Discovery of Sri Lanka

14 Days, from AU $1,912

Leopard in Yala National Park

Anuradhapura

Dambulla cave temple

Train winding through the Sri Lankan hill country

Immerse yourself in the vibrant beauty of Sri Lanka on this 14 day cultural adventure. Your journey begins with a trip to Anuradhapura, where the atmospheric ruins of the Brazen Palace, Isurumuniya rock temple, and iconic Ruwanwelisey Dagoba beg exploration. Venturing across the North Central Province ,uncover an ornate network of shrine caves at Dambulla, scale the dizzying heights of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and gaze in awe at the colossal Buddha statues that stand lakeside at Polonnaruwa. In Kandy, you can glimpse the Sacred Tooth Relic in its shrine before setting off to Nuwara Eliya to discover a taste of ‘Little England’ in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea-growing highlands. Keep your eyes peeled for elephants and leopards as you safari across the rugged wilds of Yala National Park, watch stilt fisherman plying their trade at Weligama, and journey to the ancient fortress city of Galle to end your trip on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Our Discovery itineraries explore a destination in depth, with carefully selected experiences, and ample free time for relaxation. Like all GetAboutAsia trips, Discovery itineraries can be customised to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Colombo to Negombo

On arrival at Colombo International Airport, you will be met by a representative of GetAboutAsia and transferred to your hotel in Negombo.  During the drive your guide will answer any questions you have and discuss plans for the following day.

With its lively fish market on the beach, many canals and scattering of colonial architecture, the bustling town of Negombo offers an interesting introduction to the Sri Lankan coastal way of life. The town’s century-old fishing industry is still thriving, and several local restaurants offer excellent seafood dishes sourced with ingredients fresh from the Negombo Lagoon. You’ll also find a number of lively bars along the northern end of the strip. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.

Enjoy free time for the rest of the day.

Day 2: Negombo

Breakfast at the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 3: Anuradhapura

This morning you will be collected from your hotel by your driver to commence your exploration of Sri Lanka.  Spend the day exploring the World Heritage Listed city of Anuradhapura.

A Ceylonese political and religious capital, this unique city reveals the relics of its grandiose history at every turn. Pay a visit to the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree), tread in the footsteps of 2nd Century monks at the Brazen Palace, and marvel at the towering architectural wonder of Ruwanweliseya, Sri Lanka’s most iconic Dagoba. Carved from dolomite marble, the 'Samadhi' Buddha statue depicts the Buddha immersed in a state of 'Samadhi' or deep Meditation, while the intricate ‘Lovers sculpture’ at the Isurumuniya rock temple offers a rare glimpse into the more sensual side of this ancient civilisation.

Day 4: Dambulla Caves

Enjoy a day of exploration at the iconic Dambulla Rock Temple. Tucked within a rocky hillock, the temple stretches over a complex of five ornately decorated shrine caves which house 157 beautifully preserved Buddha statues and brilliantly coloured frescoes.

Venture into the first cave to take in the imposing 14 metre Buddha carved directly from the cave wall. At the statue’s feet is Ananda, Buddha’s most favoured disciple, at his head sits Vishnu, who is said to have used his divine powers to create the caves. The largest of the caves, known as the ‘Cave of the Great Kings’, houses an impressive collection of 16 standing and 40 seated Buddha statues. Look above you to admire striking 18th Century ceiling frescoes depicting important scenes from Buddha’s life and Sri Lankan history. Watch out for drops falling from the natural spring – it’s said to have healing powers and is used in sacred rituals.

Day 5: Sigiriya

In the morning, depart for the Sigiriya rock fortress. Rising 200 metres above the scrub jungle, this world heritage listed architectural marvel is nicknamed the ‘Lion Rock’ and was once the innermost stronghold of a 70 hectare fortified town. Scale the 1,200 stone steps to the top of the mountain, or simply take your time exploring the beautiful water gardens that surround the base. Tucked within a sheltered pocket about half way up the rock you’ll find the renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, painted onto the sheer rock face in natural earth pigments. Venture beyond this ancient gallery to uncover the Mirror Wall, where over 1,000 years ago, people scrawled their thoughts on the Maidens into the rock.

Located just a short tuktuk or bike ride from Sigiriya and perched beneath another rocky outcrop, you’ll find Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple. The natural rock caves here were transformed into a monastery in the 5th century AD following the arrival of King Kashyapa in Sigiriya. A set of steep steps lead up the hillside to the temple, where the main attraction is a huge, semi-restored Buddha reclining in a pocket of rock. From here it’s just a short five minute climb to the summit of the rock, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of Sigiriya’s lesser seen but perhaps even more fascinating northern face.

Day 6: Polonnaruwa

Enjoy a free morning, perhaps rising early to go for an invigorating trek along the unspoilt nature trails at Angammedilla National Park, located around 25 minutes from Polonnaruwa.

In the afternoon, explore ancient Polonnaruwa. Strewn across a long stretch of woodland, the well-preserved ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage site stood as an immense royal capital from the 8th century until 1310 CE.

The undisputed highlight of the site is the Quadrangle; a compact group of some of the finest shrine and temple ruins in Sri Lanka, all bound in by a surrounding wall. At the heart of the city you’ll find the remains of the Royal Palace, while the northern end is home to larger structures including the towering Lankathilaka Shrine, the iconic granite Buddha statues of the Gal Viharaya, and the Tivanka Image House with its carvings of playful dwarves and exquisite frescos. The small scale architectural models at the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum, located close to the Royal Palace, offer a fascinating insight into how the city might have looked in its heyday.

A gentle evening stroll by the tranquil ‘Sea of Parakrama’ – an expansive, 2,500 hectare water reservoir constructed during the reign of King Parakramabahu – is a perfect way to bring your visit to this magnificent medieval city to a close.

Day 7: Kandy

Travel with your guide to Kandy, stopping off in Matale en-route to drop by a fragrant spice garden. Learn how Sri Lanka’s renowned native spices are grown and witness a mouth-watering live cookery demonstration.

On arrival in Kandy, enjoy free time to relax for the rest of the day.

Situated 500 metres above sea level, this sacred Buddhist city is famed for its elegant Dutch colonial architecture, traditional dance and easy going atmosphere. The city’s most revered cultural attractions are the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Esala Perahera, a ten day festival which sees elephants, drummers and dancers take to the streets to celebrate the sacred tooth relic each year.

The Kandy dining scene offers a good mix of Sri Lankan, Western and distinct Indian influences. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.

Day 8: Kandy

Start your day wandering the shade-dappled paths of Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Discover the traditional spice garden and the Orchid House, where over 300 varieties of orchid bloom. 

This afternoon, tour the colourful streets of Kandy with your guide, starting with a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic to see the revered Buddha tooth in its ornate two storey shrine. Close by, the National Museum offers a fascinating insight into the Sri Wickrama Rajasingha era with over 5,000 well-preserved artefacts waiting to be discovered in the Palle Vahala (Queens Palace.)

In the evening, unwind and enjoy a live Kandyan dance performance. Blending elaborate costumes with frenetic dance moves and pulsating, infectious tribal drum rhythms, this unforgettable explosion of colour and sound is Sri Lanka’s most iconic performing art. Legend has it that the dance was originally developed as part of an exorcism ritual performed by Indian shaman visiting the island. It quickly became popular under the rule of the kings of Kandy and was eventually incorporated into religious ceremonies and festivals across Sri Lanka, never losing its strong ties with the city.

Day 9: Nuwara Eliya

Journey to Nuwara Eliya in the heart of the island’s picturesque tea country, dropping by at a tea plantation and tea factory on the way. Observe at first hand the manufacturing process which creates a tea revered for its unique flavour.

Perched on a mountainside 2,000 metres above sea level, the quaint Nuwara Eliya evokes an English country town with its red brick walls and mock Tudor architecture. Wander the town centre admiring the colonial buildings and soaking up the fresh mountain air, before stopping off at Victoria Park, where rare native and migrant birds can be spotted throughout the year.

Day 10: Yala National Park

Today we drive to Yala (Ruhuna) National Park.

This 1,297sq km expanse of rugged scrub land and light forest is renowned for its diverse wildlife, especially its large elephant herds and huge population of native and migratory birds. It’s also one of the best places in the world to glimpse leopards in the wild, especially during the spring to summer months when the park’s water levels are low. Although Yala’s wildlife inhabitants are its main drawcard, the remains of monastic settlement Situlpahuwa, along with several other early Buddhist structures are evidence that humans once thrived here too.

On arrival in Yala, check into your hotel and prepare for your early morning safari adventure!

Day 11: Yala National Park

Rise early to embark on a safari drive of Yala National Park. See elephant herds, spotted deer and boars as you explore the rugged scrublands with your experienced guide. Venturing deeper into the park, keep your eyes open for monkeys in their hundreds in the forests, leopards slinking through the undergrowth and crocodiles sunning themselves by brackish lagoons. The bird-watching highlight to look out for is the extremely rare black necked stork, of which there are thought to be only ten left in Sri Lanka. Migratory birds such as pintails, curlews and white-winged black terns are easier to spot.

Day 12: Galle

Today we travel via the stunning beaches in Tangalla and Mirissa, visit the opulent Dikkawella Wevurukannala Temple, near Matara, before heading to the charming fishing village of Weligama to witness the local stilt fisherman at work. Visit the Statue of Bodhisattvas, a life-size Bodhisattva Figure revered as one of the best statues of the Mahayanist Buddhist era in Sri Lanka.

Travel on with your guide to the fortified city of Galle for hotel check-in.

Day 13: Galle

After breakfast, stroll the winding narrow streets of Galle Fort.

Nestled on the shores of the Indian Ocean, this 36 hectare UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest intact Dutch fort in Asia and one of the best preserved examples of 17th century colonial fortifications in the world. The refreshingly quiet and traffic-free streets of the Dutch quarter are lined with elegant colonial-era villas and towering churches. Enjoy a leisurely wander, stopping to admire the stunning ocean views from the fort walls.

Venture into the heart of the town to experience Galle’s unique fusion of modern and ancient, where jewellery and book shops abound and alfresco cafes are half hidden behind magnificent towering columns.

Day 14: Galle to Colombo Airport

Spend some free time by the beach or unwinding on the lively streets of Galle until leaving for Colombo Airport for your departure flight.

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Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Standard:from AU $1,912
Superior:from AU $2,296
Deluxe:from AU $2,766

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

Inclusions:
  • All breakfasts at your hotel each morning.
  • All airport transfers.
  • All transport on tour.
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits.
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities.
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated on trip notes. We do not include lunch and dinner where it is practical for you to make your own choices, as we find that GetAboutAsia customers prefer the freedom of eating what they want, which is one the of joys of travelling.
Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

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"We had a very enjoyable trip to Sri Lanka and Ranga our driver guide was obliging. We had a fantastic time and there is great variety over the country with tea plantations, culture and beaches. " — Mr & Mrs Segal , Sydney, July 2018

"Our trip to Sri Lanka was fantastic and that everything went to plan - Thank you. This was third trip with Getaboutasia. Our driver Anandaraj De Silva was fantastic, as was the accommodation, food and hospitality. We found the people to be lovely and the country so interesting and diverse. On top of all that, the weather behaved! " — Mr and Mrs Millar, Perth, April 2018

"Just wanted to drop you a line to say “Thank you so much” for the beautiful tour of Sri Lanka. My husband and I and friends had a wonderful holiday and what an awesome experience. We really appreciate your hard work……….it was truly well taken care of and Sri Lanka is a beautiful holiday destination." — Mr and Mrs Kumar and party, Camberwell, February 2018

"Sri Lanka was great. Everything went to plan. We found Sri Lanka to be varied and interesting and we felt that our itinerary was well put together. Given that we like outdoor activities with a bit of adventure our favourite places were Sigirya Lion Rock and exploring the Udawalawe National Park in the Jeep. Our guide was as usual excellent." — Mr and Mrs Barker, Sydney, March 2018

"Our driver was great and looked after us so much it was like having a parent to look after us. Everything was great and we were very glad to have had breakfast included too. To narrow down our top 3 favourites; well we absolutely loved the Spice Garden, Ella Rock and Horton Plains, (we got to pat a deer it was beautiful)Oh and our first two accommodation places we had upgrades! The most beautiful rooms!! Thanks again for all the organising and chopping and changing. We will recommend Getaboutasia Much appreciated." — Mrs Fiddler and Mr Bade, Melbourne , October 2017

"Trip was fantastic! Everything went really well and our itinerary was perfect. We were met at the airport by our driver, Sunil Sanarakkody who was a terrific guide; couldn't have asked for a better one. I'm glad we added Yala and Mirissa, both were well worthwhile! Both safari parks were different and we saw many different animals and birdlife in both. Thank you for putting this all together for us, absolutely fabulous! " — Lisa and Des, Adelaide, December 2016

"Sri Lanka is beautiful and its peoples so gentle and kind, I loved it all. The tour went amazingly well and we enjoyed the whole trip. Our guide was an amazing person; He is a very intelligent, interesting & kind person who went out of his way everyday to make sure we had the best trip possible. I would certainly recommend the tour to my friends and suggest Get About Asia to book through. " — Dianne and Gaye , Blackwall NSW , August 2016

"All we can is THANKYOU!!! What an amazing country. All accommodation was top notch, you get a lot for your money over there. We would highly recommend Unawatuna! This place is just like paradise should be - Right on the beach and a wonderful vibe. Great distance to Galle too." — Ingrid and Nicholas, Brisbane QLD , August 2016

"Sri Lanka was a revelation. Superb scenery, wonderful food, accommodations and friendly people. What more could you want in a holiday! We can't recommend it highly enough. Your company was efficient, helpful and prompt replies to any of our queries. Thank you. We will certainly be using GetAboutAsia again." — Mr and Mrs Clayton - Jones, Mulwala NSW, August 2015

"Our safari in Yala was a real highlight. We’d chosen Yala as we really wanted to see leopards and we weren't disappointed - we watched a male, female pair basking in the sun and playing and got some great photos. We were also lucky enough to see a herd of elephants and loads of wild boar, buffalo, spotted deer, crocodiles and colourful birds." — Rachel & Andrew, Manchester, May 2014

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