Get to know Sri Lanka on this week-long exploration of ancient temples, unspoiled countryside, and idyllic beaches. Focusing on the southern half of the "Jewel of the Indian Ocean," you'll check off iconic sites like Pidirungala Rock, Sigiriya, and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Immerse yourself in the surrounding landscapes as you cycle through rice paddies and country roads, take a wildlife safari through Minneriya National Park, and tour a working tea farm. After a visit to the fascinating fortified city of Galle, your adventure ends on the sweeping southern beaches of Ahangama.


  • Climb to the ancient monoliths of Pidurangala & Sigiriya
  • See elephants in the wild at Minneriya National Park 
  • Cycle through the rural countryside of Habarana
  • Discover Kandy's magnificent Temple of the Sacred Tooth 
  • Tour the historic fortified city of Galle 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Negombo Negombo
Day 2 Transfer to Dambulla via Marawila & Pidurangala Rock Dambulla
Day 3 Rural Cycling Adventure in Habarana, Minneriya National Park Safari Dambulla
Day 4 Transfer to Kandy via Sigiriya, Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Kandy
Day 5 Tour a Working Tea Plantation, Transfer to Ahangama Ahangama
Day 6 Day Trip to Historic Galle  Ahangama
Day 7 Transfer to Colombo & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Negombo

A canal in Negombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival at the Colombo Airport, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel in the laid-back beach town of Negombo. Known as "Little Rome" for its strong Catholic influence, Negombo transitioned over the centuries through Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonial rule. Today its sandy beaches, welcoming locals, meandering canals, and colorful streets make it the perfect spot to enjoy your first evening in Sri Lanka.

Day 2: Transfer to Dambulla via Marawila & Pidurangala Rock

Toddy Tapping in Maravila
Watch a demonstration of traditional "toddy tapping" in Marawila

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for a scenic transfer northeast toward the ancient city of Dambulla. Along the way, you'll stop at the coastal town of Marawila to watch locals make raa or "toddy," Sri Lanka's famous mildly alcoholic drink made from fresh palm trees. Climbers scale the mature trees to cut a point of the blooming flower and collect its syrup, fermenting it into a tasty tipple. Watch the fascinating process, then try a sip of the fresh delicacy yourself.

Continue to the magnificent rock temple of Pidurangala, home to a monastery that dates back to the 3rd century BCE. You can climb to the top for breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and nearby Sigiriya Rock and visit the vast reclining Buddha statue within. Upon arrival in Dambulla, you'll have the rest of the afternoon to get settled in, rest up, or discover the town's famous cave temples and modern Buddha statue

Day 3: Rural Cycling Adventure in Habarana, Minneriya National Park Safari

See elephants in the wild on a Minneriya National Park safari
Plan your trip to Sri Lanka
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Set out into the countryside today on a guided cycling tour through rice paddies and back roads. You'll have the chance to interact with local farmers and learn about Sri Lankan rural life before pedaling to a quiet lake, where you can enjoy a scenic boat trip out onto the water. Afterward, cycle around the lake, keeping your eyes open for exotic birds. Break for a cup of tea or a fresh coconut along the journey, then sit down for lunch with a local family inside a mud hut.  

After lunch, head to Minneriya National Park to go on a wildlife safari. A dry season feeding ground for Sri Lanka's elephant population, this park is a great place to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. If you're lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of rare and endangered Sri Lankan sloth bears and Sri Lankan leopards. 

As evening falls, your driver will be waiting to transfer you back to Dambulla to relax after a long day.

Day 4: Transfer to Kandy via Sigiriya, Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth

Views across Kandy Lake to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth
Today you'll spend the morning exploring the iconic Sri Lankan monument of Sigiriya. The rocky monolith rises high out of the lush jungle and is home to the remains of an ancient fortress built in the late 5th century. The name translates to "Lion Rock," a reference to the way visitors traditionally began their final ascent to the top of the monument, passing through the open jaws and throat of a lion. Unfortunately, the only remains of this lion figure today are the gigantic paws sculpted into the side of the rock. You'll find beautiful water fountains, boulder gardens, frescos, mirror walls, and relics of the castle within the UNESCO-listed site. 
Then it's time to meet your driver and transfer south to Kandy, the capital of the Central Province. Strategically situated between three mountain ranges, the city serves as a welcoming gateway to Sri Lanka's Hill Country. After settling into your hotel, spend the afternoon visiting Kandy's historical Royal Palace on the edge of Lake Kandy. Stroll through the palace's shrines, temples, and gardens before visiting its crown jewel: Sri Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic). The intricate temple complex dates to the 16th century and is home to Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic: a tooth from the Buddha.

As evening falls, you can attend a fascinating cultural show to see some great examples of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.  

Day 5: Tour a Working Tea Plantation, Transfer to Ahangama

Tea Plantation & Tea Factory visit
Lush tea-growing landscapes around Giragama
Today start in nearby Giragma with a visit to a working tea plantation and factory. You'll learn about the fascinating process of growing and processing Sri Lanka's most famous export. Meet the staff, see how tea leaves are picked, and cap off the tour with an unforgettable cup of freshly-brewed Ceylon tea. Afterward, you'll get back on the road and journey south to the small coastal town of Ahangama. Get settled into your hotel, then spend the rest of the afternoon discovering its spectacular beaches.

Day 6: Day Trip to Historic Galle 

Galle Dutch fort visit
The historic Dutch fort of Galle

Today a short day trip up the coast takes you to the fascinating UNESCO-listed city of Galle. Step back in time as you explore its 300-year-old Dutch fortifications, surrounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean. After a tour of the city's historic past, you'll have time to explore its Dutch-colonial buildings, historic mosques, grand mansions, and museums. Wander the streets and discover stylish cafés, shops, and boutique hotels owned by local and ex-pat artists and designers.

The city is also famous for Unawatuna Bay, a lovely cove protected by a reef. If you feel like cooling off, wrap up the afternoon with a dip in the ocean before heading back to Ahangama for the evening. 

Day 7: Transfer to Colombo & Depart

Sunrise over Ahangama Beach

After breakfast (and maybe one last morning at the beach), it's time to meet your driver for the transfer back to Colombo Airport and your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Authentic Sri Lanka: Negombo, Dambulla, Kandy & Ahangama - 7 Days
Map of Authentic Sri Lanka: Negombo, Dambulla, Kandy & Ahangama - 7 Days