Sri Lanka is known for its deep Buddhist culture, ancient cities, unspoiled rainforests, and high-end resort living. In fact, this island nation in the Indian Ocean has set the trend for luxury holidays throughout South Asia, and you'll enjoy the good life over 15 event-filled days. It's an unforgettable journey that includes plenty of creature comforts with a focus on culture, adventure, and overall mind and body wellness.

Highlights

  • Relax amid the tea plantations in Sri Lanka's highlands
  • Enjoy a variety of spa and wellness treatments, from yoga to Ayurveda
  • Laze on the beaches of Weligama, on Sri Lanka's south shore
  • Visit colonial forts, turtle hatcheries, and wetland sanctuaries
  • Meditate on sun-kissed beaches and in tropical gardens

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Kandy & Wellness Resort Kandy
Day 2 Ayurvedic Treatment, Walking Tour of Kandy Kandy
Day 3 Detox Cleanse, Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic Kandy
Day 4 Metabolism Boost, Visit the Bhikkhuni Monastery Kandy
Day 5 Re-Balancing, Art & Philosophy Experience Kandy
Day 6 Personalized Yoga, Music & Dance Cultural Show Kandy
Day 7 Sleep Wellness, Ascend Ambuluwawa Tower Kandy
Day 8 Kandy to Weligama, Optional Activities Weligama
Day 9 Morning Yoga, Visit Yatagala Rock Temple Weligama
Day 10 Morning Yoga, Day Trip to Galle, Visit the Dutch Fort Weligama
Day 11 Morning Yoga, Visit a Turtle Hatchery Weligama
Day 12 Morning Yoga, Visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda Weligama
Day 13 Morning Yoga, Explore the Countryside Weligama
Day 14 Morning Yoga, Free Day Weligama
Day 15 Weligama to Colombo, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Kandy & Wellness Resort

Check-in at the lovely resort surrounded by mountains and lush tea hills
Your resort in the highlands of Sri Lanka

Welcome to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka! This gem of an island lies off the southern tip of India and has deep roots, as the Sinhala Kingdom that existed in what is now modern-day Sri Lanka was founded around 543 BCE. Ever since the country's independence in 1972, more and more travelers have been discovering its joys and beauty. People come for the beaches, national parks, and rolling green hills of tea country; but there's also a rich Buddhist culture here that dates to the 3rd century BCE and can be seen in the country's many impressive temples and monasteries.

Like in India and elsewhere in Asia, traditional medicine and wellness play a large role in Sri Lanka's society. A big part of your journey here will be to open yourself to these holistic healing powers and center your body, mind, and spirit. 

Upon arriving at the airport, a driver will pick you up for the 2.5-hour ride from Colombo east into the highlands to Kandy. This city has a mystical quality. It sits on a plateau amid tea plantations and was the capital during the last Sri Lankan dynasty, which ended in the early 19th century. There are many sacred Buddhist landmarks here, notably the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, whose relic of Buddha's tooth is believed to hold the power to govern the country. Your destination is a luxury resort nestled in the quiet hills and famous for its spa services and wellness programs like yoga and Ayurveda.

Day 2: Ayurvedic Treatment, Walking Tour of Kandy

Enjoy an Ayurvedic treatment, then explore Kandy

Begin your day with breakfast and fresh juice or herbal tea. Then take full advantage of the spa services on offer throughout this holiday. This includes 90 minutes of group yoga or meditation and 90 minutes of spa services. The spa treatments are fully personalized according to your initial consult and physical analysis. You'll also have full access to spa facilities such as saunas, steam rooms, saltwater pools, etc.

After your yoga or meditation session, you'll enjoy your first spa treatment of the trip: Ayurveda. Coming from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge), this holistic system of medicine has its origins with the introduction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka—all the way back in the 3rd century BCE. The Ayurvedic treatment regime you receive today will be specific to your particular health conditions but, as a general guideline, will include a purification process. This may involve dietary restrictions, herbal remedies, and massage therapy. 

When the Ayurveda session is complete, head out on a walking tour of Kandy, the gateway to Sri Lanka's fertile Hill Country (home to nature reserves and tea plantations). The UNESCO-listed city is known for its Royal Palace, which sits on serene Lake Kandy and houses the Dalada Maligwa (Temple of the Tooth). You'll also visit the Gem Museum, which tracks the geological history of Sri Lanka and sells cut gemstones, platinum, and white gold jewelry. Afterward, browse the city's crafts shops for souvenirs before ending the tour at the Bahirawakanda Buddha statue for spectacular views over the city.

Day 3: Detox Cleanse, Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic

After detox and a cleanse, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic

Regular cleansing of the body is a core health measure that boosts the immune system and helps prevent diseases such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac issues, etc. Your wellness program here in Sri Lanka includes multi-day body cleanses customized to your specific needs. Depending on those needs, the cleanse may be based on Ayurvedic techniques or focus more on western strategies like juicing.

After your morning wellness routine, you'll head out in the afternoon to visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. This is a 1.5-hour tour that will take you to one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Asia. Located in the Royal Palace complex, the temple contains a left canine tooth of Buddha, the founder and spiritual leader of the Buddhist religion. The Temple of the Tooth Relic is such a revered place of worship that it's become a famous pilgrimage site for Buddhists throughout the world, and in 1988 it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Inside the temple, you'll visit its many shrines and gardens.

Day 4: Metabolism Boost, Visit the Bhikkhuni Monastery

Bhikkhunis (Buddhist nuns) practicing their faith

Another aspect of your wellness experience focuses on weight loss. Moreover, the program is strategically designed to eliminate excess weight while leaving you feeling energized, healthy, and balanced. The goal is to give you the tools to keep the weight off and maintain that healthy balance long after you leave Sri Lanka.

After working on your weight-loss regimen, you'll venture to the outskirts of Kandy for a tour of the Bhikkhuni Monastery. Bhikkhunis are female monks, and here these nuns live an ascetic life in total devotion to Budda. You'll tour the grounds as your guide reveals the history of Buddhist nuns, including the story of the very first Bhikkhuni, Mahapajapati Gotami, the stepmother of Buddha, the first woman to seek Buddhist ordination for women.

You'll also visit other highlights of the monastery, such as the stupa and gardens. Also, here is a sacred fig tree grown from clipping the original Bodhi Tree ("tree of awakening") in India, where Buddha gained enlightenment. Should the opportunity arise, you may also meet and chat with a resident nun to learn more about their devotion to Buddhism and the principles of the religion.                             

Day 5: Re-Balancing, Art & Philosophy Experience

Santani wellness packages 04
Relax, and re-balance

Many people opt for a wellness retreat to mitigate life's stresses and boost declining energy levels. The root causes of these issues can be various factors, including the demands of work and the arrival of middle age. The program here combines indulgent relaxation and de-stressing treatments with mindful education. The goal is to incorporate holistic health best practices into your routine to help offset even the most acute stresses of daily life.

Once you've learned these re-balancing strategies, it's time for some local culture. Kandy is the artistic heart of Sri Lanka and is famous for its religious frescoes dating from the last dynasty. However, there's also a thriving community of modern artists here. This afternoon you'll head to the countryside and the family home of local father and daughter artists. Your hosts will welcome you with a glass of juice, and then you'll tour their studio and celebrated collection of artworks. Finish the day on the veranda overlooking the hills as you sip tea with your hosts and chat about philosophy, music, and of course, art.

Day 6: Personalized Yoga, Music & Dance Cultural Show

Experience a Kandyan cultural show

This wellness experience in Sri Lanka also doubles as a yoga retreat, as each day, you'll focus 90 minutes on this practice. Like the other activities and treatments, this flexible program focuses on the holistic development of the mind and body. This traditional Hatha yoga practice focuses on breathing techniques, controlled movements, and stretching. That said, it's possible to supplement this with other branches of yoga (subject to availability). Whichever branch you practice, the program is adaptable to your level, whether you're a beginner or an experienced practitioner.

As with its legacy of art, Sri Lanka has a rich musical heritage. Typically the local music is a blend of indigenous and Indian traditions celebrating the country's folklore. This cultural expression is most celebrated in Kandy, where several venues near the Royal Palace host performances of cultural shows. In the evening, you'll spend an hour enjoying one such Kandyan Cultural Show, which is a visual and auditory spectacle heavy on singing, dance, and percussion. These are lively performances defined by raucous music and graceful dancers in brightly colored costumes. 

Day 7: Sleep Wellness, Ascend Ambuluwawa Tower

Improve your quality of sleep, then visit Ambuluwawa

For many, a good night's sleep is elusive. To help solve this issue, people will often turn to sedatives or sleeping pills. In contrast, the goal is to promote healthy natural sleep by alleviating impediments like anxiety, stress, depression, and other afflictions. This personalized wellness program incorporates relaxation therapies, nutritious meals, and meditation to promote better sleep. Additionally, you'll receive the tools to sustain this high-quality rest once you've returned to your daily routine.

In the afternoon, head into the mountains outside of Kandy to one of the region's most iconic landmarks: Ambuluwawa Tower. You'll arrive in the ancient town of Gampola. Then it's a 15-25-minute ride by tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) up through beautiful evergreen forests and flowering creeper vines to reach this multi-religious monument, which sits 3,567 feet (1,087 m) above sea level. If you can brave the dizzying heights, a further 157-foot (48 m) ascent up a narrow spiral staircase takes you to the top of the tower, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Day 8: Kandy to Weligama, Optional Activities

Sri Lanka's southern shores

In the morning, you'll hop in a car and leave the tea plantations of Sri Lanka's green highlands for the golden beaches of its southern coast. It's a four-hour drive from Kandy to Weligama, one of the most popular destinations in the country for sunseekers. Not only are there excellent swimming beaches here, but it's also a popular spot for surfers. The result is that this little corner of Sri Lanka is an elegant tropical paradise with a beach-bum vibe. 

And Weligama is becoming more attractive to affluent travelers each year due to its many luxury resorts, spas, and boutique hotels. For example, high-end shopping and dining options are abundant along the main road. You'll be staying in a luxury villa with private gardens in a tranquil haven just west of Weligama Bay. However, once you check in, you'll have the day free to head into town, shop, and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner at a gourmet restaurant. 

Day 9: Morning Yoga, Visit Yatagala Rock Temple

Yatagala Rock Temple

The remainder of your wellness experience during this itinerary will focus heavily on yoga and fitness. Weligama is the perfect place for it, as the coast and surrounding nature lend the area a sense of peace and tranquility despite the many visitors. Yoga on the beach is popular; you can feel free to join in. Or, if you'd prefer, spend your morning yoga sessions in the secluded gardens at your private villa, where you can find your center in solitude while communing with nature. Also, near these gardens is a fitness zone that overlooks the ocean and is equipped with weights and exercise equipment.

After your morning exercise and yoga routine, you'll head out for a drive west along the coast to the town of Unawatuna. Just inland from there, situated amid giant granite rock formations, is Yatagala Temple. This temple, which looks out over lush rice paddies and small villages, was built on orders from King Devanampiyatissa, who reigned the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 3rd century BCE. The site is little visited by tourists and is home to many rock shrines. Also here is a granite Buddha statue around 2,300 years old, which is a testament to the stone-carving talent of the ancient Sri Lankans.

Day 10: Morning Yoga, Day Trip to Galle, Visit the Dutch Fort

The Dutch Fort in Galle 

Start the day with exercise and a yoga session on your villa's private terrace, garden, or on the beach. Then you'll travel about 45 minutes west to the Dutch colonial town of Galle. Like Welgama, Galle sits on a tranquil bay. But unlike the former, it was once the chief port of Sri Lanka. The Dutch first arrived in 1602 and colonized the island mainly to protect their trading interests in the Indian Ocean. In this charming town, you'll find many well-preserved buildings that, hundreds of years ago, were Dutch law courts and administrative centers but are now cafés, boutiques, and art galleries. 

However, the most iconic structure in Galle is its Dutch Fort, which you'll get to visit on a tour. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was originally built by the Portuguese and later extended by the Dutch in 1663. The fort complex sits on a rocky peninsula on the bay's north end and spans about 130 acres. It also enjoys the distinction of being Asia's largest colonial-built fort. 

Day 11: Morning Yoga, Visit a Turtle Hatchery

Help protect baby sea turtles 

Enjoy a healthy breakfast and cleanse before getting in a morning workout session overlooking the ocean. Then you're in for a real treat, as you'll commune with the local wildlife today. The coast of Sri Lanka is an ideal habitat for sea turtles due to the warm waters, coral reefs, seagrass beds, and abundance of suitable nesting beaches. In fact, five of the eight species of sea turtles—hawksbill, green, loggerhead, olive ridley, and leatherback—call this region home. Today you'll head to the area around Galle, where there are several sea turtle hatcheries. 

Your destination is the idyllic little beach town of Habaraduwa. Here you'll take a one-hour tour of the Sea Turtle Hatchery, a non-profit dedicated to conserving sea turtles. The organization was created in 1986 to protect turtles from poachers, and in the intervening decades, they've released innumerable hatchlings safely into the sea. The highlight of the tour is when you're given a baby turtle that you will get to release into the ocean.

Day 12: Morning Yoga, Visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda

The Japanese Peace Pagoda, near Galle
Spend a quiet morning focusing on wellness, self-care, and exercise. Then head out on a two-hour trip south of Galle, where the Japanese Peace Pagoda sits on a promontory. This Buddhist shrine is unique due to its circular shape but is most noteworthy for its stunning views up and down the coast. To get there requires a short hike up Rumassala Hill, atop which you'll find the temple. It was built by the Nipponzan Myōhōji (a small order of Japanese Nichiren Buddhists) in 2005 as a (what else?) peace symbol. Once here, you'll want to snap plenty of photos of the incredible views.

Day 13: Morning Yoga, Explore the Countryside

A peacock struts in the wetlands of Sri Lanka
Enjoy a morning yoga session on the beach or at your villa, then prepare for a countryside tour. This day trip along the scenic backroads outside Weligama will take you by lush rice paddies, lakes, gardens, temples, and acres upon acres of rubber and cinnamon plantations. Passing through small towns and villages, you'll see traditional homes built during the colonial era. Part of the day includes stops at the wetlands east of Weligama, sanctuaries for exotic birdlife such as ibises, peacocks, storks, egrets, herons, and many more. 

Day 14: Morning Yoga, Free Day

How locals fish in Weligama
Focus on your mind and body wellness in the morning, then spend the rest of the day however you choose. Of course, numerous spa services are available at the villa to further help you relax and rejuvenate. Or stop by Weligama's main road for great shopping and dining options. You could also head to the beach with a book and a towel to while away the hours relaxing on the golden sands. Or grab a board and hit the waves if you prefer something more active. You can also head out on a whale-watching tour. Between November and April the coastal waters abound with pods of whales, including blue whales. 

Day 15: Weligama to Colombo, Depart

Goodbye, Sri Lanka

Your journey of self-discovery, spiritual purification, and mind and body wellness has ended—at least here in Sri Lanka. At the appropriate time, your driver will pick you up and transfer you about 2.5 hours north to the airport in Colombo, where you'll catch your flight home. Ayubowan!

More Great Sri Lanka Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Sri Lanka? Check out these other Sri Lanka itineraries, explore different ways to spend 15 days in Sri Lanka, or learn about the best time of year to visit Sri Lanka.

Map

Map of Sri Lanka Luxury Wellness Escape: Kandy & Weligama - 15 Days
Map of Sri Lanka Luxury Wellness Escape: Kandy & Weligama - 15 Days