From its ancient ruined cities to its storied colonial plantations, the little island nation of Sri Lanka uncovers a fascinating, secluded jewel formerly known as Ceylon. Learn about its history and culture at the spectacular cave temple of Dambulla, looming rock fortress of Sigiriya, and monumental ruins of Polonnaruwa. Uncover myths and legends as you witness a puja ceremony at Kandy’s richly carved Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. Meet the people of the rural villages, and watch orphan elephants in their jungle habitat. Then, relax and sample the country’s colonial history with a visit to a tea plantation home, and learn about modern day life in Sri Lanka. This encompassing journey with premier eco-resorts and lovely hotels will inspire your intrigue into this magical land. Journey Pace: Active

Tour Details


Starts any day. January to December

7 days from $2795.00

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Day 1

Arrive Colombo & Negombo, Sri Lanka

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You are met upon arrival in Colombo, and chauffeured to Horathapola Estate, a lush 50-acre coconut plantation in Negombo.

The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy your rural resort. Horathapola lies hidden in the beautifully lush landscapes of rural Sri Lanka. A grand working organic coconut estate dating from the early 1900s, it has been beautifully restored to host five spacious luxury guestrooms.

Day 2

Negombo & Sigiriya

Today, drive north into the island’s interior plains, to the historic city of Sigiriya.

En route, enjoy the scenery, and a stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which provides a natural habitat for nearly 100 elephants. Tour the orphanage and watch the endearing, magnificent creatures being fed and bathed.

In the evening, arrive in Sigiriya, and at your deluxe accommodations, your home for the next two nights. ​(B)

Day 3

Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

This morning, drive to the ancient medieval city of Polonnaruwa. Sri Lanka’s capital from the 11th to 13th centuries, it is full of beautiful palaces, temples and shrines. Visit the ruins of the Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu I, originally a massive 7-story wood and stone structure, and the adjacent Audience Hall and Kumara Pokuna, the royal bathing pool. In the Quadrangle complex, explore the Vatadage relic house and its dogoba; Thuparama, an example of the gedige style of temple architecture; and the Hetadage relic house. Visit Lankathillaka Gedige, a massive temple ruin with a colossal headless Buddha statue, and Gal Vihara, also known as the "Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge" as it has three huge Buddha statues carved out of its granite cliff face.

In the afternoon, explore the grand Sigiriya Rock Fortress that looms above the surrounding jungle like a guardian spirit. Built by King Kassapa in the 5th century, it sits 500-feet above a vast expanse of rainforest. You are driven to the base, and then climb the stairs carved between two boulders, the “Lion’s Gate,” to discover the beauty of this mighty royal citadel. Explore the gardens, water gardens, and the “Heavenly maidens” of Sigiriya frescoes. Climb further up carved staircases through the “Lions Paws” to the summit of the rock to see the foundations of the Grand Palace, the king’s throne and windmill-fed swimming pool.

This evening, relax at the hotel pool or go for a walk to the nearby rural village. Take the opportunity to experience a true village, and enjoy a local coconut drink specialty. ​(B)

Day 4

Sigiriya & Kandy

This morning drive to Kandy, the former Hill Capital of Sri Lanka.

En route, stop to visit the beautiful Dambulla Cave Temple, or Golden Rock Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the largest in the country, adorned with incredible ancient statues and paintings. The history of the cave dates back to the 1st century B.C. when the Buddhist monks sheltered King Valagamba there during his 14 year exile from the Anuradapura kingdom. When King Valagamba returned to the throne, he had a magnificent rock temple built at Dambulla as gratitude to the monks. Explore this vast isolated rock mass, with its five caverns and see the Buddhist mural paintings covering more than 2,000 sq. ft., along with the 157 statues including a 47-foot long statue of a recumbent Buddha.

Mid-day, arrive in Kandy and check into your accommodations. Take the afternoon to relax.

This evening, take a walk along the banks of the lake to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Explore the temple, observe a Puja ceremony, and possibly see Sri Lanka's most valuable Buddhist relic, a tooth of Lord Buddha. (The evening Puja ceremony starts at 7.00 pm.) (B)

Day 5

Kandy & Hatton

Spend the morning on a scenic train journey to Hatton. At approximately 4500 feet above sea level, this region offers a breathtaking panorama of color - Beautiful gardens, cascading waterfalls, lakes amid the sweet smell of crisp mountain air. The hillsides are dotted with tea plantations, making the area even more picturesque.

Arrive at your accommodation by early afternoon, with the rest of the day to relax and enjoy this lush environment. (B,L,D)

Day 6


Today, visit a Tea Factory to learn about tea harvesting, and how to appreciate the unique qualities of the internationally popular tea. Meet the resident planter, and listen as he tells you all about the history and benefits of this valuable and famous Sri Lankan export.

This afternoon, go for a hike around the plantation. (B,L,D)

Day 7

Hatton to Colombo & Depart

Enjoy breakfast at the plantation before your day’s drive back to Colombo airport for your flight home or onwards to your next destination. ​(B)


Horathapola Estate, Negombo

Hidden in the vast green coconut belt that stretches from Negombo to Puttalam and inland up to Kurunegala lies Horathapola Estate. Its grand planter’s Bungalow has been renovated in 2003. Within just an hour'’s drive north from Katunayake International Airport, it is an ideal spot for guests from abroad to spend the first or last few nights in Sri Lanka. Built in the early 1920s by the then-British-owner of the property, the two-story bungalow has maintained the charm of a bygone era. Surrounded by a large lawn and tall flowering trees, it is hidden from the still functioning estate belonging to the Fernando family since the 1940s. Coconut, rice, cashew nuts, mangoes and other fruits, as well as spices and hardwood trees are cultivated on 50 acres of lush land.

Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya

Set on over 27 acres deep in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, this hotel pays homage to Sigiriya and its beauty. A uniquely designed and sumptuous hotel, Jetwing’'s Vil Uyana is a haven of peace and tranquility. Additionally there are plenty of activity options:– a large infinity pool that merges into the lake, plenty of treks and walks, bike rides and more. The hotel also has a plunge pool, snug library, Yoga classes, a gift shop and business center. There are two restaurants plus a full service bar, The accommodations are sumptuous in both style and comfort; the 25 units are all air-conditioned and feature a telephone, in-room safe, minibar, tea/coffee maker, a hair dryer, sarongs, and slippers.

Ellerton Bungalow, Kandy

Built for the manager of a large tea estate more than 100 years ago, Ellerton Bungalow combines modern amenities with the character and tranquility of the colonial days.  Nestled 2,400 feet above sea level, the Ellerton combines the best of Sri Lanka's weather with warm, sunny days and cool evenings and nights.  There are seven comfortable double bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, and each property is surrounded by beautiful gardens.  The hotel’s swimming pool is fed by a local spring and offers wonderful views of the countryside.

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Travelers approaching Ceylon Tea Trails from the road can glimpse tantalizing views across the lake of this magnificent symbol of the glory days of colonial life. Nestled in a wooded dell close to the water, these century-old bungalows offer unrivaled water views and superb garden suites to suit every taste. Elegant parquet floors all around with open fireplaces in the dining and drawing rooms evoke recollections of the life and times of the tea planters who once lived here. In the extensive grounds summerhouses can be found where tea is served, a good book enjoyed until the sun goes down over the water and it's time for sundowners on the terrace.