JEWEL OF THE INDIAN OCEAN: SRI LANKA​

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Journey Overview

From its ancient ruined cities to its storied colonial plantations, the little island nation of Sri Lanka uncovers a fascinating, secluded jewel formerly known as Ceylon. Learn about its history and culture at the spectacular cave temple of Dambulla, looming rock fortress of Sigiriya, and monumental ruins of Polonnaruwa. Uncover myths and legends as you witness a puja ceremony at Kandy’s richly carved Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. Meet the people of the rural villages, and watch orphan elephants in their jungle habitat. Then, relax and sample the country’s colonial history with a visit to a tea plantation home, and learn about modern day life in Sri Lanka. This encompassing journey with premier eco-resorts and lovely hotels will inspire your intrigue into this magical land.

  • Visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala
  • Explore the impressive 5th century Sigiriya fock fortress
  • Tour the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa


  • See the beautiful Dambulla cave temple that dates back to the 1st century B.C
  • Witness a Puja ceremony at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
  • Relax at a hill country tea estate and dine with the owners

Journey Itinerary

DAY 1 Arrive Colombo & Negombo, Sri Lanka

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You are met upon arrival in Colombo, and chauffeured to Horathapola Estate, a lush 50-acre coconut plantation in Negombo.

The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy your rural resort. Horathapola lies hidden in the beautifully lush landscapes of rural Sri Lanka. A grand working organic coconut estate dating from the early 1900s, it has been beautifully restored to host five spacious luxury guestrooms.

Horathapola Estate, Negombo

DAY 2Negombo & Sigiriya

Today, drive north into the island’s interior plains, to the historic city of Sigiriya.

En route, enjoy the scenery, and a stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which provides a natural habitat for nearly 100 elephants. Tour the orphanage and watch the endearing, magnificent creatures being fed and bathed.

In the evening, arrive in Sigiriya, and at your deluxe accommodations, your home for the next two nights. ​(B)

Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya

DAY 3Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

This morning, drive to the ancient medieval city of Polonnaruwa. Sri Lanka’s capital from the 11th to 13th centuries, it is full of beautiful palaces, temples and shrines. Visit the ruins of the Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu I, originally a massive 7-story wood and stone structure, and the adjacent Audience Hall and Kumara Pokuna, the royal bathing pool. In the Quadrangle complex, explore the Vatadage relic house and its dogoba; Thuparama, an example of the gedige style of temple architecture; and the Hetadage relic house. Visit Lankathillaka Gedige, a massive temple ruin with a colossal headless Buddha statue, and Gal Vihara, also known as the "Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge" as it has three huge Buddha statues carved out of its granite cliff face.

In the afternoon, explore the grand Sigiriya Rock Fortress that looms above the surrounding jungle like a guardian spirit. Built by King Kassapa in the 5th century, it sits 500-feet above a vast expanse of rainforest. You are driven to the base, and then climb the stairs carved between two boulders, the “Lion’s Gate,” to discover the beauty of this mighty royal citadel. Explore the gardens, water gardens, and the “Heavenly maidens” of Sigiriya frescoes. Climb further up carved staircases through the “Lions Paws” to the summit of the rock to see the foundations of the Grand Palace, the king’s throne and windmill-fed swimming pool.

This evening, relax at the hotel pool or go for a walk to the nearby rural village. Take the opportunity to experience a true village, and enjoy a local coconut drink specialty. ​(B)

Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya

DAY 4Sigiriya & Kandy

This morning drive to Kandy, the former Hill Capital of Sri Lanka.

En route, stop to visit the beautiful Dambulla Cave Temple, or Golden Rock Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the largest in the country, adorned with incredible ancient statues and paintings. The history of the cave dates back to the 1st century B.C. when the Buddhist monks sheltered King Valagamba there during his 14 year exile from the Anuradapura kingdom. When King Valagamba returned to the throne, he had a magnificent rock temple built at Dambulla as gratitude to the monks. Explore this vast isolated rock mass, with its five caverns and see the Buddhist mural paintings covering more than 2,000 sq. ft., along with the 157 statues including a 47-foot long statue of a recumbent Buddha.

Mid-day, arrive in Kandy and check into your accommodations. Take the afternoon to relax.

This evening, take a walk along the banks of the lake to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Explore the temple, observe a Puja ceremony, and possibly see Sri Lanka's most valuable Buddhist relic, a tooth of Lord Buddha. (The evening Puja ceremony starts at 7.00 pm.) (B)

Ellerton Bungalow, Kandy

DAY 5Kandy & Hatton

Spend the morning on a scenic train journey to Hatton. At approximately 4500 feet above sea level, this region offers a breathtaking panorama of color - Beautiful gardens, cascading waterfalls, lakes amid the sweet smell of crisp mountain air. The hillsides are dotted with tea plantations, making the area even more picturesque.

Arrive at your accommodation by early afternoon, with the rest of the day to relax and enjoy this lush environment. (B,L,D)

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

DAY 6Hatton

Today, visit a Tea Factory to learn about tea harvesting, and how to appreciate the unique qualities of the internationally popular tea. Meet the resident planter, and listen as he tells you all about the history and benefits of this valuable and famous Sri Lankan export.

This afternoon, go for a hike around the plantation. (B,L,D)

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

DAY 7Hatton to Colombo & Depart

Enjoy breakfast at the plantation before your day’s drive back to Colombo airport for your flight home or onwards to your next destination. ​(B)


Tour Details

MEETING POINT
Negombo, Sri Lanka
DEPARTURE POINT
Negombo, Sri Lanka

Package price is per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement applies. Land, air, and governmental/park taxes are subject to change based on date of departure. International airfare is additional. Other restrictions may apply. Contact us for complete journey details.