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14 Days Culture tour itinerary for sri-lanka: Revel In The Geographical And Cultural Variety Of Sri Lanka

Bandarawela, Colombo, Ella, Galle, Habarana, Haputale, Hikkaduwa, Kandy, Mirissa, Negombo, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Yala National Park

Nature
Nature Tour
Trekking
Trekking Tour
Culture
Culture Tour
Revel in the geographical and cultural variety of Sri Lanka

Beach in Sri Lanka

Colombo-Sri Lanka

Discover emerald-green tea plantations, vast forest reserves, and tropical coastline. Explore the cave temples of Dambulla, drive to Kandy and visit the famous ‘Temple of the Tooth’. This two-week walking intensive holiday takes us ‘off the beaten track’ to discover relatively unvisited and secluded parts of this tiny paradise island.

DAY 01

sigiriya

  • A single timed transfer from Colombo Airport will be provided. The drive will take around 4hrs.

  • Meet at the scheduled hotel in Sigiriya. Sigiriya is the central point of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and the most convenient base for excursions to a number of ancient historical cities.

DAY 02

Polonnaruwa

  • We drive to another stunning example of ancient Sri Lankan art and culture, UNESCO listed Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital, and the magnificent fortress at Lion’s Rock..Following the decline of Anuradhapura in the 10th century AD, a new first city arose at Polonnaruwa and this became Sri Lanka’s capital for the next 200 years.Also, UNESCO World Heritage Site, the entire landscape of Polonnaruwa is punctuated by huge man-made reservoirs, the most famous is the Parakrama Samudra or the ‘Sea of Parakrama’ which is bigger than Colombo harbour. The monuments on the site are relatively well preserved and give a clear picture of the glory of Sri Lanka’s ancient architecture. Highlights are the Royal Palace complex including the Kings Palace and Audience Hall, the Quadrangle with its concentration of ancient heritage and the spectacular Gal Vihare complex of four massive images of the Buddha, cut from a single slab of granite. Polonnaruwa also contained the original ‘Temple of the Tooth’ before the relic was moved to its present-day site at Kandy.

  • We return to the hotel for lunch and in the afternoon, we drive to nearby Sigiriya where we can climb to the top of the amazing fortress known as Lion Rock. This spectacular natural stronghold is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The most impressive facets of the unique complex are the Water Gardens, the frescoes of beautiful maidens, the Mirror Wall with its ancient graffiti and the Lion Platform. We can climb up to the summit of the rock, which extends to 1.6 hectares and which was completely covered by buildings during the period of Sigiriya’s glory. Descending from the rock we have a short transfer back to our hotel.

  • The rest of the day is free to relax before dinner at the hotel.

Drive time will be 3hrs.


DAY 03

Drive to Kandy

  • Explore the cave temples of Dambulla.

  • After a visit to the cave temples of Dambulla we drive south through a varying landscape of rice paddies and jungle, passing small farms and bustling towns. The plains eventually give way to rolling hills as we enter the ‘tea country’ and complete our drive to the charming town of Kandy where we check into a hotel.

  • The rest of the afternoon is free to explore this bustling town encircled by hills, with a tranquil lake at its center. An absolute must-see is the famous ‘temple of the tooth’ where the Buddha’s tooth, known simply as ‘the relic’ is kept.

  • We meet back at the hotel in the evening for dinner.

Drive time will be 2hrs.

DAY 04

Transfer to ‘The Knuckles’. Afternoon trek through the foothills of the Knuckles Range.

  • After breakfast we transfer up into the Knuckles range of mountains, so called for their resemblance to a clenched fist when seen near Kandy. The Knuckles exhibit just about every climate zone in Sri Lanka progressing from the ‘dry zone’ at their base, through lemongrass and flame trees up to high cloud forest with tumbling waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife. The Knuckles were once used extensively to grow cardamom and the cultivation of this spice had created a serious deforestation problem which threatened the entire eco-system. Fortunately, the Sri Lankan government stepped in and the entire range was made a conservation area. Today the forests are pristine and in 2010 UNESCO recognized this unique area by making it a ‘World Heritage Site’.

  • We drive to our mountain lodge base located high on a ridge overlooking the Knuckles Valley. After settling in, we head off our trek through the rich and varied foliage of sub-montane and montane rainforest with a breathtaking view of the valley as the backdrop.

  • We will stop at a local village to take our lunch before heading back to the lodge.

Drive time will be 2hrsDay requires 3 to 4 hours of walk. 

DAY 05

KNUCKLES

  • We make a short transfer to the start of our trek at a small village. The trek is on rough trails through scrub, jungle, and forests.

  • After trekking for approximately 3 hours we reach the isolated farming village of Meemure, deep in the Knuckles Valley. We can take a break here at the little village shop and partake in the local elevenses of hot sweetened tea with ‘jiggery’, made of coconut sap.

  • We then continue our trek climbing out of the valley and make our way back to the lodge.

Day requires 6 to 7 hours of walk. 

DAY 06

Adams peak

  • Back in the vehicle, we transfer to Corbet’s Gap. It is named after the Englishman who discovered it, the ‘gap’ is a vast split in the range of Kandyan Hills. On a clear day, the views extend to the sea in both directions east and west.

  • From Corbet’sGap, we continue to Maskeliya at the base of Adam’s Peak for an early dinner and some rest before our early start tomorrow.

DAY 07

Nuwara eliya

  • Separate from the central mountain massif of southern Sri Lanka, the dramatic 2243meter high Adam’s Peak would present an unmissable challenge, even without its religious significance. However, the mountain, also known as Sri Pada (The Holy Footprint) is sacred to 4 religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. From the full moon in December to the full moon in May, streams of pilgrims make the ascent at night, climbing the rough trail and 3306 steps to the summit. During this time the trail is illuminated by street-lights and stalls are set up along the way selling tea, snacks, and breakfasts, and there is an air of festival throughout the climb.

  • Outside of the pilgrim season, we will climb the peak by the light of our head torches and possibly alone. Either way, the aim is to be on the summit at dawn to witness the sunrise and we must start shortly after midnight. The climb takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. At the summit is a Buddhist temple which encloses the 5-foot long footprint of Buddha / Adam / Shiva – depending on your belief. During the season, a cacophony of horns erupts as the first rays of the sun crest the horizon. In the light of dawn, we descend from the peak in just a couple of hours and have a welcome breakfast at the guesthouse. Thus refreshed we now drive to Nuwara Eliya, the very heart of the Sri Lankan hill country. It is the home of the famous Ceylon Tea and most of the lower slopes of the mountains present a rolling carpet of velvety green tea plantations, interspersed with gushing streams and tumbling waterfalls. The British tea planters turned a section of Nuwara Eliya into a replica of home and some of the houses here would not look out of place in a Sussex Village. This town is utterly charming and a must on everyone’s Sri Lankan travel itinerary.

  • After checking in to our comfortable guest house accommodation the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the town or to rest and recover from the morning’s climb. Drive time will be 3hrs.

Day requires 5 to 7 hours of walk.

DAY 08

horton plains

  • After an early breakfast, we drive up onto the Horton Plains and set off on our trek to ‘World’s End’ and the beautiful Bakers Falls. Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest plateau, some 2200 meters (7200 feet) above sea-level and located in the central mountain country. Known locally as ‘fen’, the landscape hereabouts is spectacular, with an astounding variety of scenery from mountains to grasslands, from marshes to trout streams. Sri Lanka’s best flavored high-grown teas are found growing in the surrounding area. The dramatic drop-off at the edge of the plateau is particularly well demonstrated at ‘World’s End,’ where there is a 300 meter (1000 foot) precipice. With a cool and bracing climate, this is excellent hiking country, with a distinctive flora, colorful butterflies, and many rare highland birds.

  • Returning to our vehicle we drive to our overnight accommodation which tonight is in the town of Bandarawela.

Day requires 2 hours of walk. 

DAY 09

namunukula

  • We have a short transfer into the Namunukula Range where we enjoy a wonderful day of trekking starting out high on the lush green slopes of Sri Lanka’s ‘tea country’. Walking mostly downhill we descend through villages and farms to the ‘dry zone’ at Hingurukaduwa in Uva Province.

  • Our vehicle will be waiting for us at Hingurukaduwa and we will have a drive along a rough road to reach Monaragala Lake. There is a temple complex here which includes a school for young Buddhist monks.We can take part in the temple rituals and enjoy a meditation session before heading to our overnight accommodation. Drive time will be 1 – 2 hrs.

Day requires 6 hours of walk. 

DAY 10

arugambay

  • Our trek today takes us through an unspoiled region heading through ‘dry zone’ towards the east coast. We will now realize the term dry zone is somewhat misleading, thanks to the industry and engineering ability of the ancient Sri Lankans who built literally hundreds of miles of irrigation canals and created a landscape of lakes and reservoirs. Thanks to their efforts. The term ‘dry’ refers only to the lack of rainfall. Today’s walk will take us through forests and beside lakes but also through local vegetable farms and orchards where we can enjoy some local hospitality and perhaps sample the fruits of the forest and field too. This part of Sri Lanka is much less visited than the more well-known tourist spots and we are likely to receive an open and warm welcome here. This area is also teeming with bird and animal life and our guide will know the best places to see the local fauna.

  • At the end of today’s walk, we meet our vehicle and drive to Arugam Bay on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Something of a surfers’ paradise especially during the big wave season from April to October, Arugam Bay is also a great place just to relax.

  • Arriving at the bay we check into our hotel just a few steps away from the beach. After check-in, we can go down to the beach or relax with a drink beside the hotel pool before taking dinner in the hotel restaurant.

The day will have 5 hours of walk. 

DAY 11

arugam bay

  • The morning is free to enjoy the beach or to explore the nearby town of Pottuvil with its local market.

  • In the afternoon we drive south to the small fishing village of Panama located close to the northern edge of Yala National Park. During almost 30 years of bloody civil war waged between the Tamil Tigers and the Sinhalese government, this part of the country was virtually cut off from the rest of the world and life here has evolved at an entirely different pace. In the company of a localguide, we take a walk through the environs of the village and it's fishing lake which is also the watering hole for many species of bird and animal life. Being so close to the national park we are also likely to see elephants on today’s walk.

  • After our walk and visit with the people of Panama, we return to the hotel atArugam Bay forthe second evening beside the Indian Ocean on Sri Lanka’s east coast.

DAY 12

yala-Tissamaharama

  • Leaving the coast we now drive west to Buttala, often referred to as the ‘rice bowl of Sri Lanka’. At Buttala we turn south again and follow a road through the Lunugamwehera National Park which is contiguous with Yala Park to the east.

  • After a drive of 3 to 4 hours, we arrive at the charming town of Tissamaharama where we check into our hotel. This afternoon we will drive approximately 20km to the entrance to the Yala National Park where we will take a jeep safari. This is Sri Lanka’s most well-known National Park and is the habitat for elephant, bear, crocodile and wild boar as well as reputedly having the world’s highest concentration of leopard per square kilometer. The vegetation in the park is primarily grassland and shrub jungle with patches of dense growth, while several salts and freshwater lagoons are a haven for a large variety of resident and migrant birds. The areas where we are likely to find leopard tend to be typified by rock-strewn hillocks with the dense shrub in which the animals hide.

  • After the safari, we return to our hotel in Tissamaharama. Known locally as ‘Tissa’, this is a very pleasant rural township. The backdrop to the town is the Tissa Wewa, a large artificial lake where you can stroll along the shore and watch bathers mixing with flocks of aquatic birds. Between the lake and the town and surrounded by paddy fields, is the beautifully restored 3rd century ‘Great Stupa’. The modern town is a bustling city with the main street lined with shops, cafes, and kiosks.

Drive time will be 3 to 4 hrs.

DAY 13

KATARAGAMA-galle - NEGOMBO

  • We will leave after breakfast to visit the town and shrine of Kataragama which is possibly the holiest place in Sri Lanka containing the 95 feet high Kiri Vehera stupa built by King Mahasena in the 3rd century BC.

  • From here we drive to the south coast of the island to the old colonial Dutch port of Galle. The original fortified town built on a square-shaped promontory jutting out into the Ocean by the Dutch in 1663 has had few changes over the centuries and walking around the old town we are transported back in time.

  • From 17th century Galle we continuing our journey along the coast turning north now and continue to the group hotel situated near to the coastal lagoon of Negombo and very close to the international airport.

  • After check in we can relax by the hotel pool or enjoy the excellent gardens. Drive time will be 7 to 8 hrs.

DAY 14

airport

  • A single timed transfer to the airport in Colombo is provided. 

  • After an early breakfast, we transfer to Colombo airport. 

  • 2099 USD Per Adult
  • Transportation. All land transport involved in the itinerary

  • UNESCO listed Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital, and the magnificent fortress at Lion’s Rock

  • Visiting the temples, wildlife safari is included.

  • A chief experienced English-speaking local guide

  • All accommodation as described in the trip.

  • Meals as detailed in the meal plan

  • Entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary.

  • Full service while trekking including food and all equipments (not personal equipment)

  • Services of Guide

  • Travel insurance

  • Colombo Airport transfers (other than group transfers)

  • Tips for local staff

  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan

  • Miscellaneous expenses – soft drinks and souvenirs etc.

  • Travel insurance

  • Colombo Airport transfers (other than group transfers)

  • Tips for local staff

  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan

  • Miscellaneous expenses – soft drinks and souvenirs etc.

  • It is much more than a walking tour, this holiday offers a real insight into Sri Lankan culture, both historic and modern, and takes you to the heart of this spectacular island nation.

  • Much more than a walking tour, this holiday offers a real insight into Sri Lankan culture, both historic and modern, and takes you to the heart of this spectacular island nation.

  • All breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 14.

  • In addition, 3 lunches are provided during the hikes in the Knuckles and the Namanukula

  • Dining out is not particularly expensive in Sri Lanka and we suggest a budget of £50 – £75 should adequately cover this.

  • Sri Lankan food will be offered. 

  • On Day 9 we will stay at a simple guesthouse. All accommodation is on twin share basis

  • Restrict your luggage to one main bag plus your daypack.

  • Get these items such as hiking boots trainers or similar for traveling, sightseeing sandals for the beach, socks, and all the trekking material. 

  • Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. 

  • The group will spend 2 nights near Sigiriya. In Kandy, we will spend one night at a tourist standard hotel and 2 nights in the Knuckles mountains

Bandarawela, Colombo, Ella, Galle, Habarana, Haputale, Hikkaduwa, Kandy, Mirissa, Negombo, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Yala National Park

Nature
Nature Tour
Trekking
Trekking Tour
Culture
Culture Tour
nuwanathapattu-colombo-tour-guide

Contributed By

Nuwan Athapattu

starting from
USD 2099
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