Cultural Sri Lanka
Cultural Sri Lanka
For most travellers, Sri Lanka has been off the map for too long. Well, it's back. Discover the vibrant colours, diverse cultures and swaying palm trees of this tropical jewel on a 14-day trip designed to please. You'll explore tea plantations and rock fortresses, try stilt fishing in Galle and get inspired at an elephant sanctuary. This trip is about more than just beaches and stunning views; it's about the inspiring people you'll meet along the way.
Negombo to Colombo
Day 1 Negombo
Arrive at any time.
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.
Tonight, the adventure begins. Feel free to explore — but make sure you're back in time to meet your group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your trip.
Day 2 Negombo (1B)
Enjoy a boat ride in the Dutch canal. Mingle with the locals at the fish market.
Visit the seaside and watch the process the fishermen go through to haul their catch ashore. Board a boat to glide along the Dutch canal and get a closer look at the lives of the locals. With free time, explore the city and check out the beautiful Portuguese and Dutch architecture.
Take a walking tour of a fishing village. There's no better way to learn about the life of the locals than to head to the sea to take in the action. Watch the fishermen bring their boats to shore, clean their nets, dry the fish, and sell to waiting buyers.
Get a closer look at daily life while cruising calmly along the Dutch canal, one of many canals in the city linking estuaries and lagoons together. Watch as Negombo's residents collect coconuts, and keep an eye out for the multitude of bird species in the area.
Free Time Negombo Afternoon
Make the most of your time here.
Day 3 Negombo (1B)
Travel to the Dambulla province and visit the cave temple before watching the sun set over the lake.
Travel through the countryside to Sigiriya in Dambulla, the central province of Sri Lanka. Visit the the World Heritage Site of the Golden Cave Temple of Dambulla. In the evening, try to catch a beautiful sunset over the Kandalamma Lake.
Visit the ancient Dambulla cave temples at one of the most well-preserved temple and cave sites in Sri Lanka. See Buddhist mural paintings that line the walls of the seventh-century caves as well as a collection of hundreds of statues of Buddha in different poses.
Day 4 Sigiriya (1B, 1L)
Guided tour of the rock fortress of Sigiriya — a World Heritage site. Meet locals and share a meal in a nearby village.
Enjoy a walking tour of a local village to learn about residents' way of life while getting a chance to try the local cuisine at a lunch prepared by the families of the community. Later, visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Built in the fifth century, this rock fortress boasts well-laid out gardens, caves, monasteries, and palaces with beautiful wall motifs. In the afternoon, opt to go for a tour of Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, where you can cycle through the ruins.
Wander through a typical Sri Lankan village to learn more about its residents and their way of life. Enjoy some local cuisine prepared by the families of the town and get a chance to interact with the community.
Be mesmerized by this rock fortress, which captivates every visitor with its well-laid out gardens, caves, monasteries, and palaces adorned with beautiful wall motifs. Start at the water gardens and climb more than 1,200 steps to reach the top. Pass caves with frescoes and boulders to find the ruins of a palace on the flat surface of the old volcanic magma rock. The rock rests 370m (1,213 ft) above sea level with a shear drop on all sides.
Free Time Sigiriya Afternoon
Head out and explore.
Day 5 Sigiriya (1B)
Drive through the Knuckles Mountain Range and visit a spice plantation en route to Kandy. Guided visit to the famous Temple of the Tooth.
En route to Kandy, stop at the herbal centre of spices. Students of Ayurveda will explain different uses for each herb. Arrive to Kandy in the afternoon. Go for a stroll around Kandy Lake and visit the famed Temple of the Tooth.
Visit the herbal centre of spices for an interactive session with students of Ayurveda. Learn all about the medicinal uses of various herbs used by the people of Sri Lanka in their massages and treatments.
Walk through the city and around Kandy Lake to get a better feel for the place. Keep track of sites you might want to see more in depth later.
Enjoy a tour of the Temple of the Tooth, which houses an important relic – a tooth of Lord Buddha kept in a well-preserved golden casket. Learn about the importance of this site from local guides.
Day 6 Kandy (1B)
Enjoy Kandy with a free day to explore. Opt to visit the Botanical Gardens or an Ayurvedic hospital. Take in a cultural performance in the evening.
Opt to take a walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, exploring the 300 varieties of orchids of Sri Lanka or visit an Ayurvedic hospital to learn about Ayurvedic oil massage treatments. Explore the well-laid out walkways of the city and don't miss the famed Palm Avenues. In the evening, enjoy a Kandyan cultural dance performance.
Free Time Kandy Full Day
Head out and explore.
Be swept away by in an entertaining performance that will provide insight into the local culture in Kandy in the eveing.
Day 7 Kandy (1B)
Travel to Nuwara Eliya by train. Explore a traditional tea plantation in the central highlands. Gain insight into the process of growing tea and its effect on the Ceylon region.
The town, also known as 'Little England', offers a lot of options for visitors. Explore the nature trails, visit the plantations, or go golfing or horseback riding.
Be welcomed into the homes of local plantation families who will talk about the hardships of the industry. The town of Nuwara Eliya produces the finest Orange Pekoe Ceylon tea, and is inhabited mainly by tea planters and plantation workers. Pay a visit to one of the factories to learn all about tea production.
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya (1B)
Spend a free day hiking in the Horton Plains Nature Reserve or strolling local markets.
Use some free time to explore the area. Opt to stay close to the city, wandering local markets or head further afield. There's a 9km (6 mi) trek in the Horton Plains Nature Reserve or a chance to experience the beautiful surroundings on horseback. Wander around Victoria Lake and take in the views.
Free Time Nuwara Eliya Full Day
Day 9 Nuwara Eliya (1B)
Drive through the Udawalawe Wildlife Reserve and spot Sri Lankan elephants. Overnight in a tented camp near the reserve.
Drive down from the hill district towards beach country. Cross the famous Udawalawe Reserve. Elephants are in abundance here and come strolling alongside the roads. Make several stops to observe these mighty creatures before arriving for the evening. Stay at an eco-lodge in a tented camp near the reserve on the banks of the river. With some luck, witness elephants walking along the river.
Drive through the massive Udawalawe Reserve and keep an eye out for the mighty Sri Lankan elephant. They live in abundance here and often wander along the road. Make several stops while exploring to observe these beautiful animals.
Day 10 Udawalawe (1B)
Enjoy a morning at the reserve before continuing on to the beach town of Hikkaduwa.
Enjoy a walking tour through the wilderness and see a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Meet local farmers and learn about their way of life. Later, drive to Hikkaduwa beach for some serious relaxation. Hikkaduwa is the perfect beach destination for whale watching touring, and surfing and other water sports.
Walk through the wilderness of the Udawalawe Reserve and see a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for Sri Lankan elephants, leopards, deer, and more. Meet some local farmers in the fields and learn a bit about their rural way of life.
Free Time Hikkaduwa Afternoon
Start exploring this beautiful coastal city.
Day 11 Hikkaduwa (1B)
Take a day trip to Galle and learn about stilt fishing. Tour the colonial city before returning to Hikkaduwa Beach.
Visit stilt fishermen near Galle. The fisherman, already on their poles, will be waiting patiently to catch fish. Later, visit the famous Galle Fort in this charming colonial city. Return to Hikkaduwa for the night.
Learn about stilt fishing in the Kathaluwa region near Galle – an age old practice still being followed by about 500 families. Head to the area to see fisherman already on their poles, waiting patiently to catch their fish.
Visit the Galle Fort, a 16th-century fort first built by the Portuguese, and later occupied by the Dutch. The ramparts are still standing even after being battered by Mother Nature, including the 2004 tsunami.
Day 12 Hikkaduwa (1B)
Enjoy a free day on this pristine beach. Opt to go windsurfing, fishing, snorkelling or just enjoy relaxing on the coast.
Free Time Hikkaduwa Full Day
Day 13 Hikkaduwa (1B)
Travel to the capital, Colombo. Enjoy an orientation walk of the fort area.
Drive to Colombo, a trading town with 2,000 years of history. Enjoy an orientation tour of the fort area and Pettah Bazaar in the afternoon.
Enjoy a brief walk with the CEO, designed to orient you with useful places in new destinations like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in depth destination information, an official guided tour is recommended.
Visit the Pettah district of Colombo and wind your way through a series of open-air bazaars and markets. The area is home to Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, one of the oldest and most visited mosques in Colombo, and also hosts Kayman's Gate, Colombo Town Hall, and the Khan Clock Tower.
Day 14 Colombo (1B)
Depart at any time.