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Sri Lanka Holidays Safari Cultural Wildlife Tours Leopards Yala Whales

Sri Lanka: Buddhist Sites + Pasikuda Beach


LPI12C
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,595
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
This holiday focuses on the cultural treasures of Sri Lanka - including the sacred Bo Tree in Anuradhapura, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Dambulla Cave Temple, the Aukana Buddah, Sigiriya Rock and the ruins at Polonnaruwa. Complete your holiday relaxing on the warm beaches of Trincomalle (best from April to September). English speaking guide, all transfers & excursions included.
Anaradhapura Polonnaruwa Sigirya Dambulla Temple Tooth Kandy
• 
Colombo
• 
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
• 
Kandy
• 
Temple of the Tooth
• 
Dambulla Temple
• 
Anuradhapura
• 
Sacred Bo Tree
• 
Sigiriya Rock
• 
Polonnaruwa
• 
Trincomalee Beaches
• 
Colombo
• 
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
• 
Kandy
• 
Temple of the Tooth
• 
Dambulla Temple
• 
Anuradhapura
• 
Sacred Bo Tree
• 
Sigiriya Rock
• 
Polonnaruwa
• 
Trincomalee Beaches
Day 1
You will be met at Colombo Airport and taken on an orientation tour of this city, which is the commercial and industrial centre of Sri Lanka. The city was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and today consists of an eclectic mix of grand colonial buildings, modern offices and bustling local shops.
 
We visit the vibrant Pettah Market and the National Museum, with its fine collection of antiques and Sri Lankan art. We also visit a Buddhist temple and a Hindu Temple, to experience the diversity of religion and customs of the people of Sri Lanka.
 
Then check into your hotel and relax in this harbour city, situated on an ancient trading sea route.
Day 2
This morning your driver/guide will collect you from your Colombo hotel and introduce you to the beauty of Sri Lanka as we travel 3-hours to the bustling hill capital of Kandy.
 
Along the way we stop at the Millenium Elephant Foundation, that works to improve the lives of domesticated Asian elephants. You can walk with the elephants and interact with them as they bathe. As they have only a small number of elephants here, this offers a more personal and humane alternative to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which is very busy.
 
On arrival in Kandy, check into your hotel in this religious and ancient capital of kings and in the evening enjoy a Cultural Show, with dancing and fire walking.
Day 3
Today we visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth, that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. Religious pooja ceremonies, when the golden casket containing the tooth is revealed, are held daily at 05.00, 09.30 and 18.30 - so this is the best time to visit.
 
Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage site partly due to this temple. Its principal Buddhist complexes have considerable importance – the high priests of the two best known, Malwatte and Asgiriya, are the most important in Sri Lanka and the Asgiriya Maha Vihara has a large reclining Buddha image.
 
Afterwards we visit the beautiful Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Dating back to colonial times, this magnificant property has abundant bird life, including a bat colony. It also has a rare collection of indigenous tropical flora, including an Orchid House. We suggest you ask your hotel to pack a picnic today, so that you can enjoy it in these gardens.
 
Note: Please dress appropriately when visiting the temple, with shoulders and knees covered.
Day 4
We leave Kandy this morning and travel 2.5-hours into the Cultural Triangle.
 
At Dambulla we explore the famous Golden Rock Cave Temple - a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. This vast isolated rock mass with five caverns filled with statues is the largest and best preserved cave monastery in Sri Lanka.
 
We also visit a Spice Garden, before checking into our hotel in the heart of this historic region.
 
Please dress appropriately when visiting Dambulla temple, with shoulders and knees covered. There is a steep uphill walk to the temple, so this excursion is not suitable for people with mobility issues.
Day 5
This morning we travel 30-minutes to Sigiriya - also known as Lion's Rock -  a massive 5th century fortress and palace ruins surrounded by extensive gardens and reservoirs. Here you can climb 1,200 steps to the top of this amazing fortress in the sky that is now a World Heritage site, with the reward of incredible views. Ancient rock paintings are also on display. And don’t overlook the small museum near the entrance.
 
Return to your hotel for lunch, before enjoying an afternoon jeep safari in Minneriya National Park. Birdlife is prolific in this park, where you can also hope to see wild Asian elephants. The elephants are particularly numerous in August and September, when they migrate along a corridor from neighbouring parks to feed on the fresh grass on the lake bed - an annual event known as "The Gathering".
 
Note: If you have mobility issues, you can still view Sigiriay Rock from the gardens at the bottom.
Day 6
This morning we drive 1-hour to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa - the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th centuries following the fall of Anuradhapura and today a World Heritage site.
 
Here you can explore these magnificent ruins, which contains some fine examples of Buddah statues and marvel at this ancient civilisation, before returning to Habarana.
 
The afternoon is free to relax at your hotel, where optional activities include riding an elephant, touring the local town in a bull cart or enjoying an Ayurvedic spa treatment.
 
Please dress appropriately when visiting sacred sites, with shoulders and knees covered.
Day 7
This morning we travel 2-hours to the ancient and sacred city of Anuradhapura - founded in the 4th century BC and now a World Heritage site.
 
Along the way we stop to view the famous Avukana Buddha statue, carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century. Standing at over 40 feet (12 m), it is the tallest and most magnificent undamaged ancient image in Sri Lanka.
 
We continue to Anuradhapura and the ancient remains on the mountain peak of Mihintale. This is a pilgrimage site regarded as the cradle of Buddism in Sri Lanka, as it was here that the monk Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa and introduced him to Buddhism. Check into your hotel in this capital of the north, surrounded by monastries and the well-preserved ruins of the great Sinhala civilisation.
Day 8
This morning we explore the ruins and temples of ancient Anuradhapura, starting with a visit to the 'Sri Maha Bodhi' (the sacred Bo tree) which is over 2,200 years old and was grown from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment – the oldest historically documented tree in the world.
 
This city has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization. Here you will see some of the tallest "stupas" in Sri Lanka (Buddhist commemorative monuments consists of a circular base supporting a massive dome) as well as the ruins of ancient royal palaces.
 
In the afternoon enjoy a jeep safari into Wilpattu National Park, which is renowned for its leopards. Wilpattu is also home to 30 other animal species including water buffalo, elephant, sambhur, spotted deer, mongoose and Mugger crocodile. Sloth bears are also present but are rarely seen.  A unique feature of this national park is its many natural lakes, which results in abundant birdlife - including many water birds and raptors.
Day 9
This morning we leave Anuradhapura and travel 3-hours to the port city of Trincomalee. If you wish, you can ask your driver to detour to visit the statue of the Aukana Buddha, the tallest and most magnificent undamaged ancient image in Sri Lanka
 
You will be dropped off at your hotel in Trincomalee on the warm east coast, with its beautiful Indian Ocean beaches. With its natural deep-water harbour, Trincomalee was mentioned in the travels of Marco Polo and has been an important sea port for Asian, Chinese, Dutch, French, English and Portuguese traders.
 
Note: As your Cinnamon Air return flight has an 18 kg baggage limit, your driver will take any excess luggage from you when he drops you off at your hotel and return these to you in Colombo.
Days 10 To 11
At leisure to relax and enjoy the unspoilt Indian Ocean beaches of Trincomalee, where you can swim in warm shallow waters and enjoy scuba diving at nearby Pigeon Island or deep sea fishing - as well as whale watching in September.
 
Trincomalee has the largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka and is the home of its navy. It is also one of the main centers of Tamil culture, boasting the ancient Koneswaram Rock Temple and other shrines, and has been a centre of poetry, music and literature for many centuries.
 
Note: Excursions to Pigeon Island should be pre-booked, as local operators are not allowed to collect guests from hotel beaches.
Day 12
Transfer to Trincomalee Airport for your light aircraft flight to Nayakakanda, north of Colombo.
 
Here you will be met and transferred to your hotel situated near Colombo International Airport.
Day 13
Transfer to Colombo Airport for your flight home.
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