One of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots, Sri Lanka offers not only opportunities for seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, but also stunning landscapes, beautiful coastlines, the world’s finest teas, and lots of historic sites with a culture dating back over 2,500 years. In fact, this “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” has been named one of Asia’s leading destinations and on this Sri Lanka tour, you’ll experience all of this and more. Travel to Sigiriya to visit the rock fortress, an incredible volcanic formation that has served as Buddhist monastery, ancient palace of a king, and a frescoed fortress. You’ll visit the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple—the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka—with 23,000 feet of murals and statues of Buddha, Sri Lankan kings, gods, and goddesses. Also visit Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth—which holds the relic of Buddha’s tooth. Stroll through the exotic Peradeniya Botanic Gardens to see a collection of orchids, spices, and medicinal plants. You’ll pass through forests to the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya—with the perfect climate for tea production. Visit a tea factory amid the rolling hills high above sea level and see the beautiful Ravana Falls on your way to Tissamaharama. Your value-minded vacation in Sri Lanka is never short on thrilling experiences, including morning and afternoon game drives in spectacular Yala National Park—home to leopards, elephants, sloth bears, water buffalo, and crocodiles. You’ll also visit to an elephant transit home, and embark on a whale-watching expedition in Mirissa Harbor where you’re apt to see whales, orcas, manta rays, dolphins, and turtles. For value-minded, savvy travelers, this Sri Lanka tour is sure to awaken and delight all of your senses!
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COLOMBOGalle Face Green promenade, Fort Railway Station, and Beira LakeSIGIRIYAVisit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla Rock Cave TempleKANDYVisit the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy Market, and Peradeniya Botanical GardensNUWARA ELIYAVisit a tea factory; view Ravana FallsYALA NATIONAL PARKTwo safari game drivesMIRISSAWhale-watching excursionGALLEVisit Galle FortGuides:
PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Private, deluxe, air-conditioned coach while touring
10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA. Welcome to Sri Lanka’s capital city! Hotel rooms are available for a mid-afternoon check-in.
COLOMBO–SIGIRIYA. Embark on a sightseeing tour of this bustling city. Along the way, you will see the Galle Face Green promenade, Dutch Hospital precinct, Fort Railway Station, a Hindu Kovil, Beira Lake, and Independence Square. This afternoon, drive to the ancient city of Sigiriya.
SIGIRIYA. Today, 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 a 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, you will see the famous Cloud Maidens frescoes painted on the rock wall. Later, visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of POLONNARUWA.
BreakfastNOTE: Please note that you must climb steep steps to reach the top of Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
SIGIRIYA–DAMBULLA–KANDY. This morning, visit the fascinating DAMBULLA ROCK CAVE TEMPLE, containing well-preserved frescoes and statues of Buddha. Next, drive to the city of Kandy, a jumble of culture, history, and colonial buildings. Visit the TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH and enjoy a comprehensive tour of this green city, taking in the colorful KANDY MARKET and the Upper Lake Drive. (B,L)
KANDY–NUWARA ELIYA. Begin today with a visit to the PERADENIYA BOTANIC GARDENS, which are renowned for their collection of orchids, spices, and medicinal plants. Then, journey through forests to the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya, also known as “Little England.” Set high above sea level and surrounded by rolling hills, its cool temperatures, humidity, and rainfall provide the perfect climate for tea production. Visit a TEA FACTORY en route and be enlightened on the tea manufacturing process.
NUWARA ELIYA–TISSAMAHARAMA. Depart Nuwara Eliya and view the famous RAVANA FALLS before continuing to Tissamaharama.
TISSAMAHARAMA. EXCURSION TO YALA NATIONAL PARK. Today, enjoy MORNING & AFTERNOON GAME DRIVES in YALA NATIONAL PARK by jeep. The park is home to one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, with sightings of these beautiful creatures not uncommon. Yala is also a bird-watcher’s paradise, with around 230 species recorded in the park. Also, you may spot elephants, sloth bears, water buffalo, macaques, and mugger crocodiles. (B,L,D)
TISSAMAHARAMA–AHANGAMA. Journey west to visit the ELEPHANT TRANSIT HOME where orphaned elephants are cared for before being returned to the wild. Continue to Ahangama, a small town on the country’s southern coast.
AHANGAMA–EXCURSION TO MIRISSA HARBOR. Rise early and travel to Mirissa, where you board your WHALE-WATCHING BOAT in search of sea life. The harbor is home to many different marine animals, including dolphins, flying fish, orcas, turtles, and manta rays. Be sure to keep an eye out for the largest creature on Earth, the blue whale. Return to your hotel this afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
AHANGAMA–GALLE–COLOMBO. Travel to Galle, where the natural harbor offers gorgeous views of the ocean. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city, and visit GALLE FORT, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon, continue to Colombo for an overnight stay.
COLOMBO. Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.