Morning transfer to Sigiriya, in the Cultural Triangle. Visit Anuradhapura and be prepared to be overwhelmed by the complex of ancient monuments, stupas, palaces and temples. You’ll visit no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – one of them the oldest historically documented tree in the world, the 2200 year old sacred Bo-Tree beneath which Buddha is said to have discovered enlightenment. At Sigiriya you’ll be able to climb Lion Rock to the citadel of King Kashapa – an astounding 70-hectare fortified town complete with moat, rampart and gardens. And ancient paintings and walls of rock so highly polished they were used as mirrors. At Polonnaruwa the Royal Palace is home to three statues of Buddha carved from the solid rock face. Stay: Four nights in Habarana or Sigiriya.
You’ll be driven to Kandy, pausing along the way to visit the Dambulla cave temples with their gorgeous wall paintings and their impressive statues of Buddha – almost bursting out of their confined caverns. Walk round the large, sacred lake and talk to the people you meet. Sri Lankans are interested in visitors, especially from the UK, and are unfailingly charming. The culmination of your walk will be the outrageous Temple of the Tooth. This gleaming white wedding cake of a building was created to house a sacred relic, the tooth of Buddha, and is the scene of many colorful festivals and rituals. Kandy also offers the beautiful Peradeniya Botanical Gardens – 147 acres of manicured lawns, exotic trees and flora, including fabulous orchids.
Stay: Four nights in kandy
Activities during your stay
- Visit the Temple of the Tooth where the sacred relic of Buddha’s tooth is enshrined
- Go to the Victoria Golf and Country Resort for a round of golf or game of tennis
- Wander through Kandy town center, or around the Royal Botanical Gardens
Your driver will now take you to the historic fort town of Galle. The Dutch originally built the fort – much of it from huge blocks of coral – to protect one of their prime trading ports. Its history is tangible as you walk around the tiny streets radiating out from an iconic white lighthouse, and today it is reckoned to be the largest inhabited fort in the world. Certainly one of the most charming; with local ladies selling their hand-made lace, snake and monkey charmers, a grand mosque and original Dutch churches. Seven night in Galle
Activities during your stay
- Go cycling through the rural areas of inland Galle, passing paddy fields and plantations.
- Explore the enchanting Galle Fort with a guide
- Tour round a working cinnamon plantation and afterwards enjoy a cinnamon-themed lunch
- Watch marine turtles come ashore to nest at night, or see baby turtles hatching
- Go whale watching in Mirissa
- Visit nearby Unawatuna and indulge in some exhilarating water-sport