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Sri Lanka, Temples & Tea

(Tour code: SLG17)Discover the astonishing heritage of Sri Lanka

Discover the fabulous diverse scenery of exotic Sri Lanka on this spectacular journey through the country's cultural heritage. During this south Asian adventure we explore Sri Lanka's many glorious attractions, from its charming coastal cities to its mountain temple retreats, and from its ancient royal palaces to its magnificent Buddhist monuments.

Tour Highlights
  • Colombo
  • The UNESCO World Heritage city of Kandy
  • Visit to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Lion's Rock Fortress
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Beautifully scenic rail journeys
  • Nanu Oya Tea Plantation
  • Yala National Park
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Rajadhani Express
  • 3-5* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Evening Meals
    12 Nights' Accommodation
  • Return Scheduled Flights
    Upgrades Available

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Fly Options

Regional Departures Available

To make your travel arrangements even more convenient for you, we are excited to announce that we are now offering some regional airport options outside London for this tour.

To view prices and flight options, please click the 'View Dates & Prices' button and select the departure that you are interested in as options may vary. Alternative, click the image on the left to see flight options and call us on 01904 734 111 to book.

Days 1-2

London to Colombo

We depart from London Heathrow on our overnight flight to Colombo. Arriving on Day 2, we transfer to the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, which enjoys a great location overlooking the ocean. The rest of your day is free for you to settle in.

  • Scheduled flights
  • In-flight Meal
  • Day 2: Dinner
Day 3

Colombo sightseeing

We take a sightseeing tour of Colombo, Sri Lanka's largest city and its capital, this morning. Here the old blends effortlessly with the new; there are beautiful temples and open green spaces amongst the grand Colonial architecture and towering skyscrapers. We visit the city's main sights, including the fascinating Colombo Museum, housed in a magnificent building. This afternoon we travel by rail to Kandy, in central Sri Lanka. Our journey on the Rajadhani Express takes us through some truly beautiful landscapes, including dense woodlands and valleys of lush green vegetation, as we climb into the hills. We spend tonight at the Cinnamon Citadel Hotel in Kandy.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Guided City Tour
Pinnawela Elephants
Day 4

Pinnawela Elephants

This morning we travel to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela, a remarkable project that protects the island's abandoned or orphaned elephants. We watch as the elephants splash and play in the river. Later we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Pinnawela village, before lunch in a local riverside restaurant. In the afternoon we drive to Dambulla, and spend two nights at the Paradise Resort.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Visit to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Lion's Rock Fortress
Day 5

Polonnaruwa & Lion’s Rock Fortress

Today we visit Polonnaruwa, whose ancient centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we explore the incredible rock shrines, mighty monuments and vast, done-shaped stupas that line the streets. In the afternoon we continue to Sigiriya. This striking 'Lion's Rock' fortress stands majestically overlooking the jungle surroundings, and is one of Sri Lanka's most awe-inspiring sights. A steep climb to the top takes you past well-preserved frescoes, and is rewarded with stunning views. For the less energetic, at the lower levels you can discover the ruins of the Royal Palace, and the elegant gardens.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Visit to Polonnaruwa & Lion's Rock Fortress
Dambulla Cave
Day 6

Dambulla Cave Temples & Kandy

We begin today with a visit to Dambulla Cave Temple, a magnificent series of five cave temples dating back to the 1st century BC - and all concealed by a vast overhanging rock. Each cave is brimming with detailed frescoes and beautiful carvings, and the largest features 150 statues of Buddha. Later we leave Dambulla and drive to Kandy. Nestled among a series of hills, Kandy was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Colonial era, and is celebrated as the country's centre of culture. On arrival we enjoy a guided tour of the city - a UNESCO World Heritage site - admiring the former palace and associated royal buildings dotted around the lake. We also see the magnificent Temple of the Sacred Tooth, one of the world's most important Buddhist sites. The rest of the day is free for you to continue exploring the winding streets of this enthralling city, or perhaps take a stroll along the lake shore. We spend tonight at the Cinnamon Citadel Hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • City tour of Kandy
  • Temple of the Tooth
  • Dambulla Caves
Tamil tea picker
Day 7

Peradeniya, Nanu Oya & a tea plantation

Our first excursion today takes us to the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens. Previously reserved exclusively for royalty, these beautiful gardens are Sri Lanka's largest and most impressive. Later we travel by rail to Nanu Oya, on a route widely regarded as one of the world's most scenic railway journeys. From the observation car, we admire the splendid panoramas as the train passes through plains of paddy fields lined with palm trees. Continuing to climb into the mountains, the train navigates a series of slopes, before crossing the stunning Mahaweli Valley. We then reach Nanu Oya, where we enjoy a guided tour of a tea plantation. Later we transfer to Nuwara Eliya, known locally as 'Little England' - set against a backdrop of soaring mountains, verdant valleys and mighty waterfalls. We spend a night at the iconic Grand Hotel - a landmark of the town, in an Elizabethan-style mansion with beautiful gardens.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Visit to a Tea Plantation
Ella Gap
Day 8

To Yala

Leaving Nuwara Eliya, we travel by rail from Nanu Oya to Ella. Travelling in the observation car, we admire the enchanting views of the tea plants lining the hillsides, as well as the cascading waterfalls, before the line plateaus on a forested plain. Arriving in Ella, we continue by coach to Yala. We pass the Ella Gap, a dramatic landscape where the mountains tumble 3,000ft to the eastern plains. We stay for two nights in Yala at the Mandara Rosen Hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Yala National Park
Days 9-10

Yala National Park and to Galle

Early this morning we transfer to Yala National Park, the largest park in Sri Lanka with a wonderfully diverse landscape including monsoon forests, dusty plains and marine wetlands. Here we take a game drive, pursuing elephants, leopards and wild boar among many other rare species, including a number of reptiles and even aquatic birds. To increase our chances of spotting the animals, we take a second game drive this afternoon. On Day 10 we drive to Ahungalla, an idyllic coastal town, for three nights at the Heritance Ahungalla Hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Galle Beach
Days 11-12

Galle and whale watching

This morning we visit Galle. Boasting an idyllic natural harbour, a labyrinth of quaint narrow streets and a delightfully preserved, UNESCO protected fortress area, Galle has much to recommend it. We explore its main attractions on a guided tour, including the whitewashed houses and grand religious buildings jutting out on the peninsula. Day 12 is free to relax in Ahungalla, which is famed for its white sandy beaches. Alternatively, you may wish to join the optional whalewatching trip from Mirissa Harbour. This stretch of coastline offers the highest concentration of Blue Whales in the world, and is also a great place to track the sperm whale.

  • Day 11: Breakfast; Day 12: Breakfast, Dinner
Flying home
Days 13-14

Return to Colombo and London

Taking the Rajdhani Express, we travel north by rail on a magnificent route that hugs Sri Lanka's western shore, with sweeping views of the glittering ocean at every turn. We reach Colombo in the afternoon, and check in for a final night at the colonial Mount Lavinia Hotel, where we enjoy a farewell meal overlooking the sea. On Day 14 we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London Heathrow.

  • Scheduled flights
  • Day 13: Breakfast, Dinner; Day 14: Breakfast
  • Day 13: Journey on the Rajdhani Express

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.


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Helping you plan your holiday...

Lori Mcclaren
Phil Conde
Kathryn Cambridge
Lynne Broadley



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