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Classic Sri Lanka: Small Group Tour

Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,910

Take an intimate tour of the tropical nation of Sri Lanka. Climb the iconic rock, Sigiriya, before examining the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura and Polonnarwua, visiting one of the Buddha’s teeth in Kandy, and finishing your adventure in the capital of Colombo, with its sprawling beaches and national museums.


On this Asia tour, small group means small group. With an average of 10 participants, and a maximum of 16 on each departure, you'll feel less like a tourist and more like a traveller, discovering Asia with friends at your side. 

 

This 15-day tour takes you all across this colourful island, exploring religious sites, incredible landscapes, and thriving modern cities.

Your Sri Lanka vacation begins in Negombo, north of the capital of Colombo. As a beach town located close to Bandaranaike International Airport, Negombo is perfect for introductions. Find your bearings alongside the friendly locals and get acquainted with the customs of this island nation. The city’s mixture of British, Dutch, and Portuguese architectures will prepare you for the destinations to come.

From Negombo, head to the massive rock of Sigiriya, perhaps the country’s most iconic sight. Rising out of misty forests, Sigiriya is defined by its steep vertical walls and plateau crowned by ancient ruins. The true nature of the ruin is unknown. Some claim it was an ancient monastery, while others propose it was a royal palace from the Kingdom of Kassapa. Climb the steep staircases up the rock to examine the ruins yourself and come to your own conclusion. You’ll be treated to breathtaking sights of the surrounding countryside in the process.

It’s a short trip from Sigiriya to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, an UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can explore archaeological sites and witness Buddhist rituals and ceremonies. In nearby Polonnarwua, you can similarly visit hundreds of temple ruins and tombs, examining the royal city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa that reigned for 800 years. Be sure to visit the Quadrangle, a spectacular Buddhist enclosure that serves as the city’s religious heart.

Get a taste for the ordinary rhythms of Sri Lankan life in Kandy, which combines urban bustle with ancient Buddhist sites. Although the city is often humid and rainy, it’s located beside the scenic Kandy Lake and is always gorgeous, rain or shine. Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth, which houses a tooth of the Buddha himself, Siddhartha Gautama, before strolling the lakeshore to get a break from the crowds. If you’re lucky enough to visit Kandy during the Kandy Esala Perahera in July and August, you’ll witness lively processions and elaborate pageantry honouring the relic of the Buddha.

After leaving Kandy, pass through Haptuale and Kataragama on the way to Galle. In Haputale, you can get a taste of the Tamil side of the country and visit the numerous tea estates dotting the countryside. In Kataragama, you’ll see where thousands of Buddhists and Hindus flock each year on pilgrimage. Sitting on the southwest coast, Galle is defined by its Portuguese heritage. The massive Galle Fort is an old stone town and UNESCO World Heritage Site that still serves as a hub of activity to this day. Walk the stone walls along the sea and soak in the country’s tropical climate.

Finish your trip to Sri Lanka with a visit to the nation’s capital, Colombo, passing through the beach resort town, Kalutara, along the way. It might not have regained its status as “the garden city of the East,” but Colombo continues to restore its colonial architecture and combat the urban sprawl with cosmopolitan verve. The city remains a meeting point between East and West. The Portuguese, Dutch, and British all ruled the city at one point or another, leaving behind their architectural influences.

A walking tour through the city centre will give you an appreciation for the city’s conflux of cultures before visiting the Colombo National Museum to get a comprehensive national history. Be sure to stroll through Viharamahadevi Park to see the giant Buddha statue and do some last-minute souvenir shopping at Pettah Market and the city’s many malls before catching your flight home. This Sri Lanka vacation is sure to entrance you with the nation’s incredible history and people.


 

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Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,910

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Bandaranaike Airport to Negombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, you'll be met in the arrivals hall (please look for a signboard with your name on it) and transferred to your hotel close to Negombo. A welcome meeting with your trip leader will take place at around 6:00pm. If you have time, hire a bike to explore Negombo, a charming town with a large Christian population, or simply relax on the beach.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

The Gateway Hotel Airport Garden Colombo

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    The Gateway Hotel Airport Garden Colombo


    Nestled amidst a 38-acre coconut plantation bordering the tranquil Negombo Lagoon, The Gateway Hotel, Airport Garden, is a haven of spacious comforts and top amenities. True to its name, the hotel is situated in Seeduwa - Katunayake, conveniently close to the airport and other regional ...

    Nestled amidst a 38-acre coconut plantation bordering the tranquil Negombo Lagoon, The Gateway Hotel, Airport Garden, is a haven of spacious comforts and top amenities. True to its name, the hotel is situated in Seeduwa - Katunayake, conveniently close to the airport and other regional attractions. Much like the city of Colombo, the hotel is the perfect blend of comfort and vibrancy. With 110 aesthetically designed rooms including suites and up-to-date business facilities, The Gateway Hotel, Airport Garden, is the ideal spot for the business and leisure traveller alike.

    Facilities

    • Fitness Centre
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant

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Day 2

Negombo to Sigiriya

After breakfast this morning, head to the fish market in Negombo. This can be quite an intense affair, but the variety of fish being presented by the locals is a great experience. Afterwards, set out by private vehicle for Sigiriya (approximately 4.5 hours). En-route, stop at a coconut plantation and pineapple plantation, where you'll be able to see these tropical fruits in their perfect habitats. Late this afternoon, head out for one of the highlights of any visit to Sri Lanka, a visit to the Rock of Sigiriya (Lion Rock). This huge outcrop rises up dramatically from the surrounding plains and is topped by what some historians claim was an ancient monastery and others say was a ruined palace. It's a good workout to climb to the top, but well worth the effort. This evening, relax by the pool in your resort.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Aliya Resort and Spa

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    Aliya Resort and Spa


    Nestled among the lush greenery of rolling fields, decades-old indigenous trees and chena growth of the dry zone of the Central Province, Aliya Resort and Spa invites you to relax and unwind, far from the hustle and bustle of city life. 'Aliya' means elephant in ...

    Nestled among the lush greenery of rolling fields, decades-old indigenous trees and chena growth of the dry zone of the Central Province, Aliya Resort and Spa invites you to relax and unwind, far from the hustle and bustle of city life. 'Aliya' means elephant in Sinhala, and the resort pays homage to this revered Sri Lankan animal in some of its decor. The property gives the distinct feel of living in a village but with all the modern facilities required for a comfortable and idyllic stay. Amenities include an infinity pool that lines up with a breathtaking view of Sigiriya Rock.

    Facilities

    • Badminton Court
    • Conference Facilities
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Night Club
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Spa
    • Sun Terrace

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Day 3

Anuradhapura and Sigiriya

Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and ancient city of Anuradhapura (approximately 1.5 hours). This sacred city is one of the main shrines of Buddhism in the country. Take a walk through the intricate monuments and fascinating ruins, and visit the Sri Maha Bo Tree and Isurumuniya Temple. Return to Sigiriya in the late afternoon and the evening is at leisure.

Day 4

Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya

Today, journey to another extraordinary ancient city, Polonnaruwa (approximately 1.5 hours). Explore the temples, tombs and stupas as well as the spectacular Quadrangle. Head back to Sigiriya late in the afternoon and enjoy another evening at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Sigiriya to Kandy

Make the short drive to the Dambulla Caves Temple this morning and explore this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site which has attracted pilgrims for over 2000 years. In the afternoon, transfer by private vehicle to Kandy (approximately 2.5 hours), visiting a spice garden in Matale on the way. Upon arrival in Kandy, check in to your hotel and head out to explore.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

OZO Kandy Sri Lanka

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Location View map
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    OZO Kandy Sri Lanka



    OZO Kandy Sri Lanka is a contemporary hotel offering cozy rooms inspired by Sri Lankan charm. Facilities include a rooftop lounge, outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre. Kandy's main attractions are only minutes away.

    OZO Kandy Sri Lanka is a contemporary hotel offering cozy rooms inspired by Sri Lankan charm. Facilities include a rooftop lounge, outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre. Kandy's main attractions are only minutes away.

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Day 6

Kandy

Start today with a city tour of Kandy. While this city is the second largest in the country and the capital of the central hill regions, it's very much a peaceful and attractive place. There are plenty of scenic walks through the hills and forests that surround the town, as well as along the lake that forms its centre. In the heart of the town is the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa), the most important shrine in the country, which houses a relic of a tooth of the Buddha taken from his funeral pyre. You'll also visit the world-class botanical gardens and the local market. There will be free time this afternoon to explore this attractive town on your own. Tonight, enjoy a traditional Kandyan dance performance with fire walking.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Kandy to Haputale

Say farewell to Kandy after breakfast and take a scenic train ride to Haputale (approximately five hours). Riding the train in Sri Lanka allows you to see the heart of this verdant country dotted with waterfalls, forests, tea plantations and fields. Upon arrival, transfer to your accommodation and the remainder of the day is at leisure

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Melheim Haputale

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    Melheim Haputale


    This boutique resort is surrounded by the hills of Haputale, accompanied by cloudy forests and beautiful tea plantations. Amenities include an outdoor pool, hot tub and sauna. The Resort is nothing less than ever lasting memories, luxuries comfort; perfect dining that naturally awakens your taste ...

    This boutique resort is surrounded by the hills of Haputale, accompanied by cloudy forests and beautiful tea plantations. Amenities include an outdoor pool, hot tub and sauna.

    The Resort is nothing less than ever lasting memories, luxuries comfort; perfect dining that naturally awakens your taste buds while being lost among the greeneries and the pleasant atmosphere Melheim Haputale has to offer.

    Facilities

    • Garden
    • Hot Tub
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Sauna
    • Terrace

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Day 8

Haputale

Venture out this morning and walk to a nearby tea plantation and factory. In the afternoon, sit down for lunch at a local planter's bungalow. The remainder of the day is free to relax and explore

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 9

Haputale to Kataragama

Travel to Kataragama after breakfast (approximately three hours), stopping at Ella Gap to admire a scenic panorama of the valley below. Upon arrival into Kataragama, settle into your accommodation, then head out for an evening jeep safari at Yala National Park. (In September, due to the annual closure of Yala National Park, visit Udawalawe National Park instead.)

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Mandara Rosen

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    Mandara Rosen


    Deep in the south of Sri Lanka, at the foot of the Wedahiti Kanda hill, Mandara Rosen offers 58 tastefully-designed rooms. Facilities include a large outdoor swimming pool, Ayurvedic spa and fitness centre. From the chirping of the birds in the surrounding trees to the ...

    Deep in the south of Sri Lanka, at the foot of the Wedahiti Kanda hill, Mandara Rosen offers 58 tastefully-designed rooms. Facilities include a large outdoor swimming pool, Ayurvedic spa and fitness centre.

    From the chirping of the birds in the surrounding trees to the welcome drink upon arrival, Mandara Rosen has been designed to offer the ultimate sensory experience. Nestled amidst lush mountains, the hotel offers a total of 58 sumptuous rooms, tastefully designed to ensure that every guest is well and truly pampered. The location, ambience and impeccable service at the hotel promises the discerning traveller a unique travel experience where privacy and intimacy is guaranteed.

    Facilities

    • Fitness Centre
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Spa

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Day 10

Kataragama to Galle

Visit Kataragama Temple this morning and admire the shrine dedicated to its resident god. Afterwards, travel onwards by to Galle (approximately three hours). En-route you'll come across the amazing sight of stilt fishermen, who sit perched far from shore on contraptions of sticks, dangling makeshift fishing rods into the water. This evening is free to explore Galle.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Closenberg Hotel

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Location View map
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    Closenberg Hotel



    Closenberg Hotel was built in 1860 by the British Captain Francis Bayley, overlooking the iconic Galle Fort and Rumassala mountain. The hotel is set amidst lush tropical gardens and panoramic ocean views, and offers today's guests an authentic heritage hotel experience. Unawatuna beach, rated as ...

    Closenberg Hotel was built in 1860 by the British Captain Francis Bayley, overlooking the iconic Galle Fort and Rumassala mountain. The hotel is set amidst lush tropical gardens and panoramic ocean views, and offers today's guests an authentic heritage hotel experience. Unawatuna beach, rated as one of the world's top beaches, is 4 kilometres away.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Barbeque Facilities
    • Garden
    • Meeting Facilities
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Parking

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Day 11

Galle

The daytime is free for you to explore as you wish in Galle. This evening, head out for a guided walk around the Galle Royal Dutch Fort

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 12

Galle to Kalutara

Leave Galle behind today and travel to the scenic resort town of Kalutara (approximately 2 hours). Upon arrival, the afternoon is free to relax. This evening, perhaps take a walk down the beautiful long stretch of beach as the sun sets.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Citrus Waskaduwa

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Location View map
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    Citrus Waskaduwa



    Overlooking the Indian Ocean, Citrus Waskaduwa is nestled along a magnificent golden-sand crescent on the west coast of Sri Lanka, 37 kilometres south of Colombo. The resort offers 156 contemporary rooms and suites. Amenities include a swimming pool, gym, spa and billiard room.

    Overlooking the Indian Ocean, Citrus Waskaduwa is nestled along a magnificent golden-sand crescent on the west coast of Sri Lanka, 37 kilometres south of Colombo. The resort offers 156 contemporary rooms and suites. Amenities include a swimming pool, gym, spa and billiard room.

    Facilities

    • 24 hour Front desk
    • Barbeque Facilities
    • Billiard Room
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Lobby
    • Meeting Facilities
    • Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Spa
    • Swimming Pool

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Day 13

Kalutara

Today is a full day at leisure to explore Kalutara or simply enjoy the beach.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 14

Colombo

This morning, head the final stretch north to Colombo (approximately 1 hour). Upon arrival, venture out on a guided walking tour of this bustling capital. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

OZO Colombo

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    OZO Colombo


    OZO Colombo offers cozy yet contemporary rooms complete with Sri Lankan charm. Amenities include a rooftop pool and lounge, fitness centre and free WiFi. Set on the nice side of quiet, the hotel was closed enough to the city centre, yet far enough to get ...

    OZO Colombo offers cozy yet contemporary rooms complete with Sri Lankan charm. Amenities include a rooftop pool and lounge, fitness centre and free WiFi.

    Set on the nice side of quiet, the hotel was closed enough to the city centre, yet far enough to get away. Located a couple minutes from Galle Road and an hour's drive from Bandaranaike International Airport, OZO Colombo that 'just right' hotel in Colombo you're looking for, the place that feels like home when you're away.

    Facilities

    • 24 hour Front desk
    • Daily Housekeeping
    • Fitness Centre
    • Free WiFi
    • Lounge
    • Restaurant
    • Rooftop Pool

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Day 15

Colombo

This morning, transfer to Bandaranaike Airport for your onward flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Apr 23; May 21; Aug 13; Sep 10, 24; Oct 22; Nov 19; Dec 3

2018: Jan 28; Mar 11, 25; Apr 22; May20; Jun 10; Jul 15; Aug 12; Sep 9, 23; Oct 21; Nov 18; Dec2

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Guided touring and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Private vehicle overland travel as per itinerary
  • Train travel as per itinerary
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Meals as specified

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB INTREPICOL17SG: CSSG
2 Dec 2018
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