Bandaranaike International Airport is your port of arrival. Welcome to Sri Lanka! There you will meet our representative who will arrange your transfer to your beach hotel in Negombo, located 10 km from the airport. After check-in the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight stay at the Beach Hotel in Negombo.
Today your adventure begins. Little by little, everything the island kingdom of Sri Lanka has to offer your senses, is revealed.
Early risers get more out of the day, especially if they want to experience the Negombo fish market at the northern end of the lagoon. Soak up the atmosphere, the shouts of vendors touting their wares, get a glimpse of the island’s commercial life, and marvel at the riches the sea bestows on man – lobsters, crabs, shrimp, sharks, squid, barracuda and other strange-looking creatures of the sea. Afterwards, a visit to a coconut plantation is on your itinerary. Learn everything about Sri Lanka’s superfood, and the important role every part of the coconut palm plays in the daily life of the inhabitants. Most importantly, do not neglect to indulge your taste buds, enjoy the fresh water of a king coconut and try the famous toddy, a palm wine that the so-called toddy tappers conjure up from the fermented juice of the coconut.
After this refreshment, it’s off to Sigiriya! Dambulla is the first stop on the way there. You can look forward to a tour of the cave temple complex called the Golden Temple of Dambulla from the 1st century BCE, which is of great significance for Sri Lanka’s Buddhists. The only entrance to the caves, located on a hill, is a path carved into the rocky mountain and steps that lead you to the 80 or so caves. However, you can also drive up about halfway and then walk from there. Once at the top, the breath-taking views and five dimly lit caves, full of Buddhist statues and murals, as well as a never-ending mysterious spring, will reward you. The magical atmosphere will envelop you inside the 160-meter-high rock mountain. Explore the fascinating caves, but if the weather is good, also take the time to enjoy the impressive view from the top. After the descent and about a 30-minute drive in an air-conditioned car, you will arrive at your nearby hotel in Habarana.
You will spend the night at Cinnamon Lodge (double room).
Morning tour to Polonnaruwa: The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Polonnaruwa, an ancient city now in ruins is first on the itinerary. Explore the thoughtfully laid out city, its palaces, shrines, monasteries, the enclosing defensive walls of which about 5 km still remain, and the ruins in varying conditions of preservation scattered throughout. Enjoy the parks, ponds and irrigation lakes with their idyllic pavilions. Polonnaruwa is a wonderful synthesis of the arts, which not only hunters of lost treasures will enjoy.
An afternoon safari through the Hurulu Eco-Park or Minneriya National Park: After the archaeology lovers among you got their money’s worth in the morning, the afternoon will provide an unforgettable adventure especially for nature lovers. Subject to ground conditions and the season, your safari this afternoon will take you through Minneriya National Park or Hurulu Eco-Park. The area is known as an elephant corridor as large groups of elephants migrate through the area at certain times of the year when water is scarce in other parts of the country. But you won’t see only elephants. Leopards, endemic species of monkeys, sloth bears and many other animals are worth spotting. There is also a great variety of birds in the area, one count recorded more than 160 species, including storks, gray herons and cormorants.
Tip: The Reclining Buddha is the most popular of all the Buddha statues in Polonnaruwa, standing an imposing 12 meters tall and making an excellent photo subject and backdrop. Don’t forget to also check out the impressive carvings on this huge stone image of the Buddha.
Your morning climb will take you up the rock fortress of Sigiriya – the Lion Rock!
This morning you will have an early start. It is better to climb the rock early in the morning, so the night before you can arrange at the hotel to get your breakfast as a takeaway and enjoy it on the way. You will be driven to the base of the Sigiriya monolith. This imposing landmark is rightly one of the most famous sights in the island kingdom.
You will then walk up 1200 steps to the very top. On the way you can admire the centuries-old frescoes of pretty ladies or goddesses, nobody is sure which, and it will perhaps forever remain a secret. What is known, however, is that these murals once adorned the entire west side of the rock. Once on the plateau, the wonderful view is your reward. Let your eyes glide over the magical-looking landscape and jungle-covered plains below, they stretch as far as the eye can see. After this breather, there is much to discover in this magical setting. Here history is close enough to touch; the palace ruins that are part of this awe-inspiring historical structure, and of course the famous Lion’s Gate.
After an unforgettable morning and a rest, you will make your way down. Once at the bottom, you will meet your driver and be taken to a local restaurant for lunch (at your own expense).
Hint: Some sections of the trail up to the rock plateau are steep and you will need to be extremely careful on both the ascent and descent. The last section is a narrow metal staircase. You need to be quite fit for this hike, so many people choose to finish at the Lion’s Paw about two-thirds of the way up and enjoy the wonderful view from there.
Afternoon at leisure: Relax at the hotel, explore the area around Habarana with its nearby lakes, or take a bike ride on a locally rented bike – your afternoon can be spent independently and completely at your leisure.
Tip: Do you feel like something very special and traditional? Then we suggest an evening ride on an ox cart. This adventurous ride through the shady forests will surely be a highlight of your trip, and is something completely different. But not only the adventurous ride with an unconventional means of transportation awaits you; you will visit a typical village and enjoy a homemade meal after a cooking demonstration by the local women. This is followed by a romantic canoe ride across one of the beautiful lakes in the area. This evening will stay in your memory for a long time.
Dinner and overnight stay in Sigiriya.
Today, the spice gardens of Matale and the capital of Sri Lanka’s Central Province, Kandy are on the agenda.
After breakfast, we will leave for the first stop of the day. Indulge your senses with a visit to the spice gardens in Matale, learn more about the typical spices of Sri Lanka, their cultivation and processing, as well as their use in Ayurveda. You can even sample one or two. Here you can also stock up on traditional Ayurvedic remedies, cosmetics and the spices themselves, as wonderfully fragrant souvenirs and gifts. You’ll also have the opportunity to indulge in a relaxing herbal massage with natural garden herbs, and attend an optional cooking demonstration that trumps up all the exotic flavors that the spices of the island kingdom lend to a lunch.
Afternoon tour of Kandy: This city in the central hill country has much to offer. The afternoon begins with a guided tour. First you will go to a special viewpoint on the hill south of the lake. Here you will have a good bird’s eye view of impressive Kandy, the capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom. The city’s attractive focal point, the famous Lake Kandy was built in 1807 and attracts not only tourists but also locals who promenade along its shores, especially on weekends. Back in the city center, your guide will take you on a walking tour past interesting sites such as the central market and the historic railroad station, and through the popular shopping streets.
You also don’t want to miss the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, established as early as 1371 and the largest in the country, covering an area of 60 hectares. Once accessible only to members of the royal family, everyone can now enjoy the plants, including rare species of orchids, probably the largest banyan tree and an avenue of palms. A large amount of flying foxes also like the garden, so you may see some of them.
The famous Temple of the Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the holiest places for Buddhist pilgrims, is your destination in the late afternoon. The relic that the temple houses, yes, you guessed correctly, is a tooth of the Buddha. If you’re there at the right time, you might witness the hour-long evening puja ceremony, which takes place mostly behind closed gates but ends with the public being allowed a glimpse of the tooth relic. The excitement, as well as the loud drums will lead you there. To conclude your day in Kandy, watch a cultural performance featuring traditional musical instruments and traditional dances of Sri Lanka.
Dinner and overnight in Kandy.
Tip: Unless you already know where you’d like to dine, we can highly recommend Helga’s Folly, one of Kandy’s long-established and most popular restaurants, with delectable food and quirky decor in a mix of antiquity and 1940’s Hollywood glamor. You will want to linger long after you have finished your meal .
The small town of Nuwara Eliya is the destination after departing from the hotel this morning. Once you leave Kandy, you will enter the hilly region of Sri Lanka where the tea plantations are located. The scenery along the way is beautiful and you can always stop to admire nature in all its glory.
Train ride through the tea plantations
68 km from Kandy is the picturesque little village of Hatton. This beautiful mountain town is mainly inhabited by the workers of the tea plantations. Here we board the train and travel through the scenic mountains, plantations and small villages of the area. Your journey ends in Nanu Oya, a charming little hill station. There your driver will be waiting with the car and your luggage to take you to Nuwara Eliya.
At a tea factory on the way, you will meet the staff and be instructed in the precise process of tea plucking, also called “two leaves and a bud”. There you will learn how the tea leaves are processed to give the famous Ceylon tea its aroma and flavor. Round up your visit there with a cup of the famous Ceylon tea.
After arriving in Nuwara Eliya, continue on a city tour. This charming little town, 1990 meters above sea level, is framed by mountains and known as Little England since it was founded by the British in the 1840’s. You’ll still find evidence of its British history, such as the red roofs of cottage-style houses, a golf course, a horse racing track, and even the signature red mailbox. However, Nuwara Eliya is also famous for its idyllic location, lush tea plantations, Hakgala Botanical Garden, Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary, and several waterfalls and reservoirs, including Lake Gregory.
*Please keep in mind that we make every effort to get the best available seats for your train ride, but the trains are not quite as comfortable as their Western counterparts.
Horton Plains National Park Morning Hike (Optional): This morning, get up early and head to the Horton Plains National Park with a packed breakfast for the road ready and waiting at the hotel reception. Horton Plains is one of Sri Lanka’s most important and scenic national parks. The highest plateau of the island delights with unique flora, as well as many endemic highland bird species. The most famous attraction of the national park is certainly Big World’s End, a steep slope that drops almost 950 m, with its sheer breath-taking view of the landscape in the south to the sea. You can choose how long you want to walk and enjoy the overwhelmingly beautiful nature, there are several walking trails of different lengths. A local English-speaking guide will accompany you on your hike, while your driver will be waiting for you at the park entrance.
*The trail through Horton Plains will take you about three to four hours.
Drive to Yala National Park. The drive there takes about five hours, during which you can relax and enjoy the scenery.
On the way you will stop at the highest waterfall on the island, Bambarakanda Falls.
Overnight stay in Yala National Park.
If you want to see leopards your chances are best early in the morning and then again at dusk. Since we are very close to the park, you will be among the first to arrive in the areas best suited for game sightings. The male leopards in Yala, especially the younger ones, are very confident animals that are often seen walking on the trails during the day, seemingly without fear of jeeps, so there may be excellent unique opportunities for photos. Yala has one of the highest leopard densities in the world, so be sure to keep your camera ready!
You will also see other wildlife. The diverse landscape is home to over 130 species of birds, including peacocks, malkohas, Malabar hornbills, crested eagles, black-winged ioras, rose starlings and colorful storks. Many species of migratory birds also visit the park. There are also more than 30 species of mammals, for example axis and sambar deer, wild buffalo, wild boar, langurs, jackals, sloth bears, monkeys and of course, elephants that love to take a dip in one of the many lakes in the area.
Our experienced and knowledgeable naturalist guides will make your safari in an open four-wheel drive vehicle a unique experience that you will rave about for a long time.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE SAFARI IN YALA NATIONAL PARK
✿ Light colored clothing
✿ Sunglasses & hat/cap to protect you from the sun
✿ Insect repellent
✿ Sunscreen lotion & SPF lip balm.
✿ Good camera, spare batteries, extra memory cards
✿ Dust mask or bandana for protection against the dust
Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, beckons, we depart right after breakfast.
Once in Colombo, you have time to have lunch and freshen up at your hotel, after which a private guide will pick you up and show you around the capital, known as a port city since the 5th century.
As the largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo naturally offers its guests a lot, be it the mix of old and modern architecture, the historic center of Colombo with the Fort, the World Trade Center Colombo, which is the second tallest building in South Asia, or the Beira Lake in the heart of Colombo, the City Hall in the Cinnamon Gardens district, a former lighthouse, the Clock Tower, or one of the most significant temples of the city, the Gangaramaya.
For shopping, the Pettah Market with its vendors hawking food, electronics and clothing, and other popular shopping destinations such as Barefoot, Odel, Paradise Road, Cotton Collection and Lakmedura are interesting. And of course Galle Road, the main artery of Colombo.
After this day in the lively capital from which you will surely take back many interesting impressions, it is time to say goodbye to Sri Lanka and welcome to the Maldives. Your driver will take you to the airport.
The flight to Male takes about an hour, so time will literally fly by.
From the airport on the main island of Male, you will need to get to your beach hotel on Maafushi by speedboat. The duration of the trip depends on which resort you choose, but takes a maximum of 45 minutes. Our experienced team will be happy to help you choose a resort that suits your budget and taste.
How about just dropping your luggage and having a cocktail on the beach when you arrive at your hotel?
Overnight at the Arena Beach Hotel or similar accommodation.
Relaxed days, lazing on powdered-sugar beaches, sunshine, and revitalising treatments in the hotel spa – spend the following two days enjoying everything that makes the Maldives such a popular dream destination.
A speedboat or seaplane is in charge of your transfer today to the beach resort in the Maldives where you will spend the next three days with accommodation and meals included.
The Island of White Gold is richly blessed; the magnificent flora, pristine blue waters and peaceful seclusion of North Male Atoll make the Island of White Gold your very own paradise on earth. One of the best resorts in the Maldives invites you to pure relaxation, enjoy the location of the 83-acre beachfront property near Kani Beach on Lhohifushi Island. The resort is designed to fit perfectly into its surroundings – true luxury.
Do you like to be active on vacation and love snorkeling or diving? The crystal clear waters beckon and the unspoiled colorful dive sites here are world class. Even if you don’t have any experience, or could use a refresher, that wouldn’t be a problem, as most of the hotels have diving schools on site. Of course, you can also just snorkel or try other water sports to your heart’s content.
Accommodation in the Maldives is at the Kandima Maldives, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma or similar
If you can tear yourself away from the cute baby sharks swimming near your villa, this day is at your leisure. This resort is the perfect place to make all your dreams come true, be it island hopping, chilling on the private beach, snorkeling in the incredibly blue Indian Ocean, or just unwinding and enjoying the weather, the colors, and the tranquillity. A special recommendation is the atmospheric Sunset Cruise with 4-course menu consisting of many delicacies of international cuisine and cocktails prepared especially for you – all inclusive.
Overnight stay in the Maldives
Another day in paradise, which you can spend according to your mood. How about a short trip to the South Ari Atoll, where you can see turtles, manta rays, stingrays, white tip sharks, nurse sharks and other fish? Or maybe a full day trip to see the whale sharks? The choice is yours.
Overnight stay in the Maldives
Unfortunately, the day to say farewell has arrived. If there is enough time after checking out of your hotel, you may want to say goodbye to your little paradise on earth with a walk around the island, spend a final hour on the beach, wave one last time at the friendly baby whale sharks or let the dream beach sand run through your fingers, thinking about how soon you can come back for another vacation. Then the speedboat will pick you up and your driver will deliver you safely at Malé International Airport, where you will start your journey home. We wish you a smooth flight and say goodbye.
END OF THE TRIP
• Price based on two persons in a double room
• Prices are in USD Excluding international flights
• Do you prefer to travel alone or would you like to come to India with a group of friends? We will be happy to tailor-made your tour program that meets all your wishes and needs
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Keywords: Vacation in Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Negombo Beach ➜ Wilpattu National Park ➜ Anuradhapura (optional Bicycle Tour) ➜ Dambulla Caves ➜ Kandy (Tooth Temple) ➜ Polonnaruwa ➜ Sigiriya Rock Fortress ➜ Nuwara Eliya ➜ Colombo (City Tour)
Negombo Beach ➜ Dambulla (Temple & Caves) ➜ Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa full day excursion ➜ Optional Afternoon Safari in Minneriya National Park ➜ Kandy (Day excursion & Kandy festival) ➜ Nuwara Eliya (Tea Plantations & Train ride) ➜ Yala National Park (Afternoon safari & Morning safari) ➜ Optional Visit Udawalawe Elephant Rearing Station ➜ Mirissa Beach ➜ Colombo (Sightseeing and Shopping in Galle & Explore Colombo)
Colombo (Beach Hotel in Negombo) ➜ Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage ➜ Dambulla Caves ➜ Habrana ➜ Sigiriya Rock fortress ➜ Polonnaruwa ➜ Anuradhapura & Mihintale ➜ Minneriya National park ➜ Matale Spice Gardens ➜ Kandy (Temple of Tooth) ➜ Nuwara Eliya ➜ Horton Plain ➜ Train Ride to Ella ➜ Yala National Park ➜ Ahangama or Galle Coast (Whale Watching Excursion (November to April) ➜ Colombo
Negombo Beach ➜ Wilpattu National Park ➜ Anuradhapura (optional Bicycle Tour) ➜ Mihintale Spice Gardens ➜ Jaffna (including Nainativu Island) ➜ Trincomalee Beach (Nilaveli) ➜ Optional Pigeon Island Marine-Nationalpark & Whale watching in Trincomalee ➜ Dambulla Caves ➜ Minneriya National Park ➜ Optional Hiriwadunna Village Tour with Lunch ➜ Kandy (Tooth Temple) ➜ Sigiriya Rock Fortress ➜ Nuwara Eliya (Train Ride) ➜ Colombo