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Uncover ancient Sri Lanka. Climb the world renown Sigiriya fortress and wander the ruins of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Visit the cultural capital Kandy to see the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and witness a stirring performance of traditional dance and drumming. Venture into the lush hill country to try tea straight from the source and admire Sri Lanka’s most magnificent view at the “World’s End”.
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.
Spend the day at leisure. Your vehicle and driver will be at your disposal for 80km to explore the area, should you choose to do so.
This morning you will be collected from your hotel by your drive to commence your exploration of Sri Lanka. Journey to 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.
Today visit 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.
Return to Sigiriya in the late afternoon.
This 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.
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.
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.
Return to Sigiriya.
Day 6: Kandy
Travel to Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka.
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.
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. Stop for a picnic lunch (not included in tour price) among the lush sprawling lawns.
After lunch, 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.
Journey to Nuwara Eliya in the heart of the island’s picturesque tea country, stopping 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.
After breakfast you will drive the short journey to the beautiful hill town of Ella. With spectacular views through the Ella Gap down to the plains below, Ella is everyone's favourite hill country village. Take a walk up Ella Rock or Little Adam's Peak for a birds eye view of this amazing landscape or spend some time in one of Ella's chilled out cafes and restaurants.
Today you'll take Sri Lanka's most scenic train journey, from Ella to Haputale. Return to Ella in the afternoon where the rest of the day is free.
Depart the hill country for the country's capital city, Colombo.
A dynamic and multicultural capital, Colombo is changing rapidly, yet there's still plenty of evidence of old world charm to be found in its colourful and hectic streets. The chaotic energy of the Pettah Bazaar shopping district is unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka, while Slave Island, with its ornate temples and colonial-era railway station is a fascinating place to spend an afternoon wandering.
The city's dining scene is as diverse as its population and includes a full range of European and Asian dishes. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Transfer to Colombo International Airport for your departure.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
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 $2,055|
|Superior:||from AU $2,315|
|Deluxe:||from AU $3,226|
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!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
•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.
Availability of accommodation and season.
"We had a fantastic trip to Sri Lanka. Everyone enjoyed it and could not fault the holiday at all. Everything went according to plan – couldn’t have been better. All the hotels were excellent, the service faultless and the food superb. It is a very rare occasion when you can see a leopard in the wild (the guide and the driver were equally as excited as us!). I would like to commend our guide / driver (Bandu.) He went out of his way to do everything to make our time in Sri Lanka a great success and I would recommend his services to anyone in the future. All in all we had a wonderful time and are already contemplating our next holiday. Many thanks for all your help!" — Jarrit Family, Melbourne, January 2018
"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
"Many thanks to GetAboutAsia for organising our wonderful holiday in Sri Lanka. We were very happy with our guide, Mahesh Fernando and also very relieved that we got such a nice guy. Mahesh was all we could wish for: very polite, forthcoming, helpful, flexible and always punctual and available at all times. Also very safe driver. The car was just what we needed, practically new Corolla so we had comfortable cruising." — Andrew Stremeski and Reeny Toll, Cobram, VIC, September 2014.
"My favourite place in Sri Lanka was Kandy. We visited during the Vesak Festival and it was amazing to be a part of what is such a meaningful time for Sri Lankans. As a city, Kandy was also very beautiful, with the lake and the way the city sprawled around it. Runner-up favourite place would have to be Ella. " — Zona & Aaron, Launceston, TAS, May 2014
"Sri Lanka was phenomenal! The food, the climate, the beaches and the culture are just captivating. We couldn’t be happier with our trip. Our custom designed tour went everywhere we wanted within the timeframe we decided. There is so much culture and history in Sri Lanka and the local people are so friendly. We loved the ‘real’ experience, not tainted by westernised tourist companies. Sri Lanka is a must see destination, with every area offering difference experiences! We will return for sure!" — Sarah and Rutger, Mornington Victoria , July 2015