After an early breakfast at hotel leave for Yapahuwa (101 km, approx. 2 hour drive).
On arrival in Yapahuwa, view the significant ancient remains of a historic kingdom. Yapahuwa, an ancient fortress and Capital built in the 13th century is reminiscent of Sigiriya, a massive granite outcrop rising 100 m above the plains below. Most impressive is a long steep staircase up the rock face leading to the ancient temple which housed the tooth relic of the Buddha for 11 years in the past. The temple has many rock carvings of animals, dancers and musicians.
Afterwards, leave for Anuradhapura (113 km, approx. 2 hours drive).
On arrival in Anuradhapura, check in at the hotel.
Afternoon visit the sacred ancient city founded in the 04th century B.C, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982.
It has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization which flourished in this region. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, Ruwanweliseya Dagoba, 2nd century BC with its famous elephant walls and the 3rd century BC Thuparama Dagoba. Ruins of ancient royal palaces specially the pillars of the Brazen Palace, which once had nine stories, temples, the image of the Samadhi Buddha one of the finest pieces of Buddhist sculpture, monasteries, the twin ponds, guard stones and the moonstone.
The ‘Sri Maha Bodhi’ or the sacred Bo tree is over 2200 years old grown from a branch of the very tree under which “The Buddha” attained enlightenment – the oldest historically documented tree in the world.
After breakfast leave for Mihintale (12 km, approx. ½ hour drive).
Visit the ancient remains of Mihintale, a sacred place which is regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The rock is dotted with shrines and rock dwellings. A grand stairway of 1840 steps made of granite slabs, 5 meters wide leads to the summit with its splendid views of the surrounding countryside.
Afterwards, leave for the National Iron Wood Garden.
On arrival enter in to the forest. Its geological significance owes its importance to the presence of a unique pink quartz outcrop.
On completion, leave for Dambulla and check in at the hotel.
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa (67 km, approx.1 ½ hour drive).
The capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century, a well-planned medieval city defended by enclosing walls (around 5 km. which still remain),graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes. Polonnaruwa is strewn with ruins in a resplendent state of preservation. Of these the ‘Vatadage’ and the ‘Thuparama Image house’ are the most spectacular. The ‘Gal Vihara’ which consists of statues of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha have been cut from a single granite wall and rank among the true masterpieces of Sri Lankan Art.
On completion return to Dambulla and visit the famous Golden Rock cave temple which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, a vast isolated rock mass with its five caverns is the largest best preserved cave-temple complexes in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 sq. meters) are of particular importance as are the 157 statues including a 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha. The ceiling of one cavern is fully illustrated with paintings that follow the natural folds of the rock so closely that it appears to be made of cloth. The complex of caves is one of the most impressive Buddhist Temples in the world.
After breakfast at hotel leave for Sigiriya (24 km, approx. ½ hour drive) and climb the Rock Fortress(a UNESCO World Heritage site) built by King Kassapa in the 05th century A.D. which was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years.
The lion rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. The base of the rock is ringed by a moat and rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens. The majestic Lion’s Paw picturesquely guards the stairway of the palace on the summit. See the famous frescoes of the “Heavenly maidens” of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock and the 10 foot high Mirror Wall.
Thereafter leave for Kandy (92 km, approx. 3 hour drive).
En route visit a Spice garden in Matale.
Kandy, the bustling hill country capital is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for the pink painted Temple of the Tooth which houses the most sacred religious relic, the tooth of the Buddha, the Kandy Lake built in 1807 which is an attractive centerpiece to the town and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Kandy is also popular because of the annual festival known as the Esala Perahera where the inner casket covering the tooth relic of the Buddha is taken in a grand procession through the streets of the city held annually in the month of July or August.
On arrival in Kandy, check in at the hotel.
Evening visit the Temple of the Tooth and thereafter enjoy the Kandyan Cultural Show at the Kandyan Arts & Cultural Centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking show.
After breakfast at hotel visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya where a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora including the famous Orchid House could be viewed.
Thereafter proceed to Nuwara Eliya (77 km, approx.3 hour drive).
Set in the heart of The Tea Country, situated 1890 meters above sea level, this beautiful town of Nuwara-Eliya is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne with well kept lawns with hedges.
En route visit a tea plantation and a tea factory. At the tea factory witness the process of manufacture of tea from plucking of the green leaves to packeting of the processed tea.
On arrival in Nuwara Eliya commence a sightseeing tour in the city.
Visit the Nuwara Eliya Town, Market place, Golf Course, (one of the finest 18 holes Golf Courses in Asia) the Hill Club, and drive around this hill station viewing Lake Gregory. Sri Lanka's Highest Mountain Pidurutalagala (8282 ft) is located here.
After breakfast leave for Sinharaja Rain Forest one of the UNESCO World heritage sites and the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rain forests remaining in Sri Lanka.
It is a treasure trove of endemic species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of the dense vegetation wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry zone national parks as Yala. Bird watching is particularly interesting as it is home to 95% of the endemic birds of Sri Lanka.
After breakfast leave for Colombo (101 km, approx. 3 hour drive).
On arrival, check in at the hotel.
Afternoon commence a sightseeing tour of the city of Colombo.
Drive through the commercial and city centre area known as the “Fort”, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century where grand colonial era buildings stand alongside modern office structures. See the busy markets and noisy bazaars of Pettah, the National Museum with its fine collection of lovely antiques and art of Sri Lanka. Drive past the Town Hall, Independence Square, the B.M.I.C.H (International Convention Centre) and Cinnamon Gardens residential area and visit a Buddhist Temple and a Hindu Kovil, to experience the diversity of religion, ethnicity and customs of the people.