Ideal for those new to Sri Lanka, this leisurely-paced tour takes you from the coast to the heart of the cultural triangle and south into central Sri Lanka. There’s plenty of time free to explore independently or join one of the hand-picked optional excursions, perfect for those looking for a busier itinerary.

• Mount Lavinia: 1 night
• Kandy: 2 nights
• Sigiriya: 2 nights
• Negombo: 1 night

7nights Escorted Small Group Tour

Ideal for those new to Sri Lanka, this leisurely-paced tour takes you from the coast to Hill Country of central Sri Lanka and then north into the heart of the Cultural Triangle via spice gardens, tea plantations and some of the island’s most famous historic sites. There’s plenty of time free to explore or join one of the hand-picked optional excursions, perfect for those looking for a busier itinerary.

• Mount Lavinia: 1 night
• Kandy: 2 nights
• Habarana: 2 nights
• Negombo: 1 night

7nights Escorted Small Group Tour
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Colombo Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Sri Lanka.

Day 2: Colombo On arrival in Colombo, transfer to your hotel, the iconic Mount Lavinia hotel where you will have free time to relax by the pool or in your room. One of our closest hotels to Colombo, this property is famed for its colonial charm and amazing location. Once the home of British Governors, it overlooks a stretch of private beach and oozes old world-style elegance with a high level of service as well as excellent food. This evening, there will be a welcome dinner at the hotel's main restaurant. Approx. journey time: 1¼ hours, 32 miles. Stay: Mount Lavinia (or similar). D.

Day 3: Colombo to Kandy Your day starts with a drive inland towards Kandy. On arrival there will be time for you to find somewhere for lunch (payable locally) before a tour of the city and a visit to a local market. This evening, visit the most famous of Kandy’s attractions, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is said to house an ancient relic of Lord Buddha. Approx. journey time: 3¼ hours, 85 miles. Stay: Golden Crown Hotel (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Kandy Today begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. These beautiful gardens are home to a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a renowned orchid collection. Enjoy lunch at the Kandyan Arts Residency before visiting the Giragama Tea Plantation. This region of Sri Lanka is the heart of Sri Lanka’s renowned and historic tea producing industry and during your trip you’ll learn about the process the leaves go through between the plant and your cup. Stay: Golden Crown Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Kandy to Sigiriya Sri Lanka is famed for its spice gardens, where many quality spices have been grown for centuries and exported far and wide throughout the world. Today, there’ll be the opportunity to visit one of these gardens and discover a little more about the varieties grown and the importance of the spice trade to the economy and culture of the island.

Later this afternoon you can join an optional excursion that takes you on a game drive into Minneriya National Park, one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. And if you happen to be travelling between the months of July and September, you’ll be able to witness one of the region’s most incredible wildlife experiences – ‘The Gathering’. During the dry season and periods of drought, the water dries up elsewhere leading elephants to migrate in vast numbers to the edge of the Minneriya reservoir where they can drink, feed, bathe and mate. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 60 miles. Stay: Amaara Forest (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 6: Sigiriya Following an early breakfast, head out to a local village and gain an insight into rural life on a nature ‘trek’ in the village of Hiriwadunna. You will be transported via a paddy farmer’s tractor and trailer through a shaded forest to the edge of a man-made reservoir that is covered with pretty lily pads. Cross the water on a traditional boat before continuing your village exploration on foot and discovering the everyday lives of Sri Lanka’s rural population.

Your afternoon is free to relax by the pool of your hotel. Alternatively, you can visit Sigiriya Rock, one of the island’s most iconic sites, on an optional excursion. In AD477 King Kashyapa built his palace and fortress upon the top of the 200-metre high rock and moved the capital of Sri Lanka here after deposing his father as King of Sri Lanka. He was later defeated by his brother and now all that remains are the ruins of his palace and city.  One of the most popular experiences in Sri Lanka is climbing to the top of the rock. We strongly recommend that you only embark on the ascent if you are fit, healthy and do not mind heights as there are approximately 1200 steps of varying steepness and difficulty levels. This is undoubtedly a tough physical challenge, however you will realise it is well worth the effort once you are admiring the views over the jungle and ruins of the ancient city below. As you make your way up the side of the rock, you’ll pass the famed Mirror Wall. Made of porcelain, it was said that it was polished to create a shine so the King could see his reflection in it. You’ll also come across countless frescoes before passing through the Lion Gate, so called because it’s flanked by two gigantic lion paws. From here its a short but steep climb to the top where you can see the remains of the palace and fortress. Back down at the base of the rock there are a collection of gardens, known as the water, boulder and terrace gardens. Stay: Amaara Forest (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Sigiriya to Negombo Your day begins with a drive north towards Sigiriya, stopping en route at the Dambulla Cave Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most incredible sights on the island with over 150 statues of Buddha and intricately-painted murals that cover the cave’s walls and roof in five of the rock’s 80 or so caves. Travel west to the coastal town of Negombo where you will stay one night at the beachside resort, Jetwing Sea, stopping at a local restaurant for lunch on the way. If you choose to extend your holiday with a stay on the south west, south or east coasts, you will transfer to your chosen hotel today. Approx. journey time: 3¼ hours, 85 miles. Stay: Jetwing Sea (or similar). B, L.

Day 8: Negombo to UK Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.


Stay longer

Sri Lanka east coast beach 4 nights
Sri Lanka west coast beach 3 nights

Relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches. We recommened visiting the island's east coast during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring and summer months when the weather in this region is at its best. For the west and south coasts, December to April is the best time to visit.

Maldives 3 nights

Find paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.

Day 1: UK to Mount Lavinia Depart from the UK on your overnight flight.

Day 2: Mount Lavinia On arrival, transfer to your hotel, the iconic Mount Lavinia where you’ll have free time to relax. The hotel, which was once the home of British Governors, is famed for its colonial charm and amazing location. It overlooks a stretch of private beach, oozes old world elegance and has a high level of service as well as excellent food. This evening, there’ll be a welcome dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant. Approx. journey time: 1¼ hours, 32 miles. Stay: Mount Lavinia (or similar). D.

Day 3: Mount Lavinia to Kandy Your day starts with a drive inland towards the city of Kandy. The country’s second city and the capital of its last kingdom sits in the mist-clad Hill Country. Kandy is a cultural heavyweight with temples, shrines museums and gardens, and exploring its busy centre is a great introduction to Sri Lankan life. On arrival, there’ll be time to find somewhere to get some lunch (payable locally) before setting off on an introductory tour which includes a visit to a local market. The must-see spot in town is the legendary Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which you’ll visit once the sun has set and the white-stone walls of the temple have been beautifully lit. As the name suggests, this UNESCO-listed temple is home to what is believed to be the tooth of Buddha. Wander around the exterior walls before heading inside to see the elaborately decorated halls and visit the room where the revered relic is hidden away in a lavishly adorned golden casket. Approx. journey time: 3¼ hours, 85 miles. Stay: Golden Crown Hotel (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Kandy The day begins at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the Kandyan suburb of Peradeniya. These beautiful gardens, which were established in the mid-19th Century, partly with flowers brought over from Kew in London, are home to a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a famous orchid collection. The Hill Country of Sri Lanka is a celebrated tea growing region where rolling valleys are coved by sprawling plantations. Following lunch at the Kandyan Arts Residency, your group will stop off at the Giragama Tea Factory, one of the oldest plantations in the country. Take a tour of the fields and the factory, learn how they process the tea from plant to packing and sip on a cup of world-famous Ceylon tea. Stay: Golden Crown Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Kandy to Habarana Alongside tea, Sri Lanka is famed for its fragrant spice gardens. For centuries, quality spices such as cloves, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon have been grown throughout the island and exported far and wide. Today, you’ll visit one of these gardens and discover a more about the endemic varieties grown and the importance of the spice trade to the economy and culture of the island. Your tour of the spice garden at Euphoria will be followed by a delicious lunch created using home-grown seasoning. Soon after lunch, you’ll arrive at your Habarana hotel where you can spend the afternoon relaxing poolside. The focus of the tour changes from the island’s culture to its wildlife if you choose to join this afternoon’s highly-recommended optional excursion, a game drive in Minneriya National Park (pre-bookable at extra cost). This small park is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants, particularly if you’re travelling between July and September; this when ‘the gathering’, one of the region’s most incredible wildlife displays, takes place. During the dry season and periods of drought, the water dries up elsewhere leading elephants to migrate in vast numbers to the edge of the Minneriya reservoir. Approx. journey time: 2¾ hours, 72 miles. Stay: Cinnamon Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 6: Habarana Following an early breakfast, you’ll head out to a local village for a nature ‘trek’ in the village of Hiriwadunna. Hop on board a paddy farmer’s tractor and trailer which will take you through a shaded forest to the edge of a man-made reservoir that is covered with pretty lily pads. Cross the water on a traditional boat before continuing on foot and learning about the everyday lives of Sri Lanka’s rural population. This afternoon, there’s another chance to unwind at your hotel but there’ll also be the option to visit and climb Sigiriya Rock – one of the island’s true icons – on an optional excursion. In AD477, King Kashyapa built his palace and fortress upon the top of the 200-metre high rock and moved the capital of Sri Lanka here after deposing his father as King of Sri Lanka. He was later defeated by his brother and now all that remains are the ruins of his palace and city. We strongly recommend that you only embark on the ascent if you are fit, healthy and do not mind heights as there are approximately 1200 steps of varying steepness and difficulty levels. This is undoubtedly a tough physical challenge, however, once you are admiring the views over the jungle and ruins of the ancient city below, you’ll realise the climb is well worth the effort. Back down at the base of the rock, there are a collection of gardens, known as the water, boulder and terrace gardens. Tonight, there will be a farewell dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant. Stay: Cinnamon Lodge (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Habarana to Negombo Your day begins with a drive south to the Dambulla Cave Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most incredible sights in Sri Lanka featuring over 150 statues of Buddha and intricately-painted murals that cover the walls and roofs in five of the rock’s 80 caves. Later, travel back to the west coast and the resort town of Negombo, possibly stopping for lunch at a local restaurant on the way (payable locally). If you choose to extend your holiday with a stay on the southwest, south or east coasts, you’ll transfer to your chosen hotel today. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours, 100 miles. Stay: Jetwing Sea (or similar). B.

Day 8: Negombo to UK Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

Sri Lanka east coast beach 4 nights
Sri Lanka west coast beach 3 nights

Relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches. We recommened visiting the island's east coast during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring and summer months when the weather in this region is at its best. For the west and south coasts, December to April is the best time to visit.

Maldives 3 nights

Find paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

We recommend this tour to those who wish to take in the most popular regions of Sri Lanka at a very relaxed pace before perhaps spending some time on the beach.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 7 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests.

What to expect

• The Sigiriya optional experience is for physically fit and energetic guests. We recommend taking plenty of water, a hat and sun cream if you opt to join this excursion.

Accommodation on tour

We’ve hand picked largely centrally-located hotels so you can use your free time to easily explore at your own pace. In Sigiriya, you’ll stay at the Amaara Forest which is within easy driving distance of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the city of Dambulla, site of the famous cave temple. The hotel in Kandy has a tranquil setting in the hills above the city, away from the hustle and bustle yet just a 15 minute drive from the city centre.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £330

Is this for you?

We recommend this tour to those who wish to take in the most popular regions of Sri Lanka at a very relaxed pace before perhaps spending some time on the beach.

Good to know

• For guests over 16

• Average group size of 7 guests

• A maximum of 14 guests

• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions

• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag.

What to expect

• The Sigiriya optional experience is for physically fit and energetic guests. We recommend taking plenty of water, a hat and sun cream if you opt to join this excursion
• Road journeys in Sri Lanka can be lengthy and are often on narrow and winding roads, particularly in the Hill Country.

Accommodation on tour

We’ve handpicked largely centrally-located hotels so you can use your free time to easily explore at your own pace. In the Cultural Triangle, you’ll stay at the Cinnamon Lodge which sits on the shore of Habarana Lake and is surrounded by acres of forest. The hotel’s gardens are rich with wildlife and you’ll easily find somewhere quiet to relax between excursions.

Single travellers

Sole-use room from £2403

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2019 Jan 13, 27; Feb 03, 17, 24; Mar 10, 24 ; Apr 07; May 05, 19; Jun 09, 23; Jul 21; Aug 11, 25; Sep 08, 22; Oct 06, 20; Nov 10, 24; Dec 15

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary,  departing on the date of your choice from £319 per person, ref LK002

Excursions

Day 5: Minneriya National Park Jeep safari from £77 per person

Day 6: Sigiriya Rock from £86 per person.

Tour dates

2020 Jan 12, 26; Feb 02, 16, 23; Mar 08, 22; Ari 05; May 03, 17; Jun 07, 21; Jul 19; Aug 09, 23; Sep 06, 20; Oct 04, 18; Nov 08, 23

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Small groups

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £2691 per person

Excursions

Day 6: Elephant Safari in Minneriya National Park from £89 per person
Day 5: Sigiriya Rock from £89 per person.

Special offer
From
£1635
 
SAVE UP TO £970 PER COUPLE
Price per person for 7 nights
This short tour discovers Sri Lanka's
highlights & can be combined with the Maldives
Escorted small group tour departs 10 Nov 2019
 
Fly with SriLankan Airlines from London Heathrow

Essential Sri Lanka

Kuoni highlights

This is a great-value tour that includes visits to the Cultural Triangle and the Hill Country. There's plenty of time to explore at your own pace but we have also provided a selection of typical Sri Lankan experiences such as a visit to the ancient Dambulla Rock Cave, Kandy's Royal Botanical Gardens, a tea factory and a spice garden. At just seven nights in duration, the tour is easily combinable with a Sri Lanka beach stay or a beach break in the Maldives.

Kuoni highlights

This is a great-value tour that includes visits to the Cultural Triangle and the Hill Country. There’s plenty of time to explore at your own pace but we have also provided a selection of typical experiences such as a visit to the Dambulla Rock Cave, Kandy’s Royal Botanical Gardens, a tea factory and a spice garden. At just seven nights, the tour is easily combinable with beach break in Sri Lanka or the Maldives.