Updated: Aug 13, 2022
Colombo – Kandy – Dambulla – Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Trincomalee – Anuradhapura – Wilpattuwa – Negombo (9Days/8Nights)
Day 01 – Arrival at Colombo airport – Colombo
The Most Visited temple in the city, the Gangaramaya Temple which organizes Sri Lanka’s largest and the most colorful Vesak festival annually, has a history of 120 years. It was established in 1885 by Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera at a time when Buddhist and cultural resurgence were much needed as the country was under the colonial rule.
The area that was once a swamp beside the Beira Lake, has now turned to be an iconic complex which consists of the temple, the assembly hall in the breathtaking lake and the vocational training institute. Earlier, devotees had to cross the Beira Lake on a boat in order to reach the then small temple which was converted to what is today by the Devundara Sri Jinaratana Nayake Thera, a pupil of Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera who appointed him as the chief incumbent of the temple.
Initiated by Ven Sri Jinarathana Nayaka Thera as a collection of artifacts and other objects of religious, cultural and historical value, the museum of the temple was much developed to what is today by Ven Galaboda Gnanissara Nayaka Thera with the help of devotees and donors here and abroad particularly the Asian region. Today the museum is replete with a range of ageless treasures from ancient Sri Lanka as well as around the globe, including valuable Buddha statues of different influences, ancient ola leaf writings, old coins, vehicles and other relics in a classic display of tradition and culture.
Colombo National Museum
The largest museum in Sri Lanka, the National Museum of Colombo was established in January 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, the then British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Currently maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government, the museum is home to a lot of important collections, including the crown and throne of the Kandyan monarchs. Housed in a two-storied building, the museum has a big, well-maintained, lush green lawn right in front that is shaded by mighty banyan trees, which adds to the beauty of the place. As you enter the museum, you shall also find a fourth-century Buddha smiling at you in the lobby. Going forward, you will be mesmerized to find the collections in the museum. The galleries are as old as 1877, and you shall find all sorts of ancient art, carvings, and statues from Sri Lanka’s past along with a collection of antique demon masks. You can also find guns, swords, and other things from the colonial times. If you love art, you are totally in for a treat as the gallery also has in display 19th-century reproductions of English paintings of Sri Lanka. On display are the royal throne made for King Wimaladharmasuriya II in 1693, the 9th-century bronze Bodhisattva Sandals, and much more. And that is not all. There are agricultural displays and many more things that are sure to grab your attention and leave a mark in your memories.
Jami UL. Alfar Mosque
Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (Sinhala: කොලඹ කොටුවරතුපල්ලිය, romanized: Kolomba Kotuwa Rathu Palliya, Tamil: மஸ்ஜிதுல் ஜாமிஉல் அஃபார் அல்லது சம்மாங்கோடு பள்ளிவாசல், romanized: Sammankodu Pallivasal, (known colloquially as the Samman Kottu Palli, Rathu Palliya, Red Masjid or the Red Mosque) is a historic mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is located on Second Cross Street in Pettah. The mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo and a popular tourist site in the city.
Construction of the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque commenced in 1908 and the building was completed in 1909. The mosque was commissioned by the local Indian Muslim community, based in Pettah, to fulfill their required five-times-daily prayer and Jummah on Fridays. The mosque's designer and builder was Habibu Lebbe Saibu Lebbe (an unlettered architect), and was based on details/images of Indo-Saracenic structures provided by South Indian traders, who commissioned him. It is a hybrid style of architecture, that draws elements from native Indo-Islamic and Indian architecture, and combines it with the Gothic revival and Neo-classical styles. Originally it had the capacity for 1,500 worshippers although at the time only around 500 were attending prayers.
It is a distinctive red and white candy-striped two-storey building, with a clock tower, and is reminiscent of the Jamek Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (constructed in 1910). Before other landmarks were built, some claim that the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque was recognized as the landmark of Colombo by sailors approaching the port.
In 1975 the mosque, with the assistance of the Haji Omar Trust, purchased a number of the adjoining properties and commenced building an expansion to the mosque to increase its capacity to 10,000.
Galle Face Green
Galle Face Green is the most popular beach front park in the Colombo city, to have a relaxing evening and see the sunset. Not only that, there are many activities to do such as fly kites, taste Sri Lankan Street food, do walking or jogging and enjoy fresh breeze coming from the Indian ocean. Eventhogh, currently Galle face green is restricted to five hectares of beach front strip, originally it extended to larger area bounding up to Beire lake and Colombo Fort walls. Few centuries ago, Dutch used this area as a point to to setup their cannons. This one-mile-long Galle Face walk was established during the British Governor Sir Henry George Ward's time. Construction of this promenade was completed in year 1859. The historic Gall Face Hotel (established in 1864) is located by the one end of the Galle Face green Due to its historical values, location, tasty food and quality service, Galle Face Hotel is visited by many guests, both locals and foreigners. Even though Galle face green has a lengthy beach front, beach is smaller when compared to Mount Laninia or Wellawatta. Sea is not so calm on most days and not recommend for sea bath. With the fall of night, street food vendors open their stalls and carts for business. Famous Sri Lankan kotthu and prawn wade has high demand. Kids used to come this place in the evening for playing and fly kites. In the morning many people used come to Galle face for exercising and burn their extra fat.
Stay Night in Colombo
Day 02 – Kandy
Tooth Relic Temple
Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha (Sri Dalada Maligawa), which houses the most important Relic of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. A gold canopy was erected some years ago over the roof of the shrine room where it is placed.
After the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved in Kalinga and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father King Guasave.
Kandy Mount View
Gem Shop, Batik & Silk Factory
The Kandy Lake Club Cultural Dance Show is a stimulating Sri Lankan Arts, Dance and Cultural Heritage Show that is a must see for any visitor who visits the historic city of Kandy. The Kandy Lake Club Dance started in 1982 with the view of having a cultural dance performance bringing together all Sri Lankan dance types to one platform. It is the first Cultural Dance Show of its kind to be established in Sri Lanka. It has since become a tourist attraction for many people visiting the country and keen on a glimpse of its rich cultural heritage. Hence it has been performing continuously for the last 35 years. 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.
Stay Night in Kandy
Day 03 – Dambulla – Sigiriya
Dambulla Golden Cave Temple
A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 m2) are of particular importance, as are the 157 statues. There are 364 steps in the Dambulla cave. Cave Temples. The idea of constructing Buddhist temples by hollowing out rock faces was brought to China from Central Asia, where monuments of this sort had been constructed for centuries. Over the years, more and more caves would be excavated and decorated as pious acts on the part of monks and artists.
Sigiriya Rock or Pidurangala
Sigiriya is famous for its palace ruins on top of a massive 200-meter-high rock surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures. The rock itself is a lava plug left over from an ancient long extinct volcano. One of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is renowned for its 5th century pre-Christian frescoes. It has also been declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World. Sigiriya was built by the fifth-century king Kashyapa I, who ruled the native Sinhalese dynasty, the Moriya. The imposing fortress was the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom until Kashyapa was defeated in A.D. 495. (Watch: An ancient palatial fortress overlooks this barren desert in Israel.) It's 1270 steps. Not all in one go. It is a medium to difficult climb as you need to consider heat and humidity. But ages up to 70 will be fine. The abandoned site of Sigiriya wasn't found until 1831. British Army Major Jonathan Forbes rediscovered Sigiriya in 1831. He came across the site during a horseback ride.The climb all the way to the top can take between 1.5 hours and 3 hours – depending on your fitness, how crowded the place is and how many pictures you are shooting. As the view from the top is quite stunning and you might need some time to catch your breath, I'd rather err on the longer side.
Pidurangala Rock is a 200m tall rock formation, located right next to the famous Sigiriya Fortress. Sigiriya is an ancient fortress located at the top of a massive column of rock. Pidurangala also has a Buddhist temple at its entrance, as well as a reclining Buddha half way up the rock, but nothing as big as Sigiriya. Tourists visit Pidurangala more for the hiking and nature element, whilst Sigiriya is more for culture and history lovers.
Stay Night in Sigiriya
Day 04 – Polonnaruwa
A vaṭadāge (Sinhala: වටදාගෙ) is a type of Buddhist structure found in Sri Lanka. It also known as a dage, thupagara and a cetiyagara. Although it may have had some Indian influence, it is a structure that is more or less unique to the architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. Vatadages were built around small stupas for their protection, which often enshrined a relic or were built on hallowed ground. Circular in shape, they were commonly built of stone and brick and adorned with elaborate stone carvings. Vatadages may have also had a wooden roof, supported by a number of stone columns arranged in several concentric rows.
Polonnaruwa Gal Vihara
It was fashioned in the 12th century by Parakramabahu I. The central feature of the temple is four rock relief statues of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a large granitic (granite gneiss) rock. The images consist of a large seated figure, another smaller seated figure inside an artificial cavern, a standing figure and a reclining figure. These are considered to be some of the best examples of ancient Sinhalese sculpting and carving arts, and have made the Gal Vihara the most visited monument at Polonnaruwa.
Polonnaruwa Audience Hall
Parakramabahu's Audience Hall is a classic example of the masonry of the period. At the entrance there is a moonstone and a flight of steps with makara figures. Above the makara figures there are beautiful figures of lions. It is recorded that the king had this audience hall specifically designed for his advisers and legal draftsman. In designing this building, the architect broke with tradition, incorporating features (such as balustrades and moonstones) that were previously reserved for monasteries.
Polonnaruwa Rankot Vehera
Rankoth Vehera is structure made entirely of brick, and has a base diameter of 550 feet (170 m) and a height of 108 feet (33 m). However, the original shape of the stupa, particularly its upper portion, has been changed during renovation work carried out by later rulers and it is estimated that the original height of Rankoth Vehera may have been almost 200 feet (61 m). Despite this, it remains the largest stupa in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, and the fourth largest stupa in the country. The stupa has four large Vahalkadas, a structure used for offering flowers and also to support the weight of a stupa. These are also made of brick. The stupa is located in the center of a large square terrace, which is also surrounded by a brick wall. The terrace has four entrances oriented to the four cardinal points, with sand paths leading to them. A stone inscription near one of the entrances mention that King Nissanka Malla observed and supervised the construction of the stupa from there. It is also mentioned that he worshiped the stupa from a small platform, which is located in a corner of the terrace.
Minneriya National Park
This national park is one of the best places in the country to see wild elephants, which are often present in huge numbers. Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Wewa, the park has plenty of scrub, forest and wetlands in its 88.9 sq km to also provide shelter for toque macaques, sambar deer, buffalo, crocodiles and leopards (the latter are very rarely seen, however).
The dry season, from April to October, is reckoned to be the best time to visit (as by then water in the tank has dried up, exposing grasses and shoots to grazing animals). Elephants, which can number 200 or more, come to feed and bathe during what is known as ‘the Gathering’; and flocks of birds, such as little cormorants, painted storks, herons and large pelicans all fish in the shallow waters. However, it's also possible to see large numbers of elephants here at other times of year, too; we saw over 100 in February when we visited.
The park entrance is on the Habarana–Polonnaruwa Rd. A visitor centre near the entrance sells tickets and has a few exhibits about the park’s natural history. The initial 40-minute drive (along a poor dirt road) into the heart of the park is through dense forest, where wildlife sightings are rare. But then the landscape opens up dramatically, and the views across the tank are superb. Early mornings are generally best for birds and late afternoon for elephants.
Stay Night in Minneriya
Day 05 – Trincomalee
Kinniya Hot Spring
There are seven wells in a square shape. Wells are only 3-4 feet deep and you can clearly see the bottom. The temperature is considerably high but vary from one spring to other wells run out of water, when 10-15 buckets of water are taken out.
Is a stretch of beach which is situated approximately 16 kilometers North of Trincomalee, passing a thriving lagoon on either side and lush coconut palm groves and hordes of cattle, note that the people in the area are predominantly Hindu and consider the cows sacred. Arriving at the hamlet of “Errakkandy”, a sharp right turn will take you down a gravel road to Nilaweli beach, almost a kilometer of in length, white sandy beach with gentle surf. Across the beach about two kilometers into the ocean you will see the famous pigeon island, named due to rock pigeons roosting on it by the hundreds and crystal-clear water around it to snorkel on to the clear depths of a reef. Further up North you will see a cluster of reddish rocks which are referred to as the red rock beach.
Swim with turtles and sharks on Pigeon Island a 10 minutes boat ride from Nilaweli beach.
Stay Night in Trincomalee
Day 06 – Trincomalee
The famous Pigeon Island National Park is located just 1 km off the coastal town of Nilaveli in Eastern Province. There are many different ways to reach the town. If you are an international traveler, you land at Colombo airport in Sri Lanka, and you can take a 1.15 hours long flight to Nilaveli airport. If you are a budget traveler, you can take a night train as low as 10 USD, but you are most likely to miss the scenery of Sri Lanka because of the night travel. The day train is around 30-40 USD and shows you more of Sri Lanka or you can even rent a taxi for a bit more money.
You can visit the Pigeon Island National Park Sri Lanka in both summer and winter season. However, the best time to visit the island would be in summer during June.
Best to visit the island national park is between May – October. Nilaveli is amazing in summer. You can enjoy the calm sea with beautiful bright weather. If you are looking for some water sports, summer is the best time to visit. According to the locals, the best time to visit the Pigeon Island National Park is in June.
Best to visit the island national park is between November – April. The venue overall is less crowded in winter. The sea is slightly rougher compared to the summer but Pigeon National Park is still a good place to visit in order to get away from a deserted beach.
Stay Night in Trincomalee
Day 07 – Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, is well-known for its ancient ruins. This historic city is now a world heritage site and home to a few of the majestic Buddhist temples whose history dates back to several years. The architectural grandeur, the religious significance of these historic temples in Anuradhapura, will make your visit worth it. These eight places are comprised of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, Mirisaweti Stupa, Abhayagiri Stupa, Jetavanaramaya, and Lankaramaya.One of these was established by Anuradha, a minister of King Vijaya, on the banks of a stream called Kolon and was named Anuradhagama. In 377 BC, King Pandukabhaya, grandson of King Panduvasudeva (437–367 BC) made it his capital and developed the city.
Stay Night in Anuradhapura
Day 08 – Wilpattu
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is world-renowned for its leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The best time to visit the 'land of the lakes', or Wilpattu National Park, is May to early September during the drought, when animals are drawn out to their waterholes. The biggest draws in Wilpattu are Leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya) and Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus). Apart from those two mammals are Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus), Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, jackals, sambhur, barking deer, mouse deer Wild Pig, Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and Mugger Crocodiles.
Moving to Kalpitiya & Stay Night in there
Day 09 – Kalpitiya – Negombo
It has a marine sanctuary with diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal pains, saltpans, mangroves swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. It provides nursing grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. The coastal water is also home to spinner, bottlenose, and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and the elusive dugong. In there; Go kitesurfing, go dolphin and whale watching, Tour the Dutch Fort, Lounge at the beach.
Negombo City Tour
Transfer to Airport for departure flight.
• Accommodation on sharing a double/twin/triple room at the hotels specified in hotel collection.
• Include Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
• Transport in a Private Vehicle, inclusive of all Chauffeur accommodation, cost of fuel, parking & highway tolls.
• Private Transport with airport transfers in an Air-Conditioned Vehicle throughout the tour
• Service of an English-Speaking Chauffeur Guide.
• Entry Visa Fees, please visit www.eta.gov.lk for more details
• International / Domestic Airfare.
• Any expenses of personal nature.
• Tips & Portages.
• Cost of Beverages
• Meals where not specified.
• Entrance fees.