Although a Singalese port linked to the time of King Solomon, the Portugese laid the first stones for present day Galle in the 16th century before being conquered by the Dutch. Galle is also famous for the traditional art of stilt fishing.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Dambulla in central Sri Lanka, is home to a wonderful cave temple with statues and paintings dating back to the first century BC, although the caves were in use even earlier than this.
Yala National Park offers an opportunity to see the native leopards, which are the island’s top predator. The park also supports many other species of birds and animals, including elephants and the Malabar pied hornbill.
This serene network of lagoons, salt pans and mud flats plays host to a wide variety of wildlife. There are 150 different species of birds including flamingos and crested hawk eagles making it an ideal destination for an avid birder.
- All breakfasts and more
- Small Group 20 or less
- VIP door to door
- Top performer
Discover Sri Lanka's cultural heritage of ancient cities and temples on this thrilling tour
On this intriguing tour you can experience the elegance of a bygone era – Sri Lanka's colonial past – with stays in four heritage properties and discover the historic attractions of bustling Colombo, sacred Kandy, Nuwara Eliya hill station and Galle Fort.
This tour includes one night aboard aircraft.
Please note: On the 'Poya Days' and other religious occasions, alcoholic drinks cannot be served in any public areas in Sri Lanka. However, alcoholic drinks in the form of mini bar which is filled prior to the 'Poya Days' period can be arranged in your hotel room.
This comprehensive tour of Sri Lanka involves some long but rewarding journeys. If you are in any doubt as to its suitability, please talk to our travel consultants.
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a discount if not required
- Return flights and transfers
- Saga tour manager
- Porterage at all hotels
- 12 nights in hotels and 1 in flight
- 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 12 dinners, including a farewell dinner
Excursions and visits
- Colombo city tour
- Dambulla Cave Temple and Matale spice garden
- Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
- City tour of Kandy
- Botanical garden and tea estate
- Game drive in Yala National Park
- Visit to the shrine of Lord Skanda and Temple of Kiri Vebera
- Visit a local school supported by the Saga Charitable Trust
- Bundala Bird Sanctuary Guided tour of Galle
Day 1 - 2 UK to Colombo
After taking Saga’s included VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, depart in the evening for your overnight flight to Colombo, arriving on the morning of Day 2.
Stay overnight at the The Gateway Hotel (4Q).
Day 3 Colombo to Habarana
Enjoy a tour of Colombo, visiting the Ganagaramaya Buddhist Temple and the Independence Square Memorial Hall before travelling to Habarana. Continue to Cinnamon Lodge (4Q+) for two nights.
Later, join an elephant-back safari.
Day 4 Habanara-Sigirya-Polonnaruwa
Spend the day at leisure or perhaps choose from two optional excursions available today.
This excursion takes you to Sigiriya’s famous ‘Lion Rock’ which was the brief capital of King Kassapa I some 1,500 years ago. Two colossal paws still stand either side of ancient limestone steps, a reminder of the lion figure that once guarded the entrance to the lofty palace gardens on the summit of this 370-metre-high granite rock. Cuts and grooves carved out of the rock face will give you an idea of the size and shape of the original lion structure. Sigiriya is also well known for the Maidens of the Clouds, paintings of 21 beautiful women found on a sheltered ledge.
You will find the ruins of the ancient Sinhala civilisation at Polonnaruwa, which became Sri Lanka’s capital between the 11th and 12th centuries. Highlights include the ruins of the king’s council chamber, the Royal Citadel and the Vatadage Relic House. Another will undoubtedly be the Gal Vihare where unknown artists carved four separate images out of a granite cliff face: the great reclining image of the Buddha entering nirvana is 14-metres long and is generally held to be the most impressive of the sculptures. Also of interest are the reservoirs – they are so large that one, the Parakrama Samudra, is bigger than Colombo Harbour!
Day 5 Habarana-Dambulla-Kandy
Travel to Kandy, visiting the Dambulla cave temple en route. The temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka and has attained UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Enjoy an included traditional Sri Lankan lunch before arriving at the Cinnamon Citadel (4Q) for a two-night stay. In the evening, enjoy an included performance of Kandyan cultural dancing.
Day 6 Kandy-Pinnawela-Kandy
Today, visit the Pinnawela elephant orphanage which cares for approximately 3,000 elephants and allows visitors to view these magnificent creatures at close quarters.
Lunch is served at Pinnalanda restaurant which overlooks the river used by the elephants to bathe.
Return to Kandy for an included city tour which visits the Royal Palace and Temple of the Tooth, which is believed to house the tooth of Buddha and is the site of many vibrant festivals throughout the year.
Day 7 Kandy-Peradeniya-Nuwara Eliya
Venture to Nuwara Eliya where you can visit a tea estate and factory which produces the highest quality Ceylon tea.
Later, visit a Botanical Garden. Stay at the Grand Hotel (3Q).
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya-Yala
Today you travel to the Cinnamon Wild Yala (3Q) where you spend the next three nights.
Day 9 Yala-Kataragama-Yala
Embark on a game drive in Yala National Park, which supports many species of birds and animals, including elephants and the Malabar pied hornbill.
In the evening travel to Kataragama where you visit the Shrine of Lord Skanda and the Buddhist Temple of Kiri Vehera.
Day 10 Yala
Enjoy a champagne breakfast at the hotel and later, visit a local school supported by the Saga Charitable Trust. Afterwards, you can choose to relax at the hotel or view some of the local wildlife and birdlife.
Day 11 Yala-Bundala-Galle-Beruwala
Travel to Bundala Bird Sanctuary, an important area for aquatic birdlife such as the spoonbill and spot-billed pelican.
Next, travel to the ancient city of Galle which was built in the 17th century and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards, continue to the Cinnamon Bey (4Q+) for a three-nights stay on an all-inclusive basis.
Day 12 At leisure in Beruwala
At leisure or perhaps join an optional excursion.
This river safari takes you past six islands, and includes a visit to a cinnamon plantation. Cinnamon, a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, has been cultivated since antiquity for the spice obtained from its bark.
Day 13 Beruwala
Spend the day at leisure relaxing at your hotel, making full use of its faciltiies.
Day 14 Beruwala to UK
After breakfast travel to Colombo Airport for your return flight. Arrive for your included UK VIP door-to-door travel service.
Sri Lankka's 'Gold Coast'
All-inclusive post holiday extension
After your tour, extend your stay in Sri Lanka at the Cinnamon Bey (4Q+) giving you a full week on its golden west coast.
Extension including breakfasts
Stay at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa (4Q) in the heart of Dubai (available only when flying via Dubai). Single room supplement (per person, per night): from £29.
Alternatively, upgrade to the contemporary JA Ocean View Hotel (4Q+), set on TheWalk overlooking the sea.
Dubai with Cinnamon Bey
Combine both the pre and post extensions in Dubai at the Arabian Courtyard and Beruwala at the Cinnamon Bey. Hotel details as above.