Overview

Authentic Sri Lanka brings you the complete Ceylonese experience in two unforgettable weeks: from the most important ancient sites of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle to the cosmopolitan cities of Colombo and Kandy, off the beaten path to the less-touristy northern city of Jaffna, with herds of elephants and deer at Yala National Park, up the lush hills of the Knuckles Range and down to the golden beaches and blue waters of Trincomalee and Galle. Sri Lanka is a study in contrasts that make this island nation a rich, vibrant jewel in the Indian Ocean. Whether you enjoy putting your feet up for a few days or a high-adventure vacation, Sri Lanka has something for everyone in the family.

13 Nights 14 Days 16 Oct, 17 Oct, 18 Oct, and more Bandaranaike Airport
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Luxury accommodation in hotels or resorts
  • All meals as specified in itinerary
  • Airport transfers and local transport via luxury car or train
  • All local permits
  • Entry to ticketed exhibitions and tours mentioned in the itinerary
  • Guided tours mentioned in the itinerary

What is NOT included in the tour

  • International air travel
  • Any meal not specified in the itinerary, any meal-extras like soft beverages and alcohol
  • Additional services like spa treatments and massages
  • Personal purchases of any kind, including medication
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips and fines for contravening local laws
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Explore the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka
  • Go trekking in the Knuckles Range
  • Spot an elephant at Yala National Park
  • Experience the vibrant cities of Kandy, Galle, Colombo and Jaffna
  • Breathe in the tea-scented mountain air with a train ride to Nuwara Eliya
  • Bathe in the pristine ocean waters around Trincomalee
Itinerary
Day 1 (Arrival and sightseeing in Negombo) (-, L, D)
  • On your arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, Pro Vacation welcomes you to Authentic Sri Lanka. We will convey you to your hotel in Negombo, which is a beach town near the airport. Negombo, known locally as ‘Little Rome,’ is a medieval settlement that changed hands a few times among the Portuguese, Dutch and British and was one of the region’s most important sources of cinnamon. Today, you can see remnants of Negombo’s colonial past in the 17th to 19th century buildings like the Dutch Fort (which now houses a prison) and the neoclassical St Mary’s Church, one of the largest cathedrals in Sri Lanka. After a lunch of fresh caught fish that Negombo is famous for, go for a picturesque bicycle ride along the Hamilton Canal, also built by the Dutch. End the evening with a leisurely stroll along Negombo beach to catch the sunset.
Day 2 (Exploring the ruins of Anuradhapura) (B, L, D)
  • Early in the morning, drive north east, toward the Cultural Triangle. The ruins of the ancient city of Anuradhapu ra are all that remain of the glorious capital that ruled Sri Lanka for close to a thousand years and is arguably Sri Lanka’s most important UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a sprawling complex of dagobas (Buddhist stupas), pools and temples, some of which are still used for active worship, creating a haunting contrast with the crumbling structures. An old British colonial building houses the Archaeological Museum that displays an impressive collection of not just artefacts and art from the Anuradhapura ruins, but also from other sites around Sri Lanka. Pay your respects at the 2000-year-old sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, grown from a cutting from the tree at Bodh Gaya, and believed to be the world’s oldest historically authenticated tree. Explore the ruins of Ratnaprasada (the ‘Jewel Palace’), the breath-taking Abhaygiri Dagoba and the rock temple of Isurumuniya Vihara.
  • In the late afternoon, make the 4-hour drive to Jaffna, at the northern-most tip of Sri Lanka. Dinner will be at your hotel in Jaffna, where you may spend the evening recovering from your long day of travel and sightseeing.
Day 3 (Sightseeing in Jaffna) (B, L, D)
  • Torn by decades of civil war, northern Sri Lanka has only recently begun appearing on tourist maps as it rebuilds its cities, libraries, museums, cultural institutes and trade and commerce. Jaffna is a good place to delve into the recent past and understand how varying Hindu Tamil and Buddhist Sri Lankan identities continue to shape the nation.Begin with the KadurugodaViharaya, an ancient Buddhist temple with a number of stupas or dagobas of varying sizes in the complex. It is one of the few remaining Buddhist temples in northern Sri Lanka. Visitthe Jaffna Library, destroyed during the civil war, which used to be one of the most impressive in Asia. The restoration project is largely complete, now, and it is open to the public. Try the famous Jaffna omelette for lunch and in the afternoon, visit the Jaffna Fort. This medieval fort was first built by the Portuguese and then expanded by the Dutch. It is the second largest fort in Sri Lanka and a reminder of Jaffna’s strategic importance. Take break with a stroll down Casuarina Beach. The sandy beach and gentle, shallow waters are perfect for bathing or even just dipping your feet into the sea. End the day with the evening worship ceremony at Nallur Kandasamy Kovil, one of the most important Hindu temples in the area. Overnight at a hotel in Jaffna.
Day 4 (A day in Trincomalee) (B, L, D)
  • Set out for Trincomalee on the east coast, after breakfast. This harbour town was of great maritime importance throughout Sri Lanka’s history and is considered to be the possible site of Gokana, in the Mahavamsa (Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka). Today, it is a gently paced resort town, perfect for a relaxing stay by pristine beaches. Regale yourself with a rice, curry and sambol lunch after your long drive from Jaffna and step into the Maritime and Naval History Museum. This museum is housed in a Dutch colonial building dating back to the 18th century and offers detailed insight into Sri Lanka’s naval past, going back to the days of Europe’s Age of Exploration, maritime life and even the flora and fauna of the east coast. Then, admire Wellesley House, a colonial mansion built in the Georgian-style, near Fort Frederick. Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese, but like most buildings of military significance in Sri Lanka, rebuilt by the Dutch and British. It is still used by the Sri Lankan military though public tours are possible. The best way to end your day at Trinco is with a stroll on Marble Beach. It is a sheltered cove offering a view of clear, bright blue-green waters. If you arrive early enough, treat yourself to a dip in the sea to work up an appetite for dinner.
Day 5 (A visit to SigiriyaRock Fortress and Dambulla Cave Temple) (B, L, D)
  • Dive back into the Cultural Triangle with a visit to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 5th century and sits atop a nearly-700-feet column of rock. Built to withstand the heaviest of attacks, this impregnable fortress was later used as a Buddhist monastery. It draws its name from a lion-shaped gateway halfway up the rock. You may command a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside from the top. Break for lunch and in the afternoon, arrive at your stop for the next two days, Dambulla. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dambulla is the site of a wonderful cave rock temple with beautiful murals and carvings of Buddhist iconography and Hindu gods. Dozens of these ancient caves form one of Sri Lanka’s largest and oldest temple complexes, with about 5 caves that attract the most visitors. Retire early to your hotel in Dambulla to prepare for an exciting trek the next day.
Day 6 (Trekking in the Knuckles Range) (B, L, D)
  • In the morning, drive to the Knuckles Range, so named after its resemblance to a closed fist. The trek route is from Hettiyawanguwa to Kumbukgolla (about 4km).The climb is steep in places but the reward is well worth it. The view for miles around is stunning but even the rocky hills, evergreen and cloud forests and birds and wildflowers nearby make for a pleasing prospect. Afterwards, return to your hotel in Dambulla for a late lunch and spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 7 (Sightseeing in Kandy) (B, L, D)
  • After breakfast, it is a two-and-half-hour drive to Kandy, the last stronghold of the Sinhala kings. Take a walk around the serene banks of Kandy Lake before attending the afternoon puja (worship) at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Sri Lanka’s most important and holy temple, this structure houses the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha inside 7 fabulous gold caskets and under a gold canopy. The temple is magnificent but attending a puja here is a rare spiritual experience amid the drumming and throng of devotees. Go shopping in the busy markets of Kandy for Sri Lankan spices, cashew nuts, jewels, textiles and handicraft. In the evening, visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya.These beautifully manicured and maintained gardens contain an impressive variety of orchids and spices among other endemic and rare flora. Take a stroll through its fragrant pathways and don’t forget the National Herbarium nearby. Check in to a hotel in Kandy for the night.
Day 8 (Luxury train ride to Nuwara Eliya) (B, L, D)
  • Continue your exploration of Kandy in the morning with the Kandy Garrison Cemetery, a graveyard from the colonial era. This site is an interesting study in everyday colonial life through life expectancy, causes of death and family names and structures. Finally, make your way to the Ceylon Tea Museum. Housed in an abandoned tea factory, it has exhibits detailing the pioneering work done by Thomas Lipton and James Taylor in taking tea to the world.
  • From the museum, it’s time to experience the real deal as you board an afternoon train to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka’s ‘Little England.’ In the heart of the hill country, this scenic train ride takes you past green mountains, verdant tea plantations, colourful villages. Check in to your hotel and head out to spend a peaceful evening by Lake Gregory, paddling in one of the swan boats, if you so wish (payable directly). Return to your hotel for dinner.
Day 9 (Visit to a tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya) (B, L, D)
  • Skip your usual cuppa at breakfast for it is time for an official tour of a tea plantation and factory. Observe the plantation workers engaged in the delicate task of picking tea leaves and bringing the aromatic baskets to the factory where the leaves undergo a complex process depending on what kind of tea is the desired final product. As you learn about the journey from plantation to our tables and the history of tea in Sri Lanka, sip on a cup of Ceylon’s finest Earl Grey. After lunch, admire the attractively maintained gardens and pathways of Victoria Park. In spring especially, it is a riot of flowers and a great place to spot birds like the Kashmir flycatcher. Spend the evening at your leisure, enjoying the sights and smells of the hill country.
Day 10 (A hike up Little Adam’s Peak in Ella) (B, L, D)
  • From Nuwara Eliya, move on toElla, a place whose name literally means ‘waterfall.’ Ella is a gorgeous hill country town with abundant waterfalls, tea plantations, viewpoints and guest houses with incredible home-cooked food. The view through Ella Gap, in particular, is breath-taking. Spare the afternoon for a hike up toLittle Adam’s Peak to command a panoramic vista of the cloud forests, valleys, villages of the countryside surrounding you.Drive to YalaNational Park in the evening and check in to your hotel nearby.
Day 11 (Visit to Yala National Park) (B, L, D)
  • Another early start will be justly rewarded. One of the best times for bird watching at Yala National Park is at the crack of day, on a morning safari. Yala National Park is a massive conservation project that allows visitors to only some of its many acres. Fasten your seatbelt for a wild ride. Try to spot an elephant and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see not just elephants but a leopard or two, herds of water buffalo, sloth bears, palm civets, fishing cats, toque macaques, slender lorises, etc alongside a whole host of birds. After half a day at the park, continue your journey along the coast, toward Galle, where you will be staying the night.
Day 12 (Tour of Galle Fort) (B, L, D)
  • Galle is a weary traveller’s dream with its medieval fortification, glittering beaches and clear access to the Indian Ocean. Galle Fort was originally built by the Portuguese but expanded and built upon by the Dutch primarily. It is notable for being the largest occupied fort in Asia as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.If you dare, step on to Flag Rock, an outcrop jutting out into the water from the southernmost tip of Galle Fort. The fort isn’t the only marker of Galle’s status as a historically important trading port, of course. Colonial buildings, mosques, churches, temples, cafes, museums, hotels have sprung up over the centuries to offer a delightful mish-mash of cultures and sensory experiences. Galle is best experienced on foot and with a spirit of spontaneity. Drive up to Colombo in the evening, for your final stop on this itinerary.
Day 13 (Sightseeing in Colombo) (B, L, D)
  • Make the most of your last full day in Sri Lanka with visits to the National Museum,Wolvendaal Church, Old City Hall, Geoffrey Bawa House and some shopping. See the fabulous crown jewels of the last Kandyan king and a variety of art and local history at the National Museum. Admire the clean lines and local flavour of renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa’s house and garden, and the colonial structures of Old City Hall and Wolvendaal. Catch up on last-minute shopping at the local markets and end the evening on a smashing note with dinner at the Ministry of Crab, one of Sri Lanka’s best seafood restaurants.
Day 14 (Departure from Bandaranaike International Airport) (B, -, -)
  • After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye to Sri Lanka, as we convey you to Bandaranaike International Airport for your flight home. Pro Vacation hopes to see you again!
Pickup point
Directions.
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Canada Friendship Rd, Katunayake, Sri Lanka View on Map