Our Essential Sri Lanka special offer is a two-week tour of Sri Lanka which takes you to the Cultural Triangle, home to the island’s most awe-inspiring historic monuments; the spectacular Knuckles Mountain Range; Hatton’s scenic tea hills, and Yala National Park, before ending with four nights on the spectacular beaches of the Galle coast where whale watching and a variety of water-sports are on offer. With savings of up to 20%, this is a special offer Sri Lanka tour not to be missed, particularly for first-time visitors to the island.
- Save up to 20% on this traditional island tour
- See Galle Fort and try water-sports on the Galle coast
- Spot leopards and elephants in Yala National Park
- Experience the glorious vistas of Sri Lanka’s tea hills
- Trek through the sensational Knuckles Mountain Range
- See Sri Lanka’s most awe-inspiring cultural sites
- Accommodation in a shared double / twin room on a BB basis
- Cinnamon hotels are on a HB basis
- Chauffeur-guide and vehicle for the duration of the tour (including leisure days)
- Both airport transfers
- Customer Care for the duration of your tour
- Covid-19 insurance and healthcare package
Terms & Conditions
- Valid from 1st May 2021 – 15th July 2021
- Price shown is based on two people sharing and may be subject to change
- There may be additional charges required relating to coronavirus H&S protocols
- See our Booking Conditions for more details
Day 1, 2 & 3 Habarana, Cultural Triangle
Upon arrival at the airport, travel north to the Cultural Triangle. Spend the next three days exploring the many historic sites in this region, from the awe-inspiring Sigiriya Rock to the 2,000-year-old cave paintings and Buddha statues of Dambulla Cave Temple. You can even meet the monkeys that are the modern-day rulers of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s medieval citadel – a favourite activity with children.
Day 4 & 5 Elkaduwa, Kandy
Head down to Elkaduwa in the glorious Knuckles Mountain Range for two days of trekking, waterfall picnics and sensational scenery. Kandy, Sri Lanka’s last royal capital and now a bustling, vibrant city, is just a 45-minute drive away, and here you can explore relics of British colonial rule (including the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens) and the iconic Temple of the Tooth. Kandy’s clamouring bazaars are also fascinating to visit, especially for foodies, and the region is famous for its traditional arts and crafts such as Kandyan dancing.
Day 6 & 7 Hatton, Hill Country
Journey into the island’s central hill country, either by car, or by rail should you wish to follow in the footsteps of the British planters – this train journey has been described by Lonely Planet as one of the most beautiful in the world. Over the next two days, enjoy the cooler climes of the hills, either soaking in the views by the pool or exploring the surrounding tea estates on foot.
Day 8 & 9 Yala National Park, Yala
Wind out of the hills and down to Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s largest and most beautiful parks which is one of the best places in the world to see leopards. You have time for four jeep drives in the park during your stay, and as well as leopards you can spot many different animals including elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles and a wide variety of birds.
Day 10, 11, 12 & 13 Unawatuna, Galle Coast
End your holiday with four nights on Sri Lanka’s Galle coast. Idyllic tropical beaches await, with whale watching excursions and a variety of water-sports to delight those who want to be active. Historic Galle Fort is just a short drive away, and the adventurous may wish to go cycling through the scenic inland countryside or take a traditional cooking class – as always, the choice is yours.
Day 14 Airport
Today, your chauffeur-guide will pick you up and take you to the airport in time to catch your flight home.
Habarana, Cultural Triangle
Cinnamon Lodge is blessed with a tranquil and picturesque 27-acre woodland location next to a beautiful lake. The large gardens are filled with tropical trees and tranquil waterways which provide a home for a variety of birds, grey monkeys and rock squirrels. The luxurious two-storey chalets have verandahs and balconies and offer much privacy.
Ashburnham Estate is an old planter’s bungalow that has been caringly renovated by its British owners. It lies on a 98-acre working tea plantation in the village of Elkaduwa, about an hour from Kandy in the Knuckles mountains. Six comfortable ensuite bedrooms are sold by the room – a great choice for walkers and nature lovers.
The Monkey Kingdom of Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa, Cultural Triangle
Quite apart from the incredible ruins of this medieval city, Polonnaruwa is home to a large monkey population who were famously featured in Disney’s engaging documentary film ‘Monkey Kingdom’. Polonnaruwa is a gloriously majestic backdrop for this experience, which allows you to closely observe the three diurnal primates of Sri Lanka: grey langur, purple-faced leaf monkey and toque macaque. Although these creatures can be seen in various parts of the island, this is one of the best places for travellers to get up close and personal with the monkeys of Sri Lanka.
Polonnaruwa, Cultural Triangle
The well-preserved ruins of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s medieval royal capital, are one of the country’s most prominent cultural sites. You can spend several hours wandering freely between the various ruined temples, imposing Buddha statues and royal bathing pools.
Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla, Cultural Triangle
Dambulla Cave Temple is one of the most popular religious cultural sites in Sri Lanka, attracting tourists from across the globe. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, it is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. This World Heritage site has the largest number of Buddha statues all housed in one place, including a colossal, 14-metre-long figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock.
Anuradhapura, Cultural Triangle
Anuradhapura was Sri Lanka’s first civilisation and the centre-point of the island’s greatest kingdoms, acting as the royal capital for over 100 kings between the 2nd century BC and 1073 AD. At its height, Anuradhapura was home to thousands of monks from dozens of different monasteries, and it remains Sri Lanka’s most important cultural site, both in terms of history and religion.
Anuradhapura, Cultural Triangle
Historically recorded as the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Mihintale is commonly believed by Sri Lankans to be the meeting place of the Buddhist monk Mahinda, son of Emperor Ashoka of India, and King Devanampiyatissa in the 3rd century BC. Mahinda preached the doctrine of Lord Buddha to the King and his people on the full moon day in June (Poson),which remains a special holiday in Sri Lanka and also led to all Poya (full moon) days becoming holy days for Sri Lankan Buddhists – tourists should note that meat and alcohol are not served in the island on Poya days. This meeting was the beginning of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, which quickly became a core part of Sinhalese culture, something that is evident in all the island’s ancient cultural sites, such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla Cave Temple.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Sigiriya, Cultural Triangle
Sigiriya is one of the most dramatic and inspiring historical locations in the world, a huge rock fortress rising impossibly from Sri Lanka’s central plains, and possessed of a glorious history that has caused millions of travellers to gape in wonder.
Temple of the Tooth
Discover one of the great legends of Sri Lanka by visiting the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy where a sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is housed in great splendour. The story of this religious relic rivals any in the world. The Buddha’s tooth was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th Century A.D. and was subsequently passed round with great ceremony by a succession of Sinhalese kings and monks who regarded it as a symbol of sovereignty.
Royal Botanical Gardens
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The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, located just outside of Kandy, are Sri Lanka’s largest landscaped gardens, spanning over 60 hectares, and can lay claim to being the finest in Asia. They will delight anybody who loves to see nature showcased at its best.
Kandy tea hills trek
The tea estates around Deltota in the Kandyan foothills are some of the oldest in Sri Lanka and include Loolecondera, James Taylor’s tea plantation which was the first to be developed in Sri Lanka. These tea estates are also little-visited compared to those in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country, so you will be largely undisturbed as you trek through this glorious scenery with your guide.
Kandyan Cultural Show
Watch a Kandyan cultural show and be awed by the spectacular dance, acrobatics, costumes and music. Held in Kandy town, this cultural show depicts various forms of Kandyan dancing which was once native to the area but has now spread to different regions of the island. Originated from a dance performed by Indian shamans who came to the island, Kandyan dancing plays an important role in Sri Lankan culture and is a much-anticipated event during perahera processions. During the show, you will see several dances which depict the graceful movements of birds and animals, which trace their origins back to the ancient ritual known as the Kohomba Kapkariya, as well as energetic acrobatic performances where the men perform a series of leaping pirouettes and stunts such as plate-spinning and the dramatic ‘fire walk’ which ends the show.
Hatton, Hill Country
Climb Adam's Peak, a mountain sacred to all four religious groups in Sri Lanka, in time to witness one of the most glorious sunrises in Asia. Sri Pada, or Adam’s Peak, is a 2,234m-high mountain which is sacred to all four main religious groups in Sri Lanka – Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, all of whom variously claim the giant footprint at the top to be that of Lord Buddha, God Shiva, Adam or St. Thomas (the Christian apostle who preached in South India. Climbing the mountain is a popular pilgrimage, and a steady trickle of travellers join devotees between December and April to attempt the ascent. The climb is best started at about 2am – after a 3.5 hour hike, you will reach the summit and witness one of the most glorious sunrises in Asia. During pilgrimage season, strip lights and rudimentary stalls light the way to help keep you going all the way to the top. For many, this is a moving highlight of their stay in Sri Lanka and it is certainly one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in the island.
Yala National Park
Yala National Park, Yala
Yala National Park is one of the largest and certainly the most popular national park in Sri Lanka, and has the highest density of leopards anywhere in the world. Hidden away in the far south-east of the country, it comprises five separate blocks covering 141sqkm.
Unawatuna, Galle Coast
Just inland from Galle is Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya, a fine place to go and visit for temple lovers. This temple is built around and within giant boulder-like rock formations. Quiet and little visited, the temple looks out over paddy fields and small hamlets. It won’t take much time to visit but Yatagala is interesting if as only a comparison to the bigger, famous temples in Sri Lanka.
Whale Watching in Mirissa
Mirissa, South Coast
Go whale watching in Sri Lanka, acclaimed as one of the best places in the world to see whales. Spot dolphins, sperm whales and blue whales near Mirissa. The island’s shoreline lies unusually close to the continental shelf, the point when the ocean floor drops dramatically and where larger marine life is found, and so it does not take too long to reach these deep waters from Sri Lanka’s western, southern and eastern coastlines. Whale and dolphin watching is possible from Kalpitiya, Bentota and Mirissa between December and April, and from Trincomalee and Pasikudah on the east coast between June and August, but Mirissa is widely thought of as the best place for whale watching in Sri Lanka.
Traditional Sri Lankan Cooking Class
Galle, Galle Coast
Learn how to make rice and curry, Sri Lanka’s delicious and underrated traditional cuisine, which is overshadowed on the international culinary stage by the food of its neighbours, such as India. Although it sounds simple, rice and curry is actually a complex dish comprised of seven different elements, including curries, spiced vegetables in a variety of textures, sambols, chutneys and rice.
Galle Dutch Fort
Galle Fort, Galle Coast
Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, originally built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and then further developed by the Dutch and the British over the next 350 years. It covers nearly 4sqkm and is protected by 12 bastions and connecting ramparts. During the early 18th century, the Old Dutch Gate was the entrance to the Fort, but subsequently the British built the Main Gate that is still used today. Buildings of interest include the Dutch Reformed Church, All Saints Church, Amangalla Hotel (formerly the New Oriental Hotel),the lighthouse and bell tower. The Dutch also developed what was then an innovative tide-based sewage-system within the Fort.
Galle Guided Bicycle Trails
Galle, Galle Coast
Galle’s rural inland landscape is largely unfrequented by tourists who visit this region, as they are often more preoccupied with visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort, or relaxing on the popular beaches along the Galle Coast. However, the countryside around Galle is truly picturesque and is particularly nice to explore if you are looking to discover the ‘authentic’ Sri Lanka which is sometimes hidden on the tourist trail – cycle past lush green paddy fields dotted with water buffalo, bright white egrets and vibrant kingfishers, sloping tea plantations, rice fields, small villages, temples and colourful gardens growing spices and fruit.