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13 days

Highlights of Sri Lanka

Enjoy the view from the Lion Rock of Sigiriya at a height of 200 metres, be enchanted by the lush highlands and experience the country’s unique animal life on a Jeep safari in Yala National Park.

We support sustainability development. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees. Read more about the sustainability project here.

Highlights of Sri Lanka Highlights of Sri Lanka
13 days

Highlights of Sri Lanka

Enjoy the view from the Lion Rock of Sigiriya at a height of 200 metres, be enchanted by the lush highlands and experience the country’s unique animal life on a Jeep safari in Yala National Park.

We support sustainability development. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees. Read more about the sustainability project here.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Return flights from the UK to Colombo
  • Train ride from Nanu Oya to Ella
  • 10 nights at 3-star hotels
  • 10 x breakfast (days 3-12)
  • Local English-speaking driver/guide on transfers and excursions
  • Travelling in a car or minibus with air conditioning
  • All mentioned transfers and excursions take place within international groups of 1 – 14 people and with Asiatours’ own guests only
  • ATOL certificate
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants

Extensive excursion package:

  • The Lion Rock of Sigiriya
  • Dambulla Cave Temples
  • Spice garden in Matale
  • Giramama Tea Factory in Kandy
  • Train ride from Nanu Oya to Ella
  • Ravana Falls in Ella
  • The pilgrimage town of Kataragama
  • Safari in Yala National Park
  • Admission fees to the sights and attractions mentioned

The tour in short

The gem-shaped island of Sri Lanka offers a welcoming population, stunning scenery, a fascinating history and exotic wildlife – all the ingredients for a perfect tour.

The tour starts with a night in the resort town of Negombo, where you can relax after the long flight and acclimatise to the hotter temperatures before the tour begins in earnest.

The next day, you will be driven to Sri Lanka’s ancient capital, Sigiriya, where the country’s iconic landmark, the 200-metre-high Lion Rock, awaits you. From the top, you have a magnificent view of the ruins of the old royal palace and the lush, almost jungle-like landscape with lakes.

After a couple of days in Sigiriya, you head to Kandy, another of Sri Lanka’s former capitals. On the way, you visit the impressive cave temples in Dambulla and Matale’s lovely spice gardens.

Kandy is located in the central highlands and is said to be Sri Lanka’s cultural stronghold. In the middle of the city lies the beautiful lake, Kandy Lake, and the Temple of the Tooth, the most sacred temple in the country, as it houses one of Buddha’s teeth. Kandy is surrounded by green tea plantations, and you will be going an exciting visit to a tea factory, where you experience the entire production process of the country’s famous “Ceylon tea”.

From Kandy, you will be driven to Nanu Oya, where you will embark on an unforgettable train ride through the beautiful, green highlands. The end station is the little gem Ella, which is incredibly scenic, surrounded by green-clad mountains, beautiful tea plantations, cascading waterfalls and Ella Gap.

The tour rounds off in Yala with an exciting safari in Yala National Park, offering the chance of seeing Sri Lanka’s abundant wildlife, including elephants, birds, bears, crocodiles and leopards.

You can choose to extend the tour with the inclusion of a lovely, relaxing beach holiday.

Why choose this tour

  • Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful and photogenic Asian countries with its enchanting landscapes, exotic wildlife, unique UNESCO sites and, not least, its many broad smiles
  • Look forward to the train ride through the stunning highlands to the gem that is Ella and see elephants, bears and leopards on an exciting jeep safari in Yala National Park
  • Climb the 200-metre-high Sigiriya Rock, explore the fascinating cave temples of Dambulla, and enjoy the scenically situated city of Kandy – all of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Extend the tour to include a wonderful beach holiday in Sri Lanka or on the white bounty beaches of the Maldives

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
See all pictures
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK

Today, you depart from your selected airport and fly to the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, located in the Indian Ocean. There will be connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Sri Lanka – Negombo

You land at Sri Lanka’s international airport in Colombo, the capital. After arriving, you pick up your luggage and pass through immigration. Your driver/guide awaits you in the arrivals hall with an Asia Tours sign, and you will immediately sense the warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality.

Your driver/guide drives you to the hotel in the city of Negombo, located about a 30-minute drive from the airport. After checking into the hotel, there will be time to unwind after your long flight, and the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure.

Negombo is a good place to start the tour. The city offers a great look into the country’s history and culture, as well as into how fantastic the Sri Lankan people are. They are warm, friendly, helpful and certainly not stingy with smiles.

Negombo is in fact an old fishing village and has been for many years. Early in the morning, fishermen come to shore with the catch of the day, which is sold to the rest of the island and at the local Llelama fish market, which you can choose to visit early the next morning, if you are tempted.

Aside from fishing, Negombo is known for its long, wide, golden sandy beaches, drawing you in for sun bathing and long walks among swaying palm trees and local fishing boats with batik-coloured sails.

The narrow streets of Negombo are filled with green and red tuk-tuks, shops and restaurants. You can also experience how the city still bears marks of its former colonial rule, including the old Dutch fortress, the 100-km network of Dutch canals as well as centuries-old Dutch and Portuguese houses, administrative buildings and churches.

Conclude your evening with a stroll along the beach, or on your balcony, as you enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Possible upgrades:
Day 3: Negombo – Lunch at Pinnawala – Sigiriya

If you get up early, you can take a walk down to the beach to see the local fishermen drag their nets with hundreds of small fish onto land. You can also visit the local Llelama fish market or simply enjoy a quiet and calm morning at the hotel.

After breakfast, you are picked up at the hotel and driven to Sigiriya. Half-way to Sigiriya, you make a stop for lunch by the Maha Oya River in Pinnawala. There are a couple of restaurants along the river where you can enjoy your lunch with a truly beautiful river view. Here, you may be lucky enough to see elephants from the nearby elephant orphanage, who make their way down to the river to bathe twice a day.

After lunch, you head back to the car. Sit back and enjoy all the sights zipping past the window.

On arrival in Sigiriya, the rest of the day is at your leisure, and you can enjoy the pool or the tranquil surroundings.

Possible upgrades:
Day 4: The Lion Rock of Sigiriya

After breakfast, you are picked up and driven to visit Sri Lanka’s legendary landmark, the Lion Rock, which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

From the year 455 to 473, King Dhatusena ruled over Sri Lanka from the then-capital of Anuradhapura. King Dhatusena’s son, Moggallana, was posed to succeed his father, but King Dhatusena’s eldest son, Kashyapa, was none too pleased with that. Both of Moggallana’s parents were royal, while Kashyapa’s mother was simply one of King Dhatusena’s concubines. This fact meant it was impossible for Kashyapa to take the throne in accordance with the written rules. In order to seize the throne, Kashyapa therefore decided to immure his father, which caused his half-brother, Moggallana, to flee to South India so he would not suffer the same fate.

The new regent, King Kashyapa, was not met with the biggest group of supporters and feared an attack by his half-brother Moggallana. He therefore chose to move the capital from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya due to its strategic location. On the flat top of the Sigiriya Rock, he constructed his lavish royal palace with a moat, gardens, large ornamental pools and fountains surrounding it.

Half-way up the rock, he built the entrance to the palace, which resembled a giant lion – hence the name Lion Rock. Today, however, only the enormous lion paws remain.

King Kashyapa lived here with his harem and servants until his half-brother Moggallana returned from Southern India with a whole army. King Kashyapa and his army lost the battle to Moggallana, and Kashyapa ended up taking his own life in 495. Moggallana decided to move the capital back to Anuradhapura and ruled the country from there, while Sigiriya was converted into a Buddhist monastery.

The rock, which juts 200 metres out the ground in the middle of Sigiriya’s lush surroundings, may look impossible to climb – and for good reason, as the trip to the top is tough. No fewer than 1202 steps await you, and we recommend that you take it slow, with breaks to enjoy the gorgeous view, as it becomes ever more fantastic the higher up you go.

On the way to the top, you will see beautiful and well-preserved frescoes of women, as well as the remains of a polished rock wall. A little over halfway up, you will encounter the remains of the giant lion that served as an entrance to Kong Kashyapa’s palace. If the climb is too strenuous, you can choose to stop here.

If you choose to proceed, we guarantee it will be worth it. At the top of the rock, you are met by the ruins of the ancient royal palace and stunning views of the lush landscape with lakes, verdant mountains, as well as the nearby Pidurangala Rock. Take your time and enjoy the surroundings before starting your descent.

It takes around 2 hours to climb and descend the rock + the time you spend on the top.

Remember good walking shoes and water for the trip.

You are driven back to the hotel and the rest of the day is at your leisure.

Day 5: Sigiriya

You spend today at your leisure. You can choose to relax by the pool or join one of our exciting optional tours, which you can read more about below.

Day 6: Sigiriya – Dambulla Cave Temples – Matale Spice Garden – Kandy

Today you leave Sigiriya and the tour continues to Kandy, with two exciting stops along the way.

The first stop is at the old royal city of Dambulla, which is known for its many cave temples. You visit the five most important sites, which are situated on a wide cliff that is 160 metres high and 600 metres long.

These 5 caves house no fewer than 153 golden Buddha statues, statues of former Sri Lankan kings, as well as statues of gods and goddesses, including the Hindu gods Vishnu and Ganesha. Aside from the many statues, impressive murals can be found here, stretching across a total area of 2100 m². The caves were established by King Valagamba in the first century BC and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Steep stairs lead up to the caves, and if the weather is clear, you can make out the Lion Rock in the far distance.

Afterwards, the tour continues to the small town of Matale, known for its large, beautiful spice gardens. Matale has the perfect climate for cultivating its many different spices, with just the right balance of humidity and heat.

On arrival at the Matale Spice Garden, an interesting tour awaits you amidst a great many trees and plants. The guide shows how all the spices we use in everyday life grow in the wild and what they look like before they are made into spices. Use all your senses to guess what the different items are. You can see spices including turmeric, pepper, chilli pepper, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla. You will also see cacao, coffee, aloe vera and rubber trees.

Before leaving the garden, you can stop by the garden’s shop, which sells all manner of products for your hair, skin, sore muscles and much more. After the guided tour, you are driven to Sri Lanka’s ancient capital, Kandy, where the rest of the day is at your leisure.

Kandy has an unbelievably gorgeous location in a valley encircled by green mountains, tea plantations, rivers and waterfalls. The city houses many beautiful and old colonial buildings. In the middle of the city is Lake Kandy, which beckons you for a lovely stroll. Along the way, you can settle down on a bench to enjoy the view and the calm atmosphere. It is also from here that you can see the 26-metre high white Buddha statue that watches over Kandy, 2 km from the city centre. At the northern end of the lake is Sri Lanka’s most sacred Buddhist temple, the “Temple of the Tooth”, which helped put Kandy on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1988.

Possible upgrades:
Day 7: Visit to the Giramama Tea Factory in Kandy

Sri Lanka is famous for its tea and is one of the world’s biggest tea producers. James Taylor from Scotland started tea production in Sri Lanka in 1867 together with Thomas Lipton, whom you likely know from “Lipton Tea”. Tea from Sri Lanka goes by the name “Ceylon Tea”, referring to Sri Lanka’s name from the British colonisation until 1972.

Today, you visit a tea factory near Kandy. Your driver/guide picks you up at the hotel after breakfast and drives you to the Giramama Tea Factory. Here, you receive a guided tour showing you the entire production process from when the leaves are picked at the plantation to when the leaves sit steaming in your cup. Several of the machines used are over 150 years old, and techniques have changed little since 1867. After the tour, you have an opportunity to taste different types of tea, and to buy some home.

Afterwards, the tour returns to Kandy, where the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 8: Kandy – Nanu Oya – Ella

After breakfast, you are picked up at the hotel by your guide/driver, who drives you to the train station in Nanu Oya. From here, you go on an enchanting train ride through the highlands to Ella, which is beautifully situated in the mountains at the end of Ella Gap gorge.

Be aware that your guide/driver will drive your bags all the way to Ella, so all you need on the train is just a small backpack for snacks and drinks.

The train leisurely makes its way through this hilly landscape, and you can watch waterfalls, tea plantations and small local villages pass by your window. You arrive in Ella in the afternoon, where your driver/guide will be standing at the ready to meet you and drive you to the hotel.

The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Possible upgrades:
Day 9: Ella

The day is at your leisure to enjoy Ella’s gorgeous surroundings, which will take anyone’s breath away. You can choose to relax by the hotel pool and take in the amazing view, explore the area on your own, or join one of our free excursions, which you can read more about below.

Day 10: Ella – Ravana Falls - Kataragama – Yala

After breakfast, your guide/driver picks you up at the hotel. The tour heads for Yala along winding mountain roads with two stops along the way.

After about half an hour of driving, you arrive at the tour’s first stop, namely the 25-metre high, beautiful Ravana Falls at the outskirts of Ella.

You then continue to the pilgrimage town of Kataragama, which is one of the most sacred places in Sri Lanka. Every year in July and August, thousands of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus flock here. The amazing thing is that all faiths worship here in the Kataragama temple, something not seen many other places in the world.

The tour continues to Yala, where you arrive in the late afternoon.

Possible upgrades:
Day 11: Safari in Yala National Park

You have the morning before noon at your leisure before you are picked up at the hotel by your guide/driver at the hotel and driven to Yala National Park, where an exciting Jeep safari awaits you.

Yala National Park was first established as a game reserve back in the year 1900. It would only be designated a national park 38 years later. Today, the park is Sri Lanka’s second-largest national park with its area covering 978.8 km². The national park consists of 5 areas, 2 of which are open to the public.

Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is home to more than 215 bird species and 44 different species of mammals. It is said that the park has one of Sri Lanka’s largest elephant populations, as well as its highest concentration of leopards. Despite the park having the highest number of leopards in Sri Lanka, there is no guarantee of seeing one, as they are often difficult to spot and frequently hide in the bushes. Aside from birds, elephants and leopards, you may also be lucky enough to spot bears, monkeys, deer, wild boars and buffalo – so remember your binoculars and your camera!

Day 12: Yala – Departure day

The time has come to say goodbye to beautiful Sri Lanka.

Your guide/driver picks you up at the hotel and drives you to the Colombo International Airport, from which you will fly to the UK with connecting flights along the way.

Day 13: Arrival back home

You land in the UK after a lovely holiday.

Combine with
Choose from the options below
Beach holiday extension in the Maldives, 4 nights

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean, south-west of Sri Lanka, stretching 820 km from north to south and 120 km from east to west. Asia’s smallest country, it is made up of 1,190 small coral islands, divided into a ring of 26 smaller archipelagos called atolls. The islands are surrounded by deep blue sea and turquoise lagoons, protected by unspoiled coral reefs.

The Maldives are the lowest-lying country in the world, with an AMSL of 1.5 metres.

Only 202 of the islands are inhabited, while 87 of them are designated for tourism.

In 2018, the islands set a record for the number of tourists, and it’s not hard to understand why, as the Maldives are pure paradise. There are lovely bungalows on the beaches, villas built on poles in the turquoise water, an average temperature of 30 degrees all year round, ten hours of sunshine a day, white sandy beaches where coconut palms sway in the light breeze, and crystal-clear waters.

The colours of the Maldives are so vivid and intense that you won’t need different filters on your photos – they’ll look like a top-quality postcard whatever!

Most hotels in the Maldives offer various water sports activities and excursions such as a sunset cruise to see dolphins, island hopping, a romantic picnic on a sandbank as well as snorkelling and diving trips. The Maldives are paradise for divers and snorkellers, offering some of the world’s most beautiful reefs brimming with colourful corals and fish – and who knows? You might even find Nemo! You might also see small reef sharks, rays and turtles.

In the evening, you can go for a walk along the beach and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Why not make your dream come true? Travel with us to the Maldives for peace, relaxation and the world’s best bounty beaches.

The extension includes a 4-nights beach holiday at a resort with half board, flight from Sri Lanka to Maldives flights, transfers and speedboat between the resort and Malé airport.

You will stay at the prize-winning Summer Island resort.

Beach holiday extension in Trincomalee, 4 nights

We warmly recommend extending your holiday in Sri Lanka to include a beach holiday in Trincomalee, located on Sri Lanka’s north-east coast. The best time to visit Trincomalee is from March to August.

Trincomalee is one of the most amazing and picturesque coastal areas in Sri Lanka, known for its light sandy beaches Uppuveli and Nilaveli as well as the small Pigeon Island, which is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to snorkel and dive.

A little way off the coast, some of the biggest giants of the ocean are to be found, namely the sperm whales, blue whales and pilot whales, which you can experience on an unforgettable whale watching trip from March to April. Pods of spinner dolphins can also be seen frolicking in the warm water from March to September. If you’re not much of a sailor, you can head to Swami Rock, which is one of the best places to see whales from the shore.

The town of Trincomalee itself has a long and exciting history going back more than 2,500 years. Stroll down the charming streets with their beautiful colonial villas or visit the old Fort Frederik, which is on the way to Swami Rock. Out on the tip of Swami Rock, you will find the scenically situated Hindu temple, Konewaram, which overlooks the Indian Ocean.

Trincomalee also offers shopping and good local restaurants, known especially for their seafood dishes.

The extension includes a 3-night beach holiday at a hotel in Trincomalee, 1 night at a hotel in Negombo, breakfast and transfers.

Beach holiday extension in Hikkaduwa, 3 nights

We highly recommend extending your holiday in Sri Lanka with a beach holiday. The period from December to March is the best time to visit south-western Sri Lanka, where you will find the holiday resort, Hikkaduwa.

Hikkaduwa first found itself on the map of the world back in the 1970s and is one of Sri Lanka’s first holiday resorts. In Hikkaduwa, you’ll find plenty of hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and tour operators, who organise trips both above and below the water. Off the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large coral reef where you can snorkel and dive with lots of beautiful fish and turtles.

Hikkaduwa is a popular holiday destination, and rightly so, as, despite its increasing popularity, the town has managed to retain its cosy, relaxed atmosphere.

The extension includes a 3-night beach holiday at a hotel with half board as well as transfers.

Beach holiday extension in Mirissa, 3 nights

We warmly recommend extending your holiday in Sri Lanka with a beach holiday. The period from December to March is the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s south and west, and here on the south coast of Sri Lanka is the small resort town of Mirissa.

Mirissa has really earned its place on the world map after no fewer than 26 different species of whales have been discovered swimming close to the town in the season from November to April, including the biggest whale of them all: the blue whale.

But there is more to Mirissa than whales alone. The cosy little resort has a superb sandy beach, surrounded by swaying palm trees, and it’s hard not to fall a little bit in love with the place – the perfect place to round off your Sri Lankan adventure.

The extension includes a 3-night beach holiday at a hotel with half board as well as transfers.

Single room supplement £400
Special offers for groups of 6 or more. Request a quote today for more info.
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