as specified or alternatives of a similar standard.
There's no need to shop around. Find a cheaper like-for- like tour from another company, and we’ll not only match their price but also give you a £50 discount when you book with us.
They have in-depth knowledge of the places you’ll visit and will be on hand every step of the way with commentary entirely in English. 96% of customers rate them 'excellent' or 'good'.
We've been creating holiday adventures since 1961. We are a member of ABTA and all our flight-inclusive holidays are fully protected by the CAA's ATOL scheme.