Sri Lanka: A Guided Small Group Tour

Soul of Sri Lanka tour

SRI LANKA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Attend an ancient traditional Perahara (festival) with the locals. This is an exciting grand procession with dancers, fire performers and over 60 decorated elephants – January-February tour only
  • Visit the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka: Anuradhpura, Polonnaruwa, Sigirya and Dambulla
  • Explore the World Heritage City of Kandy and see traditional Kandyan dance performances
  • Attend puja at the Dalada Maligawa where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha is preserved
  • Exclusive invitations to meet with respected artistic professionals
  • Exclusive invitations to visit and lunch at the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa
  • Private experience to wash elephants with their mahouts

Travel with Original World on a Sri Lanka tour and spend your holiday journeying through history from delightful Colombo, with its contemporary cafes and art galleries, to Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka from the 3rd century BC. Our small group tour visits the enchanting medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, Sigirya, a 5th century palatial complex of caved temples, bathing pools, lovely ponds and Asia’s oldest surviving landscaped gardens.

En-route to Kandy we tour a private spice garden. During our Kandy tour, we visit museums and art galleries and revered sites such as the Sri Maha Boddhi, the oldest historically documented tree in the world, dating back over 2000 years. We attend the traditional puja ceremony at Dalada Maligawa Temple, where the Tooth Relic of the Buddha is displayed. We also visit the Kandyan Dance Foundation.

Kandy, a World Heritage City which is surrounded by mountains, green velvet tea plantations and the Mahaweli River, is a fascinating city rich in cultural heritage, arts and crafts, music, and dance.  Enjoy the beauty of Kandy’s historic architecture, including ancient religious monuments still in use.

Our tour continues to the hill country of Nuwara Eliya and then travels into rural villages Ella, Wellawaya and Yala. The tour culminates at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, the historic town of Galle.

View A Detailed Itinerary:

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Full moon poya parade in Colombo

  • 1
    Day 1-3: Colombo

    The tour begins with the vibrant city of Colombo including art galleries, posh Cinnamon Gardens and Gangaramaya Temple. January tour will attend the grand ancient festival.

  • 2
    Day 3-4: Anuradhapura - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa

    Visit the fascinating and beautiful cultural triangle. The island's Buddhist influence has produced magnificent architecture as seen in the massive Dagabas, the ornate pleasure gardens and palaces decorated with excellent sculptures.

    One of the most important places of worship is the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. Sigiriya, a 5th century massive rock fortress rising 183 meters above the surrounding green scrub jungle, perhaps the most memorable place for visitors to Sri Lanka, was just declared a world heritage site.

    Rarely visited by tourists, Polonnaruwa is a mystical place, incredibly beautiful and unspoiled, with shady forests filled with streams, pools and granite boulders. Its ancient, elegant stone pathways wind through the forest to well-preserved palace ruins, bathing pools, stupas and exquisite rock sculptures of the Buddha.

    We'll enjoy a private opportunity to bathe some elephants with their mahouts, away from the hordes of tourists.

  • 3
    Day 5-7: Kandy

    Kandy is a fascinating city rich in cultural heritage of arts and crafts, music, and dance. We visit Dambulla Golden Temple, Spice Gardens and attend puja at the “Dalada Maligawa,” the city's greatest attraction, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha is preserved.

  • 4
    Day 8: Kandy-Nuwara Elliya

    We depart for the hill country and stop en-route at a tea plantation.

  • 5
    Day 9-10: Nuwara Elliya-Ellya-Wellawaya

    Onward, deeper into the highlands of Sri Lanka, with a magnificent scenic train journey to the quaint town of Ellya. From here we continue by car to Wellawaya, an unknown tourist town but important pilgrimage for Buddhists due to the Buduruwagala Buddha statue located near the town.

  • 6
    Day 11: Wellawaya-Yala

    We depart for Yala, a rural outback of the deep south. This afternoon, a safari inside Ruhunu National Park, a section of Yala National Park, well known for the large number of Leopards, the 215 bird species and ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands.

  • 7
    Day 12-13: Galle

    A 2nd safari into Yala National Park and then depart to Galle.

    On arrival, a guided tour of the pleasant small town of Galle at the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The Galle Fort is a World Heritage Site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

    We also visit the excellent Martin Wingramasingh Folk Heritage Museum.

  • 8
    Day 14: Galle-Negambo

    We depart Galle and start with a visit the turtle hatchery, a project for the conservation of Sri Lanka's turtles.

    Then a stop at Lunuganga Estate, the former home of famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. We'll enjoy a tour of the gardens and then lunch.

    Transfer to Negambo, a pretty seaside town close to the airport hotel.

  • 9
    Day 15: Depart
  • 10
    Day 16: January tour Depart

    This morning a tour of the sleepy town of Negambo.

    This evening, transfer to airport for departure.

  • Trip Length

    16 day trip begins and ends in Colombo

  • Dates

    January 18-February 2, 2019
    with Kelaniya Duruthu Maha Perahara (festival)
    Precedes South India Tour
    November-December TBA
    follows South India Tour

  • Land Cost

    From: $4175 Jan
    $200 discount if booked with South India Tour

  • Accommodations

    9/10 nights 5-star, 2 nights 4 star, 2 nights heritage country manor, 1 night eco-luxury resort

  • Group Size

    6-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    daily breakfast, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

  • Extend Your Trip

    Essential South India
    LEARN MORE >
    Ultimate India (North & South)
    LEARN MORE >
    Culture & Crafts of Tribal Odisha
    LEARN MORE >
    Discover Bangladesh!
    LEARN MORE >

Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura, North Central Province, Sri Lanka

Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya, Central Province, Sri Lanka

Wellawaya, Uva Province, Sri Lanka

Galle, Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Negombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka

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