Sri Lankan Highlights with Indian Ocean Beach Stay

Sri Lankan Highlights with Indian Ocean Beach Stay

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Sri Lankan Highlights with Indian Ocean Beach Stay

14 Days Starting in Colombo, Sri Lanka and ending in Chilaw, Sri Lanka

Visiting: Colombo, Galle, Ella, Nine Arches Bridge, Bandarawela, Dambulla, Wasgamuwa National Park, Sigiriya Rock Hide, Polonnaruwa, Chilaw

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

SL

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

0 - 50

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

9-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Activities:

4WD

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Once described by Marco Polo as 'the finest island in the world', Sri Lanka is known for its remarkable countryside and ancient ruins. Visit historical landmarks like Sigiriya Rock, climb to Lipton's viewpoint seat, enjoy a Galle tour with local experts and then relax on the golden beaches of the East Coast. The fertile plains, colourful towns and fragrant cuisine are perfect for a traveller who loves architecture, history and excellent food.

Highlights

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

  • Explore the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Galle and Polonnaruwa

  • Get up close and personal with the wildlife, on a 4x4 ride through Wasgamuwa National Park

  • Enjoy expertly guided walking tours of Colombo city, the Dutch Fort of Galle and Dambatenne Tea Factory

  • Relax by the Indian Ocean on a 4-night beach stay on the East Coast of Sri Lanka

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Departure

Location: Colombo

Accommodation: Flight to Colombo

Meals Included: No Meals

Travel to the airport for your flight to Colombo.

Day 2 : Arrival In Colombo

Location: Colombo

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo

Meals Included: Dinner

After arriving in Colombo, we’ll transfer to the four-star superior hotel with breathtaking views of Beira lake. Check-in, familiarise yourself with your room and relax before enjoying a first-class dinner.

Day 3 : Colombo

Location: Colombo

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we’ll take a walking tour of Colombo, the commercial hub of Sri Lanka. Initially discovered by traders two millennia ago, Colombo is traditionally the gateway to the Orient. Located on the west coast of the island, Colombo is a kaleidoscope of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial heritage. Set against the tropical landscape, it draws together all the cultures, religions and influences into a fascinating fusion of enticing sounds, fragrant smells and vibrant colour. A perfect symbol of peace and harmony, the city is truly one of a kind. As we explore the city, you'll have the opportunity to sample local cuisine for lunch and our expert guide is on hand to direct you towards the most flavoursome offerings.



Later, we’ll leave the capital, Colombo, and drive south to Galle, a town with historic Dutch influence, located on the southwest coast.

Day 4 : Galle

Location: Galle

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Le Grand Galle Hotel by Asia Leisure Hotels

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Said to be the famous Tarshish of the Old Testament, where King Solomon obtained gems and spices, Galle has a rich and colourful history. The city of Galle and its fortification became a living UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Throughout the ages, it's been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British and the vast Dutch fort is still the beating heart of Galle's history.



We will spend the morning wandering through Galle. Explore on foot streets lined with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques, churches and museums. See the local life in the areas surrounding Galle and pass by a rubber and cinnamon plantation ending with a revitalising local herbal drink.



In the afternoon, we’ll take a walking tour of Galle Dutch Fort. A wash with historical influences, this fortification was first built by the Portuguese before being modified around 1663 during the Dutch and British colonial rule. This rich history makes Galle Dutch Fort one of the most important archaeological and historic monuments to illustrate the European influence in South Asia between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Day 5 : Nine Arches Bridge

Location: Ella, Nine Arches Bridge, Bandarawela

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Colonial-era hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, we’ll enjoy a scenic journey north to the southern central edge of Sri Lanka's Hill Country to Bandarawela. As we travel through mist-covered peaks, look out for cascading waterfalls and hillsides carpeted with tea plantations. En route, we’ll stop in Ella, a popular village in the hill country with ancient temples and stunning viewpoints to explore.



Commissioned under the British in 1921, the Nine Arches Bridge is a highlight of the day. Also known as 'Bridge in the Sky', this viaduct bridge is one of the best examples of colonial-era railway construction connecting the Ella and Demodara railway. This beautiful piece of architecture, hidden between tea fields, features nine stone arches. Either side has stunning views of the lush rolling hills and dense jungle and the bridge is open to walk across.



We’ll arrive at Bandarawela later in the afternoon for a nostalgic two-night stay in a colonial-era hotel.

Day 6 : Lipton Tea

Location: Bandarawela

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Colonial-era hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll visit Lipton's Seat, one of the highest observation points on the hills of Poonagala. Named after the Scottish Baron and tea planter, Sir Thomas Lipton who used it as the viewpoint to survey his empire. Today you can take in the stunning views of 7 provinces with sights such as Handapanagala Lake, Chandrika Lake, Udawalawe Lake, and Wedihitikanda.



Later, we’ll visit Dambatenne Tea Factory. Built in 1890 by Thomas Lipton when he began his tea empire, Lipton made the tea industry what it is today. The tour of the factory is a must-see for every tea enthusiast. See the whole manufacturing process, from collecting the tea leaves to the oxidation process and the packaging of Ceylon black tea before sampling the final product.

Day 7 : Wasgamuwa National Park

Location: Dambulla, Wasgamuwa National Park

Accommodation: Resort, Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Continue north to Dambulla, an area located within the heart of Sri Lanka's cultural triangle. As we journey on, we’ll travel through scenic paddy fields studded by water buffalos and extensive coconut groves.



We’ll enjoy a drive to Wasgamuwa National Park in the early evening, where we’ll take a 4 x 4 vehicle drive in the park with a habitat of trees and forests.



Originally designated a game sanctuary in 1907 and upgraded to a Strict Nature Reserve in 1938, the park features natural open grassland, dry shrub forest, rocky outcrops and a riverine habitat of the Mahaweli river, where herons and egrets reside on the water bank. Home to herds of elephants, an evening park drive is the perfect time to see these magnificent creatures at their most active.



Declared a protected area to protect the flora and fauna displaced by the Mahaweli development project. The park spans over 36,000 hectares, home to a variety of habitats; you could spot the illusive Sri Lankan Leopard and Sloth Bars and some of the island's feistiest elephants. Rich with history, the legendary King Dutugemunu, who wages war against the south Indian invaders, is said to have camped inside the park just before his victorious final battle.

Day 8 : Sigiriya Rock

Location: Sigiriya Rock Hide

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Sigiriana Resort by Thilanka

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we’ll visit 'Lion Rock', a massive granite tower with sheer cliffs on all sides crowned by the remains of an ancient palace, once home to a 5th-century king.



Once, the colossal head of a lion, built of brick and plaster, encompassed the entrance with visitors entering through its mouth. Today, just the two front paws remain claws menacingly extended, leaving an echo of its former magnificence.



As we approach Sigiriya Rock, look out for some of the finest ancient murals in the country; the 'cloud maidens' show in exquisite detail a procession of jewelled, beautifully dressed women bearing offerings of lilies and lotus flowers. Encircling the entrance, water gardens and the remains of numerous buildings and caves are a moat and ramparts built to protect the 1,500-year-old 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.



In the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to relax in the hotel and take full advantage of the facilities, including the hotel's pool.

Day 9 : Polonnaruwa

Location: Polonnaruwa

Accommodation: Resort

Accommodation Name: Anantaya Resort and Spa Passikudah

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we’ll visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Named the capital city of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993 CE, it became a thriving commercial and religious centre some 800 years ago. Once the playground of kings, it was finally abandoned in the early 13th century and its ruins are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



Discover how this innovative city became self-sufficient with vast man-made tanks to collect rainwater and roads fit for chariots. Sites like the white dome of the Kiri Verhera, the Vatadage - said to have given shelter to the Buddha's Sacred Tooth Relic - and the Gal Viharaya's immense stone Buddha sculptures showcase the size and magnificence of this historic capital.



Our journey continues into the afternoon, we will arrive at the East Coast for a four night beach stay.

Day 13 : Chilaw

Location: Chilaw

Accommodation: Resort

Accommodation Name: Anantaya Resort and Spa Chilaw

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we’ll travel west to Chilaw, a small coastal town for an overnight stop.

Day 14 : Return Flight

Location: Chilaw

Accommodation: Final day of tour - no accommodation included

Meals Included: No Meals

We’ll transfer to the airport for our return flight home and arrive in the UK the same day.

Day 10 - 12

Located on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, Passikudah is the perfect place for sunseekers and thrill seekers. Spend the days at your leisure; relax in your hotel, rejuvenate at the spa or sunbathe by the pool - the choice is entirely yours.

With some of the island's most pristine beaches, this picturesque fishing village is largely untouched, making it the ideal spot to soak up the sunshine and discover vibrant marine life beneath the blue waves. If you love swimming and sunbathing in peace, Passikudah is the perfect place to do so.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • Fully Guided

    Services of a Riviera Travel tour manager

  • International Travel

    Scheduled flights to Colombo

  • Meals

    Daily breakfast and dinners

What's Not Included

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

    Visa is not included

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for Sri Lanka at least a month before departure. Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that we enjoy several walking tours around a number of historical sites where paths are uneven and uphill. Therefore, this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility.

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

    No

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Is the tour coach air conditioned?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    We are unable to accommodate children under 9 years old at the date of departure..

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Scheduled flights to Colombo

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • 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.

Norma Patrick (Google Reviewer)  

Recently went on a tour...

18-May-2024

Recently went on a tour of the Deep South USA plus Texas. Before we set off on the trip we were informed that our trip On the Amtrak train would not be going ahead and we were given a £50 refund each. We were disappointed especially as there was no consultation beforehand and to only receive £50 each in compensation was poor. This was one of the reasons we had chosen Riviera Travel and may have considered another company had we been given the choice. Despite this we had a fabulous holiday, although we thought the tour guide was poor. There was no music played whilst we were traveling on the coach and when asked if more could be played we received a flat ‘no’. If we had relied on the tour guide all the time we wouldn’t have gone anywhere. However we ignored his comments that Nashville was ‘mad’ and went downtown and had the best night. All in all we had a wonderful holiday but it could have been better from Riviera Travel point of view. This is a very expensive tour and we thought the standard of hotels were very poor in some places. Probably would try a different tour company next time.

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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