A 13 day, private guided tour of the main highlights of the enchanting island of Sri Lanka, ending with a few leisurely days relaxing in Tagelle enjoying the beach and the hotel’s many facilities. Along the way visit Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle of former, ancient capitals, enjoy a hot air balloon experience and an afternoon spotting elephants in the wild, tour the capital, Colombo by vintage car and stay in a Relais & Chateaux property on a tea plantation in the Hill Country.
Including international return flights with Sri Lankan Airlines, private transfers, the services of English–speaking representatives and guides, and all accommodation on half board basis.
An exhilarating early morning hot air balloon experience in Sigiriya, seeing wild elephants in Minneriya National Park and the unexpected, hidden gem of Suriyakantha Centre of Art & Culture.
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Colombo
Be met by your private, English-speaking guide at Colombo airport and transferred to your hotel in Negombo. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure and dinner at the hotel. Stay at Wallawwa, Negombo for 1 night on half board basis.
After breakfast, leave your hotel for the 155km drive to Sigiriya, the centre of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, with free time to explore independently on arrival. Stay at Water Garden, Sigiriya for 3 nights on half board basis.
A 30 minute drive from the hotel are the ruins of the famous Sigiriya rock fortress, also known as the Lion’s Rock. Near vertical granite walls soar above the canopy of the rainforest to the ruins of an almost impregnable ancient fortified palace. Having scaled vertiginous staircases attached to sheer rock walls, the rewards are unforgettable: spellbinding views of mist-wrapped forests, water gardens and cave shrines. A free afternoon at the hotel for a chance to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, views of the rock fortress in the distant and its many facilities including a tranquil spa with an array of massage and beauty treatments (payable locally).
Rise early for an exhilarating hot air balloon experience (subject to weather conditions), before leaving for the ancient Sinhalese city of Polonnaruwa and its archaeological treasures. Once the medieval capital of Sri Lanka it is home to well-preserved ruins, tombs and temples, stupas and statues, plus a group of beautiful rock carvings of Buddha at the Gal Vihara temple, and a vast man-made reservoir, Parakrama Samudra, covering an area over 23km. In the afternoon set off for Minneriya National Park for a wildlife safari. The park offers shelter to sambar deer, buffalo, leopard, toque macaques and crocodiles as well as numerous birds and the Asian wild elephant; the dry season, May to September, is usually the best time to spot large herds of elephants.
Leave after breakfast for the three hour drive to the charming town of Kandy, visiting the Spice Garden in Matale along the way. Learn about Sri Lanka’s various spices, used in medicine and cosmetics as well as in cooking, with the opportunity of purchasing some to take home. On arrival in Kandy the rest of the day is free for independent exploration; dinner at your hotel. Stay at Kandy House, Kandy for 2 nights on half board basis.
A morning spent in Kandy visiting the golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth housing Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic; a tooth of the Buddha. During the ritualistic puja ceremony, to honour the relic, the gold casket in which it is held can be viewed. Drive to the Suriyakantha Centre of Art & Culture for lunch. Immersed in luxuriant vegetation in an off the beaten track location in the hills, this Dutch style house holds a delightful, private collection of antiques and artefacts. Evening at leisure with dinner at the hotel. Stay at Kandy House, Kandy.
After breakfast catch the train for the 2.5 hour journey to Hatton. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful Hill Country scenery as the train slowly winds its way along past a wonderfully green landscape of valleys, meadows, tea plantations, and the occasional distant waterfall. On arrival check-in at the luxurious Ceylon Tea Trails for two nights. This Relais & Chateaux property offers period furnishings, gracious butler service and gourmet cuisine. Stay at Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton for 2 nights on half board basis.
A day at leisure and relaxation, or there are options for white water rafting, mountain biking and guided walks (payable locally). Set on a working tea estate there is a complimentary tour to see first hand how the famous Ceylon tea is harvested and processed using century old traditions.
Leave for the five hour or so drive to Tangalle after breakfast. Check-into your elegant guest room at the enchanting luxury hotel Anantara Peace Haven for the next three nights.
Spend the day making the most of the lovely surroundings and facilities at the hotel, join a sunrise yoga class or a guided nature walk, relax by the stunning pool or flop on the palm fringed golden-hued beach, play a game of tennis or take a cooking class (note some activities may incur a charge).
Leave for the 210km drive to the capital Colombo after breakfast. On arrival check into your boutique hotel and in the afternoon enjoy a tour of cosmopolitan Colombo by vintage car. Stay at Uga Residence, Colombo for 1 night on half board basis.
Transfer to Colombo airport for your return flight to the UK.
Add a beach stay to your tour and make the most of the legendary white sand beaches of Sri Lanka.