Discover the human influences that have made Sri Lanka the fascinating country that it is today. The history of this small island is rich and diverse, from the early island settlers to the Sinhalese monarchs and, in more recent years, European colonisation. Combine visiting ancient sites to unearth a bygone era with meeting and conversing with locals to appreciate the factors that have influenced daily life for Sri Lankans.
View more climate information & imperial units
Arrive and transfer to the historic Galle Face Hotel for a 2-night stay. Colombo represents a contrasting blend of cultural influences, a city where colonial architecture is juxtaposed with a developing and modern city landscape.Local expert Mark Forbes will guide you through the city to unveil the diverse history of the city, with a focus on the people of the nation’s capital. (B)
Travel to a rural village amid the paddy fields for a tuktuk ride and a visit to a traditional village home. Watch the production of cinnamon and oil and the ancient art of rubber tapping. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Travel to Sigiriya in the Cultural Triangle, an ideal base to discover Sri Lanka’s cultural and religious history. Stay 3 nights at the Water Garden Sigiriya, a beautiful hotel surrounded by lakes and streams. Its design takes inspiration from the 2,000-year-old water garden of Sigiriya fortress, located just 6km away andproviding a stunning backdrop. You will visit the fortress this afternoon. The Lion Rock citadel rises 200 metres from the scrub jungle below and was the innermost stronghold of the 70-hectare fortified town. (B)
Discover Sri Lanka’s first capital, the ancient city of Anuradhapura, which was founded in the 4th century BC and served as the nation’s capital for 1,400 years. With the guidance of a local historian, cycle through the temple complex, uncovering fascinating temples, Buddhist shrines and relics. Continue to Mihintale, said to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. (B, L)
Discover the 11th-century medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, the capital of the Chola and Sinhalese kingdoms. Today it is an impressive archaeological site teeming with ancient structures, including tombs, temples and stupas. Stop for lunch at family-run PriyamaliGedara for a traditional Sri Lankan farm lunch of rice and curry. Continue to Minneriya, a national park that attracts the largest concentration of Asiatic elephants in the world. (B, L)
Travel to Kandy via the impressive and ancient cave temples of Dambulla. Stay 2 nights in the historic Kandy House, a 200-year-old ancestral manor house. In the evening, watch a traditional Kandyan dance performance. (B)
This morning, visit the Temple of the Tooth in time for the puja, or prayers. The Temple of the Tooth dates from the 16th century and is entered via two doors showing mythical beasts. Afterwards, visit the nearby British Garrison Cemetery to learn about the British rule of Ceylon, the former British name for Sri Lanka. In the afternoon, meet Loku, a retired professor of English and a resident of Kandy for over 70 years. Enjoy afternoon tea and learn about life in Kandy and the events she has witnessed first-hand. (B)
Taking a rural train ride in Sri Lanka not only lets you see the beautiful landscape of the country unfold before you at a leisurely pace but is also an excellent opportunity to interact with locals who use these trains daily. As you pass lush tea plantations, crashing waterfalls and mountain creeks, you will also be able to see glimpses of rural life in the small villages you pass. Stay 3 nights at the magnificent 98 Acres Resort, a working tea plantation. (B)
Discover the history and importance of tea in Sri Lanka on a guided tour of the tea estate. See the process of tea cultivation and meet the tea pickers of the estate. In the afternoon, join a cookery demonstration and try your hand at producing traditional Sri Lankan delicacies. (B)
Discover sites that not many have seen before in an area that competes with the more well-known Cultural Triangle. See the temple of Yudaganawa, dating back nearly 2,000 years and commissioned by Saddhatissa, one of the first kings of the country. See seven ancient carvings of Buddha at Buduruwagala, which were carved into the rock face in the sixth century, and see the tallest standing Buddha statue in the country, which dates back at least 1,000 years and was only rediscovered in the 1950s. (B)
Travel to Galle via the Mulkirigala cave paintings, an exceptionally well-preserved collection of colourful ancient frescoes and reclining Buddhas. Stay 2 nights at the boutique Fort Bazaar hotel, right in the heart of atmospheric Galle fort. Afternoon tour of this ancient port city and unesco heritage site. Discover the turbulent history of the city and see the direct influence of British and Portuguese colonisation. (B)
Visit a local school in the morning to learn more about life in Sri Lanka and the educational system. If you wish, you may be able to teach a lesson in English or if you prefer, simply observe a lesson in the classroom before conversing with teachers over lunch. Afternoon at leisure or visit the Galle Mask Museum, which exhibits traditional devil dancing masks and puppets from Sri Lanka's past. (B, L)
Transfer to Colombo and fly home. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.
For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 3930 5073 or email Info@CoxandKings.co.uk.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
FAE2018: 12 Nights
Colombo is Sri Lanka's largest city and the country's political, economic and cultural...
Kandy, situated at an altitude of 500m, is the cultural centre of Sri Lanka and was the capital...
The ancient town of Sigiriya, set within Sri Lanka's 'Cultural Triangle' is an ideal and...