This is a classic tour of Sri Lanka. Taking you across the teardrop shaped island in the Indian Ocean, you view the heritage sites in the north, the tea country in the centre and relax at the fabulous beaches at the southern tip of the island. The son of Indian Emperor Ashoka introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the fourth century BCE. After a visit to the Buddhist heritage sites, enjoy the lifestyle of the British tea estate managers in tea country. The beaches in southern Sri Lanka are some of the most beautiful in the world.
Arrive in Colombo today, where accommodation is held from 12 noon at Kotugoda, a short distance from the airport.
Drive northeast to Dambulla (172 km/3.5 hours), gateway to the country’s ancient and serene Buddhist sanctuaries. Crowning the start of the journey and the day is a visit to the 3rd century BC Dambulla Cave Temples, five in a row beneath an overhanging roof that are testimony to the superb architectural skills of the time.
An early start to the day is necessary to experience the breathtaking “Lion Rock” of Sigiriya, a 3rd century fortress, palace, hideout and monastery. From here, it is a 1.5 hours drive to the ancient 10th century capital, Pollonaruwa, regarded as a “triumph of civilisation” and noted for its ingenious hydraulic engineering.
Drive this morning to Kandy (72 kms/2.5 hours), taking time along the way to visit spice plantations. Located in Sri Lanka’s high country, Kandy is redolent with aura, grace, history and scenery. The afternoon is at leisure.
A full day tour of Kandy begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens of 14th century vintage, home to over 300 species of orchids. At the Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage, visit with abandoned and orphaned elephant calves that are reared here before domestication or a return to the wilderness. Stroll around Kandy’s lake before visiting the Temple of The Tooth, the country’s most hallowed religious site where the evening prayer service is accompanied by music and ritual drumming.
Depart this morning by train from Kandy on a scenic 3 hour journey to Hatton in Nuwara Eliya, the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea industry and hill country. The remainder of the day is at leisure and a variety of optional activities are available.
Options include walks in the hills or the Horton Plains, a climb up to sacred Adam’s Peak (2,243m/ 7,350 ft), cycling, mountain biking and golf.
Depart Nuwara Eliya to drive down to Galle (253 km/6 hours) on the south west coast, overlooking the Arabian Sea. Known to exist since 1400 BCE, the attractive fortress-city that remains today resulted from Portuguese and Dutch colonization. Choose between town or seaside accommodations for your stay here (alternatively, after visiting Galle, you may opt to go on to other coastal resorts such as Tangalle or Bentota).
Explore the sights and treasures offered by Galle, a city influenced by various conquerors – the Dutch, the British and the Portuguese
Drive to Colombo (130 km/2.5 hours) to connect your onward flight.
We look forward to welcoming you to slow travel in the Indian subcontinent,
imaginatively and meticulously designed just for you.