Sri Lanka formerly known as Ceylon and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia. It lies in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal, separated from the Indian peninsula by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Lanka shares a maritime border with the Maldives in the southwest and India in the northwest.
Sri Lanka has a population of approximately 22 million people and is home to many cultures, languages, and ethnicities. The Sinhalese people form the majority of the nation’s population, followed by the Tamils, who are the largest minority group and are concentrated in northern Sri Lanka; both groups have played an influential role in the island’s history. Other long-established groups include the Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and Vedda.
Pinnwala Elephant Camp, Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic, Yala Jeep Safari, Turtle Hatchery, Maadu River Safari
- Sightseeing and transfers as per itinerary
- Show entrance ticket as per itinerary
- Passport fees, immunization costs, city taxes at the hotel and local departure taxes (wherever applicable)
- Optional enhancements like room or flight upgrades, or local camera or video fees
Day 1: Arrival Colombo and transfer to Kandy with Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
When we arrive at the Colombo International Airport where our representatives will be waiting to greet and transfer you to Kandy. While on our way to Kandy, we’ll make a quick stop at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage which has become one of Sri Lanka’s most popular attraction. Tourists and locals all love meeting the residents here and interact with the 65 captive elephants who were saved from many situations. Some of them were orphaned and abandoned since babies, others were elderly matriarchs who can’t survive in the wild anymore or adults that had suffered from unethical treatments while in captivity.
It is about 90km from Colombo and after you have fun playing with the elephants, we’ll head to Kandy to the hotel. We’ll check-in and let you rest for the night in Kandy.
Day 2: Kandy City Tour
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel. We’re going on a Kandy city tour today to see everything this gorgeous place has to offer. We will drive to the Upper Lake Road which has the perfect view of Kandy Lake. Kandy Lake is also known as Kiri Muhuda, or Sea of Milk. It was artificially made by the last king of Kandy, King Sri Wickrama in 1807. The protected lake is built next to the Temple of Tooth Relic and has been shrinking over the years where fishing is banned.
You’ll have fun browsing through and learning about the local crafts when we visit the Market Crafts Centre. Local creators sell their handmade works here, many worth bringing home as souvenirs from your trip here.
The Gem Museum has an impressive collection of gems of Sri Lanka. Along with it are knowledge that educates visitors on the geology of Sri Lanka pertaining to the gems that can be found in this country. And you can bring home some of these precious stones by purchasing from the shop that sells Sri Lankan Ceylon Sapphires, Pearls, and even Diamonds.
From the Museum, we’ll head to the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, a popular tourist attraction for those who love nature. This garden is located about 5.5 km to the west of Kandy, known for the collection of Giant Bamboos of Burma, a Javan fig tree that’s over 100 years old, Cannonball trees, double coconut palms, and a huge variety of beautiful palms, and floras, many of them endemic to this area. Visitors often come for picnics by bringing their own packed lunch, or enjoy a relaxing meal at the cafeteria that serves local cuisines.
And obviously one of the main highlights of Kandy is Temple of Tooth Relic, a world heritage and pilgrimage site for Buddhist from all over the world. It’s also known as Dalada Maligawa where the sacred tooth relic of Buddha is preserved, although it’s not allowed for public viewing. But visitors can catch sight of the golden casket that has the shape of a stupa, available for public viewing twice a day. Explore the ground to check out the smaller temples and museums. Please ensure to wear appropriate clothes that cover your legs and shoulders while visiting the temple and to remove your shoes before entering.
In the evening, you can opt to attend the Kandy Cultural Show at the Kandy Lake Club, an exciting performance by professional ensembles. There will be traditional dances, music, acrobatics, with the cast wearing local traditional clothing of Kandy. It is one of the most vibrant and lively performance that embodies everything beautiful about Kandy from the colorful birds, animals, with a sprinkle of tension as artists attempt fire-walk on burning coals.
We’ll head back to the hotel in the evening for your overnight stay in Kandy.
Day 3: Transfer from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya with Sightseeing
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel in Kandy before we leave. We are heading to Nuwara Eliya immediately, which is a 5-hour journey by car. Upon arrival, we’ll help with check-in at the hotel before we hop on a sightseeing around here.
We start with visiting the Nuwara Eliya Golf Course that’s nestled among the cypress trees. It is an 18-hole course club that’s surrounded by eucalyptus and cypress with the tea plantations above. It was founded by the British who also introduced tea plantations for a place to rest and be entertained, making it one of the oldest tea plantations in Asia. The place offers lavish experience and lessons for those who wish to learn a bit of golf.
We don’t want to miss out on Victoria Park, it’s a public park located next to Nuwara Eliya which was originally the research field for the Hakgala Botanical Garden. It is a beautiful garden that cares for many varieties of flowers and was renamed to Victoria Park in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. There are lakes naturally created by the River Nanu Oya that truly made this place beautiful.
Right in the center of Nuwara Eliya is Gregory Lake, which was artificially built in 1873 when British Governor William Gregory was ruling. Now it’s a lake park that’s favored by both tourists and locals to enjoy picnics or maybe take a ride in the swan boats and jet skis.
We can take our time to also look around Sita Eliya, a sacred temple where you can see the footprints of Lord Hanuman looking for the Ashok Vatika to find leads on Sita. It’s one of the few dedicated to Sita, and has a small stream flowing next to the temple where Sita is believed to have taken her bath. Please dress modestly while visiting this temple.
Next, we’ll visit the Pedro Tea Estate, which is a beautiful estate surrounded by stunning view of Sri Lanka. Located just 3.5km away from Nuwara Eliya, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a calm walk with a tour around the estate here. It’s known for the processing and cultivation of Ceylon tea, a popular product you can acquire here. The estate preserves and practices the 19th century processing techniques to this day. Enjoy the view, the fresh aroma of tea, and the cool breeze.
We’ll drive back to the hotel in Nuwara Eliya and spend the night there.
Day 4: Day: Transfer from Nuwara Eliya to Yala
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel before we check-out. We’re leaving Nuwara Eliya today for Yala. Upon arrival, we’ll check-in at the resort/hotel so you can leave your luggage and rest today.
We are visiting the Yala National Park later today for an exciting safari ride and meet the leopards in the wild. This huge park includes the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II) and Ruhuna National Park (Block I) as part of its wildlife sanctuary. And the Kumana National Park is also known as the “Yala East” which is next to the Ruhuna. We’re going to take this opportunity to hop on the Jeep Safari to explore the Yala National Park in the afternoon at an additional cost.
Yala is home to many protected indigenous species and migrating birds. There are concentrations of birds around the lagoons and salvers which has become a favorite birdwatching spot for visitors. You can see thousands of flamingos, billed pelicans, spoonbills, and a myriad other species around here. On land, there are wild buffaloes and elephants that’ll quickly become a common sight in the park.
Spend a fulfilling day exploring the beautiful nature of Yala and its indigenous inhabitants before we ride back to our hotel. We’ll be spending the night in Yala.
Day 5: Yala National Park Safari & Transfer to Bentota
Our day starts early today as we head out to the Yala National Park for an exciting safari ride and meet the leopards in the wild. This huge park includes the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II) and Ruhuna National Park (Block I) as part of its wildlife sanctuary. We’re going to take this opportunity to hop on the Jeep Safari to explore the Yala National Park in the afternoon at an additional cost. Yala is home to many protected indigenous species and migrating birds. There are concentrations of birds around the lagoons and salvers which has become a favorite birdwatching spot for visitors. You can see thousands of flamingos, billed pelicans, spoonbills, and a myriad other species around here. On land, there are wild buffaloes and elephants that’ll quickly become a common sight in the park.
After exploring everything this place as to offer and enjoying the beauty of wildlife and nature in Yala, we’ll continue driving to Bentota. We’ll be at the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 6: Bentota City Tour
Enjoy your breakfast before we drive to Balapitiya. We’ll be heading down to the beautiful Madu River for a relaxing cruise down the river rich in biodiversity.
The Boat Safari at Madu River is a major attraction that will show you the view of the wide Madu Ganga. It’s a healing journey through the mangrove forest and observe the biodiversity of Madu River that includes 19 endemic species. There are 64 islands and is such an attractive destination for nature lovers and bird watchers. Catch sights of the rare bird species and reptiles that made their home here. There are also traditional fishermen here who make a living through Stilt Fishing. It is a method that uses a crossbar with a vertical pole attached to the sea floor and they wait by the crossbar for the fish to bite.
Then visit the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project for turtle hatching. Since 1981, the area has become one of the best locations to find turtles laying their eggs and it was established by the Wildlife Protection Society. The project will take in newborn turtles and raise them in big tanks with nutritional food and clean environment for just a few days. They’ll then be released into the wild at night from the safest area to ensure survivability.
The Conservation generally has five species they take care of and visitors will learn all about these gorgeous turtles that are now endangered. They are also allowed to interact with the turtles and hold them in their palms and check out the babies in their tanks.
For those looking for that extra adrenaline run, Bentota is also popular for the watersports like tube riding, banana boat, or jet skiing at additional personal cost. We’ll then head back to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 7: Transfer from Bentota to Colombo
Enjoy your breakfast the check-out from the hotel in Bentota and hop on your ride for Colombo. We’ll immediately head for the hotel for your check-in before you can rest in your room. You’ll have the rest of the day at leisure and we suggest you indulge in Colombian shopping experience at the Odel & Mondy. Or perhaps give the famous Casinos of Colombo a visit!
We will spend the night at the hotel in Colombo.
Day 8: Transfer to Aiport for Departure
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel before we check-out. You’ll have the rest of the day on your own before the time of departure. Our team will drive you to the airport per schedule for your flight back home.