05 DAYS & 04 NIGHTS - Sri Lanka highlights

Tour Highlights

Explore the best places to visit in Sri Lanka with Rough Guides: explore where to go, view itineraries and read about temples, plantations and buddhist traditions.

Itinerary Day to day

AIRPORT – DAMBULLA – POLONNARUWA – HABARANA

Arrival to Bandaranayke International Airport at 00:00hrs on 00000 by flight 0000. On arrival the client will be met by the Ceylon Reach representatives and will be decorated with garlands of “Temple tree flowers”.  Thereafter they will be introduced to the local tour guide who will be accompanying them around the Island. Afterwards transfer to Dambulla & visit Cave temple.

Approx. 3 ½ hours’ drive to Dambulla 

*Dambulla - is famous for the five cave Temples on a rock.  The first 03 caves are better, older and larger than the other two.  Some caves dates to 1st C.B.C. All the 5 cave walls and ceilings are covered with Buddhist murals and there are more than 130 Buddha statues, statues of Gods and Kings are also found here.  (Approx. 1 ½ hrs time to visit)

Thereafter proceed to Polonnaruwa

Approx. 2 hrs drive to Polonnaruwa

Afternoon commence sightseeing tour in Polonnaruwa. 

*Polonnaruwa - was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th - 13th C.A.D Great revival was achieved in the country, politically, economically and socially during the period of Kings Vijayabahu 1, Parakramabahu 1 and Nissankamalla of the Polonnaruwa period.

The monuments are better preserved than at Anuradhapura. Parakrama Statue, Royal Palaces, Audience Halls, Vata-da-ge, Thuparama, Rankoth Vehera, Kiri-Vehera, Gal-Vihara, Lankathilaka and Tivanka Image House are some of the interesting monuments here. (Approx. 2 ½ hrs time to visit)

Evening proceed to hotel in Sigiriya

Approx. 1 ½ hours’ drive to hotel 

Dinner & overnight stay at selected hotels (3*, 4*, 5*or Luxury Boutique)

HABARANA – SIGIRIYA – MATALE – KANDY

After having breakfast at the hotel climbs the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Approx. 30 minutes’ drive to Sigirya

*Sigiriya - is home to the 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 fortress. Within its triple-moated defence the huge rock rises almost to a sheer height of 500ft. On its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace and gardens complete with swimming pool. On one of the stairways the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting survived in the form of Frescoes of life sized damsels in all the freshness and delicacy of their original colour. (Approx. 2 ½ hrs time to visit)

Approx. 1 ½ hours’ drive to Matale

After leave for Kandy, en route visit a *Spice Garden at Matale - you will see many spice gardens at Matale where Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper Creepers and all other spice trees, plants and creepers are planted for visitors to see them. Spice products are also available for those who would like to buy them. At all Spice Gardens visitors are taken round explaining each tree and plant and at the end explaining the use of them in food preparations.

Also visit *Batik Factory - where you can see the manufacture of beautiful Batik prints. These shops contain a wide variety of Batik items.  

Approx. 45 minutes’ drive to Kandy from Matale

* Kandy - the hill capital. Venue of the annual Perahera The last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings was finally ceded to the British in 1815. Kandy is an example of the Buddhism’s influence in Sri Lanka today. Temple’s shrines and monasteries keeping alive Buddhist traditions are everywhere.

* Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic  - ever since 4th Century A.D, when the Buddha’s Tooth was brought to Sri Lanka hidden from sacrilegious hands in an Orissan princess’ hair, the Relic has grown in repute and holiness in Sri Lanka and throughout the Buddhist world. It is considered Sri Lanka’s most prized possession.

Evening witness a cultural show featuring various dance types of Sri Lanka

Dinner & overnight stay at selected hotels (3*, 4*, 5*or Luxury Boutique)

KANDY – PERADENIYA – TEA PLANTATION – NUWARA ELIYA

After breakfast visit Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

Approx. 15 mnts drive to Peradeniya Botanical Garden

* Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya - 147 acres in extent; Started in 1374 as a pleasure garden of the Kings of Gampola and Kandy.  There are more than 5,000 species of trees, plants and creepers. Some rare and endemic as well as flora from the tropical world are found in the gardens.  Spice Garden and Orchid House are popular with tourists.

There are 5 Palm Avenues beautifying the gardens, the earliest and tallest Palm Avenue (Royal Palm Avenue) was planted in 1905 and the Double Coconuts from the Seashells Island, with the largest seed of all plants in the world is one such avenue (Approx. 01 ½ hours to visit)

Thereafter leave to Nuawara Eliya, En route visit Tea Palpation. 

Tea Plantation - Tea was first planted in Sri Lanka in 1824 at the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, when a few plants were brought from China.  More were introduced from Assam in 1839.  In 1867 a Scottish Planter named James Taylor planted tea seedlings on an 8 hectares of forest land, in the Loolcondura Estate. In 1873, the tea export industry of Sri Lanka began with a modest 23lbs being shipped to London. Tea will grow well only on rolling terrain and is classified be elevation into low grown, medium grown, high grown, into 3 main groups. In 1996 Sri Lanka has produced 258 million kgs. Of tea and has earned Rs. 34,068 million by exporting 244 million kgs. of tea. 

Approx. 02 ½ hours’ drive to Nuwara Eliya

Evening commence city tour in Nuwara Eliya.

*Nuwara Eliya - The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls and Tea Plantations. It is supposed to be one of the coldest places on the island, but it is really just like an English spring day, although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of the British influence. Houses are like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions.  

The Victoria Park, in the middle of town, is a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic. Seasons may be absent elsewhere in Sri Lanka, but here you can read them by the flowers, which bloom in the spring (March to May) and the fall (August & September).

Afterwards proceed to hotel

Dinner & overnight stay at selected hotels (3*, 4*, 5*or Luxury Boutique)

NUWARA ELIYA – PINNAWALA – COLOMBO

After having breakfast at the hotel transfers to Colombo the capital of Sri Lanka. En route visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

Approx. 03 ½ hours’ drive to Pinnawala

*Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage - started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded, the orphanage has grown to be a big family today. The number of elephants has increased to more than 40 now, including baby Elephants brought from various parts, as well as the babies born, as a result of the captive breeding programme. A unique experience never to be missed (Approx. 2 hrs to visit)

Afterwards transfer to Colombo & commence city tour in Colombo

Approx. 2 ½ hrs drive to Colombo

*Colombo - a drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street - the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area, where is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings and the Dutch Church of Wolfendhal dating back to 1749. Also visit the BMICH, see the replica of Avukana Buddha and Independence Square. 

*Shopping- visit Mlesna exquisite tea boutique, cashew nut shop, ready made garments and all sorts at Majestic City. Visit the Lanka Ceramics Centre, a place where you can buy “NORITAKE SET” or other ceramic items, visit the ‘ODEL SHOP’  at Lipton Place. Visit ’BAREFOOT’, ’HOUSE OF FASHION’ and 'BEVERLY STREET' – 24 hours shopping arcade (garments only) at Kollupitya.

Evening leisure at the Hotel

Approx. 30 mnts drive to hotel

Dinner & overnight stay at selected hotels (3*, 4*, 5*or Luxury Boutique)

COLOMBO – AIRPORT

After breakfast transfer to Airport to connect departure flight.

Approx. 45 minutes’ drive to Katunayke International Airport

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