General

See the best of central Sri Lanka on this all-encompassing tour and join in the festivities of the exhilarating Kandy Festival aka Esala Perahera or The Festival of the Sacred Tooth. Spanning ten days, the annual Buddhist celebration sees the easy-going hill city burst into a vibrant display of dance, music and colourful costumes, plus don’t forget the one hundred strong parade of lavishly decorated elephants.

Day 1
Colombo – Your Way

Monday 20th August 2018. Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport and transferred to our centrally located hotel which has stunning Indian Ocean views. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight: OZO Colombo, Colombo

 

Day 2
Dambulla Rock Temple & Sigiriya

Colombo – Dambulla – Sigiriya. Leaving the capital behind we travel on to Sigiriya today, stopping en route at a fruit and vegetable market in Naramwela Town and to visit the incredible Dambulla Rock Temple. Dating back to the 1st Century BC, Dambulla is a complex of 5 caves which contain over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock.

After exploring ancient Dambulla we continue our journey to Sigiriya and the iconic ‘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 can climb the steps to the top of the rock fortress to admire the views, stopping en route to the top to see the famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens.

Overnight: The Paradise Resort & Spa, Sigiriya  |  Breakfast

 

Day 3
The Kandy Festival

Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Kandy. Our first stop today is Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and Gal Vihara, a monument with 4 images of Buddha, all intricately carved into the rock. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was once used as a back drop to 80s sensation Duran Duran’s 1982 video, Save A Prayer.

Once we’ve fully explored Polonnaruwa we take a jeep ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala village we take part in a cookery demonstration in the mud brick home of a local woman and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more. En route to Kandy we stop off a spice garden in Matale, to see the different herbs and spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.

Onward to Kandy for the spectacular Kandy Festival. For ten consecutive days every year this laid back Sri Lankan hill city erupts into a whirlwind of colour and activity. Dancers in colourful silk costumes and over one hundred ornately decorated elephants parade through the streets backed by the rhythm of beating drums. There is also fire twirling, cracking of whips, cane dancing, fire walking and other cultural dances. The pageant commences at the golden Temple of the Tooth, alleged to house a tooth of Buddha, and in a public display that dates back to 310 AD a replica of the revered relic is paraded through the city in a golden casket by the chief elephant. Spend the evening joining in the revelry of this exhilarating Buddhist festival.

Overnight: OZO Kandy Hotel, Kandy  |  Breakfast

 

Day 4
Kandy Festival By Night

This morning we stop at a working tea factory at Geragama. Geragama Tea Factory is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy was established in the year 1903, manufacturing ‘Low Grown’ and ‘Long Leaf’ tea.

Once back in Kandy we take a Tuk Tuk ride and visit the city’s highlights. Later on this evening we visit the world famous Temple of the Tooth, which plays an important role in the Kandy Festival that will be continuing its celebrations this evening.

Overnight: OZO Kandy Hotel, Kandy  |  Breakfast

 

Day 5
Scenic Train Trip & Tea Plantations

Kandy – Nuwara Eliya. This morning offers free time, before transfering to the railway station for a scenic train trip. Passing kilometre upon kilometre of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, we’ll see waterfalls, suspension bridges and tea pickers on our journey to Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea.

This afternoon we take a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya on a beautiful drive through ‘Little England’.

Overnight: Jetwing St Andrew’s, Nuwara Eliya  |  Breakfast

 

Day 6
Udawalawe National Park

Nuwara Eliya – Udawalawe National Park. Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. This national park is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, the biggest of all the Asian Elephants. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and lots of types of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to the hotel for the night.

Overnight: Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort, Udawalawe National Park  |  Breakfast

 

Day 7
Colombo City Tour

Udawalawe National Park – Colombo. This morning with a visit to the Gem Mine at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems in the world.

Arriving to Colombo, we commence a city tour seeing the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. We’ll see the stunning Gangarama Temple and take a stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular spot for kite flying and games of cricket.

Overnight: OZO Colombo, Colombo

 

Day 8
Colombo – Free Time

Monday 27th August 2018. Today offers free time for you to independently explore, before your included departure transfer to the airport.

Kandy Festival Images courtesy of Sri Lanka Tourism

Breakfast

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This tour is repeated every week on multiple days.

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Sigiriya

SigiriyaSigiriya is a small town in Sri Lanka. It is located within [Central Province, Sri Lanka]. WikipediaRead more

Udawalawe

UdawalaweUdawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares of Read more

Kandy

KandyKandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It’s set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city’s heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Read more

Colombo

ColomboColombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the city proper. It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and Read more

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara EliyaNuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, is decorated with religious figures. Densely forested Galway’s Land National Park is a sanctuary for endemic Read more

Dambulla

DambullaDambulla is a large town, situated in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. Due to its location at a major junction, it’s the centre of vegetable distribution in the country. Major attractions of the area include the largest and best preserved Read more

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What's included?

  • 7 breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • Touring of Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe, Gem Mine and Colombo
  • Scenic train trip Kandy - Nuwara Eliya, canoe and Tuk Tuk trips
  • All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Kandy Festival parade including entrance fee
  • 7 nights 4 star and heritage properties
  • Jeep safari/ game drive in Udawalawe National park
  • Escorted by an English speaking national guide for group 6 or more (professional chauffeur guide for groups of 5 or less)
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers on day 1 and day 8

What's Not included?

  • Tip for your tour guide
    We recommend you allow $3 - 6 USD per day per traveller.
    Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
  • Entrance Fees: USD$140-$160, paid in local currency
  • International flights and visas
  • Tipping Kitty: USD$50-$60, paid in local currency

Tour Highlights

  • Kandy Festival - vibrant Buddhist celebration with a one hundred strong parade of ornately decorated elephants and traditional dancers.
  • Polonnaruwa - the ancient capital city of Ceylon
  • Kayanwala village visit & cookery demonstration
  • Matale - spice gardens
  • Giragama Tea Factory - a working tea factory with a long history
  • Udawalawe National Park - home to the nation's largest herd of Asian Elephants
  • Colombo - The Fort area,Galle Face Green and Gamgarama Temple
  • Sigiriya - 5th century fortress ruins
  • Dambulla - Rock Temple
  • Kandy - city tour including Tuk Tuk ride,Temple of the Tooth and cultural performance
  • Scenic train ride through waterfalls and tea plantations from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and drive though Nuwara Eliya's 'Little England'
  • Ratnapura - home to the nation gem mining industry