Grand Tour of Sri Lanka: Culture, Landscapes & Wildlife
17 Days from $ 11,208 / person
Sri Lanka tours are all about experiencing variety and this trip covers more than just the usual highlights! Discover a tropical island paradise – from dream beaches and tea plantations to UNESCO World Heritage sites and the bustling metropolis of Colombo, this luxury Sri Lanka tour has it all. You also have the opportunity to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden delights on this private tour of Sri Lanka.
Experience the VIP Enchanting Service, which includes a fast track personal airport meet and greet facility for your international arrival and departure, airport lounge access, and complimentary premium beverages (including beer) and snacks during your car journeys.
Colombo, the bustling capital city of Sri Lanka, has something for everyone! A strategic port on the ancient Spice Route, the city is a potpourri of colonial influence, from the British to the Portuguese and Dutch.
Colombo City Walk with Mark Forbes Enjoy a personalized walk through the City of Colombo with Mark Forbes and see the city come alive through his love for Colombo’s rich culture and heritage. The amazing architecture which the Dutch and English left behind, combined with your introduction to words ‘borrowed’ from the Portuguese vocabulary, will show you a side of Colombo that few experience first-hand. With his knowledge and easygoing, friendly nature, Mark invites guests to enter into this world he has embraced wholeheartedly and reveals what being ‘Sri Lankan’ is really about. Best experienced in the evenings (but also fun during the mornings), this 3-4 hour walk will have you explore the ‘wind-down’ time that is an essential part of Sri Lanka’s island culture, and gently familairize you with the humid climate. ‘Before and after’ photographs of grand old buildings that Mark possesses will leave you breathless, and the exquisite architecture will certainly make you ‘shutter happy’!
Declared a world heritage city by UNESCO, the sacred city of Anuradapura is considered Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the Island’s capital for many centuries.
Highlights of Anuradhapura Uncover an ancient world with your tour of what was once a sacred capital city over one thousand years ago. Observe some of the largest bell-shaped dagobas (Buddhist stupas) in the country, made of small sundried bricks. There are also ancient drinking water reservoirs, various sculptures, palaces and temples to explore. Witness the sacred Bo (Bodhi) tree, that was grown from a sapling of the very tree that Lord Buddha sat under when he attained enlightenment 2,5000 years ago. Today it’s recorded as the oldest tree in history! Visit Isurumuniya Vihara, a temple and monastery, where you can admire fascinating stone carvings of lovers, elephants and a royal family. There’s also a reclining Buddha that has been cut from the rock. This culturally-rich is generously surrounded by lakes, paddy fields and undulating rocks.
Jeep Safari in Wilpattu National Park Wilpattu National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife parks. Enjoy a jeep safari over varying natural habitats with the possibility of spotting animals such as Elephants and Leopards. See unusual species of birds like Asian Open-bills, Whistling Teals, Eurasian Spoonbills, Kingfishers and Water Monitors. If you are lucky you might even spot a Mugger Crocodile. See colorful Butterflies like Great Eggfly, Glad-eye Bush-brown, Blue Mormon and Crimson Rose flitting.
Sigiriya is the ideal location if you wish to venture back in time! Unearth this UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back 5,000 years to the Mesolithic period.
Highlights of Sigiriya Sigiriya, which translates to Lion’s Rock, is aptly named as it juts out of a granite peak, standing tall at 180 meters and dominating the surrounding dense jungle. Witness Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is uniquely shaped and can be seen from great distances. You can also discover the fascinating rock paintings and frescoes of Sigiri apsaras (mythical dancing damsels), painted inside the cavity of the western rock face. Discover the style of 7th to 10th century graffiti by visiting the Mirror Wall! Kindly note that this activity requires a good level of physical fitness due to the steep steps to reach the fortress.
Dambulla Rock Cave Temple Visit Encounter the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka during this one hour visit! Dating back to the 1st century, the Dambulla rock caves became a Buddhist temples when they were converted into residential quarters for monks. You will be amazed by the five caves that sit under a vast overhanging rock. Each one now acts as a shrine room and contains numerous images of Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses. Mural paintings line the walls, depicting Buddha’s journey to enlightenment and his teachings. Throughout the centuries, this has been a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
Day Trip to Polonnaruwa (from Sigiriya) Polonnaruwa..the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, was the second capital city of the country after the destruction of the ancient city of Anuradhapura in 993 (from 10th-12th century AD). Note ancient Sri Lankan architecture from the 12th Century..see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the garden city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. Visit the ruins of the King’s Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House, Kiri Vehera and Gal Vihare; see Art, Architecture and Sculpture at Gal Viharaya, Thuparamaya Image House and Lankatilaka Image House.
Kandy was established in the 14th century and was the last independent city and capital of the Singhalese kingdom.
Highlights of Kandy Delve into regality as you explore the last royal capital. Venture to Dalda Maligawa, the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth, which houses the most sacred Buddhist relic, a tooth of Lord Buddha. Observe the many pilgrims conducting pujas (prayers) throughout the temple complex. Surrounded by aromatic tea plantations, magnificent hills and set by a lake, you can also enjoy some wonderful scenic views. Take a leisurely stroll around Lake Kandy, a protected lake where fishing is banned. Sip up the history of tea drinking pioneers like Lipton and Taylor at the Ceylon Tea Museum, a 1920s vintage tea factory. Enjoy traditional dance performances that capture the imagination and connect audiences to the tribal roots of the performers.
Experience the charming feel of life on a Sinhalese hill station at this tiny hill country town.
Half Day Hatton Tea Plantation Tour Tea lovers welcome! The renowned pure Ceylon tea awaits you in Hatton. Embark on an insightful hour-long visit to discover more about the history and methods of cultivation at a local tea factory. Learn how tea is processed, right from the leaf to brew, and observe the grading techniques employed to make the finest blends. For tea enthusiasts, this is the perfect chance to shop for the world-famous blend. Naturally, no visit is complete without tasting a quality cup yourself.
Yala National Park is a sprawling natural paradise teeming with wildlife, in southeastern Sri Lanka.
Jeep Safari in Yala National Park Discover the joy of safari in Yala National Park. Noted for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, leopards and birdlife, it is no wonder it is Sri Lanka’s leading and second largest park. Rise early (0500 hrs) to watch the sunrise with a fresh brew of Ceylon tea or coffee before heading into the jungle for an exciting three and a half hour game drive with an experienced naturalist. Return to the camp for a hearty breakfast, brimming with exotic seasonal fruits and fresh juices. Unwind until lunch then enjoy an afternoon snoozing in a hammock or delving into the library of wildlife books! At 1530 hrs, head out on another jeep drive. Return to camp at 1830 hrs, just in time for a private alfresco shower so you are refreshed for drinks and appetizers around the campfire. The perfect end to a perfect day? A dinner under the stars!
Mirissa and Weligama are small towns known for their famous stilt fishermen and dolphins, located on the southern coastal tip of Sri Lanka, just 200 kms from the Equator.
Half Day Whale Watching Experience (Shared) Sri Lanka is a global top spot to see Blue and Sperm whales. 27 species of marine mammals can be found on the island’s coast. Be amazed by Blue whales, the largest animals on earth, who feed on krill, and Sperm whales, the largest carnivore mammals, who feed on squid and octopus. Killer whales, pilot whales and dolphins can also be spotted in action during a whale watching trip in one of the deep-sea fishing boats off the east coast.
Bentota offers a pristine beachside experience in southwestern Sri Lanka.
Special Day Excursion – Bandaragama Village, Temple & Agriculture Embark on an exclusive village experience with a day trip to Bandaragama Village. Get a taste of the rural lifestyle as you head to the Uyanwatta Reservoir Bandaragama, and Kithsiri Mewan Ancient Temple in Pokunuwita. Wander around the village and stop off and enjoy some light refreshments with the locals, before venturing into paddy fields, a pineapple plantation. Visit a cinnamon plantation where you can learn the process of making this aromatic spice. Head onwards to a rubber plantation and a small scale tea plantation. You can enjoy a traditional rice and curry lunch at a villager’s home. Afterwards, visit a few cottage industries, including a traditional ironmonger’s workshop, a handloom mill, and a workshop that creates beautiful handmade clay pottery. Finish your day with a few refreshments at Ampitigala Temple, where you can speak with the in-house priest to gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism. (Full Day Private Activity & Transfer, which lasts 3 to 4 hours; Fitness Level: Moderate as it includes some walking; Travel time to activity: 1 hr from Colombo/Bentota; Lunch included. If you have a preference for timing, please tell your travel consultant at the time of booking, otherwise our team will schedule the tour at the best available time.)
Negombo is a bustling beach town with plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation! Nestled on the rim of Negombo Lagoon, the town boasts a long stretch of buzzing yet beautiful beach, and is located close to Colombo.