Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka

13 Days Starting in Colombo, Sri Lanka and ending in United

Visiting: Colombo, Negombo, Dambulla, Habarana, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe National Park Safari, Yala National Park Sri Lanka, Kalutara

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

SR

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Physical rating:

Please contact Riviera Travel if you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility.

Age range:

18-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Riviera Travel with specific dietary requests.

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

4WD, Sightseeing

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

As soon as you arrive, your senses are overwhelmed by Sri Lanka! The warm tropical air, the colourful wildflowers and the jungle, the striking colours of the saris adorning every woman, the variety of exotic fruits and spices, the beauty of the countryside, the mystique of countless temples and orange-clad Buddhist monks and wild elephants - this is a varied place indeed! Marco Polo, arguably the greatest explorer of all time, described it simply as the finest island in the world!

During its two thousand year history, Sri Lanka has attracted countless invaders and visitors from nearby India, the Arabs, the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British. The 145 years of British rule left an indelible mark on Sri Lanka's culture and institutions - from a deep love of cricket to the red pillar-boxes still found on street corners. Today, this fabled island of spices and gems is a vibrant blend of entrancing Buddhist culture, ancient cities, wildlife-rich lowland jungles, home to leopards, elephants and monkeys, a mist-shrouded hill country and tropical palm-fringed beaches.

Our tour takes you to all the major sites of historical and cultural interest, visiting three outstanding UNESCO World Heritage sites and finishing with three days' relaxation in one of the country's finest beach resorts. Two nights are spent in Sri Lanka's fascinating 'Cultural Triangle', where we visit one of the best-preserved ancient sites on the Indian subcontinent. Sigiriya Rock, an impregnable 5th Century palace and fortress clinging to the top of an immense granite monolith soaring up 600 feet is Sri Lanka's most remarkable sight, with amazing views of the jungle-covered plain below. Around the base of the rock we see beautifully laid out fountains, gardens and bathing pools, incredibly still working, linked by an ingenious web of underground, gravity-fed water channels.

The cave temples of Dambulla, another World Heritage site, highlight Sri Lanka's extraordinary artistic heritage. Their entire walls and ceilings are completely covered by sumptuously painted, perfectly preserved frescoes and shrines, whilst hundreds of gold-coloured statues of all shapes and sizes positively glow in the darkness - truly amazing! Kandy, formerly isolated by dense jungle, was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is today custodian of Sinhalese culture. Here we visit the Royal Botanical Gardens which also contain, in a typical colonial house, the wartime HQ of Lord Louis Mountbatten and Far Eastern Command, as well as one of Buddhism's holiest shrines, the Temple of the Tooth.

Sri Lanka's hill-country is remarkably beautiful. The dense jungle of the lowlands gives way to more open countryside, with charming small villages, extensive lakes and pine-covered hillsides, with a slightly cooler and less humid climate. It was here during the 19th century that the vast tea estates were created by the British. We visit one of the finest such establishments before staying in the hill-station of Nuwara Eliya, with its colonial-era racecourse, bowling green, half-timbered houses and churches.

Highlights

  • Explore four UNESCO world heritage sites of the Golden Temple Dambulla, sacred city of Kandy, Sigiriya and 

  • Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund

  • Experience superb scenery, shimmering paddy fields, rubber and spice plantations, verdant tea estates, swaying coconut groves, and exotic wildlife

  • the old town Galle Fort

  • Guided tour of the 5th-century Royal Palace and Citadel at Sigiriya Rock plus a guided climb of the rock

  • Enjoy a 4x4 drive 

  • Visit feeding time at the Elephant Transit Home, where elephant orphans are looked after, before being re-introduced to the wild as endorsed by the Born Free Foundation

  • Guided tour of the local tea-growing areas in Nuwara Eliya with a Ceylon tea tasting

  • Visit Kandy and see the Temple of the Tooth, said to house Buddha’s tooth, plus visit the stunning Royal Botanical Gardens

  • Hand-picked four-star accommodation including all local taxes

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Itinerary

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Day 1

Location: Colombo

Meals Included: No Meals

You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Colombo.

Day 2

Location: Negombo

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Lunch

After your lunchtime arrival we stay for one night at the four-star Arie Lagoon Hotel.

Day 3

Location: Dambulla, Habarana

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today the adventure begins and the sights and the sounds of Sri Lanka gradually unfold. The countryside is stunning – scenic paddy fields studded by water buffalos accompanied by wiry, loin-clothed farmers, extensive coconut groves, pineapple fields, working elephants with attentive mahouts astride their necks and everywhere the dense jungle interspersed by huge lakes.



We visit the amazing, 1st century cave temples of Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a wonderful introduction to the Buddhist religion. Set in an immense granite outcrop and reached by a number of steps, this serie of five caves are richly adorned with remarkably preserved frescoes and over 150 Buddhist statues. In the caves’ semi-darkness, surrounded by the serene faces of dozens of beautifully painted statues, it’s not difficult to imagine the incredible sense of awe this sacred site held for generations of worshippers.



We stay two nights at the four-star Habarana Village Hotel by Cinnamon.

Day 4

Location: Sigiriya

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning you visit what for many will surely be the most memorable and fascinating monument in Sri Lanka: Sigiriya, or the ‘Lion Rock’, is a massive 600ft granite tower with sheer cliffs on all sides crowned by the remains of a 1,500 year old royal palace. The entire site is encircled by a moat and ramparts enclosing a variety of water gardens, the remains of numerous buildings and caves. As you approach Sigiriya rock, you see some of the finest ancient murals in the country – the ‘cloud maidens’ are found under a fold of rock and show in exquisite detail a procession of jewelled, beautifully dressed women bearing offerings of lilies and lotus flowers.



Facing us is the imposing final entrance to the palace above: in ancient times the colossal head of a lion (hence ‘Lion Rock’) was built in brick and plaster, visitors entering through its mouth. Today, just the two front paws remain, their claws menacingly extended, still guarding the palace. It should be noted that there are numerous steps to the top of Sigiriya rock, but should pose no problem for those with normal mobility.



The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy our hotel’s pool and facilities.

Day 5

Location: Kandy

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we leave Sigiriya for Kandy. Sri Lanka is noted for its magnificent spices so en route we visit a fascinating garden where we see many indigenous plants such as pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon before arriving at Kandy, the country’s royal capital.



You stay two nights with dinner at the four-star Cinnamon Citadel Hotel, beautifully located overlooking the scenic Mahaweli River and surrounded by peaceful forested hillsides. The hotel as a pool overlooking the river, with a colonnaded lobby, a charming bar and restaurant. 



Kandy is famous for its traditional dancing and so this evening we experience a colourful and hugely skilful display of this ancient art.

Day 6

Location: Kandy

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Kandy’s crowded and bustling streets teem with daily comings and goings: the many white-uniformed children returning from school and the myriad of shops. The centre is dominated by a beautiful lake and the fascinating Temple of the Tooth, said to hold Buddha’s tooth. This is Buddhism’s most sacred shrine on the island and during our visit (today or tomorrow morning), you may be lucky enough to witness one of the many ceremonies. You also visit the stunning Royal Botanical Gardens. Planted over 150 years and covering a huge 150 acres, the gardens hold thousands of plant species and some superb examples of mature tropical trees. Strolling through lawns, shady avenues and immaculately kept flower beds, we see exotic birds and the commemorative trees planted by Edward VII, George VI, Princess Anne and the Queen.



Other highlights are the Avenue of Royal Palms and ‘Bat’ Drive where you can spot the large fruit-eating ‘Flying Foxes’ hanging upside down! The gardens also house Lord Mountbatten’s imposing HQ from World War II.

Day 7

Location: Nuwara Eliya

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today you leave Kandy and the train  from Peradeniya Station to Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya. We journey through increasingly mountainous scenery including some spectacular views of Sri Lanka’s premier tea growing areas. Lush tropical jungle gives way to tall pine forests and then box-like tea bushes, few at first and then seemingly covering every fold of the  landscape like a huge green carpet right to the landscape horizon. Arriving early afternoon to Nuwara Eliya, the main hill station, is nearly 7,000 feet above sea level and called ‘little England’ due to its spring-like climate, parks and gold course. You stay one-night at the four-star Golden Ridge Hotel, located within a 5 acre ridge.

Day 8

Location: Udawalawe National Park Safari

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

As the early morning mist arises, we visit one of the best-known tea estates to how our nation’s favourite drink is rolled, fried and graded, followed by a refreshing cup of Ceylon’s finest. We say goodbye to Sri Lanka’s hill country and journey south arriving to the Elephant Transit Home, supported by the UK’s Born Free Foundation, located at Udawalawe National Park, where you’ll be able to watch young elephant orphans being given one of their daily feeds.



You stay two nights at the three-star superior Chaayra Resort and Spa Hotel, located near the towns of Tissamaharama and Kataragama.

Day 9

Location: Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

An early start this morning, accompanied by the unique sound of a tropical ‘dawn chorus’. As the morning mist disappears with the rising sun you explore the jungle and its incredible range of wildlife in 4x4 vehicles. The normally elusive leopard offers the Park’s most exciting game viewing and Yala has a high concentration of these big cats. They are the island’s top predator so are far less shy than elsewhere in the world. Yala is also known for its elephants, saltwater crocodiles, wild boar, sloth bears, monitor lizards and a huge variety of birdlife. After a late breakfast you can relax by the hotel’s pool before an optional second, early evening park drive (book and pay local).

Day 10

Location: Kalutara

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast you return to the west coast via a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle, with its imposing 16th century Dutch Fort. In late afternoon you arrive to the five-star Anantara Kalutara Resort, a contemporary style hotel featuring local traditions. Uniquely located on the south west Sri Lankan coast  where the Kalu Ganga River estuary lagoon meets the Indian Ocean set on a narrow peninsular with 360 degree ocean and lagoon views.

Day 13 : Days 13

Location: Colombo

You transfer to the airport for the return flight, arriving home arriving home early evening the same day.

Day 1112 : Days 11-12

You have two entire days to do as you wish.  Perhaps relax in your hotel, rejuvenate at the spa or simply enjoy the pool.

What's Included

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room. Single rooms available at the relevant supplement. Price includes: Scheduled flights to Colombo Eleven nights’ accommodation at four-star hotels and one five star hotel All transfers Daily breakfast and eight dinners All local accommodation taxes and all flight taxes All touring as mentioned Hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person The;services of a Riviera Travel tour managerVisa not included

  • Accommodation

    3-star superior to 5-star accommodation

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Entrance Fees

  • Local Taxes

  • Meals

    19 meals: 11 breakfasts & 8 dinners

What's Not Included

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    Yes

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Mrs Bodnarec (Google Reviewer)  

Thankyou Riviera and all the...

28-Apr-2024

Thankyou Riviera and all the staff on the William Wordsworth Danube River cruise. My husband and i have just travelled on the Danube to celebrate my husbands 60th and we had such a lovely experience. We were younger than most of the travellers but we met so many lovely people so this wasnt a problem. The staff were so lovely and professional. The service we experienced was so high. The boat was beautiful, the food amazing and the excursions were informative and well managed. I would definately recommend riviera as a company. In fact we are now considering their Japan holiday.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...

10-Mar-2024

Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 500 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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