Discover the culture, heritage, wildlife, and beaches on this Sri Lankan journey. To start, visit the esteemed Dambulla Rock Temple. Then, climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, followed by a trip to a local village, complete with a nature walk and an authentic meal on a working farm. Next, explore the temples and sights of Kandy and the scenic tea country of Ella. Stop for a safari at Yala National Park and then head to Weligama for an ancient fort tour, some whale watching, and four days of beach bliss.

Highlights

  • Visit Dambulla Cave Temple to view at the painted ceilings and statues
  • Explore a typical Sri Lankan village and enjoy lunch with the locals
  • Visit Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy, the most sacred in Sri Lanka
  • Embark on a wildlife safari to see elephants and leopards in Yala
  • Spend several days relaxing and enjoying the pristine beach in Weligama

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Sri Lanka & Visit Dambulla Giritale
Day 2 Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress & Lunch in Habarana Giritale
Day 3 Travel to Kandy & Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic Kandy
Day 4 Take a Scenic Train to Ella Ella
Day 5 Hiking and Exploration in Ella Ella
Day 6 Stop at Buduruwagala Temple & Travel to Yala Yala
Day 7 Safari Day at Yala National Park Yala
Day 8 Travel to Weligama Weligama
Day 9 Optional Whale Watching & Galle Dutch Fort Tour Weligama
Days 10-11 Free Days in Weligama Weligama
Day 12 Departure From Sri Lanka  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Sri Lanka and visit Dambulla

Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla Cave Temple

Welcome to Sri Lanka! A travel representative will be waiting at the arrival launch at the airport to welcome you. Look for your name on the paging boards. Meet your representative, and start the 4.5-hour journey to Dambulla.

In the afternoon, visit Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple. The popular cave temple complex dates back to the 2nd century BC and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are more than 80 caves in Dambulla, some of which are used for meditation by monks. The famous Rock Temple has five, separate caves containing 153 magnificent Buddha statues, three of Sri Lankan monarchs, and four of Hindu deities. The temple is also famous for its painted ceilings.

Following the temple tour in Dambulla, proceed to your hotel, which is a nature-friendly destination with beautiful lake views.

Day 2: Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress and lunch in Habarana

Sigiriya
Sigiriya

Have an early breakfast, and travel to Sigiriya today. In the morning, climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is more than 650 feet high, and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in the ancient Sri Lankan architecture—water gardens, boulder gardens, art galleries, and ruins of the castle, which was built during antiquity. Upon your descent, a refreshing king coconut awaits.

Next, visit a local village in Habarana. Enjoy a nature walk through a scrub jungle in the back roads of a rural village, and cross a lake in an oruwa (boat) in the traditional way. Then, spend some time with a farmer harvesting crops under his guidance, and taste the authentic village cuisine prepared by the farmer's family. Enjoy freshly picked vegetables and local herbs cooked in clay pots over an open hearth fueled by firewood. Experience the real Sri Lankan cooking methods, and taste the fruits of the authentic labor.

After the eventful day, return to your hotel and relax. The evening is at your leisure.

Day 3: Travel to Kandy and visit Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

After breakfast, start your journey to Kandy. On the way, visit a spice garden to learn about authentic Sri Lankan spices. Take a guided tour for a full education on the region’s unique plants, spices, and herbs, which are used both for medicine and to flavor ancient dishes.

En route, pay a visit to Aluwihara Buddhist temple. Arrive in Kandy, and in the evening, begin your discovery of the city on a stop at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is the most respected religious monument in Sri Lanka. Then, visit the Gem Museum, Bathik Factory, Lake Drive, and the marketplace, and end the day by attending a cultural dance performance.

Day 4: Take a scenic train to Ella

Take a scenic train to Ella
Take a scenic train to Ella

Following breakfast at the hotel, travel to Ella, the tea country. Enjoy a scenic, 6-7-hour train ride from Kandy to Ella, passing through the tea plantations and mountains along the way. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and relax. The rest of the day and evening are at your leisure.

Note: With the help of your driver, train tickets can be purchased on the previous day, depending on availability. However, no specific class is guaranteed.

Day 5: Hiking & Exploration in Ella

Ella Rock
Ella Rock

Following breakfast, embark on an easy trek up Little Adams peak. Ella is a beautiful, hilly country village surrounded by mountains, tea plantations, and greenery everywhere you go. The Ella Gap offers a stunning view. Ravana Ella Falls is another spectacular sight and the perfect place for a quick dip in the cool waters. Ella Rock offers a breathtaking view of the countryside—the walk up to the rock itself is stunning, as you pass through rail tracks and tea plantations along the way.

Following a day of exploration, the evening in Ella is yours to enjoy.

Day 6: Stop at Buduruwagala Temple and travel to Yala

Buduruwagala Temple
Buduruwagala Temple

Enjoy breakfast and travel 3.5 hours to Yala. On the way, spot the locals selling their homegrown fruits and vegetables—all of which you can purchase if you’d like to taste the seasonal produce.

If you wish, visit Buduruwagala Temple on the way. Arrive in Yala, and check-in to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Day 7: Safari day at Yala National Park

A native elephant at Yara National Park
A native elephant at Yara National Park

After breakfast, enjoy a relaxing morning at a slower pace today. If you’d like, embark on an early-morning safari in Yala National Park. In the afternoon, head out on a safari game drive inside the park.

Yala National Park is the most visited—and second-largest—national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and other adjoining parks. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. The function of the park is based on the conservation of the native elephants, leopards, and aquatic birds. Two prominent pilgrim sites are also situated within the park. 

Following the safari adventure, return to the hotel for some downtime and relaxation.

Day 8: Travel to Weligama

Weligama
Weligama

Have breakfast, and start your journey toward the beach. Take the 4-hour ride from Yala to Weligama. Upon arrival, check in to the beach resort. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the sand and sea.

Day 9: Optional whale watching and Galle Dutch Fort tour

Galle Dutch Fort
Galle Dutch Fort

After breakfast, enjoy more of Weligama. If you’d like, join an early-morning whale watching session in Mirissa.

Then, visit Galle Dutch Fort and the surrounding city with its colonial buildings. Galle is popular for its 300-year-old fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort, which is nearly 90 acres, was built by the Dutch in 1663, and is surrounded on three sides by the ocean. The streets within the fort are crammed with colonial remnants from the Dutch clock tower, reformed church, and the commander’s house to the British coat of arms on the outer wall. Enjoy the beautiful colonial architecture and visit the Galle Maritime Museum, the Galle Lighthouse, the Bodhi tree, and the reclining Buddha statue inside the temple.

Continue enjoying the evening at your leisure, as well.

Days 10-11: Free days in Weligama

Fishermen in Weligama
Fishermen in Weligama

For the next two days, enjoy breakfast and the beach. Kick back and relax with a good book, take a stroll along the shore, soak up the sunshine, and take advantage of the beautiful water all around you.

Day 12: Departure from Sri Lanka

Farewell, Sri Lanka!
Farewell, Sri Lanka!

After breakfast, a driver will transport you 3.5 hours from Weligama to the airport for your departure flight back home. On the ride, take some time to reflect on your trip and your experiences in Sri Lanka. Safe Travels!