Explore the beauty of the island’s must-visit destinations as part of our special Sri Lanka tour package itinerary. The island is blessed with some truly breathtaking natural scenery; from sandy beaches soaked in sunshine to mountains draped in emerald, there is much to experience for intrepid travellers. Be it for independent journeys of discovery, couples in search of intimate adventures, or for family getaways, Sri Lanka provides an unforgettable holiday.
Explore Sri Lanka’s central highlands and discover a world of lush landscapes, picturesque lakeside cities, historic temples, and ancient citadels. Meet some of the friendliest and gentlest creatures in the animal kingdom at the elephant orphanage and breathe in the fragrances of Sri Lanka at the herb and spice garden. Be enchanted by the contrasts between the old-world charms and modernity of the capital and enjoy cultural shows and spiritual experiences too. Experience four unforgettable days travelling across this idyllic island.
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Arrive at the country’s main airport where you will be met by a representative of Aitken Spence Travels. Following this, you will begin your journey to Dambulla and en route, stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
Located in the foothills of the central highlands, the world-famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was founded in 1975 with just five calves, growing to more than 100 today. Apart from all the elephants rescued from the rainforests, there have been dozens of births at the shelter, with the first arriving in 1984. Here, they are fed, bathed, and allowed to roam freely. Catch sight of them at feeding time – a bottle for the calves and coconut leaves for the adults – and then watch these gentle giants frolicking in the waters of the nearby Maha Oya River at bath time. After this fun and wild interlude, continue to Dambulla.
An integral part of the famed Cultural Triangle of the island, the bustling town of Dambulla is a much-visited destination which lays claim to a rich and varied history. Take in the Dambulla Rock Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, with a past which dates back to the first century BC. Considered to be the best-preserved cave complex, the five caverns which make up the compound house a series of ancient statues and paintings related to Lord Buddha and several other Hindu deities. The temple also offers some truly panoramic vistas of the region given the fact that it towers at a steep height of 160 metres over the surrounding plains
Take to the road after a delicious breakfast for a day steeped in Sri Lanka’s rich heritage.
Begin on a high with a climb to the fifth century Sigiriya fortress, which sits atop a rock that dramatically rises almost 200 metres above the rainforest. King Kashyapa built this citadel at the top of this giant boulder known as the ‘Lion Rock’, which was the innermost stronghold of a vast fortified city.
Today, the terraced gardens and cisterns, the moat, the ‘Mirror Wall’ and the fragile frescoes of the ‘heavenly maidens’ among the other remnants offer only a tantalising indication of what once stood here. Pass through the lion’s ‘belly’ and climb to the top via a spiral staircase that snakes its way around the rock. From the summit, enjoy breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape and beyond.
In the afternoon, discover the well-preserved ruins of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Built 1,000 years ago, it features a large artificial lake - which is still in use and feeds a network of irrigation canals, the remains of a royal palace, and a number of temples and administrative buildings. Admire the Gal Viharaya with its four statues of the Buddha carved out of the rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, and the statue of King Parakramabahu. The Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Vatadage, and the Galpotha are amongst the many other highlights here.
Head back to your hotel in Sigiriya / Habarana and look back on a memorable day.
After breakfast prepare for a spiritual start to the day with a visit to the Golden Temple of Dambulla.
Explore this 2,000-year-old sacred pilgrimage site carved deep inside a mountain. This awe-inspiring complex of five caves is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features thousands of metres of painted walls and ceilings. It also contains more than 150 images of the Lord Buddha as well as those of a few deities and Sri Lankan kings. Each cave dates from a different era and tells its own story, with defining aspects such as a colossal 14 metre Buddha statue carved out of the rock or a frescoed ceiling with more than 1,500 images of Lord Buddha.
Continue to Matale to visit a spice and herb garden. Sri Lankan spices such as turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and lemongrass are considered among the best in the world. Witness a cookery demonstration and learn about the culinary and therapeutic values of these products.
After breakfast enjoy an expedition in Kandy.
This city is renowned for its beautiful lakeside location, framed by lush hills, and an all-pervasive divinity, but the jewel in its ever-resplendent crown is surely the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. This stunning complex, the holiest of all for Sri Lankan Buddhists, was built in the 16th century solely for the purpose of housing a relic of one of the Lord Buddha’s canine teeth. The tooth relic is ritually cleansed every week by monks and the scented waters they use are considered holy.
Situated on the banks of the Kandy Lake, the innermost section where the temple itself is located is surrounded by a moat and wall. Other notable structures include the Golden Canopy, the New Palace, the Royal Palace, the Old Courthouse, the Queen’s Bathing House, the National Museum, and the sanctuary. Contemplate in peace the magnificent period architecture and experience the tranquillity of the atmosphere.
From Kandy make your way to Colombo.