Wonders of Sri Lanka
The magnificent island country of Sri Lanka is blessed with diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage which makes it a popular destination for visitors from around the world who are floored by the warm hospitality of Sri Lankans. The land of ancient sites, monuments and rock temples also offers immense opportunities for exploring marine and wildlife. Home to many religions, the history of Sri Lanka dates back to 3000 years ago that has withstood the test of time in spite of several invasions from neighboring South-East Asian dynasties. After going through decades of military turmoil, Sri Lanka is finally on the path of development and the present government is making concrete efforts to attract visitors from all over the world by upgrading infrastructure and offering unique travel experiences. Sri Lanka is also known for UNESCO World Heritage Sites deemed truly wonderful that evoke the culture and heritage of the land.
The wonders of Sri Lanka tour starts off from Colombo then towards Habarana to indulge in the land of Anuradhapura where you will also be able to explore Sigiriya, the rock fortress and also Polonnaruwa, another capital of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka. You will then make your way towards Dambulla and Kandy, where you be able to appreciate the cultural wonders of the Dambulla Rock Temple as well as the Temple of the Tooth Relic. From there on, you will move towards the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and Ratnapura, for more sights to be seen and thereafter to the Sinharaja Rainforest. At the end of this cultural tour, you will head towards Galle and stay overnight. Reminiscence the glory of the colonial era left behind from the historic Galle Fort.The tour comes to an end by making your way to Mount Lavinia, close to the west capital, where you can lounge by the sea and relax before departure.
- Explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa
- Relax on the sandy beaches of the east coast
- Close-up elephant encounters at Pinnawala
Best time to Visit
Day 1 Arrive Colombo - Negombo
Arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka. On arrival, meet your Vasco representative who will greet and welcome you with warm Sri Lankan touch.
Thereafter we will proceed to Negombo where you will check-in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Colombo is the capital, and largest city of Sri Lanka, with a population of 4.6 million metropolitan area, and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (which is the official capital of Sri Lanka) suburb or the parliament capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is also the administrative capital of Western Province, Sri Lanka and the district capital of Colombo District.
Day 2 Negombo - Anuradhapura - Sigiriya
After breakfast proceed to Sigiriya via the ancient city of Anuradhapura.
Anuradhapura was founded in the 04th century B.C a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. It has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization which flourished in this region. You will see some of the most famous as well as the Tallest Stupas of Sri Lanka and the Ruins of ancient royal palaces. Another amazing site would be the ‘Sri Maha Bodhi’ or the sacred Bo tree which is over 2200 years old grown from a branch of the very tree under which “The Buddha” attained enlightenment – the oldest historically documented tree in the world
Day 3 Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Sigiriya
With an early breakfast, we drive to visit the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress is a 5th Century “Fortress in the Sky” which is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder of the Island. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the Palace on the summit of the 600-foot high rock. On its summit are the foundations of the Royal Palace, Water Tanks to supply water and all other buildings and at the edges the guardhouses. On one of the stairways the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting survived in the form of Frescoes of 21 life sized damsels still shining in their original colours. The Water Gardens, Fountain Garden, Summerhouses, Boulder Gardens and the Caves within the enclosed area should not be missed.
Then enjoy a tour to a local village in Sigiriya where you will be able to enjoy a meal with a local family. After lunch we visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa another “World Heritage Site” that was also the Capital of Sri Lanka from 11th - 13th Centuries. It contains some splendid and spectacular statues. Lankatilake, Tivanka and Thuparama are the most beautiful and largest Image Houses and Tivanka has the best example of frescoes of the Polonnaruwa period. Rankoth Vehera and Kirivehera are well preserved large stupas, and Gal Vihare - a rock shrine, has four Buddha statues, two seated, one standing and one reclining and Parakrama Bahu statue are examples of Sinhalese stone carver. The Vata-da-ge is a unique creation of the Sri Lankan artists.
Overnight in Sigiriya (At Aliya Resort & Spa or similar)
Day 4 Sigiriya - Dambulla - Kandy
After breakfast at the hotel we drive from Sigiriya to visit the Dambulla Cave Temples. These vast isolated rock mass are 500 feet high and a mile around the base. The famous Rock Temple dates back to the First Century B.C. The caves of Dambulla sheltered King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. When he regained the throne he built the most magnificent of Rock Temples to be found in the Island.
Thereafter we will proceed to Kandy and en route visit a Spice Garden in Matale.
Once we are in Kandy, you will check-in to your hotel and relax for a while. Later in the afternoon, we will enjoy a city tour of Kandy including a visit to a Gem Museum.
Kandy was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule and finally ceded to the British in 1815 after an agreement. To the Buddhist of Sri Lanka and the World, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the “Dalada Maligawa” - Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Close by are the remains of the Royal Palace (Maha Wasala), Palle Wasala- where the Queens stayed-now used for the National Museum, Meda Wasala where other close relatives lived, Audience Hall, Natha Devala and Vishnu Devala are situated. The Bathing Pavilion (Ulpenge) is by the Lake and in the Center of the lake is the Island called “Kiri samudraya” (Milk white ocean) used by the kings as the summerhouse. Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture.
Later visit the Temple of the Tooth followed by Sri Lankan cultural performance. A sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th Century AD and was enshrined within Kandy’s sacred Dalada Maligawa also known as the Temple of the Tooth. This is a magnificent temple with decorative walls and a golden roof. Overnight stay is at the hotel.
Day 5 Kandy - Pinnawala - Ratnapura - Kalawana
After breakfast, visit the famous Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala.The orphanage was started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded elephants. The number of elephants has increased to more than 65 now; including Baby Elephants brought from various parts, as well as the babies born, as a result of the captive breeding programme. The best time to visit is the feeding time from 0930-1000 hrs and 1330-1400 hrs and the bathing time from 1000-1030 hrs and 1400-1430 hrs when all the elephants are taken to the river close by.
Thereafter we will proceed to Kalawana via Ratnapura “The City of Gems”. Ratnapura is the world’s richest treasure house of gems. Rare sparkling precious and semi-precious stones are found in the rich soil that covers the entire district. It is a city set amidst a mix of paddy fields, rubber and tea plantations which give a scenic backdrop to this legendary city of a thousand gems. Overnight stay is at the hotel.
Day 6 Kalawana - Sinharaja - Hikkaduwa
After breakfast enjoy a nature walk across the Sinharaja Rain Forest.
Sinharaja Rain Forest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site It is the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rainforest remaining in Sri Lanka. It is a treasure trove of endemic species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of the dense vegetation wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry zone national parks. Bird watching is particularly interesting as it is home to 95% of the endemic birds of Sri Lanka.
Thereafter proceed to your beach hotel in Hikkaduwa for overnight stay.
Day 7 Hikkaduwa - Galle - Hikkaduwa
After breakfast, visit the Old Dutch Fort in Galle.
Galle the capital of the southern province and is a city with a colourful history. A UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. A 300 year old Dutch colonial atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings not invaded by the skyscrapers. Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 8 Hikkaduwa - Colombo - Journey Home
After breakfast, proceed to the Colombo airport in time to board your onward flight with sweet memories of Sri Lanka.