Enchanting Ceylon, also known as Sri Lanka, is a captivating island nation that weaves a tapestry of rich culture, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality. Nestled in the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise beckons travelers with its lush tea plantations, ancient temples, and pristine beaches. The cultural heritage is evident in the UNESCO-listed sites like Sigiriya and the sacred city of Kandy. Wildlife enthusiasts find solace in the country’s numerous national parks, home to elephants, leopards, and exotic bird species. From the bustling markets of Colombo to the serene shores of Mirissa, Enchanting Ceylon invites exploration, promising an unforgettable journey through a land of serenity and splendour.
As soon as you land at Bandaranaike International Airport, your holiday begins! Our designated chauffeur guide will meet you at the Airport lobby and greet you with a trademark Sri Lankan smile. Later you will be driven to Negombo to spend your first night in Sri Lanka. Check into the hotel and have a restful evening on the beach under a canopy of blue sky. Depending on your arrival time, we are pleased to showcase you to the Negombo countryside!
Rise early this morning to journey to Anuradhapura which is the northern point of Sri Lanka’s ‘cultural triangle’. This is the first ancient capital of Sri Lanka and now it is your time to take a step back in time with your guide and explore the marvel giant stupas such like Ruwanweliseya, Abhayagiriya, Jethawanaya; colossal statues of Buddha namely Samadhi Buddha statues, Aukana Buddha statues, still-functioning irrigation systems of reservoirs; ancient temple of Isurumuniya and receive a blessing at Sri Maha Bodhi Tree Temple which is believed to be the oldest human-planted tree in the world.
In the evening, climb Mihintale – the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Admire several majestic religious monuments such as shrines, cave and stupas strung out across wooded hills there.
Following a mouth-watering breakfast at the hotel, head to Polonnaruwa. Embark on a cycle-based experience discovering blended Buddhist and Hindu archaeological monuments which are still pristine. Padal through well-preserved temples, stupas, step wells, tombs including Gal Vihara, the rock tempele; the clowning glory – Parackrama Samudraya; image gallery of Lankathilake; Kings’ royal palace; Polonnaruwa’s quadrangle complex and more.
Take a wildlife jeep safari to Minneriya in the afternoon, where you can spot herds of elephants dominating Minneriya reservoir, water buffaloes, crocodiles, wetland bird species and many other fauna. If you have a bit of luck, you will be able to witness purple-faced langur and toque macaque during your safari. On completion of the safari, ride to Habarana to spend overnight.
After a tasteful breakfast, visit the magnificent palace of Sigiriya – the Lion Rock, inspired by its original name of ‘Sinhagiri’. Wear comfortable shoes as you will have to clamber up via narrow steps to reach the summit. This fortress is nearly 200 meters high and if you are an adrenaline freak, a history buff or looking for amazing views; climb to this 14th-century rock and you will not be disappointed. Stand in awe with beautiful gardens, ruins of palaces, frescoes over impressive paintings of celestial nymphs, moats and the Lion Gate. Once you reach the top, enjoy the vistas over the misty forests and that is absolutely stunning.
Later you will be off to Kandy. Along the way, stop at Dambulla and explore the magical cave complex with statues and murals dating back to the third century BC. Witness the paintings adorn the space overhead and walls of the cave and it proves that the Sinhalese rich artistic tradition was at its best.
Arrive in Kandy, check into the hotel and spend overnight leisurely.
Just to spice up your experience, hop on a Tuk-Tuk following breakfast and explore the second-largest city on the island, Kandy. Visit the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya which showcases hundreds of delicate orchids from all over the world; travel around the iconic Kandy Lake and step into old shops, a bustling market and some great restaurants during this tuk-tuk expedition.
In the evening, participate in a pooja ceremony at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, the most popular landmark of the city, which houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. We recommend wearing white-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and taking your shoes off too when entering this temple. With sundowners, witness cultural dance show which displays traditional
drumming masked Kandyan dancing and mesmerizing fire twirling.
journey to the hills country, Nuwara Eliya passing lush green fields and beautiful cascading waterfalls. The city is overlooked by the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka which is Pidurutalagala.
Grab an opportunity to see the entire Ceylon tea-making process with your own eyes! Visit a tea plantation and a tea factory in the city it is quite remarkable to see how much tea these factories produce and how they distribute their products to the worldwide markets.
Afterwards, discover the interesting mix of Sri Lankan and British architecture with a city tour. Visit the post office, Victoria Park and in the evening stroll around Gregory Lake which lies in the heart of Nuwara Eliya with beautifully manicured lawns. Do not forget to treat yourself to an authentic high tea at The Grand Hotel!
Pack your breakfast and set off on an adventure hike to the spot where the world supposedly ends! Horton Plains National Park is one of the best places for nature lovers and you can reach there with pleasant treks and hikes which are not particularly challenging. This plateau is biodiverse and many endemic species of flora and fauna can be found here, while the most commonly seen mammal at present is the sambar deer. Most favourite stops of this trek are World’s End which gives spectacular views out over the surrounding valley and mountains and Baker’s Falls, a brilliant cascade that is perfect for your next Instagram click!
Thereon, head out of Nuwara Eliya to Yala passing a small laid-back town which is none other than, Ella and enjoy a piece of nature there. Late evening, savour a BBQ dinner that is freshly made in the midst of the wilderness.
Rise early and venture into Yala National Park for a morning safari. Sunrise hours are the best time for optimal wildlife spotting and allow you golden opportunities to capture some incredible shots of Sri Lanka’s famous wildlife. Yala is home to leopards, elephants, spotted deer, crocodiles, monkeys and a variety of bird species. Since the temperature in the early morning can be cool, we recommend you wear a light layer.
Afternoon, leave Yala and move to Beruwala, one of the most attractive beaches in Southern Sri Lanka. In the passage, stop at the Dutch colonial town to explore Galle Fort which has earned the tag of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its lovely churches, mosque and lighthouse!
After a leisurely breakfast, you may bliss out on the beach forgetting the rustiness of your other life that is far away from you!
Evening visit a sea turtle hatchery, a nice and unusual place where you can touch and hold sea turtles. You can see huge tanks filled with newborn turtles under the care of the hatchery. The baby turtles are taken to the sea and released when they are 2-4 years old, of course after being fed. If you are willing, you can give a donation as well, hence it really is a good cause for wildlife. Later, pay a visit to the iconic mountain temple or ‘Kande Viharaya’ which is home to a 160-foot-tall statue of the Buddha sitting cross-legged. This statue is believed to be one of the tallest in the world as well.
Drive on towards Colombo today, the urban city of the island. On the way, go on a boat ride in the Madu River, a stunning setting with pristine mangrove forests and many islands within. Glide through passing lined shady mangroves, glimpse into the lives of local folk witness how they engage in cinnamon cultivation and make a spiritual stop at the magnificent temple located on an island.
In the evening, discover the city’s main sights including Gangarama temple, National Museum, Independence Square, red mosque, and Galle Face Green and finish with a shopping opportunity at the Barefoot Fair Trade Store or Laksala.
Your holiday in this island paradise is drawing to a close today, yet the memories collected will last a lifetime. Check out from Colombo and leave for Colombo International Airport safely for your departure flight! Reach us anytime to plan your next holiday in Sri Lanka including these lovely places on the island.