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Sri Lanka Holidays Safari Cultural Wildlife Tours Leopards Yala Whales

Sri Lanka: Cultural Highlights + Galle Coast


LPD10C
10 NIGHTS
FROM £1,394
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
From October to March, combine the cultural highlights of Sri Lanka with the glorious beaches of the Southwest Coast. Visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the "Temple of the Tooth" in Kandy & the rock temples at Dambulla. Climb Sigirya Rock & visit the ruins of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, before relaxing on the shores of the warm Indian Ocean near Galle. English speaking guide, all transfers & excursions included.
Sri Lanka Tours Cultural Triangle Kandy Dambula Polonnaruwa
• 
Colombo
• 
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
• 
Kandy
• 
Temple of the Tooth
• 
Habarana
• 
Dambulla temple
• 
Sigiriya Rock
• 
Polonnaruwa
• 
Galle Fort
• 
Indian Ocean
• 
Colombo
• 
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
• 
Kandy
• 
Temple of the Tooth
• 
Habarana
• 
Dambulla temple
• 
Sigiriya Rock
• 
Polonnaruwa
• 
Galle Fort
• 
Indian Ocean
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 central Sri Lanka as we travel 4.5-hours to the Cultural Triangle.
 
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.
 
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. Check into your 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 3
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 4
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 5
This morning we travel 2.5-hours to the bustling hill capital of Kandy.
 
In the late afternoon 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.
 
In the evening enjoy a Cultural Show, with dancing and fire walking.
 
Note: Please dress appropriately when visiting the temple, with shoulders and knees covered.
Day 6
This morning we depart from Kandy and travel 4-hours through the beautiful scenery of central Sri Lanka to the fortified town of Galle.
 
Galle Fort has a colourful history, as it was originally built by the Portuguese and later heavily fortified by the Dutch. It is today a World Heritage site, with a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population living within its walls. After visiting the town your guide will drop you off at your beach hotel along this beautiful coast.
Days 7 To 10
At leisure to relax on the beautiful beaches of the Galle Coast, where there are many diving sites. From October to May you can hope to see whales in these waters, and from December to April sea turtles hatch on these beaches.
 
Optional day excursions are available to explore more of fascinating Galle Fort, with its many shops and markets, and walk along its ramparts. Prominent landmarks include the natural harbor, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests and an important Shiva temple.
 
You can take an optional day trip to the imposing Buddhist temple at Mulkirigala, or enjoy a canal boat ride to islands where you can see water birds, monkeys and water monitors.
Day 11
Transfer 3.5-hours to Colombo Airport for your flight home.
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