Overview

The Heart of Ceylon invites you to the experience of a lifetime. This comprehensive tour package showcases the best of Sri Lanka in 10 days, traversing this gem of an island nation from the North Central Province, through the hill country, to the deep south and onward to the west. Dip into Sri Lanka’s two-and-half-thousand-year-old history in the ruins of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Experience the electric vibe of the modern cities of Kandy and Colombo. Relish a host of Sri Lanka’s culinary delights including fresh fruit, local curries ​and seafood preparations. Soak in the stunning natural beauty of the central highlands in Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains. Treat yourself to an ayurvedic massage and some of Sri Lanka’s famous gemstone jewellery, antiques, and crafts. Get a taste of Sri Lanka’s wild side at the Yala National Park. If you’re lucky, you may spot an elephant or a leopard. Slow your rhythm to the beat of the waves in the vibrant coastal cities of Galle and Bentota. Welcome to the heart of Ceylon! 

9 Nights 10 Days 14 Dec, 15 Dec, 16 Dec, and more Bandaranaike Airport
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Hotel accommodation in Habarana, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Yala, Galle and Colombo
  • 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 and safaris mentioned in the itinerary

What is NOT included in the tour

  • 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 ruins of the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura
  • Visit the legendary Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
  • Take a train ride through the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka’s hill-country and tea gardens
  • Spot an elephant and a leopard at the Yala National Park
  • Stand at the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka and take in the might of the Indian Ocean
  • Get lost in the lanes of Galle and Colombo
Itinerary
Day 1 (Arrival at Habarana, see the city of Polonnaruwa) (-, L, D)
  • On your arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, o ne of our luxury vehicles will convey you to Habarana. Enjoy a scenic drive through the heart of Sri Lanka to get to your first port of stay and get acquainted with the sights and sounds of the gorgeous countryside. After a quick break at your hotel in Habarana, the day continues with a visit to the nearby Polonnaruwa. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was once the capital of Sri Lanka. Explore the ruins of truly remarkable feats in urban planning, beautification and water conservation systems, dating back to the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa under the 12th century king Parakramabahu I. Witness the marvel of Parakrama Samudra, a massive lake created in the early 13th century, that made the then-kingdom of Polonnaruwa self-sufficient and continues to irrigate eastern paddy fields in the dry season. Watch out for the toque macaques, the reddish-brown monkeys endemic to Sri Lanka! They’ve lived in the ancient city for as long as people have. Polonnaruwa is also home to the country’s best-preserved vatadage, a Buddhist structure unique to Sri Lanka. The Polonnaruwa Vatadage is a beautiful carved monument from the reign of King Parakramabahu I. After this glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich history, return to Habarana for the night.
Day 2 (Explore the ancient capital city of Anuradhapura) (B, L, D)
  • Begin the day with a good breakfast so that you may continue your foray into Sri Lanka’s glorious past in Anuradhapura. On the way, make a stop to see the 5th century BC Aukana Buddha statue that towered over the ancient Sinhalese people at 40 feet. A little more than an hour’s drive to the north-east of Habarana, the city of Anuradhapura is another UNSECO World Heritage site and an ancient capital of Sri Lanka. The settlement dates back to the Iron Age, with earliest evidence from the 10th century BC. As Anuradhapura grew to become one of the largest cities in the subcontinent, it became a stronghold of Theravada Buddhism by the beginning of the Common Era. Witness the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, the sacred fig tree in the Mahamewna Gardens that was planted in the 3rd century BC, considered to be the oldest living human-planted tree in the world. Soothe your spirit in the legendary Ruwanwelisaya stupa, one of the world’s tallest monuments, built around the 2nd century BC, sacred to Buddhists around the world, and the 3rd century BC Buddhist temple of Isurumuniya built by King Devanampiya Tissa with its intricate carvings. Cool your eyes at the Kuttam Pokuna, a pair of cut granite bathing pools that were considerable achievements in ancient Sinhalese engineering. At the end of the day, drive back to Habanara to spend a leisurely evening at your hotel.
Day 3 (Sightseeing in Kandy) (B, L, D)
  • An early breakfast and check-out will leave plenty of time to explore the cosmopolitan city of Kandy after the three-hour drive from Habarana. Kandy has a complex history beginning as Senkadagalapura in the 14th century, passing through to British colonial powers in the 19th century, to becoming a contemporary hub of commercial, agricultural, and cultural activity. Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Kandy is famous for being home to the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa. Inspired by the carved granite and limestone structures of Anuradhapura, the Temple of the Tooth is the resting place for the Relic of the Tooth of the Buddha. It is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage spots in the world. The associated Royal Palace of Kandy now serves as the National Museum Kandy, carrying evidence of the Sinhalese kingdoms and British rule. Visit Kandy’s Royal Botanical Garden, containing over 4000 species of exotic plants spread over 140 lush acres. Take a lunch break at a local restaurant specialising in mouth-watering Sri Lankan curries. Walk around the streets of Kandy to discover its treasure trove of gemstones, batik-work, leather, silk, antiques, spices, and cashew nuts that the island nation is famous for and get a massage at one of the city’s ayurvedic spas to rejuvenate your spirit. End the evening with a cultural programme showcasing Kandy’s dance and drumming traditions.
Day 4 (Train ride through the hill-country to Nuwara Eliya and sightseeing in Nuwara Eliya) (B, L, D)
  • After breakfast, take a magnificent train ride through hill-country to reach your next destination, Nuwara Eliya, the Little England of Sri Lanka. This is one of the most picturesque routes in the country, offering a view of the verdant tea gardens, sparkling waterfalls and misty mountains of the Central Province. Take a deep breath of the fresh mountain air in Nuwara Eliya and drink a cup of fine orange pekoe tea. Take a guided tour of a tea factory. Walk through the tea gardens to visit Lover’s Leap, a pristine waterfall set among the plantation. Pay your respects at the Holy Trinity Church, a 19th century Anglican church with its 100-year-old pipe organ and stained-glass window commemorating the 1954 visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Catch the glorious sunset at Gregory Lake amid flocks of birds returning to roost for the night and retire in preparation of a long day on the morrow.
Day 5 (Visit Horton Plains and the cliff at World’s End) (B, L, D)
  • Bid goodbye to Nuwara Eliya and set off for Horton Plains National Park at dawn. About an hour’s drive south of Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains contains the headwaters of three major rivers—the Mahaweli, the Kelani and the Walawe. The plateau is a protected area and home to delicate ecosystems and several species of flora and fauna that are endemic to the place. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot animals as common as the Sri Lankan Sambar deer and toque macaques to rarer ones like the Sri Lankan leopard, fishing cats and the Horton Plains slender loris among the grassland and forested patches. You may also catch a glimpse of endemic birds like the Ceylon magpie, Sri Lanka white-eye, Sri Lanka bush warbler as well as birds of prey including the crested serpent eagle and black-winged kite. The plateau comes to a stop at World’s End, a stunning sheer 880m drop. The earlier you make it to World’s End, the likelier the chances of getting a clear view of the miles of countryside below. The trail from World’s End loops around to Baker’s Falls, a delightful little oasis with crystal-clear water.
  • Post-lunch, you will make the long drive down to the coast, to Yala, and enjoy a peaceful evening at your hotel.
Day 6 (Take a safari through Yala National Park) (B, L, D)
  • Yala National Park is the most visited national park in Sri Lanka and with reason. It hosts hundreds of species of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians in different complex and fragile ecosystems. Of its five blocks, only Blocks I and III are open to tourists and your Sri Lankan experience would be incomplete without a safari here. The most prominent draw is, of course, the herd of Sri Lankan elephants. Yala also boasts of a notably high leopard population and the Sri Lankan sloth bear and water buffalo are other threatened mammals found in the region. The park is also home to a large number of reptiles including all five globally endangered sea turtles, the mugger crocodile and saltwater crocodile, a variety of snakes, invertebrates, fish, toads, crustaceans and over 200 species of birds like spoonbills, barbets, orioles, herons, egrets, pelicans, flycatchers, lapwings, flamingos several of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. Yala is, in fact, of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka. The vast scrubland, forests, and lagoons were affected adversely by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami but have recovered since and tourists are encouraged to visit. After the safari, you are welcome to relax at your hotel.
Day 7 (Stand at the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka at Dondra and sightseeing in Galle) (B, L, D)
  • After breakfast, drive along the beautiful Sri Lankan southern coast. Halt at Dondra, the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, and a multi-religious temple site with evidence of Hinduism and Buddhism. Ibn Battuta himself visited the temple complex in the 14th century. A 16th century Portuguese sacking of the entire region destroyed most of the temple and all that remains today is a rebuilt temple to the Hindu god, Vishnu. Don’t forget to snack on the delicious fish buns and uludu in nearby Matara.
  • Onward to Galle, spend the afternoon taking in the city through a walking tour. An ancient sea port known as Gimhathitha was taken over by the Portuguese and then, the Dutch, to eventually become the modern city of Galle. Circle the perimeter of the extensive Dutch fortification which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and visit the Lighthouse and National Museum in Galle Fort. After a late lunch, peep into the National Maritime Museum and/or the Ariyapala Mask Museum. The post-2004-tsunami National Maritime Museum exhibits a variety of marine objects of interest, some salvaged from shipwrecks, models of marine flora and fauna, and explanations of maritime activity. The Ariyapala Mask Museum is a tribute to the traditional masks and crafts of Sri Lanka and apart from an interesting exhibition, you can pick up a beautiful souvenir mask from the store. End the day with a visit to Marine Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda and dinner at the hotel.
Day 8 (Enjoy the beach and local markets at Bentota and Kalutara) (B, L, D)
  • Begin with a leisurely breakfast, and continue with your journey, stopping at the beach towns of Bentota and Kalutara. Spend some time at the long stretches of sandy beach, dipping your toes into the water, and enjoying the sun. (Remember to always wear sunblock!) Bentota has a gorgeous coral reef and the tour can be customised for those interested in a dive. Wander through the local markets, try some of the fresh fruit available and stop for lunch at a café specialising in Northern cuisine like Jaffna omelettes.
  • Drive up to the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and your final destination on this tour, Colombo. Wash off the sand and spend the evening at any of Colombo’s many fine open-air bars and eateries, soaking in the city at night and enjoying a view of the Indian Ocean.
Day 9 (Sightseeing in Colombo via tuk tuk) (B, L, D)
  • One of the best ways to get around Colombo is like a local—in a tuk tuk. The speedy tuk tuks can zip around the narrow lanes of the older parts of the city and through traffic in the thoroughfares with ease. After breakfast at the hotel, see a variety of the city sights from your tuk tuk, like the President’s House, Cargill’s Building and St Anthony’s Church, New Hans Square and the Post Office. Make stops at the historical Wolvendaal Church, the Old Colombo Lighthouse built in 1857, Colombo Fort Railways, the Viharamahadevi Park (the oldest park in Colombo), the historical Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque and the National Museum of Colombo which holds the crown jewels and throne of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last king of Kandy. After your tuk tuk tour, spend the evening in the bustling commercial centre of Colombo and catch up on any last-minute shopping, and end the day with a special meal of Sri Lankan biryani.
Day 10 (Departure from Colombo) (B, -, -)
  • Check out of your hotel after breakfast and we will convey you to Bandaranaike International Airport for the flight to your next destination. Your tour of the Heart of Ceylon has come to an end. We hope you enjoyed your experience with ProVacation!

 

Pickup point
Directions.
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Canada Friendship Rd, Katunayake, Sri Lanka View on Map