This 'Classic Cultural Tour' gives you a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s remarkably rich history, which dates back to approximately 2,500 years. Visit World Heritage Sites and other interesting and beautiful sites, with a day or two on the beach!
Day 1: Airport/Pinnawela/Kandalama
Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, you will be greeted at the airport by a Mountain View Holiday representative. Drive to Sigiriya, a World Heritage Site. En-route, visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. Established in 1975, the orphanage provided a home to orphaned baby elephants. It began with 7 babies; now, there are more than 100 elephants, not all orphans – many are families that have stayed together. Breakfast at Pinnawela overlooking the river, where the elephants go to bathe.
Continue your journey to Sigiriya, the home of King Kasyapa during the 5th century. The ‘Lion Rock’ fortress rises 200 meters above the scrub jungle. A moat, ramparts, and extensive water gardens ring the base of the rock. Be sure to spend time viewing the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, frescoes which are in a sheltered pocket in the rock approached by a spiral stairway. Check-in to your hotel, and spend the evening relaxing.
Day 2: Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa/Sigiriya
After breakfast, head to the city of Polonnaruwa, another World Heritage Site. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the ancient city was once the capital. Explore the ruins of the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara, where four splendid statues of Buddha are carved out of the rock. You will also see the statue of King Parakramabahu and the Parakrama Samudra – a lake built by the king. Lunch in the Polonnaruwa vicinity. After your visit to the ancient capital, return to your hotel.
Day 3: Sigiriya/Dambulla/Kandy
After breakfast, drive to the World Heritage Site of Dambulla Rock Temple. Built by King Walagama in the 1st century, many consider it one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples. The complex now comprises 5 caves with over 2,000 square meters of painted walls and ceilings. It contains over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters.
A few meters away from the Dambulla temple complex is the Dambulla Museum. Here you can learn the art of rock/cave painting as well as about the different periods of painting.
After lunch in Dambulla, proceed to Matale, where you can stop and walk through a spice garden, learning about the spices that can grow in Sri Lanka (optional). Wind up your day in Kandy, once the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. In the evening, witness a cultural show, where you can watch local dances. Check-in to your hotel for a relaxing night.
Day 4: Kandy/Colombo
After breakfast, take a short drive to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya. First a pleasure garden for the king, the gardens expanded under the British. Now, it is 147 acres in extent and the home to a variety of trees, plants, and flowers. Lunch in Kandy. Tour the city of Kandy, a World Heritage Site. You will also be able to visit the Temple of the Tooth, home to the Buddha’s tooth. Depart from Kandy and proceed to Colombo for lunch. Spend the night relaxing in your hotel in Colombo.
Day 5: Colombo/Airport
After breakfast, tour the city of Colombo. Stop and visit the Gangarama Temple (optional). Do a bit of shopping and take home some souvenirs. End your stay in Colombo with high tea. Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
* Accommodation at the above mentioned hotels or similar on half-board basis
* Transport in an A/C coach with the service of an English-speaking National Guide
* Half-day city tour in Kandy and Colombo
* Applicable government taxes
* Airport pick-up and drop-off