Day 01 : Arrive Colombo
Transfer to the airport to board flight for Colombo. Arrive Colombo, transfer to pre-booked hotel.
Day 02 : Colombo - Anuradhapura - Habarana
After breakfast, leave for Anuradhapura (206 kms., 05 hrs.) and visit the sacred ancient city founded in the 04th century B.C, which is 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. Witness 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 storeys, 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 – it is the oldest historically documented tree in the world.
After sightseeing, leave for Habarana, a small village with excellent hotel accommodation, a central location for all the ancient city sites. It's a popular tourist destination for those who love to go on a safari. The Minneriya Sanctuary is also a must see. The greenery, wildlife and hotels have attracted a vast number of tourists to this small city. Check in at your hotel on arrival and spend the rest of the evening at leisure. This village has drawn many tourists as it has some of the best hotels to keep you entertained.
Day 03 : Habarana
After breakfast, visit Sigiriya (25 kms., ½ hr.). Begin the morning by climbing the rock fortress of Sigiriya - a 5th Century "Fortress in the Sky". Built by King Kassapa the fortress was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years. The lion rock (A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SIGHT) is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 metres 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. The massive paintings are believed to be the largest in the world.
Continue to one of the ruins of ancient Ceylon - the UNESCO World Heritage City of Polonnaruwa (67 kms., 1½ hr.), which was 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. The Climate here is occasionally cold in December and January but in recent times the cold has increased. 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. With its historical remains this place is believed to be one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country.
Overnight in Habarna.
Day 04 : Habarna - Dambulla - Kandy
After breakfast head for Dambulla (25 kms., ½ hr.) and explore 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 complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 sq. meters) are of particular importance as well as the 157 statues including a 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha. The Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium is unique as it was built in 167 days. It’s also proud to have the largest Rose Quartz Mountain in South East Asia.
Continue drive to the bustling hill capital of Kandy (72 kms., 2½ hrs.) enroute visit a spice garden in Matale. Arrive Kandy and check-in at your prebooked hotel. Sightseeing of 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. Evening, visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. Thereafter enjoy the Kandyan Cultural show at the Kandyan Arts and Cultural Centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display.
Day 05 : Kandy - Pinnawala - Ratnapura
After breakfast, visit the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage (50 kms, 1½ hrs.). This orphanage was set up by the government to take care of baby elephants lost or abandoned in the wild. Witness the feeding of the elephants. Thereafter observe them as they take their daily bath in the river nearby, which allows marvellous photo opportunities. Bathing time is enjoyed by all elephants, young and old alike and it is a good time to closely observe their tightly knit family structure. Daily feeding times - 9.15 am, 1.15 pm, and 5.00 pm. bathing times – 10.00 am, 2.00 pm, and 4.00 pm.
Continue drive to Ratnapura (115 kms, 4 hrs.). Arrive Ratnapura and check-in at prebooked hotel. Sightseeing of the city of Ratnapura, the world’s richest treasure house of gems. Rare sparkling precious and semi-precious stones are found in the rich soil that covers the entire district. It is a city set amidst a mix of paddy fields, rubber and tea plantations, which give a scenic backdrop to this legendary city of a thousand gems. It is also famous for Tea and rubber cultivations. Some of the other attractions are Adams Peak, Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Kithulgala. You can also visit the Peter-Paul Church, which was built by the Portuguese during the 17th century.
Day 06 : Ratnapura - Sinharaja - Galle
After breakfast leave for Sinharaja Nature Reserve (60 kms., 1½ hrs.) for a day of bird watching and trekking through the forest. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rain forest 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. Bird watching is particularly interesting as it is home to 95% of the endemic birds of Sri Lanka.
Continue drive to Galle (210 kms, 5½ hrs.), the capital of the southern province and a city with a colourful history. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. A 300 year old Dutch colonial atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort, which is not invaded by the skyscrapers. Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. Some of the chief attractions are the city’s Natural Harbor, National Maritime Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Galle International Stadium.
Day 07 : Galle - Mt. Lavinia
After breakfast head for Mt. Lavinia (104 kms., 3 hrs.) Situated south of Colombo city, this fascinating place is a major tourist attraction. Famed for its "Golden Mile" of beaches, Mt. Lavinia is a pleasant coastal town just a short distance from Colombo. Rest of the day free for individual activities.
Day 08 : Mt. Lavinia - Colombo
Transfer to Colombo airport (44 kms., 01 hr.) to board your onward/return flight.